Drumbeat: March 22, 2010

Oil reserves 'exaggerated by one third'

The world's oil reserves have been exaggerated by up to a third, according to Sir David King, the Government's former chief scientist, who has warned of shortages and price spikes within years.

The scientist and researchers from Oxford University argue that official figures are inflated because member countries of the oil cartel, OPEC, over-reported reserves in the 1980s when competing for global market share.

Their new research argues that estimates of conventional reserves should be downgraded from 1,150bn to 1,350bn barrels to between 850bn and 900bn barrels and claims that demand may outstrip supply as early as 2014. The researchers claim it is an open secret that OPEC is likely to have inflated its reserves, but that the International Energy Agency (IEA), BP, the Energy Information Administration and World Oil do not take this into account in their statistics.

Gas prices should be near peak for the year, analysts say

After a 3-cent rise nationally and in California over the last week, a plentiful supply and strong dollar bode well for motorists.

Flooded Chinese oil market still sees rise in demand

China is importing more crude oil and producing more refined oil products in an effort to keep up with increased demand within the country. Even though data is suggesting that China's increased output of oil products is exceeding their increased domestic demand, crude oil imports are forecast to rise.

Natural gas profits expected to double in 2010

OTTAWA -- Profits in Canada's natural gas industry will more than double in 2010, the Conference Board of Canada said Monday.

The board expects drilling activity to remain sluggish as Canada digs out from the recession, but a rebound in prices, which fell as low as $3 Canadian per thousand cubic feet last summer, will more than offset falling production.

Vital oil: photographer Ed Kashi captures Nigeria's toxic legacy

Violence, corruption, war ... photojournalist Ed Kashi charts the devastating effect of oil production on a west African nation.

Statoil pledges oil sands emissions cut

Norway’s state-controlled Statoil has pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions from its Canadian oil sands production by 40% in 15 years, a top executive said today, as the Norwegian company faces pressure at home to burnish its environmental reputation.

Renewable Energy Catches on in Red America

Kern County, California, went Republican by 18 points in the last election. Now it's captivated by wind and solar power. Here's why.

Net called great threat to rare species

DOHA, Qatar - The Internet has emerged as one of the greatest threats to rare species, fueling the illegal wildlife trade and making it easier to buy everything from live baby lions to wine made from tiger bones, conservationists said Sunday.

The Web's impact was made clear at the meeting of the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES. Delegates voted overwhelmingly Sunday to ban the trade of the Kaiser's spotted newt, which the World Wildlife Fund says has been devastated by the Internet trade.

Why Does a Salad Cost More Than a Big Mac?

Part of the reason is that a huge proportion of our food subsidies go to meat while only 0.37 percent go to fruits and vegetables.

Eating less meat and dairy products won't have major impact on global warming

Cutting back on consumption of meat and dairy products will not have a major impact in combating global warming — despite repeated claims that link diets rich in animal products to production of greenhouse gases. That's the conclusion of a report presented here today at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

You don't need to spend big bucks to make your home greener

Many innovative products hold great promise, but the return may not be worth the investment. Retrofitting toilets or replacing light bulbs and fixtures will save energy and money.

Non-OPEC Oil Production Hits the Wall

In the last year I’ve read several articles expounding on the many non-OPEC oil discoveries that have been made in recent years and how large the oil resource is within the non-OPEC sphere of the world. The objective of these articles is to reassure the reader that all is well for non-OPEC oil production, now and in the foreseeable future. If all is so well outside OPEC, one must ask why the non-OPEC oil production rate has not exceeded the level achieved in 2004 in spite of the elevated price of oil since then.

Invitation to an Energy Crisis

DALLAS – As rising consumption and nationalism in OPEC countries pushes down their crude-oil exports and forces international oil companies to invest in high-cost areas with small reserves as global demand continues to grow, oil prices might ultimately shatter the record set in 2008. In the short run, heightened volatility will be the rule, owing to economic, political, natural, and technical factors. One has only to examine the recent past to see why.

While speculators can affect prices in the short run and increase price volatility, market fundamentals and government actions explain the spectacular rise in oil prices between 2003 and mid-2008. During this period, world oil demand increased, mostly in developing countries, while production remained relatively flat from 2005 to 2008. The only way to meet growing demand was to use OPEC’s spare capacity and commercial inventories. Once spare capacity vanished and commercial inventories declined to critical levels relative to estimated future demand, oil prices started to break record after record.

Schlumberger 'may miss Wall St targets'

Schlumberger's chief executive Andrew Gould said today the oilfield services giant will have difficulty meeting Wall Street profit forecasts this year, adding that rising natural gas drilling in North America will not lead to "satisfactory returns" this year.

Enbridge plans gas pipeline in midwest U.S.

Enbridge Inc., a leading Canadian energy provider, said Monday it will build a new natural gas liquids pipeline to tap into markets in the midwestern United States.

The new line will move the fuel from the Marcellus Shale in Southern Pennsylvania to existing facilities in the Chicago area, the company said in a release.

China expects 5% growth of net oil import in 2010

BEIJING - China's net oil imports are expected to total 210 million tons this year, National Energy Administration (NEA) said Monday.

The volume would be about 11 million tons, or 5.5 percent, higher that last year, said Huang Li, vice director of Energy Saving and Science Equipment Department, NEA.

Raymond J. Learsy: The New York Times Continues Its Fawning Coverage of Saudi Oil Policies

Once again in its inimical fashion the New York Times, in a an article "China's Rapid Growth Shifts the Geopolitics of Oil'' 3.20.10 instructs us, as is their wont, on the exemplary policies of Saudi Arabia on matters oil.

Oil prices stay high despite State order

The cost of petroleum products remains high in most parts of Western Kenya despite a government directive to marketers to reduce oil prices.

'Energy crisis damaging industries'

LAHORE (APP) - Accusing former president Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf for the prevailing energy crisis, Federal Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim has that the loadshedding was resulting in huge problems in the industrial sector.

Talking to newsmen at Aibak Polo Ground, he quoted Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf, saying form April 15 onwards the power outages would reduce significantly.

Nuclear energy on the table for Pakistan?

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 22 (UPI) -- Washington may consider a civilian nuclear energy package for Pakistan at a major bilateral conference scheduled for the end of the week, U.S. officials said.

Pakistan is on the verge of a major energy crisis. Energy officials said recently that the national energy grid faced shortfalls of more than 4,000 megawatts during peak hours, leaving several parts of the country prone to blackouts.

Jordan follows UAE nuclear lead

Jordan is likely to become the next Arab state after the UAE to sign a contract to build civilian nuclear reactors, one of the region’s top energy officials said yesterday.

A number of Arab countries, including Kuwait and Egypt, have begun the long process of planning for nuclear plants, but Jordan has made the most progress, said Dr Adnan Shihab-Eldin, the secretary general of the Kuwait National Nuclear Energy Committee.

Chrysler to make electric Fiat 500

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Chrysler Group announced Monday that it plans to produce a purely electric version of the iconic Fiat 500 minicar.

Cyprus ‘to run out of drinking water’

Cyprus is predicted to become the first part of the European Union to run out of water. A spokesman at the EU Commission said the Mediterranean island was Europe’s ‘front line’ in the war against diminishing water resources.

Divided by war in 1974, the former British colony has been consumed by the rivalry between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The generation-old conflict has obscured the environmental disaster that has empty reservoirs, led to water rationing and is killing the island’s ecosystem.

The Secret of Sea Level Rise: It Will Vary Greatly by Region

As the world warms, sea levels could easily rise three to six feet this century. But increases will vary widely by region, with prevailing winds, powerful ocean currents, and even the gravitational pull of the polar ice sheets determining whether some coastal areas will be inundated while others stay dry.

Wind Energy Investment of $65 Billion May Curb Fossil Fuel Use

(Bloomberg) -- China WindPower Group Ltd., Iberdrola SA and Duke Energy Corp. will lead development of an estimated $65 billion of wind-power plants this year that let utilities reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

The estimate from Bloomberg New Energy Finance assumes a 9 percent increase in global installations of wind turbines this year, adding as much as 41 gigawatts of generation capacity. That’s the equivalent of 34 new nuclear power stations.

Utilities that built natural gas-fired generators during the last decade are increasingly erecting turbines and buying wind power from competitors, tapping a renewable-energy source as governments consider ways to penalize carbon-based fuels.

Oil Falls to Three-Week Low on Concern Demand Rebound May Stall

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell to a three-week low in New York on concern governments around the world may follow India in raising interest rates, damping the recovery in global fuel demand.

Oil dropped a third day as the U.S. dollar traded near a three-week high against the euro, dimming the appeal of commodities for hedging against inflation. The commodity plunged 1.9 percent on March 19 after India unexpectedly raised rates. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has spare production capacity in excess of 6 million barrels per day, its president said.

“Immediate oil market fundamentals haven’t justified gains beyond $80,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, a VTB Capital analyst in London. “Until seasonal demand picks up and reduces the stockpile overhang, we’ll keep trading on external factors such as the dollar and concerns over eventual monetary tightening.”

OPEC's Business Model: Sit Back and Let the Money Flow In

OPEC, producer of about 40% of the world's oil, is once again in the catbird seat, once again. Now, you're probably thinking, "When hasn't OPEC been in the catbird seat?"

True, when you're sitting on a considerable portion of the modern world's most important commodity, it's hard to ever argue that the deck is stacked against you, but these are especially advantageous times for OPEC.

Russian crude won't hit Mideast prices to Asia - Qatar

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Russian crude exports to the Pacific will not hurt prices of Middle Eastern crude sold to Asia, Qatar Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said on Monday.

His comments echo what the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members, including top exporter Saudi Arabia, said last week.

Russia started selling its new ESPO Blend crude from the Far East port of Kozmino from late 2009, a first step towards expanding its exports into Asian markets.

Petrobras May Boost Investment by 26% to Focus on Offshore Oil

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-run oil producer, aims to boost its spending plan by as much as 26 percent as it focuses on developing the Americas’ largest discovery in three decades and other offshore deposits.

Shell, PetroChina Win Arrow With Sweetened $3.2 Billion Offer

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc and PetroChina Co. agreed to buy Arrow Energy Ltd. after increasing their offer to A$3.5 billion ($3.2 billion), marking China’s entry to Australia’s coal-seam gas industry.

Shell and PetroChina will pay A$4.70 cash a share for Arrow’s Australian business, the Brisbane-based company said today. The price was raised from A$4.45 and is 35 percent above the stock’s level before the initial bid was reported March 8. Investors will also get shares in a new company holding Arrow’s gas assets in China, Indonesia, India and Vietnam, which may be worth as much as A$400 million, according to analysts.

China commercial crude stocks up 5.2 pct in Feb - OGP

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's commercial crude oil inventories rose 5.2 percent in February over January to 28.2 million tonnes, China OGP reported on Monday.

China imports less Iranian oil, defying demand jump

BEIJING - China’s imports of Iranian crude oil shrank by nearly 40 percent in the first two months of 2010, compared to the same time last year, despite the Asian economy’s expanding hunger for foreign oil.

Chinese customs data issued on Monday showed Iran, which was China’s third biggest foreign supplier of crude oil last year, slipped to fourth behind Russia in the first two months of 2010.

Iran shipped 2.53 million metric tonnes of crude to China, a fall of 37.2 percent compared to the first two months of 2009.

Qatar to up LNG supply to India to 11.5 mln tonnes

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Qatar plans to raise its supply of Liquefied Natural Gas to India to 11.5 million tonnes from 2014, against the current 7.5 million tonnes a year, its oil minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said in New Delhi on Sunday.

He said Qatar currently produces 62 million tonnes of LNG and from October it will be raised to 77 million tonnes.

PetroChina, Shell to Export 8 Million Tons/Yr of LNG from Curtis

(Bloomberg) -- PetroChina Co. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc plan to export up to 8 million tons per year of LNG from the proposed Curtis Island plant in Australia, the Chinese company’s project manager, Aiji Ge, said in a statement today.

Ukraine to send team to Moscow for gas talks

KIEV (Reuters) - A Ukrainian delegation will travel to Moscow on Tuesday to discuss a gas agreement between the two countries, the energy ministry and the state energy company Naftogaz said.

The visit will be the first attempt by the new leadership of President Viktor Yanukovich to get a revision of what the Ukrainians say are onerous prices for Russian natural gas.

BHP Coal Terminal Damaged by Cyclone, Stays Shut

(Bloomberg) -- BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, said its Hay Point Coal terminal in Australia was damaged at the weekend and remains shut after being hit by a cyclone that also closed mines.

“Assessments will be undertaken to determine the extent of repairs required and likely timeframes to recommence operations,” BHP said today in an e-mailed statement. Some northern coal mines suspended operations, it said, without identifying them.

Fossil fuel money ‘could fund bank’

A new green-energy bank should be created out of the as yet unspent £200million Scottish fossil fuel levy fund, industry body Scottish Renewables said.

The fund is contributed to by suppliers of electricity from non-renewable energy sources and is ring-fenced for green-energy projects.

It remains unused due to wrangling between Holyrood and Westminster.

Choose subsistence before oil

If you look at oil and gas development, the roads and pipelines into the Yukon Flats would only destroy our traditional way of life and the renewable resources that support that way of life. Once the oil is gone, we will be left with a big mess and polluted ecosystem. Our subsistence resources will be undermined; what then? Doyon can find other economic opportunities without destroying the land that is fundamental to our traditions, culture and subsistence way of life. Let’s look seriously at renewable energy options.

Jim Rogers Says a Eurozone of 10 Members Would Be a “Wonderful Thing”

High energy prices are here to stay. The experts know that known reserves are declining at a steady rate. In 25 years there will be no oil for anyone at any price. There could be ups and downs in the price along the way, if for example the UK goes bankrupt. In a decade, the price will be much, much higher though.

The pound sterling’s outlook is not good. North Sea oil is drying up. The UK has huge, huge debt. The City of London financial center is badly damaged and politicians are trying to kill the goose that laid the golden egg by increasing taxes so much that it will drive out the remaining banks. In a few years we will look back and be shocked at how far the pound has come down.

Air Pollution Hits Record High in Hong Kong

HONG KONG — Air pollution in Hong Kong, one of the perpetual banes of living and working in the Asian financial hub, skyrocketed to record levels on Monday, triggering an official government warning to avoid outdoor activities and physical exertion.

Air Pollution Kills 50,000 in the U.K. a Year, Lawmakers Says

(Bloomberg) -- Air pollution from traffic and industry kills as many as 50,000 people in the U.K. every year, and the nation could face fines of as much as $450 million for failing to meet European Union targets, lawmakers said.

Carbon capture a coal solution

An interesting project ramping up in southeastern Saskatchewan is a good example of the kind of long-term investment needed to ensure Canada’s future.

It’s a carbon capture and storage (CCS) job that will, when finished, capture a million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, and provide a demonstration of Canadian technology to monitor and verify the state and amount of the gas underground so we know just how much is there and to prove there is no leakage.

The New Energy Opportunity

Given all the obstacles, you might wonder why we bother with renewable energy at all. In fact, we wouldn't, and didn't for years, when the world's oil and gas reserves looked endless, and everybody thought global warming was what happened when the sun came up in the morning.

But peak oil will strike at some time, and unless climate global warming is exposed as a myth, hoax, religion or tax grab, we need to do something about our warming planet as well.

Japan planning 14 nuclear plants: report

TOKYO (AFP) – Resource-poor Japan is planning to build at least 14 nuclear power plants over the next 20 years to reduce its reliance on other countries for its energy needs, a report said Sunday.

The world's second biggest economy, which wants to double its provision for its fuel consumption, will make an announcement in June on whether it indends to press ahead with the plants, the Nikkei business daily said.

Asia’s nuclear dilemma

Nuclear power has long been opposed on safety, environmental, security and business grounds. But Asian governments are saying they can’t fight global warming without more of it.

Chevron plans solar panel installation: report

(Reuters) - U.S. energy giant Chevron Corp is set to announce on Monday the installation of 7,700 solar power panels near Bakersfield in California, which is expected to produce 740 kilowatts of electricity, the Los Angeles Times said.

The sloping panels will be used to power the pumps and the pipelines operated at Chevron's Kern River oil field facility, the paper said.

'Cold fusion' moves closer to mainstream acceptance

A potential new energy source so controversial that people once regarded it as junk science is moving closer to acceptance by the mainstream scientific community. That's the conclusion of the organizer of one of the largest scientific sessions on the topic -- "cold fusion" -- being held in San Francisco for the next two days in the Moscone Center during the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

World Water Day: Why business needs to worry (Peter Brabeck-Letmanthe, Chairman, Nestle S.A.)

Monday is World Water Day, but I suspect relatively few will have noticed.

While the world is rightly moving to address the challenges presented by climate change and depleting supplies of fossil fuels, the same awareness and consensus does not exist when it comes to addressing our usage of water. Yet the harsh fact is that we will probably run out of water long before we run out of fuel.

We need to act fast, now.

Drought spreading across China

Severe drought is continuing to plague southwest China, and is spreading to other parts of the country. These are the worst conditions the region has ever seen in a century. The government is calling on people to use water sparingly.

Hunger adds to drought's woes

MUYANG, Yunnan - Besides thirst, Yunnan farmer He Zhongcai has to battle another basic need - hunger.

After a seemingly endless drought in Xiaowanshan village since August, the daily dish for He's family is a kind of green grass, called Eyangcao - it means last choice for a starving sheep.

Mixing In Some Carbon

MOSS LANDING, Calif. — It seems like alchemy: a Silicon Valley start-up says it has found a way to capture the carbon dioxide emissions from coal and gas power plants and lock them into cement.

Wind contributing to Arctic sea ice loss, study finds

Much of the record breaking loss of ice in the Arctic ocean in recent years is down to the region's swirling winds and is not a direct result of global warming, a new study reveals.

Ice blown out of the region by Arctic winds can explain around one-third of the steep downward trend in sea ice extent in the region since 1979, the scientists say.

The study does not question that global warming is also melting ice in the Arctic, but it could raise doubts about high-profile claims that the region has passed a climate "tipping point" that could see ice loss sharply accelerate in coming years.

Energy security worry to drive India's low-CO2 plan

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Worries over energy security will drive India's goal to slow the growth of its carbon emissions, the head of a government panel tasked with developing the country's low-carbon strategy said on Monday.

Reserves of fossil fuels such as coal were fast running out, making it imperative for India to improve efficiency and accelerate renewable energy sources to keep the economy growing at a projected 8 to 9 percent annually, Kirit Parikh said.

From Wishful Thinking to Real-World Action on Climate

As for population, I noted that Africa’s population is projected to double — from one to two billion — by 2050. That means exposure to climate hazards will greatly increase in many places even if climate patterns don’t change at all. So family planning, and sanitation and water management, sure sound like vital parts of any push for climate progress.

But “population” was barely mentioned in Copenhagen. I almost guarantee that such projects will have a hard time winning grants from the planned Copenhagen Green Climate Fund.

Is Corporate America Our Best Hope Against Climate Change?

Although industry is still the engine of all those carbon emissions — more than a few CEOs doubt that global warming even exists — it is also the source of clean-energy solutions, which are emerging from every layer of the business world, from tiny startups to Fortune 500 behemoths. Major corporations set their own plans for greenhouse gas emissions reductions that far greener than targets that nations throw about at U.N. climate change summits.

Meanwhile Washington is paralyzed, seemingly incapable of coming to grips with global warming or the looming energy crisis. What we need is smart policy to deal with the biggest long-term challenge facing the country. What we get is vacuum.

'Cold fusion' moves closer to mainstream acceptance

Rather odd, considering that they can't even get "hot" fusion to work.

Ignorance wins!!!

They wouldn't print it if it weren't true.


I hope that was sarcasm.

Just because I see something in print does not have to mean that it is in fact a fact or even correct.

I have noticed that some of your(leduck) posts look like they are serious but they were said in a vaguely sarcastic manner, and at times I can not tell if you are being sarcastic or not.

I think half our misunderstandings on this forum can be solved if the posted puts a note in with what they say telling others that what they just wrote was meant as sarcasm, something like /fill in the blank sarcastic remark filler word placed here/.


Would anyone else take my comment seriously???

Charles might have been asking if your post had ONE level of sarcasm or TWO.. ie, giving Ignorant grief over his (her?) statement. Things have been getting a bit harsh here and there, and it's good to know if someone is being merely cheeky, or downright nasty.

Personally, I can't make myself use Sarcanol tags and smileys.. hurts my writer's pride too much; but then avoiding them has probably hurt my reputation even more.


I was taking a jab at him in the first comment. It was meant to be a little harsh..., but in a light hearted, semi-funny kind of way.

Maybe I should have wrote:
"Ignorance is no excuse."

then wrote underneath..., "This is a jab."

I use sarcasm in speech with people face to face, but it's in the use of the voice and tone, which at times is hard to convey in the written word. I hardly write my fiction, I mostly dictate it to a tape recorder, or on the phone to a friend or two. Mainly because I invent things to fast for me to type them and I have trouble typing things because my numerical dyslexia is getting into words now. Those nasty blood clots in 2005 did more than the doctors first thought they did. Anyway, thanks Jokuhl for pointing out the point I failed to make clear.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

Ps, I usually have to retype my own name at least once a day, and other words are getting hard for me to type without messing them up, very frustrating, as it seems to be getting worse.

Sorry to hear about your medical problems.
I hope you soon show sings of progress.

Laughs, I can't sing either, but that is not a sign of my brain damage but as my brother tells me, a lack of keeping in tune (I am deaf in my right ear, though that was from Mumps as a teen ).


Ps, progress will only happen if a miracle happens, what's been done is done.

Some of the stuff I have read about with regards to correcting chemical imbalances in the body through changes in diet and supplementation with vitamins (mega-doses in some cases), seems pretty close to miraculous. I think it was westexas that posted a link to this one hour video, featuring a leading vitamin D researcher, a couple months ago that features a few "miracles". Here he explains the gist of his arguments in 90 seconds.

Inadequate amounts of vitamin b12 can cause all sorts of problems with the nervous system and problems with digestion of that vitamin mean that injections have to be used instead of supplements or changes to diet. There was a psychiatrist in BC Canada who spent most of his career studying the effect of certain vitamins and minerals on mental function but, unfortunately he died last year at the age of 92 and I'd have to do some digging to find out who is carrying on his kind of work. http://www.orthomolecular.org/resources/pract.shtml would be a good place to start. Good luck finding a doctor who has a clue, otherwise you'll just have to slowly degenerate, nothing anyone here hopes for.

Alan from the islands

Thanks for the info. My damage was due to Blood clots on a massive scale back in late 2005, and at least 2 brain fuzzings in early 2007 (fuzzings because no one could tell me what they really were, I was awake and within 3 days after was acting very strange, but the strangness went away.)

I eat a rather healthy diet, lots of fresh vegies and fish and chicken, not a lot of HFCS or Sugar for that matter. I do eat a lot of Kimchi, and make several of my own recipes along those lines.

Thanks for the kind regards.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

re: 'Cold fusion' moves closer to mainstream acceptance

I think this has moved closer to full-on "Junk Science" status.

When the first announcement came out, one extremely brilliant researcher pointed out that it couldn't possible be true "cold" fusion, because the researchers were still alive. Even "cold" fusion would generate enough hard radiation to kill the researchers unless they were protected by large amounts of lead shielding. Fleischmann and Pons should have known that, and should have been taking precautions.

Subsequent analysis indicated they had an unexpected chemical reaction going on in the experiment which generated a certain amount of heat, but this is still far from being "cold fusion" and not at all useful for commercial energy production. People continue to promote the idea, but this is just pure wishful thinking. There's no evidence of anything nuclear going on.

Although you can't really rule out some kind of unknown mechanism that would permit low-temperature nuclear fusion, any credible mechanism would still generate an awful lot of radiation regardless of how it worked. Anybody who thinks otherwise is delusional. Keep that thought in mind.

See Cold Fusion for more details.

I know a room temperature pitcher in Cuba who can break through the strong atomic force.

Maybe you're right, and there's nothing to this. But I think it's worth remembering that the scientists of the late nineteenth century already had everything figured out then, too. The common wisdom of the time held that the combination of Newtonian physics and Maxwell's equations pretty well covered everything, it was just a matter of resolving some small discrepancies in the numbers here and there (dotting the i's and crossing the t's, so to speak).

Of course, you know where this story goes - general relativity, quantum physics, atom bombs, and all the rest. Nature had a few surprises left. Who knows, maybe she still does. A small dose of humility might be in order.

A small dose of humility might be in order.

A large dose is needed. But not in the direction you mean. Science itself has been pictured as opening up endless vistas, promising us fixes for all our problems, etc. What's been ignored is that science is not only about what's possible - it's also, even more so actually, about what's impossible. That's what's not emphasized.

Mathematics proved that mathematics cannot be reduced to mechanism - i.e. there is no machine that can grind out all true theorems. Relativity says information cannot be transmitted faster than light. Quantum mechanics says indeterminism is ineradicable. We know the sun will become a red dwarf and burn us up (well, you younger people, not me :) ). Geology tell us that hydrocarbons are finite and that we are nearing peak. Science is not exact (in some areas more so, others less so), but it tells us (more or less) what is possible and not possible.

What's also wrong about the popular view is that science is viewed as always revolutionizing itself, what was true yesterday is false today. But that's very misleading. Newton's theory of gravity is still working very well for almost everything, space travel included. To design particle accelerators or do cosmology, relativity is needed. There may be (and are) conceptual overturnings, but new theories must accommodate and incorporate the practical successes of old ones. On the practical level, there is successive refinement.

The sun (and all stars) operate via fusion. They work because of gravity and huge mass. It's lucky for us that fusion is difficult! We are protected against it. There was spontaneous fission in Africa (I forget the location) some 2 billion years ago. That's when uranium had a higher proportion of 235.

It's extremely unlikely that we would have gotten to this point were there some easy way (i.e. without gravity and large mass) for light elements to fuse. Nature would have discovered it, and the world would not be hospitable to us.

And of course we would have also discovered it, and in the years since it was first announced, a reproducible experiment would have come forth. It hasn't. That it keeps popping up is a psychological/social/etc phenomenon, not a scientific one.

What's been ignored is that science is not only about what's possible - it's also, even more so actually, about what's impossible. That's what's not emphasized.

That needs to be articulated over and over again and ever more clearly to the scientifically illiterate population at large. Just because you wish something to be true isn't going to make it so!

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.
Richard Feynman

Alright, I'll be just a little difficult, and give this one an amendment, however..

"Just because you wish something to be true isn't going to make it so!"

corrolary: But by defying something you refuse to believe in, you also have the power to keep it from ever coming true.

ie, 'The cat that walks on a hot stove will never walk on a hot stove again, and will also never walk on a cold one.'

corrolary: But by defying something you refuse to believe in, you also have the power to keep it from ever coming true.

Would you like to take a ride on my invisible pink unicorn?

'The cat that walks on a hot stove will never walk on a hot stove again, and will also never walk on a cold one.'

Yeah, I grew up with the Brazilian version of that one:

gato escaldado tem medo de água fria

Which is more to the point because a cat that walks on a hot stove might actually be physically unable to walk on a cold one after suffering permanent damage to its weettle pussy paws.

So at that point it becomes more humane to make it into a little foot warmer ;-)

I'd be happy to ride on a Pink Unicorn, if it existed.. but I'd be content to finish covering my roof with solar collectors, which might be a better example of my corollary. There are things we can put some energy towards that many people lose out on from despair or fear, self-doubt..

I'm sure you saw that the point was that some 'cats' become more 'reasonable' than is reasonable, avoiding paths they might have available to them, after some earlier trauma taught them the wrong lessons..


I believe I can go faster then the speed of light. Nothing precludes it. I just can't go THE SPEED OF LIGHT. So I will have to find a way to punch through to another universe, through a worm hole or something, where the speed of light goes faster, and then somehow get back to this universe, plus, do this so that I don't accelerate so fast, that I end up smashing myself through the process.

Accelerating too fast can be deadly.

I also believe I can break the laws of thermodynamics. It must be possible. It happens all the time on the sub-atomic level. I know someday someone will develop a perpetual motion machine and time machines. I expect to meet my great grand parents and flirt with their cousins.

And, I believe that zero point energy will save the day..., despite the fact that it is incredibly diffuse (lowest energy state).

I also believe in the tooth fairy and Santa Clause.

The United States of America transcends the laws of physics.
There are NO LIMITS to what humanity can achieve and no limits to modern science.
If you can dream it, we can achieve it!
I know, I've seen every original Star Trek TV episode.

Not to be taken seriously

Well, OTOH, just because some doomers might wish something to be untrue in keeping with their worldview doesn't necessarily make it false. This really seems like a good one to ignore and let the physicists and chemists kick around for a while, rather than get one's knickers in a wad right now. After all, as long as it remains limited - that is, if it exists at all - to low reaction rates in palladium (the beakers didn't even scald anybody, so, what, a few watts per cubic centimeter maybe, or a few dozen on the outside?) it can't conceivably have any effect on the energy picture. ["The global production of palladium from mines was 222 metric tons in 2006 according to USGS data"; so maybe that entire lot gives us enough for a single 100MW (thermal) reactor yielding around 30MW of electricity, or on the outside a dozen times as much, either way not even a drop in the bucket.]

There was spontaneous fission in Africa (I forget the location) some 2 billion years ago.


I'm more willing to believe a cold fusion device made by man exists than a zero point energy device made by man exists.

No, I'd go for the ZPM ( Zero Point Module ) every time. Stargate Atlantis is cool, unlike the dribble about cold fusion

That's great. Zero point energy. But what could possibly be more diffuse and thus more useless, then zero point energy?

any credible mechanism would still generate an awful lot of radiation regardless of how it worked

Not so.

Cold fusion is clearly not due to collisions between deuterons (owing to the manifest absence of K.E.) in a metallic hydride. If real, it must be a quantum mechanical effect of some sort. Since quantum events are generally delocalised, the interaction volume may be many orders of magnitude larger than a nucleus (in radical contrast to a classical collision between two fast particles). But such spatial extension effectively forbids the emission of high energy (MeV) short wavelength quanta. Think of the quite spots you get from multiple loudspeakers when they are emitting a pure phase tone to get the general idea.

In other words: the fact of cold fusion is in itself so unexpected that we shouldn't be surprised if it is odd in more than one respect.

FWIW I have been living under the illusion that know what's going in saturated PdD - and why people sometimes see inexplicable exothermy, since early 2006 - but TOD is not the place to expound on this further.

I also don't think that CF could ever by scaled up in time to mitigate PO. Its much too late in the day for that. There is no silver bullet here or anywhere else that I can see.

From what I understand fusion does not really generate much radioactivity. It is the coming together of nuclei and electrons of a simple element to create a less simple one. For instance, Hydrogen fuse to form Helium, plus an extra neutron, or some such.

The readioactivity from hydrogen fusion bombs comes from the double fission component needed to create the heat and pressure required for a fusion reaction. The real problem with hydrogen fusion is twofold. First, hydrogen is very corrosive, and eats away the containment vessel. Second, containment is problematic, and if the magnetic fields needed for plasma containment fail there could be an explosive event. Not, though, like a fission reactor, but still a difficulty.

For a very good discussion, here is a Wiki url:


Necessarily a bit simplified, but not bad.


I accept that UFOs are real, that green Martians exist and that the moon is made of cheese.

'Cold fusion' moves closer to mainstream acceptance

This is great, lets all accept this and start to build Cold_Fusion_Stations tomorrow.

No Peak Oil, AGW nor energy problems or end of capitalism to worry about.
All we need to do is to accept this concept one more time.. this time for real,as in we really mean it.

No Peak Oil, AGW nor energy problems or end of capitalism to worry about.

No Peakoil problems means that there will be cold fusion powered planes and ships and trucks. No end of capitalism, the economy can keep on growing and instead of all the things that burn oil and use oil...

I Corporate America the source of solutions? ... or ... Washington is paralyzed, seemingly incapable of coming to grips with global warming or the looming energy crisis.

Time magazine presents an extreme sense of humour, proposing that those two disfunctional institutions are the only choices. Anyone hoping for any common decency from either is dreaming in technicolour.

Re: Wind contributing to Arctic sea ice loss, study finds

After reading this story, one is left to wonder why the winds pushing sea-ice out the Fram Strait appear to be strengthening. Could this be another result of Global warming? Time to read the paper in the GRL...

E. Swanson

Arctic Ice last year lowest volume in 8000 years:

Read that story carefully:

...based on the latest data about the much greater area of thin first-year ice and losses of multi-year ice, especially that of five years or more, they believe that in volume terms last summer was the lowest since records began in the 1930s – and probably for at least 700 years and possibly up to 8,000 years...

Note the caveats in that sentence. We've got enough trouble now with people exaggerating the findings of science. Note that I'm not trying to minimize the problem. If the winds continue pushing more sea-ice thru the Fram Strait, that would result in the further reduction in salinity of the surface waters of the Nordic Seas, which would hasten the projected reduction or shutdown of the THC in those areas. Sea-ice has so little salt that the water from melted sea-ice is drinkable...

E. Swanson

While this is not quite the same area, my guess is that the change in winds is related to a change in ocean currents. A while back we read

Team Finds Subtropical Waters Flushing Through Greenland Fjord

Waters from warmer latitudes -- or subtropical waters -- are reaching Greenland's glaciers, driving melting and likely triggering an acceleration of ice loss, reports a team of researchers led by Fiamma Straneo, a physical oceanographer from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Of course, we don't know what is changing the ocean currents, either.

Well, the Helheim Glacier is located on the Eastern side of Greenland to the south of Iceland (See map here). Whatever is happening there is not the same as what may be happening in the Nordic Seas as the result of winds over the Arctic. Notice from your graphic that the Irminger Current is shows as a branch of the North Atlantic Current, which is made up of some water which branches from the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream is subtropical water as that current passes thru the Gulf of Mexico, flows around the southern tip of Florida, following the US coast north to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The THC is a different process, caused by sinking waters in the Nordic and Labrador Seas, with some perhaps originating in the Irminger Sea as well. You may recall a post from January in which it was pointed out that the Gulf Stream current had changed course and flowed directly into the Labrador Sea, beginning in December, as I recall. That change may have been associated with the northeasterly blocking flow which appeared over the Nordic Seas and kept Britain and Northern Europe cold this past winter. I would expect that we will learn more about this as the data is analyzed and papers are written and published...

E. Swanson

You get the idea. Things that change quickly, like currents, and wind patterns, that aren't included in climate models are the likely place to look for an explanation when temperatures change in one part of the globe, to a much greater than others. In some cases, like the Himalayan mountains, aerosols might also be an explanation.

Gail, with all due respect, winds and ocean currents ARE included in the best models. That's why they are called General Circulation Models...

E. Swanson

Good news..., the Dems passed health care reform!!!

The bad news...???

We still don't have an energy policy or any plan at all to deal with PO.

Full disclosure: I'm a Dem

The bad news...???

8 more months of harmonic boehner and mcconnell whining ?

leduck - I watched the votes on Health Care Reform on TV yesterday moment to moment. The specter of having not one Republican vote in the positive column left me scratching my head. What is the Republican agenda? I've got mine, pull up the ladder jake.


What is the Republican agenda? I've got mine, pull up the ladder jake.


JH Kunstler had more than a mouthful to say about this in his Cluster**** Post this morning:

At least this once a workable majority in the government has stood up to the forces of cruelty and injustice, and whatever else happens to us in the course of this long emergency, it will be a good thing if the party of fairness and justice identifies its adversaries for what they are: not "partners in governing," or any such academical-therapeutic bullshit, but enemies of every generous impulse in the national character.
I hope that Mr. Obama's party can carry this message clearly into the electoral battles ahead, painting the Republican opposition for what it is: a gang of hypocritical, pietistic sadists, seeking pleasure in the suffering of others while pretending to be Christians, devoid of sympathy, empathy, or any inclination to simple human kindness, constant breakers of the Golden Rule, enemies of the common good.

The Republican party is bankrupt. We still have a two party system but one is clearly in the column of "corn-pone". I think as the Long Descent materializes the Republicans may seize power in the vacuum of leadership. Fear is still the greatest motivator.


I find no difference between Dems and Repubs. They both work for corporate lobbyists, not you and me.

Thank you for writing my comment in advance mymomishot! People: we need to focus on their actions, not their words, then and only then will you see we have a one-party system.

I disagree.

I find the Democrats to be the "corn pone" party even now. They appeal to illiteracy and innumeracy to make promises that cannot possibly be kept at the proposed costs. When these fail, they will not blame themselves for making false promises. Instead they will scapegoat their opposition for "sabotaging" their efforts.

I find this remarkable, especially here on TOD. Daily there is discussion about the impacts of lowered energy availability and what that means to society, including the possibility of collapse. Yet at the same time, many of the same people propose ever more government intervention, at massive costs, acting as though money has no connection to reality. Yet it does. Money acts as an abstract proxy for energy, material, and labor inputs into the system. If there is less energy available, the costs of everything that utilizes energy must rise. This includes healthcare. Yet despite this logical connection, people at TOD continue to act as though no such connection exists. The comments that I read here at TOD are proof of the "corn pone" nature of the Democrat party's promises. Note that I don't hold the Republicans in high regard either but when I find such breast beating on the part of Democrats, when the Democrats have just engaged in every manner of obfuscation and Chicago style "machine" politics, I can only laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Also, I must ask why this bill is 2000+ pages? Canada's entire health care bill was 19 pages long. Japan and Germany each have described their health care systems in a few dozen pages each. Why is there obtuse language about "state owned" banking institutions in this "healthcare" bill, especially when there is only one state owned bank in the entire USA (Bank of North Dakota)? Why the obfuscation? Why the page and a half of conditions about states suffering emergencies on specific dates, etc., which boils down to only applying to Louisiana? Why not simply state Louisiana? Was the entire bill so unpalatable that it took thousands of pages of obfuscated pork promises just to get the Democrats themselves all on board?

P.S. The bill will be challenged in court as it violates the constitution. So far 37 states are preparing legal challenges. That includes "blue" states as well as "red" states. The only way to avoid a constitutional violation would have been to include a public option. Government can not force private parties to enter into contracts with other private parties. Even in the case of auto insurance you have the option to not drive. This legislation, however, provides criminal penalties in the form of fines for anyone who violates its requirements, thus making it unconstitutional on its face.

Bravo, David. I'd add the point that there is nothing stopping states from handling healthcare on their own, or for the gov't to simply cease its tax subsidy of the current system to promote change.

The simple truth is that the nat'l gov't believes it can continue to provide desirable services with political benefit to itself while pushing costs to other parties -- individuals, the future, states, etc.

The better question to initially ask is "why don't people have insurance"? Either they can't afford it or don't want it or want it and can afford it but can't get it. Addressing those situations makes some sense.

As a wage-earner, am I required to only insure myself, or all my possible dependents? How about my 23-year-old daughter? My college kids? My live-in mother-in-law?

Paleocon/ramsey - Great points...Thanks for bringing some clear eyed realism to this discussion. This brings us back to Garrett Hardin's analysis of mankind from the perspective of Lifeboat Ethics:

Hardin's position has two basic precepts: it holds survival to be the ultimate value and it views mankind primarily in biological terms. These problems lead correctly to a rejection of traditional moral values, such as community and Christian forbearance to a realistic view of society which limits morality to the members of one's tribe.

Hardin emphasizes survival as a value and a biological view of man to support the assumption that present generations have an obligation to all the future generations of mankind.

This leads us to the very real prospect of creating bigger walls, both spiritual and physical, keeping out those less able to survive. Haiti should be tossed on the ash-heap and those poor ignorant fools in New Orleans should have been left to rot.

Thank God for gated communities.


Now we're getting somewhere.

Hey Cedar didn't I see you at the meeting of the Mein Kamph Society the other night. Was that a 600 thread count sheet you were wearing? Nice! ;-)


"Now we're getting somewhere"

Well, the humor has gone somewhere really dark.

We can't all be rich. We can all be poor. The egalitarian norm would be bare subsistence for the world -- most here who support a welfare state are willing to expand the tribe to include the less fortunate American, but not the less fortunate Haitian or African. Note that nothing stops the well-intentioned from giving all they have to better the lives of the less fortunate (and some few do), yet it is perpetually seductively attractive to figure out a way to take from someone else rather than giving of oneself.

Despite your insinuation, I'm not advocating the previous system nor decrying another one. I'm simply saying we should define and fund our higher public priorities, and clearly and intentionally de-fund the non-priorities, with something close to a balanced budget. The future we're borrowing from cannot be precisely known, but it is clear that the more we borrow from it the more likely it will be worse than the present, if for no other reason than the wealth-centralization effect of debt.

The desire for egalitarianism in the current generation could easily expand wealth inequality for the next. If there is one thing that welfare experience should have taught us is that gov't assistance codifies inequality and cements class structures more than it erases inequality and blurs classes.

We can't all be rich, but we can all be poor.

Paleocon -I grew up as a military dependent during the 50's and 60's. My dad served in Vietnam, I lived on bases all over the world. I always went to military hospitals and most of the time I was treated by medics who were just enlisted guys trained to perform certain procedures. Only during grave emergencies or operations did I ever see an M.D. That was socialized medicine. It was cheap and efficient. I also went to DOD schools and they were the best schools that I ever attended. That was socialized education. My parents were never well off and if the truth be known they were pretty poor financially. The base housing, free medicine and good schools made up for it though. But it looks like socialism to me. Should we reform the military?

But's lets be real. What are you personally afraid of losing?


""Should we reform the military?""

Now Joe, what are we going to do with you? You know damn well we need massive, and I mean massive reform of the military in this criminal fedgov world we live in. The brainwashing that goes on for Honor, Duty, Country, has grown so out of hand as to be almost a joke. The Military is Socialism....what else could it be? Democratically elected Generals? Bomb by vote? Make me laugh! Your modern military is very good a doing one thing....that's killing people.

Taking down the military by more than 50% would be a great start to fixing a few ills in this country....

If the indigent could go see a junior-grade med-tech for strep throat and get free penicillin instead of spending all night in the ER only to end up with a dose or two of "samples" and a prescription they can't fill, that would be great. Which page is that in the current bill?

My point is that we can't keep assuming we can give everything to everyone at the national level -- we can't have a huge military, massive wars, major unemployment insurance, hefty welfare, new medical coverage, nice roads, great schools, big homes, growing gov't at all levels, and expanding debt all fueled on a decreasing industrial/manufacturing base and high finance.

I'm not afraid of losing anything except freedom itself.

If the indigent could go see a junior-grade med-tech for strep throat and get free penicillin instead of spending all night in the ER only to end up with a dose or two of "samples" and a prescription they can't fill, that would be great.

Paleocon you misunderstand me. I'm not talking about "the indigent" going to see a jr. grade tech. I'm suggesting that basic health care in the U.S. will look more like that than the fee-for service, I got mine pull up the ladder jake, private health care system that we currently have.

That's the "freedom" that you fear is coming to an end. The very idea that you might have to sit on a bench next to one of those malodorous "indigents" waiting to get treatment. Dear God what an abomination!


My point is that we can't keep assuming we can give everything to everyone at the national level -- we can't have a huge military, massive wars, major unemployment insurance, hefty welfare, new medical coverage, nice roads, great schools, big homes, growing gov't at all levels, and expanding debt all fueled on a decreasing industrial/manufacturing base and high finance.

Yeah we can. It's what both parties do best..., borrow from the Chinese.
AKA, borrow and spend.


I was raised on bases until I was 13, and side with you that the DODDS were the best schools I ever went too, but most of them have changed since then, unless you are overseas. (DODDS Dept of Defense Depend. Sch.) But I saw more M.D.s than you did as there were more of them in by the time I showed up.

All I see is the folks who are willing to die for the USA getting short shafted these days.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.


There's always going to be a head and tail, there will never be a classless society, but...,

too much distance between the head and tail sometimes leads to problems.

Off with their heads!!!

too much distance between the head and tail sometimes leads to problems.

Off with their heads!!!

Since most of our current leadership are "Tori" I think a lot of them are going to lose their tail feathers when they are finally beheaded.

It seems to me that there is no distance whatsoever between their many of their heads and their tails...

Republicans conveniently forget their history. They forget about things like, the French Revolution, The Russian Revolution, The Mexican Revolution…, etc.

They think it can never happen hear. But I think PO is a game changer, and I don’t know how things will unfold. We’ll either take the high road or the low road.

Right now the Republican party scares me.
Not sarcarstic

I am not looking to engage in a battle of personal smears, Mr. Michaels.

But let's get back to the discussion - why didn't the US Congress look at working systems elsewhere in the world? For example, my limited understanding of the German system is that it is almost all private, not public, but that there are two key differences with the US. First, health care insurers are non-profits instead of for-profit companies. Second, major medical facilities like hospitals are also non-profits. The doctors who work with the hospitals have their own for-profit practices, but the hospitals themselves appear to be run on a non-profit basis.

The net effect of this is that it removes the profit factor from two particular points in the equation. The German government runs none of this and there are over 400 of these non-profit insurance organizations in Germany. Since neither they nor the hospital seeks a profit, costs are contained to actual ongoing costs. That seems like a very workable solution to me, and yes, as a conservative I recognize the system needs fixed. What I object to is this monstrosity of a useless bill that accomplishes nothing of substance at a cost of $940 billion over the next 10 years. (If someone who has greater understanding of the German system can give us a better breakdown, I'd greatly appreciate it.) Germany spends about 10% of GDP on healthcare and almost everyone is covered versus 17% of GDP for the US with nearly 45 million not covered (about 15% of total population).

I also was interested in a public option proposal based on the VA. There's an existing infrastructure there that might serve as the basis for a full public option, along with numerous lessons on what works and what does not. Instead this bill addresses none of that and simply demands certain conditions be met without regards to whether the actual cost is even covered or not. Additionally, this legislation carries hundreds of billions in unnecessary pork, NOT directed at Republicans but right back at your own Democrats, who had to be bought in order to vote for this pig-in-a-poke.

So please do tell me how this is going to be funded and what the impacts will be from the mechanisms chosen. I await your clear and rational explanation to the questions at hand, should you be interested in doing something other than mudslinging.

David - At 17% of GDP we will never spend more than that amount. Common sense would tell you that. That being said the current "fee for service" private health care system is coming to a slow halt. We will not spend more on healthcare in the future than we spend now. In my guess it will be substantially less. There will be less for some who had it all and some for those who had none. Older people will receive less of the slice of health care services because it will be a smaller pie.

But that's going to have to be something we'll look at ten years from now. BTW I have real good insurance. In the long run I know I'll probably get less service than I do know. I might even pay higher taxes. I probably won't be happy about that. But we live in a big country and we have to take care of our people.


But we live in a big world and screwing them is fine? I'm more or less consigned to this -- it seems to be the human norm, but I'm struggling to determine where the arbitrary bounds of tribal generosity should be drawn.

"But we live in a big world and screwing them is fine?" No it's not. But charity begins at home. We're all Americans here in spite of party affiliations, rich or poor.

I think the readers and posters here on the Oil Drum have a deep realization that the future will not be like the past. What will life be like in an energy starved world? None of us can know but we all fear that it will be a harrowing place. Without a strong sense of community we will likely succumb to savagery. If we have any hope to avoid that horror we need to expand the "bounds of generosity" beyond anything we ever imagined in the past.


I must ask why this bill is 2000+ pages? Canada's entire health care bill was 19 pages long.
David Ramsey

Canadians are by and large taciturn by nature and they use a smaller font.


In other words, its wordy obfuscation without any value to the public at all?

Note that healthcare stocks are way up today. It is obvious which side of the bread is buttered here.

In other words, you have no rational explanation for the size of the bill while I do have a rational explanation (pork, aimed at buying the votes of the very Democrats who Obama had counted on in the first place). So what we have is 2000+ pages of public trough feeding frenzy by the Democrat party. And I am supposed to believe that this is the party that will rationally address peak oil and climate change? That's not a persuasive picture, Mr. Michaels.

They're going to rationally address Peak Oil and climate change by growing the economy! Next order of business: Amnesty for 20 million illegal aliens and millions more through chain migration!

You guys left out that little unaddressed unemployment problem.

I doubt either party will deal with Peak Oil rationally

Drill baby Drill

Drill here, drill now

Ok a bit of disinformation here. Most reputable sites don't list anywhere near 37 states as considering legal challenges. Second, the states listed in articles at the top of google are all pretty much red states, so I'm not sure you have credible evidence there either.

As for your comment on the constitutionality of the bill, you fail to mention that there is legal standing to regulate behavior to protect public safety or welfare. Now I agree there is a question of legality here, but you make it sound cut and dry and its very very much the opposite. If it was not even unconstitutional, then the red states would still sue to hurt dems and create more negative publicity leading up to fall elections. The point is that this is about politics as usual.

One thing I learned from the best salesmen is to make the conversion about something else than the actual problem at hand. Your focus is all about the length of the bill, when the real question is if this is an imperfect step in the right direction vs having a poor opportunity cost (as to say putting the money to better use improving education or energy independence). I think theres a valid side argument about the deals Obama gave to drug companies, such as keeping biotech drugs out of the hands of generics which would keep prices higher, but nonetheless - its not about the number of pages at size 14 font. By focusing on something silly, you show you cannot look past political showmanship and reach any deep insight. That leaves you vulnerable to be manipulated by the circus (FOX News) for political purpose.

I think they have a legitimate point regarding the size of this bill.
Pork or no pork...,
Why does the bill need to be so long???

In defense of something I have not read, but I did read the previous bill and found myself aching for a beer to dull my pain of reading it.

An example of the language they have to use.

(my words),

>> In section 4[C]{2b}(40m) change the words "This is a bunch of hooey they will never understand."
To section 3[B]{2b}(41m) to mean "We can't say anything without us going through 600 pages of current law, bit by tiny itty bit and fixing language that was clear into language that is not clear."

The above changes have been brought to you by the counsel on legalese in the market place, a not for profit legal eagle fund that gets its funding from donations that were supposed to go to Lawyers for a better homeless shelter near you, and other aimlessly wordy junk you might find at local swap meets in your area.<<

(back to my post)

I found pages and pages, in the last bill I read, of them just changing one or two words in sections of the SocSec, Medicaid, Medicare and Dept of Health laws and/or legalese documents. They would take up several whole sections/pages explaining which bit of wording they were going to change to which bit of new wording. No context of what the first bit of wording meant, and not context of what changing that bit of wording would do in the end. Only listing what the language was first and what it would now look like and where all this takes place.

In the end you will have to have someone look at all the "little bits that once were" and all the new "little bits that are now" to fully understand what has taken place.

It is like an editor who only tells you what page and paragraph and sentence and word that you need to fix to another word, without also giving you the complete text which you are fixing. But book/story editors give you the whole page, and redline the word/s and tell you to change them. A whole lot better for the author to understand.

Bills and legal documents are written in a manner that makes the whole form hefty and wordy, but it also makes them totally clear in another manner. In my last 3 devorces I marveled at hoe many words had to be used in the papers, when If It Were Me, I'd have said,<< Do you want a devorce? Yes or No, If yes then here goes BOOM!, If no, see us again later.>>

About 20 words, not 4 pages.

But it won't be 2000+ pages by the time it gets to the president's desk, it'll be more, and then when we get to see it, it'll be more still, and then all those add-on's they said they needed to paste on it to make it all work as planned. Months of people telling you they mean one thing and years of rangling about it all. What fun Gov't and legalese is these days.

I know it does not answer the question you posed as well as it could, but I don't write a lot of technical papers and am not hip to all the jargon that most people are used to seeing.

BioWebScape designs (drawings with pretty lumpy stick figures for plants) for a better fed future.

Ten states are banding together to sue collectively. These states are Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Washington is a blue state. Pennsylvania was certainly a blue state this last election.

In addition, Idaho and Virginia have already passed laws requiring the state to sue. Virginia was a showcase "blue" state until Democrats polarized the Virginia voters. Now they've elected a Republican governor and other Democrats are in trouble as well. Arizona also has legislation now pending.

In addition to the pending lawsuits, bills and resolutions have been introduced in at least 36 state legislatures seeking to limit or oppose various aspects of the reform plan through laws or state constitutional amendments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

So, your claim that the number is just 10 is proven false simply by actually reading the articles that Google presents when you search on "health care bill states sue" as your keywords. And this is just one day after passage. My number of 37 is closer to that National Conference of State Legislatures number than your 10. You claim that I am spreading disinformation.

I used the following articles as sources:

1. States launch lawsuits against healthcare plan - Yahoo! News
2. States sue to block healthcare bill, say it usurps their sovereignty
3. Health Care Lawsuit: States To Sue Over Health Care Bill | NowPublic News Coverage

The last article mentioned says this:

In total about 36 state legislatures will likely take some sort of action against the health care bill and about 26 are considering holding vote to amending their state constitutions.

I believe that you owe me an apology for the smear of claiming that I am spreading disinformation.

Its just very frustrating when the focus is in periphery subjects like the number of pages and not the actual bill itself. While you might be able to hold those two subjects separate, others just get mad and give up thinking critically about the whole thing. At that point, its easy to be manipulated and therefore not be willing to support any change to the status quo, even if its such a large burden on our society (deficits, cost to citizens, no healthcare if certain preexisting conditions, etc.) and yet does such a poor job (health compared to other top tier countries). With that said, its not fair to lump you with such crowd, so I'm sorry for the hostility.

As for the specific points about the number of states, when I google I still get mainstream articles discussing 10-11 states banding together. I have been able to dig past the first layer to finally get a quote on the additional states:

"In addition to the pending lawsuits, bills and resolutions have been introduced in at least 36 state legislatures seeking to limit or oppose various aspects of the reform plan through laws or state constitutional amendments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures."


But that just means some republican state senator introduced a bill. That is nowhere near the ramifications one would normally assume when told "37 states are preparing legal challenges" as you described. A partisan bill, probably introduced to get donations or curry favor with the angered tea party, is not the legal arm of a state in full legal mobilization ready to sue. Now technically, you said the broader 37 state claim included blue states, but the most serious 11 were pretty much all red - which I think really skews the truth (although isn't "wrong") that this is someone a cut and dry moral obligation instead of a political maneuver.

More evidence that the state action is about politics and not a true constitutional issue:


You're complaining about a 2000 page bill???
If this bill were written in California, it'd have been 10,000 pages!!!

Both sides have indeed become entrenched, but I think you have it backwards, David. Republican perspective on social legislation seems to have reached a more extreme degree of self delusion and hypocrisy. This arguably makes the party a bigger lap dog to corporate interests. I can't reconcile the current party platform with Christian instincts and values it claims to champion, for example. I find this remarkable.

I find this remarkable, especially here on TOD. Daily there is discussion about the impacts of lowered energy availability and what that means to society, including the possibility of collapse. Yet at the same time, many of the same people propose ever more government intervention, at massive costs, acting as though money has no connection to reality. Yet it does.
...Also, I must ask why this bill is 2000+ pages?

There has been no paradigm shift, David.The legislative process is hobbled. Why should health care reform be held to a different standard than the bail out for wall street, for example (the economic recovery act was over 600 pages). That is what major legislation (especially regulation) looks like in the US today. Pork? You bet, (but I think you fail to give any consideration to the effort made to curtail it by the administration). Is all this indicative of a larger issue? You bet. Does it have anything to do with healthcare reform analysis? None at all. Does it have something to do with the reach of corporations into public policy. I have good reason to believe it does. And I fault both parties for it, but I acknowledge that the instincts of those on the left tend toward a more humanitarian use of our national wealth (such as it is). Any Christian republican who does not support some redistribution of health services by the government better be out there actively blocking the concentration of wealth to a minority of the population or at least volunteering time at a hospice.

To imply that no social legislation should move foreword in the US because of the war spending, the national debt, peak oil or climate change, while the right and corporate interests press on with business as usual is a crumby position to take.

The bill should have included a public option if only for the constitutional challenges that will come, but obstruction works and social progress can be messy.

I predict, in 5 or 10 years, both parties will be equally despised.


I wouldn't be all that surprised to see one or both parties replaced with new ones.

We Dems aren't all bad with numbers...,
I know 2 + 2 = 5

The mandatory provisions take place in 4 years. By that time hopefully the states will have rid us of that portion. Of course, like all bills, it is severable, and if that is unconstitutional, only that part will be stricken.

I was prepared to file a lawsuit for a private party when the law took effect, and will be ready if the states have not done the job. It is clearly in violation.

What we need is more than a public option. What we need is single payer, like every other industrialized nation. Our health care system is good, just unavailable. This bill does nothing to lower the cost, to add to the number of physicians, or to do anything whatever about the problem. It addresses only symptoms.

And, it is the best health care law we have ever had. How sad!

Two things stand most likely to bring down the house... health care and debt (public and private). Peak oil may be a huge part of the second cause... it does not however stand alone.

Just my opinion.


Agreed. Even though I count myself as a conservative, it's plain that the only way universal healthcare can be enacted constitutionally at the federal level is via a single payer system.

However, I remain intrigued by my limited understanding of the German system. No new bureaucracy, just require the health insurers and major facilities to be non-profits. In fact, in the United States for many decades of the 20th century, hospitals were non-profits, typically run by the cities in which they existed. This worked before but was abandoned in the misguided thought that everything must be a profit center. I don't buy that argument and believe there are certain institutions in society that may be better served as non-profits with a core focus on some other goal.

The only problem I see is that he contradicted himself rather badly in the very same piece:

I surely don't know if the nation can afford to pay for what this law requires, but then can we really afford to pay for anything? -- including the salaries, retirement benefits, and health insurance of congressmen, not to mention two wars, bailout life support for banks, rising unemployment benefits, shovel-ready stimulus projects, et cetera, blah blah? Probably not.

Adding this to the other riff, we can safely paraphrase the net takeaway as "The R's are effing savages. The D's on the other hand are saintly humanitarians filled with sympathy, empathy, and the very milk of human kindness - but those virtues are empty twaddle because most of their promises can never be paid for anyhow." What in the name of [never mind]???

Apparently the Lefty ideal is to lull people into a false sense of security by promising them the moon on a silver platter, paid on the never-never, rather than tell them the truth about where they stand and avoiding promises that can't be kept. It's all so quintessentially Clintonian: the carefully cultivated tear-jerking appearance of "concern" trumps reality every time.

[Oh, and for example, one place so many people stand is that they go on eating like pigs while they say about eating better, "why should I live like that [i.e. self-restraint, some servings of veggies, etc., rather than pizza and dessert all the time] when the doctor can just give me a little pill that fixes it?" (Yeah I know, I'll get flamed for making that up, but it's as near to a transcript as I can manage. If you don't believe it check out the Jamie Oliver thing.) Maybe if they were told the truth that the fixability is wildly exaggerated even now, and it might diminish as the China ATM is tapped out, they'd have more incentive to alter their behavior. Or maybe not, but at least they'd have the opportunity to do so, instead of being "kindly" induced to fool themselves.]

...the Lefty ideal is to lull people into a false sense of security by promising them the moon on a silver platter, paid on the never-never, rather than tell them the truth about where they stand and avoiding promises that can't be kept.

PaulS, let me suggest that we're not going to spend more on health care as a nation. The truth is what it means is a restructuring of health care as a matter of course and this means that some who have it all will have less, some who have none will have a little. The conservative term for that is redistributation. Why don't you just come out and admit it that that's what really gets your goat.


From just below: "Good intentions, however saintly, will not alone create value from a 2000 page bill crafted by special-interests and fleshed-out by back-room deals." That says it all.

PaulS - "that says it all" from your narrow perspective, but that seems to be enough for a lot of folks like yourself. For the rest of humanity there might be a little more to this tale.



Joe, why do you make every response personal? It detracts from the value of your position.

Nothing in the health bill will address starvation in Africa or even Haiti, so your "rest of humanity" is obviously hyperbole. "A lot of folks", by last count, was about 50% of the populace -- for whatever reason, more are against the health bill than for it (industry lobbyists excluded).

If the bill is good, it should be able to be simply described and adequately supported, but even the CBO said there was so much vague wording and future details to be worked out that there could be no accurate estimate of cost.

As for perspective, what of the currently unemployed -- what fraction sees lack of healthcare as more significant than lack of a job? What fraction sees climate change as more important than employment? What fraction sees protecting banking interests as more pressing than individual interests? Yet we've had significant Presidential and Congressional effort on several points with next to nothing for to support the middle-class tax-payer.

Again, it comes down to a matter of priorities, and the legislation priorities can be seen by where the money flows.

Mr. Michaels seems intent on making nothing but personal attacks as his responses. Since he seems to imply greater knowledge of the bill and its contents than any member of Congress whom I have contacted, I have asked numerous questions of Mr. Michaels seeking answers. But so far all that has been offered up are insults.

TOD editors would be well advised to consider the impact of negative persons like Mr. Michaels on the level of discussion here. Mr. Michaels is generating a great deal of heat right now, and very little light. I sincerely hope that he changes his tune soon.

I have asked numerous questions of Mr. Michaels seeking answers.

David - I have been reading and then posting here for over 4 years. You don't appear to be looking for any answers. You are making points and drawing lines in the sand. This leads me to suspect that you are angry that the dems passed the Health Care Legislation and that's tough. Learn to lose. Or you might be a troll?

I hope the latter isn't true but if is I can tell you that the posters here will ferret you out.


But Joe,
I hope that the point is still to have a good conversation about it. There are ways to keep it from getting inflamed. When it's turns into that kind of thread, it's all heat, no light, right?

We're all pretty wired, and likely to take anything that seems like bait..

Just add water. Stay on target..

And another personal attack. Your record continues unblemished, Mr. Michaels. Is that the best that you can do? Attack an opposing position rather than openly debating it with facts?

I am still waiting for your answers to my questions but at this point it appears that it's a good thing I'm not holding my breath.I have not attacked you, taunted you, nor responded in kind, yet you continue with the personal attacks.

Professor Goose and other editors at TOD would be wise to consider what posters like you do to the tone of the general community of TOD, as well as what impact posters like you have on former contributors to TOD, like Stuart Staniford or Dave Cohen. Reasoned debate, backed by facts should be a welcome exercise in validating your views. Lashing out at people suggests strongly that you lack arguments that support your position, or that you simply enjoy being abusive towards others. I do not know which it is, but clearly you are making the case that perhaps you should be ignored. I would have preferred to discuss this with you but you are the one who is not responding. I am quite willing to listen to fact based positions on either side of the discussion. Thus far, in multiple posts, you have failed to deliver facts at all. I have stated in the past that while I have only recently begun posting actively here, I have read TOD since 2005 when Stuart and others posted here.

However, when you ignore advice from level headed long time posters like Jokuhl, the only conclusion I can reach is that you either enjoy being abusive towards other people or that you lack data for your position. In either case, it is probably not worth further discussion between us, since you are the one who refuses to engage in debate.

Have a good day, sir.

Good intentions, however saintly, will not alone create value from a 2000 page bill crafted by special-interests and fleshed-out by back-room deals.

Principled fiscal or procedural criticisms of the currently , however accurate, will not address the substance of entrenched issues intrinsic in the existing system.

Neither brings us any closer to clearly stating and arguing through the real priorities of our nation.

An outsider's perspective: Don't see this 2000-page bill as the final word. Healthcare reform in the USA was widely believed to be impossible, like breaking the three-hour marathon was, once upon a time.

After a bit of breathing space, when it's obvious that this bill just enriches insurance companies (and depresses profits elsewhere), pressure will come on for a more sensible healthcare system. And now the precedent for change has been set.

Except in extremity, entrenched issues can only be attacked slowly and piecemeal, like warm seawater eroding a coastal glacier, until their foundations are exposed. Then change can seem quite sudden.

As for real priorities, I'd say that high and rising income inequality and wealth inequality are very serious issues for a society that values social mobility (the idea that any family can "succeed") the way the USA does, or did. Loss of cultural self-belief is blood in the water to the other predator cultures out there.



Clinton may be many things..., but.....

He balanced the budget....

Can anyone say the same for anyone else since Reagan???

Budgets are proposed and passed in the Congress. If the House passes such and the president signs it, who gets the credit? I think people fail to realize that it took both parties to balance that budget back in the 1990s, yet Democrats want the credit to go to Clinton and Republicans want the credit to go to Congress (which was Republican at that time).

Will Republicans under Bush 43 admit the Republican congress spent money like a material girl addicted to plastic?

Charge it!!!

Sure, and some of disliked it then, too. But Obama and a fully Dem congress have raised it to an art form.

The best combination seems to be Dem Pres and Rep Congress -- then nothing gets done and the economy thrives.

"The best combination seems to be Dem Pres and Rep Congress -- then nothing gets done and the economy thrives."

"... the economy thrives."


Pretending what started with Bush wouldn't have continued with McCain is not only dishonest, it's puerile.


Who said it wouldn't? Might not have been as bad, or it might have been worse. Certainly would have been spent differently.

When it comes to pork and debt, both parties agree on magnitude, just not on direction, seems to me.

Hi Joe, I'm mostly in argeement with your comments, except for the corn pone.

Please -you are insulting a perfectly good ethnic food by associating it with ther current republican party.My guess is that hardly any elected republicans ever it, but I do, frequently,as it is fast ,tasty, cheap, easy , and sarisfactorily nutritious if eaten as part of a properly varied diet.;)

In short, corn pone is a staple part of the diet of lots of people such as yours truly who can afford more expensive breads but grew up eating it, and tens of millions of poor people who eat it as a matter of necessity. :(

As a conservative I am opposed to this bill as a matter of principle in it's current form-I expect that it will cost a great deal more to implement it than it would to simply have given every body vouchers good for doctor's visits and prescription drugs, etc.

However as a long time observer of the political process,I understand perfectly well that the various special interest groups had to be bought off and/ or otherwise neutralized in the fight to pass it.

In the end , there is no doubt that we will wind up with a European style healthcare industry and something fairly close to a single payer system with perhaps a few American quirks thrown in.

Speaking as a conservative, I see this as less than ideal, but much better than the incredible mess we have now, which is the result of sixty years of special interest legislation and govt policy.If we actually had a free enterprise system ,we might actually have a functional health care system , one that at the bottom end would be running on welfare money, and one that kept coasts within reason, service fast, and quality high.But what we actually have is a couple of clerks for every doctor, and tens of thousands of people making a living doing nonproductive make work, trying to extract dollars from the system.

It is perfectly clear to me, at least, that the right wing of our political system has been captured by the special interest-and that the average person who considers himself a republican , and therefore a conservative, doesn't realize how badly he is being had by the current medical , legal, and insurance establishment.

The system is incapable of reforming itself, as it has turned into a parasic organism living off the citizenry, rather than pulling it's own wieght.

This legislation is not the equivalent of trustbusting as practiced by TR , but it will serve the same necessary purpose-eventually.

And as a conservative, I believe the first and most important imperative is always to realistically do what is best for the country overall-given the fact that the economic environment has changed so much for the worse, and that in my opinion things will continue to get worse for a long time, our very survival may depend on such legislation-we have enough problems without ten or twenty million people unable to afford a doctor's visit or a place to live hitting the streets with molotov cocktails.

As a person who grew up in the Baptist church,even though I haven't been a believer since I was a kid, I hold that we are ethically bound to look after our less fortunate fellow citizens.In the case of medical care, I can see no practical way to do so except thru govt intervention,under current circumstances.

I just hope that enough of the free medical industry survives that any one who wants to just go to a doctor and pay him dierectly for reasons of his own will always be able to do so.

This legislation is not the equivalent of trustbusting as practiced by TR , but it will serve the same necessary purpose-eventually.


I agree. A lot of people have the impression that the bill will increase the health care costs in this country. False. At 16% of GDP the costs of health care will be shrinking in the coming years whether we like it or not. What it will do will be to put the current model out of business. A lot more people will have access but it will be a substantially different system. The fee for service industry in health care will end. That makes a lot of the better-off folks worry.

For people with good insurance who have no problem sleeping while there are thousands dyeing daily for lack of health care you may be in need of a good old fashioned spanking.

Best wishes for people being able to see through the fog of their own dogma!


Actually, there will always be fee-for-service. Those Medicaid docs barely squeaking by will take cash patients on the side if they possibly can, or trade for other services. The wealthy won't suffer, but the middle class will.

Have you noticed how many local docs no longer take Medicaid (or the state-branded expanded services)? That's because the current Medicaid rates don't support their expenses. The only way to have reduction is cost is going to be through reductions in care. I'm fine with that -- it comes back to priority.

Going forward I think the concept of triage is going to be revisited from many different angles. The surest way to reduce overall cost is to increase the size of the set of poor suckers who are going to die anyway.

"Those Medicaid docs"...Paleocon what is it with your rejection of public health care? We have public schools. We have publicly funded roads. We have public firemen and policemen. Aviation service is publicly financed even though it primarily benefits the wealthy. Most public land uses benefit only a small wealthy minority. Defense contracts benefit a small wealthy minority. The list goes on and on.

If you are well off I would bet you used a lot of those services to get ahead. No? Or maybe you can tell us how you pulled yourself up by the bootstraps and no socialist is going to give your hard earned "freedoms" away to a bunch of lowly indigents.


I don't reject it, just the assumption that "public" means "national gov't" and it's one-size-fits-all, and that it is not prioritizes versus other expenditures.

Public schools are fine at the local level -- and they are inefficient, laden with unfunded fed mandates, and largely fail at their intended duty. Comm colleges are fine...state too, though they are overly bloated and expensive, and many fail at providing a positive ROI to their students. Public roads are fine, except they subsidize trucking that does most of the damage yet profits a narrow corporate niche, and they promote unsupportable sprawl.

Public firemen and police are fine, when they are locally funded, except for their union-gained pensions and salary structures which pay too many middle-level managers to retire too early on a disproportionate salary. Aviation is a mismanaged and horribly inefficient travel mode to all but the wealthiest -- common carrier travel is excruciating IMHO.

Your points about public land use, defense contracts, and so forth support my case for a smaller gov't, not yours for a larger one.

I strive to maximize my opportunities -- and providing equal opportunities should be the goal. What's your definition of well off? I'd say luck has played about the same role as skill in my net accomplishments to date.

Equalizing individual outcomes (redistribution) should not be the primary goal, though there is value in curbing the range from highest to lowest. In any case, that has little to do with healthcare, as the existing and new plans offer little choice or effective free-market competition to the recipient or the payer. The only ones to make out big-time are the insurance companies, the drug companies, and whoever is speculating with the proceeds. And of course the new set of bureaucrats needed to provide the requisite graft and bloat to the operation will do just fine too.

When the bureaucratic jobs are positions that average people aspire to, we're in a world of hurt. And we're there.

Actually, as I understand, there are clinics that have salaried personnel and which provide superior medical services. I believe the Mayo Clinic is one of these. There is a lot to be said for a system that pays salaries rather than fee-for-service. The doc can spend as much quality time with each patient as necessary. Not to mention having a buffer of the Clinic's management between the doc and any malpractice issues.

ET Thumbs up!

This issue of health care overhaul is creating a lot of tension but so did the civil rights legislation in the sixties. What health care reform means on a fundamental level is : People in America, regardless of their ability to pay, are entitled to decent health care and shouldn't be forced to go bankrupt or die because they can't afford it.

Is this the bill that will deliver all of that? Of course not. But right now it's the best we can hope for.


Once the government lacks the actual ability to pay or enforce those things, they are as valid as the paper they are written on. Civil Rights act doesn't mean a thing if the EEOC isn't there to sue me.

Your great grandparents relied on folk remedies when they were elderly and ailing.

Your grandparents relied on GPs who pulled a stethoscope out of a bag and gave them a bottle of cheap medications when they were elderly and ailing.

Your parents went to specialists who ran tests on fancy gadgets and prescribed them expensive medications when they were elderly and ailing.

You will rely on a GP who will listen to your chest with a stethoscope and give you free samples or a prescription for cheap generics when you are elderly and ailing.

Your children will rely on folk remedies when they are elderly and ailing.

(A variation on the Middle-Eastern "My Grandfather rode on a camel" saying.)

One would hope that instead the future has a more 'food as medicine' and watching what Chinese Medicine has to say than "folk medicine".

Written by joemichaels:
For people with good insurance who have no problem sleeping while there are thousands dyeing daily for lack of health care you may be in need of a good old fashioned spanking.

Decreasing mortality and thereby increasing population will make energy descent more severe. Expending an increasing amount of society's resources desperately trying to preserve unproductive members increases the chance of population collapse. Humanitarians and pro-lifers are equally proficient at ignoring the expanding 6.7 billion ton elephant crushing everyone in the room.

Blue - I am well aware of the population bomb but I have seen a lot of people I know that were quite productive die for lack of treatment or early diagnosis. The current system of health care in America is schizophrenic. How can we figure out what we're going to do about the fix we're in when you're terrified of getting sick?

Coming to grips with one's mortality is a psychological issue, not one that is fixed by throwing money at it.

This is not an issue of mortality, it is one of fairness. If thee were no health care, that would be one thing, but there is, and it is unevenly distributed. It is an issue of fair access.

The worse news is that we continue the charade of pretending we can do more and afford more, when we must instead prioritize and do less with less.

By adding gov't healthcare to our entitlements list we have not really solved a problem, but increased one. We have increased the scope and power of our gov't without first (or at all) addressing its current excesses, and those of its corporate brethren.

What does the bill say? Where can I find a copy of the bill right now as it is written? Did my congress critter even read the whole bill or did they only get a post it note from a some people working in their office, or down the hall?

Those are some answers I'd like to see made public. senate dot gov only lists bills as of the 19th. So how many changes were made at the last minute?

Aw the wonderments of Government.

When my city has a rock fall they have not even tried to fix for 6 months, and people are fighting over what color someone's business should be painted. (I like the purple building, I think it is cute, seeing as I like purple as a color, but city fathers and mothers can't stand the non-traditional color). But we can now have chickens, so there is one win for us common folk.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

The House of Representatives can not change the Senate bill without requiring it to go back to the Senate for a vote. Therefore they voted on it without changing it. The reconciliation bill contains all of the changes that the House desires, and it is being sent to the Senate for consideration. Obama is going to sign the unchanged Senate bill on March 23, 2010.

The US is standing a little taller this morning. Congratulations. Getting more benefits for less cost is always good.

Hopefully, for you and for those of us who would like to see a prosperous America in the future, the wacko wingnuts of the Republican party are correct, and this is the first step towards a socialist healthcare system. Imagine that, a healthcare system that delivers much more and costs a whole lot less. Models on view all over the capitalist, freedom loving, industrialized world. Coming soon to China.



When do we start dealing with PO?

My guess would be soon after after the US gets involved in a war with Iran. No point in letting a crisis go to waste. In such a crisis, the Government could institute an allocation scheme and begin to power down the economy, since a war with Iran could last decades...

E. Swanson

Let war be a cover for and an excuse to not talk about the broken political and money system. (oh and broken energy policy)

And such a war could be over rather quick - between nukes and bio-weapons VS ag crops/humans.

PO is a predicament - as such there are likely no adequate solutions, only responses and adaptations, many of which will be involuntary.

Wow..., I love the way you put that.

The Cold_Fusion Acceptance_Congregation (linked up top) is taking firm grips right now. Someone should inform Obama and whistle off the energy troubles ASAP.

I'm not part of the cold fussion congregation.
I was making fun of them.

I was aiming at the Cold Fusion session being held in San Fran (from the article)- and I'm also having fun. You should cleanse your sarcanol filter:-)

The proposed legislation claims it will cover an additional 32 million people and cost $94 billion dollars per year. This works out to $2937.50 per person per year or $244.79 per person per month. Given that no existing government healthcare program, ranging from Medicare to the VA, currently costs anything close to this (all are significantly more), I do not believe the initial estimates provided by the Democrats. There has been no rational basis provided for the claimed pricing other than the possibility of brute force coercion.

Further, it is blatantly unconstitutional to force one private party to enter into a contract with another private party. On that basis alone, the legislation will likely be challenged in courts, leading to fewer people covered.

Finally, none of the benefits kick in until 2014 yet taxes will go up immediately, providing increased revenues, at least temporarily, to the US government. This raises the question of whether the health care bill was really about health care or about revenue generation.

My question to you, toilforoil, is who pays for this new healthcare system? Healthcare requires energy, material, and labor inputs, which are not free. Where are you going to get these inputs at the claimed costs? How can you guarantee, aside from the use of blatant force, that these costs will not rise massively, especially in the face of peak oil? And finally, please provide a rational basis for the estimated costs, since the Democrats still have failed to do anything of the sort thus far, instead blowing smoke and making promises that someone else will have to keep.

Finally, none of the benefits kick in until 2014 yet taxes will go up immediately, providing increased revenues, at least temporarily, to the US government.

George Ure:

Methinks this is just about puffing up the balance sheet of these United States enough to avoid a ratings agency downgrade.

You see: The way I have it figured is this: While "Moody's says U.S. could test Triple-A (bond) Rating" guys like Treasury boss Tim Geithner have this stuff gamed out well in advance, so when he says there's "Not a chance" the US will lose its triple-A rating, it may be because while we wait for actual delivery of government healthcare to show up a couple of years out, the government will be collecting money for it in advance. Yep, that's right: the government would begin collecting money from businesses and individuals in 2011 and wouldn't deliver a product until 2014.

Lemme see: Government gets more money, balance sheet improves, and since they can estimate any cost numbers they want, why Presto! Magic! No loss of bond rating. Either this is really slick or sick...haven't decided that one.

Healthcare is an issue. But others seem to be served by what passed.

"I do not believe the initial estimates provided by the Democrats. "

The estimates are provided by the non-partisan CBO, not the Democrats. I wonder what else you've got wrong.

This is a great day for Americans in spite of what the teabaggers think. We're a little bit closer to being civilized like the rest of the western democracies.

I did not believe the CBO cost estimates for the Iraq war either. Did you? Those estimates turned out to be horridly low. Very rarely has the CBO ever produced estimates that were consistent with later realities, and almost always CBO estimates are too low, sometimes by a wide margin. This is consistent behavior by CBO regardless of who is in the White House. Why is the CBO estimate sacrosanct now?

We're a little bit closer to being civilized like the rest of the western democracies.

Not so sure about that. We are a little bit closer to passing a fiscal point of no return, and an energy point of no return.

Delightfully, during the past year of debate we have been distracted on discussions of how to provide coverage for 33 million uninsured Americans. Virtually nothing has been addressed toward fiscal reform. No progress has been made toward any energy reform. No awareness have been promoted toward the need to power down.

We will cross the tipping points, unnoticed, distracted by partisan politics and mainstream media stories of the hour. Has anyone seen Natalie?

What will health care mean after the pending collapse, when governments fail, the economy fails, with a breakdown in civil order? What will health care mean when the machine is broken, it is kill or be killed, everyone is seen as a resource competitor and potential threat?

I will sit on the front porch in a little house in the woods as I reload my shells, and thank god for Obama, Pelosi, and the fact that even though we were financially ruined and suffered economic collapse, our infrastructure and energy systems disintegrated, our nation fell apart, and death and destruction of biblical proportions rained down upon us, ATLEAST we got HEALTH CARE! That reminds me, I need to stock up on some more reloading supplies

One only need ask why Boehner et al. are so vehemently opposed to this - they are pretty much losing their minds over this. Why, because the esteemed Republican goon squad finally couldn't pull the right strings to get their way 100% - they had to settle for some (not insignificant) slice of the pie.

We are talking about letting a whole bunch of people get HEALTH CARE for chrissakes - something that I would think would be near and dear to the neo-cons Christian values and focus on the family etc. etc.

But by listening to the frenzy this has worked the Republicans into you'd think the vote was to give out cash rewards for abortions while simultaneously banning all guns and making everyone drive a Prius.

But no - keep in mind - this is so a bunch of people can maybe go see a doctor when they are sick. Will there be abuses? OF COURSE - what isn't abused in this day and age but this will also benefit a large number of people

So why are they so out of their mind crazy over this (John McCain says this is "terribly wrong for America" - a program "guaranteeing no American will be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions or see their coverage canceled when they get sick") - yes, that truly does sound like pure evil...

Not ONE Repub voted for an admittedly imperfect bill that included alot of compromises to their pet causes.

And now they feign indignation over the fiscal implications - because after all they are "conservatives" (who oh by the way pushed us into the money pit of two wars and various other financial sins under BushCo.)

Obama gave them EVERY chance possible to address this like adults but instead the Republicans wanted to take their ball and go home - so Obama finally had to say "fine, go home - we'll finish the game without you..."

As others have said this definitely proves the motives behind ALL Republican policies - "I've got mine - the rest of you can rot..." and this is also very bad omen for how other controversial issues will be debated / decided (health care was a low hanging fruit on the tree of serious sh*t we have to deal with in the very near future)...

This is all well and good but what about my car???
I can't fill it up with "HOPES AND DREAMS...."

I live in L.A. county..., I'll be at ground zero when all H*ll breaks loose.

I'll be more healthy by virtue of the fact, I will have to make a 2 to 3 mile round trip walk to the store when the price of gas goes to $10.00 a gallon.

I will have to walk 15 or 20 miles to pick up my OBAMACARE prescriptions.

Can we please have some perspective when dealing with issues???

We need to prioritize.

I would rather have European style healthcare myself..., but first we need European style, walkable cities and mass transit.

Then I can use socialized medicine to deal with my athletes feet and bunions.


European walkable cities exist because they existed in the middle ages. There never was a medieval Los Angeles. There is no way to make the cities walkable without demolishing them and starting fresh.

Cities are constantly getting rebuilt and reshaped.. it's not impossible at all, but neither is it easy. It's a matter of taking more steps forward than backward.

But you might be getting your wish with Detroit. Other cities might just keep doing it in installments.

"The world is what you make of it.
If it doesn't fit, you make alterations." -Stella (Linda Hunt), Silverado

Dismantling comes easy. Nothing a good coat of fire won't fix.

It's part two that gets difficult.

But it doesn't seem like they're making it walkable. Instead they're de-densifying it. The only argument among would-be top-down planner types seems to be whether the style of de-densification will be along the lines of some romantic boutique-farming version of a nineteenth century that never happened that way, or along some other lines such as something that eventually looks a lot like a conventional suburb. Neither model would involve having much of anything within walking distance.

"The only argument.."

I'm sure there are lots of arguments.

Naturally, what's getting rebuilt today, by the people trained in it and looking to yesterday, will have a LOT of backward steps in it..

With a little luck, the backward steps will be replaced sooner, and the 'Forward' steps (all in the eye of the beholder, of course) remain for a long, long time, and become part of the culture..

Paris isn't medieval.
It was re-built.

I bet it's more walkable then L.A.

When the biggie occurs on the San Andreas..., I hope at least two, if not three segments snap, then we will not have to worry about knocking anything down.

The biggie will cause other faults closer to L.A. to slip..., (aftershocks), and all we'll have to do is clear the debris.
After that, we can re-build our city and make it foot friendly.

But will there be enough energy and money to rebuild? The San Andreas fault slipping could be a black swan.

The San Andreas fault slipping could be a black swan.

It can't be a black swan, because it is highly predictable. There is a 100% probability that the San Andreas fault will slip. The only question is "When?" So, knowing that it is an absolute certainty, everybody near it should be prepared for the consequences when it occurs.

Unfortunately, many people are able to convince themselves that the inevitable will never happen.

In this sense it is like Peak Oil. There is a 100% probability that Peak Oil will occur, but many people are able to convince themselves that it never will. What they should be thinking about is what they are going to do when it occurs.

We seem to have a different definition of "black swan" because I think the inability to predict the timing and magnitude qualifies it. Similar to the aftermath of hurricane Katrina the increased demand for rebuilding may cause the cost of building materials and energy to rise generally damaging the national economy. Even with many unemployed construction workers the credit may not be available to rebuild. After the earthquake in San Francisco circa 1989, California increased the sales tax state wide by 100 percentage points for a year to pay for the damage. If that is done again in a weak economy, it could knock California's economy down another notch. There is no guarantee that insurance companies can cover their debts in a large catastrophe meaning those who think they are protected may find they are not.

What I think of as a "Black Swan" is an event that is completely unpredictable. According to Taleb:

What we call here a Black Swan (and capitalize it) is an event with the following three attributes. First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme impact. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.

An earthquake along the San Andreas fault is not exactly unexpected. The disastrous 1906 earthquake in San Francisco might have been a surprise to the inhabitants back then, but if there is an earthquake in 2010 should not be. The geology is very well understood. Earthquakes have happened before and will happen again - the past points to its possibility, and in fact its probability, in the future. The only unknown is the time. The 1906 earthquake might have been a Black Swan event, but if another one happens tomorrow it will not be. It is perfectly feasible to build earthquake-resistant structures, and that's what people along the San Andreas fault should be doing.

Similarly, the damage in Hurricane Katrina should not have been a surprise to the inhabitants of New Orleans. Major storms track within 100 miles of New Orleans about once per decade. It has been hit by major hurricanes before, and it will be hit again. It will likely be flooded again. The only unknown is the time.

On the other hand, the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings by terrorists using airliners was a Black Swan event because it had never occurred before, and there was no way to predict it would happen. As Taleb points out, some people will argue, after the fact, that it should have been predictable, but in fact nobody saw it coming.

The flooding of New Orleans by a hurricane was predicted by the experts well in advance. Some people have called Katrina the "most anticipated natural disaster in American history". However, "W"s response could be considered a Black Swan event - who would have expected a US President to be completely surprised by an event that all the experts had predicted would happen?

""Further, it is blatantly unconstitutional to force one private party to enter into a contract with another private party. On that basis alone, the legislation will likely be challenged in courts, leading to fewer people covered.""


So many other, unconstitutional mandates are being forced down the throats of the people in this country, it is no wonder the criminals in Congress, feel justified in beating us over the head with another.

The States are just beginning to get their act together with a number of 10th ammendment issues. This snowball with gain strength, and hopefully wipe away the criminal fedgov that holds us all hostage. The fedgov serves at the pleasure of the States. Time to call in the wayward fedgov idiots to the woodshed.

isn't car insurance mandatory?

Only if you have a car. And from what I can tell, the penalty for not having it is negligible.

Good luck trying to get by without a car in L.A. county....

You are not mandated by the federal government to bur car insurance, that is state regulated. Also, You are not required to buy insurance. It is only needed if you drive your car. The Government is not going to send the IRS after you if you don't own a car.

Almost but not quite:

Significantly, the law now requires Wisconsin drivers to insure their vehicles [as of June], leaving New Hampshire as the only state not requiring cars to be insured.

And you don't need car insurance merely to exist, you need it to drive a car.

Further, it is blatantly unconstitutional to force one private party to enter into a contract with another private party. On that basis alone, the legislation will likely be challenged in courts, leading to fewer people covered.

You mean like liability insurance if you want to drive ?

I have stated elsewhere that you have the option of not driving. In fact, in New York city, a very large percentage of the population does not drive or own a car. With this bill, you do not have the option of not participating. You must participate or be fined.

Apparently we all live in NYC.

Not me.
I live in L.A. county.

I have no choice but to drive.
There are no other options, except Move....
Which really isn't an option because my family is here.

Ok leemeesee if I get the argument.

Question Doesn't the government require me to have liability insurance? Answer 'Only of you drive a car'

Question Under universal health care doesn't the government require me to have medical insurance? Answer 'Only if you are breathing air'

Of course we're borrowing. (Iraq, TARP, support of higher housing prices, GM)(but we can't do health care??) Of course it's unnecessarily complex, riddled with abuse, overly expensive. (medicine for profit would be) It's been all that already and grossly inequitable as well. But it's about time we at least recognized that it's a moral issue and we try to be on the right side of it.

Written by David Ramsey:
You must participate or be fined.

Or earn less than the standard deduction and personal exemption. One has the option of being poor to avoid the fine.

excellent point.

The whole bill boils down to changes in existing tax law. If one drops out, they do not receive a credit, like not upgrading to thermal windows.

There is a tax penalty for non compliance, in effect your actions shift you to a higher tax bracket. As I see it, it will hard to argue against the healthcare bill without dismantling the entire tax code, but then who can predict the courts.


Article I, Section 9:

"No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken."

As modified by Amendment 16:

"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

The only direct tax (and calling it a "fine" does not change the fact that it is actually a tax) that the Constitution empowers the Congress to levy is an income tax.

There is also this little problem:

Article I, Section 7:

"All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives"

The bill that passed last night originated in the Senate, not the house.

This part of the bill will surely be challenged, surely go all the way to the Supremes, and surely go down in flames. Sorry, folks, but the Constitution does say what it says, regardless of what anyone might wish.

Doesn't it also say something about the public welfare? Etc.?

And the irony will be that the very same uber-patriots who have made a mockery of the Constitution over the last decade in the name of "security" will then not waste a moment wrapping themselves up in it to deny the masses a bit of "security" in knowing that any serious illness they get won't be an automatic road to financial ruin. They'll cuddle with their beloved Constitution as they see fit - so long as it's a security blanket to insure that the libruls aren't taking away their freedom to keep health care away from the poor and non-deserving...

I'd think they get their very own circle in hell - there must be something special reserved for these hypocrites...

Okay say a person passes out on the side of the street, is taken to the ER and is taken care of, then when they wake up they tell everyone concerned that they wanted to die, and that now they aren't going to pay the huge medical bill they have been saddled with.

Who says this person will ever pay that bill? As yet all they can do is keep calling this person and ruin their credit history, if they refuse to pay, nothing much can be done about it.

Okay now say your mom goes in and they spend huge amounts of money to save her life and she gets better. What is to say she has to pay them back for that care? Couldn't she also just let the bill collectors keep calling her?

Unless they make a person pay up front for all care, or have a debtors prison set up, the system as it stands can't force either of these two examples pay for their care.

I'll give you another story, which is true, A person passes out, is taken in for care and given it. They get the bill and laugh and worry about it, but they have no money to pay for it, they are homeless and only get food stamps once a month to eat on, if that. They get a bill in the mail (they have a mailing address but not a livable place (friend takes mail for them)) from a lawyer that tells them they are being sued.

What does this person do? They could never pay the bill.

That is one reason health care is high, a lot of unpaid bills, from all sorts of people.

The system is broke, even if this current Bill might fix some of it, the system is still broken.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

The Senate bill is based on H.R. 3200 and others which originated in the House of Representatives. The fine for noncompliance began in H.R. 3200. The Senate has the power to amend bills passed by the House.


All G7 countries, except Canada and Germany, will have debt-to-GDP ratios close to or exceeding 100 percent by 2014, Lipsky said in a speech today at the China Development Forum in Beijing.

Like the saying goes, eric: "I can't be broke, I've still got checks."

All G7 countries, except Canada and Germany, will have debt-to-GDP ratios close to or exceeding 100 percent by 2014, Lipsky said in a speech today at the China Development Forum in Beijing.

And Germany may end up bailing out PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, & Spain) in an effort to preserve the integrity of the Euro.

At least Canada is not stuck trying to preserve the Amero. Long live the Canadian loonie!

DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven decline in January

The anticipation at TOD has been for level or rising oil prices, at least from what I've seen in the comments. My own anticipation is for falling oil prices, precisely due to things like the above - lower demand. While oil production appears to peaked, the rate of decline in production does not yet appear to have overtaken the rate of decline of demand, thus leaving the market with excess oil. Inventories are near record highs, also indicative of decreased consumption.

Barring a war in the Middle East, which cannot be accurately predicted, the current situation has all the hallmarks of deflating oil prices.

Deflating Oil Prices: Waiting For Godot?

It seems to me that the overwhelming conventional wisdom for several months has been that we are heading for lower oil prices. It's certainly possible, but it does seem that we have been waiting for the oil price crash for several months. Meanwhile, the average annual oil price to date for 2010 exceeds all previous average annual oil prices, except for 2008, when we hit $100.

Regarding weak US demand, it's not a new story, and IMO the outlook for the US is that we are going to be forced to make do with a declining share of a falling volume of global net oil exports.

A couple of inventory comments, the Saudi oil minister, from 4/04, and my 2¢ worth, from 9/07:

April, 2004:


Mr Al-Naimi said, . . . "There are signs that worldwide inventories have begun to build but no one really knows for sure."

September, 2007:


EIA data show an overall decline in net world exports from 2005 to 2006 that appears to be continuing into 2007.

Given this decline in net exports, It’s interesting that we have “near record high” crude oil inventories in the US, based on the five year range of crude oil inventories. In my opinion, the five year range for US crude oil inventories, as an indication of what is going on in oil markets, is highly misleading.

First, the industry has clearly gone to a Just In Time inventory system. In the Eighties, the industry maintained much higher crude oil inventories, especially in terms of Days of Supply, which have fallen to about 21 Days of Supply currently, from about 29 Days of Supply in September, 1982.

Second, we need to evaluate crude oil inventories based on Days of Supply in excess of Minimum Operating Level (MOL). In the US, the MOL for crude oil is probably about 270 million barrels (mb). At about 322 mb, US crude oil inventories are probably best characterized by Hours of Supply in excess of MOL (about 80 hours). In my opinion, recent fluctuations in US crude oil inventories merely reflect minor changes in a thin margin of supply in excess of MOL.

Refiners are unlikely to let their inventories drop below certain critical levels, and given the expectation of declining world oil exports, refiners will have two choices: (1) Bid the price up enough to keep their inventories up and/or (2) Reduce their crude oil input, thus reducing product output.

My contention is that instead of focusing on crude oil inventories, we need to focus on world net exports, crude oil prices, refinery utilization, product prices and product inventories.

I expect to see crude oil exports trending down, crude oil prices trending up, refinery utilization trending down, product prices trending up, and product inventories trending down.

A brief Sesame Street summary of Waiting for Godot:


Waiting, waiting, waiting. . .


In the long term, I believe your trend is correct. But over just the last three years you are conveniently ignoring a collapse into the $30 range per barrel. In the short term, the most reliable statement about oil prices has been simply that they are "volatile". By 2020, I expect a decade long trend line to show what you are saying but from 2007 to now? It doesn't show such a trend as there is too much noise in that short of a time span.

Likewise, a pullback in oil prices to as low as $68 per barrel simply cannot be ruled out at the current time. There is too much volatility. The direction of oil in the short term cannot be predicted to the accuracy that you appear to assume, precisely because economic events can impact demand faster than production actually declines.

While short term oil prices are important to oil traders, they have little bearing on the real economy; annual oil prices are a far better indication of what producers actually receive and what actually consumers pay.

Let's assume that your income is commission based, and you made $5,000 in January last year, but $10,000 per month for the rest of the year, what better represents your annual income, the monthly low of $5,000 (an annualized rate of $60,000), or the total annual income of $115,000?

Oil prices "crashed" last year to an annual price of $62, which exceeded all annual prices prior to 2006:


For the sake of argument, if we extrapolate "Chindia's" 2005-2008 rate of increase in net oil imports (which is below the US rate of increase in net oil imports from 1949 to 1977) out to 2020, they would be (net) importing about 18 mbpd, when Sam Foucher's most optimistic projection is that Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway, Iran and the UAE will be (net) exporting a combined volume of about 13 mbpd, versus 24 mbpd in 2005.

"For the sake of argument, if we extrapolate "Chindia's" 2005-2008 rate of increase in net oil imports "
The faith on TOD in BAU continuing for Chindia seems a strange. What are the demand implications for a real crack up in China?

I'll get back to you in 2020.

But what we do know is that:

The combined net exports from the (2005) top five net oil exporters have fallen relative to their 2005 rate.

As annual oil prices for the past four years have exceeded the $57 level that we saw in 2005, US oil consumption has fallen.

As annual oil prices for the past four years have exceeded the $57 level that we saw in 2005, Chindia's oil consumption has increased.

The problem is that we are 7 years-on from the era of oil being at or near the $30/barrel range. The fall from prices of $140/barrel to the 30's took five months and then rebounded sharply. That is not "ignoring" it so much as it is an anomaly (just as the sudden and raid climb up and through $100 could also be seen as an anomaly, though not unexpected give the scenario associated with supply-limited conditions). If you look at the data there is some cyclic pricing involved both before the 2008 peak price and after the crash.

WTI Daily variation of 5-day average since 1999

Data since 2005:

WTI 5-day cost since 2005

What is also worth noting is the price of WTI crude if converted to € instead of dollars. While the rise in cost is still present in the Euro, it is not nearly as impressive as the dollar lost value against the Euro. The decline in price after July 2008 through either currency is impressive but the fall of the price of WTI in dollars compared to Euros shows some of the dollar's recovery against the Euro.

But is the price really fluctuating all that much?
This is the daily change of WTI spot market prices going all the way back to 1999.

Daily WTI Change

In absolute terms, things started to get pretty "noisy" after 2004.

But what if you employ a five day rolling average to the data. Using the same scale, it's not nearly as impressive, though you can still see a "noise increase" since 2004.

Daily variation of 5-day average

But how about as a relative change keyed to it's price? Here is the chart of the relative change keyed to the 5-day rolling average. The scale is the percentage change from the previousvalue of the 5-day rollong average.

Relative WTI

Clearly, some short-term blips stand out relative to the price at the time. But you can also say that relative price fluctuations are no worse and may even be less than periods in the past.

But the price/production curve is still following the same model I published some time ago. I have a newer one than this AND it does not look any different except for 7 additional points which stay aligned with the curve.

Scatter Plot through 04-2009

I expect that this curve will shift/walk to the left with time. But we may also see a series of crash/climb/crash/climb sequences over the next few years. What if the pattern established as early as 2004, with an increasing amplification, is the "new" model we are all going to have to deal with? It might be a whole lot more difficult to "predict" what the average price might be.

If I draw a trend line from the $147 high to today, the trend line is down. That's not a true picture of the long term trend, agreed, but it demonstrates the problem of volatility. One of the predictions made years ago on TOD (as far back as 2005, I believe) was that oil prices would be more volatile. That prediction has indeed come true. Likewise, I expect Westexas prediction, on a longer time frame, to be seen as true as well. Yet even a general uptrend in price will be interrupted at points by short counter trends downward. The only way for this to not be true is for production to fall so fast that society collapses in a very short term, which does not appear to be occurring. To believe that oil will constantly only move in one direction is simply an act of faith.

Yet even a general uptrend in price will be interrupted at points by short counter trends downward.

Do ya think?

My 2010 prediction, for what it's worth (not much), is that the 2010 annual oil price will exceed the average annual price of $62 that we saw in 2009, as we transition from a combination of voluntary + involuntary reductions in net exports to mostly involuntary reductions in net exports.

I did previously say that I thought that long term oil prices would be best expressed as a series of doublings, $25, $50, $100, $200, $400, etc., but with an important caveat, that I had no way of quantifying the time periods between the doublings, since we would be seeing a horserace, IMO, declining net oil exports and declining aggregate demand. I still think that this is basically correct, especially since the recent annual low in 2009 was more than four times the $14 price that we saw in 1998--and especially since it appears that developing countries will probably continue to outbid developed countries for declining net oil exports.

But regarding annual data, I think that we are back to annual year over year increases in oil prices, unless and until the global demand for net oil exports again falls below the supply of net exports (which we saw in 2009).

Is it fair to say that once we hit the oscillatory post-plateau crash/rebound or stair-step phase, the spikes on the graph should march to the left, in 'real dollars'?

If so, then prices go up as the marginal cost of production prices out some consumers, but other more cost-tolerant (and inelastic) demands drive up the price for remaining oil?

If not, then the dollar must be pegged to the oil graph above, and world productivity overall is a function of what we can do with the oil we can pump, and demand destruction (or growth) is a function of oil cost alone?

I did previously say that I thought that long term oil prices would be best expressed as a series of doublings, $25, $50, $100, $200, $400, etc.

Hmmm... too many times to count... but it seems absolutely and trivially tautological given the high risk of heavy inflation or maybe even hyperinflation once some of the deflationary events have worked themselves out and the effects of the utterly reckless borrowing of the past decade and more come to the fore. This will extend a long term trend by which the dollar has lost around 95% of its value over the last century. So there's not necessarily any information specific to oil in it. (Naturally, the inflationary tautology comes with an important caveat, that I have no way of quantifying the timing...)

If I draw a trend line from the $147 high to today ...

Uh, David, you just declared your incompetence as a statistical analyst. A pity, as I'd like to read a well-argued view contrary to the TOD "mainstream".

Straship, interesting graphs, especially the one with oil vs Euro. It would be really interesting to take the oil price a step further, and look at the price in terms of gold (ounces of gold per barrel). If we take the view of some, such as Nathan Lewis, that gold is the only real "stable" and inflation free currency, I think such a comparison would give some interesting results.

Better to state that in grams of gold per barrel as there are different mesurements called ounces for gold and fish( item people might buy by the ounce). Troy ounces are used for gold, being 31.1034768 grams. Other ounces could be many different weights in grams.

It is always hard on the pen and paper when you have to figure up all the weights and measures of things.

Try reading some old Nautical Charts, fathoms/meters/feet are all used each to a different part of the world or time of use. Knowing what means what takes a bit of remembering.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed Future (unit of measure is (snark) FUTTH- Fed Up To The Hilt = 4,000 calories per person per day)

I ran some initial numbers last night and though the graphic is not ready for posting, what I did see from the past 2+ years is that the price of oil and gold aren't all that stable either (as long as I use the same basis for each material). If I plot ounces per barrel, it turns out looking a bit like splitting the difference between the $/bbl and the €/bbl. Running the inverse, of course, tells you that when oil prices were low last year, and gold prices were pretty high even by todya's numbers, you could get quite a number of barrels of oil for a single ounce of gold.

Note that I've also done this for other commodities as well (e.g., corn bushels per barrel to see how much food a barrel is worth), or even land (taking into account yield and the price of both corn and oil). It gets pretty interesting.

Hopefully, I'll get a partial graph posted but I've got lots of other stuff going on right now.

Starship If I had looked harder, I could have saved you the trouble.

Nathan Lewis has already graphed it, along with a bunch of other commodities compared to gold. He takes the view that the value of gold is stable, and everything else, including money, fluctuates.
Don't know how to post graphs here, but here is the url:


While it oil has fluctuated, it has stayed at close to the same long term average since the '50's, though it has just come off a historic low (in terms of gold).

It does get interesting to compare different commodities, rather than commodity prices.

OK graphs, but inquiring minds do wonder: shall we read anything into the coordinates of the suspension bridge towers, or are they just chartjunk?

A bridge implies that there is somewhere to go on the other side (which is why I included them in the background).

The drop in vehicle miles in January is fairly consistent with the drop with gasoline used in January, so there is no surprise here. But since then, gasoline use and overall oil consumption in the US has increased at a fair clip. Looking back over the oil use trends this 12 months, US oil consumption is clearly in an uptrend for more or less about six months. January may just be an anomaly.

Further all indications are that total world inventories of oil - including oil previously stored in tankers - are being reduced faster than a week to week reading of the US weekly inventory report might imply. When oil gets to about $120 again we may see a more sustained drop in vehicle miles.

Maybe people are not liking cars anymore!
Look at the horrible stories about accelerating Toyotas! Bankrupt GM and Chrysler...Climate change...etc.

People are falling out of love with cars. And it`s about time too!

It seems like young people in the US are not getting their licenses at the rate they used to. In Japan young people are embarrassed to be seen in cars.

Now even my mom in Floida is talking about "moving to somewhere where we don`t need a car". Not because she`s too old to drive (she`s only 68) but because the thrill is gone I think.

A car seems like a trap: making people dependent and forcing them into a disadvantage vis a vis those who don`t have one. Lightbulbs are going off all over: "I GET IT! I need a car like I need a millstone around my neck!" The accident risk, the cost, the pollution, the ugliness. Shed it like a skin you`ve outgrown.

People are disheartened by this experience with cars. It was supposed to be a love affair but it turned out to be a sick codependency and a one-sided (with humans doing all the emotional work and for all the wrong reasons) flirtation to nowhere.

Let`s get back to nature, folks. Be happy with that lower VMT number because the lower it goes the better for the planet and everyone!

Driving has declined again in the US after a slight upturn:

Try to avoid the "width=" tag. It really looks horrible if it forces the image to be bigger than it really is (that is, if the reader has a high screen res). And if it displays smaller than actual size, you're forcing people to download a big file but see only a small image. With people viewing the site on everything from 2400 pixel widescreens to tiny netbooks, "width=" is just a bad idea.

Thumbnail or post a link instead.

Sorry & thanks for changing it.

Nay, I'd rather recommend to tag with "width=100%", because this way the graph fits to any screen :-)

It may fit, but it won't be readable.

I wonder about the effect of demographics on Vehicle Miles Travelled.

As the Baby Boomers age, we can expect to see driving fall off, according to a chart of mileage versus age in a report from the US DOT back in the '90s, which I now can't find, but Google gave me this from NZ (see figure 2). I've seen other studies with similar charts, showing that driving falls off in the 60-plus age groups.

So the question is, is driving falling off more than expected after accounting for demographics, changed lifestyle preferences, etc? How much of the fall-off is purely economic?

No need to be concerned - MSM including The FT tell us we are drowning in oil - even when prices broke 1.20£/l today - the highest ever UK petrol price:

The CGES cited ample spare production capacity among Opec’s members, estimated at 6m barrels a day, growing supply from non-Opec countries, up 1.4m b/d since the start of 2008 and a large increase in global refining capacity as factors likely to prevent another oil price spike.

“With spare capacity throughout the oil supply chain, it is difficult to see much upward pressure on oil prices from market fundamentals in 2010,” said the CGES.

Premium gasoline was ukp 1.19 mid July '08/$9.00 uspg vs current
ukp 1.20/$6.81 uspg you quoted - the pound has lost 25%.
Chinese are paying more for gasoline than they were in July '08.
Americans are paying 30% less.

The UK is paying record prices. £1.20 litre, about £4.80 / US gallon, or $7.20

Still plenty of cars on the road.

$6.82 today. 3.7854 to the usg.

Great show on ABC ... a beginning ??

"Yes, Jamie Oliver is here to start a revolution. The impassioned chef is taking on obesity, heart disease and diabetes in the USA, where our nation's children are the first generation NOT expected to live as long as their parents. Now that's scary!"


I'd like to thank all the posters who contributed to the above health-care thread.
good arguments advanced on both sides
... and i like the fact it got a little heated and a little personal.
some real passion, some real juice.

Heavyweights throwing leather,TOD doing what it does best.

HCR bill question re the
"temporary" high-risk pool:

I've just found out that my
spouse has a heart problem
of currently unknown seriousness. Our health insurance now ( individual
policy) is 940 per month and
has an annual deductible of
close to 6,000. In august
they will increase the rate
(as usual) but also may cancell us. Under the current bill will we have to wait 6 months of being uninsured before being able to
join this new "temporary" high risk pool? What a gamble....who knows what might happen in 6 months of being uninsured. You could easily lose everything you have worked for all your life.


That is a distressing problem. My advice is contact your Congressman immediately via registered mail: urgent. They are so pre-occupied with angry Tea-baggers right now that it will be difficult getting through on a phone line. Good luck!


You could easily lose everything you have worked for all your life.

That is why you set up trusts.

You own nothing. The Trust owns it all.

Quick yes or no question:

At $4.11 per MMBtu is shale gas in the US profitable?

No, according to Art Berman. He is talking about something more like $8+ needed.

where is aeberman ? i for one am awaiting his update on haynesville.

Re: Mixing In Some Carbon

And in a related development:

CO2-eating algae turns cement maker green
St. Marys, Pond Biofuels join forces to deploy a 'world first'

A mixture of hot gas rises out of a flue stack at the St. Marys Cement plant about 50 kilometres west of Waterloo. But not all the CO2-rich exhaust is vented to the open air.

Some is redirected through a 15-centimetre thick pipe connected to the side of the stack. The pipe carries the gas into a high-tech facility where a species of algae from the neighbouring Thames River uses photosynthesis to absorb the carbon dioxide and release oxygen in return.

"It's a small model of what a big full-scale facility could be," says Martin Vroegh, environment manager with St. Marys Cement Inc., headquartered in Toronto. The algae project, which went live last fall, is believed to be the first in the world to demonstrate the capture of CO2 from a cement plant.

See: http://www.thestar.com/business/article/781426--co2-eating-algae-turns-c...


Is the article up top Oil Reserves Exaggerated by One Third related to the story yesterday, Energy minister will hold summit to calm rising fears over peak oil? It would seem like it would be.

Any other news regarding the summit?

Remember back to this story?

I'd suggest that in the Alan Johnson mode, the previous dictate from the likes of Wicks was to ignore Peak Oil and cover up the possibility.

However with the right wing pushing of the 'climategate' story, the UK government is looking around for a 'backup hat' to hang their CO2 reduction/tax raising policies on, and have rediscovered peak oil (now Wicks is gone).

I don't think they have had a 'Road to Damascus' conversion, just need something to bolster their existing policies, and answer the Tory energy policy document ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8576784.stm )

Remember, this is election time - any statements made or actions taken are not necessarily to be taken seriously, or likely to continue.

I had forgotten about the earlier story about Sir David King's views.

You may be right. I think climate has been the story being "pushed" to cover up for peak oil. Now that it is a less-secure story, there may be a need to bolster the story with the real story. If it is election time, maybe they are acting differently than normal.

The "real" story? Are you seriously implying climate is not a "real" story? How's this for real? There's a story out today, I think it was, that Greenland starts to seriously destabilize at between 400 and 550 CO2 ppm. We're at 390.

The real story... egad...

This pissing contest between PO and AGW is gonna get us all killed. Spitting in the wind...


To me, peak oil is the real story.

All of this other stuff is folks sharing their opinions on a different issue. Both sides are convinced they are right, and everyone else is wrong. The discussion adds nothing to The Oil Drum, especially because of the lack of tolerance for the concerns of the other side. It just drives readers away.

To me, peak oil is the real story.

The REAL story? The real story is that there is very little doubt among the scientists who have studied the impacts of our emissions of greenhouse gases. The real story is the fact that there is a massive campaign of disinformation to confuse the public regarding these impacts. Several books are now available to document this fact, you may read them if you want to gain some further insight into the political mess which the fossil fuel industry has created with their campaign. I just finished "Climate Cover-up" by James Hoggan, a man who has worked in the PR industry and who knows all the tricks. There's also "The Republican War on Science" by Mooney and Gelbspan's books.

BTW, a recent report from MIT, released in January, concluded:

The MIT Integrated Global System Model is used to make probabilistic projections of climate change from 1861 to 2100. Since the model’s first projections were published in 2003 substantial improvements have been made to the model and improved estimates of the probability distributions of uncertain input parameters have become available. The new projections are considerably warmer than the 2003 projections, e.g., the median surface warming in 2091 to 2100 is 5.1°C compared to 2.4°C in the earlier study.

Perhaps you don't understand what a 5.1°C increase in average temperature implies. Perhaps you think that after Peak Oil, there won't be a problem, since the world will just switch to tar sands, oil shale and coal. If that happens, the best estimates, such as that from MIT, are there's little hope for the planet as the Earth could well experience a runaway temperature, becoming like Venus. Does that seem like a problem to you?

E. Swanson

Toplink: Non-OPEC Oil Production Hits the Wall

If all is so well outside OPEC, one must ask why the non-OPEC oil production rate has not exceeded the level achieved in 2004 in spite of the elevated price of oil since then.

This looks like a "smoking gun" for peak oil.

It appears I'm the only observant person around here.

From the article:

In the last year I’ve read several articles expounding on the many non-OPEC* oil discoveries that have been made in recent years and how large the oil resource is within the non-OPEC sphere of the world.

And then he says:

If all is so well outside OPEC, one must ask why the non-OPEC oil production rate has not exceeded the level achieved in 2004 in spite of the elevated price of oil since then.

Considering that it takes at least a few years for your typical oil discovery to go into full production, it should be little wonder why he hasn't seen non-OPEC production exceed the 2004 level - which, after all, was just 6 years ago. All those big Brazilian discoveries, for example, are from just the past 3-5 years - only the early ones are coming online just now.

Also, I'm bookmarking this:

After 2010, I expect U.S. oil production to return to the decreasing profile that it exhibited over the ~25 years prior to 2009.

Eating less meat won't reduce global warming: study

"Blaming cows and pigs for climate change is scientifically inaccurate, said Mitloehner, dismissing several reports, including one issued in 2006 by the United Nations, which he said overstate the role that livestock play in global warming.

The UN report "Livestock's Long Shadow," which said livestock cause more greenhouse gases than all global transportation combined, distracts from the real issues involved in looking for a solution to global warming, said Mitloehner.

The notion that eating less meat will help to combat climate change has spawned campaigns for "meatless Mondays" and a European campaign launched late last year called "Less Meat = Less Heat," backed by former Beatle Paul McCartney, one of the world's best-known vegetarians.

"McCartney and others seem to be well-intentioned but not well-schooled in the complex relationships among human activities, animal digestion, food production and atmospheric chemistry," said Mitloehner.

"Smarter animal farming, not less farming, will equal less heat," Mitloehner said. "Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries,"


Hi all,

I thought this was kind of neat. Apologies if it had been posted previously. It's a human powered car:


Been around a while ... not going anywhere

Frankly, that was a stupid, hard to operate and expensive way to make a "double tandem bike"

Have a look at this one instead - It's following a principle called evolution (!)

-and my guess is double or triple the speed for half the effort(energy)

Hi Consumer;
I agree with you.. definitely neat!

It might be too heavy or a bit clunky, but I think the form is about right. Small/Med size, upright seating.. a basic, self-propelled cart.

It's very cool to see what's been percolating and evolving out there.. watch the video (with it's annoying MTV stylin'.. ) they get it up to 60 on Human power alone.. maybe they had a hill helping, too.. wasn't clear.

I want to make one.. and I might just make it look like a fire engine pedal car from 1960!

The form is interesting. Looks like it could lend itself to some fairing work and some hub motors. Far as an out and out human powered machine I doubt it's very efficient at all. I did get a used one those old pedal fire engines for Christmas when I was 5. I'm probably still working with the design in some ways too :)

Over an out and back course with hills I'd give a good tandem or a single the clear edge. Although the fanciful factor is off the charts. Like you said it's the weight problem among others. Even a 1200 watt burst against that beast not that equitable. The same thing that got it up to 60 going downhill (the two person tandem invariably smokes singles on the descent) will mean it cannot climb. Rowing power up hill in a recumbent position on a heavy machine is the worst of all worlds. There is a reason they did not show the climb part. (they probably hauled it) (my 57 yr old stoker and I just accompanied a 63 yr old pair on a 60 mi ride with considerable climbs, true alternative transportation IMHO)

A thought struck me today, as I was re-reading The World We Have Lost: Further Explored, specifically chapter 6, on famine. (It's a great book, by the way, if you're interested in what pre-industrial English society was like.)

Understanding of famine has changed recently. These days, sociologists understand famine not as an absolute scarcity of food, but as a loss of 'purchasing power' by the famine victims. There's food there, but for one reason or another they can't obtain it -- their incomes dropped dramatically, or there was some other claim on their money, or distribution systems broke down.

This seemed to me to be a good analog of the way Peak Oil is manifesting itself. There's plenty of oil -- inventories are high -- but people just can't buy it.

"Peak demand", indeed. Hah!

If it is not economically viable it is not sustainable

From the toplink: Invitation to an Energy Crisis:

When it comes to the price of oil, production does not matter. Exports do. The fear is that OPEC exports will decline at a time when the leaders of the major consuming countries fail to deliver the promised “green” economies. Under this scenario, we could be witnessing an energy crisis in the making.

The Export Land Model goes mainstream! Westexas rules! Remember folks, you read it here first -- Westexas wrote it.

I agree. Politicians Lie! Westexas rules!! After those days it shall be guns, violence and death. Facts are facts and must be confronted. It is in this confrontation that human reasoning, understanding and emotion will obscure the reality confronting us.I would prefer not to be there during those days, but I fear I shall. I only hope my death is merciful and fast. Human kind is fast approaching an extinction level event.

Running through individual Asian countries with the Energy Export Databrowser was illuminating, for me, and I posted resultant comments at


Many thanks to all TOD contributors who see their input reflected therein!