Was That Really Five Years?

Dear readers, Monday, March 22 marked the 5th full of year of the existence of The Oil Drum.

Our durability is because of you, the readers. We wouldn't—couldn’t—do this if we didn't think people were listening, helping us spread the word, and participating in and advancing the conversation. So, I offer you, our readers, a sincere thank you from all of our staff.

A summary and some thoughts lay below the fold.

In our fifth year, we had over 6M visits and increased our historical number of visits and views by 35%. While the traffic to a lot of the peak oil-related sites has waned a bit in the face of "stable" oil prices and an economy that seemingly makes no sense to anyone, we are doing all right. Much more importantly than traffic, while we have no easy way to measure the quality of our, or our readers’, impacts on policy or their own communities, we cannot but hope that we are a part of positive change.

At The Oil Drum, we have always tried to be the bridge between the doomers, the technopians and the cornucopians, to present as many sides of the myriad arguments as we can, so that we do not become too rooted in any mode of thought. This allows us to be nimble, to test raw ideas through your eyes and critical thinking in a way that doesn't happen most places. We really try not to tell you what to think, we just ask that you actually do so—and do so critically and empirically. As this post of Nate's points out so eloquently, WE DON’T KNOW, but we can learn. I remain proud of this site for its perspective and willingness to take on these immense topics.

This is not easy to do, folks. It is not easy at all. I have made mistakes, but in that I am only reassured by the fact that no one gets them all right; in the end, all we can do is try to do what we think is best as our inner spirit dictates. If one thinks about it, SO much has changed since we started: the oil run-up, hurricanes, the economic debacle, the dynamic climate debate all have added even greater complexity to an already overwhelming topic. It is hard to take it all in and digest to any comprehensive conclusion--which is why we keep doing what we are doing. Not only do we still aspire to make sense of it all, but we also know that it is going to take as many good minds dedicated to the task as we can possibly put together.

These are just some of the many reasons I am thankful for and care deeply for every single person on this staff--they are an amazing collection of people: diverse, intelligent beyond bound, hard-working, personable and engaged. The people of this group may not agree on everything, but we do understand that this site is something special that must be maintained for as long as it can be.

The efforts of Gail, Leanan, SuperG, and Nate (and his recent absence is a loss to this community) should be especially noted, as they are the folks who are here most days, slogging it out, making it work. Without them, this site would not have persevered over the past months.

I don't think many understand the cumulative toll that these people pay each day to keep this unique space up and running--and they do so with only the compensation of attempting to do the right thing. We are all fortunate for this.

I have never shared anything more than an email conversation with some of these people, but they have all joined together in this fight—all of them for their own reasons, all of them with their own perspectives. When oil was rising in price, it became a signal that conventional thinking could accept as an indicator of scarcity. Despite different skill sets, ultimate goals, pet concerns, etc., our union of purpose remains a shared one. In this period where demand for energy is outpacing geologic depletion, our interests, expertise and worldviews have become more disparate. And that's ok.

In this struggle to discuss energy and our future, the issues are likely to grow even more tense, more vitriolic, and tougher to handle, with all of the situations we face in this world, economic, political, energy, and otherwise. I therefore ask that you, our readers, make every effort to treat each other with respect and understanding when these polemic topics arise.

I am compelled to remind you of one of my favorite quotes from someone I think a lot of, Jerry Michalski; he shared a mantra with me a while back, which he learned from Quaker meeting: "Speak only if it will improve upon the silence." We thank you for continuing to improve upon the silence here at The Oil Drum.

No one knows what the future holds, no one holds all of the keys. All we can do here is try to help educate and make that future a better one for as many people as we can, for as long as we can. It is a unique model, based on social and community capital, and in turn it is itself a social experiment of the highest order—and one we need your help in perpetuating its norms, its impact, and its existence.

I hope that you will continue to join us in that purpose.

If you are interested, last year, Heading Out wrote a "Brief History of The Oil Drum". He's way too nice to me in it--and our contributors deserve much more credit than I am due.

Also, as always, we hope you will keep in mind that this is a volunteer operation that only stays afloat because of your donations to keep our servers running, our search functions functioning, and those bandwidth-sucking graphics flying. If you are so inclined, we hope you will support our efforts. The easiest way is the donate button up in the top left corner of the main page, or you can click this link.

We appreciate you, and we will see you next year.

Thanks to Prof. Goose (Kyle Saunders) and Dave Summers (Heading Out) who started this site five years ago. Thanks too to all of the staff members and readers.

Our viewership seems to be doing quite well, at least according to Alexa. There was a drop off in readership after the drop in oil price, but it seems to be back up again.

Highlight of my day. I check topics before email and leaving for work.

Dear Gail, Kyle, Leanan, Dave, SuperG, Nate, & others

Thank you so much for all the work and effort you have put into The Oil Drum. And indeed, all the contributors who make the site so worthwhile.

I know that there are people throughout the world, often working on these issues with few resources and against the grain, who find in the dedication and congeniality of all the contributors a source of reassurance and the esprit of a common-purpose.

The best of wishes for all your efforts.
David K

A double ditto from OFM and a few of his friends who are lurkers!

Only a very few people are able and willing to devote so much of thier time and expertise to the common cause.I wouldn't drive ten miles to see Brangelina make love live on stage, or sit thru the traffic jam to see the Super Bowl even if I had free tickets, but I would go a long way out of my way to shake hands , even in a reception line if necessary, with the staff of TOD.

In terms of personal sacrifice, and the moral worth of the same, as I see it, the many hours of the lives of the staff are worth more than the millions of dollars donated to charity by somebody such as Bill Gates-that would only take a few minutes of his only irreplaceable wealth-his TIME.He will never miss the money.

Now if only somebody would offer free on line counseling to help break me of the habit of spending so much time here..........

Take it from someone who has had a long habit of spending literally days sitting in front of a computer while hanging out online, the group you seek, can't be found easily.

You have to sit in front of a computer to talk to them, they don't meet offline. Snarkle, I just reread your humor, "offer free on line ..." Nope, can't help you.

I never did call you that saturday did I?

Waves to another friend.

Addictive habits did get us all in this mess, hopefully this addictive habit will help some of us have cheery thoughts about the coming years, and not feel so alone.

BioWebScape designs for a better future.

Great anniversary speech, Prof. Goose!

I deeply appreciate the efforts of The Oil Drum staff to keep providing oil-related news and analysis as well as the efforts of the many commenters who provide the lively and mostly polite discussions.

TOD is a valuable beacon of light to many, including me.

Thanks Perrin. We're trying. :)

So, I offer you, our readers, a sincere thank you from all of our staff.

And I, as I'm sure most of your readers, especially the regulars, thank all of you!

I second the motion - please add my sincere thanks.

TOD is where I come for my daily dose of sanity. It was years before I felt I had absorbed enough insight to post anything among such a critical (in the good sense) community.

When I post on energy matters elsewhere (usually on UK news websites) I almost always include a link to TOD. I spread the word where I think there is some small chance of it being listened to.

Here in the UK energy is still for most people a non-topic. In the last five years there has been a slow drip-drip in the media, plenty for those whose ears are already tuned in to get the message, but completely drowned out for most of the ipod generation. There was a slowly growing feeling, expectation of crisis in the lead up to the financial bubble. Many people could recognise we were heading for a fall, they just could not pin down exactly why. I think it is significant that the most common pet in my suburban, middle class, academic village is the chicken.

Even amongst my intelligent, educated and dedicated environmentalist friends, there is still a strong disconnect. They adapt their lives to their green, low footprint, environmental agenda, then still take three long haul eco-tourist flights a year. They do not try to add the numbers up. I was the same, maybe eight years ago.

Energy and even peak oil is now becoming mainstream. When Prof Mackay gave a talk here in the University on moving the UK to a low carbon future, the lecture hall was swamped. However, no-one, NO -ONE dare yet challenge the god of economic growth. It is repeated like a prayer by every politician, economist, commentator, and of course businessman. Even the charities clutch at it as they try to revive trickle down economics to float the poorest out of poverty. I fear they will have the hardest lesson to learn, that it will be, once more as always, the poorest who get stuffed first.

Amen brother! I figure it should be mandatory to have a "hypocrisy meter" hanging on the wall at any of these talks and meetings with "environmental friends". It would be logarithmic like a Richter Scale and when people speak about Global Warming and saving the species but then in the same breath talk about jetting off to an "eco-safari", we should be pointing to the 9.5 on the meter.

I have a co-worker engineer that was having a moral dilemma about working on run-of-river hydro projects due to perceived environmental issues, but couldn't make the next meeting because he was cat-skiing in the Rockies that week. Going up and down the mountain in Cat (ski cat, tracked equipment used for grooming or transportation with about 1/2 mpg) will use more fuel and emit far more GHG's in one day than I would in a year of driving my SUV.

A disconnect indeed!

One of my primary sources.

One of the first sites I visit in the AM.

Time flies when you are having Drum! (oh, that was "fun?", Never mind)

Thank you TOD staff for all the hard work that it takes to get this done. Also to the many followers (commenters) that make this site an information treasure.

I was looking at the UK Financial Times energy blog. http://blogs.ft.com/energy-source/2010/03/25/shale-gas-in-europe-and-chi...

If you look down the side of the page, it lists two links for "Peak Oil Bloggers". One is The Oil Drum. The other is "Bit Tooth Energy", which is Dave Summers' (Heading Out's) blog.

Um, and while the link to TOD works just fine, the link to Bit Tooth Energy is broken.

And look, The Oil Drum gets better billing than CERA! At the FT! (Too bad they didn't break CERA's link instead.)

TOD is a pioneer in use of the new media. It is doing very well, IMO. I usually visit the site at least a couple of times a day and some days more. I'm a free thinker and like to see what other free thinkers are saying. I occationally mention or link to the site when I comment on other sites.

This article points out that a media change takes about 20 years and why:


Old media is fading fast, especially the print forms. There will always be some that can't or won't adapt to the internet and the idea of individually taylored, self created content. But it is well on its way anyhow IMO.

I've had some difficulty adjusting to it myself. The hardest part is not getting upset when your ideas are trashed by others. But I learned from Kunstler that you just kind of have to ignore it, let others have their say and point of view or else you end up in a pointless food fight and won't want to comment anymore.

Every week JHK comes out with another rant that more or less is the same as his old rants. And every week commenters tear some or all of it apart. Yet nearly every Monday he puts up another one because he enjoys writing.

It is why the birds tweet. They know they are endangering themselves in letting birds of prey like hawks know where they are. But they sing anyway. Their song says I am here, this is my idea and I am happy about it.

They enjoy expressing themselves too. And that is why I comment on TOD even though many will disagree.

I want my Oil Drum and so do many others. Readership will increase as time passes because the topic is timely and there are competent people running this site.

I almost took offense at how the theme of the Huffington post article was about the 20 timeline, until I realized I have been so different from mainsteam people.

Everyone else has the internet of the World wide web generation which showed up about the time stated in the article. But I was knowledgable about the processes that lead up to the Internet because of my Dad's background in the Military and his knowledge of the building blocks that produced the whole site to site inter-connected-data network, and I was a fledgling programer 30 years ago even before leaving highschool. A full generation and a half.

The company my dad was working for had a whole different Data Systems company using mainframes and big old Closet cabinet Reel to Reel data tapes, Seeing those in 1980 I was mindful of mysteries afoot, and great futures ahead.

TOD has done a great job of riding that wave, Surfing the net has all the Hippie generation speak that puts the change in the hands of the new generation, getting the old generation out of the way was something other people had to deal with, just not me.

So I am not offended, I have to remember that I was the odd person out, and everyone else is normal.

So where are the Apps for the handheld devices( TOD goes Viral, seen on tiny screens world wide as the 4G networks stream energy information to the kids on their bikes with cellphones )???

BioWebScape designs for a better future.

I want my Oil Drum and so do many others. Readership will increase as time passes

Couldn't agree more! (I notice that the number of readers has slowly risen from around 12,000 to its current 15,600, according to the Feedburner)

I first heard about TOD in relation to the hurricane coverage just pre-Katrina, and stayed (and also registered! - I read a number of other sites, and many I'm content just to lurk)

I could barely hold a candle to the accumulated knowledge on this site, so will raise a glass of Scotland's finest, and say Slainte Mhah instead!


Yep, and that's just the RSS feeds from the folks who don't come to the site, the folks who follow on facebook and twitter, etc., etc. We're still getting around 20k visits to the actual site a day too--so all in all not bad. I'd still like to be reaching more than we do, but we're pushing the outreach pretty hard already with our limited resources.

this site makes learning about peak oil a lot easier than any other site. but you have to want to learn to get anything from it. most people have little interest in the subject until gas prices are high. talking to people about peak oil is a little easier than it was a few years ago but still a challenge. i suspect that when it gets easy to talk to people about peak oil, we will be well into the down slope.

would it be too much to suggest that everyone who follows the site regularly is a volunteer?

Add my kudos to the list.

I know of no other site that is more informed by data and careful analysis and less so by opinion and hot air. Although there are days with a lot of static, the signal-to-noise here is higher than anywhere else I can think of.

Thanks to all for keeping this site alive.

-- Jon

World Peak oil is a difficult concept for most people. My thanks to all staffers for making it easier to understand - I can't believe how much stamina you have!

But there are non-staffers like Westexas with ELM, and you Jonathan developing the tools to graphically see the wood for the trees that has really helped me.

the continuity of staff & commenters is a testament to this site! thanks.

Thanks to all for an excellent resource, TOD is one of the few sites I consistently see mentioned on other poeple's pages as the place to go for quality in-depth analysis on the topic of peak oil, and I've lost count how many times I've seen a TOD graph pop up in unexpected places.

The heavy bias against so-called "doomers" can be tiresome, unfortunately it's probably an accurate reflection on the level of fear and ignorance in the general public. All the more reason why I especially appreciate Gail's courageous and unflagging efforts to put peak oil into the greater context of global ecological overshoot, of which resource depletion is just one facet, albeit a critical one.


Kudos here as well of course, especially the paragon of industriousness Leanan; I always think of a remark she made about how someone told her the Drumbeats were a better roundup of industry news than the very expensive ($1k/year?) service his company was paying for.

I've been here almost from the beginning and have nothing but admiration for all that invest the blood, sweat and tears for TOD. It's difficult to remember what my world perspective was prior to TOD...you've made a profound change in my life. Hopefully, I am not alone in that change.

One thing I have definitely learned from TOD (not sure who first quoted this)

~ Sanity is being able to identify Insanity ~

Thanks for keeping me sane.

Since years I come EVERY day, 365/365. Oil price up or down, doesn't matter.

Thank you very much, its one of the best sites (if not the best) in the internet!


And those five years just happen to nearly coincide with the production plateau that started in May 05. So what a poignant point in time to start and what a great and interesting topic. I frequent this site every day and can't get enough of it.

Thanks to all those that help keep this site fresh and inciteful, as well as the many geologists and oil people that contribute their posts.

Maybe the first five years just set the table for the next five, which are bound to be exponentially interesting.

Thank you all.

I heard about The Oil Drum from someone on one of the Yahoo groups, There were three I was a member of, Alas Babylon, Running on Empty, dieoff org( and still getting the mailing lists from Jay's many topics ), Energyresources, and several others. I knew this site was new, but not how new it was, I'd been in the groups for several years off and on since 2001. I am 4 years and 20 some weeks old, there seem to have been a large number of people that were getting on this site about that time frame.

I was going through a total life change during 2005. When I found TOD I loved all the information that you offered, being an information-junkie I just soaked it up. I had logged in with this account first, then something nasty happened I couldn't remember where I put my password, so I created a new name, Dan Ur (which I can't remember the password to, though I don't post with it anymore, I am sure one of you can tell me how to fix that issue, ) but anyway I got my passwards fixed after I moved and I only post with this account. Dan Ur was a character from a set of my Science Fiction stories, and the handle I used in online role playing games. So if in the records you have read back over the years, I am both, or both are me. Gee I feel like a split personally saying all this. In a way some authors are a bit of their characters, having to create them out of thin/k air and all the puns that go along those lines.

I want to thank long time friends Like Ron P. (Darwinian)-(who knew me from the yahoo groups, and we lived in Huntsville Al, at the same time) and Jokuhl and Memmel (for putting up with my strange stories). I have made other friends some don't post here anymore, but they all have brightened my life.

Cheers, and where does the party meet up afterwards?

BioWebScape designs for a better future including food, fellowship, housing.

I started out splitting my time between TOD and another forum. Several years ago I simply gave up the other forum (where I had something like 2,800 posts) to focus on TOD. TOD is a marvelous site! Thanks to all!


Finding the best information is usually presented at the minimum, which is a process of distillation, reading TOD over these relatively few years has led to one important conclusion:


Accounting for lagging and leading E&P (sorry for the electric-speak), political and economic trends, this is the year global production of all liquids will go into irreversible decline. This date comes from numerous articles posted on TOD and I am simply the lay, empirical filter. After three years of near daily review of TOD articles that interest me or I can hopefully understand, this appears to be the consensus.

TOD can pride itself in achieving its goals by having one simple fact emerge from the apparent chaos of discussion and argument. Reminds me of the opening scene of "A River Runs Through It" where the father (Tom Skerrit) keeps telling his son to make it shorter. If one has done their utmost to study, define, and author their argument it should be the most economical and TOD has met their objectives by enabling this occur in the larger community.

But all the warm wishes cannot go without a bit of negative comment. TOD has been the cause of being late to work on more than one occasion as I take a quick peek at the Drumbeat before departing. Ok, just one more story, ok, I can get through that one, and , oh, this is important, I will use that today...

I really only missed less than a year? For some reason I thought TOD had been around even longer. Really, TOD has always been the best "news magazine" for this crisis, and I expect it will continue to be. It's not like the problem is over; we're just now in the first crash of the Long Emergency, things are only getting started.

So thanks to Prof. Goose (hope that date with Sheryl Crow worked out), SuperG (sorry I had the wrong software skills to help), Leanan (though I'm a little busy ELP'ing to read all of the Drumbeats these days), Gail (who should know that I did read Mandelbrot's book), Nate (who probably already has fewer weeds than I do this year), and Heading Out (who's taught us more about cracking and fracking than I ever thought I'd know.) And thanks as well to everyone who's ever written an article here, and to every commenter who bothered to include a reference, a link, a graph, or at least a marginal pun or joke, to support their claims.

Now back to lurking, and ELPing, and occasionally breaking the silence!

Congratulations to all of the staff, for all that you do, both visible and not. And in particular for attracting and retaining a community of users that keep the signal-to-noise ratio high.

Thanks all. I have been here almost the whole time (tho not always registered) and TOD has become a primary information source for me. You are unique on the internet because of the diversity of knowledgeable voices, all volunteer, that fill your pages and together add up to some collective wisdom. I am in awe of the emergent reality here. Thanks to all and may TOD continue, morphing into whatever comes next. You are an invaluable resource.

Clapping and cheers and celebratory fizzles - flint sparks, champagne, fireworks - to the founders, the staff, the mods, and the posters.

Raises glass, Many happy returns.

Thanks to TOD...from someone who is still way too firmly rooted in the BAU world but whose eyes are opening and..hopefully...whose legs will be moving at some point before it is too late. If we are indeed doomed, I hope that, just before the Internet winks out forever, this site will have one brief, final post: We told you so.

five years seems like a long time. I've only been around a couple of years on this forum, but I've been involved much longer, as have many others. Here's a reminder of just how long some of us have been in the trenches. Preaching to the choir has always been a problem for the environment and energy aware. I hope that those of us who frequent TOC can find a way to break out of the group and figure out how to spread the message to the rest of the world. Only then can there be any hope for the future, if things are indeed as dire as the doomers suggest...

E. Swanson

A big thank you to the staff of TOD. Congratulation on five great years. Good heath and much happiness to one and all.


I read TOD several times daily. I migrated here from LATOC after finding this site. I find the depth of knowledge on TOD simply astounding. One can tell that the average commenter here is of a different ilk than the comments posted on other sites. I attribute this to a great degree a result of the personnel running TOD. I am truly grateful to all concerned for all their sacrifices of time and intellect to produce a site such as TOD.
Jim Hall

A thank you to you, Professor, and all the TOD staff for making this the best peak oil resource on the net. I'm not sure how many other peak oil bloggers get the lion's share of their energy news from daily visits to this site, but I certainly do. Keep up the excellent work!

T.O.D. has no equal.....and I really did fall for that April fools post about Karl Rove.
Can't say enough good things about T.O.D.
Keep up the good work. www.peakaware.com

Thank You ALL so very much.

I often hold up TOD as the actualization of the very potential of "the internets"-- information and thought-provoking discourse and discussion, the epitome of altruism, and an incredible group of writers.

Happy Birthday to all. Time to donate.

I visit TOD regularly as clockwork - last thing in the evening (here in NZ). Consistently among the top 3 sites I visit on the web dealing in a 'specialised' field.

By the way - keep your eyes on NZ - there is a lot of drilling going on here this summer. The 'North Sea of the South Pacific'? - it might just be. It might help those of us who live here (marginally) in a depleting world - there again I doubt our politicos will make the right decisions.

Definitely a lot of smart and insightful people hanging out and commenting at this site. Thanks to all for so many years of alternate reality.

Every year my music students watch Albert Bartlett's lecture and then do a composition/remix
project using the audio. I point them to the oildrum and suggest they do additional research
through the site.
The range and depth of discussions they find on the oildrum continue to amaze, engage and inform all of us.
That's the reality.
Many thanks, many happy returns and long may you continue.

Hi louisc, any chance you could provide a link to the compositions? I'd love to hear that!!

Thanks Guys. Once again I must say I am humbled by the knowledge, intelligence, common sense selfless hard work on display here. If only some of our very mediocre politicians read TOD!

I miss....DarwinsDog...

Where O where has my little dog gone.

O where O where can he be...

One of the sharpest tools ever on TOD.

I'm "happy" to have been coming here for 4&1/2 of those years.

I say "happy" in a generic sense, because the experience has not always been "uplifting" or "joyous."

Since reading millions of words here, my views have evolved considerably. I was once a moderate "doomer" who had faith in getting the word out and mobilizing "organic" agricultural techniques in the hope of getting through the bottleneck--but always with a sick, gnawing sense that this ideal of mine was indeed just an article of faith.

Indeed, to paraphrase Woody Allen's satire of Emily Dickinson: "Hope is the thing without feathers."

To reiterate what a wise geology professor once told me, in the only key post I've written for TOD: "It's too late." (He recognized this as the case over ten years ago.)

Accepting the inevitability of collapse, and our utter incapacity to predict the "how and when" of collapse, is exactly like accepting the inevitability, uncertainty, and nature of one's own death.

Which is something I just have no interest in discussing with people, now that I've just turned 50.

Congrats! and thanks so much for keeping this site alive.

Every once in a while throughout history a phenomenon will develop out of an idea. Those who share the idea and devote themselves to its development do so out of love, often at considerable personal expense and in relative obscurity. Their compensation is the conviction that, while being ahead of their time (as are all pioneers), they are doing the right thing and are laboring under the mantle of destiny. Only further down the road and in retrospect will the full benefit of their work be manifest, with corresponding recognition and expressions of appreciation then forthcoming. The Oil Drum is such a phenomenon. Many thanks to all of you for making this forum a reality.

Thanks TOD!

Thanks especially for including more real world, family scale planning topics for those convinced of coming changes and are doing something more than just talking.

Michael Lewis was on the NPR program "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" this weekend, and he described the handful of people who saw the housing collapse coming, and who took actions to profit from the coming collapse, as a collection of "Oddballs and misfits," which sounds a lot like Peak Oilers.

He said that it's amazing how much people will not see, if they are paid not to see it.

Yep, you should watch his interview with Charlie Rose and read his book (which I am still waiting on from Amazon...). It's basically an in-depth study of why people look at the same data in different ways, etc., etc. Really interesting.

There's a new media versus old media battle being played out in the customer review section for "The Big Short." About half of the reviewers give the book one star (out of five), largely because Kindle users, who have not read the book, are pissed off because the publisher is delaying the release of the Kindle version.

If you haven't read Liars Poker, I highly recommend it. A fascinating look at the world of 1980's Wall Street.

Prof. Goose and Company,

I've been lurking here for 4 years or so (this is my first post). Thanks for a great site! Thanks in particular to Prof. Goose for not posting a word of what I submitted some years ago (just before the stock market crash as the price of oil was peaking). That saved me some embarrassment. Even better; the themes I was concerned about then and now (i.e. the time lines and consequences of peak oil price) have been and are still being addressed sincerely and often with much insight. Though I doubt this site will have much effect on policy makers, I'm certain it has been and will continue to be of value to individuals. For myself, every time I check this site I come away motivated to continue establishing a small (sub-)substance farm. Thanks again. Keep up the good work!

TOD is simply matchless. It provides what amounts to real-time peer review and analysis on a vast range of subject matter, and it really works. It's the only site I always check daily, and the only one I ever comment on, for better or worse. My kudos to the entire staff and an extra tip of the hat to Nate, who's hopefully getting some good rest after a burnout level of brilliant work on the site for years.

I've been delighted to see some of my favorite authors and thinkers listed as active commenters now - I've noticed Greer and Martenson in the last month - and I choose to take that as an indication that TOD is continuing to attract excellence with excellence. It's a place where creative, educated minds - the best of the best - can visit and still come away enriched.


Happy 5th birthday TOD, and thanks for inspiring me to further edumicate myself :)

Thanks for another year Prof G.
I have been here from the beginning. I don't post much anymore but read as often as work allows.

My perception is that current major events (financial, housing, weather, and of course energy) are dissected here day to months before they show up in other media in any noticeable way.

Discussion and dissenting opinions are as valuable as the information. None of us has a lock on the truth. Airing the possibilities and perspectives enlightens me.

Thanks to the staff and the posters for keeping it civil.

I have used this occasion to stop lurking, acquire a handle, make a donation, and offer a post. Long live TOD!

Thanks and congratulation also from me.... I too came to read the amazing blow-blow blow coverage when Katrina hit, and realised what a switched on bunch of people were here. I have read the site every day since then, and count this as THE information source on this most crucial subject.
The breadth of discussion from self sufficiency to technical energy analysis and alternatives has just the right mix of possibility and practicality, pragmatism and optimism, bad news and good.

I only realised as I went to post this that I hadn't ever registered, but I certainly feel very connected to this group simply by sharing this certain world view, I've just agreed so well with your reports and comments, that there was nothing further to add - but congratulation and thanks should be personal, so:
TO the staff - Thanks, you are amazing! ... keep it up!

I am now past my 4th year as a registered poster here on TOD (as those who have read my posts probably can guess, I am not prone to being a silent lurker...though some here probably wish I were!), and being the person I am (prone to being opinionated, cynical, sometimes intellectually elitist and argumentative purely for sport (a vice I must repair and seek absolution for) I come to TOD from a somewhat different perspective than many here, and I can tell this by the words and tone of many of the posts here.

I go out into the world, the cities, the cars, the shows and concerts, the museums and galleries, the stores...and say at least a dozen times a day..."God, I so love this culture." I know that many folks do not, and some will be joyful at its decline (which we know must occur sooner or later, as all cultures have proven to be mortal) but I am not one who looks forward to the loss of this culture. It is me, it is part of who I am and what I wanted when I was a child, and what I want in my fast approaching old age.

I have maintained in times gone by that TOD fascinates minds from both sides of the debate...those who for whatever reason detest this modern age and look forward to its rapid demise (because peak oil and peak energy hold the possibility of breaking what so far has been unbreakable by war, economic depression, and social disorder), and those like myself who love this culture as much as we love life itself and what we view as the gifts it has brought us, and are fascinated by peak oil and peak energy because they present the only real threat to what we view as perhaps the greatest triumph of the human mind in history (industrialism, modern science, high speed travel and communication, and the possibility of democratization of comfort and culture in all its aspects).

Whichever side you take, TOD is fascinating, even addictive,and I add my thank you for the site and the folks who maintain it to the ones above. There is a way in which TOD is actually a debate regarding cultural and historical philosophy...what we ARE as a culture, what we want to be, what we should be, and the limits the natural world places on the aspirations of the human heart and mind and on what we can be. There really can be no way for the thinking person not to be fascinated by such an important, even transcendent debate. But do not presume that it will be settled here on TOD. It is a debate that has always been with us, with every culture. It is the stuff of the legends of humanity, from Gilgamesh to the Hebrew prophets, Plato to Jonathan Swift, Ibn Khaldūn to Oswald Spengler, Adam Smith to Albert Schweitzer, TOD deals with the questions that haunt humans and cultures of all ages.

This is why I cannot find TOD or the questions raised at this site to be "depressing" any more than I can find all human history to be depressing. Every age, every culture, faces it's challenge. TOD is just one place that attempts to define ours. In that, it is of great historical value, and endlessly fascinating.

"Where there is much desire to learn, there of necessity will be much arguing, much writing, many opinions; for opinions in good men is but knowledge in the making." John Milton

"I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions -- but I don't always agree with them."
George Bush

Such is life.


Speaking as a blogger who appreciates how much effort goes into blogging the folks who run TOD do an excellent job. The content is often excellent and varied. The topics are far more important than what the mainstream media talks about and TOD is definitely ahead of the mainstream in dealing with the biggest problems we face in the early 21st century. Overall, a very good job.

What I would like to see covered in depth: Why can't an economy function with a higher ratio of non-oil energy to oil energy? Some economies use much less oil to other energy forms than the US. So why should declining oil production cause the proverbial wheels to fall off? This is the question I keep trying to figure out.

We really do appreciate the efforts you have put into The Oil Drum, and all the contributors who make this forum so worthwhile. This unique site has played a very constructive role to develop awareness among the consumers and industry as well to understand the importance of energy for the nation and world including traditional and alternative resources.
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