Drumbeat: May 12, 2010

As summer nears, expect gasoline prices to go ... down?

Gasoline prices are poised to fall as Memorial Day approaches, a welcome change for motorists who have gotten used to seeing seasonal increases cut into their summer vacation money.

Experts who had been predicting a national average of more than $3 a gallon by Memorial Day now say prices have likely peaked just short of that. Rising supplies and concern about a weakening global economy have helped send wholesale gasoline prices plummeting by 25 cents a gallon since last week.

"Gasoline supplies are about as good as they've ever been going into the summer driving season," says oil analyst Phil Flynn of PFGBest in Chicago.

Canada awash in natural gas, report finds

Canada has enough natural gas to supply the country for a full century, according to new statistics compiled by the Canadian Society for Unconventional Gas.

Fully 4,000 trillion cubic feet of the fuel are buried beneath the country's foothills, plains and lowlands, the society found after conducting a broad, coast-to-coast survey.

Of that, between 700 and 1,300 trillion cubic feet can be profitably brought to surface and sold, the society estimated in a report released Wednesday.

“This report highlights our country’s strength in the resource and that natural gas will be a key foundation in Canada’s energy future,” said society president Mike Dawson in a release.

FACTBOX-Foreign companies stepping away from Iran

(Reuters) - A growing number of oil companies, trading houses and other international companies have stopped doing business with Iran this year amid a U.S. drive to isolate Tehran and international efforts to impose tougher sanctions.

Shell Montreal Refinery Has Potential Buyers, Committee Says

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Montreal refinery has three potential buyers who have until June 1 to make offers for the plant, according to a group trying to halt the shutdown of the plant planned for September.

Brazil offshore field seen to hold 4.5bn barrels

Brazil's ANP energy regulator said an offshore field drilled as part of a capitalisation plan for state-owned Petrobras holds 4.5 billion barrels of oil.

PDVSA, Chevron, Repsol Sign $30 Billion Oil Ventures

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state- owned oil company, signed final contracts worth at least $30 billion to develop crude reserves in the Carabobo blocks of the Orinoco Belt with groups led by Chevron Corp. and Repsol YPF SA.

Nigeria gov't says amnesty program will relaunch

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- A Nigerian official says the government will relaunch an amnesty program for militants who disarm to restore peace to the oil-rich delta region.

Timi Alaibe, the presidential advisor on the Niger Delta, said Wednesday the new program to rehabilitate ex-militants will begin the first week of June. He said the government hopes to target over 20,000 militants.

Canada to Review Arctic Drilling After U.S. Spill

(Bloomberg) -- Canadian national and provincial energy regulators will review the safety requirements for offshore drilling projects in a bid to prevent an oil spill similar to the one in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Calgary-based National Energy Board will review procedures for Arctic drilling, while Canada’s easternmost province of Newfoundland said today it appointed Mark Turner, former chief operating officer of North Atlantic Pipeline Partners and Newfoundland LNG Ltd., to probe its ability to prevent and respond to a spill.

BP Lowers ‘Top Hat’ Oil-Containment Dome in Gulf

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc lowered its smaller “top hat” oil-containment dome to the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, advancing its second attempt to funnel oil from a leaking well to a ship on the surface.

Rig cement failed pressure tests before blast

WASHINGTON — Cement barriers on BP's Macondo well failed a key pressure test hours before a surge of explosive gas and the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, according to documents and testimony provided to a congressional committee, lawmakers said today.

“Significant pressure discrepancies were recorded,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., citing reports that a BP senior vice president delivered to panel investigators.

Natural Gas Slows Oil Leak in Gulf of Mexico

In the last few days, the spill from the broken well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico has begun to change. Sources tell ABC News the amount of natural gas coming out of the well is increasing, which could mean less oil spewing into the ocean. BP, trying to control the slick, confirmed the report.

Public still backs offshore drilling

Despite the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, 57% of likely American voters agree that offshore drilling "is still a safe, reliable and cost-efficient method of producing oil," a Zogby Interactive poll showed.

Will Gulf oil spill change energy consumption?

Could the Gulf disaster cause Americans to pump less gas, buy hybrids or get more involved in other environmental issues?

One in five Americans plan to drive less after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to a recent national survey by the Shelton Group. One in eight will stop buying gas from British Petroleum, which operated the Deepwater Horizon rig that caused the massive spill.

Groups protest against BP oil drilling at DC rally

WASHINGTON — Activists are protesting offshore oil drilling by BP after an explosion at the company's Deepwater Horizon oil rig along the Gulf Coast.

Organizers with "Seize BP" say they will gather at the BP government affairs office in Washington on Wednesday evening. They say they are calling on the government to seize BP's assets and put them in a trust to pay for cleanup costs and damages.

Trucks dominate list of cheapest vehicles to insure

"Vehicle affordability continues to be the most important purchase consideration for car and truck buyers, rivaled only by fuel economy," said Frederiek Toney, a Ford vice president. "We design our vehicles to be easier and more affordable to repair because we know this saves our customers money in insurance premiums and repair costs over the long term."

None of the top vehicles on the list is a car, except the Smart ForTwo microcar. The basic idea behind the list is that some vehicles are cheaper to fix if you crash them, and that difference is reflected in their insurance costs. The report is based on losses of insured vehicles for the models years 2007 to 2009, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Canada's tar sands: a dangerous solution to offshore oil

Alberta is the 'safe' option for US oil needs – but its tar sands are far more environmentally damaging than Deep Horizon.

Russian hydropower plant blast kills 2, wounds 10

MOSCOW (AP) -- Emergency officials say two people died and ten were wounded in a fire that broke out after an explosion at a hydropower plant in central Russia.

Be afraid of Gwynne Dyer’s hope

Gwynne Dyer’s recent appearance at ArtSpring showcased his impressive intellect and his gift of charismatic communication in speaking of the geopolitical effects of climate change.

It also identified his blind spots in peak energy, economics and finance because, as willing as he is to embrace the fantastic solutions of geo-engineers to mitigate climate change, the reality of the ongoing economic collapse promises to thwart those efforts.

Monbiot: I share their despair, but I'm not quite ready to climb the Dark Mountain

Like all cultures, industrial civilisation will collapse at some point. Resource depletion and climate change are likely causes. But I don't believe it will happen soon: not in this century, perhaps not even in the next. If it continues to rely on economic growth, if it doesn't reduce its reliance on primary resources, our civilisation will tank the biosphere before it goes down. To sit back and wait for what the Dark Mountain people believe will be civilisation's imminent collapse, without trying to change the way it operates, is to conspire in the destruction of everything greens are supposed to value.

Wal-Mart plans $2B hunger relief push

NEW YORK - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to significantly ramp up its donations to the nation's food banks to total $2 billion over the next five years, the retail giant said Wednesday.

The company is more than doubling its annual rate of giving as the number of Americans receiving food stamps has risen to one in eight, and food banks are straining to meet demand.

Turkey, Russia sign deals on nuclear power plant, pipeline to carry Russian oil to Europe

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey and Russia signed agreements on Wednesday for the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant and the development of a pipeline project to carry Russian oil from the Black Sea, through Turkey to the Mediterranean.

Turkey, a U.S. ally, served as NATO's foremost base during the Cold War, but its relations with Moscow have rapidly developed since the fall of the Soviet Union. Both countries have vowed to triple their bilateral trade volume to around $100 billion in the next five years.

Turkey unveils energy plan

The Turkish energy ministry has announced its strategic energy plan for 2010-2014, which seeks to accomplish several objectives: boosting supply security and Turkey's influence in regional and global energy markets, protecting the environment, making greater use of domestic resources and restructuring the legal-institutional infrastructure of the national energy market.

The statistics provided in the report reveal clearly the pitfalls of Turkish energy policies. Turkey is poor in hydrocarbons, but it is heavily dependent on conventional fuels. The country's current total proven oil reserves could meet only its consumption for a year, and entire natural gas reserves could satisfy only one sixth of its consumption for one year.

Pemex Finance Costs to Fall in $1.2 Billion Bond Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos’ borrowing costs probably will fall at today’s sale of 10-year peso bonds as the state-owned oil company’s efforts to break a five-year slide in output lures investors, Interacciones Casa de Bolsa SA said.

Pemex, based in Mexico City, may sell 9.1 percent bonds due 2020 today to yield 30 basis points, or 0.3 percentage point, above Mexican government debt, said Alejandro Hernandez, who manages the equivalent of $1.2 billion at Interacciones. In the initial sale of the securities on Feb. 4, Pemex paid 9.1 percent, or 99 basis points above government debt.

Energy prices drag down Canadian exports in March

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian exports unexpectedly slipped in March on falling energy prices, causing the trade surplus to shrink sharply to C$254 million ($249 million) from C$1.15 billion in February, according to Statistics Canada on Wednesday.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected the surplus to grow slightly to C$1.55 billion, forecasting modest gains in both exports and imports. The trade surplus had been larger than expected in the previous two months.

Transocean’s Biggest Investor Dumps Stock After Blast

(Bloomberg) -- Transocean Ltd.’s largest investor at the end of 2009, Marsico Capital Management LLC, liquidated its entire holding in the world’s biggest oil driller partly because of a fatal rig blast that triggered a Gulf of Mexico spill.

Don't Buy Timber REITs on Mars (and Other Stories)

If you bought into the Peak Oil hypothesis, then chances were good that you took Goldman's prediction as confirmation of your belief that oil stocks were going a-gusher. News that Buffett was buying these stocks would have further confirmed your "bias" in favor of high oil prices.

Problem was, it was wrong. All wrong. Never mind the dissenters warning of critical oversupply in the oil market. Never mind that the Great Recession was just around the corner, threatening to crush demand. The bull thesis went bust, and these companies have since shed anywhere from 20% to 40% of their values since those heady days of May ... 2008. (And in a final bit of irony, now that nobody's talking about $200-a-barrel oil anymore, we finally find these oil stocks selling for below-market multiples, and looking attractive.)

U.N. resolutions vs Iran "not worth penny": Ahmadinejad

(Reuters) - U.N. resolutions aimed at increasing sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program "are not worth a penny" and Tehran will give no ground to pressure, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday.

He was addressing six world powers that are discussing imposing more far-reaching sanctions on the major oil producer.

Louisiana warns of over-reaction to Gulf spill

(Reuters) - Any effort to limit off-shore drilling in the wake of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill would be a "gross over-reaction" that would further batter the Louisiana economy, the state's treasurer said on Friday.

"I think that it would be a gross over-reaction to stop drilling," State Treasurer John Kennedy told Reuters. "Do we need to learn from our mistakes? Certainly we do."

Off-shore drilling drives nearly a third, or $65 billion, of the state's economy in direct and indirect revenue, Kennedy said.

Sandia National Laboratories Discovers New Pathway To Commercial Nuclear Fusion Power

Prospects for low-cost, clean energy through nuclear fusion just got brighter, thanks to a lucky discovery at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. A research team led by noted physicist Dr. Franklin Felber has taken a big step towards meeting two of the greatest technological challenges of pulsed power for fusion – current amplification and pulse compression. The team’s discovery was published in Physical Review Letters.

FACTBOX - Electric cars coming soon to Europe's roads

REUTERS - The first mass-market electric cars are coming to Europe later this year.

Below are details about some of the models.

Jeff Rubin: It ain’t about Greece

A $10-per-barrel drop in oil prices seems a curious response to the ongoing disaster at BP’s Deepwater Horizon wellhead and to its potentially devastating repercussions on future world oil supply. But when the Dow loses 1,000 points in the same week, there’s obviously something else going on.

If the world’s economic outlook is the same as Greece’s, both stock and oil markets have every right to be concerned about valuations. Brutal fiscal austerity and the general strikes and growing social unrest it triggers are not normally the ingredients for a sunny outlook for world oil demand, nor, for that matter, world anything demand. Given where Greece’s economy is likely to be heading, its citizens will consume less oil, not more, in the future.

IEA Cuts Estimate for OPEC Oil Demand in 2010 as Supplies Rise

(Bloomberg) -- The International Energy Agency cut its estimate for the amount of oil OPEC will need to pump in 2010 on a weaker demand outlook and as supply from outside the group rises by the largest annual amount in six years.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will need to pump 28.7 million barrels a day to balance global oil demand and supply this year, the IEA said in its monthly market report today. That is 400,000 barrels fewer than estimated last month. The agency cut its estimate for total world oil consumption from 2008 through this year because of changes to historical data.

Oil Advances Before Supply Report on Equities, Sliding Dollar

Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose in New York, reversing earlier losses, as advancing equity indexes restored confidence in the economic recovery while a weaker dollar heightened the commodity’s appeal for hedging inflation.

U.S. crude oil inventories probably increased 1.75 million barrels in the week ended May 7, according to a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Department report today. Yesterday the American Petroleum Institute also reported a supply gain for the period. The International Energy Agency cut its 2010 global oil demand forecast by 220,000 barrels a day to 86.4 million a day.

Brent Oil Premium May Collapse as Demand Rises

(Bloomberg) -- Brent oil’s premium to West Texas Intermediate crude is poised to collapse from the highest level in nine months as strengthening U.S. demand may cut record inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub.

U.K. Natural-Gas Prices Decline as Supplies From Norway Climb

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. natural gas fell as Norwegian supplies increased even as Gassco AS said exports from its Kollsnes plant remained curtailed.

Within-day gas dropped as much as 4.5 pence, or 9.4 percent, to 43.5 pence a therm, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. The contract was at 45.25 pence as of 10:04 a.m. local time, equal to $6.78 a million British thermal units. A therm is 100,000 Btus.

OPEC Unlikely to Alter Quotas or Tighten Compliance

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC is unlikely to alter existing production quotas or ask members to improve compliance with agreed output targets, Algeria’s energy minister said.

“We won’t need to change our quotas,” Algeria’s Chakib Khelil said to Bloomberg at a conference in Doha, Qatar today. “Brent is high, $79, and our Sahara Blend is around $80 or $81,” Khelil said, adding that he was “pretty happy” with the European crude benchmark and was referring to the Algerian oil grade.

Lawyers say Gulf rig workers coerced

Workers aboard an exploding offshore drilling platform were told to sign statements denying they were hurt or witnessed the blast that rocked the rig, killed 11 and spewed millions of gallons of oil into the ocean, their attorneys said Tuesday.

Swiss-based Transocean Ltd denied the allegations late Tuesday. All decisions aboard the rescue boat, the Damon Bankston, were made solely by the U.S. Coast Guard, Transocean said in a statement.

Oil spill testimony to Congress: Don't blame us

WASHINGTON — Senators warned Tuesday that the future of U.S. offshore drilling is in doubt unless oil industry executives stop trading blame for the Gulf oil spill and take steps to prevent such an accident from happening again.

In heated testimony on Capitol Hill, executives from the companies that owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon oil rig pointed fingers at each other for its April 20 explosion off Louisiana's coast. Efforts to cap the well, which the government estimates is leaking at least 5,000 barrels of oil per day, have been complicated by the fact that officials still do not fully understand what caused the disaster.

Big oil to get more grilling as oil gushes in Gulf

WASHINGTON/PORT FOURCHON, Louisiana (Reuters) – Top oil executives face a second day of grilling by U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday over a deadly well rupture that unleashed a huge oil slick and the specter of environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Louisiana lawmakers: BP can't handle Gulf oil spill cleanup anymore

Port Fourchon, La. – Several state lawmakers in Louisiana are ramping up their calls for the state and the federal government to relieve British Petroleum of its authority in the Gulf oil spill cleanup.

The three week-old environmental crisis took on new urgency last weekend as oil moved west of the Mississippi River and threatened the Barataria, Terrebonne, and Atchafalaya bays, as well as the wetlands of Jefferson, Lafourche, and Terrebonne Parishes – among the state’s most fertile fisheries.

Undersea blowout fail-safe devices not 100%

The mechanism designed as a fail-safe protection against undersea blowouts can't always shut off modern deep-water wells and tests to ensure it will work are unreliable, according to government records and drilling experts.

BP drilling rig had near-explosion just weeks prior to April 20 catastrophe

Robert Bea, a professor of engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, has been trying to piece together the sequence of events that led to the April 20th explosion of the BP Deepwater Horizon off the coast of Louisiana. He's gathered statements and transcripts from roughly 50 people, some directly connected to the accident, others being experts in the field of offshore drilling.

What's he discovered? There was an "intense kick" of natural gas that caused the rig to be shut down over fears of a catastrophic explosion just weeks before one such influx of gas did so.

BP’s Dispersant Strategy on Spill Veers Into Uncharted Science

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc’s effort to curb damage from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is venturing into uncharted scientific territory as the company sprays more dispersant than has ever before been used in the U.S.

New Ways to Drill, Old Methods for Cleanup

While drilling technology has advanced, the techniques to contain oil spills have barely changed in 20 years.

Our view on energy: Don't use oil spill as excuse to deep-six domestic drilling

As nice as it would be to halt oil exploration along the coastline or in the Alaskan wilderness, years of feckless energy policy have forfeited that luxury. The question now isn't whether to drill, but how to do so more safely, particularly in deep water, while developing clean-energy replacements such as wind, solar and biofuels.

Opposing view on energy: Halt offshore exploration

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."

That's what Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman said in 1986. Judging by recent events, it's more true today than ever.

Peak Oil and Profits Behind Deepwater Disaster

The disaster caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was a human disaster but not of the workforce’s making. It is due to decisions of the oil companies and the government.

David Suzuki: What the Gulf oil disaster tells us

It could never happen here. That was Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s assurance in the wake of the massive oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which he referred to as “an environmental catastrophe unlike anything we've seen in quite a long time”.

Tullow Expects Ugandan Deal Approval by End of May

(Bloomberg) -- Tullow Oil Plc, the U.K. explorer with the most licenses in Africa, expects the purchase of assets from Heritage Oil Plc in Uganda and a plan to bring in partners to be approved by the government by the end of the month.

“We understand from the government itself that we will have approval before the end of May,” Chief Executive Officer Aidan Heavey said in an interview today.

The end of oil

Today, few serious analysts deny the reality of Hubbert’s “peak oil” theory. It’s not an especially difficult concept to grasp intuitively, after all. Oil is a non-renewable resource. It was produced by geological processes over very long periods of time millions of years ago. Once we’ve used it up, it’s gone forever.

The debate around global peak oil is no longer about if it will happen, but when. The optimists claim that it lies decades in the future, while the pessimists assert that it has already happened. In recent years, however, a growing number of commentators have converged on the conclusion that it will be reached earlier rather than later and that the world is not ready for the consequences.

Peak-oil author to speak in Montpelier

MONTPELIER – An author and peak-oil activist will give a lecture in Montpelier on Thursday as part of a swing through Vermont.

Michael Ruppert is a former narcotics officer with the Los Angeles Police Department and the author of "Confronting Collapse."

Why Local Economies Matter

Going local' currently remains a fringe, grassroots process made up of small-scale initiatives. The real question is how to steer government priorities away from big business and global finance, and to gain political and popular support for an economy geared toward localisation.

Drivers, bicyclists clash on road sharing

(CNN) -- Professor Peter Furth has ridden his bicycle to work at Northeastern University each day for the past six years. The two-mile trip through the Boston suburb of Brookline, Massachusetts, is usually without incident.

Furth's journey is worlds apart from his former Boston commute, which for 13 years was a battle with drivers who wanted him on the sidewalk.

"I've had motorists that drive a couple of inches from my elbow, trying to scare me," he said.

Furth would catch up with drivers at stoplights and ask them whether they knew how close they'd come to hitting him. Invariably, they would say, "Yes, move over."

Amid Conflict, a Consensus on Efficiency

Those of you who follow energy and environmental issues with some regularity will surely know the McKinsey greenhouse gas cost abatement curve — but for those who are unfamiliar with it, it’s shown above.

All sorts of interesting tidbits can be gleaned from the chart, but the takeaway point — one of critical import to the hundreds of government officials, business executives and advocates for energy reform gathered this week in Washington for the Energy Efficiency Global Forum and Exhibition — is pretty simple: The most inexpensive way to bring down greenhouse gas emissions is to improve energy efficiency.

Biofuel Chemistry More Complex Than Petroleum, Say Researchers

ScienceDaily — Understanding the key elements of biofuel combustion is an important step toward insightful selection of next-generation alternative fuels.

N.Korea boasts success in nuclear fusion

SEOUL (AFP) – North Korea on Wednesday claimed it had carried out a nuclear fusion reaction that could lead to a limitless supply of clean energy -- a process that the world's scientists have so far yet to achieve.

Physicists worldwide are striving to develop a nuclear fusion power plant, a project which the International Atomic Energy Agency terms "a great challenge".

But North Korea said it had triumphed using its own technology.

EDF, E.ON Face Nuclear Hurdle From U.K.’s Coalition Government

(Bloomberg) -- E.ON AG, Electricite de France SA and Centrica Plc may find it harder to build new nuclear reactors in the U.K. because of a division on energy policy between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in the coalition government.

The two parties, which agreed yesterday to combine forces to command a majority in Parliament, will have to resolve differences on nuclear power soon to ensure the U.K. has enough electricity in 2020, said Ian Parrett, energy analyst at the consultant Inenco. The Conservatives are in favor of new nuclear plants, while the Liberal Democrats oppose them.

Critics Say EVs Aren't Ready, but They're Missing the Big Picture

There’s no shortage of skepticism about battery-powered cars out there. After all these vehicles, available here by the end of the year from at least five companies, will have many challenges. There won’t be many charging stations, the cars will be limited to 100 miles of range, and they’ll be, well, shockingly expensive.

But none of that means they’ll ultimately fail in the marketplace, though the rate of adoption will inevitably be slow. By straightforward comparison with internal-combustion cars, EVs don’t fare well — they don’t offer as much value or utility. But if you believe, as I do, that there are big and unstoppable international drivers out there — including global warming and peak oil — then you can see the cars in perspective.

With Flyovers, a Solar Map of New York

While most residents were sleeping, a twin-engine Shrike Commander flew serial missions over the city recently, cruising low like Superman and back and forth like a lawn mower. Equipped with a laser system, the plane collected highly precise images of the city, its rooftops, trees, wetlands and much of what lies in between.

...The data will be used, among other things, to create up-to-date maps of the areas most prone to flooding, the buildings best suited for the installation of solar power and the neighborhoods most in need of trees. An advisory panel of experts formed by the mayor has warned that the city must prepare for more rain and an increased risk of coastal flooding in the coming decades as a result of global climate change.

Suzlon Says European Companies Delay Turbine Orders

(Bloomberg) -- Suzlon Energy Ltd., India’s largest wind-turbine maker, said companies in Europe are postponing orders as the debt crisis makes it difficult to raise funds for renewable-energy projects.

“A lot of projects are being deferred,” Chairman Tulsi Tanti said in an interview recorded with Bloomberg TV in Brussels yesterday. “Small and medium customers are heavily affected by the financial crisis,” he said without naming companies. “2010 will be a moderate year” for orders.

U.S. Climate Bill Would Expand Oil Drilling, Cut CO2

(Bloomberg) -- Two U.S. senators plan to unveil legislation today to expand offshore oil and natural-gas production and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 17 percent this decade from 2005 levels.

The bill by senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman tries to remake the nation’s energy sector amid lawmaker anger over the growing oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. It would give coastal states 37.5 percent of the drilling revenue and the authority to block production within 75 miles of shore, according to a summary obtained yesterday.

Green Exchange Sees ‘Significant’ Flaws in U.S. Climate Plan

(Bloomberg) -- Green Exchange International LLC, a unit of CME Group Inc.’s New York Mercantile Exchange, said the proposed U.S. climate law would limit trading because it includes price caps and floors.

“There are significant disadvantages to what has been proposed,” said Green Exchange Chief Executive Officer Tom Lewis in an interview in London. The caps and floors would limit potential trading profits and curb participation, he said.

New Global Network Links Geological Storage of CO2 Research in 8 Countries

REGINA /CNW/ - The International Performance Assessment Centre for Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide (IPAC-C02) has established a global network linking organizations in eight countries which conduct research into the geological storage of carbon dioxide.

Africa skeptical over funds to combat global warming

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) – Africa on Tuesday expressed doubt over the capacity of developed nations to keep their financial commitments made during last year's Copenhagen summit to help poor countries deal with climate change.

"It's primordial to know whether the financial pledges will be kept. Doubts have been expressed and we have indications that these doubts are justified," Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told the opening of an African Union meeting in Addis Ababa.

Bill Gates funds cloud factory

Geoengineering – the science of altering the earth’s life support systems – is officially a reality. San Francisco-based research institute Silver Lining just received $300,000 of seed funding from Bill Gates to test a “cloud whitening” technology that could prove a cost-effective method for slowing the effects of global warming.

Earlier this year at the TED conference, Gates surprised the world by pronouncing that climate change was the single greatest threat to humanity and that he would be joining the effort to find rapidly deployable energy technologies that could get us away from of the #1 cause of climate change – coal and oil. But the new venture shows the billionaire genius is looking at the problem from multiple angles.

Struggling seal hunt to limp on

A lack of sea ice in one of the warmest Canadian winters on record and a European ban on seal products were blamed for ruining what was to be a banner seal hunt.

Most of Canada's 6,000 sealers stayed home, unable to find buyers for their catch or stymied by a lack of ice floes for the first time in 60 years on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, which usually host hordes of seals birthing pups.

Glacier National Park turns 100, but may not last another 10

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. — Age has not been kind to Glacier National Park.

The gorgeous million-acre park in northwestern Montana celebrated its 100th birthday on Tuesday. But many of its glaciers have melted, and scientists predict the rest may not last another decade.

UN fears 'irreversible' damage to natural environment

GENEVA (AFP) – The UN warned on Monday that "massive" loss in life-sustaining natural environments was likely to deepen to the point of being irreversible after global targets to cut the decline by this year were missed.

As a result of the degradation, the world is moving closer to several "tipping points" beyond which some ecosystems that play a part in natural processes such as climate or the food chain may be permanently damaged, a United Nations report said.

Schwarzenegger Preps ‘Terrible Cuts’ to Close Deficit

May 11 (Bloomberg) -- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will seek “terrible cuts” to eliminate an $18.6 billion budget deficit facing the most-populous U.S. state through June 2011, his spokesman said. . .

Schwarzenegger’s newest plan will revise the proposals introduced in January to account for the tax-collection shortages. In January, the governor said California may have to eliminate entire welfare programs, including the main one that provides cash and job assistance to families below the poverty line, without an influx of cash from the federal government.

I wonder if more and more states will deliberately target welfare programs, hoping to drive welfare dependent residents to other states. Someone posted a note a few weeks ago to the effect that this was already happening in Illinois, especially in Chicago, as Illinois' pile of billions of dollars worth of unpaid bills continues to climb.

If states try to raise taxes, they will tend to drive the remaining taxpayers away, toward lower tax states.

There are a couple of ways to view this.

1) "I'm Gonna' Kill the Bunny If You Don't Give Me the Money"! Governors use his tactic often. They target a favorite budget item for termination in an effort to get more money. This tactic very often works because no legislator wants his constituents to blame him for the death of the bunny.

2) There are, in fact, very harsh choices ahead. It's not too hard to imagine that the ones least able to defend themselves within the legislative process, e.g. the poor, will take a beating the firstest. It's sad, but I don't see where else this is likely to lead. The welfare system IS going to crash. So will state pensions and everything else erected upon the expectation of continued growth/expanded deficts.

Yes, I think it's a "kill the bunny" ploy. Not just for state legislators, but for the feds. He's hoping for more bailout bucks.

2) may be correct, but no way does the Governator believe it. He thinks he just has to keep things together until the economy turns around (typically 2-3 years later for state governments than for the rest of the economy).

Whether it's a ploy or a bluff, eventually it will be something that happens - the bluff gets called, etc. Eventually may well be now. There's just not any money left after so much goes to empire and the ultra wealthy. Once these support systems are removed, then begin the real dislocations at the bottom, and the seeds are sown for social unrest on a wide scale. Arnold is playing the role of the fat lady singing.

If it were a "kill the bunny" ploy, he would be targeting popular programs such as state parks, road maintenance and education. Nobody in California likes welfare exept those receiving it.

Yes, sf, that's exactly how "Kill the Bunny" usually works.
This time the Governator is attempting a variation on the theme as the threat is now being directed at the Federal government instead of at state legislators. It's unclear if this tactic can work this way, perhaps, perhaps not, but I think desperate times are calling for desperate actions.

Austerity measures are never fun but will be completely necessary. Deficit spending can not be done forever, there are consequences. Austerity measures will arrive in the U.S. and other parts of Europe eventually, this place is imploding http://www.zerohedge.com/article/record-number-foodstamp-receipients-and...

"Kill the bunny" is much more difficult to pull off at the state level than at the federal level.

One of the main reasons this is so, particularly in western states, is that the constitutions tend to run to hundreds of pages with all kinds of specific funding embedded in them. California's constitution, for example, specifies that the first two priorities which must be met before other programs are funded, are a certain level of spending on K-12 education and payments on bonds. Threats against either of those are empty.

Another important reason is that state revenues are far less fungible than federal revenues are. For example, road maintenance is substantially funded by fuel taxes; without explicit statutory changes, out in the open where everyone can see, the revenue from these fuel taxes have to be spent on roads. Statutory changes require the legislature and the governor to cooperate, or for the legislature to override a veto. Given the present situation in California, that seems unlikely.

Within the constraints most state legislatures face, there are typically two broad areas of General Fund spending where cuts can be made: higher ed and social services (closing prisons works too, but is very unpopular). California is slowly defunding its higher ed system; Colorado passed a bill this year requiring all of its public post-secondary schools to write a report on how they would cope with a 50% cut in state funding. Illinois is withholding payments to many of its post-secondary schools because of its cash flow crisis.

Social services in general come with their own set of constraints. Colorado's Old Age Pension program is in the state constitution. The federal government requires that states implement the Food Stamp (now SNAP) program. When you look into the details of the federal/state unemployment insurance system, you find that in most states, discontinuing state participation results in substantial tax increases for businesses.

The 800-pound gorilla in the social services spending menagerie is Medicaid. Participation by states is not mandatory, but if a state does participate, it must meet federal minimum standards. In many states, eliminating Medicaid payments would pretty much solve their budget problems. Arizona is the first state to tighten their Medicaid eligibility rules to reduce their state expenditures, even though it's costing them a big pile of federal money. In all probability they will not be the last.

Noboady in California likes welfare exept those receiving it.

Nonsense. Shopkeepers and landlords providing goods and shelter to welfare recipients appreciate the income. And then there are those who try to live by the wisdom of the ages, but who realized the inadequacy of church charity in the industrial era.

Leviticus 19:9-10
"When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field
to its very border, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your
harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you
gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for
the poor and for the sojourner; I am the LORD your God."

Deut 24:19-22
"When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf,
do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless
and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all
the work of your hands.
When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the
branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien,
the fatherless and the widow.
When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over
the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien,
the fatherless and the widow.
Remember that you were slaves in Egypt.
That is why I command you to do this."

Deut 14:28-29
"At the end of every three years you shall bring forth all the tithe
of your produce in the same year, and lay it up within your towns; and
the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the
sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns,
shall come and eat and be filled; that the LORD your God may bless you
in all the work of your hands that you do."

Luke 14:13
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.

Qur’an 51:15-16,19
Surely those who guard against evil shall be in gardens and fountains. Taking what their Lord gives them; surely they were before that, the doers of good. And in their property was a portion due to him who begs and to him who is denied good.

This idea that everybody receiving welfare is a deadbeat is just as tiresome as this idea (widely espoused by the Tea Baggers) that government is completely useless and they would just be oh so much better off if it simply got out of their way and let them be "free"... the truth is a very, very small minority of us would be able to live without gov't infrastructure etc... But it's a fantasy that's hard to shake... just as the welfare myth has become entrenched in our society...

It seems like a very long time since our society actually found inspiration in this line of thinking instead (FDR):

""Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the constant omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference."

But, then again, watch and see who everyone turns to when things really get tough...

But they are useless, they live off the production of others. They are akin to leeches, these entitlements cannot be funded. This place is going to end up like Greece.


Nice - and from that link... national defense spending UP 17% (I won't do the math but 17% of $800 billion is A LOT ! - it's already at 53 cents for every federal dollar spent)

But it's those commie entitlements that are leeching the system and bankrupting us...

Here's a start - properly fund Social Security - currently people have to pay no additional contributions above ~ $100,000 - so you can make several ORDERS of magnitude above that and not contribute an additional cent... that's just insanity (* if we are serious about continuing to offer it - I don't really see how it can be done away with... especially now with so many more people dependent on it - if that's the case, get serious about funding it...)

Social Security is nothing more than a long term ponzi. Raising the cap will not fix it, only delay the inevitable for a few years. Social security is around 14 trillion in unfunded liabilities, however it is nothing compared to Medicare. Maybe if you're lucky the SS payouts will be able to pay for groceries, assuming gold isn't trading at $5,000/oz.

Irregardless, this place is crashing and burning. How does the U.S. social structure differ from that of Greece?

But fundamentally this place won't end up like Greece because of unfunded liabilities and social programs - it is going down that road due to the leeching that occurred predominantly at the top - by the corporatists and predatory capitalists who engineered the mother of all wealth transfers, sucking the the last drops of blood out of the host, then proceeded to scream at the suffering beast to get up and "make something of themselves"...

If programs like SS are ponzi - it wasn't the (fomerly well off) middle class that made it so...

I agree with you about the crashing and burning... I just want to encourage everyone to direct their anger at those truly responsible...

I'm sure the anger will be directed at those responsible, I wonder what this place will look like in 3-5 years. It's only a matter of time until things like this start occurring here. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breaking-news/uk-ireland/banks-protest...

No Floridian, the anger will never be directed at those responsible. In fact, it will be directed at anybody and anything not responsible. That's what the Teabaggers are all about. It's all about scapegoating.

You know, immigrants, social security, welfare, etc. When actually, it's corporate welfare and the military fighting unnecessary wars that we (not all of us) were lied into, sucking down billions a week. For nothing. For less than nothing.

Mass immigration related to the immigration act of 1965 has done massive damage to lower skilled workers, one can only hope they take aim at it as this place unwinds. Social Security is another scam as well. Don't worry about the military, as the empire unwinds they won't be a fiscal black-hole either.

Greece has similar issues.

How does the U.S. social structure differ from that of Greece?

We print our own money.

If Greece could print its own money it could devalue it. Non- Greeks would bear the costs of Greece's activities and ultimate restructuring. Since Greece must buy funds at always increasing costs, its citizens (labor) must bear the burden. The greater the burden placed on Greek labor the less able it will be to bear it.

If California could print its own money it could devalue that money and those outside the state who do business with it would bear the costs of the state's activities ... and ultimate restructuring. Instead, California's citizens (labor) must bear these costs.

California borrowing from the Treasury is irrelevant as neither the Treasury nor its banker(s) can create value only recycle redundant claims against value.

Only labor wisely directed can can create value (ironically). The wealty world taxes labor and deprecates wisdom ... so that there is decreasing return from it; the rising costs of primary inputs make labor unprofitable. Labor is exported and yields are quashed so that the only form of investment capital is loans from finance rather than the returns of labor.

You cannot devalue your way to prosperity.

If they went back to the Drachma, it would devalue, sharply. No one would buy greek gov bonds in drachmas, and for the greek people the value of their savings would plummet, and all their external costs (like energy) would rise sharply. The average Greek would be worse off.

If the Greek gov has done such a bad job managing everything but the currency, what makes you think they could do a good job of managing the currency?

The euro is about as stable as you can get (other than US $ and gold), and it's one thing the Greek gov can't mess with - they actually have to find real solutions.

Greece should actually just default - this bailout package is to bail out the bondholders, not the people. Default on the debt, no one will want to buy Greek bonds again, so the greek gov will have to live within it's means = something all governments should learn to do. That might also be a good incentive for them to fix their hopeless tax collection system.

I know people rant about the military, but part of that budget goes to the Coast Guard, It also goes to keep nikes out of your living room. And the trickle down has also led to a more heavily armed police force, trained by the same people training the military.

I do see where could trim here and there, and a lot of the planes and gear that the military has in place was given to companies that have a bad habit of using cost overruns and such. But just slashing the funding on everything across the board is just as bad as ya'll calling the tea baggers crazy about doing away with government.

While I don't think that going to Iraq and Afganistan were the right things to do at the time. Having said that, where do you think we would have been these last years had we not done something after 911? For my bet I was figuring on another country, but I can't say which one, due to the secrecy act.

Just wondering what you think we would looking at in the world today.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

No oil wars? Since you asked...

1. Bin Laden might have actually been caught by an international police/military undercover/strike unit.

2. We would have been more likely to bie the bullet and deal with the oil decline issue, as clearly outlined by Cheney in '99 and the Hirsch Report (for the gov't) in 2005.

3. We wouldn't have spent hundreds of billions/trillions on the wars, which would likely have triggered a recession all alone given wars are a net drag on the economy in the long run.

4. Would be more secure because all those resources could have been used in defense.

5. With the borders we have, and the fact they are de facto wide open, the only reason there hasn't been another 9/11 is simple: nobody of any means has really tried to. Bin Laden was very clear that he sought to get us chasing our own tails, and that would do the job.

He was right, so why bother with another attack, even if unmolested?

...little things like that.

It also goes to keep nikes out of your living room.

Honest mom I swear I'll put them up next time, NOOOO! don't throw them away, I paid good money for them mowing lawns. Mom, You are going to make me cry, you threw my Nikes away.

Gades, Nukes, NUkes, duke nukem would be so sad I let him down.

At least I found it funny.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future, still with shoes.

But they are useless, they live off the production of others.

You're talking about so called free market corporate capitalists, right?

Those are exactly the folk who will further enslave Greece in non-repayable debt.

Watch the Movie "Life and Debt"


If Greece could not pay back its debt, perhaps it should not have been taking out loans in the first place. Greece has an option - default.

Not any more, they don't. Or, if they do, then the UK, Germany, France, et al. will have to pay it. And, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Iceland will have to contribute as well. In all likelihood, forcing those nations into default as well.

The bail out is for the investors, the banks (again), who should be the ones failing. But, as usual in our insane capitalism of today, we privatize the gains and profits and socialize the losses. The wealthy are the freeloaders! They are the ones with the entitlement mentality. Let the damned banks fail. They deserve it!


Greece has defaulted in the past, they can default once again. The only problem with this is if they default no one would want to lend them the money to continue deficit spending. However if they were to revert to the Drachma, they could inflate away their debt. The bail out is so Greece can continue attempting to pay back the people who loaned them money as well as continue to pay for government expenses.

Fred, the wealthy have bought into their rationale... they drank too much of the koolade and can no longer see anything else.

Just wait 'til the IMF comes to your community and tells you to sell hour water supply to a megacorporation. Ahh... come to Jamiaica! Of course, the wealthy are the megacorps, and to them all is fine.

And, all they want is BAU - growth through attrition. You see, for them it is zero sum. For them to be winners, there must be losers. I read the other day that, according to polls, the wealthy are now worried that they will not be getting wealthier as fast, and they don't like it!


Craig, trust me, I know all too well, I have an uncle who is an economist and works for the IMF, we don't exactly see eye to eye...

"But it's a fantasy that's hard to shake"

It's your basic libertarian line. Libertarianism is fundamentally a Utopian notion. All the freedom, none of the responsibility. This way lies madness (and 'Mad-Maxness')

Good insight, ET. We all seem to believe in one myth or another; the problem with most 'pure' -isms is that there is no such thing as a pure anything. And, just as communism and capitalism fail in practice, so would socialism, and libertarianism. We are far too complex, and our society is as well. Many would say it is that complexity that makes us vulnerable to small preturbations. In any event, doctrinal purity is just another myth... like abiotic oil, perpetual motion and military intelligence.


Many would say it is that complexity that makes us vulnerable to small preturbations

Tainter says the opposite - that complexity helps solve problems in ways simplicity can't. perturbations are exactly the things that are problems that complexity solves (ex: one no longer needs to know an oil field owner to get oil. Even if that one oil well goes kaput, the "complexity" helps allocate oil, within the rules / laws of the complexity setup).

I wonder what would Tainter say about the level of complexity for the process needed to secure oil from 18,000 ft below the surface of the ocean?

Is this organizational complexity on top of technical complexity outside the box?

Or maybe just something akin to corporate libertarianism.

Complexity solves problems, but it also creates them. And it has an energy cost. Tainter does not think our present level of complexity is sustainable.

But, then again, watch and see who everyone turns to when things really get tough...

I could answer that one easily, Me. But you didn't mean everyone the same way as I felt like today. One friend calls hoping for a ride, another friend calls hoping for a ride and maybe some food, and if I had it some money. So for a while I felt like Everyone was turning to me.

I know who I turn to, but most people on the forum knows I am a Christian. It is sad that people are turning to the Government these days, when less than 60 years ago the people you turned to were family and sometimes friends.

I can understand the mindset of those people who look at Government as the bad guy, and want less of him in their lives. Mostly because they see the tax man, the cop, the code enforcement people telling them what to do, yet forget that the same creation of the people, also keeps their food safe, the school lights on, and the fire from their rooftops, and normally their borders safe, amoung hundreds of other things that they would have to do on their own if they did not have a government in place to do it for them.

But at one time the laws of the land were met with "frontier justice" and not well armed SWAT teams and all the methods they are now tasked to handle. When someone calls 911 they expect to have help in minutes, but in the olden days, there was only your six shooter to help you.

Call it what it is, nostalgia, something they can't have, not without a lot of heart ache to get there frist. Just like we can't go back to a horse drawn buggy road system, for one we don't have the horses available, for another there is just too many people around. Nostalgia only works to a point and those people that want it, have to understand that some dreams can't be had.

There was an old show on TV called the Millionaire, old old one. My dad came in the other day asking what I did with that check from the guy (in the show) I told him I smoked it. Today when I was helping those people from up above, he told me it was my fault I smoked it or else I'd have the money to help them better. I told him it had greek writing on it and I did not trust it, better to smoke it.

Thought I'd end on a humorous note.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed future.

The verses from Deuteronomy you quote are given to the Israelites.
That is NOT us. Well some here are Jews but in general quoting Old Testament you must be careful to be in the proper 'covenant'. The part you quote is the Mosaic Covenant.

This is why there is some much trash spoken about Christianity. Not too many people care to actually study what they are saying.

And of course we mostly here are not Muslims.

So what applies to most Americans if they profess Christianity? Luke is proper in that context.

Bible scholars would stress the New Covenant as applying to Christians, however closer study would reveal that it was first spoken of by a Jewish Prophet and again relating to the Jews. Of course Christians have adopted it as their own.

And must remember that Jesus NEVER stepped foot out of Israel. And admonished his disciples to NOT go to the gentiles...gentiles being US.

Not wishing to start a fight over the issue but .....

and noting that most here are unbelievers and therefore heatherns...not much reason to quote scripture is there?

"The poor you will always have with you." or words to that efffect.

The verses from Deuteronomy you quote are given to the Israelites.
and noting that most here are unbelievers and therefore heatherns...not much reason to quote scripture is there?

Given to...???

There are very good arguments that the texts were largely plagiarized, that is taken, from earlier thinkers and were probably carried orally for millenia, before Egyptians and others took chisel to rock. But given? A funny concept from one who appears to self-identify with non-believers, by which I assume you mean non-belief in the gods.

I take exception to your conflation of heathens, I am one, and non-believers. I very much believe in the gods, and I think that the evolutionary sciences provide an solid explanation of their origin and existence.

The golden rule, not to be confused with the rule of Goldman-Sachs, is the central idea of all the world's religions. It is evolutionary strategy.


Either your handle says it all , or you have been studying in the Mr.Magoo school of religion.

For those who are not old enough to remember him, Mr Magoo is a cartoon character who only opens his eyes occasionally, just long enough to totally misinterpret whatever he sees.

And it is a race to the bottom...

The irony of course is that if a lot of poor people abandon California, it will exacerbate the real estate problems there.

Part of the reason for the need for assistance is that the cost of living is so high in California that you can't make ends meet with a minimum wage job - so some of the assistance programs are designed to make it possible to survive on these low-wage jobs. So perhaps if these working poor people leave California it might force wages up a little bit. Either that or employers will just hire illegals.

In a tangentially related way, I would like to make a comment. Yesterday I was talking with a younger guy, about 25 or so, who is employed as an Firefighter-EMT in one the towns in the Shennandoah Valley. We got to talking about the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, so I thought it an opportunity to try to bring the message of peak oil and resource constraints to others (as yet) unenlightened. I mentioned the peaking of US oil production in the early 70's and the long downward trend both the US and other countries have experienced WRT oil production since peaking (UK, Indonesia, ect) and how increasingly the oil we need to keep our society going is located in increasingly difficult or hostile or technically challenging places. His only question was "What oil companies should I invest in? I lost a lot of money in my 401 K and I really want build it back up." I almost exploded into hysterical laughter at that point, but managed to keep a lid on it and ended the conversation by commenting that the Stock Market was a rich man's game, and he really should stay out of it.
This episode pretty much sums up the thought processes of many of my fellow citizens. Yeah, sure, issues of energy and resource constraints are kind of important, and the oil spill in the gulf is pretty bad, but BP says they are going to pay for it all, and besides, everybody knows the way to make real money is to play the market...

Just thought I would share that little nugget with you all.

Pete Deer

Perhaps my all time favorite New Yorker cartoon had this caption (the Chairman of the Board of a large company was addressing his board of directors):

"Gentlemen, while we have found that the End of the World scenarios are quite grim, we have concluded that the pre-End of the World scenarios can be quite profitable."

That's our biz plan in a nut shell WT.

I was just talking to a hedge fund guy in London, and he got quite a kick out of the quote.

Incidentally, I was contacted by a reporter who is finally looking into the Thunder Horse story. Not surprisingly, BP refused to discuss specific production numbers. The only thing they would say for the record is that "2Q maintenance will affect production."

I told him that reporters asking Thunder Horse questions around BP offices right now were probably about as welcome as a rabid skunk at a picnic.

His only question was "What oil companies should I invest in? I lost a lot of money in my 401 K and I really want build it back up." I almost exploded into hysterical laughter at that point, but managed to keep a lid on it and ended the conversation by commenting that the Stock Market was a rich man's game, and he really should stay out of it.

I think your response is both unfair, and in fact quite mistaken.

If working families want retirement security that is above and beyond Social Security shakiness, then building self-funded wealth during their working lives is the only way to do that - and caring about his (401(K)) or other nest-egg strategies is the thing that he should be most concerned about.

By the way - how are you planning to fund your retirement?

Like maybe they can save it? And not risk losing it?

My folks are retired and spend half the year in Ireland. Typically they stay with no hassles, but this year were notified their visitors visa would not be renewed-they have to submit a formal appeal. Apparently there are many non citizens living in Ireland, now unemployed, who are on the dole, as they say. Ireland is apparently even paying them to leave.

They should be okay on appeal, if they can clearly demonstrate that they make no claim on the government purse at all while there, have adequate health insurance, etc.

IMHO the states like California will be come like Mexico, full of corruption and drug cartels that will rule, rape and pilage.

My state, Missouri, is cutting public education funding in a drastic way ($9 million this year and $16 million next year). There will be more Split classrooms, larger class size, teacher attrition, salary freezes, fewer librarians and admins, fewer field trips, etc. What does this say about the potential of our future generations?

Surely you jest. $9-16 Million across the entire state? My home school district alone here in Colorado is making $12 Million in cuts just to stay afloat. State funding for schools for 2011 is over $150 Million less than 2010, and the local sources are down by a similar amount.

Thousands of teaching positions are being cut statewide, extra curricular activities are being cut, no new books are being bought, parents are being forced to pay more in various fees. For example, my daughter is in the high school marching band, and each member has to pay $250 this year.

Sorry, you are correct. Those cuts were just for R-7 school district, not entire state. Sorry, I was incorrect up top. I'm not sure entire MO state cuts for education.

Headlines in Texas deal with our $11 Billion deficit; we will keep up prisons, and education, but not much else. Also, the legislature wants us to gamble more! That's it! The plan for Texas is, "win the Lottery!"

Why do I feal a sense of dispair?


Yeah one of those got passed in Arkansas, a lottery, now the state is complaining that the state sales tax took a hit this past year, when over 100 million was spent on lottery tickets alone. If people had the money to spend on the lottery they would have been spending it on sales tax items instead. In one door out another.

Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water, they are going to tax breathing and drinking rainwater, creek water or well water. They already tax tap water.

You know before manufactured food, you did not have people wasting a lot of salt on their foods. And sugar was a bit hard to come by, even honey was a treat. Just around the corner is the sugar tax and the salt reduction plan, and a fat tax and a seat belt wearers tax, and a daylight tax, and a starlight tax and let me think, did I cover the flower tax, give a loved one flowers you pay the government double the cost, to fund alergy meds for people that can't handle pollen. Oh and the bike tax, and the walking tax, and the laying down on the job tax and the sleeping tax which will be started after birth to build up to old age, not to be confused with the death tax, unless you die while at home, at work or on public property, or in a hospital.( they will tax those surviving).

I am sure there is a massive database where all the things that are not taxed yet, are stored waiting for someone to come up with a way to tax them.

Oh sorry I gave at the office.

Oh wait there is another one, the homeless person tax, if you can't pay that one, they can jail you for up to 90 days, paid for by other taxes.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Whatever else happens with state and local budgets everywhere you can bet your last can of beans that the govt itself, meaning everybody on the govt payroll , will bear the smallest share of the pain, proportionately.

My cousin the mail carrier , a rabid redneck right wing nut, is utterly and absolutely convinced that the country will collapse if we go to three or four day a week mail delivery,that he is entitled to a raise, RIGHT NOW, and a pension that far exceeds in value that of any person's pension in this entire community who is not or was not a govt employee.

When his gaurd is down and we are sharing a few drinks, he is prone to brag about just how soft his job really is.

My estimate is that he is being paid about three times what the job is really worth in the current day environment.

Now this man is actually quite an intelligent fellow, if you are discussing anything except politics or his salary. he understands the broad outlines of the fiscal crisis , he has seen dinosaur fossils being removed from the ground, and he has not set foot in a church except for a funeral service in forty years.

I've got fifty bucks that says if the guvenator succeeds in cutting welfare benefits by eighty percent, he will will not manage to get rid of more than forty percent of the full time employees associated with these programs.

The navy may not have a single ship in shape to put to sea, but the admirals barge is always spit shined.

The USPS is self funded, not funded by taxes or the government. But yes, they have their own reckoning coming as their finances are rapidly deteriorating.

They are self funded in THEORY, ON PAPER; IN ACTUAL PRACTICE, we are all on the hook for my cousins pension and rather generous salary, considering carrying the mail requires very little brain power or muscular exertion..

Ditto across the board for any outfit with enough political muscle, such as the UAW.

My real point is that there are so many people now getting thier spending money as a result of a govt salary, a govt bailout, or a govt handout,such as medicare, medicaid, ss, and so forth, that the situation is hopeless, in terms of real reform, until after the financial house of cards collapses.

I am not taking sides in this dog fight;a lot of people who are very important to me are dependent on social security and medicare, as they have outlived or soon will outlive thier savings, which were stolen by offocially non existent inflation. They have also lived past thier normal life expectancy, and are unable to do much for themselves nowadays, not even a little gardening.

I try mostly to comment on social issues as an observer , rather than as a partisan.

There have been a number of recent articles discussing how mobility has been greatly reduced during this recession due to the housing price collapse and the lack of savings that could be used to cover some of the other moving expenses such as deposits for rent and utilities, temporary living quarters while job searching, etc.

It may be possible for states to force some of their welfare recipients to move elsewhere by cutting welfare payments dramatically. However, welfare recipients have even less personal resources to use to help defray the costs of moving, even if all they are taking is their clothes an a few personal possessions. And, with many states increasing waiting times for welfare, with much longer lists for subsidized housing, etc many recipients may simply be unable to move.

Similarly, it would take a significant tax increase to make it worthwhile for many taxpayers to move simply due to that increase. A report on May 11 indicated that 23.3 percent of homeowners with mortgages are under water. Another large percentage are close to being under water. Most of them are taxpayers.

Unloading their homes now, or even walking away from them, would likely incur major immediate expenses and/or losses that would far exceed even several years worth of tax increases. In my zip code, the average underwater homeowner is about $16,000 under.

Throw in various fees and closing costs, costs to spruce up the house to make it easier to sell and then add in moving costs to get to, find and move into a place elsewhere and the total losses and costs easily exceed $20K (or maybe only $3K or so plus up to 7 years of damaged credit ratings). All to avoid a possible $480 a year tax increase here?

Then there is the potential problem of getting a job. With 9.9 percent unemployment now, and the rate expected to decline only slowly over the next year, finding a new job is likely to not be an easy task for many who might like to move. The problem is made more difficult when we consider that about 2/3rds of families have both spouses working, so in reality that means finding two jobs.

In either case, cutting welfare or raising taxes, states are likely to see some population effects, but I expect it more likely to be spread over a few years rather than a sudden wave.

The only tax that could effectively be increased is the income tax, and that on the wealthy. People without jobs don't have income. HOmeowners who cannot make their payments would not be able to pay the real property taxes anyway. VAT would be okay, but would be passed on to consumers and the markets are already sluggish. Only income tax increases on the wealthy make sense. They are the only people who could pay any more... or any at all. And, since they are the ones who get the most from society, they should be paying more anyway. Nothing confiscatory, mind you. Just marginal 70% or so (above say $150,000 income) would be fine! Oh, and end the limitation on Social Security Taxes!

Right now they're getting away with murder. Their taxes are the lowest they have ever been, and they are the ones raking it in! Not that it would help much... we're way past that. It is only that it would be so nice to see.

Just my opinion.


You're forgetting that annoying little thing called "Capital Flight." A 70% income tax in addition to other taxes on high earners would definitely trigger it. But I guess we don't need people employing others, besides, not many people seem to be employed anyways.

Just curious-where can capital fly to these days?

Croatia does not tax Capital gains, pensions, or inheritances.

Australia only taxes 50% of capital gains, and not pensions or inheritance, but we do have a national 10% GST (VAT), which is distributed to the states (works okay). Plus the beaches are nicer than in Croatia.

I guess you will feel mighty safe in Croatia.My guess is that the unoffocial tax rate is fifty percent-payable in cash to the police and the immigration authorities, either on entry or exit, perhaps both.

Out right confiscation seems like a real possibility as well.

Croatia is quite safe, in fact it's safer than most cities in this country.


yeah OFM, Croatia is a great option for so MANY of us! Didn't you take Croatian in high school??

Hi ,Floridian,

I guess you missed my real poiint;Crotia is a pretty small place, next to nothing in the line of resources,and patently unable to defend itself when tshtf.Somebody's army will roll thru the place without stopping for lunch.

More than likely just about everything you would want to spend your money on is imported, and -tell me this-when tshtf, why should you expect Croatia to travel a different path than the PIGS?

I gave Croatia as an example of a location for capital flight. It is an excellent place to live in order to avoid certain taxes. Planning for SHTF is different from capital flight, if SHTF and the credit system collapses, every city in the U.S. will look like the L.A. riots as just in time delivery would not be possible. In that case, you wouldn't be better off staying in the U.S. anyways.

What army is going to roll through Croatia? There are only a handful of Serbians and Albanians in the country, it is unlikely any problems in neighboring Kosovo or Serbia would spill over in the future. The U.S. is much more likely to have serious issues spill over from Mexico as there are many Mexicans in the U.S.

I help the homeless and/or people living on the edge. Some of them can move real easy, just walk there, others would love to have a bus ticket, cause walking 100 to 1,000 miles somewhere else is not really a sure fire way of getting there in this day and age. You can't live off the land like the olden days, and hunting something you need a permit and other asundery items. One couple proudly showed me their Moped today, not fast but beats walking. Another walks to the store, mostly because the bus does not run there, and can only get what she can carry, Unless I can arrange a ride.

One person has a job and a house to live in, but most days little food to put on the table. One person is two steps from the grave, and is on SS disability, She'd not be able to find a job in her area, and even if she could move, which is a major undertaking if you want to keep anything you have, is not visiable unless she were to move into a care center/ nursing home, but most of those places require a lot more income.

Charity is about taxed out in most places, though you still see people offering a bit here and there, you see a lot of people tired of helping the homeless around here. Government wants them to seek help from them, not from other sources, yet they also want them moved elsewhere if they could do so without spending too much money, they'd ship them to another state.

The recent downturn saw a lot of new homeless, people not used to the soup lines and the walking everywhere, bus rides are for the rich-poor people.

Have any of you folks priced moving lately? How many of you would be willing to pack it all in a bag, pull the straps over your shoulders and walk away from your world and walk to the next state? Being homeless means you have only a handfull of take-everywhere-items. You can't take the DVD player, the old one, you bought for 60 bucks that the pawn shop only wants to give you 5 bucks for, can't sell most of your stuff folks are too poor to buy it for much. Have a yard sale and have the money to eat on, in your days long trek to a new state.

Just because they are poor don't mean they don't have feelings. Just because they seem like they don't want to work, does it mean they can find work. Lots of little issues to think about, in the coming times ahead.

I get by on under $9,000 a year, I am on SS Disability, I worked for about 25 years. You could take that away from me and I might be able to find something to do, wouldn't be making that much though, and I'd have a roof over my head, until my parents die, then I'd be selling stuff to pay the taxes and house insurance, if I could stay here at all.

The system we have was paid into, and robbed blind by the very same people we voted for into office, then it became a system to help the helpless, and those that know how to game the system. But still you have issues to work out now and in the days ahead, Do you put all those SSI people on the streets and hope you don't have crime. Do you put them in camps for the poor? Do you give them 2 acres and a cow and leave them alone?

Just by saying, take the welfare away and hope they move to somewhere else is a poor excuse of solving the issue.

I vote for giving them all 2 arces and a goat( eats less than a cow), or instead of a goat a few hens. I'd take that anyday of the week.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

MIsh's comments on the California story:


Among other things, he wants to deport every illegal alien in the California penal system.

California needs to slash spending permanently. One good way to do that is take every illegal alien in a California prison and send them back to their country of origin. The next thing California needs to do is privatize the prison guard system, getting rid of every union prison worker in the process.

Ooh, very Children of Men:

"The future is a thing of the past."

Well what would you suggest then, westexas? California DOES NOT HAVE the money to house those inmates. That means, logically, there are a handful of choices.

1. Reduce living standards in the prisons to where the state can afford the cost.
2. Release the prisoners back into society where they can then commit additional crimes.
3. Deport those prisoners who should not be in California anyway.
4. Kill them.
5. Raise taxes to pay for their incarceration.

Your choice, sir?

Dr. Albert Bartlett talked about how we have to make hard choices before tougher choices are forced upon us by reality itself. Our failure to do that, with population, with finances, with global resources, will assuredly lead us to face horrible choices, far more horrible than even these and possibly more horrible than some here can imagine.

Oh yes, I know many here will cry that we need to raise taxes. We need to raise taxes so the moon rises, so the sun sets, so the trees bear fruit, in fact we need to tax every damned thing three times over for a bureaucratic structure that provides less and less substantive value to those being taxed than ever before. The United States mirrors Rome in more ways than most here want to admit. And one of the first positive things that came out of the fall of Rome was an increase in height and increase of bone density of those in heavily taxed lands of the former Roman empire. Why? Because they could finally afford to feed themselves properly - a clear example of the diminishing returns of empire, as stated by Tainter.

The US right now is seeing ever diminishing returns from its global imperial structure. Those of you calling for tax hikes to support the empire are simply kicking the can downstream, perhaps to your own children, hoping that they get stuck with it instead of you. The empire needs to end, soon. When the empire ends, those living in North America are very likely to find themselves better off in ways that really matter than before. And undoubtedly the rest of the world will be better off for us not being there to interfere and show them the "city on the hill" myth of the US, at gunpoint and with depleted uranium laced bombs.

P.S. The economy is going to overrule peak oil for a good while yet. Better hang on to your hats. This roller coaster may be about to start another leg down in the next several months.

I wasn't expressing approval or disapproval.

But I would probably be inclined to at least deport non-violent drug offenders, along with releasing all other non-violent drug offenders, and legalizing most drugs.

One heck of a lot of honorable crooks would have to find a new way to earn a living if we were to pass a serious drug reform law, including many tens of thousands of cops, lawyers, court employees,prison gaurds,and associated hangers on, as well as a few million nickel and dime dealers who make ends meet by doing a little discreet business with thier friends.

Of course anything that makes so much sense as drug law reform -meaning repeal in many cases -will be prevented by the idiots in general and the special interests in particular.

Turf is the name of the game, and nobody will give it up without a fight.

Nevertheless I predicted some time back that pot will be legalized retty soon, and I stand by my prediction;some locality will take the plunge in order to cash in on the enormous tax potential, and others will quickly follow.

The history of state run lotteries will be repeated in parallel with pot within a decade or maybe a little longer.

yeah, i heard that la is making a move toward just that - taxing reefer. why govt. jurisdictions are slow to catch on is beyond me. maybe reefer madness redux.

WT -- yeah and the next thing you'll want to legalize wildcatting. Oh..wait..your lobbiests already pushed that one thru.

They could start by legalizing Marijuana and taxing it. But G-d forbid we resort to rational measures in times of crisis.


Among other things, he wants to deport every illegal alien in the California penal system.

This silly idea pretty much destroys the deterrent effect of incarceration for any criminal illegal immigrant.
If murder, rape, and robbery in California just results in a free trip home for illegal immigrants, why would they be concerned about any law without capital punishment consequences?

If they entered the US illegally once, they can do it again, and the proceeds of crime can finance the coyote.
Most illegals are from Mexico, not that far away. Mexico is unlikely to bear the financial burden of incarcerating criminals convicted of crimes in the US if the US will not.

China surges to lead in High Speed Rail


Best Hopes for Non-Oil Transportation in China,


This would be happening in the U.S. to if we charged 12 cents a mile to drive on the roadways. It gives the Chinese an effective price of gas at $8/gallon.

Best hopes for high gas prices in the U.S.


I missed the part about the 12 cents. However, in the USA, that sort of tolling diverts traffic onto the local roads, adding (marginally) to the miseries of cycling or walking. This is widely seen in populated areas of the Northeast, where you find massive, jammed local roads paralleling the jammed turnpikes and parkways (oftentimes festooned with signs forbidding pedestrians, since providing any time in the stoplight cycles for them would gridlock said local roads.) As to deterring driving rather than diverting it in a manner that maximizes its externalities, not so much. It would raise the AAA figure from around 55 cents to around 67 cents. Not enough to induce major change, and, since it's per-mile, no particular incentive to buy a fuel-sipper next time.

One must also remember that much of the populated portion of China, where those trains actually run, is utterly crammed with people. As in Japan or The Netherlands, hypercrowding encourages usefully frequent service. It also encourages the existence of options to get on to your final destination once you've reached the train station at the far end of your trip - other than burning up all the time you "saved" on the expensive train, and more, by waiting in line forever for a pricey rental car or waiting forever for a local bus.

In Wisconsin, a high-speed (I don't know what they consider "high-speed", I imagine like Acela but that's not true high-speed) line from Madison to Milwaukee is supposedly a done deal. Honestly, I find this unintelligible. I simply don't see how they could conceivably expect to garner enough riders to run more than at most two trains a day each way, if even that. It'll remain more sensible to spend 90 minutes to drive, than to wait hours to spend 75 or 90 or 105 minutes getting to and from the stations, waiting for the necessary connections, and riding on the train itself. If you're only going within walking distance of both stations, it may work, but that would be precious few people.

Oh, and we'll have to wait and see whether they can even run the thing on time, without which it'll be even less useful. I can't think of anything I've used in the USA that's reliably on-time, although the Washington Metro is not-too-bad at those times when they can find the right kind of relays to keep the automation in repair (their manual mode is hopeless.) But the trouble is, these things are run as undisciplined sinecures presided over by contractors and union bosses who are the special pets of Congresscritters and other crooked politicos, so service quality is really not a consideration at all. Oh, conceivably, there's maybe one, somewhere that's well-run?

" ...line from Madison to Milwaukee is supposedly a done deal. Honestly, I find this unintelligible. I simply don't see how they could conceivably expect to garner enough riders to run more than at most two trains a day each way, if even that. It'll remain more sensible to spend 90 minutes to drive..."

But PaulS, it may not remain more sensible to drive in a future of unaffordable or rationed gasoline.

As for volume, what if the traffic from I-90/94 were tranfered to rail (maybe add cargo traffic as well if trucking declines in affordability)?

But PaulS, it may not remain more sensible to drive in a future of unaffordable or rationed gasoline.

(1) the line has to last long enough to still be around in that future. When it loses great gouts of money, it may well be killed. The Repub candidate-apparent for gubernator promises to do just that without even waiting to see, even though the "stimulus" funds would then go elsewhere and the sunk costs of whatever construction was already done at the time would be forfeited.

(2) depends on what future that turns out to be. If it's the medium/far future, the line will have to be extensively renovated by then anyhow, which means you could almost just wait till you would have renovated it, and build it then. (IIRC JR Central has three thousand people who descend a ~10km section of track every night, make repairs, and move on to the next section once they're done. The stuff wears out in a great big hurry.) If it's the near/medium future, a relatively sudden transition to unaffordable or rationed gasoline will have so much knock-on, or rather knockout, effect on the economy that hardly anyone will be able to afford to ride it. Remember, even in Japan, where high-speed rail is extensive, the cost per mile is similar to driving a car solo, and the car gets you where you're going, rather than to a station miles away.

...what if the traffic from I-90/94 were transferred to rail...

(1) if it's transferred to the new rail, then the new rail certainly won't be high speed any more, the freight would slow it down to a crawl, which is why such lines aren't shared with freight in Europe or Japan. But for slow speeds, much cheaper to renovate and electrify the already existing freight lines than to acquire land and build expensive precision-tolerance high speed rail from scratch.

(2) the freight will still have to get from the rail line to where it's actually going. The logistics, delay, and labor costs of that are probably why more freight doesn't go by rail now, it's simplest to just drive the truck all the way rather than load and unload it, or load it onto and off a truck-train car that arrives when it feels like it. It takes forever to get most freight anywhere by rail, and only God can guess when it might arrive. The big RRs aren't much better than transit systems at reliable on-time performance.

Stop deluding yourself, Alan.

China's high-speed expressways, with speed limits of 75 miles per hour, grew by 4,163 miles in 2005 alone and will stretch 3,107 miles farther this year. The United States built 41,000 miles of new highway from 1957 to 1969; China plans 30,262 miles this decade.

China will surpass the USA in roads in 2020.

"No other country can compete with China when it comes to the expansion speed of road building"

wonder how many of those roads will be like their ghost malls - empty monuments to a future that never quite made it...

This is part of their strategy to emulate the American Dream for fifteen minutes just before the oil runs out. They have chosen the up the ante on an obviously dysfunctional model. At least the U.S. has the excuse that we couldn't see it coming

We've been equally capable of seeing it coming since at least the 1950's.

China is doing "one of everything".

Massive coal fired plants, and massive renewable & nuclear power projects as well.

Build 20,000 km of new railroads, electrify another 20,000 km, build new rail lines to Europe, Vietnam, Iran, etc. And build new highways as noted.

More new cars than the USA PLUS the biggest subway systems in the world.


My guess is their final collapse will be the biggest of them all!

Bloomberg Energy Prices

The gap between WTI crude and Brent continues to grow. Brent traditionally trades from one to two dollars below WTI. It is now trading at over $4 above WTI. There must be a reason but I have no idea what that reason is.

I found this interesting. Oil benchmarks gap widens to more than $3 It was posted on April 27.

Contango exists in Brent, but not as dramatically. The European oil blend has historically traded at a discount to WTI, reflecting the US’s status as a net oil importer. Goldman Sachs last week recommended traders buy June WTI and sell June Brent futures in a bet that the gap would close.

Apparently Goldman Sachs has no idea why the gap is so wide either.

Ron P.

Do we even produce any "significant" quantities of WTI anymore?

I don't think that we do. IIRC, daily production is somewhere around 200,000 brls. (I'm sure someone will correct this if it's wrong.)
But it is still used as a benchmark grade. This is based upon the quality, not the volume. As a quality marker, WTI probably wouldn't have to exist in the real world at all; its characteristics could still be a measure of quality even if only in the abstract.

Remember OPEC switched their benchmarking from WTI to something else in January. Could this be a factor in the spread?

For a bit of fun, see how you would do in the Vancouver real-estate market (I got 11 correct):
Crack Shack or Mansion

I did much, much better on Crack Shack or Mansion than Fox News babe or Porn star.

I did much, much better on Crack Shack or Mansion than Fox News babe or Porn star. Sorry for the duplication-novice poster.

12 out of 16 here. Someone should put together a "crackshack or mansion" for Aspen, CO. You would be completely aghast. Virtually every inhabitable dwelling in Aspen is over $1 Million. Temporarily.

11/16 seems to be a common result (me too). It is ridiculous the prices for houses in Vancouver now. If those are correct, then I reverse my previous opinion and there will be a price correction. $1 million for dumps like those! And you have to put up with all the traffic to boot.

No wonder people are moving to the Interior if they can. I stopped by this place on my way home from work yesterday, about 20 min. out of my way:


How's that for a commute...

Women fall more, not less, after large dose of vitamin D

"The evidence suggests that a single large dose is too much vitamin D given at one time," says author Kerrie Sanders of the Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

"Until further evidence to the contrary is obtained, high-dose vitamin D should be avoided, at least in older women who are not vitamin D deficient," Sanders says.

They are talking about single megadoses of 500,000 or more international units. Why would anyone do that? You can get vitamin D pills in 1,000 or 5,000 IUs at WalMart. That seems far more sensable to me. I take two 1,000 IU pills daily and have not fell even once. ;-)

Ron P.

If you read the article, it explains that the reason for doing it that way was "low compliance" with daily doses.

Well, if Granny won't take her pills, then we'll whack her with 500,000IU. Maybe next they can load the vitamin D into metal slugs and shoot them at her head. This passes for science in the pharmaceutical industry?

It's a serious problem, and not just among older women. People don't like to take pills every day, especially if they don't feel sick. The NY Times had an article awhile back, about drugs that were scientifically proven to prevent cancer. But people won't take them, partly because taking a daily pill seems like too much trouble if you're not sick.

I hate taking pills myself. I know I should take a daily multivitamin, and sometimes I get all motivated, but it lasts a couple of weeks, and I stop. (Let's just say oral contraceptives would probably not be a good choice for me.)

Since Vitamin D was believed to be non-toxic even in large doses, and is stored in the body, giving one megadose seemed like an idea worth trying.

...non-toxic even in large doses, and is stored in the body, giving one megadose seemed like an idea worth trying.

That isn't even true for water.

Nobody said it was. I don't think anyone would even try to store a year's worth of water in the body. :-)

However, there are pills that you take only once a month or once a year now for osteoporosis.

That isn't even true for water.

Some medicines are given or prescribed only once a week or month, even once every 3 months exists. Drug compliance is indeed dramatically low on average.

The biggest problem with the study is that large prescription dosages, 50,000 IU plus, insofar as I know, are always in the less effective form of Vitamin D, the D2 form:


With vitamin D in particular, the prescription form is vastly inferior to the over-the-counter preparation. This is because the prescription form is ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2, not the effective human form, vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. 

When you're exposed to sun, what form of vitamin D is activated in the skin? It's all vitamin D3, no vitamin D2 whatsoever. Vitamin D3 is also far more effective than D2.

People taking D3 (as long as it's oil-based) easily obtain healthy levels of vitamin D in the blood. People taking 50,000 units per day of D2 (the recommended quantity) remain miserably deficient, with minor increases in vitamin D blood levels. In short, D2 barely works at all. D3 works easily and effectively.

Two interesting items. The first one is a short two minute video clip that ran on ABC earlier this year (pretty interesting, and ironic, comment by the cancer researcher). The second one is a recent pregnancy & Vitamin D study. Note that many doctors actively opposed the study, because of the dosages involved.

Vitamin D: Breast Cancer Prevention & Treatment

Study: Pregnant women should get more vitamin D

In the study, 500 women who were at least 12 weeks pregnant took either 400, 2,000, or 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day. The women who took 4,000 IU were least likely to go into labor early, give birth prematurely, or develop infections.

"Pregnant women need to take 4,000 IU of vitamin D a day," says Bruce Hollis, Ph.D., the director of pediatric nutritional sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, and one of the authors of the study. "We didn't see a single adverse effect. It was absolutely safe, and we saw a lot of improved outcomes. The risk of preterm labor was vastly decreased and so was the risk of other complications of pregnancy."

Finally, some local docs.

I have often quoted my family practitioner, who has found that about 90% of her new patients are Vitamin D deficient, even here in Texas.

Dr. Kenneth Cooper, ("Father" of aerobics, who runs the Cooper Clinic here in Dallas) was recently interviewed on a local news station. He said that they had an ongoing study of vitamins & supplements, and they had narrowed it down to two absolutely critical items: Vitamin D & Omega 3's. He said that at least 50% of his new patients, who are probably healthier than the overall population (Cooper Clinic is a private non-insurance establishment), were Vitamin D deficient. Dr. Cooper unequivocally recommends that everyone get their Vitamin D level checked. Be sure and specify the 25(OH)D test.

The paper says it was cholecalciferol - D3 - that was given.

Like Paracelsus said, the poison is in the dose.

Like Paracelsus said, the poison is in the dose.

It looks like you are right about D3 being used in the study. Two links follow. It would be very interesting to see what the 25(OH)D blood levels were in the patients in the week following the oral doses of 500,000 IU. The upper level safe level is generally considered to be about 99 ng/mL.

I am basically stunned that doctors would administer this kind of dosage of D3. It almost seems like the study was designed to discredit mainline Vitamin D research. They used a single dosage that was 100 times higher than what Dr. Cannell, who runs the Vitamin D Council website, recommends for a daily dosage, and he only recommends 5,000 IU per day until your 25(OH)D level is in the 50 to 70 ng/mL range.


High-dose vitamin D tied to increased fall risk among older women

"This line of reasoning is sup­ported by the temporal risk pattern that we observed and the fact that harm has not been reported in the numerous studies that have used more frequent dosing. Thus, it is reasonable to speculate that high serum levels of vitamin D or metabolites resulting from the large annual dose, subsequent de­crease in the levels, or both might be causal. Furthermore, because the levels of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol demonstrated in this study could occur with other recommended dosing regimens, the outcome of this study suggests that safety of high-dose vitamin D supplementation warrants further study."

Annual High-Dose Oral Vitamin D and Falls and Fractures in Older Women

Intervention  500 000 IU of cholecalciferol or placebo.

Quote from the study,

" . . . harm has not been reported in the numerous studies that have used more frequent dosing."

I am basically stunned that doctors would administer this kind of dosage of D3. It almost seems like the study was designed to discredit mainline Vitamin D research.

It wasn't connected to mainline vitamin D research, and I'm sure they had reason to think it was safe, or it would never have been approved.

It was for osteoporosis, which vitamin D is a long-established treatment for. Once a year dosing is already used for some osteoporosis drugs (Reclast). So why not vitamin D?

What's interesting is the mechanism at least some scientists suspect caused the problem. It's possible that high doses of vitamin D shut down the body's ability to make its own. If that's true, we should probably be careful with supplements...unless you're confident you'll always be able and willing to take them.

But the critical problem is that most people are currently Vitamin D deficient. From the ABC video:


Breast Cancer Researcher: "I was very surprised at just how low my Vitamin D levels were. I thought that I was doing everything right."

Reporter: "Now, with daily Vitamin D supplements, she just might be."

BTW, I sent Dr. Cannell an email, asking him what he thinks of the study published in the JAMA.

Some interesting Youtube videos regarding an effort to provide every child and pregnant woman in Scotland with Vitamin D supplements, to help prevent MS:



And an interesting article that speculates about Vitamin D deficiency and programmed aging:


Vitamin D and programmed aging?
As we age, we lose the capacity to activate vitamin D in the skin.

A practical way of looking at it is that anyone 40 years old or older has lost the majority of ability for vitamin D activation. 

This often makes me wonder if the loss of vitamin D activating potential is nature's way to get rid of us. After all, after 40, we've pretty much had our opportunity to recreate and make our contribution to the species (at least in a primitive world in which humans evolved): we've exhausted our reproductive usefulness to the species.

Is the programmed decline of vitamin D skin activation a way to ensure that we develop diseases of senescence (aging)?

The list of potential consequences of vitamin D deficiency includes: osteoporosis, poor balance and coordination, falls and fractures; cancer of the breast, bladder, colon, prostate, and blood; reductions in HDL, increases in triglycerides; increased inflammation (C-reactive protein, CRP); declining memory and mentation; coronary heart disease.

Isn't that also pretty much a list that describes aging?

A fascinating argument in support of this idea came from study from St Thomas’ Hospital and the London School of Medicine:

 "Higher serum vitamin D concentrations are associated with longer leukocyte telomere length in women." Now the big question: If declining vitamin D is nature's way of ensuring our decline and death, does maintaining higher vitamin D also maintain youthfulness? 

I don't have an answer, but it's a really intriguing idea.

"Like Paracelsus said, the poison is in the dose."

I think it was "the difference between a poison and a cure is the dose."

Careful with megadoses of Vitamin D, in whatever form. The difference between the pharmacological dose and the lethal dose is small.
Vitamin D is the rat poison of choice in the dairy industry, for the obvious reason that if the cube of poison gets into the milk (accidents can happen) it will be so diluted that no harm will be done.
Rentokill uses Vitamin D as rat poison, or did.

The Truth About Vitamin D Toxicity

Like most medication, cholecalciferol is certainly toxic in excess, and, like Coumadin, is used as a rodent poison for this purpose. Animal data indicates signs of toxicity can occur with ingestion of 0.5 mg/kg (20,000 IU/kg ), while the oral LD50 (the dose it takes to kill half the animals) for cholecalciferol in dogs is about 88 mg/kg, or 3,520,000 IU/kg. This would be equivalent to a 110-pound adult taking 176,000,000 IU or 440,000 of the 400 unit cholecalciferol capsules.

Vieth reports human toxicity probably begins to occur after chronic daily consumption of approximately 40,000 IU/day (100 of the 400 IU capsules). Heavy sun exposure when combined with excessive supplement use is a theoretical risk for vitamin D toxicity, but if such a case has been reported, I am not aware of it. Physician ignorance about vitamin D toxicity is widespread. A case report of four patients appeared in the 1997 Annals of Internal Medicine, accompanied by an editorial warning about vitamin D toxicity. However, careful examination of the patients reveals that both papers are a testimony to the fact that incompetence about vitamin D toxicity can reach the highest levels of academia. See worst science for a full critique.

Vitamin D: Breast Cancer Prevention & Treatment

The source is probably this:

From Medscape Medical News:

Supplemental Vitamin D May Help Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

April 29, 2010 —Vitamin D from supplements may reduce the risk for breast cancer in women with relatively low vitamin D intakes, suggest study findings published online April 14 ahead of print in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study also found a significant inverse trend for higher calcium intakes but no interaction between vitamin D and calcium.

Supplemental vitamin D at more than 10 µg/day (400 IU/day) vs no supplemental vitamin D was associated with a reduced risk for breast cancer (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.59 - 0.98). However, no dose-response relationship was observed.

The study authors note that the mean intake of vitamin D in study subjects was low. Only 13% of case patients and 14% of control subject reported using single-product vitamin D supplements or cod liver oil. No associations were evident between total combined vitamin D intake or vitamin D intake from foods alone and breast cancer risk.

I know I should take a daily multivitamin

leanan, what about the results from a study you referred to last year, that a multivitamin supplement doesn't extend life expectancy and might even lower it ?

I have a history of anemia (not uncommon among women of childbearing age), so my doctor recommended supplements.

However, they can be downright harmful for some. In particular, Caucasian males may have a genetic mutation that results in iron accumulating in their bodies to the point that they set off metal detectors at airports. I suspect it's people like that who skew the results.

This is something pointed out in Good Calories, Bad Calories - that what's good for one person may be bad for another.

I have a history of anemia, so my doctor recommended supplements.

A specific supplement like iron is of course a completely different matter.

Caucasian males may have a genetic mutation that results in iron accumulating in their bodies to the point that they set off metal detectors at airports. I suspect it's people like that who skew the results.

That kind of people are very rare and in multivitamin/mineral supplements the amount of iron is low.

This is something pointed out in Good Calories, Bad Calories - that what's good for one person may be bad for another

Certainly, but for most people a multivitamin supplement could't be bad. It would do harm if they think it can replace healthy food which contains many more healthy chemicals. Think of the polyphenols like resveratrol and carotenoids like lutein.

It would do harm if they think it can replace healthy food which contains many more healthy chemicals.

Sorry Han but that statement just does not make sense. Very few people willfully do not eat a balanced diet then take vitamins to make up for the deficiencies. I could eat a more balanced diet but only if I were a good cook, (I am not), or could afford to eat out every meal. (I cannot.)

I am not sure I am getting a balanced diet and know for sure that I do not on most days. I think vitamins and some minerals are helping. I know they are helping keep my cholesterol levels down.

I really do not think vitamins are harming me because of what I think.

Ron P.

It sounds strange, but that was actually suggested as a reason why studies showed taking antioxidant supplements was actually harmful rather than helpful. Maybe people felt that if they took supplements, they didn't have to eat as carefully.

I dunno, I suspect it will turn out that correlation is not causation. Maybe people who naturally consume vitamin C and beta carotene have other healthy habits, or come from socioeconomic groups that have health advantages. Maybe people with high vitamin D blood levels spend more times outdoors exercising. Supplements have had a very disappointing record in the past couple of decades.

I eat a very varied diet. My dad having been trained as a Chef, and has the training about diet and such from long practice, keeps the diet for family meals well rounded. In a given week we might eat beef twice, but it is mostly in stews or meat loaf. But we don't have but one meal together a day on a regular basis, though on weekends of when my dad wants to do something special we have a brunch, then eat a late supper.

I get my sunshine, so does he, but my mom doesn't get much sunshine, on a 90 degree day it might to cool for her, likely she is in long sleeves. I am a polar bear hot at 70. My mom has been taking Calcium supplements for a long time, a hormone issue and low bone density, it tags on Vitamin D.

I don't have a lot of sugars in my diet, I drink a lot of water, I eat a lot of fish and shell fish which has vitamin D in them. Sardines in Mustard is one of my favorites.

But next time I have a checkup I'll ask for a looksee into my vitamin and mineral needs.

Maybe they will tell me I need more gold in my diet.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Sorry Han but that statement just does not make sense.Very few people willfully do not eat a balanced diet then take vitamins to make up for the deficiencies.

Ron, the point is the same as written by Leanan: I was refering to the result of a study that showed that taking a multivitamin preparation didn't extend life expectancy, on the contrary. A balanced diet for most people just means enough vitamins and minerals, nothing more. If they start to take a multivitamin and cut down on fruits and vegetables they could be worse off.

I could eat a more balanced diet but only if I were a good cook

Not necessary to be a good cook. Use a blender, make fruit/vegetable juices and gazpacho's. Healthy, easy and ready within 15 minutes. Recipes on internet and in books.
Omega-3 supplement is a good idea because most people have a much too low omega-3/omega-6 ratio. This is connected to all kind of inflammatory diseases.

That kind of people are very rare

Not really all that rare. It was once thought to be rare, but it turns out, it's not. 1-6% of Americans are affected. The amount of iron in a daily supplement is enough to make a difference. (Women are affected as well, but usually are protected until menopause. Giving blood regularly will also protect you.)

I have never heard of that study, could you provide a link, or some kind of reference?

Anyway it all depends on your diet. If you get all the vitamins you need from your food then you do not need any kind of vitamin supplement. Few people do however. I know I don't. My diet is woefully deficient is some vitamins. I take a multivitamin plus D, C, and B complex.

The doctor told me to take 4,000 mg of Omega 3 fish oil and also prescribed for me 1,000 mg of Niaspan, a patented slow release form of niacin, also known as vitamin B3. Both were to lower my cholesterol and they work very well.

Of course you can overdose on some vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin A or Iron. People have been known to eat bear’s liver and overdose on vitamin A. Vitamin A accumulates in the liver. A bear is a carnivore and when it eats other animals liver it sometimes causes a mega-dose of vitamin A to accumulate in its liver.

Ron P.

One of the other issues is that for trace minerals like magnesium and selenium, the amount in food depends heavily upon where your food is grown, which is almost impossible to know if you buy food from stores. That's one of the reasons why I take a "multivitamin+mineral" supplement.

The NY Times had an article awhile back, about drugs that were scientifically proven to prevent cancer.

Love to see a link to the scientific studies behind that. In the meantime my skeptic meter is in the red zone and all the alarms are going off simultaneously...


I know I should take a daily multivitamin

I think that one is a myth as well ...

Study Finds No Benefit From Daily Multivitamin

Multivitamins are the most commonly used diet supplement, but new research shows that daily multivitamin use doesn’t ward off cancer or heart disease.

In a study of 161,808 women who were part of the government-funded Women’s Health Initiative research effort, doctors from 40 centers around the country collected data on multivitamin use. While research shows that people who eat nutrient-rich diets filled with fruits and vegetables have lower rates of heart disease and cancer, it hasn’t been clear whether taking a daily supplement results in a similar benefit.

After following the women for about eight years, they looked at rates of various cancers and heart problems among the 42 percent of women who were regular multivitamin users, and compared them to those who didn’t take vitamins. The researchers found no evidence of any benefit from multivitamin use in any of 10 categories studied, including no differences in the rate of breast or colon cancer, heart attack, stroke, blood clots or mortality. The findings were published in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.


Although it occurs here in the UK as well, I am amazed by this US obsession with vitamins. Humans have been around for about 200,000 years, and until a century ago seemed to live healthily enough without suppliments. We are omnivores! We can survive and live to a reasonable age on a huge range of foodstuffs - from the Innuit meat diet at one extreme to vegans at another. It is a real inditement of industrial society's food supply that it leads to such cronic ill health. When it was discovered that scurvey was due to lack of vitamin D, the navy introduced fruit into the seaman's diet, not vitamin pills (not least because they hadn't been invented).

We need to find the time to return to slow food, which hasn't had the nutritional value blasted out of it.

(I must admit my wife force feeds me vitamin pills, I submit because I like the way they fizz in the glass of water :)

Vitamin C

Humans have been around for about 200,000 years, and until a century ago seemed to live healthily enough without suppliments.

But our methods of procuring/producing food have drastically changed in that century. From Discover magazine:

A number of diseases caused by nutrient deficiency, such as scurvy, beriberi, pellagra, and pernicious anemia, display psychiatric symptoms like irritability and depression. But while severe deficiencies are rare in the developed world—when’s the last time you met someone with beriberi?—many of us fall short of getting all the nutrients we need. In 1997 a British study compared the mineral content of fruits and vegetables grown in the 1930s with the mineral content of produce grown in the 1980s. It found that several nutrients had dropped dramatically, including calcium (down nearly 30 percent), iron (down 32 percent), and magnesium (down 21 percent).

(The reason is likely soil exhaustion. We replace the "big three" - nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus - via fertilizers, but not the trace minerals.)

Why don't people just read the paper in the sunshine for 20 minutes?


Now don't go all nanny-state on me - 20 minutes of nice sunshine a day is (a) enough to produce the required Vitamin D (assuming you don't live at the North Pole), and (b) extremely unlikely to leave you stricken with melanoma. Most Australians fry from when they are little kids right through middle age - and only some suffer skin cancer. We take the risk for a good tan.

And if you live more than 40 degrees from the Equator, I think you only have yourself to blame (Vitamin D wise) - we evolved as sun-lovers!

Dr. Cannell, who runs the Vitamin D Council website, of course recommends full sunlight as the #1 choice, and it is my understanding that every cancer except for skin cancer increases as we move away from the equator. However, the following article speculates that our diminished ability, as we age, to synthesize Vitamin D from sunlight may be one of Mother Nature's ways of getting rid of us after we have reproduced:


This would explain why 70-year olds come to the office, just back from the Caribbean sporting dark brown tans, are still deficient, often severely, in blood levels of vitamin D (25(OH) Vitamin D). A tan does not equal vitamin D.

In any case, the fact remains that nationwide data, and the findings by doctors here in the Dallas area, show that Americans are chronically deficient in Vitamin D levels. Do you now what your Vitamin D blood level is?

Now don't go all nanny-state on me...

Exactly, that's why I put it in American-style deprecating quotes. But, see, the thing is, the American public, like most other OECD publics, has been conditioned by "consumer advocates", "environmentalists" and a host of other puritanical fanatics to think that everyone "deserves" a life with an absolute zero of risk. Any reality intruding upon this utopian conception, even physics-based or biological reality, is seen as an "immoral" violation of their "rights", requiring that someone else be stomped upon in order to restore "justice" (hence the trumped-up self-righteous corrupt-Congresscritter bloviations about the rig explosion.) Even if these attitudes benefit no one else, they're immensely profitable for lawyers, especially in the lawyer-ridden USA.

Check the rig-explosion threads for an abundance of hysterically emotional moralizing cocksure declarations that all risk must be avoided no matter the cost (even in alternative risk) of avoiding it. That's of course the sort of irrational thinking invariably bred by adhering fanatically to a "zero tolerance" attitude concerning, well, virtually anything. Very little is truly "zero" in this world; even less is provably zero, given that proving the negative is often impossible even in principle. But it's futile to explain realities like that to fanatics.

Oh, and the greatest outrage to priggish self-righteous "morality" might be this: the cost of driving something ever closer to zero may sometimes rise to such utterly ridiculous levels that it would be better to leave it go - vide the enormous hysterically blathering fuss arising every so often when an acetominophen (paracetamol) tablet or the like is found on a high-school student. Oh, the shame and tragedy of it all!

Risk aversion is a sign of our times. Part of a generation mentality (courtesy of the baby boomers) that we can have it all.

Most people are being told that they are entitled to ... even if they can't personally achieve it... everything. Risk would be like raining on their parade.

The irony is that the best experiences of life usually happen at the edges - on the dangerous ground, when we don't know how things will work out, on territory where there is a real possibility of failure. It is also where the most and best growth in character takes place.

This self-absorbed pampering is one of the reasons I think the West is in for some serious adjustment even if PO and Climate Change and financial meltdown aren't factors. The sense of entitlement without effort or pain is too deeply embedded to be removed without crisis, so crisis we will have.

Jiminy Cricket is alive and well in America and elsewhere. Just wish upon a star and all your dreams will come true. After all, 500 cable channels and millions of free ads can't all be wrong.


... requiring that someone else be stomped upon in order to restore "justice" (hence the trumped-up self-righteous corrupt-Congresscritter bloviations about the rig explosion.)

Don't hold back - why don't you tell us what you really think!

As for widespread "risk management", every school pupil in this country is required to wear a hat every minute they are outside; and not just a baseball cap, but a cloth cap in school colours, with a back-flap and side flaps - they look like a junior brigade of the French Foreign Legion. And they don't get enough exercise as it is. And as it happens, the Greatest Generation (like our 80yo Vitamin D deficient exhibits above) have lived to a ripe old age, with bad fats, lots of salt, lots of meat, no sunscreen (they used coconut oil to get that tan), full-strength beer, proper cigarettes, and no seat-belts.

My biggest gripe is the compulsory wearing of a helmet while riding a bike, even if on a bike-path, and even if you're nowhere near traffic, and even if there isn't compelling evidence that they have reduced injuries significantly. (Actually my biggest gripe is the equipment fetishisation of bike-riding in general, but that's another story).

As you age, you lose the ability to manufacture vitamin D. Given the age of these women (about 80), they may not be able to make use of sunshine that way.

There's also the weather. Vitamin D deficiency is most common in the northeast, where winters are cold and cloudy. Nobody's going to sit out reading the paper when it's 10F out, and snowing.

LOL I beg to differ, I might, I have been outside when it was minus 24 F without shoes or socks, and no shirt on, just pants and a smile. I was waiting for the chill to get to me. Yes I am a bit insane, but it was rather fun.

I have also spent enough time out while it was snowing to get completely covered in the snow while laying on a pile of leaves, just watching the snow fall and enjoying the weather.

Every year at the first snow fall I walk outside barefoot into the snow, been doing it longer than I can remember when I first started.

Soon I'll get old enough you can call me a crazy ole coot.

Then again I've also walked on hot asphalt in an Alabama summer.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Just saying, though I know what you mean, it's not the normal thing to do, for most people.

From above, Jeff Rubin's It ain't about Greece:

Of course, it isn’t really Greece that Wall Street cares about. Financial markets are certainly justified in seeing a lot of Greece’s problems in other countries. And they’re not all in Euroland. As I’ve said before in this blog, we're all PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) now—at least all the oil-guzzling economies of the old economic order are. Today, the countries whose fiscal futures traders are shorting aren’t developing countries with fragile financial markets but rather developed nations with their supposedly world-leading financial institutions.

For example, the U.S. federal deficit is now a double-digit ratio of the country’s GDP, a statistic that might have an IMF SWAT team arrive if we were talking about the same fiscal situation prevailing in a developing country with a lot of international IOUs outstanding. And the U.S. has a lot more debt out there than all of the PIGS put together. Will American taxpayers soon be asked to make many of the sacrifices Greek taxpayers are being asked to make today? And what will that do for their future fuel consumption? Probably the same thing it will do for the Greeks’.

Is the United States too big to fail?

Rubin is clearly arguing the end of cheap oil on and for home soil is answering the question. No surprises for any of us here.

As much as I try to visualize it, I find it difficult to picture a world without American hegemony. It would be (will be) a very different place than what we have grown accustomed ...

As long as foreign suckers keep on buying US treasuries and even investing in US stocks, the US can pretend that there are no problems. Anyway, the peak oil tsunami is going to wash away the current order. No amount of financial delusion is going to prevent this.

"And the U.S. has a lot more debt out there than all of the PIGS put together. Will American taxpayers soon be asked to make many of the sacrifices Greek taxpayers are being asked to make today?"

Yes, American taxpayers are going to get hit hard with austerity measures. Look at California now, and imagine the whole country in that shape! All entitlements will be cut to the bone, and services too. There will be more riots, and unrest in America. People will be on their on, but that could be a good thing.

Well, the main thing we can cut is the size of the military. Maintaining an empire is a cost we can no longer bear.

I know a couple - each of which is retired military, and each of them is double-dipping (working for a defense contractor, so they each draw both a paycheck and a pension). Both of them complain long and hard about how Obama is expanding the government, and yet both of them have spent a lifetime sucking at the Federal teat. And neither one sees any irony in any of this.

They are just like my cousin the mail carrier.

And those sacrifices, so called, will result in less tax revenue from unemployed teachers and such which will have the desired result of shrinking the public sector but have no direct effect upon the private sector's having squandered the manufacturing capacity and related employment. Unless people start paying at least a modicum of attention to the trade deficit - remember the trade deficit? - the economy will become a tit for tat race to the bottom between the corporate entitlement junkies and the public entitlement junkies. All while the oil winds down. But, again, who could have known?

At what level will US labor become competitive and we can have the jobs back? Long way down by the look of it. Balancing the trade deficit by unemployment methods will really redefine 'creative destruction'.

Can I say Trade Deficit at least once more for old times' sake?


You hit the nail on the head. Our jobs weren't outsourced overseas because of a conspiracy or mean companies. They went to the lowest bidder who could do the work. The post WWII boom in the effective global labor supply lowered the price of labor. We didn't want to work for less so the jobs went to folks who would. When we lost the jobs, we decided to borrow to keep our standard of living. The government ran deficits and the Fed fostered asset inflation with cheap money so people could cash them out and spend the "wealth effect". Now it is time to pay it back and the question remains, who will pay?

We currently have a civil, civil war. Kids can't fight so a lot of the bill was pushed to the future. Now that we are reaching the limits of that strategy and someone has to pay now, who will pay? Unions have decided to keep a few high salaries instead of many lower ones. Why not, the feds will provide 2 years of unemployment benefits. (And folks are burning through that.) The Greek civil war will only stay civil if the rich kick in. The US will travel the same path I fear. After all Greeks and Americans are both human.

"Is the United States too big to fail?"

Its already failed. The choice that the Nation State has had to face is whether to look after its citizens or submit to the global financial system. The US chose the latter and as far as its citizens are concerned the US has failed in its primary purpose. The US is now pivotal in corrupting other nation states on behalf of the global financial system and the welfare of its citizens is immaterial.

As citizens we're on our own, whatever the country you live in. The nation state and the global financial system are at war and the latter is winning. To the global system an American (as proxy for The West) and a Chinese are no different, except the American has the arrogance to ask for more money, and that will not do. Workers are workers and deserve the same pay in economic terms. The only thing that stands between the perfect market place is the Nation State and its pathetic loyalty to its citizens.

Greece's crime? Its been looking after its citizens rather too well and has been punished as a result, the UK and the rest of Europe is next. The people may as well get whatever they can from the dying State before its defaulted to the Global Financial System.


This is an outstanding presentation however, their prescriptions for the future are too optimistic.

Let's use the Deepwater Horizon disaster as the impetus we need as a nation to really and truly shoot for a target of being oil-free by 2030. And, while we're at it, we might as well go coal-free, if we want to avoid the kinds of deadly coal mining disasters, ash slurry breaches, and destroyed ecosystems we're seeing in Appalachia.

Impossible? Not by a long shot.


The person writing the story has no concept of the connection between fossil fuels and our current way of life, in my opinion. What he is asking for (transformation to electric vehicles, powered by alternatives by 2030) without using fossil fuels is absurd, given where we are now, and progress we are making. See my response to the Scientific American article called "A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030".

It is a nice idea, but realism is totally lacking.

Gail, the problem is that we simply can not continue to emit large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere without causing major changes in climate. Did you catch the story about the problem of increasing dew point temperatures leading to potentially fatal conditions? Your entire article seems to miss the basic point about climate change. Also, the fact that all energy consuming devices eventually ware out and will need to be replaced offers a great opportunity to transition to energy sources and life styles which use much less energy. Maybe mankind will need to give up the use of aircraft, for casual travel. Maybe we will need to learn to live closer together and commute shorter distances, which would imply basic changes in land use planning as encoded in current zoning practices.

It's almost like you've been asleep instead of reading TOD for the past couple of years. Or, you have an agenda...

E. Swanson

the problem is that we simply can not continue to emit large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere without causing major changes in climate.

It's a choice between two evils. How would the world look like in 2030 without using fossil fuels ? Aleklett predicts that in 2030 total liquids production is 'only' 11% lower than now. I think going for that scenario will be the lesser evil.


I am on record here many times over in favor of a flatout buildout of renewables and doing everything possible to conserve and become more efficient.

Gail recognizes reality when it is staring her in the face, nose to nose-not just geological, environmental,and biological reality BUT ALSO political and economic reality.

If you actually believe that is is politically and economically possible for the human race to get off of the ff bandwagon in the next few decades,you are hopelessly niave and uninformed in respect to human nature.

I will admit that it is concievably within the realm of physical possibility that we could actually do it-just barely.

The odds that the public, world wide, could be persuaded to go along are zero.

I can't speak for her, but it is obvious to me that Gail recognizes the fact that we are utterly and absolutely dependent on the ff industries for our very survival in the near to medium term.

I come from a long line of hands on hillbilly farmers and have been working for a good long while towards getting our small family farm ready for the coming crash.We have gravity water, a root cellar, a wood lot, a fish lake, extensive gardens,orchards, etc.

I have a degree in ag from a good university, a large well equipped shop, plenty of tools, fertile land in a place with mild winters and adequate rain,and a VERY wide range of survival oriented skills, including considerable expertise with firearms.

I have the support an extended family with similar skills.

Now in spite of all these advantages, I am only HOPEFUL that I can survive what may be coming within the next decade or two. Iam not the man my old Daddy was, nor his Daddy, or his Daddy before him.

They were tough enough to handle it.

I am not sure that I can handle it.It would have been a lot easier when I was younger.

The average man or woman on the street hasn't got a prayer of handling a power down scenario even if it takes place over a short time frame-and by short I mean a decade or longer.

OFM, How'd you do your gravity water? Just dug 3 new wells on property hooked up to diesel generators with thousand gallons of diesel per, ( I know, I know... short term fix...) but am arguin with well man on best way to do the gravity feed. What'd you do?


I am younger than you, and I figure I could go native if the world got to the point that the gravy train of fossil fuels dry up in the coming years.

But I doubt any of my family locally would be fit to survive, and they have been through the hard knocks of the past eras.

Ma and Pa city folk will be trying to stay away from the gangs that have hold of some power, and have to head for the hills as best they can.

I was helping some people today that were about to lose their power due to a shut off notice, I was buying them some food. I had to ask them if they were okay with eating out of a can, cold.

How many people in TOD land or their local areas, would be willing to eat a cold can of food, out of the can with a spoon, or a stick when you can't find a spoon? How many people in the average American city knows how to skin and then cook a wild caught animal, for that matter how to catch said animal? I know the numbers are likely a bit higher in the more country places. I just wonder who would do it to survive, and not starve to death.

More Prayers for a peaceful end to things.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

The couple both said, eating out of a cold can was better than not eating.

There are different kinds of "renewables". There are the huge wind turbines that make electricity and the solar PV that some people can believe can act to extend our current fossil fuel system. I am not one of those folks. I think these are basically pointless, because the system will still crash pretty quickly, taking all of the expensive add-ons with it, and their benefit will be mostly illusory (although some solar panels will still function for a while, temporarily benefiting their current owners during while the sun is shining, but long term will not be a solution.) Their promised net energy will not be there, when people go looking for it.

There are also true renewables. These are products that can be made locally with local materials--perhaps a small wind mill made of wood or recycled automobile parts, or a water wheel made with local materials. It makes sense to me to start building these true renewables. There is no way that such a system will generate more than a tiny fraction of current power, so it seems likely the world will not be able to feed nearly as many people as we have today. This will be a major problem, so I doubt true renewables will in fact be built.

The only other system we have is our fossil fuel system. It seems likely to fail us very soon, regardless of what we do to extend it, for a variety of reasons, primarily financial. The collapse is likely be much faster than most expect, because financial feedbacks come very quickly, as do geopolitical feedbacks. The collapse will bring a huge reduction in CO2 output (if not absolute CO2 levels)--much faster than targeted in any of the climate legislation.

Unless you get people burning things. Denuding the landscape of trees to fuel the cooking fires. Given all we know about ourselves, do you really think that just turning off the Gas on your stove will slow the forests from being burned?

Granted as less people survive, maybe they won't torch all the cities. And all the oil that is still in the ground should likely stay there. But maybe we'll struggle along with a bit of high tech long enough to keep burning FF for a while longer, even at reduced rates.

I am not trying to be doom and gloom, but a bit more mindful of how people behave when they can't get the stove to light.

Most homeless people don't set fires because the laws tell them they will go to jail if caught. If there is no one telling them they will go to jail, there would be a fire almost anywhere two sticks could be found, or a house could be torched. People can tend toward destruction rather fast in a chaos moment. In 50 years Post downfall the levels will go down sure, but as the fall happens, they'll be burning anything that will burn till there is none left.

But I vote for reason.

BioWebScape designs for better fed and housed future.


I think the key is a massive reduction of energy use combined with ending the wars and using all such funds for transitioning to a much lower energy society. I agree that the author doesn't get into depth, but we have to push away from fossil fuels toward non-CO2 sources immediately.

We have to call for this or it will be BAU. Your articles, it seems to me, often support BAU rather than offering a vision to transition to a lower-energy society based on more efficiency, redesign, ending wars, etc. I've always wondered why you are satisfied with pointing out the obvious--that it would be impossible to run the current system on renewable energy. We need to turn this mess around 180 degrees, away from war, away from fossil fuels, away from further destruction of the environment. Please address these ideas in your future articles. Thanks!

I think the key is a massive reduction of energy use combined with ending the wars and using all such funds for transitioning to a much lower energy society.

With no disrespect intended, there are critical unanswered questions in this statement: how much lower energy, what does that society look like, and how quickly? The answers to those questions are critical to determining if a controlled transition is possible. As Gail points out regularly, she believes in a long slow decline scenario. I advocate looking for a long slow decline strategy because (a) it's the only strategy where it's possible to get sufficient political traction in the US and (b) it gives us an opportunity to pick and choose the technology that we keep, which in turn determines what the resulting society is going to look like.

how much lower energy, what does that society look like, and how quickly?

I think the problem is that so many people know what that society will look like, don't like what they see, and don't want to hear about it since they will not or feel they can not do anything about it. So, they attack the messenger, plug their ears, blind themselves and ... well, they guarantee it will happen sooner rather than later.

There is not situation so bad that neglect cannot make it worse.

It is worse.


There is so much waste in the system, cutting energy use in half could be done with little change in lifestyle in most of the US, basically by employing practices already in place in CA. With a bit of change but nothing draconian, another halving could be accomplished, taking us to something like European standards.

The next halving will require more drastic adjustments, but nothing life threatening. And even the reduction by a fourth already puts us well within range of supplying our energy needs with a reasonable ramp up of renewables.

That's not to say that such an approach wouldn't wreak serious economic havoc, but then our economy is doing a pretty good job of wreaking havoc on itself anyway. And, of course, it seems politically impossible right now.

And, though I think we should do this massive reduction, I also think it is too late to prevent massive and catastrophic shifts in the basic climate status of the planet.

Humans never stop warring. When faced with a choice between self-imposed suffering or forcing someone else to suffer instead, we always choose the latter. Ilargi is correct, we don't have a financial problem, we have a political problem. Our system is designed to work the way it does. It was built by humans. "We" are the problem.

I love the part about ending wars, but It is not going to happen anytime soon. The US could pull out of Iraq and Afganistan tonight and that would not end war.

Ending war is ending hate.

You have people all over the world fighting for something or the other. We have pirates in several regions of the world. We have fighting in the middle east. We have fighting on Cyprus. We even have mobs in Greece.

Move down toward less energy and you will have more fighting in places that are calm now.

Do we have it in us as humans to end wars and bring peace to the whole world? I doubt it. Not even with less people on earth would we be able to stop fighting over the grass being greener next door.

Today while being out and about at around rushhour, I made the comment that were we to go back to a time period of not having a car, we could not move all these people over this city as well or as fast. That given the day 250 years ago when you filled your plate at the table, you had to do a days worth of work to eat. Less easy energy means more hands on work to feed yourself.

I can design you a garden that has more varities of food in it than your average garden, but I can't make it a no work garden, I can make it a less work one, but you still have to be able to cook it, clean it, store it for later, repair the broken or rotted parts, trim the weeds, graft the trees, stare at the stary sky at night and get a new telescope.

If you want a lower energy world that is all fine and good, and we do need to head that way, but you'll have to do more of the work with your hands and less with all the imbedded energy of those massive deposits of Fossil Fuels we have been using.

Now Joe citizen in most places can lay off 23 hours a day for weeks on end, in a lower energy world, he'll be doing something besides vacationing most days. Lower energy one place means higher energy another. Be careful what you wish for.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending May 7, 2010

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.0 million barrels per day during the week ending May 7, 110 thousand barrels per day below the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 88.4 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.3 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.7 million barrels per day last week, down 264 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.7 million barrels per day, 538 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 856 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 193 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 1.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 362.5 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 2.8 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.4 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 2.7 million barrels last week and are close to the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 3.4 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

A few quick thoughts about today's report.

Gasoline demand is up about 2.7% over last year, and total oil product demand is up about 2.8%, so it's pretty safe to say we are in some kind of economic recovery. In fact, with the recent fall in oil prices, demand may increase further soon.

What is keeping US inventories more or less well supplied is the rising oil imports over about the last five weeks - about 1 million bpd - as compared to the overall trend for 2010. Since OPEC exports have't picked up to account for that, I can only conclude that most of the extra supply headed to the US is because less supply was desired somewhere else, or more specifically desired less somewhere else than the prices that were willing to be paid in the US to bring inventories to a high enough level to get through the summer driving season.

It remains to be seen if oil imports will stay at these levels, especially when oil tankers have to navigate through or around large oil slicks in the GOM.

Actually even last week's report indicates some oil supplies were sent to the Northeast instead of the Gulf Coast. Just about the entire increase in oil inventories was in the Northeast, and Northeast imports increased just about the same amount as Gulf Coast imports dropped. However the Northeast doesn't have much storage capacity in the event the oil spill problem gets more broadly in the way of Gulf imports.

Re: Top Link: Glacier National Park turns 100, but may not last another 10

I'm glad you picked this up. I read it yesterday and meant to comment. The melt and changes that have occurred there just in the last 15 years are immense, those that have taken place in my memory are worse. I recall a trip there in 2001, when the new director had removed all the photos in the west entrance depicting glacial retreat. Trying to find out why, I asked a ranger of many years service. He was mum on why, that it would threaten his position if he said why. When I pressed him more, that glaciers were the signature of the park,he said that now the park's emphasis was on the process of glaciation. What it had created in the past....

I guess we can once again speak on what is occurring to our glaciers and northern latitudes. We better wake up. "ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee" Donne

It is really sad how 'researchers' are spending all this time crunching data consisting of surface temperatures at low elevations and latitudes while the known and predicted effects would be most pronounced at high elevations and latitudes. Remove - please! -all the noise and leave only data [do we have it?] from above 60 degrees or above say 6000 feet and then we can have a discussion about what is plainly observable without having any letters after your name.

I know, it's probably happening in a rather stratified way above an arc starting at Arctic sea level and ending at about 10 thousand feet at the equator, but the above simplification would be better than the statistical idiocy that we have now. By the time Florida gets significantly warmer it will be underwater.

Oh, and that rain which magically falls on your lawn comes from way up there too. Really.

You might be interested in Desdemona's collection of deglaciation stories.

Thanks. Now I have a good site to send people to. Still not much discussion of the physics of it all but then most have the 'my eyes glaze over' reaction to thermodynamics. We're all living in a cosmic test tube here; "I say Nigel, put three hundred more ppm of CO2 in with those humans and keep the Bunsen the same, would you? Report back to me on how that affects the frozen condensates".

The poor Nigels of this world always get picked on ...

Beaker from the muppets. I never knew his real name, it's nigel, so coool...er hot and what is that wet stuff falling off my nose? Dad! It's raining in the house again.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Breaking News

BOP had hydraulic leak.

Well failed negative pressure test hours before blowout.



Thsi will sound simplistic but: negative test = instead of putting pressure downward against the cement they actually reduce the pressure at the bottom of the hole to see if they can get it to flow up. Generally a better test: you not s worried about something getting pushed out the bottom of the casing as you are something getting pushed up...like a kick.

Congressional investigation reveals oil rig's blowout preventer had a hydraulic system leak

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Henry Waxman says that his committee's investigation into the Gulf oil spill reveals that a key safety device, the blowout preventer, had a leak in a crucial hydraulic system.

The California Democrat said in a hearing Wednesday that the investigation also discovered that the well had failed a negative pressure test just hours before the April 20 explosion.


Part 1 of 5.

We had a chance back in the 70s to make a quantum leap in advancement but just as Carter was ignored and shunned so was this guy. The short sighted profit grab was pursued instead.

In 1974 there were how many fewer people than there are today?

I've seen his later videos, where Fresco's ideas are still being pushed.

But I love to cook, can't I do that?

If we could stop the need for humans to kill another we might be on the way, I don't see that happening anytime soon though. I do like the neat drawings and ideas talked about, as I have some of my own like them.

Getting one of his cities up and running would be a plus to the cause.

Futurists have always had a tough time getting the ideas off the drawing board, I know, I still have to get my hands dirty when I tell someone the drawings are finished.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Tell Congress: No More Drilling -- Clean Energy Now!

No More Drilling

True Majority
You're probably just as saddened and outraged as we are about the Gulf Oil Catastrophe unfolding due to the BP offshore oil rig explosion. The mounting damage to local wildlife, ecosystems on the brink of destruction, and the thousands of Gulf Coast residents whose lives have been ruined show just how deadly our addiction to oil and other dirty fossil fuels has become.

It's time to turn that outrage into action to make sure that BP cleans up its mess and we finally kicks our dirty fuels habit for good by embracing clean energy. Thanks to True Majority for their work in promoting this important campaign to stop offshore oil drilling for our clean energy future.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's what we want you to do:

1. Click here to print our sign: "NO MORE DRILLING. CLEAN ENERGY NOW" (.pdf)

2. Take a picture of yourself with the sign in front of the closest BP gas station
(or any gas station if you don't have a BP near you)

3. Send us your picture and fill out the short webform below to let us know you took action. We'll take care of delivering your picture to Congress. Send your picture(s) to this email address:


That's it: three easy steps, one powerful message. Now, help us keep track of how we tell the story for no more drilling. Fill in your information below to let us know you're taking action and sending in your photo.

Too bad "clean energy" won't maintain BAU.

Yeah, that's the answer to the easy question. "What can clean energy maintain?" is the hard one.

I guess we won't be maintaining BAU then, will we? Personally I think that might even be a good thing.

Take a picture of yourself with the sign in front of the closest BP gas station.

Surely, to stay in touch with practical realities, we should muse on the logistics in a real-world scenario:

Drive to the gas station, which is almost certainly beyond walking distance, in your SUV. Take the picture as instructed. Once that's done, paste the sign on your SUV's bumper right next to the No War For Oil sticker. After driving back home, paste copies on your other cars' bumpers. Paste more copies on the powerboat, snowmobile(s), and RV. And don't forget to install the app provided at that site, which displays the sign over any airline-reservation page you might access.

Oh, wait a minute >:-o

Of course I was kidding - about the app. That would be going way too far. You've gone all the far you'll ever need to go as soon as you've vilified Evil Wicked Big Business over the issue. Honest.

I can walk to the nearest gas station. 1/2 block to main road, 2 short blocks, then a long one about 1.5 times what I have walked so far, then you can see the station at the cross roads. I used to walk there at night if I was bored or needed some nicotine( I am down to only smoking in my stage shows, or for friends that like the fire tricks(less than 10 smokes a month)). But I don't have a digital camera, besides my cell phone, but no text or video messaging.

I am sure just holding up a sign near there will get the police called on me, so can you offer another option?

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Actually I can walk to the nearest gas station too, three blocks and two partial-block doglegs. But for purposes of broader discussion, I figure there are enough commenters here already who vastly overgeneralize special idiosyncratic circumstances - often their own - to the broader population. So I was leaving aside the idiosyncratic cases in favor of a more typical scenario.

Depending on the locality, holding up a sign might draw the police, especially if the sign-holder is perceived to be impeding access. And no, other than my snarky bumper-sticker suggestions, I don't have another alternative. The truth is, virtually everyone - even the most self-righteous car-eschewer - is so dependent on oil products in the short to medium term as to make any sort of boycott with real teeth in it a ridiculous absurdity. "Cutting off one's nose to spite one's face" doesn't even begin to express the conundrum. I thought I made that fairly clear, but if not, there it is.

Even the most cocksure survivalist or no-footprint type will suddenly be wanting the benefits of modern society the moment he or she breaks an arm or a leg, contracts a serious infection, finds a melanoma, smashes a finger or toe with some implement at the farm-refuge, etc. etc. At best, it will take some time to transition that stuff and what supports it away from fossil fuels. Which is why I wish some commenters would be a bit more careful and realistic about what they wish for - especially when it comes to utopian fantasies about making the transition instantly, seemingly at the mere wave of a magic wand.


Great interview Part 1 of 6.

This young guy get's it.........................

yeah, kinda. But I am always wary of people who have such bitter opposition to religion, that is religion as a concept rather than the doctrine contained within that religion. To my mind that is just as closed a position as a closed-minded religious person. Other than that he has some good things to say, albeit sometimes he appears a tad arrogant in the way he communicates.

BP still deciding how best to deploy 'top hat' to contain Gulf of Mexico oil spill

BP will decide which of two "top hat" solutions it will use to try to contain the Gulf of Mexico oil spill by midday Thursday, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The containment box, 5 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter, arrived in the Gulf above the Macondo well blowout early today. BP said it is deciding between two uses for the box.

May 11 image released by BP shows the main oil leak (R) of the Deepwater Horizon rig which exploded April 20 and killed 11 workers. BP battled Wednesday to cap a huge oil leak, lowering a box dubbed "a top-hat" into the Gulf of Mexico amid mounting US anger over a spill flowing unchecked for three weeks. (AFP/BP)

Video: Camera captures oil and gas rising from Gulf sea floor

ROBERT, La. -- Video released by BP shows oil spewing from a yellowish, broken pipe 5,000 feet below the surface. The oil looks like steam rushing from a geyser.

The video released Wednesday gives a not-yet-seen glimpse of the leaking well a mile underwater. The stream occasionally can be seen becoming lighter as natural gas mixes into the gusher.

Re. Be afraid of Gwynne Dyer’s hope

...his blind spots in peak energy, economics and finance because, as willing as he is to embrace the fantastic solutions of geo-engineers to mitigate climate change, the reality of the ongoing economic collapse promises to thwart those efforts.

and Monbiot: Dark Mountain

Like all cultures, industrial civilisation will collapse at some point. Resource depletion and climate change are likely causes. But I don't believe it will happen soon...

To sit back and wait for what the Dark Mountain people believe will be civilisation's imminent collapse, without trying to change the way it operates, is to conspire in the destruction of everything greens are supposed to value.

Which side is correct? The "it's too late, there is nothing we can do" club (includes James Lovelock, Orlov others), or the "there is still plenty of time - we can still stop fossil-fueled destruction of industrial civilization/the planet" club?

I tend to agree with the "too late" club: "... the reality of the ongoing economic collapse promises to thwart those efforts."

I think it's best to Plan Locally for the inevitable collapse sooner rather than later.

Plan to die, but hope to live.
Hope a bit more than some say you should, and be on the safe side and get yourself a good set of survival gear.

Either way it goes, you can always use the survival gear, makes a great ice breaker at cocktail parties.

I'll continue doing what I am doing. Trying new recipes when I can afford the ingredients. Playing pool with friends. Helping the folks I am helping. Planning the next person's garden and mini-house or what not.

I could sit in my bed and cry my eyes out at night and whimmer when I hear a bang outside. Or I can look to each new day as a day that I can still see if the flowers are blooming, or if the bees are coming back, or if the snow is falling.

I get down, I'll admit it, there are days I don't see any hope. But one day I'll be dead and it'll have all gone away.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring, never have, why start worrying about it all just now, live life and go on about making the best of what you have for as long as you can. I try to be mindful off leaving a better place here than I found it.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Monbiot is a baby farmer. Parents will rationalise the future in whatever way allows them to cope mentally. It's just a shame when they evangelise their optimism like George.

Oil spill: BP had wrong diagram to close blowout preventer

WASHINGTON — In the days after a oil well spun out of control in the Gulf of Mexico, BP engineers tried to activate a huge piece of underwater safety equipment but failed because the device had been so altered that diagrams BP got from the equipment's owner didn't match the supposedly failsafe device's configuration, congressional investigators said Wednesday.

Wish like hell I could say this was the first time I heard of this type of screw up.

Why that is absolutely fantastic news! That means that all congress has to do is pass a law mandating that all diagrams of safety equipment such as the BOP must match the actual installed equipment and include clear instructions on how to activate it. We'll never have another oil spill again. See how easy this is.

On another note, I recently fried an $8000.00 dollar inverter because the Chinese to English translation of the installation manual incorrectly specified the power up steps. On a positive note there was no left over toxic residue and no pigeons or sparrows were killed in this mishap.

Note to congress, make sure you include a clause forbidding all BOP instruction manuals originating in China... or Britain.

I think it was even worse than that - it was even mislabelled on the BOP if I heard correctly.

In the previously published pic

If I understood correctly, apparently the "SHR RAM CLOSE" actually goes to the test circuit after the "modifications" and cannot be used to close the BOP.

Some how this labeling question reminds of a raging debate within the Army decades ago as to how to label stuff that would burn easy: Flamable or Inflamable. I vaguely recall it took several years for the gov't to resolve the issue.

"It burns, It burns" should do it.

Perhaps the BOP should get new labels. How about


What confuses me here is that BP requested the changes that Transocean made to the BOP. But rather than ask their own engineers about the modified BOP, or Transocean, it appears they got specs for an off the shelf BOP from Cameron. I don't get much confidence that BP are really in control of what they are doing.

That wasn't how I picked up what was said but I could be wrong. I thought what was said was that the BOP had been modified twice. BP claimed one set of mods was known to them but not the subsequent modification (which I think was to do with the external port). I thought Cameron said the SHR RAM interface was originally in one position then it was moved to another position as part of the major mod and then it was later moved back to its original position at some later point. But I could have picked that up wrong. In any case Cameron, BP and Transocean all seemed confused as they apparently all agreed on the ROV mission which wasted time trying to activate the wrong port.

Either the "agreed" diagrams and ROV plan matched the BOP physical markings or else a huge red flag saying "STOP" went up in the ROV controllers minds when they noticed the markings didn't match. It is just not believable to me that they would continue with the operation and consciously plug into the "wrong" hole until the glaring discrepancy was addressed.

tow -- or as Moe said to Larry: "When I nod my head, you hit it". The apparent lost art of communication.

This is beginning to sound like Abbot and Costello's "who's on first?"