Drumbeat: May 19, 2010

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Deepwater Horizon

No matter how much environmental and economic damage results from the Deepwater Horizon blowout, the ramifications of the spill are likely to linger for decades and have a major impact on the availability of deepwater oil as we enter the era of oil depletion. The U.S. government has already put a temporary hold on additional drilling until the facts of the current situation are clarified. The oil companies who are used to minimal government interference with their activities are already raising objections to the possibility of tougher regulation.

From what is known so far, it is clear that offshore drilling came to be seriously under-regulated in recent years with few inspections and little or no penalties for violations. Deepwater offshore drilling has become so expensive - the Deepwater Horizon costs on the order of $1 million a day to operate - that site managers are under heavy pressure to complete projects as quickly as possible and move to the next job.

Obama Forms Three Offices to Replace Offshore Agency

(Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration will replace the Minerals Management Service, faulted for lax regulation of offshore drilling before the BP Plc spill last month, with three offices to oversee leases, drilling safety and fee collection.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is creating the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, according to a press release scheduled to be released today.

Senate Dems: Make oil industry pay for inspections

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democrats are calling for the Obama administration to improve inspections of deepwater oil rigs such as the one that exploded last month in the Gulf of Mexico.

La. spending on oil spill reaches $5M

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Louisiana agencies have spent more than $5 million to combat the still-growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and they estimate the spending could top more than $20 million by next month, according to information provided to lawmakers Wednesday.

Officials from the governor's Division of Administration said money from BP PLC and the federal government would cover all state costs.

US and Cuba hold talks on oil spill

HAVANA -- U.S and Cuban officials are holding "working level" talks on how to respond to the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill that is believed to be dumping some 5,000 barrels of crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico, two State Department officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The talks add to signs of concern that strong currents could carry the slick far from the site of the spill, possibly threatening the Florida Keys and the pristine white beaches along Cuba's northern coast.

‘Exercise Caution,’ the Drilling Permit Said

The permit issued to BP by the Minerals Management Service for the well that blew out on April 20 in the gulf carried a notation: “Exercise caution while drilling due to indications of shallow gas and possible water flow.’’

But natural gas was one element of the blowout, experts say.

Spill Clouds Future for Service Providers

The massive oil spill in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, which has resulted in a temporary ban on new drilling, is clouding the immediate future for oilfield-service providers--but could be profitable for them in the long term.

BP spill spurs fears over Shell Oil's Arctic plans

WASHINGTON/ANCHORAGE (Reuters) - Shell Oil says it plans to drill exploratory wells off Alaska this summer in a "safe and environmentally responsible" way, but the troubled BP operation in the Gulf of Mexico raises concerns about how such a cleanup would work in hostile Arctic conditions.

Crude Oil Fluctuates as the Euro Climbs From a Four-Year Low

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fluctuated in New York after the euro rebounded from a four-year low against the dollar as a European Union official said Germany’s ban on short-selling reinforces the need for coordinated action.

Oil dropped to a seven-month low earlier today after Germany’s prohibition sparked concern that regulation will increase. The 16-nation currency advanced after EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said that “there is strong pressure to take action against speculative attacks.” A government report showed that U.S. supplies climbed a 16th week.

Enbridge says its Cushing crude tanks nearly full

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc, the largest operator of storage tanks at the Cushing crude oil hub in Oklahoma, is using essentially all of its available capacity to store crude, a company spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday.

"Right now, we are essentially at capacity," said Enbridge spokesman Larry Springer. "For the most part, we are leasing out the storage in long-term contracts."

Gasoline Futures Plunge to 12-Week Low as Fuel Demand Declines

(Bloomberg) -- Gasoline fell to a 12-week low after the Energy Department reported that inventories declined less than expected last week and demand sank to a six-week low.

Prices dropped as stockpiles of the motor fuel contracted 294,000 barrels. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News estimated a reduction of 900,000 barrels. Gasoline demand slipped 0.5 percent to an average 9.09 million barrels a day.

Petronas May Seek More Australian LNG Project Stakes, Supplies

(Bloomberg) -- Petroliam Nasional Bhd., Malaysia’s state-owned oil and gas company, is interested in buying more stakes in Australian liquefied natural gas projects and boosting purchases of the fuel, the head of its local unit said.

Peruvian LNG exports seen heading to Canada

LIMA (Reuters) - Concerns have risen over Peru's liquefied natural gas exports to Mexico after Repsol YPF, a minority project partner, said fuel would be initially shipped to Canada because a Mexican receiving plant is still being built.

Statoil Defeats Shareholder Revolt Against Oil Sands

(Bloomberg) -- Statoil ASA and its biggest shareholder, the Norwegian state, fought off an investor revolt against its Canadian oil-sands project for the second year in a row at its annual general meeting.

A majority of shareholders at Norway’s biggest energy company voted against forcing it to pull out of Canadian oil sands at Statoil’s meeting today. Statoil, 67 percent owned by the state, in 2007 bought North American Oil Sands Corp. for about $2 billion to tap an area estimated to hold the largest oil reserves outside Saudi Arabia.

NASA scientist urges Norway to pull out of Alberta's 'destructive' oilsands

NASA's top scientist wants to persuade the prime minister of Norway to order the country's state-owned energy giant to get out of Alberta's oilsands.

James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has written an open letter in a Norwegian newspaper asking the government to vote in favour of a motion at Statoil's annual general meeting Wednesday to end the company's oilsands project.

Fuel shortage hits army

Inside sources of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) have confirmed to our reporter yesterday that there is serious fuel shortage in the RSLAF that has now rendered their work useless.

The sources further disclosed that due to the fuel shortage the chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Major General Alfred Nelson-Williams is said not to be happy with the development taking place in the army. The reports further add that poaching vessels fishing within the inshore exclusive zone (IEZ) have now got a field day thereby fishing at will.

Urea shortage likely to cause drop in farm yields

IMPHAL: Farmers in the state are in a big fix as their paddy fields are now ready for the season but there are no fertilizers available with the distribution agencies.

Pizza in Naples 'baked using coffin wood'

ROME -- Italian prosecutors believe pizza in the southern city of Naples may be baked in ovens lit with wood from coffins dug up in the local cemetery, Italian daily Il Giornale reported on Monday.

"Pizza, one of the few symbols of Naples that endures... is hit by the concrete suspicion that it could be baked with wood from coffins," Il Giornale said.

Investigators in Naples are setting their sights on the thousands of small, lower-end pizza shops and bakeries that dot the city on suspicion that the owners may "use wood from caskets to keep ovens burning."

Nuclear industry presses sceptical Huhne over backing new reactors

Leaders of the nuclear industry have sought urgent meetings with the new energy secretary, Chris Huhne, amid concern that he will not provide the support needed for their £30bn investment programme in a new generation of reactors.

Why China holds 'rare' cards in the race to go green

From electric cars to wind turbines, environmentally-friendly technology around the world needs rare earth metals. But China - where over 90% of these minerals are mined - is saying it now wants to keep more for its own industry.

Japan's solar cell market more than tripled in 2009

Japan's solar cell market more than tripled in the year to March, as government incentives spurred households to purchase the eco-friendly technology, industry data showed Tuesday. Shipments of solar cells and modules in Japan rose 263 percent from the previous financial year, the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association said.

Nearly 90 percent of the shipments were for household use, due to government cash subsidies and tax incentives for homeowners to install the greener technology.

Alberta oilsands become largest U.S. supplier of crude in 2010: Report

If the oilsands were a country, they would be the largest source of crude oil to the United States, according to a new report by a leading American energy think-tank.

Canada has long been a top oil supplier to its southern neighbour, but 2010 will mark the first time oilsands production will account for the lion's share of U.S. imports of petroleum and refined products, according to the report prepared by Massachusettsbased Cambridge Energy Research Associates. Oilsands could eventually account for 20 to 36 per cent of U.S. supply by 2030, the report notes.

"The fact that oilsands by themselves -- were they a country -- are set to become the largest single source of U.S. crude oil imports this year, emphasizes the importance they have attained as a supply source for the United States," Daniel Yergin, IHS CERA chairman and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Prize, said in a news release. "It also shows how integrated Canada and the United States are in terms of energy, as in their overall economies."

Consumer prices fall for 1st time in a year

WASHINGTON - U.S. consumer prices unexpectedly fell in April, the first decline in a year, and the core annual rate recorded its smallest gain since 1966, suggesting scope for the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates near zero for some time.

The Labor Department said on Wednesday its seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index slipped 0.1 percent, pulled down by a decline in energy costs, after a 0.1 percent gain in March.

...Energy costs fell 1.4 percent in April, the largest decline since March 2009. Gasoline costs fell 2.4 percent last month, also the biggest fall since March 2009, after dipping 0.8 percent in March.

The drop in gasoline eclipsed the 0.2 percent gain in food prices.

Chinese inflation might be out of control

(FORTUNE) -- One of the most popular debates in global macro circles currently relates to China and whether its economy is in a bubble. One the side of the bubble callers is one of the more successful short sellers of our generation, James Chanos. Admittedly, Chanos is usually on the right side of these big calls and, for the time being, I'm not going to debate him. Great Chinese bubble debate aside for now, how does Chanos's theory hold up in light of the data we've been reviewing?

Reliance April crude imports up 42pc m/m: Report

NEW DELHI: Reliance Industries' daily crude oil purchases rose 42 per cent in April from March, as the privately run Indian refiner made a rare purchase of Russian Urals and bought Australian Pyrenees crude for the first time, data from trade sources showed.

Kazakhstan to bump up output

Kazakhstan's oil output will rise by 4.7% this year, coinciding with a rise in its economic growth, Vice Energy Minister Lyazzat Kiinov said today.

He said gas production would nearly double by 2015 to reach 65 billion cubic metres, up from 37 Bcm last year.

Energy crisis 'threatens' Bangladesh growth

DHAKA — Bangladesh is on track for strong growth this year but needs to solve its critical energy crisis to prosper in the future, the World Bank said Wednesday.

Current demand for electricity outstrips supply by around 2,000 megawatts at peak hours, the Bank's economic update for the South Asian country said.

Pakistan: 23 power plants ‘should be replaced’

Existing 23 power generating plants should be immediately replaced with efficient ones as these can now never produce more than 40% of power out of their total potential, Chief Technical Officer of Enercon Asif Masood said on Tuesday.

Florida Keys tar balls not from BP oil spill

MIAMI - Tar balls found on beaches in the Florida Keys this week are not from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill leaking from a well owned by BP, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday, citing laboratory tests.

The news came as a temporary relief to Florida's tourism authorities, who are already reporting negative market impact from the month-long spillage from BP's leaking undersea well, the source of a huge slick that has already dumped oil debris ashore on the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

USF ship heads to loop current to study oil

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A University of South Florida research ship will head to the middle of the Gulf of Mexico today in hopes of studying whether oil is being carried south by a powerful current.

Astronauts see ‘scary’ oil spill from space

The dramatic flood of oil in the Gulf of Mexico is an alarming sight from space, cosmonauts and astronauts on the International Space Station said Tuesday.

Don't let oil spill divert attention from energy bill

America's fearful reaction to the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 put building new nuclear plants on a hiatus that has reached three decades. The result is a nation more dependent on fossil fuels, including foreign oil, and less energy-secure.

What might have seemed prudent at the time ultimately helped set the stage for today's energy dilemma.

Big Green and little green clash over the American Power Act

When Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) unveiled their long-awaited American Power Act last week, it drew two sharply different responses from two collections of activist groups.

An Entente With the Tree Cutters

After negotiations with nine environmental groups, several forestry companies operating in Canada agreed on Tuesday to temporarily stop cutting in about 175 million acres of the country’s boreal forest.

The three-year moratorium will allow scientists to study the impact of tree cutting on caribou herds. And although little or no harvesting would have occurred within protected areas without the agreement, both sides said that the accord marked an important change in their relationship. “It really is a truce after so many years of fighting each other,” Richard Brooks, the forest campaign coordinator of Greenpeace Canada, said at a news conference in Toronto.

Union of Concerned Scientists researchers: Coal use saps Wisconsin's economy

WASHINGTON — Wisconsin is the nation's fifth most coal-dependent state for generating electricity, according to a report released Tuesday.

Because the state has no coal supplies of its own, it spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year to import the fuel for power generation. Coal imports accounted for 68 percent of all power used in the state in 2008, research by the Union of Concerned Scientists found.

Reliance on Oil Sands Grows Despite Risks

CONKLIN, Alberta — Beneath the subarctic forests of western Canada, deep under the peat bogs and herds of wild caribou, lies the tarry rock that is one of America’s top sources of imported oil.

There is no chance of a rig blowout here, or a deepwater oil spill like the one from the BP well that is now fouling the Gulf of Mexico. But the oil extracted from Canada’s oil sands poses other environmental challenges, like toxic sludge ponds, greenhouse gas emissions and the destruction of boreal forests.

In addition, critics warn that American regulators have waived a longstanding safety standard for the pipelines that deliver the synthetic crude oil from Canada to refineries in the United States and have not required any specific emergency plans to deal with a spill, which even regulators acknowledge is a possibility.

Oil sands are now getting more scrutiny as the Obama administration reviews a Canadian company’s request to build a new 2,000-mile underground pipeline that would run from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast and would significantly increase America’s access to the oil. In making the decision, due this fall, federal officials are weighing the environmental concerns against the need to secure a reliable supply of oil to help satisfy the nation’s insatiable thirst.

Jeff Rubin: China, not U.S., will be tar sands’ market

I suppose it’s only natural that the nation that’s soon to be the world’s largest consumer of oil should seek access to what will soon be the world’s largest source of new oil supply (which will happen even sooner if deep-water oil production is about to get nuked).

The acquisition of a nine per cent share of the Athabasca tar sands’ marquee Syncrude operation by Sinopec (which is owned by the Chinese government) signals a new willingness on China’s part to sink billions into the future development of high-cost oil from tar sands. It coincides with the granting of a $20-billion soft loan by China to the Chávez regime in Venezuela, which will at least in part be repaid in oil from that country’s Orinoco tar sands.

Statoil, Shareholders Face Off Over Oil Sands Project

(Bloomberg) -- Statoil ASA and its biggest shareholder, the Norwegian state, will for the second year in a row have to fight off an investor revolt against its Canadian oil sands project.

The plan will be voted on at Norway’s biggest energy company’s annual general meeting today in Stavanger. Statoil, 67 percent owned by the state, in 2007 bought North American Oil Sands Corp. for about $2 billion to tap an area estimated to hold the largest oil reserves outside Saudi Arabia.

Bellingham community meeting will discuss controversial oil tar sands

To some residents opposed to a controversial Canada crude oil project, one battle at the Bellingham City Council may have been lost, but they hope the war isn't over.

Oil falls near $68 to 8-month low on Europe fears

Oil prices fell to near $68 a barrel Wednesday, extending losses to an eight-month low as mixed U.S. crude supply figures failed to stem a two week sell-off.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for June delivery was down $1.23 to $68.18 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 54 cents to settle at $69.41 on Tuesday.

Crude is Officially in a Bear Market

The new-born bear market in crude is deepening this morning, with crude futures falling below $69, lower by almost 2%. As the Journal pointed out this morning the headwinds for oil are blowing from a couple different directions.

No role for OPEC for now on oil price fall - Algeria

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Falling crude prices are linked to uncertainty about the world economy, not oil supply, and there is no role for OPEC to play at this stage, Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil said on Wednesday.

He also said that prices would rebound once global markets begin to feel the effect of a 750 billion euro ($931.2 billion) package designed to shore up confidence in euro zone economies.

Oil May Drop to $66 as June Futures Expire

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil may fall to an eight-month low of $66 a barrel in New York when the June contract in New York expires tomorrow, according to Cameron Hanover Inc.

Oil, which dropped out of an uptrend channel this week, will probably extend its front-month weakness to “deferred” contracts as traders close losing bets that prices would increase, said Peter Beutel, president of the trading adviser in New Canaan, Connecticut. July futures are trading above $72, at more than double the volume changing hands for June.

Reliance Said to Stop Crude Output as Cyclone Laila Strengthens

(Bloomberg) -- Reliance Industries Ltd., the operator of India’s biggest natural gas field, stopped crude oil output in the Bay of Bengal as tropical cyclone Laila strengthened, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The explorer closed wells producing about 30,000 barrels a day of oil in the KG-D6 field starting last night for 24 to 48 hours, the person said, asking not to be identified because he isn’t authorized to speak to the media. Gas output at the offshore field wasn’t halted, he said. Manoj Warrier, a spokesman for Reliance, declined to immediately comment.

EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2010: Peak what?

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its Annual Energy Outlook 2010 (AEO 2010) last week, with projections out to 2035. It makes for interesting reading. Most notable was its take on peak oil, natural gas vehicles and on converting natural gas to liquids (GTL).

An otherwise reasonable report was marred by the presumption of oil plenty. Figure 1 shows a graph presented by Glen Sweetnam, director of the EIA's International, Economic and Greenhouse Gas division, in April 2009. Although it mentions the source as being the AEO 2009, this data does not appear in the AEO 2009. It presumably is data from the modeling system which isn't publicly released.

The large gap of some 52 million barrels per day (mb/d) is quite stark. Fortunately we can all breath a sigh of relief, because the AEO 2010 has found this phantom oil, and then some. Figure 2 shows data from Table C6 (page 180) for the sources of oil supply the EIA forsees in its reference scenario. I added in the yellow line to illustrate oil that will have to be brought online.

Kazakh Government Won’t Force Entry to Karachaganak Oil Project

(Bloomberg) -- The Kazakh government won’t force its way into the BG Group Plc and Eni SpA-led Karachaganak venture as it seeks an equal stake in the biggest oil and gas project in the country that lacks state participation.

Shell pledges $2B to cut gas flaring in Nigeria

LAGOS, Nigeria – Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it will spend more than $2 billion in the coming years to cut down on gas flaring in Nigeria's oil-rich delta.

Shell announced Wednesday that its project would involve 26 flow stations in the Niger Delta, in areas where the oil major had seen its work stopped by funding shortages or security concerns.

Michael Klare: Factoring in the Real Cost of Oil

Yes, the oil spewing up from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico in staggering quantities could prove one of the great ecological disasters of human history. Think of it, though, as just the prelude to the Age of Tough Oil, a time of ever increasing reliance on problematic, hard-to-reach energy sources.

Make no mistake: we’re entering the danger zone. And brace yourself, the fate of the planet could be at stake.

Gulf Coast fears spreading slick, fishing ban widens

KEY WEST, Fla. (Reuters) – BP Plc forged ahead on Wednesday with efforts to stem its leaking Gulf of Mexico oil well, amid fears powerful currents were pushing the slick toward prized U.S. tourist resorts and fisheries.

The London-based energy giant, which has seen its reputation battered and market value cut by $30 billion due to the disaster, said it planned to increase the amount of oil captured from its blown well as it works on a permanent fix.

Tighter laws to follow Gulf oil spill

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Congress is turning its focus this week to the federal government's response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but the offshore oil drilling industry is far from off the hook.

Congressional pressure on federal agencies, especially the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, is likely to lead to tighter rules for the oil and natural gas sector.

BP is no stranger to tragedy

A group of BP executives was onboard the Deepwater Horizon to celebrate the rig's safety record when it erupted in a fireball a month ago.

The bitter irony carries an eerie sense of deja vu. Just before a March 2005 explosion at BP's Texas City refinery, workers returned to a temporary trailer after a lunch BP catered to celebrate safe operations. Within minutes, a nearby isomerization unit belched hydrocarbons that exploded.

The Bumbler From BP: How CEO Tony Hayward is making the Gulf oil-spill disaster even worse

This hasn't been a good few weeks for Tony Hayward, the chief executive officer of BP. In the weeks since the huge oil spill in the Gulf began, he has struck an occasionally Churchillian tone: "We are going to defend the beaches," he proclaimed. "We will fix this." But the British leader he most calls to mind is Ethelred the Unready.

U.S. probes another BP rig, seeks MMS shakeup

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Tuesday the U.S. government was investigating another big BP oil rig while admitting his agency came up short in preventing the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Obama 'disappointed' over stalled Senate oil liability cap

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama voiced his frustration with Republican lawmakers Tuesday over holdups to a measure that would make oil companies pay for the response to spills they have a hand in.

"I am disappointed that an effort to ensure that oil companies pay fully for disasters they cause has stalled in the United States Senate on a partisan basis," he said in a statement.

Rig Gear Supplier Cameron May Prove Winner After BP Oil Spill

(Bloomberg) -- Cameron International Corp., whose stock plunged after a safety device it supplied became a focus of investigations into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, may find its fortunes boosted by the disaster.

Norwegian peat moss could be used to soak up Gulf oil: company

OSLO (AFP) – A small Norwegian company said Tuesday it had developed a peat moss mixture that could protect parts of the US coast from giant plumes of oil gushing from the wreckage of the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company, Kallak Torvstroefabrikk, says one kilo (2.2 pounds) of its peat moss can absorb the equivalent of five times its weight in oil.

"This makes it possible to protect fragile stretches of the coast: a beach, a swamp, a nesting ground for birds," said Ragnar Kallak, who heads up the three-man company some 70 kilometres (43 miles) southeast of Oslo.

Occidental Leads Onshore Oil Rush Amid Ocean-Drilling Crackdown

(Bloomberg) -- Occidental Petroleum Corp., the oil explorer that pumps enough crude to fill a supertanker every four days, is leading a rush to find oil on land as BP Plc’s Gulf of Mexico disaster spurs tougher offshore-drilling rules.

Seafood testing from Gulf oil disaster could last years

The danger posed by the Gulf oil spill to the U.S. food supply is worse than previously thought, and could make testing of seafood necessary for decades to come, officials and scientists say.

Santos Seeks Tax Clarity Before Gas Project Proceeds

(Bloomberg) -- Santos Ltd., Australia’s third- largest oil and gas company, is seeking clarity on the country’s proposed 40 percent tax on resource profits in order to proceed this year with a project in Queensland.

“We will take the time to assess the impact of the proposed new tax” on its liquefied natural gas venture, Chief Executive Officer David Knox said in Brisbane today. “I have also said that we will take a final investment decision this year. To enable that, it will be important that we get greater clarity on the tax regime we can expect.”

Bangkok becomes a battleground after protest leaders are arrested

BANGKOK (AP) — Downtown Bangkok became a raging battleground Wednesday as the army stormed a barricaded protest camp and the Red Shirt leadership surrendered, enraging demonstrators who fired grenades and set fires that cloaked the skyline in a black haze.

Rioters set fires at the Thai stock exchange, several banks, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Electricity Authority, the high-end Central World shopping mall and a cinema complex that collapsed.

Jump-starting alternative energy

Earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes are things “Mother Nature” doles out we don't have control over, but preventing another huge oil spill fiasco — and finding and using alternative energy — we do have control over. The government is finally pushing for alternatives for fossil fuels. There are many ideas percolating in the cauldron for alternative energy. We could be much further along except, until recently, there has not been enough support. We need to jump-start these technologies.

Canadians Choose Driving Over Sex and Candy

The driving paradox: more than three-quarters (78 per cent) of Canadians know their driving has a negative environmental impact, but they are not likely to give up their vehicles even when they could easily use other forms of transportation (75 per cent). In fact, Canadians are more willing to give up their cell phones, TVs, Internet access, coffee, junk food, credit cards and for some, even sex, before they set aside their car keys.

Study: Google scrambling our perception of science reality

Google search suggestions have shifted public perceptions about nanotechnology away from science to health worries, finds a science communications study. Search engine reliance on popularity rather than accuracy to steer people to information likely distorts society's view of science, politics and elsewhere, suggest the study authors.

Peak Oil And Peak Debt

Going for growth is the No Alternative option - so higher oil prices will be the only result. Given the real amounts in play, panicking at the 100-dollar barrel is about as realistic as imagining biofuels can substitute even 10% of world car fleet fuel demand, but an entirely speculative oil price trading casino can drive prices right off the top of the chart. Energy conservation and rational energy utilisation, demand side management, and a massive increase in oil producer-consumer country dialogue and confidence building, with oil pricing taken out of the casino, are the only ways forward.

Can you buy your way out of financial pain?

As my friend Mike Folkerth scans the economic horizon, he brings a common sense and down to earth view that most economists miss:

“Each morning I sit down at my keyboard and consider a new way to convince the world that our growth model is not sustainable,” said Folkerth. “The normal concern for the average American is, “How long will our growth model last at this rate?” The answer that they are hoping for is, “Long enough for you to get yours.” That is the problem you know?

Buying local products will make our lives better

In the face of climate change and peak oil concerns, we must look at a different, more localized, economic structure.

Some of council silent on Pelton plan

Councillor Al Hogarth said he discovered at a recent Lower Mainland Local Government Association meeting that greenhouses can produce up to 20 times more food than a piece of land can.

"Farming is also very speculative... probably more speculative than any other type of business," he said.

..."I think there has to be a paradigm shift in the way we do things," he said.

The paradigm shift needs to include "all of the things including peak oil, climate change, everything that's happening but how do we leverage business and how do we leverage food production?"

Keep An Eye On Biobutanol

Few topics seem to garner as much interest these days as the idea of moving past the gasoline-based transportation economy and onto something better. Several candidates for "better" have risen and fallen in recent years - fuel cells and ethanol seem to be yesterday's news - and advanced batteries are the belle of the "better" ball right now.

Investors should keep an eye out for biobutanol. While there are several significant challenges to surmount before biobutanol could be commonplace, this is an alternative fuel that may actually give us a real alternative when it comes to fueling our cars.

China in Talks With Russia, France on 4G Reactors

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s second-biggest fuel user, is in talks with Russia and France on possible cooperation to build fourth-generation nuclear reactors as global demand for clean energy rises.

China Power Investment to Build More Nuclear Plants

(Bloomberg) -- China Power Investment Corp., one of the nation’s five largest electricity producers, plans to build nuclear plants in southern, central and northeastern China as domestic energy demand surges, said a company official.

China Power is studying plans to build AP1000 nuclear reactors in the provinces of Jilin, Guangxi, Liaoning, Henan and Chongqing, Yu Zhuoping, an adviser at the company, said in an interview today after an industry conference in Beijing.

‘Tainted’ Credits Cut UN Carbon Price

(Bloomberg) -- Emission traders’ most-profitable credits, linked to greenhouse gases considered more harmful than carbon dioxide, are dragging the United Nations carbon market to its biggest discount in a year.

The UN faces a devaluation of the tradable credits it gives investors that pay for projects to reduce hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, because the European Union may favor alternatives such as windfarms to combat global warming. UN offsets for 2012 traded at 4.02 euros ($4.90) a metric ton less than comparable EU permits, almost twice the spread at the end of last year.

Shipping faces turbulent ride on carbon-cutting quest

What's a natural resource that is free, produces zero carbon emissions and has been used to power ships since time immemorial?

The answer is of course the wind. The graceful sailing ships that sent the likes of Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama to the Americas and India are long gone, though, replaced by vast iron vessels loaded with crude oil, minerals and neat stacks of shipping containers to feed the voracious global economy.

Europe's scientists call for more effort in tackling rising ocean acidity

Ten years ago, ocean acidification was a phenomenon only known to small group of ocean scientists. It's now recognised as the hidden partner of climate change, prompting calls for an urgent, substantial reduction in carbon emissions to reduce future impacts.

The 'Impacts of Ocean Acidification' science policy briefing presented by the European Science Foundation on 20 May for European Maritime Day 2010 gives a comprehensive view of current research. Prepared by leading scientists from Europe and the USA, it highlights the need for a concerted, integrated effort internationally to research and monitor the effects of ocean acidification on marine environments and human communities.

Link up top: EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2010: Peak what?

I used the reference scenario showing 2035 oil supply of 112mb/d to save you spitting your coffee at the low oil price scenario. The low oil price scenario has 2035 oil at $50/bbl and supply at 127mb/d. Seriously. The reference scenario assumes an average price of about $120/bbl and the high oil price scenario has average oil at about $180/bbl, with 2035 supply at 91mb/d.

I know this should down in the dirt simple, but I just don't get it. I would think that the higher the oil price, the more oil that would be produced. But according to the EIA the exact opposite is true. With a low oil price of $50 a barrel we will see 127 mb/d produced in 2035 but if oil goes to $180 a barrel, in 2008 dollars, then we will see only 91 mb/d produced.

Well, it is very simple if you assume that the price of oil is supply driven. But the EIA's language looks like it is assuming a price driven market. That is, they are saying that if the price is low a lot of oil will be produced but if the price is high, then a lot less oil will be produced. Should not their words say something to the effect: "If the supply is only 91 mb/d then the price will be an astounding $180 a barrel but if the supply is 127 mb/d then the price will drop to $50 a barrel"?

And notice their chart shows no sign of a "bumpy plateau" between 2008 and 2035.

Also gleaned from the article, gas to liquids, (liquefied natural gas), produces 57 percent of the original energy in the gas. In other words 43 percent of the energy is lost in the conversion process. But "coal to liquids" yields only 45 percent of the original energy in the coal. 55 percent of the energy in the coal is lost.

These, along with other conversion factors, corn ethanol, etc., can be found on page 9 of this document, (page 137 of the entire report). Petroleum Market Module

Ron P.

The very end of the item tells us all we need to know:

The AEO 2010 is a very useful document but its highly improbable forecast of oil supply means if you're looking for peak oil leadership from the EIA, you'll have to dream on.

Z z z z z


The EIA is the same as the SEC, FDIC, etc...

The Sleeping Watch Dogs.

There official slogans are the same: "Nobody saw this coming"

You may be reversing cause and effect. Lower supplies will drive up prices. If we really have peak oil, higher prices will probably not drive up supplies. Economic theory would normally dictate expanded supplies as a function of higher prices. But geologic scarcity trumps the theory.

Economic theory has never been here before. Higher prices may destroy the economy, sending demand down and price down, in a deflationary spiral to Hell.


Economic theory would normally dictate expanded supplies as a function of higher prices.

t, that is so 20th century. In the 21st century, we make money by shorting the industrial economy. As long as the ROI of skinning the carcass exceeds that of searching for new energy supplies (or searching for anything else, for that matter), we'll not see any rush to invest in the "hard" economy.

There is no plan.

There has never been a plan.

Even though this gusher at 5 000 ft was inevitable.

And it won't be the last.

Nuke the well. Confiscate BP's Assets.
Declare the Entire Area a National Memorial Park.
Start the Trials.

"the problem with this disaster response is that the ideas BP has brought to the table all seem to ignore the simplest solution: permanently destroying the well."

Ret Lt Gen Russel Honore:

Look, we've got to go Draconian, Don. The president's going to have to appoint and take charge of this thing. He may have to seize [BP's] assets and charge them a billion dollars a day until that thing gets close."

Perhaps the reason they have not shut the well down is because we are in more of a decline than publically stated and this oil is "needed" to help stem that decline. What other reason can you think of to explain their behavior?

Ummm... the conspiratorial meme is so very seductive for some folks - maybe because it aligns so well with ascribing everything bad that ever happens solely to the nefarious devices of the evil, wicked other - but haven't several of TOD's actual experts on oil wells already made it crystal clear that this oil well is toast, it's history, once it's plugged it's never going to produce again?

This particular well, yes. This field... that is another thing. BP PLC owns the lease here, and it is most likely their only asset at risk. They would like to seal up this well, and drill another. Unless the costs rise far above estimated profits, that is what they will do. If the cost from the spill are too high, they file bankruptcy and the lease is the asset that gets sold. Maybe BP New Identity will even bid on it. Who knows.

My prediction: If the well is shut down and sealed, BP PLC drills another one in the same field. If the costs get too high, the American Taxpayer gets the bill, and sells the lease to recover 10 cents on the dollar (if we're lucky).


There is one simple explanation that might apply fly: BP lacks the technical ability to immediate stop the problem they caused. Sorta like the line from that one M.A.S.H. episode: God answers all prayers...just sometimes the answer is "No."

Being a Christian I have to remind people who seek counseling about their problems, especially amoung some of the people with lots of problems, health and otherwise. When Jesus prayed the Lord's prayer it had that clause in it, "Thy will be done" . It is the answer to suffering, that most people can't understand the reasons why.

I posted a few days ago, that I figured there would be other outcomes to this disaster that we can't see now. The news spreads and the people start asking, am I addicted to OIL so much that I am harming the world I live in? Too many things we don't know the answers to, hidden in the details that come out years later as being a "Godsend".

Just thoughts to ponder.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

One big thing that is growing out of this is more distrust of large corporations and governments. Is this a godsend? Perhaps. Perhaps we will come to realize that we will have to rely more on ourselves and our local communities to survive the future and not what is regurgitated to us through PR machines.

"Thy will be done" . It is the answer to suffering, that most people can't understand the reasons why.

Huh? What answer? That the mean and arbitrary god of the bible can screw with us? Or is powerless to do anything? Suffering achieves what?Why is it that whether god exists or not the events stay the same. Any rational person would conclude the obvious.

Events stay the same whether Joe Pesci exists or not as well.............


Any rational person would conclude the obvious.

Not exactly. Some of the brightest minds and most sensitive people have tackled the question of suffering and have remained steadfast Christians. It is a question at the center of the human condition and it is one that is grappled by everyone, whether they have faith in Christ, or Buddha, or Muhammad, or reason alone.

Suffering achieves what?

Sometimes real growth and understanding can emerge from suffering. Let me emphasize, not always, but sometimes. From a traditional Christian doctrinal point of view, all of life's experiences are pregnant with meaning and significance, including suffering. What happens in the flesh is important.

Why is it that whether god exists or not the events stay the same.

Freedom lovingly extended from a God willing to relate to all aspects of the human condition (yes, even suffering) would look the same. Btw, it is one of the reasons why the icon of the cross and the story of the Christ's passion is seen by many as a real strength of Christianity. Paradoxically, it is at odds with the idea of an arbitrary God but points to one who is willing to let (and call) his people to exercise compassion and responsibility instead.

Some of the brightest minds and most sensitive people have tackled the question of suffering and have remained steadfast Christians

Intelligence does not guarantee rational thought. Nor does it mean someone can find the courage to break away from the dogma of his upbringing.

Sometimes real growth and understanding can emerge from suffering

Yup, I guess a five year old suffering from terminal cancer is experiencing real growth. What a bunch of nonsense that suffering has anything positive to add to the experience of living, especially to animals other than us. Of course, other living beings don't count, do they?

Intelligence does not guarantee rational thought.

Rationality is a method of deductive thought and is value neutral. Likewise, rational thought is not necessarily a gateway to moral or ethical behaviour. Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps were very rationally designed to promote the greatest efficiency. Mercy and value systems of right and wrong are not the domain of rational thinkers - they are part of the spiritual question of what gives value to human life.

...someone can find the courage to break away from the dogma of his upbringing.

Why would somebody want to break away from the dogma of his upbringing if it provides him with comfort, value and direction to seek to do good in his life and for his world? To do otherwise, to borrow the phrase from Mr. Spock, would be irrational.

Do religious people always act with restraint? The obvious answer is no. Frankly, neither do some other people.

Yes, there are fanatics who put all their faith in religion - the wars of religion in 17th century Europe was a testimony to that.

There are fanatics who put all their faith in reason - Robespierre and the French Revolutionary terror was a testimony to that.

There are fanatics who put all their faith in the tribe or nation - Adolph Hitler and the Nazi era was a testimony to that.

There are fanatics who put all their faith in secular dogma - Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Gulag system was a testimony to that.

What it boils down to is that there is genuine suffering in the world. Full stop. Some of which is preventable. Some of which is man-made. Some of which is not. The main question that arises is what do you do with it?

Do you respond with hopelessness, despair, cynicism, pompous indignation, self-pity and anger? Or do you respond with hope, joy, compassion, mercy, gentleness, loyalty, and a helping hand?

Yup, I guess a five year old suffering from terminal cancer is experiencing real growth.

As painful and gut-wrenching as it is, it is difficult to assign an explanation for a five year suffering from cancer. But the ordeal can bring to the forefront the best in humanity: courage, compassion, strength, love, laughter, generosity, warmth - from and to both the sufferer and those around him or her. What's more is the absence of these very same qualities can make the ordeal far more difficult to endure.

What a bunch of nonsense that suffering has anything positive to add to the experience of living, especially to animals other than us.

I'm not quite sure what exactly you mean by this, but I will add that most people, rationalist or not, religious or not, very much respond to the world of nature and the mystery, the wonder, and the beauty of the abundance of life around us. Other living beings do count. That's what makes the GOM disaster such a distressing event to watch and why it tugs at our heartstrings.

Human beings are not only a rational animal but also a moral one, capable of high triumph and royal mess ups. It is the dilemma, indeed the contradiction, of being capable of falling short of all we could be and yet striving for redemption.

And to be quite frank, I much rather be around people who are decent and kind than people who think clearly or even remotely think like I do.



... real growth and understanding can emerge from suffering (S1)

There are apologists for every system of irrational thought.

The apologies "feel" compassionate, and spiritual, and as if they might have some credence.

Yet, when examined closely, they can be seen to be wholly irrational and just trying to play on our innate desire for continuance and perpetuation of a pre-established myth.

Consider this statement:

Sometimes real growth and understanding can emerge from random sh*t (S2)

Why is Statement (S1) any more valid than (S2)?

Consider this statement:

Sometimes real diminution and loss of understanding can emerge from senseless suffering (S3)

Of all the Statements, isn't (S3) the most likely outcome?

I make no apology

Sometimes real diminution and loss of understanding can emerge from senseless suffering

Suffering will be as senseless as you choose it to be.

If every human being on earth suddenly became as rational and thoughtful as you are, would suffering end tomorrow?

Life is messy. It's what you do with it that counts.

Reason will only carry you so far. It is a tool, a means to an end, not an end in itself.

What is best in the human experience comes out of love - the seeking of the good in and for the other as other.

Once we lose sight of that, then we really sink into the abyss of despair.

I rather have hope. If that's irrational, then so be it.


Sometimes real growth and understanding can emerge from random sh*t

Btw, that statement is very valid, too, and is not contradictory or mutually exclusive to the other. Sometimes real growth and understanding can emerge from random sh*t. It is called serendipity. Life's best surprises do spring from events, people, and circumstances not of our choosing and out of places where we least expect.

What matters is the full gamit of human experience, yes thoughts and yes even emotions. All things in the flesh hold significance including good times as well as bad.

All depends on how you look at it.

The point was not that of "contradicting".

The point was to wash away the inherent warm and fuzzy feelings associated with "spiritual" pre-cognitions.

You can't develop warm fuzzy feelings about "random sh*t". (Well most of us can't.)

When a priest says:

Sometimes real growth and understanding can emerge from senseless suffering,

the priest is trying to retroactively inject sense (intelligent design) into that which we agreed was "senseless" in the first place.

That's how the human mind works. It can be easily tricked by such after-the-fact re-writings of history.

the priest is trying to retroactively inject sense (intelligent design) into that which we agreed was "senseless" in the first place

Intelligent design. hmmmm??? This is a relatively recent catch-phrase introduced by those who wish to demonstrate empirical evidence for the mystery of life. Traditional orthodox Christianity doesn't view God as intelligent, although he is the source of intelligence, but as a mystery, as completely other.

Anytime one grapples with the question of God, one is grappling with only a glimpse at best. Does God exist? It is what it is... God is either real or not. All the proofs in the world will not make it otherwise if it is the case; all the sermons in the world will not make it otherwise if it is not. Basically it all boils down to faith - trust - in whom or in what do you trust to make sense of our world and our conscious being.

Warm and fuzzy has its place, usually on Hallmark greeting cards. They tend to sell quite briskly so I would not discount that emotions are important in most people's lives. I would rather be warm and fuzzy than cold, indifferent, or calculating. My experience tells me that reason and passion tend to go together. The two are not easily separated. Thus the energy around this discussion.

All that being said, I will stick to my proposition that love is at the center of the human desire and the human condition. And by love I do not mean mere sentiment, or a mantra like John Lennon's "All you need is love", although such elements may be residual, but love as an act of will - the active desire and promotion of the good of other as other. That, my friend, is hard work and sometimes can be tough stuff.

I work quite a bit with the sick and the dying. I've led courses to palliative care workers - and despite their big hearts, these tend to be very pragmatic and practical people. Warm and fuzzy won't cut it. I usually begin by saying, "life is a sexually transmitted condition that is 100% fatal." Our job is to help people come to terms with the reality of the last part of that statement.

Medical staff, police, clergy, social workers, all who are involved in looking after others, see suffering everyday. It is only by dealing with it head on, with honesty and fortitude, that it ceases to overwhelm and instead of being something scary becomes something enriching and life-giving.

Meaning arises out of suffering. It really does happen. That's all I can tell you.

Having lost a number of loved ones very recently, I know what you mean.

On the other hand I can't say growth and understanding emerged; just an empty and painful void.

To nuke the well they still have to drill a relief well so they won't be solving the problem much faster. The relief wells are the only solution for this mess everything else is cheesy theatrics.

Just heard on CNBC, quoting Bill Doyle, president and CEO of Potash:

Forty to sixty percent of all the food produced in the world comes from fertilizer.

A very sobering thought. It is another way of saying "Forty to sixty percent of the population of the world comes from fertilizer."

Ron P.

Tech bubble (check),
Housing bubble (check),
Credit bubble (check),
Fossil Fuel bubble (check),
the Human Bubble ...


With much of the prime farmland converted to a sort of powdered form of hydroponic media, this may be the case. But by no means does it have to be this way.

The natural quantity of minerals in deep layers of soil, plus the over-addition of many inputs that are not used efficiently and percolate down, means that with restoration of a living soil system A LOT of mineral wealth is potentially available.

Soil food webs, including a nice population of mycorrhizal fungi is the way forward. But you won't get this information from the CEO of Potash because folks like him want to sell you more inputs. Low input farming methods require ecological smarts.

Yes, there are nutrients in subsoils that could be brought to the surface in various non-invasive ways, but ultimately agriculture is not sustainable long term if you just take nutrients out and don't put them back in. China's fields stayed fertile for millennia because of a systematic and well organized practice of returning humanure "nightsoil" back to the fields.

This is the delicate subject that most in the sustainability community do not want to address.

It goes directly to our pre-adolescent mentality that poop is bad, deeply ingrained in Western psychology (the very word for 'bad' in Greek is "kakka").

"China's fields stayed fertile for millennia because of a systematic and well organized practice of returning humanure "nightsoil""

I remember reading an article recently about how rural chinese compete for collecting "humanure" from travelers by putting up special, decorated outhouses on the roadside.

I have heard the same and would love some images of these. Never came across any.

Thanks Twain.

Actually, a lot of China's soil is badly degraded from over cultivation over the centuries. And, it had less farmland than the U.S. to begin with, to support four times the population.

I think their only real hope is chemical fertilizers and genetically modified plants. The old methods really didn't work that well.

I think they worked reasonably well. At least, China is probably the world's oldest complex society. They've suffered famine, war, and dieoffs along the way, of course.

Currently, they use four times the global average of fertilizer...but they're also supporting a far larger population than they ever have in the past.

That is a very important chart. Four millenia of sustainable agriculture worked...for 75 million people. For the 950 million who came after that...oh boy. This is pretty much our problem in a nutshell.

Interesting that the massive famines...of the 1800's show up as just a temporary slow down in the exponential growth curve.

It behooves us here to remember that much of this exponential growth happened before they were using any kind of fossil fuels in any major quantity.

Absolutely correct.

I was just responding to the notion that without constantly adding mined inputs to the top 6 inches we all starve. Possibly, but only if we don't adapt by using biologically savvy techniques. I would suggest folks learn about these AND humanure.

Hi dohboi,

Q: What about persisting presence of "undesirable factors": diseases, (including viruses), medications (of all sorts), etc.

That's one thing I haven't seen (though haven't spent a lot of time w. the research attempt) re: humanure.

Aniya, you are right to be concerned with the safety issues surrounding reuse of human "waste." However, as dohboi and Jason are pointing out, we as a species cannot continue to mine non-renewable resources (topsoil, phosphorus, N from natgas, etc) and flush them down the toilet without eventually starving ourselves. Sooner or later, Homo domesticus is going to have to deal with his poop.

The definitive book on the subject of humanure is J.Jenkins Humanure Handbook. It is a clear-eyed look at a subject that needs to be discussed.

One way people guard against disease from manure is to avoid eating vegetables raw. In old Japan, where "night soil" was so valued people fought over it, they ate vegetables cooked or pickled, but never raw.

And speaking of cooking...a lot of "traditional" cooking methods were designed to conserve energy. Stir-frying in China, for example - cutting food into small pieces so it cooks quickly. In Japan, food is often pickled instead of cooked, or eaten raw.

As Jenkins' book (linked above) points out, most pathogens in poop don't survive outside the human body very long--one year max for most of the usual suspects.

But if someone is really sick with something nasty, that stuff you might want to have a very deep pit for.

As for medications, drugs, etc.--we have to start thinking about what we put into our body as what we put into the earth, and into our kids....

We are all way over medicated and over drugged in all sorts of ways.

The natural quantity of minerals in deep layers of soil, plus the over-addition of many inputs that are not used efficiently and percolate down, means that with restoration of a living soil system A LOT of mineral wealth is potentially available.

Jason, it depends on the degree of weathering of the soil parent material. I did some work in the Piedmont of the Southeastern US years ago and found that the cation exhange capacity (CEC) -- a rough proxy for plant available nutrients -- maxxed out in the soil "B" horizon (the clay-rich layer that lies about 3 feet down from the soil surface). Once you get to the C horizon, the soil mineral fraction is dominated by silica and Fe- and Al-oxides. Plant nutrients are scarce and subsoils are highly acidic.

The takeaway here is that once you erode the top two to four feet off of a highly-weathered soil, you are "done for" unless you can apply mineral or organic admendments. This same phenomenon is what makes tropical soils fragile in the extreme.

This is why deep alluvial soils, and glacial sediment deposits, are so amazing and precious. The bedrock may be hundreds of feet below.

Like you say, it is very region/site specific.

What's kind of wild is that saprolite (rotten rock) thicknesses over schists in the Southern Piedmont may be up to 200 feet thick on the most stable portions of the landscape (the flat areas between the stream valleys or in areas capped by old quartzitic stream deposits -- the old "peneplain" concept). That's what 5 million+ years of weathering in a temperate/sub-tropical humid climate will do for you. But those same weathering processes guarantee that what you're left with is only the most resistant (and base-depleted) minerals.

We can restore soils, but we have to work at it. Places where nothing much grows because even weed seeds won't sprout are the hardest to restore. Adding a lot of mulch, and building the soil up with organic matter, then growing on it. Plus water retention methods for hillsides and heavy runoff areas is a must.

Mankind has the ability to damage his enironment to the point that few things live there. We are literally inches away from killing ourselves off as a species.

Those inches being the fertile soils we waste and destroy each year.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Places where nothing much grows because even weed seeds won't sprout are the hardest to restore. //
Is that compacted sand? I've seen loose sand with plants growing. Food plants.

oak, sands may fail to support plant life for a number of reasons. Compaction might be one of them. More typically, it is a problem of low water-holding capacity and the low reactivity of the soil mineral fraction (low reactivity = low base saturation = low plant available nutrients). When you add composted organic material to a sandy soil, you increase the water-holding capacity of the soil and you increase the pool of plant available nutrients -- often dramatically so. As an experiment, take a clay pot, fill it with pure, white (pure quartz sand is very inert) beach sand and plant something in it. Water it every day with a dilute nutrient solution -- fish emulsion, Miracle-Gro, what ever you have. The plant will thrive even though it is growing in a very poor medium. So, plants can grow very well in sand as long as they have the necessary light, water and soluble nutrients (assuming no problems of toxicity, salinity, mechanical disturbance).

Actually the worst thing in onshore oil operations is a salt water spill. With an oil spill you can clean it up, throw some oil-eating bacteria into the soil, and run a cultivator through it every so often. In a few years all the oil will be gone.

A salt-water spill, though, is a nightmare. The salt kills all the plants and it's not biodegradable. There's no real way to get rid of it other than replacing all the soil with new soil, and then where do you dispose of the salty soil without killing plants somewhere else?

In cleaning up old oil field sites, we often had to bring in topsoil to restore farmland to its original condition. And where did we get the topsoil? Often it was from the same farmer whose land the well was on. He just moved soil from the back 40 to the well site. We we paid him good money for it and he didn't care because he was running a profit-making business, not an environmental preserve. He just used some of our money to put more fertilizer on the back 40 to bring crop yields up to what he wanted.

Even a little expensive when you don't spill it. Right now I got a pit with 3,000 bbls of very salty drilling mud. Will cost around $12,000 to have it hauled and disposed. Just the cost of doing business.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending May 14, 2010

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.2 million barrels per day during the week ending May 14, 156 thousand barrels per day above the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 87.9 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.2 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.8 million barrels per day last week, up 142 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.8 million barrels per day, 686 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 836 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 183 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 0.2 million barrels from the previous week. At 362.7 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 0.3 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.0 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.6 million barrels last week and are in the upper half of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 1.2 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

These figures seem to indicate continued depressed useage of petroleum products. The economy is not expanding; watching global markets and financial markets, my take is we are at the beginning of a deflationary depression. When it hits bottom, that could result in a hyperinfationary reactions. Kunstler says the Long Emergency has ratcheted up to 2nd gear. Can't argue much with that.

Problem: as the economy drops, and oil prices drop, drilling will be reduced. Later, if there is any recovery, there may not be sufficient capital to restart the industry. Much of remaining oil could well wind up staying in the ground.


As noted above, imports into the US have continued strong - about 1 million bpd over the 2010 trend. My WAG is that we are now at the tail end of the import wave brought about by need to beef up inventories before the driving summer driving season starts.

Last week, it looked like the start of a trend where oil imports intended for the Gulf of Mexico might be diverted elsewhere (due to the oil spill). Well, it turns out I was wrong about that. There may have been as little as 1 million barrels diverted to other ports last week, as compared to about 2 million the week before (sent to the Northeast). The EIA also reports that very few tankers had to be cleaned due to the oil spill. My guess is that the spill moved away from those areas that affected oil shipments.

Which is a good thing for the US, since Gulf refineries are now running at over 90% capacity. While not quite peak practical capacity, run rates at this level have been associated with more frequent accidents. We did have a significant Gulf area refinery fire the other day (although not catastrophic), which will probably reduce refinery utilization in the next report by a tad.

What is driving the increase refinery rates is that total US product demand is now running a non-trivial 4.5% over last year (as compared month to month). This appears to be a new peak for 2010. Folks, this is about 900,000 bpd over last year, and a very strong indication that the economy is showing improvement. I know this doesn't match up with expectations of those who think the economy has entered a deflationary death spiral of sorts. That may possibly happen some day, but not yet. Keep in mind that the EIA/IEA expected total world demand to end up less than 2 mbpd higher this year, and we are already half way there just looking at the US.

Ironically, in my view, popular recent ideas about deflation may have pushed the price of oil well below its long term supply/demand price equilibrium (not that I know exactly what that equilibrium level would be today).

An interesting POV on the markets:

Bears Come Roaring Forth

Long time Dow Theorist Richard Russell set out this dire warning:

“Do your friends a favor. Tell them to “batten down the hatches” because there’s a HARD RAIN coming. Tell them to get out of debt and sell anything they can sell (and don’t need) in order to get liquid. Tell them that Richard Russell says that by the end of this year they won’t recognize the country. They’ll retort, “How the dickens does Russell know — who told him?” Tell them the stock market told him.”


This is from the "Big Picture" blog - by barry ritholtz (he suffers from extreme narcissism, and contrary to his blog't title, he watches only a very small fraction of the financial world and is oblivious to the "big picture" beyond his trading).

From a comment to the article above...

The Curmudgeon Says:

May 19th, 2010 at 10:27 am
All you need to know is that Europe basically destroyed the Euro by mixing its monetary union with a quasi-fiscal one, through its trillion dollar (yet now much less than a trillion, as they Euro rapidly declines against the dollar) rescue, which did nothing but what the TARP, etc., did in America, except it socialized the losses across sovereigns, none of which are capable of meeting the promises made to their own people, nevermind the profligates of the PIIGS.

Act II, Sovereign Default, of the Financial Calamity Play, is in full swing. Expect real deflation in the US for the time being, as all the dollar printing in the world won’t stop the spiral downward. The velocity of money will decline faster than the supply of money increases, and a weaker or non-existent Euro means another round of dollar appreciation internationally. It’s why oil and other commodities have declined recently. Oil is cheaper now if you have dollars with which to buy them. Not so much if all you’ve got is Euros.

My emphasis added.

Texas ready for textbook showdown

Among the recommendations facing a final vote: adding language saying the country's Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles and including positive references to the Moral Majority, the National Rifle Association and the GOP’s Contract with America.

Other amendments to the state's curriculum standards for kindergarten through 12th grade would minimize Thomas Jefferson's role in world and U.S. history because he advocated the separation of church and state; require that students learn about "the unintended consequences" of affirmative action; assert that "the right to keep and bear arms" is an important element of a democratic society; and rename the slave trade to the "Atlantic triangular trade.”

We're freakin' doomed.

We're freakin' doomed.

I had to laugh seeing your response, Leanan, even though I know it's very sad.

Just when I think I've come to terms with the idea that much of the progressive thinking that we've experienced over the past few centuries is on the cusp of regressing, I read something like that and realize I'm far from peaceful about it (try as I might).

The seeds for the new "Dark Age" ???

Looks like Magical thinking will make a huge rebound as our high tech civilization crumbles.

Or not; these are the people whose religious text includes "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," and who were up in arms about the Harry Potter books. Tongue somewhat in cheek, there's almost always a place for engineers: see the Department of Applied Miracles in Heinlein's If This Goes On—

We could simply give Texas back to Mexico;)

Seriously though, this is one more nail in America's coffin. We should be teaching our children the critical facts, not spoon feeding them an agenda from deluded pawns of the true power brokers of America.

Our children deserve to know the ugly truths about history and current events. Instead of plays reenacting Thanksgiving, why don't they build a replica slave ship and pretend to be slaves by locking themselves into the incredibly tiny space allocated to each slave. Then turn out the lights and tell them there will be no need to raise their hand to go to the bathroom.

It's not just Texas. "They" are everywhere and their numbers will grow as collapse picks up steam.

Rational thought takes too much time.

In times of extreme stress, desperate people will revert to simplistic religious, nationalistic, ethnic, etc myths - these are the mental paths of least resistance.

Ja. Just review events in Ruwanda in 1994. Maybe a preview?


It's not just Texas.

Did you catch Bill Maher (Real Time) on May 14, 2010 ?

He has a new "June Madness" contest going:
Which is America's dumbest state?

We're down to the final 8.
Arizona and Alabama are the front runners.

But ya all don't count Texas out just yet.

Personally I'm disappointed that Washington D.C. is not considered a state of its own madness. It could've been a contender.

We're freakin' doomed.

Definitely. You see Leanan? There goes your slow descent. :( You probably didn't foresee this, did you..? ;)

Poor Thomas Jefferson is spinning in his grave for sure, which reminds me how my physicist colleagues used to say that everything we have to do now is to build a turbine around him; those members of the Texas State Board of Education keeping up their stupi... errrm... beliefs and voila, endless free energy.

Very, very sad. :/

Oh, I expected it. I've said it before: they'll probably be burning evolutionists in the town square.

It is a very diverse (weird) country, and I am sure that many are embarrassed about views like this.

Sometimes, apparent wealth and good clothes (big military) works great at disguising ignorance, for surely that is what you are fighting.

I will not accept that most Americans believe this stuff. It is just too upsetting to accept it. Otherwise, we are freakin doomed....all of us.

I think the wackos just stand out.

Texas is a pretty neat state, but if we could only put them in a locked room with Iran they might cancel each other out and come out normal. (Leave the music alone, though).

It is a very diverse (weird) country, and I am sure that many are embarrassed about views like this.
... I will not accept that most Americans believe this stuff. It is just too upsetting to accept it. Otherwise, we are freakin doomed....all of us.

Those are true statements. But history has shown that a minority who is highly committed to a cause, and just keeps up the struggle can win. The rest of us just want to get on with life and don't want to be consumed struggling against the legions of ignorant. I am not optimistic about the outcome.

I'm not optomistic, either... which is why all of my free time, energy and capital (meager as it is) goes into improving my Doomstead. I just hope I picked a spot that is far enough from the madding crowd.

In Alabama the evolutionists are considered to be weak minded.

It's worse than you could possibly believe.

Article 2.02 of the Texas Business Corporation Act covers general powers of corporations in Texas, and as far
as expansion of powers is concerned, the powers are already so broad that I’m not sure they could be
expanded, in light of their scope. For instance, a careful reading of Art. 2.02(A)(7) might lead one to believe
that Texas corporations have the power to reinstitute slavery – if only it were legal otherwise. The text of
subsection (7) states that a corporation has the power “[t]o purchase, receive, subscribe for, or otherwise
acquire, own, hold, vote, use, employ, mortgage, lend, pledge, sell or otherwise dispose of, and
otherwise use and deal in and with, shares or other interests in, or obligations of, other domestic or foreign
corporations, associations, partnerships, or individuals, or direct or indirect obligations of the United States
or of any other government, state, territory, government district, or municipality, or of any instrumentality

Later sections enable corporations to take any actions they deem appropriate.

Note: that includes the power to purhcase and to deal with interests in individuals. Such as those involved as custome in the Atlantic triangular trade!

Texas is ready!!

I gotta get out of here!!!!


Just so y'all know I'm keeping a list of your names. Eventually when the United State of Texas breaks free the list will be posted at the border and we'll only let our friends in.

Just fair warning. BTW...my birthday is 12 April and my favortite color is red.

4/12/27? The Shanghai Massacre? Wha..?



"If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell." -- Gen. Phil Sheridan

I sort of expect that -- eventually -- the "Energy States of America" will make a run for it, when they decide that they don't want to share their coal, natural gas, and abundant renewable resources with the eastern parts of the country. If such a separation occurs, it will be interesting to see if Alberta and British Columbia decide to change affiliation.

Just curious. Which states would those be?

NG: New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and ?
Oil: Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, California, Virginia (so says their Gov.), plus ?
Coal: Appalachia, Illinois, and who else?
Wind: Texas, Arizona, California and all coastal states. Others?
Solar: Sunbelt? And who else?

Canada is using up their NG to cook sand and extract oil. Dumb.


And don't forget the water - it's always about the water...

A number of southern and western states were already poking around to see just how sensitive we might be to sending some water their way via the Great Lakes.

Fortunately the Great Lakes states collectively told them to take a hike and made all long distance diversions of water illegal under the Great Lakes Compact of 2008.

Just curious. Which states would those be?

Keep in mind that this is mostly for giggles and grins, as they say. As a rough rule of thumb I pick states that either are now, have recently been, or have a clear opportunity to be an exporter of one or more forms of energy. Bonus points if there is some sort of local secession movement. Take away points if they're not part of a contiguous group of at least three states on the final list. Take away more points if the contiguous group doesn't include any ocean coastline. The list of candidates I usually come up with is Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Possibly the Dakotas and Oklahoma.

Louisiana and Texas for obvious reasons. Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico all export natural gas; Wyoming, Colorado and Utah export coal. Montana has potential in several areas. Idaho could triple its hydro capacity and be a net exporter. Arizona and Nevada have potential for large-scale solar. Oregon and Washington are sometimes electricity exporters and have potential to expand with offshore wind and more hydro.

I suppose Alaska belongs on the list. If I were guessing, and a split were really happening, I think California would go with the Energy States, and be welcomed. Still guessing, I don't think Louisiana, Oklahoma, or the Dakotas would jump.

Comments on why several of your states aren't on my list (again, this is a just-for-fun discussion):

  • NG: Even with shale gas plays, New York and Pennsylvania are likely never going to be NG exporters. New York in particular currently imports enormous volumes of gas.
  • Oil: Michigan? Export oil?
  • Coal: Illinois, Kentucky, and West Virginia are isolated from the oceans, since I don't count Great Lakes ports.
  • Wind: According to NREL's maps, the best onshore wind locations are the downslope on the east side of the Rockies, and the western Great Plains. For offshore wind, Oregon and Washington probably get exportable amounts, at least when combined with their hydro. California and East Coast states will be hard-pressed to ever export.
  • Sunbelt, as long as you mean the Southwest. Farther east, population goes up rapidly and states are unlikely to be net exporters.


The list will be on our side of the border, facing Texas ;-)

Calm down Okie. We'll still let some of you visit for comic relief if nothing else.

Seriously though, we've teased about such possibilities before. But look at the possibility of a rather slow but sure movement towards states taking greater control (or at least attempting to) such as the new law in AZ. Granted we're a long way (if ever) from any state abandoning the union. But it's not difficult to imagine the fed gov't losing influence as it's ability to direct funds to the states slides. A simplistic example: the feds got the states to lower speed limits by threatening to cut fed highway funds. And when the feds can't continue to send those monies down the line? No stick....no carrot...no effective control. I don't see an overnight rampage by the angry villagers carrying torches. But looking at the next 15 years or so and how PO might radically change the playing field it's not too difficult to imagine a greater states rights movement. At least on the part of the "haves".

We're freakin' doomed.

Essentially the same sentiment expressed by Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) writing about the attempts to embed Protestant religious beliefs into government in his time. The US has a long tradition of such movements. See, for example, Frank Lambert's Religion in American Politics: A Short History. I don't want to appear to be taking a cavalier "this too shall pass" attitude, but history suggests that it will.

I note that my American history text in Nebraska in 1970 taught it as the "Atlantic triangular trade" and clearly cast the slave leg as the despicable practice that it was. The bulk of the blame, however, was laid on the New England and British merchants who knew darned well what they were supporting, but took the profits it offered while hypocritically condemning slavery.

The other side of this story is that current history textbooks devote more words to politically correct multicultural topics than to heroic and historically important WWII battles:

"Nation of Nations’ section entitled "The Naval War in the Pacific," which covers the turning point years of 1942 and 1943, gets all of two pro forma paragraphs.

In contrast, eight paragraphs are devoted to the internment of Japanese, seven to women and the war, and five to "Minorities on the Job." "

Hilariously, the naval war gets the same amount of text as the 1943 Zoot Suit riot in East LA!

I know the treatment of Japanese Americans is very important to you personally, but it isn't the big story of that era.

And policies can have unintended consequences. Enforced school integration was an attempt to deal with a very real problem, but white flight and the decay of the urban cores were not anticipated outcomes. When I have my "public policy analyst" hat on, I try to spend a lot of time thinking about the unanticipated results of a policy change. It's possible (and, in fact, desirable) to teach about both the good and bad outcomes. But I fear that the overall content has been dumbed-down to the point where it's an either-or decision.

We know what the intended purpose of a $50/ton carbon tax is; what are the unintended results that come with a reduction in fossil fuel usage achieved that way?

In the interest of completing the "history tends to have two sides" narrative...

The 1994 midterm elections were one of the most stunning reversals of political power in US 20th-century history. A reversal so complete that a decade later strategists in both political parties talked about a "permanent Republican majority". The Contract with America was at least a contributing factor in that reversal, although political scientists debate how large a factor. Also important is that in the 14 years the Republicans held power after the 1994 elections, many of the major points in the contract were never enacted. By 2000, for example, all of the federal departments the contract pledged to eliminate still existed, and their budgets had increased by an average of 13%.

Once again, the devil is in the details. It's certainly a topic worthy of being included in the history texts; how it's presented may be a different story.

'Founded under God'
Texas school board member Dunbar, who home-schools her children and says sending them to local schools would be like “throwing them in the enemy’s flames,” says the changes she backs are all about “fighting for our children's education and our nation's future."

"In Texas we have certain statutory obligations to promote patriotism and to promote the free enterprise system. There seems to have been a move away from a patriotic ideology,” she said in a recent interview with the U.K. Guardian. “There seems to be a denial that this was a nation founded under God. We had to go back and make some corrections rewrite history a bit."

I'm truly at a loss for words, what can one possibly say to something like this?
As for Dunbar's poor abused kids they are the ones that will really suffer.

In my opinion if she does not have kids in the public school she should not be on the public school board. Only for the parents of kids in the system, thank you, move along now and get your own school board started.

If you have kids it is your responsibly to teach them right from wrong, you are the one responsible to teach them the things you want to teach them. Public school is for everyone, not just a hand picked few.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

The only hopeful note in the story is that apparently these conservative kooks are getting their asses handed to them in school board elections... this may be an attempt to throw everything at the wall and hope something from their agenda sticks as they are escorted out of the room.

As a citizen of a state that came about out of the original 13 colonies I also find it damn insulting that these idiots in Texas are going to re-write the history of what the founders of MY country intended when they came up with the framework for the "freedoms" that Texas now enjoys and exploits. Us stupid Yankees were fighting and dying for those ideals an entire generation before Texas was even a state - and now some of them think we're not "patriotic" enough... what a joke. The last thing us New Englanders need to be lectured about is how we're not indoctrinating our kids into the uber-patriotism movement and how Jefferson should be minimized because he wasn't a fire and brimstone preacher. Jefferson actually had the ability to think critically, an art that Texas (and the rest of the country)should think about fostering rather than being spoon fed right wing propoganda.

In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made School Boards.

- Mark Twain, Following the Equator

Don't ever leave us, Mark.

“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”

It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.

Mark Twain on the Bible (Letters From Earth)

Definition of a gold mine ..

"A hole in the ground with a liar on top"

Mark Twain ..

Triff ..


Being one of the token Christians that reads and posts on this site, I agree with you.

I have always been of the mind, that If I want to teach my kids(which I don't have any of) Christian values and from the bible, I do it at home and in sunday school. Not in public school. And history should never be watered down because history is what teachs us the mistakes of the past, and the place from which we came to the place we are now.

Lutheran pastors that I know of, don't preach about politics, we pray for our leaders and our country, and most discussion about politics are keep out of the pews, basically that is not what chrusch is for. We discuss it on a small group basis, but not in the church itself.

Public school for the most part is not where you teach faith, but you can teach the topic of religions of the world, as that is part of a social studies lession.

We are kinda doomed already when one religious group or another holds sway, that is not what those founding fathers wanted to have happen way back when.

I don't think this is a christain nation either. There might be a lot of christians living here, and the freedoms the people have had might have helped christianity spread, but all the work of spreading the Gospel was done by GOD.

It is a sad day when any religious group can change how the history of the country they live in can be taught.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

"being one of the token Christians that reads and posts on this site..."

Charles - you don't know that. What is known is that you are one of the few who self-identifies in your posts.


I think I said that, but I have been known to be vague in my writing.

Thanks for pointing that out.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Let's start with the Alamo. Why did they stick around anyway? Seems kind of stupid to me. There's a big army coming our way and we'll just stay here in this quaint little mission and fight until we all die. Then they turn it into an historical monument of heroism. Stupid is a as stupid does...

He transferred command to Travis, the highest-ranking regular army officer in the garrison.[27] Volunteers comprised much of the garrison, and they were unwilling to accept Travis as their leader.[Note 6] The men instead elected Bowie, who had a reputation as a fierce fighter, as their commander. Bowie celebrated by getting very intoxicated and creating havoc in Béxar.

And he had a very big - ahem - knife too.

What was your first clue? To wit, Sam Houston thought The Alamo a poor fortification and wanted it abandoned and destroyed (enough to make it useless to Santa Anna).

Now we're picking on Texas due to some public examples of ignorance and that isn't fair. We all know there are plenty of intelligent and progressive Texans. I've been subject to the same religious discrimination in Florida with business owners telling me they wish to "operate their business under the same Christian principles and love for our Savior, Jesus Christ". In which they were actually saying "are you one of us?" And I only thought, bud do you know how many federal and state anti-discrimination laws you just broke?

I have snap quiz for the enlightened school board members: What does the preamble in the Second Amendment say? (Or the conditional statement)

I'm not on the school board but I do have that one memorized.

"In order to create a WELL REGULATED MILITIA"....

If you drop by the NRA building in Washington D.C. you might notice that the 2nd amemdment inscribed on the outside of the building somehow left off that part.

We don't need no regulation.
We don't need no thought control.
Judges, leave those guns alone!

That was a typo.
Like all conservatives, I commune with the Founding Fathers every night.
Remember the 11th amendment!

Exactly. Remarkable how many will quote the Constitution but most likely have never read it. For what it's worth, sometimes I feel like I'm a reincarnation of Jefferson. Okay, okay, that seems presumptuous, but while living in the U.S. I found myself very much a constitutionalist. I've read the biography of John Adams and just finished an historical biography of FDR leading up to NY governorship (1928).

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Here's a case in point, the recent militia group arrested in Michigan(?). Except for the stupidity of planing to murder a police official (and I have reservations about the "official" story), what they were doing was well within the Constitution. The constitution also makes allowance to replace the government if it no longer serves the people, and if a well formed militia - which they were - was taking up arms to combat an oppressive government - which they did - then by basic law they did nothing wrong.

That folks is the Second Amendment. It is NOT packing so you can pop the next person whom pisses you off at a traffic light. Anyway, we digress...

I don't hold false ideals that scientific knowledge is the path to enlightenment, but it does provide a framework for trying to understand the natural world in a way that doesn't abrogate power to the clergy (insert priest, witch doctor, padre, or what have you). To sum up, people like this should not be in charge of a public school curriculum. This doesn not reflect community values, or nut-bar values, it is just plain wrong. Hopefully local democracy will take care of the problem.

"In order to create a WELL REGULATED MILITIA"

Yes, there's a near total lack of understanding of what the second amendment was really about.

Its origins actually go back to 12th century England, where lords and freemen were REQUIRED to keep and bear arms for the defense of the kingdom. It was a version of the draft in which the draftees had to provide their own weapons. When the king called them up to defend the kingdom, they had to come, and they had to bring their own swords, pikes, and bows with them.

They were also expected to enforce the law, capture criminals, and suppress riots, since there were no police forces until the 19th century.

The original version of the second amendment actually read:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

But a lot of that language got edited out in the final version, leaving it rather unclear what the original intent of the amendment was. Note that the religious exemption to being drafted was deleted in the process of obfuscating the language.

to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

Sounds like they were advocating that short sleeved shirts were not to be regulated.

And let's bring it back to the Texas text book controversy. Why do a few Canadians know as much, if not more than, the average American about their own constitution? Maybe because our text books consider the Earth was made in a little over six days?

We can't in all good conscience debate the academic merits on a national basis. I've used many an engineering text book and have many engineering reference papers written by erudite americanus academicus. The sad picture lies in the median of the population and we have our's to contend with as well. Canada is rife with the NASCAR and Bud crowd as well.

In general, it seems we are witness to the waning of critical thinking, beauty of humanities and arts, and intelligence as a virtue. Idiocracy here we come...

Why do a few Canadians know as much, if not more than, the average American about their own constitution?

Well, it has a lot to do with the different educational systems. If you look at the OECD Program for International Student Assessment , you find that Canadian students rank second in the world in Reading Literacy, second in Science, and fifth in Mathematics. On the other hand, U.S. students rank 15th in the world in Reading Literacy, 21st in Science, and 25th in Mathematics.

Australia and New Zealand also are in the top 5 in Reading and Science, and in the top 10 in Mathematics. Finland is first in all three categories.

Basically, the U.S. is not playing in the right ballpark in the quality of its educational system. While U.S. politicians are obsessed with editing slavery out of American history and stamping out evolution wherever it appears, they're missing the fact that the rest of the world is catching up and passing them in the quality of education they are giving their kids. They're ahead of Spain, Italy, and Greece, but not by much.

This is due to population composition and not necessarily better schools. Break the stats down by race and Europeans in the U.S. are comparable to their European counterparts.

On the combined science literacy scale in the United States, Black (non-Hispanic) students (409) and Hispanic students (439) scored lower, on average, than White (non-Hispanic) students (523), Asian (non-Hispanic) students (499), and students of more than one race (non-Hispanic) (501). Hispanic students, in turn, scored higher than Black (non-Hispanic) students, while White (non-Hispanic) students scored higher than Asian (non-Hispanic) students.

Europe and East Asia are indeed surpassing the U.S. as it's turning into yet another failed European colony. Third world culture, anti-intellectualism, pseudo-scientific beliefs, etc. Perhaps it's time for me to learn the language of my forefathers and return home.

Nonsense. Canada and Australia have higher immigration rates than the U.S., as well as higher educational standards.

The basic concept is: If you have immigrants, you have to educate their children to the same standards as those of people who were born in the country. This is one area where the U.S. falls down badly, and Canada does particularly well.

Also too often forgotten is that the reason that a "well regulated Militia" was considered "necessary to the security of a free State" was because the obvious alternative to a popular militia was a large standing army. Standing armies were considered dangerous to the liberties of the people, since they could so easily be employed against the people by the government. The history of Europe provided plenty of examples.

How many of today's defenders of the Second Amendment advocate dismantling America's huge military machine and relying exclusively on militiamen for national defense?

How many of today's defenders of the Second Amendment advocate dismantling America's huge military machine and relying exclusively on militiamen for national defense?

At last count it was three with one fence-sitter.

A little history BC. The Alamo forces were left as a "rear guard". Pretty standard strategy when you're retreating as the Texas forces were. They knew the force of the approaching Mexican army. Like most rear guards and point men they new they were there to be sacrificed. In the early days when the Mexican army captured Texicans they would typically disarm them and send them home. But as the effort got bloodier the Mexican army changed procedures: execute the rebels. Another fairly standard military strategy. They knew the new rules at the Alamo. They knew they were almost certain to die. Early on they had hopes of relief but eventually they knew help wasn't coming. Texans don't like to hear it as a rule but some went over the wall at night when they discovered the inevitable. Didn't put that part in the old John Wayne movie. But most didn't.

Call them brave...call them stupid. Doesn't matter...they're dead so they don't really care. Historians still argue how the delaying action might have helped Houston in the final battle at San Jacinto (BTW...I drive by the battle field every day going to work). Opinions vary.

One more little fact: Texas and Mexico were taken from Spain so if there's any talk about giving anything back I suspect they might want to make a claim. The French got kicked out at one time also but since they're French no one really cares.

I really wish I had gotten in on this thread much earlier.

I agree, we're fu................doomed!

This school board discussion is fairly amusing to me. Do we really expect what is written in High School history books to influence our youth? Seriously?

Thought experiemnt... what did your high school history book say about Thomas Jefferson? Do you even remember? What did it say about the cause of the great depression, or the end of the gold standard, or the beginning of the modern income tax and the 16th amendment in 1913?

Who discovered America?

Who discovered America?

Amerigo Vespucci of course.

Before him, the colored non-peoples who resided here called this place ... Pandora?

It's in all the history books.

Ooops. No more. Should've checked with the Ministry of Truth --it never happened

Who discovered America?

I think it was Uugh. He walked across Beringia in the middle of the last ice age, got to Alaska, looked around and said, "Well, this looks a lot like Siberia, but I guess it's better than nothing."

I had a good U.S. history teacher in high school, who I really liked and got along with. I never cared much for history. But she made it interesting.

However, we never got to the 20th century. Ran out of time before the Depression, the World Wars, and all that fun.

Nassim Taleb has an interesting take on "history" in his book, "The Black Swan".

Basically he says that true history is unknowable because most of the information disappears soon after the event (if it ever existed in the first place).

We tend to replace the lost information with false narratives that make us feel good.

It is not what IS in the history books that is important, it is what is NOT. If you want to influence children they have to be exposed to the ugly details. History is not pretty. Places, names and dates mean little unless coupled with facts that will have a lifelong impact. If history class does not periodically scare the crap out of our children or make them puke, we are not doing our job.

Personally, the Civil War does both for me.

Personally, the Civil War does both for me.

I like the scenes at the start of Kostner's movie, Dances with Wolves; like where they are about to saw his leg off.

Or the scenes where men are standing upright in a field filled with flying lead.

Modern history and warfare isn't much different.

The air is filled with flying shrapnel and it's just a matter of senseless chance as to when your number is up and you're making the "ultimate sacrifice" for God, country and the noble class (a.k.a. elites, TPTB, 'bring it on' tough talkers)

BTW, if anyone's wondering why the site has been so slow the past few hours...according to our webhoster, it's because the Microsoft search bot is indexing all our content. Including the comments, which is hammering our database.

Why is a "Microsoft search bot" indexing all of TOD content?

Are you saying Microsoft has a keen interest in TOD all of the sudden? Is this something "normal" or unusual?

Just curious.

Normal. Microsoft has always indexed websites for their MSN search, and now they have the spiffy new Bing.com (which I quite like).

It just happens to be them. Could as easily be Yahoo, Google, or whoever. I know some very large forums block all searchbots because their servers can't take it. We could do it, too, but there are advantages to being included in search engines, so we'd rather not, unless it's necessary.

That makes perfect sense and I'm glad TOD allows it. The more Yahoo, Google etc link to specific TOD content the better.

TOD and sites like it are humanity's Super Ego subconscious ...

Must... fight... the ID (irrational Magical Thinkers)

what do they do with the indexed content, i mean besides figure out how to direct every search to a commercial site ?

Well, without Google, you wouldn't be able to search this site to find that great article or comment you remember but don't have bookmarked.

Risks from tar sands?
The risk mentioned is the risk of a pipeline spill and waiving safety precautions which are
not policy risks but criminial acts.
Big Oil needs to stop wasting capital on the dangerous deepwater shell game.
As far as the CO2 emissions go, let them carbon tax those barrels.

On the horns of a dilemna: We are running out of oil. We need to reduce useage. We should tax to pay for the environmental damage and cleanup needed as a consequence. Taxing would increase cost, driving down demand, reducing use. We just don't want to stop using it, b/c we enjoy our SUVs and imported junk too much. Besides, that would lower economic growth, maybe even resulting in negative growth. Unthinkable!

Good luck with the carobn tax.


On the last article, I had always thought that one of the major threats from ocean acidification was its effect on calcification of certain phytoplankton, such coccolithophores. Not only do phytoplankton produce about half of the oxygen, they also play an important roll in natural carbon sequestration--as they die and fall to the ocean floor, the carbon that has been incorporated into their cell walls is permanently taken out of the carbon cycle (or at least until the ocean floor is lifted up by tectonic shifts...). This acts as a control or negative feedback on carbon concentration in the atmosphere, but if concentrations are so high that acidification means these sequesterers can't reproduce and do their job, it turns into a kind of positive feedback.

But now there seems to be a study that shows that the coccolithophores are actually responding to increased CO2 by increasing their size--by 40% so far.


Does anyone know if this had been followed up by further studies, confirmatory or otherwise? Is there a point where this process would be expected to reverse itself?

Re Jeff Rubin: China, not U.S., will be tar sands’ market

It seems to me more likely that while China may be interested in increasing production from Canada, the natural thing to do with that is to sell it to the US, reducing US demand for oil from sources that are much more convenient to China.

IIRC, when the Alaskan pipeline was running full out, a significant fraction of the oil was actually delivered to Japan in exchange for oil from other sources delivered to the US Gulf Coast refineries. Such trades were enormously cheaper than transporting the Alaskan oil directly to the Gulf Coast.

The Export Administration Act of 1979 stated that "No domestically produced oil shipped through the Alaskan Pipeline may be exported from the United States."

The ban was lifted in 1995, long after Alaskan oil production had peaked in 1988 at 2.0 million bpd and declined to 1.5 mbpd. The glut of oil on the West Coast had resulted in up to 300,000 bpd oil Alaskan oil being shipped through the Panama Canal to the Gulf Coast refiners, which was expensive.

Exports of oil from Alaska came to an end in 2000 because California oil production had declined and West Coast refiners were using up the entire production of Alaska.

From 1995 to 2000, no more than 7% of Alaskan production was exported, mostly to Japan, Korea, and China.

Ah, thank you. I must have been remembering "should have been" swapping oil with Japan and Korea.

Does anybody know when the original permit was issued for BP’s Horizon well which permitted them to start platform construction? Thanks in advance. Brian

So why aren't they proceeding with the junk shot?

Too many talking heads laughed them out of it.


Actually, they discovered the BOP pressures were less than expected and falling, increasing the chances of a top kill. Also, the junk shot, if it did not work, might prevent the option of a top kill.

IMO top kill is the best available option for a quick end to this. Otherwise, the JS is junk, and the relief wells are 2 months or more away.


This series.....Cosmos.........should be mandatory viewing for all humans.
It should be shown in every school.
We were warned so many times...............


I was in a used book store about a month ago and picked up a copy of Carl Sagan's book "COSMOS". I had read it years ago and just finished a re-read. A fantastic book.

Thanks for pointing me to these videos.......


I am old enough that I grew up watching Cosmos when it aired on PBS originally.

Good series.


'One in 7 U.S. homeowners paying late or in foreclosure'

Loans that are 90 days or more past due or in foreclosure represent a historically high 68 percent of all problem mortgages.

Looming foreclosures and short-sales "suggest we will have more house price declines where we'll see a bottoming of the price decline very late this year into early next year," said Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

One in Seven? Bottom of real estate pricing late this year or early next year?

One in seven who have a mortgage. I suspect there are a lot fewer of those these days. And not because they've paid them off.

With their excellent spin, we wouldn't dare go against them in a game of 'truth frisbee'....

Bp is going for Top Kill on Sunday.

salem atom power plant in south nj is leaking tritium which will render certain wells unfit for drinking water. then the big gulf of mexico oil release. under estimated by goobermint and industry. no conspiricary there of course. move along, nothing to see here.

dont worry, dont worry, soylent green is people.
i remember the soylent corp did an oceanographic study. the oceans are dying.

then ava-TAR "we killed our mother" (earth)

"no one gets out of here alive", the humungus from the road warrior

life imitates art.

the man enslaved to wealth can never be honest.

there is no limit to human greed and folly.

when will i ever be told the truth instead of just the evidence?

mark my words, space ships will be sent to titan, a moon of saturn,
to get the hydrocarbons there. it has lakes of methane. it will be done. at great cost of treasure and lives. before humanity does it self in, it will destroy more than one world. you will all be discussing it here on the oil conundrum.

i am nostrildamus. i dont peer into the future, i sniff it out. and from here the future stinks.

Oyster Creek is the nuke plant that had the tritium leak (in 2009), not Salem. Oyster Creek is the oldest operating nuclear plant in the country. Only about 40 miles south of me, so I've been keeping an eye on it. The tritium hasn't gotten into the drinking water yet; they may be able to stop it.


Remember when all the GW denialists were whooping and hollaring about the ice extent nearly matching the 1979-2000 average? Well don't look now but it has dive-bombed to match the 1979-2000 lowest point which is also the same as the 2007 melt line. Remember the infamous 07 Artic melt? Well, this one appears so far that it just might eclipse that history making melt. Time will tell...

As if we didn't have enough going on with the oil spill in the Gulf.

Got data?

One Moos and One Hums, but They Could Help Power Google

America’s dairy farmers could soon find themselves in the computer business, with the manure from their cows possibly powering the vast data centers of companies like Google and Microsoft. While not immediately intuitive, the idea plays on two trends: the building of computing centers in more rural locales, and dairy farmers’ efforts to deal with cattle waste by turning it into fuel.

With the right skills, a dairy farmer could rent out land and power to technology companies and recoup an investment in the waste-to-fuel systems within two years, Hewlett-Packard engineers say in a research paper to be made public on Wednesday.

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/19/technology/19cows.html?partner=rss&emc...