Drumbeat: May 28, 2010

BP Assesses 'Top Kill' Effort to Plug Gulf Well

The top kill involves pumping heavy fluid under pressure into the failed blowout preventer, the huge stack of valves that stands on the seabed. Theoretically the fluid should be heavy enough to counteract the pressure of the oil surging upwards. If it's successful, cement would then be injected into the well to seal it.

So far, BP engineers have notched up a partial success: oil stops flowing out of the well when the fluid, known as kill mud, is being forced in. But they haven't reached their objective of killing the well, the point where the weight of the mud column overwhelms the oil gusher completely. A BP spokesman compared the current situation to two cars pushing against each other with the accelerator pedal down.

Obama arrives in Gulf as top-kill effort continues

US President Barack Obama arrived in Louisiana Friday to tour what has become the worst-ever US oil disaster, as energy company BP's critical top-kill operation to cap the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico entered its third day.

BP CEO gives 'top kill' 48 hours in Gulf spill

BP Plc's (BP.L) critical "top kill" effort to smother a gushing oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is making progress, but the company can't call it a success or failure until Sunday, Chief Executive Tony Hayward said.

Hayward said on Friday in a series of television interviews that the procedure, which began Wednesday afternoon, was operating "according to plan" and it would be another 48 hours before BP had "a conclusive view."

Loop Current Shift Could Spare Florida

A dramatic change in the Gulf of Mexico's loop current has trapped a slick of oil in a huge circular eddy that scientists said Thursday appears likely to push slowly west instead of pumping the oil south into the Florida Keys.

The shift, which oceanographers have been watching strengthen for a week, has at the least reduced the imminent environmental threat for Florida. Tar balls predicted to be floating in the Florida Straits by now instead might not arrive for weeks, months or -- depending on lots of variables -- maybe at all.

The Gulf Of Mexico Before The Oil Spill (Dave Cohen)

The oil leak on Mississippi Canyon seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico proceeds apace. It is not clear that recent actions have succeeded in plugging the leak. The widely dispersed petroleum is a great disaster, but I get the distinct impression that this oil is seen as despoiling a pristine environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. I get this impression because, to my knowledge, the sorry state of the Gulf of Mexico before the oil spill has not been discussed. Before the oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico was being ravaged by—

  • coastal erosion
  • hypoxia (very low oxygen)
  • harmful algal blooms (red tides)

These ongoing, slower-acting environmental disasters have a common cause: human activity.

OPEC Oil Output Climbs to 17-Month High in May, Survey Shows

Production climbed 187,000 barrels, or 0.6 percent, to an average 29.372 million barrels a day, the highest level since December 2008, according to the survey. Output by members with quotas, all except Iraq, climbed 167,000 barrels to 27.042 million barrels a day, 2.197 million above their target.

OPEC cut its quotas by 4.2 million barrels to 24.845 million barrels a day beginning in January 2009 as fuel demand fell during the worst recession since World War II. Compliance among the 11 members with quotas fell to 48 percent from 52 percent in April. All members with quotas exceeded their production limits.

Company: Restart of Alaska pipeline likely Friday

The operator of the trans-Alaska pipeline system says oil should once again flow through the 800-mile line sometime Friday.

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. had hoped that the line — shut down since a spill earlier in the week — could be restarted by Thursday night, but officials said the process of coming back online has taken longer than expected.

Iraqi Kurdistan oil output 'could hit 200,000 bpd this year'

"Volumes could be quickly ramped up to 100,000 bpd and hit 200,000 bpd by year end," Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami told the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) in its edition to appear on Monday.

Iraqi Kurdistan halted oil exports -- of about 60,000 bpd, through a pipeline to neighbouring Turkey -- in October last year due to a payment dispute with Baghdad.

NOAA Research Ship Gordon Gunter Expands Gulf Mission

The NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter conducting sampling in the Gulf will expand its mission to use its sophisticated sonar equipment and other scientific instruments to help define the subsurface plume near the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill site and adjacent area. The mission is a collaborative project among NOAA, academia and the private sector.

The Gunter will sail to the vicinity of the well head and begin a systematic survey using its 18 and 38 kHz sonar to define the shape and extent of the underwater plume. University of New Hampshire Joint Hydrographic Center scientists onboard will explore the feasibility of using mid-water mapping sonar to image the submerged plume in combination with new software that could result in 3-D images of what is happening underneath the surface.

If potential plumes are identified, the Gunter will deploy a unique autonomous underwater vehicle provided by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Called the Gulper, the vehicle will take discrete water samples at various depths to allow precise characterization of any oil, dispersants, or other substances in the plume.

Oil spill halted but unclear if it can be sustained

The flow of oil and gas from the broken well in the Gulf of Mexico has been stopped by pumping mud into it however the challenge will be whether that can be sustained, the U.S. incident commander Admiral Thad Allen said on Friday.

Allen said the next 12 to 18 hours will be "very critical" in the effort to stop the gusher which has sent thousands of barrels of oil into the fragile ecosystem there, he said on ABC's "Good Morning America".

Obama halts deepwater drilling in Gulf

President Barack Obama ordered all 33 deepwater oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico to halt drilling and extended a moratorium on new deepwater wells, as BP temporarily suspended its latest effort to contain the US’s biggest oil spill.

Declaring that BP was now operating under his administration’s orders, Mr Obama used a rare televised press conference to try to assert control over the “tragedy” in the Gulf, as public frustration over the five-week-long disaster reaches boiling point.

Fixing oil spill my responsibility, Obama says

Thrown on the defensive, President Barack Obama acknowledged his administration could have done better in dealing with the biggest oil spill in the nation's history and misjudged the industry's ability to cope with a worst-case scenario. Obama will make his second tour of the battered Gulf Coast on Friday.

"I take responsibility. It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down," Obama declared in a lengthy news conference at the White House on Thursday. As he spoke, well owner BP struggled anew to plug the blown well that exploded five weeks ago, killing 11 workers and sending millions of gallons of polluting oil gushing out.

Obama's words marked a clear shift of emphasis for an administration that previously had said it was generally "in charge" but there were limits to what it could do — and that oil giant BP was responsible for stopping the flow and cleaning up the disastrous damage.

There Was 'Nobody in Charge'

After the Blast, Horizon Was Hobbled by a Complex Chain of Command; A 23-Year-Old Steps In to Radio a Mayday

The vessel's written safety procedures appear to have made it difficult to respond swiftly to a disaster that escalated at the speed of the events on April 20. For example, the guidelines require that a rig worker attempting to contain a gas emergency had to call two senior rig officials before deciding what to do. One of them was in the shower during the critical minutes, according to several crew members.

The written procedures required multiple people to jointly make decisions about how to respond to "dangerous" levels of gas—a term that wasn't precisely defined—and some members of the crew were unclear about who had authority to initiate an emergency shutdown of the well.

BP spill brakes deep-water drilling industry expansion

The Gulf accounts for 30% of the USA's domestic oil production. Existing production won't be affected by the president's initiatives, nor will exploration in shallow waters.

The restrictions won't boost consumer gas prices in the short term because there's currently excess oil production globally, says Robert Peterson, industry consultant with Charles River Associates. The delays in drilling today will, instead, affect production years from now. . .

The delays will add up, says a report from consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. Earlier this month, before work was ordered halted on the 33 exploratory wells, Wood Mackenzie estimated that a six-month ban on new drilling would cause a 4% drop in deep-water Gulf oil production in 2011. Tighter safety regulations will also drive drilling costs higher, which could make some areas in the Gulf too costly to explore further.

More immediately, companies will have to adjust drilling plans. That may include deploying to other areas drilling rigs that cost up to $500,000 a day to lease.

BP shows the need for a rethink of regulation

One thing at least is certain after BP’s makeover of the Gulf of Mexico into a sludge pit: corporate self-regulation and public oversight have failed. We need to rethink how companies operate in a fragile world and how governments monitor them.

BP well disaster stuns hardened oil men

"It has a psychological effect not only on America, but our industry, and you try to overcome that," Farris told the Reuters Global Energy Summit in Houston this week.

Even energy lobbyists are changing their tack. Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, readily conceded at a debate in San Francisco last week that what happened with the Horizon was a "game-changer."

Spill Could Make BP Vulnerable

BP is likely to eventually stop the flow of oil from its explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. After that happens, the autopsy of the spill will begin in earnest. But if the information dribbling into the public domain proves correct, the British energy giant will be a weakened creature — so weak it will be vulnerable to a takeover.

BP Risks Big Fines and Loss of Major U.S. Contracts

White House lawyers are beginning to wrestle with whether BP's actions leading up to the disaster warrant barring the company from future federal contracts or oil leases, a process called debarment.

BP is the single biggest supplier of fuel to the Department of Defense, with Pentagon contracts worth $2.2 billion a year, according to government records. BP is also the largest producer of oil on federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, which makes it a significant contributor of revenue to the government.

BP, Regulators Are Grilled On Hill Over Key Decisions

Rep. Jay Inslee, (D., Wash.) asked Mr. McKay why oil rig workers started putting cement in the well to ensure the pipes were sealed in place, despite insufficient equipment.

Some "centralizers," designed to prevent voids in cement, were missing because "somebody delivered the wrong ones to them," so BP used only six instead of 20, Mr. Inslee said at a later hearing. . .

During another of five congressional hearings Thursday into the disaster, two Transocean Ltd. workers who were aboard the rig when it exploded told members of the House Judiciary Committee that there were safety issues with the rig.

Douglas Harold Brown, the chief mechanic and acting second engineer on the rig, said Transocean, the rig's operator, had reduced the number of crew members in the engine room from six to three, which put employees behind in completing preventative maintenance. One worker was eventually added back, but "that still left us two people short," Mr. Brown said.

Storm: Hurricane outlook, oil spill a possible double whammy for Gulf

That early outlook issued Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration doesn't say that any one part of the Atlantic or Gulf is targeted, only that there will be more tropical-storm bullets to dodge than normal -- 14 to 23 -- with as many as 14 developing into hurricanes and up to seven becoming major hurricanes, with sustained winds of at least 111 mph. . .

NOAA climate scientists say several factors are making for more storms being predicted this year. Seawater-surface temperatures, for example, are up to 4 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in the area of the Atlantic where storms need heat to fire up.

Another major factor is that the El Nino pattern that causes tropical-wind patterns to break up hurricanes has disappeared. NOAA forecaster Gerry Bell said the higher-end estimates for the season were included because it appears the reverse La Nina pattern that encourages hurricane development is taking hold.

Hurricane plus oil equals more problems

A predicted busy hurricane season this summer is on a collision course with an unprecedented oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the results are anyone's guess, weather experts say.

"The problem is that this is a man-made experiment we wish we hadn't made," said Jenni Evans, a professor of meteorology at Penn State University.

Alaska oil pipeline supply cut to 8 pct of normal

Alaska North Slope oil producers have cut their flow of crude to 8 percent of normal levels as the Trans Alaska Pipeline remained closed for a third day, the pipeline operator said on Thursday.

There is still no estimate of when the pipeline will reopen, after it was closed on Tuesday following an unexpected power outage that triggered a spill from an overflowed storage tank at a pump station along the 800-mile (1,287-km) pipeline.

Sen. Kerry makes his case for an energy bill

Senator Kerry made three basic arguments for the bill, and they deserve to be heard.

The first is jobs and the economy. He says the bill will create 200,000 jobs annually over 10 years, and return America to leadership in the “mother of all markets.” The technology boom of the 1990s was a $1 trillion market with 1 billion users, he said; the market for energy is $6 trillion, with 6 billion users.
Not one American business is among the world’s top 10 solar producers, he laments. Meanwhile, China is investing $400 billion in alternative and renewable energy.

Second, national security. The bill will lead to a 40 percent to 50 percent drop in dependence on OPEC, he claims. “We send $100 million a day to [oil-producing] Iran. Does that make sense?”

Third, health and environmental reasons: melting glaciers, “climate refugees” of displaced people around the world, diminished wildlife habitat from a warming planet.

Interestingly, he put these reasons last. It’s at the core of climate change legislation, but as even Al Gore found out, the environment doesn’t poll among voters the way the economy does.

The Eternal Energy Crisis

In the nearly 40 years since Mr. Nixon’s warnings about oil’s threat to national independence, and the more than 30 years since President Carter donned his cardigan beside the roaring White House fireplace and told the nation to lower its thermostats, U.S. oil consumption has almost doubled, the dollar has been substantively devalued, the price of a barrel of oil has risen to $80 with spikes to $125, and the U.S. now imports 60 percent of its oil, a billion dollars a day piled on to its bone-cracking current-account deficit.

No easily imaginable tactical blunder has gone unimplemented. As the American automobile industry floundered toward bankruptcy, the one popular area that was tariff-protected was relatively high-gasoline-consumption SUVs and small trucks. As the financial storm clouds gathered over Detroit (well before that city’s skies were made even murkier by the smoking crotch of the Nigerian petro-panties bomber), General Motors drove into the future and over the cliff in the gas-guzzling Hummer, like the Polish army deploying more horse cavalry to meet German and Soviet tanks in 1939.

Stocks, oil prices rally amid news over China’s holdings

Oil prices climbed for the second day in a row Thursday after Chinese officials denied reports that they're reconsidering the country's holdings in European bonds.

Drilling and Dollars

In case you can't read the reduced-size text above, it shows that when President Obama announced that he was opening more areas to offshore drilling at the end of March, oil prices shot up. Then when the moratorium on offshore drilling was put in place after the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, oil prices took a nosedive. As the freeze was expanded and extended, prices kept moving down.

Wyoming aims to save the next generation of coal with carbon sequestration

“There’s more than enough capacity to handle all the CO2 emissions Wyoming is going to generate for almost the next 100 years,” said State Geologist Ron Surdam.

Even if CO2 injections began today, state leaders believe it would do little to preserve Wyoming’s existing coal-fired power generation and coal-export industry. The latter accounts for about one-third of state revenue.

That’s because the CO2 would not come from Jim Bridger or any other existing coal-fired power plant in the 37 states that burn Wyoming coal.

The technology to capture CO2 from existing coal-fired power plants remains technically and economically elusive, according to both those who support and those who oppose coal. Most agree that today’s carbon capture technology would create a parasitic load, gobbling up about 20 percent of the electrical generation output on a coal-fired unit.

Geothermal Companies Vie for African Development Contracts

East Africa is famous for its national parks like the Serengeti, the continent's highest mountain Kilimanjaro, and its exceptional safaris, but now it's being celebrated by energy companies for its geothermal resources.

Most of Africa’s geothermal resources are located in its Rift Valley, one of the geologic wonders of the world. The Rift Valley spans roughly 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) across East Africa and runs through Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Daimler looks beyond Tesla with BYD electric-car partnership

Daimler announced today that it is partnering with BYD to build a new brand of electric cars via a joint venture called Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology. Together, they have invested $88 million into the development of the product, which will be targeted at Chinese consumers.

Enbridge Asks Regulators to Approve Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline

Enbridge filed a regulatory application for the construction of two 728-mile underground pipelines stretching from Edmonton, Alberta, to Kitimat, British Columbia. One pipeline would export up to 525,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Alberta's oil sands region and the other would import up to 193,000 barrels a day of condensate, which is used to dilute thick oil sands oil so it can flow through pipelines.

Social conflicts jeopardize Peru’s growth engine

Peru (Reuters) - Peru has lured mining companies to pour $35 billion into new projects over the next decade, but more and more investors are facing unpredictable local opposition and the threat of violence or lawsuits.

Building the mines, almost all financed by foreign companies, will bolster Peru's position as a top global minerals exporter and strengthen the engine that made it the fastest growing economy in Latin America for much of the past decade.

IEA sees downside risk to oil demand

The IEA's next monthly Oil Market Report is due to be released on June 10. The May report said global demand would rise by 1.62 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2010 -- a slight downward revision from the previous estimate.

Crude prices have fallen from a 19-month high of $87.15 a barrel reached in early May to around $73 on concern that Europe's debt crisis would derail the global economic recovery.

Bankruptcy talk spreads among Calif. muni officials

Antioch's leaders earlier this month said bankruptcy could be an option for the cash-strapped city of roughly 100,000 on the eastern fringe of the San Francisco Bay area.

Orange County Treasurer Chriss Street would not be surprised if more local governments across the Golden State sound a similar alarm.

Shell Agrees to Buy Natural-Gas Exploration Company

Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Friday it has agreed to buy East Resources Inc., a closely held U.S. natural-gas explorer, for $4.7 billion, in a transaction that underscores the frenzied global interest in North American shale-gas production.

Warrendale, Pa.-based East Resources is one of the biggest players in a natural-gas exploration area known as the Marcellus Shale, with control of 1.25 million acres across a territory that stretches from West Virginia to New York.

Barreling Toward Peak Oil

People throw around the term "peak oil," but that doesn't mean the system will run out of oil. It means the amount of oil you're gaining by finding new oil fields—and bringing them onstream—is equal to the losses you're taking as other fields run down. The U.S. was the first country to peak in 1970, but that was a seamless transition since the oil companies just brought in more oil on tankers. Now the U.S. is importing about 67 percent of its oil.

The business of peaking is now usual: There are 30 non-OPEC countries with significant production. Thirteen of these have peaked or are about to peak, and they contribute some 52 percent of the oil volume outside OPEC.

World oil production will peak sometime between 2015 and 2020. The plateau should last for three to five years. The price will go up, since the supply isn't rising and demand will be strong. That will scare people.

BP: Not 'Beyond Petroleum' but just beyond peak; Market cap blues

For all its blunders, greed and abysmal safety and environment record, BP isn't solely to blame. That's akin blaming illegal aliens for being in Arizona. They are there and elsewhere because of our insatiable appetite for cheap labor. The financial mess: the "American dream and endless, debt-based consumption. And how many of those angry with BP will be willing to give up their long, single-occupancy auto commute.

This is what peak oil looks like: Not merely higher costs to find and refine the largely inferior petroleum remaining, nor the national security implications of the worldwide chase for remaining oil supplies. It means riskier and riskier means of production. Welcome to the future. What author James Howard Kunstler calls the "era of happy motoring" is over.

Vestas, Siemens Wind Bets at Risk on Cheap Gas, Subsidy Loss

Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Siemens AG and Suzlon Energy Ltd. may end up with underused U.S. factories as cheap natural gas and a lack of federal support reduce wind turbine deliveries this year by as much as 50 percent.

Vestas, the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, is spending $1 billion to expand annual production capacity in Colorado to 3,000 megawatts and hire 2,000 workers to sell and build turbines. Siemens plans to open a parts factory in Kansas this year, and already manufactures blades in Iowa.

They’re betting that the U.S. will pass a law that requires utilities in every state to buy electricity from renewable resources.

Rich countries pledge $4B to stop deforestation

OSLO, Norway (AP) -- Developed nations pledged more than $4 billion Thursday to finance a program meant to help poor countries protect their forests and slow global warming.

An agency monitoring the aid will be up and running before U.N. climate talks start in Cancun, Mexico, later this year, the European Union's climate commissioner said at a conference on deforestation in Oslo.

Also, Indonesia agreed to a two-year moratorium on issuing new permits for forest destruction as part of a $1 billion deal with Norway that would pay Indonesia a fixed sum per ton of CO2 emissions reduced through rain forest preservation. Norway has had a similar deal with Brazil since the mid-1990s.

EPA Encourages Ways to Travel Green by Checking into an Energy Star Labeled Hotel

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging people to travel green while on the road this summer, and choosing hotels that have earned EPA’s Energy Star is a great place to start. Energy Star labeled hotels are independently verified to meet strict energy efficiency performance levels set by EPA. Hotels that have earned the Energy Star perform in the top 25 percent of hotels nationwide, use at least 35 percent less energy and emit at least 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than their peers - making an environmentally friendly lodging choice a snap when planning a summer vacation.

John Hofmeister, former bureaucrat at Shell, told CBC listeners this morning that oil companies wouldn't have to be in deepwater if they could access the more than sufficient resources in shallow water and on land in the US.

People who don't want to see a drilling rig while hanging at the beach are the problem. And of course people who irrationally oppose hydrocarbons.

The reason Hofmeister is on so much is because he has written a book called "Why we hate the oil companies", it showed up on Amazon May 25.

From what he has said on TV, Hofmeister does not believe in oil depletion or peak oil.

I just wish that these guys would just once address the Texas & North Sea case histories, which respectively peaked in 1972 and 1999, and which were developed by private companies using the best available technology, with virtually no restrictions on drilling. In other words, Peaks Happen, even in the best of circumstances; it's just a question of when. Incidentally, Texas & the North Sea accounted for about 9% of total cumulative crude oil production through 2005.

When I debated Michael C. Lynch and ExxonMobil representatives in 2006 on a PBS program, I confronted Lynch with the Texas case history; his response was basically to pretend that the Texas case history didn't exist. He said Texas--which basically regulated world oil prices for about 40 years--was a place he would not choose to drill. I was moving on to the North Sea when the host intervened and changed the subject.

What'll it take for you to realize that demand peaked in Texas in '72 and in the country of North Sea in '99?

Well. . . when various Saudis talk about a lack of demand for high priced oil (and annual oil prices for four years and for 2010 to date have exceeded the $57 annual price that we saw in 2005), I usually mention that Texas has had a similar problem for 38 years--a lack of demand for Texas oil, even our "light/sweet oil."

Don't get discouraged. Keep drilling and sticking hoses into all those Texas pools of light and sweet. Word is that demand will recover by the time you're ready to retire. You'll probably get by pretty well opening a nozzle or two every other year.

Man o' man, TOD must be busy. Or is there some other explanation for my computer's speed while here?

I suspect that the Oil Drum servers may be causing regional brownouts.

I'm reminded of the scene in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" where the power company had to flip the switch on the "Auxiliary Nuclear Power Plant" to handle the load from the Griswald's Christmas lights:



Look at the sitemeter. http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=sm6peakoildrum&r=12 or the link on the right side-bar.

Traffic has been high the whole month, and recently been very high. Traffic is at least three times usual levels.

Another neo-cornucopian is former USGS staffer Steven Gorelick who Darwinian pointed me to.

I am working on a review of his very recent "Oil Panic and the Global Crisis: Predictions and Myths". It has to rank as the worst of the neo-cornucopian books out there simply because it actually spreads myths instead of deeming to correct them, as the title implies.

The author acts the role of a somewhat neutral bystander, never giving the appearance of a rabid oil cornucopian, yet slipping in so many howlers that he basically gives away his not-so-hidden agenda.

To give a taste of how little original research that Gorelick has actually performed and how much he relies on other cornucopians, consider the passage wherein he references geology professor Larry Cathles. On page 128, Gorelick quotes Cathles as saying that we may find as much as "1 trillion barrels of oil and gas in just a portion of the gulf oil sediments".

I found the original statement by Cathles here:

Cathles and his team estimate that in a study area of about 9,600 square miles off the coast of Louisiana, source rocks a dozen kilometers down have generated as much as 184 billion tons of oil and gas — about 1,000 billion barrels of oil and gas equivalent. "That's 30 percent more than we humans have consumed over the entire petroleum era," Cathles says. "And that's just this one little postage stamp area; if this is going on worldwide, then there's a lot of hydrocarbons venting out."

Although not directly implicated as an abiotic oil advocate (unlike his late Cornell University colleague Thomas Gold), former Chevron employee Cathles has close ties to the largely mythical South Eugene Island story. Several years ago new discoveries from the previously tapped-out South Eugene had people's hopes up that somehow oil reservoirs could go through a near real-time "replenishment".

"We're dealing with this giant flow-through system where the hydrocarbons are generating now, moving through the overlying strata now, building the reservoirs now and spilling out into the ocean now," Cathles says.

(Think about it, if this turned out true, then the recent Gulf Oil spill could allow an unending release of hydrocarbons from beneath the waters.) Well, as it turned out, the South Eugene Island secondary production turned out just a blip on the radar screen, yet Cathles still gets a mention as a credible source?

Gorelick has an entire chapter called "Counter-Arguments to Imminent Oil Depletion". Notwithstanding that oil depletion is imminent by definition (it certainly does not regenerate), this chapter contains some of the most unscientific howlers I have ever read. Consider the bullet point coming from an "honored and awarded" professor of hydrogeology and the Environmental Earth System Science department at Stanford University:

-The world has never run out of any significant globally traded, non-renewable Earth resource.

This false equivalency comes somewhere from the list of logical fallacies. I find it bizarre that a reputable scientist would appeal to this kind of argument.

- The trends in production of global oil and natural gas have not declined as predicted.

I call a strawman fallacy as no one has really come up with a formal theory for depletion, instead relying on ad hoc analyses. So to imply that something has not followed as predicted does not prove anything. As I have said before, heuristics do not substitute for theory and Gorelick has no awareness of the situation, choosing instead to regurgitate tired old cliches such as the lack of good predictive models.

I listed only 2 of the 21 bullet pointed counter-arguments that Gorelick concludes the chapter with. I can understand the need for these bullet points if he wanted to act like an objective journalist wanting to tell both sides of the story. Yet we have all learned from Krugman that real science does not scream headlines that say "Shape of Earth--Views Differ". A real scientist would dig deep and try to come up with a model or theory that would confirm or rebut the empirical evidence. You just don't rely on worn-out mantras (on the level of "drill, baby, drill") from the cornucopian right, put them in a book and consider this an advancement of knowledge.

The techical book industry published this garbage because it does not even remotely challenge business as usual and most likely wants to support the cornucopian viewpoint. They made the decision that this book would sell more than something with some meat on it.

Is this book complete rubbish or what?

WHT, are you trying to make "complete rubbish" look bad or something?
At least rubbish can be recycled and put to some use...not so sure about this book.

I would not buy the book, but if I got it free I could shred it and use it as mulch. So it is not worthless, I just would not read it first, I might die or get sick from it.

Not defending the author, just the paper it is printed on. Though I might not want to waste good energy to shred it even if I got it for free, MMMmmmm I'll have to think about that some more.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future,

Ps, you could incase the books in cement and or clay and use them in building.

I must respectfully disagree with the concept, even, of shredding without reading. I trust WHT's review, but before shredding I would read it. Otherwise, I am as bad as the bigotted censors of all who would burn all books they hear contain bad words, or whatever.

Read first; then shred if bad. Add to compost.


Shredding a book that you haven't read doesn't make you a censor - you're not banning the publication of the thing, or preventing others from reading it, good bad or ugly.

Shredding a book that you haven't read doesn't make you a censor

Point conceded. I would still read the book if someone gave it to me. I have to be somewhat selective in what I read since there are so many books, and there is so little time! I already spend far too much time and money at Barnes & Noble, Borders and Half Priced Books!


I have to be very selective in what I read - my backlog of books is huge and growing! And people still give me books! So if someone gave it to me and I heard it was "shredworthy" from someone whose opinion I trusted, I'd probably just put it on the shelf.

Sad thing about the book is that Wiley published it, who are usually fairly selective about what to include in their scientific and technical catalog.

Normally I just don't pick up books that I am not going to read, and few people give me books, unless I ask for to borrow them, and they just tell me to keep them.

I don't like censorship, but I would defend that I am not preventing others from reading the book, just that if given it and feeling the content worthless to learning anything new, or offensive to me personally, if it is my book to do with as I may, then finding an alternate use for it is worthwhile.

I used to collect College and High School Lit. books and collect them for the short stories in them, I have more than I'll ever read, but I am not going to shred them, even if some of the stories in them I would not consider to my taste.

Maybe I should have put a smiley snarkle face at the end of my post. Though if the book has too much disinformation in it, then it shouldn't be passed on to others. Snarkle face look.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Or maybe use the books as part of a junk shot down the Deepwater blowout.


They made the decision that this book would sell more than something with some meat on it.

So let's prevent it by getting as many factual reviews on Amazon and other sites as possible. Unfortunately the entire book can't be accessed from Amazon, just a few select pages. So I hope anyone who does buy the book follows through with a review. If one purchase can prevent a hundred, then real progress has been made.

There are currently just 3 reviews on Amazon, all 5 star! Good God! One reviewer says "it is well suited for use as a textbook".

..as a TEX-book, you mean.


"Our nation is chosen by God and commissioned by history to be a model to the world."
- George Walker Bush, 2000

This remark by G.W. Bush is at its heart a reflection of the concept of American ‘exceptionalism,' which is in some ways an extension of an almost religious belief on the part of many Texans that their state is the most ‘exceptional' in an exceptional nation. That belief evolves from the short period of time when Texas functioned as an independent republic, but today it meshes smoothly with a reactionary mid-life identity crisis, which has begun to appear to the world as though America's core personality may be about to change.

Such fears undoubtedly were exacerbated on Friday, May 21st, when the Texas State Board of Education announced that for the next decade, until 2020, the nearly five million students in the Lone Star state's high schools will be taught that the Founding Fathers really didn't intend the separation of church and state, that the slave trade was actually the Atlantic Triangular Trade, and that the "theory" of evolution and the concept of creationism are counterbalanced issues that each individual must choose between.

(WT, anything you can do about this would be greatly appreciated!)

Another quote out of the same link:

America is "not only unique but superior," declared [Texas] textbook reviewer Bill Ames of Dallas. In written statements he further stated that Americans are "a chosen people, divinely ordained to lead the world to betterment." He also suggests that the United States will not "rise and fall; [rather] Americans will escape ‘the laws of history' which eventually cause the downfall of [(with the exception of USA and Rex-us)] all great nations and empires."

If there was ever a more emphatic statement of American exceptionalism, it is hard to imagine what it might be.

This could be the start of a new movie script:

Little Boy: I see exceptional people. I see exceptional people all the time.

Bruce Willis character: (Swipes finger along brim of his Texas cowboy hat) But of course I'm here as an exceptional psychologist with exceptional powers of observation and given those, I can emphatically say that I am indeed exceptional. Only I can see God's true truth.

Working Title: Exceptional Expectorations (or How I learned to Except Myself as the Great One that I truly am)

Little Boy: I'm ready to tell you something exceptionally disturbing now.

Hofmeister gives his views on peak oil in this March 2008 CNBC video:

The 'Peak Oil' Theory: Will Oil Reserves Run Dry?

In this video he attacks Matt Simmons. Here is the text of Simmons' reply:

CNBC: What's your response to critics like Hofmeister?

Simmons: There is a kind of schizophrenia within the likes of Shell where the chairman basically says, "We think by 2012 global demand will exceed conventional supply" and yet Hofmeister basically says the idea that we are ever going to have peak oil is ridiculous.

The rest of Simmons' reply makes for very interesting reading.

Ron P.

People who don't want to see a drilling rig while hanging at the beach are the problem. And of course people who irrationally oppose hydrocarbons.

Hey, makes perfect sense to me! And since I just got this nice email from Shell via Scientific American's mailing list I decided to show my support by adding that quote and a few pictures of our changing world! Thank you Sciam and Shell! XOXO!

Thanks a lot!

Maybe we should make huge signs like this and post them at gas stations and SUV and truck dealerships, sorta like the Surgeon General's warning about the hazards of smoking on packs of cigarettes...

Oh, great! Now it seems my absolute worst fears about this disaster are coming true!


2-mile oil plume under Gulf nears rich waters

By MATTHEW BROWN and JASON DEAREN, Associated Press Writers Matthew Brown And Jason Dearen, Associated Press Writers – 2 hrs 17 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS – A thick, 22-mile plume of oil discovered by researchers off the BP spill site was nearing an underwater canyon, where it could poison the foodchain for sealife in the waters off Florida.

The discovery by researchers on the University of South Florida College of Marine Science's Weatherbird II vessel is the second significant undersea plume reported since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20. The plume is more than 6 miles wide and its presence was reported Thursday.

The cloud was nearing a large underwater canyon whose currents fuel the foodchain in Gulf waters off Florida and could potentially wash the tiny plants and animals that feed larger organisms in a stew of toxic chemicals, another researcher said Friday.

Larry McKinney, executive director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, said the DeSoto Canyon off the Florida Panhandle sends nutrient-rich water from the deep sea up to shallower waters.

McKinney said that in a best-case scenario, oil riding the current out of the canyon would rise close enough to the surface to be broken down by sunlight. But if the plume remains relatively intact, it could sweep down the west coast of Florida as a toxic soup as far as the Keys, through what he called some of the most productive parts of the Gulf.

Hey, but the beaches are fine come on down folks!

"And of course people who irrationally oppose hydrocarbons."

Considering the rate of vehicle ownership here in the US (near universal among driving-age adults), the size of the US passenger vehicle fleet, the hundreds of millions of gallons of gasoline used per day in the US, the number of houses in the US still heated with oil even though NG is available locally (and so on) it is just a myth that the US has significant numbers of people who "irrationally oppose hydrocarbons".

Unless the Amish population segment is far larger than we've been told?

I agree that the numbers for the USA are quite incredible!
The USA has one third of the world`s cars!! It has only 5% of the world`s population! ABSURD!!
It has 770 cars per 1000 people (nearly all adults have to have a car)
The govt won`t talk about the hideous prospects for the future embedded in this situation! ABSURD!!
The USA has the highest death rate from automobile accidents!

Steve from Virginia is correct: get rid of the cars!!

I myself have been in a highway accident (one-car, the one I was a passenger in) on a US highway (not fun) but luckily I escaped with only whiplash and so did the driver (a friend). I had scary flashbacks for years afterward.

I moved to another country where cars are not necessary (almost any other country in the world will have a situation where owning a car would be rather optional than mandatory). No car means a great deal of freedom! I will never move bck to the US! I can no longer drive--and I`m proud of it!

The US needs a "DE-AUTOMOBILIZE" movement......like kicking the cigarette habit or a drug addiction.

Oh, dear. We discussed this yesterday. The difference in per capita car ownership between the USA and Japan is a whole whopping 1.4:1. Not exactly earth-shattering, no difference in propensity to own a car, owes entirely to sheer crowding. Hint: the way to get rid of the car is usually to move to an (expensive) crowded place. Doesn't have to be Japan. Could be New York City, where car ownership is considerably lower still. Could be a number of other big US cities. Could be The Netherlands. Could be metropolitan France.

Nothing wrong with Japan, I kind of like the place. Oh, and the trains are wonderful. Not just the Shinkansen, the now not-so-new "new lines". The JR locals run frequently and on time too. Likewise for the Tokyo Metro, but it's pokey and slow. However, the sheer crowding that supports all that is epitomized by the Tokyo region, where a population nearly that of the entire state of California - all of it, from end to end, from coast to desert - crams into an area little bigger than just one upper Midwestern county.

Now, with respect to the larger issue, those Americans who want to live in crowded places already do. New York City, inner Chicago, San Francisco proper, and a smattering of smaller places are all available. Those who don't already live in such places aren't clamoring to live in crowds. Really. They aren't. Many won't even go downtown in Madison, Wisconsin, or Des Moines, Iowa, much less in a big place. OK, you think I'm kidding, but I'm not. So please don't expect to see a de-automobilize movement anytime soon, it's not nearly as simple as kicking cigarettes, which, even though it's not simple, can be accompished with no effect on the rest of one's life. And please don't delude yourself that a DE-AUTOMOBILIZE movement will change that one iota. It'll happen someday - and under protest, not as a movement - if electric cars of some sort don't work out.

As to the vociferous hatred of cars, I'm missing the point. True, car-free tourist places can be nice - provided that one doesn't actually have to live there and endure the grind day in, day out, year in, year out, rain, snow, and especially ice. Falls are a major cause of death and injury too; that's why older Americans are often advised by their doctors to move south where car dependence is often highest, but where there's little or no ice. Tradeoffs, always tradeoffs, never utopia, no free lunches anywhere to be had. But here's the kicker - if you have an accident with the bike tomorrow, and please let's not pretend that it couldn't happen, will you then hate the bike forever too, or will you just accept that life is not zero-risk and move on?

PaulS, who is talking about the accident-related risks of being car-free vs not? No one is claiming car-world is hell and car-free is utopia. Nice strawman though.

The last two places where I lived car-free were in Schenectady then Boston. Walking, riding the bus, or taking the train sufficed year-round, and yes we have weather here.

Err, if I pass this thread on to some friends, do you mind if I relabel your userID as "Captain BAU" for reasons of clarity?

Edit: were you perhaps suggesting that some 40K~50K people per year would be killed in "walking accidents", or that the rate of fatal bicycle accidents would be higher if there were no cars on the roads?

The Deepwater Horizon accident should point out the huge price we pay to keep the cars running. That price goes up every day because the oil gets harder to extract as it gets deeper.

An accident on a bike would probably not be as damaging as one on a highway. The speeds are simply so much lower. The highway accident totally wrecked the car I was riding in. I pedal my bike at 7-8 km/hr. I often walk the bike if the wind is blowing against me.

I agree that my cigarette analogy is not water-tight. But the damage to the environment from cars and oil production/extraction is becoming excessive. Think of a smoker`s lungs, filled with tar and benzene. The person becomes sicker and sicker. It is sad! Why should we all just give up---because you have given up-----and accept the awful & hideous consequences of automobile use without asking, "is this necessary?" and "can we change this?" The first thing that has to happen is for people to become DISENCHANTED with autos. They became enchanted by them once long ago. Why shouldn`t this process work in reverse?????

oil companies wouldn't have to be in deepwater if they could access the more than sufficient resources in shallow water and on land in the US.

and niether would oil companies have to be in deepwater if 'merkuns could keep the hose outta their rat racing suv's. blame the hose.

and niether would oil companie have to be in deepwater if world population wasn't 6 billion or whatever it is. blame the hose.

if world population wasn't 6 billion or whatever it is. blame the hose.

Nice one!

I was reading through the last Campfir post and found this from RockyMntGy:
"Just tax the stuff, and use the money to reduce our outrageous deficits.(in blockquote)

That's a good idea. The Europeans, Japanese, etc. tax the living bejeezus out of fuel, and use the money to fund their social programs. That's why the Europeans, Japanese, etc. have free health care, and Americans have cheap gasoline."

I would like to clear this misunderstanding. We do not have free healthcare in Europe. In (some?) Scandinavian countries there is "free" health care, but income tax is 45-50 %. I, here in Holland, pay Euro 260 per month, for 2 adults and 2 kids family, health insurance premium. That is not exactly free.

Edit. Our social programs are funded by other premiums, which are, on top of income tax, automically deducted from your pay.

The problem is the huge shortfall of receipts relative to expenditures. This is the Campfire graph, showing this shortfall.

Furthermore, in inflation-adjusted dollars, per capita disposable income has remained flat, so our ability to pay higher taxes, or higher prices for food and energy products is reduced.

The above chart just divides total disposable income in 2005$ (after transfer payments) by population. Part of what is keeping income as high as it is is an increase in "transfer payments", such as unemployment insurance. Also, if the income of a high income person goes from $5,000,000 to $6,000,000, it offsets a lot of declines for other people. Median earned income in $2005$ might be a better measure--it is likely declining.

While taxing oil companies is appealing, food prices will likely be affected significantly, because they are big users of oil. Such a tax acts like a higher price for oil, so I would expect more debt defaults, more drops in home prices, and a general increase in recession. (See my post up today.) That may just be a price one has to pay, but one needs to be aware of the many connections within the economy.

Thanks for replying Gail. My point was not to tax more on fuel or not. The point was that appearantly RockyMntGy thinks health care is free in Europe but is clearly not. I hope not this is the general idea on your side of the pond so I had to point it out. Each country has it's own system, actually, and in most of the 48 European countries people pay for health insurance. Same for the 27 EU members, same for the 16 Eurozone countries.

Sorry, I should have ready your post more closely (more than just a handful of words). I seem to be running in all directions right now.

The US system of health care is outrageous. Getting it under control would take huge changes, probably to make it more like one of the European systems, but I can't see that happening.

What I expect will happen is just indiscriminate taxes on oil products--not realizing that these taxes flow through the system.

"The US system of health care is outrageous. Getting it under control would take huge changes, probably to make it more like one of the European systems, but I can't see that happening."

Unfortunately, we've just blown our best chance to really do anything about health care, at least for a while. Eventually we'll be forced to revisit health care finance, thus time with a serious, reality-based perspective. That will be a few years off, unfortunately.

The real problem is the disconnect between payment and purchase. TANSTAFL still applies. If we want it, we have to pay for it one way or another. The very wealthy, who own most of the country and benefit from our labor, roads, police, fire service, and so forth, seem to think that it is okay to take all the money, then have the poor people subsidize their own health care so that they will be well enough to work for them.

Sorry for a rant on this... it really ticks me off. Republicans passed these huge tax breaks for the people who are best able to pay the taxes... then they decided they needed a war and refused to pay for that. Now Obama keeps going in the same direction after promising change. I am waiting for him to decide to extend the tax breaks... with the assertion that not doing so would cost jobs! He's as big a waste in some ways as Shrub was... At least Clinton, who was most certainly "Repoublican light" held down deficits and actually had a small surplus. It should have been larger, and he should not have extended the reckless free trade policies begun under ReaganBush, but at least there was that.

Last rational President we had was Carter, and the Dems laughed him out of office over a snit with Kennedy.

We deserve what is coming in so many ways, and yet many of our people do not. Certainly my grandchildren do not! And yet, it is my grandchildren who will suffer the worst for the sins of their fathers, etc.

The bill passed as health care reform was a fraud. It does nothing to hold down costs. It provides a bonanaza to the insurance industry. It creates more problems than it solves.



good summary of why I'm supporting Sarah Palin (w/running mate Bobby Jindal?) for 2012. I'm tired of the slow, inexorable decline. Let's get it over with in a hurry so we can start over from the smoldering ruins that much sooner. Kind of like ripping the band-aid off vs. slowing peeling it off.

Haha! Bring it on!

Although I'm a person of the left, generally speaking (although I lean more libertarian by the day), I think it would be an interesting thing to see Palin as president. It would really shake the establishment to the core, and that's exactly what they need.

You see, Bush was establishment. That's why, as hated as he was by the liberals, he was still accepted - Yale, Harvard, WASP family, etc.

Palin would show the elites in NYC and Washington that you can't keep f-cking with the people spread out over this land without a backlash. They then might take their jobs more seriously.

But alas it's probably all a sideshow. Civil War 2.0 remains the endgame.

When a free trade advocate argues for a free trade agreement, what is meant by 'free'. How can trade be 'free' if traders have to abide by the rules of the agreement. Still, the word 'free' does by convention have some meaning in this context.

In the context of socialized medicine, 'free' also has a conventional meaning, or even meanings. Mostly, the word is used, as I believe RockyMtnGuy meant, to convey the meaning that you don't have to pull out a wad of cash, or hand over your credit card, before the doctor attends to your illness or injury. But it can also mean that you can be free to be an independent economic actor and not be forced into some wage-slave arrangement in order to enjoy the benefit of health insurance, and/or that you can be free from the worry that the private insurer is going to end your coverage for whatever reason.

As for the cost to the economy, it is clear that the socialized model of medical care is far less expensive than the private insurer model.

So, I would propose another sense for the word free in this context, as in 'freeing up' economic space for other activity, when the advance to socialized health insurance is made.

"The problem is the huge shortfall of receipts relative to expenditures...so our ability to pay higher taxes is reduced"

Interestingly, as property values have plunged, property taxes have not changed - see graphic:


Meanwhile, Banks continue their Fraudulent activities while the SEC sleeps.

Bank Of America, Citigroup Incorrectly Hid Billions In Repo Debt

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (C) incorrectly hid from investors billions of dollars of their debt, similar to what Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. did to obscure its level of risk, company documents show...

..erroneously classified some short-term repurchase agreements, or "repos," as sales when they should have been classified as borrowings.

A SEC spokesman declined to comment...


They've been pulling a Lehman at the end of every single quarter - booking "repo" debt as "sales," for window-dressing the quarterly report.

Why does anyone still have any confidence in our financial system ?

I think the reason property taxes have not fallen is that there is a delay in getting new assessments through. Some property owners are objecting to their high assessments, and getting them changed, though.

Of course, governments still need as many tax dollars as ever (or more), so if assessments go down, they need the tax rate to go up to offset. Homeowners won't be happy about that.

plus a good number of foreclosures have been older homes where the owners went nuts with the HELOC or whatever and used their house as an ATM. then when the home foreclosed and was purchased again, the property tax was assessed at a much higher, new level.

that's interesting, i recently had a hearing on the assessor's valuation of a crappy one bedroom rental. a "comparable" was foreclosed upon, taken over by fnma and then sold by fnma via public offering for a fraction of the foreclosed amount. the county attorney argued that the transfer to fnma was "fair market" and the sale to the public was not.

"the transfer to fnma was "fair market" and the sale to the public was not"

That is par for the course. The transfer to FNMA is based on fraudulent valuations while the sale to the public is the true "market" price. And "The Law" decides to go with the fraud price...

Now the criminals are the law and the law is criminal.

yeah, i told the property assesment appeal board(paab) that this was your tax dollars at work, the government buys a property at $105k and sells it at $45k. i didn't get a chance to tell them this has "liar loan" written all over it. i will have a decision in 60 days or less.

i think the paab was not real happy with the county assessor. the paab has been inundated with protests and i suspect the board has had other opportunities to see through the scam. anyhow, the paab did a thourough cross examination of the county attorney's expert witness.

Gail, I'm sure you've noticed this before, but aside from a short period of lag time, there does seem to be a fairly close parallel between oil production and disposable income, which would infer that as oil production peaked, price increases followed, leading to a reduction in disposable income.

We know world oil production is quite highly correlated with world GDP. Disposable income should be quite highly correlated with GDP, and hence world oil production. It is possible to offshore production that uses oil, so this relationship doesn't necessarily hold for individual countries.

You may have seen my post which talks about some of the reasons for these connections.

To my way of thinking 20% or so of GDP is about the max that the FedGov can expect to get in revenues. Given our decentralized, federalist system, state and local govs take about 20%, so add the two together and you get 40% of GDP. Once you start getting above 30% or so of GDP, the government drain on the economy really starts taking its toll in terms of economic dynamism and vitality, and as you drift above 40% economies seem to start running into real troubles.

Thus, we can tinker around with taxation a bit if the intention is to simplify or to make taxes more "fair" or more efficient or something. No reason to feel that they must be set in stone. However, the capacity just isn't there to increase revenues to any appreciable degree.

Given these assumptions, the challenge is clear: the FedGov really does need to cut back its spending to about 20% of GDP. Given that it has skyrocketed to 35%, that is a tall order. Even assuming that we can get back to pre-crash levels, that still leaves us at around 30% of GDP, which means that we need to cut about 1/3 out of the pre-2008 federal budget.

There is an obvious answer to this problem, but it is not one that people in power want to hear: we need to cut WAY back on our "defense" spending. The above charts should make crystal clear that the US simply cannot afford to maintain the global military establishment that it presently has in place. We need to be seriously thinking about disengaging in the entire Eastern hemisphere and redeploying to a true defensive perimeter in the oceans surounding North America. This would enable us to cut the Navy budget and force levels by about 1/3, the Air Force by half, and the Army by 2/3, for an overall reduction in the DOD budget of about 50% initially. Further cuts may be feasible once the dust has settled and we can figure out what sort of threats we'll be facing in the future.

This won't be enough all by itself; we'll have to make big cuts in many other things, too - especially entitlements, which will need a fundamental re-think. However, I see no possible way to get our expenditures down to the level required without making cuts to the defense budget of this magnitude.

To my way of thinking 20% or so of GDP is about the max that the FedGov can expect to get in revenues.

WNC, the facts are on your side here. US gov't revenue, as a % of GDP, has almost always been within the range of 17-20% of GDP, since the 40's.
Don't know how to paste the graph, but take a look at this link, and you'll see the numbers to go with what you are saying.


Of course, gov spending has not remained as steady, and therein lies the problem...

Deficits are almost entirely endogenous to the financial system. Public debt = non-public savings, as a matter of accounting. When the private sector wants to increase it's savings, for whatever reason, the automatic stabilizers kick in and expenditures go up while taxes go down to create a big enough deficit to fund the savings. Austerity efforts have historically created bigger deficits, as they reduce economic activity and make people wish to save that much more.

Defense cuts may have a salutory effect on the real economy by freeing up real resources for other uses, but they have no effect on the financial economy, which works according to the iron laws of double-entry bookkeeping. Massive defense cuts (assuming they were politically feasible, which they aren't) not replaced by other expenditures would only lead to greater unemployment and bigger deficits.

The problem is that people are falling through huge cracks in the US system, even the people who have health insurance can't afford to go to the doctor, because the costs are still to high.

Taxes in Europe help pay for things, but if you tried to tax people in the US that much now that the system is like it is, you'd have riots in the streets in some places and voters up in arms in others or both.

Plain and simple the system is broken.

I deal with people who have roofs over their heads which is the only thing they have going for them. I just got back from delivering some groceries to a house that has had their electric cut off, because they can't pay the bill. He lost his job, but is working odds and ends, I guess he could get unemployment, but might have drawn on it already. If you have drawn on it already, you max out and drop off the roles. That does not mean you have a job, just that the gov't is not giving you a hand out anymore. The haves and the have nots are being sorted out right now in America.

I laugh at the Middle class numbers they have been throwing around, I have never been middle class, and my parents might have been for a few years, but not now.

The layers are getting wider, more people in retirement are going to the bottom rungs of the ladder. And there are a lot of working poor, people that make barely enough to live with the moeny they have coming in at times going without food to have power.

I know personally less than a dozen people able to afford to buy a house, the rest are either hanging onto what they have, or have a paid for house, or rent.

I don't know what the average TOD reader makes, or for that matter what the Average poster makes, but I am willing to bet I am in the lower rungs of that ladder as well, and I am rich compared to people I know.

Again I have to say that the system is broken, and we aren't going to get out of this alive, but we could do better, But the kings and queens we would be willing to put in charge might not be able to fix the issues either.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

In the UK host nationalised health care is funded through central taxation. There is very little ring fencing of taxes from any one source to any one expenditure budget.

Car licence tax, petrol tax, national insurance tax, income tax, all go into one pot. They may have been set up historically to fund one service or another, but that link is virtual.

To say that we have a 'national insurance tax' to fund the health service is misleading. He have taxes. We have a health service. end of story.

The UK really only has no 'individual cost' critical care. Glasses are not free. Dentistry is run at a profit. Drugs cost £7 a pop. If you take 2 heart/cholesterol/bp tablets indefinitely, then the NHS makes a good profit on your generic treatment.

Access to a general practitioner doctor is free (if not always on demand). Hospital treatment is free, and most non-critical procedures are available, albeit on a waiting list. Drugs are not free, but regular prescriptions costs can be cut by using an annual charge card - less than $200 for as many drugs as your doctor will prescribe. Preventative health care is also free, but availability is very limited.

My wife pays this and gets $15,000 of drug treatment each year. The drug companies make billions out of the NHS by bribing doctors to keep prescribing expensive and/or unnecessary drugs.

The almost always unanswered question-- is the average person better off in Europe or USA?

If there is no "average", then how about particular cases?

How about if you are self-employed and have cancer?

How about if you are highly educated, recently laid off, and 55 years old?

How about if you are a despised minority? Black in America or Turkish in Germany or Algerian in France?

I don't suppose there is really any Nirvana on Earth. But is it possible the Europeans have come closer? Or is that just wishful left-wing American thinking?

This is a political question.

One answer is that the level of social inequality is better in most of Europe, the difference between top and bottom earners is much less, the quality of life differences (health, education levels, 'happiness', etc. ). Social mobility is better - the poor have a better chance of moving up the ladder. This is traditionally especially true of the Scandinavian countries, Norway, Sweden, Denmark.

To be specific I can only talk about the UK.
The UK self employed have different arrangements when it comes to paying their 'national insurance' taxes, but as far as I am aware, they get the same treatment for cancer under the NHS as anybody else, for free. How good that is varies as much by where people live as by income.

If you are 55, laid off and educated, you will do quite well, because you will be able to manipulate the complexities of the welfare state to maximise your own benefits. State pensions cannot be drawn until 65, unemployment benefit is limited. At worst your rent, council taxes, essential utility bills will be paid if you can prove you are penniless. If you have a mortgage, the interest but not the capital will be paid for you. You may in extreme cases need to take a big hit on your living standards, but you should not be destitute. Unfortunately, this demographic often take a big hit on their ego, and go off the rails.

Despised minorities can suffer anywhere. In the UK the most despised are probably travellers. They are marginalised and have very poor prospects, but that does not mean that a lot of money is not spent trying to get them into the mainstream of society. They are provided with official campsites, etc, Attempts are made to get the kids into schools. Health care cover where possible. These efforts are as much to stop the locals from violently running them out of town, and keep the petty crime levels under control as much as to actually benefit the despised minority.

Thanks RW.

I didn't mean that as a political question so much as a practical one. But I suppose everything resolves to a political question.

I am 67, in good health so far as I know, self-employed, and to date, have made few demands on the "system". Or more accurately, I have been lucky, and moreover, the USA has been good to me, and has been my agent at the expense of much of the rest of the world. I don't see that situation continuing much longer, and I seriously wonder if we will just oscillate between extremes of corporatism and collectivism as Stoneleigh seems to envision.

Will Western Europe, China, Japan or any place else be able to convert "taxes" -- however defined -- into benefits for the majority of the population, or only for the elites as the storm gathers?

I guess that is political.

I, here in Holland, pay Euro 260 per month, for 2 adults and 2 kids family, health insurance premium. That is not exactly free.

Your health insurance premium is about $320/month (all dollar amounts in US dollars) at the current exchange rate. In the US, an average family policy for two adults and two children costs about $1200/month. If a US worker is employed at a company with a health insurance benefit, the company on average picks up about $400/month of that total, leaving the worker to pay $800/month. If the US worker loses their job, they can continue on the group insurance plan for a limited time, but have to pay the entire $1200/month out of their own pocket. If the US worker is unemployed long enough, they may qualify for Medicaid, or the children qualify for SCHIP. But when that happens, the family may very likely struggle to find a doctor that will accept them as patients because the government payments for care are so low. What happens when a worker in the Netherlands loses their job?

Total tax burden as a fraction of GDP in the US is 28.3%, in the Netherlands 38.0% (OECD 2008 figures). US federal government deficit for the current year is 10.6% of GDP, in the Netherlands 3.6%. For a reasonable comparison -- what the tax burden ought to be to fund current spending -- use figures of 38.9% for the US and 41.6% for the Netherlands. Not identical, but relatively close as these things go. The spread may increase if/when the US gets its deficit under control, but I'm not holding my breath. My complaint has long been that it's not the level of taxation in the US that's the problem, it's that compared to almost any other OECD country, the US taxpayer gets a rotten set of services in exchange for those taxes.

The US system for financing health care is seriously broken. To paraphrase a Republican strategist on health care reform: "If the US were to adopt the system used in the Netherlands, within a year it would be so popular that it would be impossible to repeal it."

Monthly premium for hubby and I is $940.00 us dollars per month---and we have a $5,900. per
year deductible before any coverage applies. The premium goes up twice per year, and the deductible goes up every Jan 1st. It is truly disgusting...and we really don't have any health problems.

My husband's dr said he should have a heart "stress" test. The reading of the test said there
was an "abnormal" flow. Because of the reading, he was referred to the Heart Center to get
a "cardiogram"; which showed that there was no problem, i.e. the "stress test" result was
incorrect. The hospital sent a bill for 4500.00 for the stress test; and the doctor that
"read" the test billed 350.00. The Heart Center billed a little over 4,500 for the cardiogram,
plus various other items that added up to over 500.

So the final result will be that, although no heart problem was found at all---the insurance
company will see these tests and jack up our premium even more in August.

We are like the farmer in the last scene of the documentary "Food, Inc"....just helpless

""....just helpless rage."

You are not alone.


Health insurance rate hikes hitting California small businesses

"It turns out that people used a lot more medical care than we had anticipated," said Tom Epstein, Blue Shield's vice president of public affairs. "We need to increase the rates to cover the medical costs.

We can't lose money on these products."


And then there is the Mexican health system :-)


Excellent link. Thank you. If only I could stand there damned heat South of the border :)

further to this, after living in Europe for 5 years, it also seems like US citizens are nickeled and dimed by city, state and federal governments, so that our reported tax burden is actually underreported. One small example from many other similar ones: in Spain to get a new Spanish passport will cost you around €12 and can be done WHILE YOU WAIT. DMV fees are lower; property taxes are far lower, filing your taxes takes 5 minutes, not $100s of dollars at HR Block or worse. My point is that the US proclaims itself and such a low-tax place compared to Europe, but when you widen the net a bit and take in more data about other types of government tranactions, it is far costlier in the US from my experience.

My UK friends were so shocked to hear that in the US, you must continue to pay property tax even after your mortgage is paid off. Forever and ever and ever. And if you don't, your house is no longer yours, it's gone.

Running on Empty - What if tomorrow, everyone’s car disappeared.

A Video by Ross Ching inspired by Matt Logue’s Empty LA photographs.

Ha! The cars get raptured and the people get left behind.

Re: The Eternal Energy Crisis

Well well, now it's Conrad Black, of all people, who has figured out how to solve the problem of US dependence on foreign oil. This is what he writes in the National Review, that infamous neocon rag:

After this tale of woe and incompetence, there are signs of hope. The greatest and fastest short-term relief is electric cars, which are happening, and electric-valve-and-chip fuel-consumption controls on gasoline-powered cars. Heavy interstate-road vehicles should be reformatted to natural-gas power, which is easily done, and all gasoline-powered vehicles should be enabled to take fuel additives, such as ethanol, which should, within reason, be encouraged.

These simple measures would create a world buyers’ market in oil, a factor that could probably be traded for useful political favors from rising-oil-consumption countries like China, such as in relations with North Korea and Iran. This would buy the time for longer-term measures to be implemented. To use a notorious expression, this really is “settled science.” If it were explained simply, the country would massively support such a program, which is already progressing almost spontaneously. What, apart from common sense and leadership in the places where the country has every right to expect them, are we waiting for?

You sure can count on the neocons to have a solution to every problem. We should just let them run the US and everything would turn out fine! No, wait...

And ain't it funny, these people actually refer to pretty much anybody not on the same page with them as ideologues. I can't help but think they find it deeply offensive that a Marxist African has occupied the WHITE House.

Well, I don't know about all of that. But I wonder who Mr. Black thinks "should" force us all to run natural gas or electric cars? The government?,/i>

Shudda Wudda. Scratch a NeoCon, you find a Stalinist.

To be fair, I believe they're mostly Trotskyites. They, more than anybody, would take offence at being called Stalinist. ;-)

Barbara Kingsolver has a great new historical novel The Lacuna dealing with that very issue -- the worldwide triumph of Stalin over Trotskey, and the complicity of the US Government (among others.)

Historically the NeoCons originated in Trotskyist ideology. Not sure it matters now -- but we all "remember" Stalin.

Heavy interstate-road vehicles should be reformatted to natural-gas power,

And what happens to the people who use Nat. Gas for cooking, building heat and water heat?

Heavy interstate-road vehicles should be reformatted to natural-gas power, which is easily done

A perfect example of why we are screwed. This idiotic comment will be taken at face value by most people. The reality is it is NOT easily done. He conveniently leaves cost out of the equation. These are diesel engines which can't be inexpensively converted to run on natural gas like a gasoline engine can. You might even have to replace the transmission also as engine torque and the transmission are so tightly linked together. I don't believe the torque curve produced by a natural gas truck engine will match a diesel engine.

He conveniently does not mention the engineering problems in modifying the trucks to carry any where near enough natural gas to maintain existing range. He conveniently leaves out the need to add natural gas fueling capability at the majority of existing truck stops and stations that carry diesel fuel.

I'm sure the trucking industry would be all for it if someone else would pay for it. They sure as heck can't afford it.

Off the cuff comments like this should carry hefty fines. Continued violations should result in jail time. Our time is too short to allow misinformation to continue.

Not so fast there, PriorityX.

There are several ways to do NG fueling of diesel engines, and some are more exepnsive than others. The expensive way is a complete conversion, to NG only, replace the injector with a spark plug. Most industrial NG engines are sourced from diesel engine block that have been set up like this.

But the best way, and cheapest, for the trucking industry, is to run a dual fuel system, where NG provides some of the fuel and the diesel injection is retained to ignite the mixture. The engine starts on diesel, and can run on straight diesel, or up to 60%NG. At highway cruise, where torque is not an issue, the NG is particularly effective. Under higher load, the engine uses more diesel and less NG. modern electronic control systems can easily handle this.
Because the NG is supplementary, you do not need massive tanks. At highway cruise, a semi truck gets about 3mpg, or 0.3 gallon per mile. WE want to replace 0.2 of that 0.3 with NG. 0.2 gallons of diesel is 25MJ of energy, which is half a kilogram of NG. So if we want enough NG to co-fuel for 300 miles, that is 150kg. If we are using CNG at 200 bar, the density is about 175 kg/cubic metre, so we would need about one cubic metre (265US gallons) of storage. This is not an outrageous amount - plenty of room for cylindrical tanks under the trailer.

The real benefit for the trucker - CNG is half the price of diesel, so replace 60% of your fuel with half price, and you have a 30% fuel cost saving.

This can be done with the addition of the NG fuel system, but no other modifications are needed, and the truck can still run on diesel alone any time it wants to.

Here is an example of a company making these conversions;

There are others, and even Caterpillar has done research in this area - as I recall, their conclusion was that dual fuelling was better than complete conversion, for existing engines.

20% of the cost, for 60% of the result, that's pretty good, and very doable.

An even better candidate for conversion, by the way, are refridgerated trailers - these have plenty of space for an NG cylinder underneath, and run 24/7 - the payback would be very quick on these.

Best hopes for practical solutions!

I stand corrected. Thank you.

I am no fan of Conrad Black, I might add. What IS unrealistic about his comment is to replace ALL diesel for trucking with NG. To replace a portion of it, at modest cost, is doable.
Pragmatic solutions, that actually have a chance of being implemented, are needed.

Co fueling is about as simple as we get, and has a good ROI ($terms) because most diesel vehicles (trucks, trains, ships) get used most of the time, so the savings add up fast. Even a 10% reduction in overall fuel cost for the trucking industry would make a big difference.

Mind you, all this skirts around the fact that what we really need is to have less transportation of (probably) less goods in the first place.

One gallon of diesel fuel =1.73 gallons of LNG = 144 cubic feet of natural gas.
The US uses 45 billion gallons of diesel fuel. Turning natural gas into LNG is ~90% efficient.
45 E9 x 144 / .9 = 7.2 Tcf. The US uses 23 Tcf of natural gas with 1200 Tcf? of reserves. The amount of natural gas used to make electricity is 6.9 Tcf.
Convert natural gas generation to wind and CCS clean coal, which is the Pickens Plan.

Less transport is good too.

Practically speaking we will continue to use oil for gasoline and diesel, but
theoretically we can do Pickens Plan and so we should convert what we can.

We have problems with our gas-fired emergency generators at the LNG plant. We have several large diesel units, but recently we installed several large natgas fired units (since gas is one thing we are not short of). The dynamic response for the gas-fired engines is so horrible that they fail to drive the e-generators up to rated frequency as the turbine auxiliaries inrush hits them. They bog down and the auxiliaries drop offline on underfrequency and we lose our GTG turbines. I have a hard time figuring out how one would make a freightliner 100% natgas. I guess they'd still be drivable, but it would seem to be like driving a rubber-band engine.

Heck, what about people who use electricity? In 2009, of the 20.9 trillion cubic feet delivered to consumers in the US, 6.9 trillion were used by electric power generators (total direct residential and commercial use was 7.9 trillion). In the event of shortages of supply, the power generators are usually the first to have their service interrupted.

A couple of winters ago, a peculiar set of circumstances led to a Saturday-morning shortage in NG supply in the Denver metro area. I had all the NG I could use for my furnace -- but I couldn't use it when it was my turn to be in the rolling black-outs that resulted from the interruption in NG supply to the power generators.

From Nobody In Charge up top:

The events on the bridge raise questions about ... whether the U.S. has sufficient safety rules for such complex drilling operations in very deep water...

The vessel's written safety procedures appear to have made it difficult to respond swiftly to a disaster that escalated at the speed of the events on April 20. For example, the guidelines require that a rig worker attempting to contain a gas emergency had to call two senior rig officials before deciding what to do. One of them was in the shower during the critical minutes, according to several crew members...

Ah, I just love the bureaucratic mindset. Here's the The Wall Street Journal, of all outlets, swallowing the bureaucratic mindset hook, line, and sinker, calling for yet more rules, yet more paralysis - while, in nearly the same breath, it explicitly acknowledges ill effects of the existing surfeit of rules. That's the bureaucratic mindset in a nutshell: if it's not working, do more of the same, better.

The basic trouble with the bureaucratic mindset is that it measures processes solely by gross input - how many rules can we write, how much money can we spend, how big can we grow our staff empire - while disregarding waste and ignoring results - are the rules useful, are the useful ones obeyed, are the useless and harmful ones gotten rid of, is the spending doing anything of use, are self-important poobahs mucking things up.

So how about fewer rules, but rules that are useful and effective, rules that it's physically possible to follow without delaying endlessly until things slip utterly out of hand? Or would that be too rational to consider? (Sigh, that last question answers itself.)

With each new story, that rig is looking ever more like a government project. Like a public (i.e. state) school: gargantuan impenetrable masses of fusty rules, neutronium-level inertia, tremendous expense, surplus poobahs strutting about; and execrable results. Maybe the government need not bother taking over BP as some have advocated, simply because it has already infiltrated it and rotted it to the very core?

More rules leads to more confusion, and directly to more power for the bureaucrats who interdigitate with our "elected" representatives.

There is therefore no political mandate for simplification of the bureaucracy -- and the WSJ "of all outlets" is part of that control apparatus.

Kafka is probably smiling at his prescience, though of course there is no glory in being right about disaster.

Wait. So they blow up their rig, killing people and ecosystems- by not following either their own procedures or federal regs, and you blame excessive government control? Is that really what you think BP has been doing wrong? That they would be efficient and safe and self-regulating, if only government would stop messing everything up?

Classic. Enjoy your next Steak in the knowledge that it has been thoroughly messed up by big government.. while all big-beef wanted to do was give you a quality meal at a fair price!

(And listen, I do generally agree that we need fewer and simpler rules, as a basic approach.. but before that, and in consideration of the Dept of Interior and MMS, it seems to be more an issue of actually applying the ones we have. Ron asked the other day something along the lines of, 'Why would MMS staff fudge the numbers?' really, just because they represent such a bounty for the relevant industries who lobby them constantly - I'm simply astonished at such credulousness, when we've seen how much collusion has been keeping the revolving doors revved up at such Regulatory departments.. )

...it seems to be more an issue of actually applying the ones we have...

Bingo. Exactly. So no need for the anger. The bureaucratic mindset seems to be about obstructionism and sometimes about demonstrating how powerful the bureaucrats are. Also about jobsworth boxticking in lieu of actual results. Whether or not rigs blow up (or children get educated, or buses show up and do so on time, etc.) apparently doesn't seem to be the leading concern much of the time. Is there any conceivable way to fix that? I dunno.

So how about fewer rules, but rules that are useful and effective, rules that it's physically possible to follow without delaying endlessly until things slip utterly out of hand?

PaulS - I think your crocodile tears for BP is premature. The 11 dead people from the Horizon are hardly cold in the ground and the after affects of this disaster will displace tens of thousands of people whose livelihood depended on the health of those now dying eco-systems. BP, like a fly-by-night contractor, leased rigs hired sub-contractors and cleverly used industry favored rules to extract oil in U.S. waters to a very profitable business model. The executives of BP don't look like they've suffered any hardship worse than being forced to fly coach in their all too charmed lives.

You have a fundamental misunderstanding of government. Take modern aviation: The primary directive for the FAA is "the safe and expeditious flow of air traffic". When the FAA first came into being the rules could fit into a 20 page notebook. But that was the days of propellor driven aircraft with a few international and regional carriers. To assume that you can eliminate the forest of regulations involved in safely separating tens of thousands of flights daily in the U.S. with that simple set of rules and pre-sets is a joke that even my grandmother who believed the earth was flat could understand. BTW almost all of those "out of hand" regulations came to be as the result of aircraft accidents and significant loss of life.

It is now a complex world. We have tried deregulation and laissez-faire capitalism and now we are dealing with the consequences. Lack of proper over-sight led to the mishap. Why would you think that more of the same would solve anything?


I think your crocodile tears for BP is premature.

Tears for BP??? The abstraction "BP" wasn't present onsite the day of the blast, no use in even going there. A group of people were present and it's starting to look like it was something of a bureaucratic circus. It happens countless millions of times every day, just most of the time the are far less conspicuous. So the account rings true.

Paralysis-by-analysis is occasionally useful for staying out of trouble. It's less useful for dealing with anything that's going to unfold on its own terms whether you like it or not, while you sit around dithering. For example, unless the report's sources are liars, the bit about waiting for the guy to come out of the shower is less than reassuring...

The abstraction "BP" wasn't present onsite the day of the blast...

Paul you made my point which is that BP behaved like a "fly by night contractor" financing their operations on the back of low-bid subcontractors who ignored their instincts and training because maybe their paychecks depended on it. There's a reason that fire departments are not privatized for profit businesses but there are still a lot of "free-market types" who still think it's a good idea.

The proper role of government is protecting the commons and keeping us from murdering each other. Also there's something to be said for good old fashioned inefficiency...after all Hitler made the trains run on time.


Ah, I love it, we finally get down to Godwin's Law, which was tossed around a day or two ago in another discussion. Godwin's Law must be like a mathematical attractor.

Look, the trains run reasonably well on-time in The Netherlands and even a bit better in Japan. And yet neither place, in its current form, is anything even remotely like the Third Reich. However, the quasi-privatization in both places, but especially Japan, may be helpful with instilling the discipline that is all too often lacking among lazy overpaid government jobsworths lying about in their quasi-tenured civil service hammocks.

Not to nitpick... OK, to nitpick, but the usual quote is that Mussolini made the trains run on time. The inference being that the Italians couldn't do anything on schedule until the Fascists took over.

Germany ... I'm betting the trains ran on time even during the Weimar Republic.

The French do the cooking.
The Italians are the lovers.
The Swiss run the trains.
The English are the cops.
The Germans build the cars.

The French build the cars.
The Italians run the trains.
The Swiss are the lovers.
The English do the cooking.
The Germans are the cops.

(Plz no flamz 4 the stereotypes)

I always wondered what the Americans should do in each of these scenarios..

probably 'Makes the Movies' fits on both sides..

Or provide the financing

So how about fewer rules, but rules that are useful and effective, rules that it's physically possible to follow without delaying endlessly until things slip utterly out of hand?

And an appropriate stick behind the rules.

Back in the mid-1980s when the Bell System was being broken up, the new local telephone companies were ignoring some of the rules repeatedly. During the hearing in one of those cases, the presiding judge, speaking to one of the CEOs, said basically, "Let me make this clear. The next time you or one of the other company bosses is in my court over a rule violation, I will put everyone in the management chain from the employee committing the violation all the way up to you in jail for contempt." Three days later, the internal corporate training about the rules started over, and this time each session was opened and closed with "Remember, you personally can go to jail for violating these rules." Employees paid much closer attention. There were no more problems.

If reg violations meant Hayward did six months in jail the next time he entered the US, alongside the CEOs, department heads, division managers, etc, of the various US subsidiaries, BP's internal procedures would be workable (ie, simple and effective) and followed religiously.

Yup, in most situations, especially preventive ones, there's not the opportunity to strut before the cameras and play Big Man (or Woman) frogmarching culprits in a mediagenic perp walk. So politicians prefer to make grand speeches about all the rules they're going to make and how they're going to put the populist boot on someone's neck. And their minions go on the march accordingly. Meanwhile, nobody minds the store. Nobody engages in the boring unromantic non-mediagenic tasks of assuring that the rules are valid and useful, and of applying them. At most they just sit around on their plush bottoms tying things up in knots.

Or, if some bureaucrat is actually paying attention, he or she will often behave about as police do during riots. It happens time and time again. They go after people committing trivial infractions, or even after innocent passersby, since there's zero risk in that, even while they disregard the felons burning the place down or even killing people under their very noses.

I'm no expert on this stuff, but after reading that article my distinct impression is that the problem was not so much the government safety regulators but rather the BP profit regulators. It sounds like the workers were not empowered to act quickly to protect lives, they first had to get the OK from corporate poohbahs who were there to save costs and profits. Eliminating government regulations would not have prevented this from happening, but it would guarantee more and worse things like this.

Rumor: Secretary of the Navy Wants to Sink a Battleship On Top of the Oil Spill


USS Arizona
RIP, 12/7/41.
Still abubblin' crude.



Yeah, it's all physics alright. And, almost 30 years ago, Ronnie Raygun chose to ignore the science that pointed to a future with declining fossil fuel supplies and increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. So now the pundits like Stossel on Faux News can say: "See here, there's almost no solar or wind energy being produced". Small wonder why things have turned out that way. Trouble is, it looks like now it's too late to turn the USS Hummer around before it runs over the Peak Oil cliff and drags us all down into the abyss of physical reality...

E. Swanson

I didn't mean to make multiple copies of this post - in fact it would not post at all. But later we get back from a dinner party and there are several. Must have been a glitch.


Give em hell Swanson! Pulling the solar panels off the White House and removing tax incentives for renewables by Reagen was the step back we didn't need. The stoppage of a green revolution that could have already been paying dividends in lower CO2 emissions and less money going abroad for oil.

Also, the defunding of Carter's algae fuel project is now more than ever an obvious missed opportunity as crude oil production continues to flatline and oil seeps into the wetlands of the Gulf. Leave it to Fox News to caviliarly reject the move away from FF, to reject global warming, and to act like we are still in the Reagen era. That station is a dis-service as it perpetrates the continuation of ignorant viewers.

Summary of "Fox" Business math:

0.001 = 0

Am I allowed to cheer when the Dow goes down?

I am not a doomer, I call myself a gloomer, I know there is a sunrise just a few hours or weeks ahead (depending on where you are on earth) and that no matter what you do, grass will grow in your garden.

I don't see BAU staying with us much longer, though really BAU is not really usual or a continuos thing over time, because everything changes whether we like it to or not. People age, plants grow and die, rocks erode, rivers still flow downhill and carve ground into valley. And money only grows on trees if you know how to harvest and use the fruits of the tree.

Wall street will flood in time with water and silt and the world will reclaim las vagas and the lights will go out.

But along the way humans will suffer from their own mistakes, and the mistakes of others, so even if the age of man is gone soon, people will need help while they last.

Get out there and grow a garden, feed a child, help the old folks, learn their stories, learn a new skill, be cheerful while you still have lips to smile.

Pizza is done, the table is set, off I go.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future. Thank God for pizza.

Amen, Charles. We can only do what we can do. If not now, when?