Drumbeat: June 2, 2010

BP Frees Jammed Saw as Oil Nears Florida Beaches

BP PLC, has freed a jammed saw blade from a pipe that was slowing down the process of capping a well that has been spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico for six weeks, a spokesman for the unified command center said Wednesday afternoon.

The company will replace part of the blade and then cut at the pipe on its other side, the spokesman said.

This will be the second cut to the pipe. If the saw can make a smooth cut it will increase the amount of oil that can be contained, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander for the spill, said at a news conference earlier Wednesday.

BP has been under pressure to contain the massive oil spill that is affecting an increasingly wide swath of U.S. Gulf Coast shoreline. A six-foot-long oil sheen was found along Florida's Panhandle shoreline Wednesday.

Oil Nears Florida as Effort to Contain Well Hits Snag

Overnight, the response team was able to "successfully" make the first shear cut of the pipe, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander for the spill, said at a news conference in Houma, La. However, a specialized saw got stuck while making a second fine cut that's needed before a containment device can be put in place.

If the response team is unable to dislodge the saw, another saw would have to be used, Adm. Allen said. He added that there's no question that a second cut can be made, but it remains uncertain how precise the cut will be. The smoother the cut is, the better the chance will be that the containment device will be able to capture a greater quantity of oil.

An announcement will be made later Wednesday about whether or not a second saw will be wielded, Adm. Allen said.

"As soon as the cut is made that separates the remainder of the riser pipe from the lower marine riser package, they will assess the quality of the cut and either move to install the top cap, which is the tighter device, with actually a rubber seal around it, or the top hat, which is a little wider and has less of a seal," he said.

The procedure, which has never been attempted at these depths, could increase the flow of oil spewing into the water by 20%, at least temporarily, government officials have said in recent days. Adm. Allen reiterated that projection, but said the increase in the flow rate wouldn't occur until the second cut is finished.

Wind Farms: Are All the Best Spots Taken?

In the US, a lack of transmission continues to be a primary restraint to the growth of onshore wind farms. The US has land aplenty with strong wind, but it remains undeveloped for lack of a way to get the power to market. Transmission lines cost roughly US$1 million per mile to build in the US. Given that prime wind sites are often far from where the wind power is needed, the price tag is hefty and the federal government has yet to resolve who will pay the bill. Wind developers shy away from proposing wind farms where no transmission yet exists and utilities don't want to put money into building transmission unless they know a generator stands ready to use the lines. Wind industry insiders call this the transmission chicken and egg dilemma.

'Transmission is the chink in the armour. That is where the frontier mentality still exists that everybody has to figure out their own way to get to market. It is causing great expense for generators and developers', said Andrew Spielman, a partner in law firm Hogan & Hartson, which has secured land use approvals for 725 MW of wind energy and an accompanying 80-mile (128 km)private transmission line in eastern Colorado.

While it can take a year to build a wind farm, transmission lines are likely to require at least five years – and sometimes decades if they run into public opposition.

US Wind Growth Likely To Drop in 2010

The study forecasts anywhere from 6.3-7.1 GW of wind could be installed in 2010, 40-60 percent lower than 2009 installations.

Google-Funded Geothermal Drilling System Could Reduce Costs

The process for creating geothermal wells is very similar to that used for extracting oil and gas, at least in the initial phases. . .

A better method, called “spallation,” which refers to chipping or flaking of stone, involves using jet engines to produce superheated, pressurized air which breaks rock.

This method, previously used to fracture granite and marble for commercial use but effective only in surface or close-to-surface applications, is now being applied to deep-well geothermal drilling, but with water as the medium instead of air.

Not only does the method save money by not using drill bits, which break or wear out, costing crews thousands of dollars and hours of time, but drilling is continuous and considerably faster – 30 feet per hour as compared to traditional drilling’s top speed of 10 feet per hour.

Obama pushes Kerry's climate bill

In an indication that Democrats could renew their push for climate change legislation this year, President Obama this afternoon said he would attempt to round up votes for legislation filed by Senator John Kerry.

Obama, speaking at Carnegie Mellon University, urged the US Senate to take action on a bill that aims to reduce reliance on foreign oil while putting a price on carbon emissions. It was the fourth time in 12 days that Obama urged the Senate to act, comments that come in the wake of a massive oil spill in the Gulf Coast.

David Strahan: Americans should be thanking BP

So, how is any of this good news?

First, it could have been so much worse. Had BP suffered a similar accident while drilling for Tiber, a three-billion-barrel field it discovered in the Gulf of Mexico last year under two miles of water, reservoir pressures and oil volumes would have been far higher, and there would be many fewer remotely operated submarines capable of working at this depth. Likewise, had such a spill occurred in the remote Arctic, galvanising a speedy response would have been still harder and impacts yet more devastating. Now at least regulations will be tightened, making such accidents less likely.

More important, the spill may finally spur Americans, who make up 5 per cent of the world's population but guzzle 25 per cent of the oil supply, to get serious about cutting their consumption.

BP Cites Broken Disk in 'Top Kill' Failure

BP PLC has concluded that its "top-kill" attempt last week to seal its broken well in the Gulf of Mexico may have failed due to a malfunctioning disk inside the well about 1,000 feet below the ocean floor.

The disk, part of the subsea safety infrastructure, may have ruptured during the surge of oil and gas up the well on April 20 that led to the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig, BP officials said. The rig sank two days later, triggering a leak that has since become the worst in U.S. history.

The broken disk may have prevented the heavy drilling mud injected into the well last week from getting far enough down the well to overcome the pressure from the escaping oil and gas, people familiar with BP's findings said. They said much of the drilling mud may also have escaped from the well into the rock formation outside the wellbore.

As a result, BP wasn't able to get sufficient pressure to keep the oil and gas at bay.

Almost one third of Gulf fishing grounds closed

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Almost one-third of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico is closing to commercial and recreational fishing because of the oil spill.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration expanded the area by 5 percent Tuesday. NOAA says as of 6 p.m. EDT Tuesday that nearly 76,000 square miles would be off-limits because of oil spreading from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. That's more than 31 percent of federal Gulf waters.

Spill Draws Criminal Probe

The U.S. has launched criminal and civil investigations into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill—the latest move by the Obama administration to show it is taking aggressive action amid bipartisan criticism of its response to the disaster.

"We have what we think is a sufficient basis for us to have begun a criminal investigation," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday after meeting in New Orleans with state attorneys general and federal prosecutors from the region. Mr. Holder noted that 11 people died in the April 20 rig accident that precipitated the spill.

In a press conference, Mr. Holder said there is "a wide range of possible violations." He declined to specify the target of the investigation because he said authorities aren't "clear on who should ultimately be held liable" and didn't want to "cast aspersions."

Energy Stocks Lead Market Lower

"You're already looking at a situation where oil prices have been under pressure because of the outlook for demand," said strategist Dan Greenhaus, of Miller Tabak. "That [stock-market] sector already had a lot of problems because of that, and now the BP situation just adds to the list." . . .

The S&P 500's energy sector slid 4.3%, leading the index to a 1.7% decline overall. Transocean, the operator of the BP rig that exploded and caused the Gulf spill, fell 11.9%. Anadarko Petroleum fell 19.6%, while Halliburton was off 14.8%.

Meanwhile, crude-oil prices slipped to end below $73 a barrel, beginning June on a sour note. The commodity is coming off a 14.1% slide for May, the worst monthly performance since December 2008.

BP can take financial hit from spill

The British oil giant is worth $75 billion less on the open market than it was when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded six weeks ago. Other companies involved in the spill — Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron — have all lost at least 30 percent in value.

Spill Clouds Future For Oilfield-Service Companies

"I don't think in the near term this is good for service companies or the industry because operations are disrupted," said Gene Shiels, a spokesman for Baker Hughes Inc . (BHI), which provides directional drilling services and drilling fluids for offshore drilling projects.

But Shiels added that in the long term, heightened standards for back-up systems or requirements to add more equipment to existing rigs could create opportunities for service companies.

Undersea oil pipelines vulnerable to hurricanes

The study found that the 31,000 miles of pipelines along the seafloor of the Gulf could crack or rupture unless they are buried or their supporting foundations are built to withstand hurricane-induced currents. "Major oil leaks from damaged pipelines could have irreversible impacts on the ocean environment," the authors wrote.

Researchers got a unique look at what a hurricane can do underwater during Ivan, a Category-4 hurricane with wind speeds of more than 130 mph in the Gulf. Ivan passed over a network of sensors on the ocean floor.

"This is the first time that anyone measured hurricane-induced stresses on the Gulf bottom," says study author Bill Teague of the Naval Research Laboratory in Mississippi.

The study's calculations are the first to show that hurricanes propel underwater currents with enough force to dig up the seabed as far as almost 300 feet below the surface, potentially creating underwater mudslides and damaging pipes and other equipment that rest on the bottom.

Feds meet with film director Cameron on oil spill

"Top kill" didn't stop the Gulf oil spill. How about something "titanic"?

Federal officials are hoping film director James Cameron can help them come up with ideas on how to stop the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil appears in Alabama & Mississippi; BP & Coast Guard scrambling

First Louisiana, today it's Alabama and Mississippi. True to NOAA's predictions, oil washed ashore on barrier islands off Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday. In addition, significant slicks of crude offshore appeared to be moving toward those states' coasts.

Researchers scrambled to clean up tar balls and puddles of oil from the beaches of Alabama's Dauphin Island, while a strip of oil about two miles long and three feet wide stretched along Petit Bois Island, about five miles away off Mississippi.

If NOAA predictions hold, both Alabama and Mississippi's beaches will begin to see more than tar balls by the end of this week.

Oil spotted about 9 miles off Fla. coast

An oil sheen was confirmed about nine miles off the Florida coast, and officials are saying it could hit the white sands of Pensacola Beach as soon as Wednesday.

Obama’s Options for Addressing Oil Spill

We Must Finally Address Energy Crisis

The New York Times' Bob Herbert insists, "However and whenever the well gets capped, what we really need is leadership that calls on the American public to begin coping in a serious and sustained way with an energy crisis that we've been warned about for decades. If the worst environmental disaster in the country's history is not enough to bring about a reversal of our epic foolishness on the energy front, then nothing will."

Middle East Oil Troubles Could Lead to Lower Prices.

OPEC production grew to take advantage of the higher prices of early May, and high production is likely to continue as long as prices don’t collapse entirely.

Greed aside, another reason OPEC production could continue to grow is that floating oil storage is declining rapidly. Danish shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk estimates that there are about 25 VLCC tankers, each of which holds about 2 million barrels of oil, being used for floating storage. That is about half the number of VLCCs being used for a similar purpose a year ago.

The decline in floating storage is a result of an easing of the crude market’s contango, a position where the price of oil for prompt delivery is lower than the price of future delivery. As the prompt and future prices converge, it becomes too expensive to store oil on a tanker.

On of the biggest users of floating storage is Iran, which Maersk estimates is storing oil on 20 of the 25 tankers. That’s not highly unusual because Iran’s lack of refining capability coupled with its limited on-shore storage and its 3.7 million b/d production capacity means the country has to put the black stuff somewhere.

Hunterston coal power station plan due to be submitted

If the proposal by Ayrshire Power is approved it would be the first plant in the UK to use carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

Environmentalists and locals have opposed the plan.

They argue it makes a mockery of the government's commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

Electric Car Warning Sounds: Don’t Expect Ring Tones

Although no one (at least yet) is making them do it, automakers are preparing to introduce quiet electric and plug-in hybrid cars that make sounds to alert pedestrians, the blind and others to their presence.

A 2009 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that hybrids (when they’re moving slowly, backing up, stopping or coming in or out of parking spaces) hit pedestrians and bicyclists more often than do other cars.

China will pay electric car subsidies to makers, rather than buyers

China, one of the most aggressive promoters of electric vehicles, is trying to defuse criticism that big EV subsidies favor rich folks who can afford cars over poorer Chinese who help the nation's severe air pollution problems by still getting around on bikes or public transit.

The Ministry of Finance announced a trial plan in five cities to pay an EV and hybrid subsidy up to 60,000 yuan ($8,784) directly to the carmakers. Private buyers of the EVs will get a smaller 3,000 yuan ($440) payment from dealers, the ministry said on its website, according to the Associated Press. Paying most of the money behind the scenes to manufacturers is aimed to make the subsidies more politically palatable.

Statistics alone paint an incomplete picture of women and bicycles

According to the statistics, there is a dramatic imbalance in bike riding along gender lines, with men using the bicycle as a primary means of transportation at a rate more than double that for women.

Data from the 2008 US Census Bureau's American Community Survey found that 2.7 percent of San Francisco's population commutes to work by bike. The survey reports that 3.7 percent of men ride to work, while only 1.6 percent of women do. A 2009 study in Scientific American found that men's cycling trips surpass women's by at least 2:1. In the competitive arena, 87 percent of competitive cyclists are male, according to 2009's active member demographic conducted by USA Cycling.

Chris Huhne warns of £4bn black hole in nuclear power budget

Britain is facing a £4bn black hole in unavoidable nuclear decommissioning and waste costs, Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary disclosed tonight.

The decommissioning costs over the next four years revealed by officials to Huhne are so serious that he has already flagged the crisis up to the cabinet.

Huhne disclosed that in current financial year the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's budget is expected to be in balance.From 2011-12, the deficit suddenly rises to £850m, in 2012-13 the gap increases further to £950m and then to £1.1bn in the two subsequent years.

The revelation will also hand further ammunition to those who say a new generation of nuclear power stations in Britain will end up being more expensive than the industry claims.

Temperatures reach record high in Pakistan

Mohenjo-daro, a ruined city in what is now Pakistan that contains the last traces of a 4,000-year-old civilisation that flourished on the banks of the river Indus, today entered the modern history books after government meteorologists recorded a temperature of 53.7C (129F). Only Al 'Aziziyah, in Libya (57.8C in 1922), Death valley in California (56.7 in 1913) and Tirat Zvi in Israel (53.9 in 1942) are thought to have been hotter.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the national climate monitoring service that measures global temperatures by satellite, 2010 is shaping up to be one of the hottest years on record. The first four months were the hottest ever measured, with record spring temperatures in northern Africa, south Asia and Canada.

Live Q&A: Moneyless man Mark Boyle answers your questions

When Mark Boyle (aka the moneyless man) wrote last October on the Ethical Living Blog about how he lives without using money, his article was one of the most commented on of the year.

And it sparked a series of followups, including the chilly video above.

Scottish national park chief raises prospect of water exports

The Environment Agency, which rejects the proposal, estimated in 2006 that storing, piping and pumping water to the London area from Wales would be the cheapest mass transfer option but still cost £2.4m per million litres a day, while building new reservoirs in south-east England cost £1.6m per million litres a day. The agency said Cantlay's proposals were unnecessary and unworkable.

"Pumping water around uses a lot of energy so this would also increase greenhouse gases," a spokesman said. "There are better, cheaper solutions much closer to home. These include making better use of the water we have."

Debt measures could spark new recession: U.N.

The United Nations agency, which gathers unions, employers and governments to discuss employment issues, said public debt needed to be reduced in an orderly manner.

But a report by ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said that pressure from financial markets was pushing countries into stringent fiscal policies that jeopardize recovery, making it less likely that growth, employment and wages -- and hence tax revenues -- will recover soon.

A Bullish View of Wind Power Out West

But that intermittency – long considered a major shortcoming – may have little impact on the potential for wind to power much of the electric grid in the western United States, according to a new study by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab.

The study, released in late May, found that the power grid for five western states – Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming – could operate on as much as 30 percent wind and 5 percent solar without the construction of extensive new infrastructure.

Global Programs Are Growing the Next Generation of Eco-Cities

For the first time in history, half of the world's population — some 3.2 billion people — lives in cities, which occupy just two percent of the Earth's land mass but generate a massive 80 percent of the planet's global warming emissions. By 2050 the world's cities will be home to 70 percent of the population, or more than six billion people.

To mitigate the impact of urban growth on climate change, visionary cities worldwide are implementing programs aimed at reducing their carbon footprints and moving toward carbon-neutral status. At the same time, a new generation of sustainable cities — from China to the Americas — is rising from the ground up.

Florida’s High Speed Rail

They’re common in Europe and Asia, but soon Florida will be sporting a high speed rail system as well. The state just received about 1.25 billion dollars in funding from the federal government for a railway stretching from Tampa to Miami.

CSX Upstate train deal ‘welcome news’

State and federal officials have brokered a deal with CSX Corp. to build a high-speed rail line running from Buffalo to Albany, ending months of negotiations.

Back in January, the state was awarded $153 million in federal funding for high-speed rail improvements.

The state and CSX, however, had fought over what the speed limit would be set at on the new high-speed rail line. The state wanted 110 mph as the maximum speed, while CSX wanted 90 mph.

Nigerian airlines to get bail-out

Nigeria's central bank is extending a 500bn naira ($3.3bn; £2.3bn) bail-out to its troubled airlines.

Virgin Atlantic has said it is looking to sell its 49% stake in Nigerian Eagle Airlines, formerly Virgin Nigeria.

Nigerian Eagle Airlines suspended its loss-making long-haul routes to the UK and South Africa last year to focus on domestic operations.

Hewlett-Packard to cut 9,000 jobs worldwide

Hewlett-Packard (HP) says it plans to spend $1bn (£686m) and shed 9,000 jobs over three years as it creates fully-automated commercial data centres.

The latest job losses come after 6,700 posts were shed last year to make savings.

The Density of Smart People

Clusters of smart people of the highly educated sort that economists refer to as "human capital" are the key engine of economic growth and development. Jane Jacobs argued that the clustering of talented and energetic in cities is the fundamental driving force of economic development. In a classic essay, "On the Mechanics of Economic Development," the Nobel prize-winning, University of Chicago economist Robert Lucas formalized Jacobs' insights and argued that human capital, or what can be called Jane Jacobs externalities, are indeed the key factor in economic growth and development. Still, the standard way economists measure human capital is to take the percentage of people in a country, state, or metropolitan area with a bachelor's degree or higher.

Toyota, Nissan and Honda increase production as demand rises in the U.S.

For the month of April, Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. increased global vehicle production in response to the increasing demand in Asia and the United States.

In a statement, Toyota disclosed that it built 62% more cars than a year earlier, with 591,109 vehicles made in April. Its exports rose by 117% to 150,118 units, while overseas output increased by 55%. Production in Japan rose by 71%. Nissan built 57% more cars and light trucks to 319,673 units compared with April 2009. Meanwhile, Honda made 27% more vehicles to 294,308 vehicles.

Report explores economic impact of NH’s local food

New Hampshire farms are less productive and profitable than those in Maine or Vermont but do a good job selling directly to an affluent, engaged population, according to a new report.

With interest in local food rising, the state Department of Agriculture had researchers at the University of New Hampshire analyze the economic impact of the New Hampshire food system, which includes about 81,000 people in farming, manufacturing, distribution or retail jobs.

Steve Jobs, speaking of a factory in China that makes their iPhone and iPad products at which 13 people have killed themselves over the last few months:

"You go in this place and it's a factory but, my gosh, they've got restaurants and movie theatres and hospitals and swimming pools. For a factory, it's pretty nice,"

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/10212604.stm

Really? Is that what he thinks makes a high quality of life? Is that what he thinks leads to happiness? He does not mention, however, that they work 12 hours days, six days a week, and that they cannot talk to each other at all while they are working.

What does this have to do with oil? It is about how we do anything to chase after a marketed version of happiness. It is about our materialism that is the root cause of the mess in the GOM.

And chasing after all this tech horsecrap is certainly a large component of the "marketed version of happiness". Every new gadget that comes out instantly has a waiting list for obtaining it until it is displaced by the next thing just a few months later.

I use a cell phone as much as the next person - and they are incredibly useful, but I can't understand the obsession with these tech toys - spending countless hours of your precious time on the planet mesmerized by a tiny electronic screen. Take a walk in the woods for crying out loud... there are amazing things to see and live out there in the great big world too !

This pervasive tech fetish will probably only end though when the machines literally begin feasting on us. And I'm sure the Steve Jobs of the world will be delighted with what they've created...

The suicides at the Apple factory is just a weeding out process - elimination of those who actually have a soul beyond tech and need to see the sun each day or have some kind of human interaction... the world will be left to those who are willing to work their entire life just so they can have access to the comforting glow coming from the screens of their tech gadgets.

Once it was automobiles that made the American consumer's hearts sing. We eventually traded down to electronic gadgetry since it could (a) be produced for a lot less and (b) you could sell somebody something every two weeks. Software became the ultimate consumer good as you could sell people nothing of substance and get them coming back every few days/weeks/months for more.

What's more, when the software or hardware that you were selling didn't quite do what you promised, you just "upgraded" the customer to a new product -- the ultimate scam. Before it's over with, Steve Jobs will have everyone perched on a Naugahyde lounger, gulping HFCS through a feeding tube and peering through our "reality" goggles at a pristine world inhabited only by tanned, bikini-clad bimbos, white sand beaches (No oil spills to worry about in Vapor-Land!) and free beer. And Jobs and Company will be laughing all the way to the bank.

"Before it's over with, Steve Jobs will have everyone perched on a Naugahyde lounger, gulping HFCS through a feeding tube and peering through our "reality" goggles at a pristine world inhabited only by tanned, bikini-clad bimbos, white sand beaches (No oil spills to worry about in Vapor-Land!) and free beer."

Where do I sign up?


You better watch the Matrix again before you get too happy about being fully immersed.

You better watch the Matrix again before you get too happy about being fully immersed.

In rebuttal, for what it is worth:

Smiles An unfair representation of Capitalism and the Tech industry. People buy or upgrade software because it provides value and new functionality. If there is no value in an upgrade, people won't buy it. I know a lot of software developers who work very hard at creating the best experience for their users.

Its a free market. Products will be created and services offered if there is demand for it.

Demand? What kind of demand? Manufactured demand? The selling of fear or inadequacy?

Software companies PUSH the new features, whether you need them or not. This is the same for any market under capitalism.

We do not have a free market, it is a rigged market. And the consumers are the sucker.

Absolutely correct. I have Quicken. The last upgrade provided no features I needed or wanted... but they had sabotaged the program so it would not interact with my bank any more. They forced me to purchase it. They are trying to do it again, but my bank is still supporting 2007. When I am told it won't function, I will stop using Quicken.

Windows Vista was installed on the laptop I use when I purchaed it. I hate it! Nothing there I need that wasn't on Windows XP, or even any earlier windows version. Also Word... they are adding crap I never use and don't want. My needs are simple... I am not a real consumer, I guess. I hate these guys!!!

Don't get me started on automobiles!!!!!


Bonanno's right, JK. Manufacturing demand is what drives a "consumer society." Doesn't matter whether you are selling iPods or sneakers, lacy undies or life insurance. Marketing and advertising departments exist largely to convince the public that you have something that will fill that empty space inside.

Yes, my post was over the top, but I'll remind you that the term "vaporware" was coined expressly to describe practices of the tech industry.

I'd say yes and no.

Yes, there is mfr'd demand and all sorts of empty busyness that is generated with the endless PSPs and IPhones.. but by these same tokens.. as TV turned to 'Recordable TV' VCR's etc.. (More self-designed programming), to PCs and Email, to IPhone/IPad world, there has also been a really notable change in how much people are reading and writing, for instance.. and how much people can now contribute to the discussion, and how much people who would otherwise be totally isolated from society are being involved (People with Disabilities, Older Folk, Kids) .. Yes, these have some serious downsides as well, since connections bring different dangers than isolation did.. plus a LOT more noise on top of the signal, But I think digital communication is as revolutionary to modern life as the Printing Press was, since it creates some fundamentally new channels and ways for disparate and marginalized people and groups to be connected.

So in addition to the 'imagined empty spaces' that we are fed toys we don't need, there is actually some real usefulness in the tech developments as well, filling actual voids.

Industrialization is what isolates people. So you are saying that we need industrialization to join the people it isolates!

We did not NEED DVRs after we had TV's. WE DO NOT NEED DVRs. WE DO NOT NEED TVs. We want them, or, the fact that we work in factories or bland office buildings forces us to need DVRs to numb the pain of living a shallow life.

There is NO VOID to fill. That is how they manufacture demand. We are all perfect the way we are. Everything added to our life at this point only serves the needs of industrialization and not your humanity.

Industrialization creates voids!

Stop Screaming.. you're giving me Life of Brian flashbacks..

A lot of things isolate people. Culture, Class, Racism, Geography.. etc. TV and PC's, at their best, are ways to communicate.. these can be very positive tools. But I'm not for a second denying that they can be and are being grossly misused. People addicted to their WII or Guitar Hero might be extremely isolated. Every time I watch American TV Ads, I stand there and mutter "I Hate TV" .. but when I get to see an hour of Washington Journal on C-Span, I'm often overcome with gratitude at this great combination of TV, Phones and Democracy. 'Das Boot', 'All in the Family' and 'I, Claudius' are a good start for the other end of how TV can do right.

Radio and Satellites and the Internet have been able to secure connections around the globe. We could live without them, but we seem to have an inclination (your own input today is evidence) that we have things to say to each other, and appreciate the ability to compare notes, send alerts, tell stories and see the world. I don't think these are negatives, amidst a plethora of verifiable negatives.

'What have the Romans ever done for us?' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExWfh6sGyso

Bob, aka "Biggus Mouthus"

I would not have to say a thing if we did not have industrialization, correct?

Industrialization is what isolates people. So you are saying that we need industrialization to join the people it isolates!

We did not NEED DVRs after we had TV's. WE DO NOT NEED DVRs. WE DO NOT NEED TVs. We want them, or, the fact that we work in factories or bland office buildings forces us to need DVRs to numb the pain of living a shallow life.

There is NO VOID to fill. That is how they manufacture demand. We are all perfect the way we are. Everything added to our life at this point only serves the needs of industrialization and not your humanity.

Industrialization creates voids!

There is NO VOID to fill. That is how they manufacture demand. We are all perfect the way we are. Everything added to our life at this point only serves the needs of industrialization and not your humanity.

Ask people that are homeless and needy, orphan and widows and children that have been abused, and people who have lost a friend or anyone they cared about. Ask people why they keep seeking things with drugs and even over eating, when they don't need to do so.

People have voids in their spirits that can't be filled with junk off of TV, With that I agree.

I am not prefect, I don't about you, but I won't let you claim that I am prefect. You can claim that all you like.

By what methods do you think that everyone are prefect?

I added 100 gallons of water catchment to my life this week, I figure I don't need to buy city water, now that I can get it free from the sky.

How can you say that I can't add anything to my life that will help my humanity. I see lots of things I can do that will aid my humanity to be better than it is now. And I know a few people that need to learn to laugh a bit more as well, and be of good cheer and not down in the dumps all the time( they have air, water, food, and shelter, just not happiness).

I know you call yourself an Anarchist, but I still don't see how you can think the other thoughts as well.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Ask people that are homeless and needy, orphan and widows and children that have been abused, and people who have lost a friend or anyone they cared about. Ask people why they keep seeking things with drugs and even over eating, when they don't need to do so.

If I can explain from my personal history. My nephew, my godson, hung himself when he was 14. When I say that was perfect, it might disgust you. You might think I did not love him or I am warped and uncompassionate. But if you knew how I loved him, what I did for him before he died, him you would see the clue that I am speaking about something different.

I am speaking of a profound acceptance that extends beyond culture, beyond concepts. It is about grace and compassion. It is not about wishing for bad things, of not helping people who are in distress, it is about acceptance when disruptions happen. It is the result of learning about the end of suffering and the end of clinging.

I do not need to make things better if everything is perfect.

By what methods do you think that everyone are prefect?

It is only the fact that people think there is something wrong with themselves, and when they are told there is something wrong with them, that they suffer and turn to drink and TV. If a person loses and arm, some suffer from that thinking they are imperfect, others seem to go along there way in peace. That difference arises out of acceptance. That with or without an arm, they are perfect.

Tell me something about yourself, how you think you are imperfect? I will be better able to explain.

The discerning person, learned, doesn't sense a (mental) feeling of pleasure or pain: This is the difference in skillfulness between the sage & the person run-of-the-mill. For a learned person who has fathomed the Dhamma, clearly seeing this world & the next, desirable things don't charm the mind, undesirable ones bring no resistance. His acceptance & rejection are scattered, gone to their end, do not exist. Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state, he discerns rightly, has gone, beyond becoming, to the Further Shore.

— SN 36.6

I am a christ follower. The world calls us Christians. We once were prefect but sin came into the world. Through Christ forefilling the Law,( ten commanments )and his death and his ressurection. See Acts 17:16-34 Paul is talking to some Greeks and that is the gospel in a nutshell. There are other places, but I have that one handy.

Though I am made prefect in Christ, I am not of myself prefect, I still make mistakes. By Grace I am saved, not by anything that I can do, I don't have to pay anyone anything for my salvation, it was a free gift. I do show my Love to God for this gift by doing what I can to follow his example.

In my case I like helping people. others like to teach, and on and on.

We have talked before in email, but it has been a while.

I say we need Christ, but that is where my faith is. I don't know how many people reading this are christians or not, but I know that a lot of people will shake their heads and feel sorry for me.

It might be best to continue this in email.

Though what you said did spark others to post.

One says that he needs christ and the other says there is no need for christ because there is no god, only prefection of self. (Did I get that right, I am a bit fuzzy, been up 20 hours straight, 3 days in a row.)

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

We have the same understanding, just different conceptual framework. I could easily call my self a Christian as I could a Buddhist. If you get a chance pick up "Living Buddha, Living Christ".

When I say we are perfect it does not mean we do not make mistakes. A perfect person makes mistakes, a perfect person sins. Realizing God's love, or gaining enlightenment, we understand this and gain great compassion and see our original perfection.

Spirituality, in both our cases, is not about perfection of self, but a giving up of self, a realization that God made us perfect but our knowledge causes sin.

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

"How much of the worldly life do we monastics renounce? If we have gone forth for good then it means we renounce it all, there's nothing we don't renounce. " -Ajahn Chah

(Going off line for a while so this might be the last time I respond to this thread.)

Marketing and advertising departments exist largely to convince the public that you have something that will fill that empty space inside.

So true. I had a friend this past weekend trying to convince me of the greatness and need for an IPAD. I said we've got two desk tops and one laptop - I'm done. He had obviously bought all the hype and said, Oh, but this does numerous things in one 8.5 x 11 really thin lightweight computer. You can do this and that...

No, I don't need it. Our system works and I'm done buying all the latest tech whatever. It is amazing though how people fall into the trap of getting convinced by ads and by what they hear that they need the latest junk. I think it's a fear people have they will get left behind if they don't OWN the latest thing.

i read this and thought that some have not seen that following the latest gadgets fad is of course a kind of social interaction - all those "geeks" are talking to each other about the latest widget could well be fisher men talking about that fish they caught yesterday - or hunters about the big beast they met.

i ofcourse am writing this on a ten year old laptop with millenium installed thats been repaired ( by me ) several times.

i work for a company that does need to sell the latest because the whole industry goes that way - you find it hard to get the spares for older kit - certainly I did for this laptop disk drive , very hard to find a 40GB IDE type. but i did and it works - its worthless to anyone else :)

BTW I dropped out from the tech race because I had a famaly and something had to give , my kids are into it because of peer pressure. but these phones and ipads , mp3 players ( yes I have their old one !) don't seem to be as reliable as my old cassette player - 20 years old and still going.



archaeotech IT engineer :)

Before it's over with, Steve Jobs will have everyone perched on a Naugahyde lounger, gulping HFCS through a feeding tube and peering through our "reality" goggles at a pristine world inhabited only by tanned, bikini-clad bimbos, white sand beaches (No oil spills to worry about in Vapor-Land!) and free beer.

Thank goodness I use Debian (http://www.debian.org), and am therefore immune to the "Steve Job's reality distortion field." :)

Catskill , Drat I got peanut butter on my keyboard. LOL.

Anyway, I use my cell phone because, well it is a life line for some people. People use it to call others, and when I get the messeges I pass them back out. I use it as the tool it is meant to be.

But I only use the calculator feature, or the ready clock in a dark area. Other than that, no games, and no text.

The world won't be like you wrote, because men can't live like that, hence the people jumping, or for other reasons that they jump. But if we were to kill the biosphere we would surely die soon afterwards as well, and none of the cell phone plants in the world could stop that.

But your post reminded me of the TV show in the 80's. MaxHeadRoom, 20 minutes into the future.

Charles, BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future, with lots of green space.

Yes, Christian Bonanno, I agree. The only change I might make to your comment would be to say, "It is about our consumerism...," not "It is about our materialism..." This may not seem like a significant change; but as a naturalist (someone who believes events are governed by the natural laws of the physical universe), I would prefer not to juxtapose materialism and what? Spiritualism?

Having practiced Zen Buddhism for over twenty years, I am not unfamiliar with spiritual practice; but somehow I'm not comfortable saying that "our materialism is the root cause of the mess in the GOM." Our compulsive attachment to the endless commodities of modern industrial (capitalist) society does not seem like a skillful path to genuine, lasting happiness. I agree, CB, that we can't buy real happiness in the marketplace. On the other hand, I don't want to deny that certain material conditions (food, water, shelter, basic bodily health, etc.) may be the prerequisites or foundations of true happiness. Certainly, deliberate asceticism is not a skillful way, even for deeply committed spiritual practitioners. The Buddha's experience suggests that.

But I don't want to split hairs or nitpick, CB. Basically, I agree with you. I hope you will forgive my comments.

In a slightly different vein, I must say that I, like many others, have been struck by the live video of the oil spill site. Watching that yesterday, I found myself remembering Walt Disney's FANTASIA, specifically the section about "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," wherein those crazy little broomsticks couldn't be stopped from drawing water. Where was the Sorcerer when you needed him? For years, that little story seemed to me to be the myth for the modern world (re. nuclear power, the endless commodities, the damage we've done to our environment etc.). Yesterday, once again, the chord was struck.

beingtime, I agree with everything you noted. Yes, careless writing on my part. Our attachment is always the issue. Materialism, as how I was using it, was speaking of how one favors the material over the spiritual. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materialistic

And yes, a stable life helps one on the spiritual path. But after awakening, there is not stable or unstable. (I have been following the Theravada path for the last 18 years. :^)

Keep nitpicking, it keeps me sharp!

From uptop:

An oil sheen was confirmed about nine miles off the Florida coast, and officials are saying it could hit the white sands of Pensacola Beach as soon as Wednesday.

For US coastal residents, from the GOM to East Coast:

"Ask not for whom the oil comes, it comes for thee. . . "

I suspect that oil washing upon the shores of Flordia will drive a much stronger outrage in the general American public than Louisiana. Unfortunately, Louisiana seems to have become a dumping ground for industry (petro-chemical and oil) that the rest of America does not want in their backyard. Upper-middle class/upper-class owners of beachfront property in cities like Pensacola and Destin will scream very loudly when their view of the ocean includes a black oily beach and the toxic smell of benzene. More of the general American public has vacationed on FL beaches than visited the wetlands of LA, consequently they can relate to FL more because they have experienced the nature and wild-life there first hand. Oil hitting FL beaches could be an even stronger turning point in public outrgage to the oil spill.

It's just a pity that public outrage can't do anything about what is happening. But maybe, just maybe, it will get some folks to connect some dots... Nah, never happen.

Connect the dots by not making the long fuel-guzzling journey to Florida? See, that's the trap. The whole region can't live with the oil and can't live without it.

Hey PaulS,

Well, exactly. The entire system is predicated on cheap oil. So do we try to cut our losses, or play it out to the bitter end? Can a local economy (sans tourism) support the current population of FL? Of course not. It's all based on that subsidy from tourism. No oil, no tourists. Oil on the beaches, no tourists. Oh my!

I am not one who thinks there's a neat solution to any of this. In fact, my belief is that we (humanity) will eat the planet. Oh well.

Connect the dots by not making the long fuel-guzzling journey to Florida?

For the record, some of us actually live in Florida and either walk or bike to the beach, and in my case visit and dive the reefs by kayak.

As a matter of fact I even welcome all tourists that come here by sailboat... Well, once Alan gets his way, maybe I'll be able to welcome the tourists that come by electrified rail too.

And I really feel sorry for my neighbor who happens to be an airline pilot and is otherwise a really nice guy.

Re: "As a matter of fact I even welcome all tourists that come here by sailboat..." we may take you up on that, after our CSA season is over. :-) We're the folks in Seattle who are using sailboats and e-trikes/trucks to bring in produce from around the Puget Sound, re-organized as a cooperative for 2010.

And, if any Seattle area folken are reading this, we'll have a booth at the free Third Annual Sustainable West Seattle Festival this Saturday, 1 - 5 PM. Stop by and say hello!

Sustainable Ballard,

Re: "As a matter of fact I even welcome all tourists that come here by sailboat..." we may take you up on that, after our CSA season is over. :-) We're the folks in Seattle who are using sailboats and e-trikes/trucks to bring in produce from around the Puget Sound, re-organized as a cooperative for 2010.

I am aware of the work you have been doing. My email is posted in my profile if you plan on being in my neck of the woods drop me line as I would be honored to meet you in person!

Which reminds me.

There's an airline pilot posting on salon.con (and writing a regular column called "Ask the Pilot") who is claiming that airline travel is much more efficient on a seat-mile/carbon unit basis than ground trans (JHK rejoice!), but gives no references.

Along with Jim, I thought this had been thoroughly de-bunked and at times right here on TOD. But I don´t have any links or references, and as an ex-pro pilot myself I'd like to give this guy and Salon a piece of my mind. High speed aircraft are efficient??

BTW, this all got started when the airline guy apparently took umbrage at a Lonely Planet guidebook editorial philosophy that believes airline travel is indeed a waste of energy but occasionally necessary and immensely convenient at times. Not so says the working flyboy, you can save the planet by flying fast. I mean really, what does Lonely Planet know about carbon emissions or air travel?

Can anyone recommend any sources? thanks

two hours later. Never mind. I see Salon has realized they've been bull-shitted and taken the article down. Still, any relevant info or links would be appreciated.

It all depends on what you drive or ride and how many people ride with you. If you compare driving single in a Hummer across the continent to being one passenger in one of the newer, more efficient planes, you might have a case. Personally, I think the comparison then should be between a single person in a car and a single person in a plane.

Really, if you wanted to spend 20 minutes burning the most FF (and emitting the most CO2) legally possible, the best way would be to get in a plane, and experience those first minutes when it goes to at rest to ~600 mph and from ground level to 30,000 feet. Just think about physics--that is doing some serious WORK!

The other thing plane advocates overlook is that plane travel makes it much easier to go distance and places people otherwise just wouldn't go very much. It is a huge enabler. It doesn't matter if it would actually be less efficient to drive from Toledo to Ulan Bator. No one would/could do that.

According to this, 91 pax-miles/gallon for a 747 - presumably if every seat is filled (and no first-class sleeper beds?) One catch is that it only runs on oil-like products, so if you encounter oil-specific energy problems, you aren't going to convert it to batteries or overhead wire. The other catch is that you don't do short trips in a 747, so although it seems fairly efficient, the minimum amount of work you do with it is large. Note that it burns fuel at a high rate but it also moves fast, so the tradeoffs aren't quite as obvious as it might seem to emotionally driven intuition...

I also have to wonder how much of the support infrastructure is included in such a number. Airport operations, Air Traffic Control, Aircraft Maintenance..

The figures are for pax-miles/gallon, so almost certainly the same amount of the support infrastructure that's included in, say, the rail or road numbers: none. I think that would be a tricky analysis because the major energy consumption would be embedded in the major, visible items. (I'd be very skeptical that energy consumed for air traffic control is anything but utterly lost in the noise even in an analysis so impracticably complex as to try to identify and include an appropriate share of the energy cost of GPS rocket launches.) For air, the major infrastructure is at least confined to small areas, namely the airports and their immediate locales. By contrast, for rail, you need to maintain a continuous line to close tolerances for hundreds or even thousands of miles. Similar for streets and highways, but as with the GPS launches they get a partial free pass, because like GPS they're a shared use. In any but the most dire Mad Max scenario you'd be providing them to some extent for "last miles" freight and passenger access, plus ambulance, fire, police, construction, etc. Even the Romans used roads, millennia before extensive fossil fuel use.

I have no good intuitive feel for (or attitude about) the infrastructure issue since it leads into much the same morass as estimating EROEI with very wide boundaries. But it doesn't seem like a slam dunk that air would be disfavored, simply because of the sheer extensiveness (by comparison) of the other infrastructures. I still think that what would disfavor air travel in a philosophical sense is that it makes possible lots and lots of long trips, many or most of which wouldn't happen otherwise - and didn't happen before it became cheap.

From David Mckay's book: Sustainable Energy without the hot air

Independent of the density of the fluid through which the
plane flies, the required thrust (for a plane travelling at the optimal speed)
is just a dimensionless constant (cd fA)1/2 times the weight of the plane.
This constant, by the way, is known as the drag-to-lift ratio of the plane.
(The lift-to-drag ratio has a few other names: the glide number, glide ratio,
aerodynamic efficiency, or finesse; typical values are shown in table C.8.)

Airbus A320 17
Boeing 767-200 19
Boeing 747-100 18
Common Tern 12
Albatross 20

Table C.8. Lift-to-drag ratios.
Taking the jumbo jet’s figures, cd ≃ 0.03 and fA ≃ 0.04, we find the
required thrust is (cd fA)1/2 mg = 0.036mg = 130 kN. (C.23)

How does this agree with the 747’s spec sheets? In fact each of the 4
engines has a maximum thrust of about 250 kN, but this maximum thrust
is used only during take-off. During cruise, the thrust is much smaller:

the thrust of a cruising 747 is 200 kN, just 50% more than our cartoon
suggested. Our cartoon is a little bit off because our estimate of the dragto-
lift ratio was a little bit low.

Figure C.9. Cessna 310N: 60 kWh per
100 passenger-km. A Cessna 310
Turbo carries 6 passengers (including
1 pilot) at a speed of 370 km/h.

This thrust can be used directly to deduce the transport efficiency
achieved by any plane. We can work out two sorts of transport efficiency:
the energy cost of moving weight around, measured in kWh per
ton-kilometre; and the energy cost of moving people, measured in kWh
per 100 passenger-kilometres.

Efficiency in weight terms
Thrust is a force, and a force is an energy per unit distance. The total
energy used per unit distance is bigger by a factor (1/ǫ), where ǫ is the
efficiency of the engine, which we’ll take to be 1/3.
Here’s the gross transport cost, defined to be the energy per unit weight
(of the entire craft) per unit distance:

cost calc

So the transport cost is just a dimensionless quantity (related to a plane’s
shape and its engine’s efficiency), multiplied by g, the acceleration due
to gravity. Notice that this gross transport cost applies to all planes, but
depends only on three simple properties of the plane: its drag coefficient,
the shape of the plane, and its engine efficiency. It doesn’t depend on the
size of the plane, nor on its weight, nor on the density of air. If we plug in
ǫ = 1/3 and assume a lift-to-drag ratio of 20 we find the gross transport
cost of any plane, according to our cartoon, is
0.15 g
0.4 kWh/ton-km.

...some of us actually live in Florida and either walk or bike to the beach...

LOL, my impression was that a good chunk of the Florida population can barely make it on foot from the store to the parking lot, with some conceivably making it a tad further on a trike - never mind balancing on a bike and riding it all the way to the beach. And that another chunk is far too busy trying to make ends meet at antisocial hours on two or three minimum-wage tourist "industry" garbage jobs to entertain any possible thought of going to the beach.

On a more general note, limit tourism to the minute handful who might have the equipment, skills, physical capacity, and time on their hands to "come by sailboat", and the Florida economy falls to dust. We'll have to wait and see whether enough electrified rail can be put in, and whether, in view of some of the likely knock-on effects of all the other changes that might come along for the ride, enough people could still afford to be tourists to matter. Labor productivity in such a world might be too low to pay for significant tourism except among government officials and the remaining rich.

I live in the panhandle. We haven't really done anything in the month we've had to prepare. Not much you can do against underwater blobs of oil.

Maybe they can filter tar out of sand? Or maybe we'll buy a new beach.

I see photos of hermit crabs and blue crabs and even a dolphin struggling to get on land. They just wanted to get away from the oil. It's deep in the mud and it's everywhere.

You should get some people from Alberta down there - they have perfected the way to remove tar from sand, and even make money while doing so!

From the above David Strahan: Americans should be thanking BP

Deepwater production – anything under more than 500 metres of sea water, far too deep for divers to work should anything go wrong – has quadrupled from less than 2 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2000 to 8 mb/d today, precisely because onshore and shallow offshore supplies are running down. The industry only drills at such extreme depths because there are very few alternatives – the Canadian tar sands and Iraq are equally unpalatable – and it is a clear sign of impending peak oil.

Looks like the British newspaper, The Independent, is printing articles that point to the obvious: we wouldn't be drilling far out in deep water if there were a lot of other choices.

Frustrating part of reading the article is its "could be worse" logic. Reminds me of Monty Python's, it's just a flesh wound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKhEw7nD9C4

Black Knight: "I'm invincible."

Arthuc: "You're a loony."

Black Knight: "The Black Knight always triumphs!"

Loony attitudes abound these days.

Yes, "Come over here and I'll butt you to death".

So was it just black humor, or a deliberate metaphor for the collapse/contraction of the British Empire?

Noticed in the IEEE Spectrum mag that BC (one of my favorite places) has a good outlook for water supply into the future. Did you see that?

I haven't got that far and I do get Spectrum, but will probably read it online tonight when I get home. BC has so many lakes and rivers that it still amazes me. I live off of Kamloops lake. I have many comparisons between Canada and US, such as when I first moved down to the US in 1998 and landed in Kansas City for a couple of days. A new coworker told me about the local fishing nearby as I did a lot while in Northern Ontario and said it was a good sized lake at 10 acres. I replied, where I come from we measure our lakes in miles. That's no guff.

But the one I regularly refer to is the Colorado River, and I am glad it was covered in the referenced articles. From the aerial pictures and hydrology data I would say the flow is comparable to our Thompson River, although the Thompson is not as long and it feeds into the Fraser. Total inhabitants relying on the Thompson might be 250,000, and the Colorado has 30 million. To put it in perspective, that is like the entire population of Canada relying on this one river!

Now that's scary stuff. And the Thompson doesn't have one hydro control structure or dam on it.

I agree, BC will get through this better than most, (you should see the mining development potential, we're just getting started), that's the main reason I moved back three years ago. Now, the shameless tourism plug: It really is as scenic as they say, so come on up.

Yes, am planning a trip to Victoria in the summer...we try to visit there often and hope to live there part time some day. I was at Whistler, Vancouver and Victoria in March and it was beautiful. I often bike the Galloping Goose rail trail in Victoria....and around Vancouver too. Am originally from Cape Breton Island, NS but live in NW lower Michigan now ....near lake Michigan where we also measure our lakes in miles (Lake Michigan is about 52 miles across near where we live). We live on a small, as compared to the Glakes, 10,000 acre lake now. I see you are a transmission engineer. I worked in the power industry for years too...mostly on the power plant design/development (A&E) side. Are you a member of the IEEE PES?

Jim, glad to see you are coming to Van & Vic again. I recommend you get farther out to really experience the place. The climate and locals are so varied that you will feel like you are going into another country each day. From my desert climate location I can be in towering Rocky mountains in three hours, or Vancouver rain forest climate.

Just getting up to Stewart and Hyder Alaska is interesting enough. You can do this by traveling up Vancouver Island and taking the overnight ferry to Prince Rupert.

Yes, I'm a member of IEEE PES. Since being back in BC I've been working on heavy industrial (mines mostly) and renewable energy projects. BC has vast potential for renewable energy and we're just getting started there also. We just need to get some of the shrill politics out of the way.

If you are in the UP, I used to live in Sault Ste. Marie, ON for a while. Know the area well. I was transmission and substation guy for Great Lakes Power. We did the first 145 kV class submarine XLPE cable installation in N.A. for the NG generating station. Also put in the first OPGW adapted fibre optic cable for submarine use. All my ideas and concepts, saved $5-6 million in capital and never even got a raise - yes, I'm still bitter about that.

There's a few Tooder's living in the Van & Vic area including Paul Nash whom lives in the Sunshine Islands. Maybe we should have an informal convention. Plus, if you are a golfer, have I got a course for you!

BC_EE, that would be the Sunshine Coast, which is not actually an island at all, you just have to take a ferry (or floatplane) to get here.

But I would be up for a meeting with a fellow TOD'er, for sure, though if we are meeting in/near Vancouver it is really "the rain barrel". In recommending a golf course, I presume you are talking about the mighty Sun Peaks golf course? :-)

Now, as for Jim's point about water, yes there is a bit of this in BC, though not always available for human consumption. Most cities and towens are at the limit of their treatment capacity, and one (Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island) actually ran out of it a few years ago! The city of Kamloops, near BC_EE, holds the dubious distinction of being the most water wasteful city in Canada! In summertime, the water use quintuples! Oddly enough, just up the road at Sun Peaks ski resort, is the most water efficient community in Canada!

It will come as no surprise to either of you to learn that the Americans think there is lots of water in BC too. In fact, in the 60's (I think) a couple of American engineers came up with a plan to dam the Fraser River at Hell's Gate Canyon, and divert the water south to Washington State. This would flood out the town of Lytton, but if you've ever been there, that is no great loss.
Some interesting descriptions of other grand plans for sending water south can be found here; (http://www.polarisinstitute.org/turning_on_canadas_tap)

For some strange reason, Canadians are against exporting water ( a renewable resource) but are happy to export oil (a on renewable resource).
I really don't see what is wrong with exporting water to the US. If we are really successful in getting them hooked on it, we can then threaten to turn it off. This will result in a rapid increase in American tourism to Canada, particularly those from a military background. This would be great business for Canada, as the average American tourist (from a military background) in Iraq has a spending of about $1m per year. We would have to tolerate them driving their big vehicles all over the place, but that is no different from their RV's on the Trans-Canada hwy in summer anyway.
But if they tried to force American tv on us, there would be trouble!

Hi Paul - Yes, I recently learned about the sunshine coast from some people I met in Vancouver in March. They have some kind of a B&B there and said what a great (sunny) place it is. I do play golf but am not very good at it, as I spend most of my spare time bicycling and reading/learning about energy, economy and environment....ecological economics, etc. I have not been to Kamloops but would love to visit interior BC. About as far in I have gone is Pemberton. Other than a ski trip to Panorama resort near Radium Hot Springs. The whole province is beautiful.

On the water, I was referring to a mention in the June IEEE Spectrum article about water and energy that under global warming conditions, they showed increasing precip for your area.

Have stayed in Tofino and on the east side Parksville as well as Victoria, Sooke, etc. A great island and we have a townhome on the Songhees penninsula in downtown Victoria that we rent out....until we get to a point when we can spend more time there. There are some nice golf courses on the island too. I know Victoria has a pretty large water reservoir and recently heard that their water situation is good. You can view the water supply levels on the City of Victoria reservoir webcam.

Have not yet firmed up my plans for a summer trip to Victoria but will try to connect with you when I do.

Hi Jim, well, it is sunny here in summer, but then, so is everywhere else! It stays warmer than everywhere else, which is the real benefit.
Panorama is my old stomping ground! I lived and worked there for 5 years as utility and environment mgr. Interesting job being responsible for the electricity supply there - every time a tree took out the power lines (about twice a year) it was always "my fault"! But an interesting exercise in trying to balance energy, economy and environment, though economics was usually the winner.

Victoria has had a running battle with its water supply for years, every summer they are on the verge of running dry - lots of people watering lots of gardens. Has been a wet winter so they are full this year. Interior BC is drier than normal, and it is likely to be a bad fire year with all those beetle kill trees getting drier each year.

But for your original point about a warming trend, yes, I expect BC, would fare better than many other places under such a scenario, though it would probably make the bugs worse than they already are!

Were you at Panorama when Michael Brownlie was the CEO? I heard Intrawest recently sold this resort. We were there about 10 years back, before Michael Brownlie and when their main chairlift was a fixed grip quad. We operate a ski area here and are familiar with the enegy supply issues. The local utility has a 7 MVA substation across the street and we buy power at 12.47 kv and distribute it ourselves mostly with UG cable and our own transformers.

I was there from 1997 to 2001. The chairlift was a high speed quad when I arrived. The year after I left they finally replaced the mid mountain double with another high speed lift. I don't know of a Michael Brownlie, but there is a Dave Brownlie, who is now the CEO of Whistler/Blackcomb for Intrawest, and he was always the VP responsible for Panorama, from before I was there.

You electrical situation sounds similar to mine, though our substation was 9 miles away, and the 25kV line runs along the side of the only access road, and is prone to the odd tree falling on it after a heavy snowfall. Our distribution was old and had periodic problems with switches and connectors, mostly resolved since. The snowmaking system had a total of 5MW of pumps and compressors - creates quite a spike when that is running flat out!

A tough business the ski industry, there's a reason why it has been shrinking for decades...

Yes, you are right it was David Brownlie, who as you point out, is the CEO of Whistler/Blackcomb. It must have been more than ten years since we visited there as there were no High speed lifts at all. Our peak demand is about 4 MW when we make snow. We have lots of tower mounted fan guns (mostly SMI's) and some portable fan guns...some quite old now. We are year round with lots of summer amenities, but you are right, it is a challenging biz. Actually, our SV's have been pretty stable and increased over the past ten years but lots of investment was also required to do this.

Dave was my boss' boss, only met him once, very committed guy.
Unfortunately Intrawest's own bubble burst a few years ago, too leveraged.

They sold Panorama to a consortium of locals, kinda back to how it was when they bought it in 1993.

The snowmaking there is central pumps + compressors through tower jets, only a few mobile fan guns.

Top of system is 3000 vertical feet above the creek - lots of pressure!

I wanted to run water into the top of the system in summer, to generate some hydro power at the base, but couldn't get the resort to agree to it. There are a few other places I have my eye on where that can be done. All the elements are there, vertical drop, pipes in the ground, electrical connections at the base, system is not used for 9 months of the year, etc etc. Would also be a good for a pumped storage system, if there is storage at/near the top of the system.

I had to supply not only SM and other mountain loads (lifts etc) but also to sell to the buildings in the village. Had to register with the BC Utilities Commission as we were officially an electric utility (and a propane one, and a water one, and a sewer one....) Quite a task to convince them that we should not go through the same regulated rate process as BC Hydro, or BC Gas. But operating all four systems you learn fast just how important it is that they are still operating the next day.

I came to define a utility as a system that people have/use every day, but don;t even know it exists, until the day it is not available, and then they think the world is ending!

The ever increasing investment to maintain/grow skier visits is eerily similar to EROEI, you end up getting less benefit for each extra dollar spent, but your resort gets more and more complex!

This last year in BC skier visits were still good, but spending per visit was way down, lots of brown baggers, less beer sold, etc etc. Everyone has shelved their expansion plans - sign of the times, I guess...

I can see you are very well versed in the workings of the ski industry...especially second law effects on ski assets. We also operate our own LP gas, telephone, sewer, water and CATV systems. We are just now becoming regulated under the MPSC rules for LP gas. I got the story about Panorama when visiting with the current Intrawest CEO, Bill Jensen, in March during our trip to Vancouver. As an engineer, I often kid our utilities guy (VP of Mtn Ops) that the stuff we like to work on you can't put in the brochure....but would be sorely missed if it failed. I will admit that we had a lot of fun buying and installing our HS Detachable Quad lift though...and that did go on the brochure. You can view our website at crystalmountain dot com.

Wonder if you ever knew my crazy Canadian friend, Jim Hilsinger sp? who owned Searchmont, the ski area in near Sault Ste Marie? We are down in the lower penninsula southwest of Traverse City. In engineering school I took some classes in power transmission line design but did not end up going that route. It is sure becoming more important in today's world. Have an EE cousin in Cape Breton Island who also worked in mining for years but recently retired.

Might not the mining you are so excited about have a deleterious effect on the tourism and all your pristine lakes?

Not really, they are usually out of the way and they can't even get close to a pristine lake with the environmental assessment process. That's not to say I don't have reservations about the long term affects, because some of these old-school mining guys are from the rape-and-pillage camp. On the other hand, most of the engineers and management in <45 year old category are environmentally aware and make diligent efforts to do minimal harm.

However, when the copper starts running short and we find we can't all have electric cars as expected because Asian countries are stockpiling or embargoing, we'll be darn happy there are a few mines in N.A.

The notion of us not just maintaining, but only sustaining our current population with minimal harm to the environment has the same likelihood of American oil independence. Both are pipe dreams, so pick your poison. Them's the facts and it's not my call, a guy named Ther Mody Namics called and laid down the law.

So was it just black humor, or a deliberate metaphor for the collapse/contraction of the British Empire?

Monty Python was social satire in the raw. Whether the Life of Brian, or the Meaning of Life, or the Holy Grail, or their weekly show, I think their humor was meant to convey a serious lack of seriousness. They spoofed some pretty big sacred cows.

Considering how many pseudo-druidic wannabees march to Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain each June and the bustling tourist trade inside Tintagel Castle, if I had to venture a guess, I think MP's primary target was that esoteric group of English eccentrics hell-bent to relive the Celtic pagan past.

For black humor with a pungent commentary on world affairs check out:

"Because you are the axis of evil and evil people do sneaky $hit like secretly developing nuclear weapons and putting the jam knife into the butter..."

"We're world leaders for f#@k sake and one thing world leaders should be able to do is find someone to blame..."


And on a related site

... Those are the rules, poncho. That's what civilization is: obeying the f#@king rules, kapeche.


Brilliant satire, even if already a couple of years old.

Please note, comedy contains scenes of course language. Viewer discretion is advised.

O-o-o-o, jam knife in the butter! Should be punishable by death. No worse, a weekend at the in-laws, attending eight company budget review meetings sequentially over a two day period, drinking Bob's coffee, and then death.

Obviously British as we don't say "Hoovering" over here. But we do say Kleenex instead of tissue.

Have the Bright Side of Life for my ring tone.

"Excuse me, is this the Jewish side?" (I paraphrase)

Now back to Hockey Night in Canada. Chicago is now our Canadian proxy since they beat Vancouver.

"...we do say Kleenex instead of tissue..."

I'm imagining it now, the possibility of condemning something or other as "a Kleenex of lies"...

Let me find exactly the right Hallmark card to express my deepest gratitude:

Dear BP,
Thanks for everything! The kids say that their sandcastles really stick together now, the pelicans are in full dress rehearsal for their upcoming production of Grease, and the fishermen have decided to take the summer off to spend more time with their families. All in all, it's been great.

Oh, one other thing. Would you mind sending Tony Hayward over? We'd like to try using his junk for one more junk shot. Sure, I can hear you now saying, "It's much too teeny, and it never stands up under pressure", but really, what have we got to lose? It's either that or we try the "Top Kill".

Well, that's all for now. Hope your summer is going just swimmingly!

All of us here in the U.S. of A.

Ok, Strahan makes some valid points. We should be just as outraged about leaks in Nigeria, we do use too much of the stuff, and a moratorium while we rethink drilling in the GOM is probably not such a bad idea. But, we should thank BP?

their sandcastles really stick together [nicely] now



We should add that the multi-colored sands allow the kids to express themselves more artistically. Why just the other day, Little Timmy carved a beautiful zebra statue out of beach sand.

And then there's the added bonus of never running out of sun tanning lotion. Just run out into the surf and scoops some more gobs up to slime all over your body. It's all natural.

The Water-Energy Nexus: IEEE Spectrum's June Special Report and Podcast on the coming clash between water and energy. It might worth a look for TOD audience.

I checked the site to see if there was a summary, but there isn't.

There are a number of individual articles, like

Biofuel's Water Problem

Irrigating biofuel crops on a grand scale would be disastrous

At present, less than 20 percent of the corn grown in the Midwestern corn belt of the United States is irrigated. But the increases in corn production appear to be in areas where irrigation is common. That’s a problem, because irrigation already accounts for 37 percent of the water withdrawn from aquifers, lakes, and rivers in the United States (about the amount used in energy production).

The biofuels water use 'phantom' is NOTHING compared to the real danger of shale gas water pollution.

Upper Delaware River most endangered in U.S.: report

Upper Delaware River in New York State, the source of drinking water for 17 million people, is the most endangered river in the United States, according to a new report.

It is one of 10 rivers on a list, compiled by

U.S. environmental group American Rivers, which are threatened due to causes such as natural gas drilling, mining and poor flood management.

The Upper Delaware topped the list because of the threat of contamination from chemicals used in gas drilling in

New York and on the Pennsylvania side of the watershed.

Gas drilling was also the reason why the

Monongahela River in western Pennsylvania was rated ninth on the list.

Yes, I read Spectrum last night and it was a good report. Doesn't sound too promising for the west .... especially with hydropower and Las Vegas.

"New Hampshire farms are less productive and profitable than those in Maine or Vermont but do a good job selling directly to an AFFLUENT, engaged population, according to a new report."

This article mentions several times how it is the wealthy who make up primary demand for local food. This is exactly what I have been pointing out. Why is this so? Because local food is significantly more expensive. Please spare me the excuses. I know its better for you and all.

So with wealth rapidly disappearing (and please no comments about what is true wealth, friends, family, community? All that plus $5.00 cash will get you a couple onions at the farmers market) what does that say about the future prospects for local food production.

Believe you me Banks and Investors understand this concept intimately and are not about to get messed up in financing any of this.

I personally know several local farmers who have million dollar debts who are attempting to plug into the local food movements to help them dig out as their historic cash crops have collapsed.

Iv'e said it once, and I will say it again, the economics of localization is key. If this is not addressed efforts to localize are like trying to kayak up stream with chopsticks.

I have read some PO authors who shall remain nameless, casually address this issue by stating one must "finesse" the situation or that its simply a matter of timing it right. I would suggest that these people have never started a business, at least not a retail business, and certainly not a food business.

Just a warning to those preppers out there who are contemplating or are already involved in local food production. I would recommend not relying too much on the CSA, Farmers Market, Co-ops and instead work to make a connection with the local supermarket even is it means specializing a bit and lowering your margin.

Many of you will just dismiss all this and insist that farmers markets are the future but I would just ask you to consider that these venues supply less than 1% of the food the community as a whole consumes. If the supermarkets close what do you think the other 99% are going to eat? Are they all going to flock to the farmers market? Let's please try and discuss REALITY now and then.

I agree with alot above, but think the Farmers markets evolved in response to what you are advocating. The supermarkets would not and will not buy from small local producers. Contractual obligations, supply timing problems, insufficient supply, state and federal regulations, xtra floor work, more billing, there's a litany of reasons the larger markets prefer the large distributors. The regs are especially damning for meat and fish producers.

Both you and eeyores enigma have good valid arguments.

Local food will not become the norm so long as most people are prosperous enough to shop the supermarkets where selection/variety/convenience win hands down over fresher and sometimes somewhat better quality locally produced foods.

People with the money and the time, and a strong preference for fresh local food can support a FEW local growers located near an their affluent nieghborhoods.

Locally grown foods won't make a really big comeback until the typical housewife/husband finds it NECESSARY to REALLY keep an eye on the food budget and buy local production in quantity without the fancy grading and packaging, buy it direct, and change the family menus to realize the savings. .

Back when women were actually spending their time in the kitchen, we sold lots of customers a car or pickup truck load of produce that went into jars and freezers.The people who brought a pickup had made previous arrangements to supply a brother with two bushels of green beans and a bushel of peaches, etc, so such a large load was actually used by half a dozen or more nuclear famulies.

Once the women went to work outside the home, that business, which supported my family for decades, dried up to almost nothing.

Processing useful quantities of food at home is a heck of a lot of work, and only works from a dollars and cents pov if the homemaker does it on a fairly large scale;canning four quarts of home grown tomatoes is a make work hobby.Canning four bushels becomes a cost effective option, if you get the tomatos at the farm price or somewhere near the farm price -unless the homemaker has a job and it means missing a day's pay.

The average citizen is still simply way to prosperous to bother with buying a bushel of apples from me and sharing them with his next door nieghbor just to save the twenty to thirty dollar difference in my per bushel price and the per pound price at WalMart or Safeway.

His kids will not eat a LOCAL apple every day for a week;they must have flown in tropical fruit one day,California oranges the next,Georgia peaches the next,etc;Momma has been well trained in this respect.

Now if things keep getting worse on the jobs front, we may see a return of the small farmer who sells most of his production direct to ordinary people.

As a matter of fact, I see some indication that this may already be happening; some small local individual growers have found that they can profitably raise an acre or two of watermelons, sweet corn, or potatos again.

This has not generally been possible for the last twenty years or so.

The price of food at the supermarket is totally unsustainable. Between various subsidies, long transport distances, currently reasonable costs of "inputs" (i.e., petroleum/natgas based fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, illegal immigrant labor, etc.), food prices can't possibly be maintained at the current level.

Yes, the farmers' market prices are higher, but these are early days for the local-food scenario. As time goes on, and "conventional" food prices rise (and supplies get spotty), and local production ramps up (competition), it will make more sense to buy local.

I think it's important not to judge the nascent local-food/farmers' market/CSA trend by the lights of today's economic setup. We are in flux, on so many levels.

No doubt it will be more expensive, wherever you buy. But we will be eating more locally. And we will pay what we must.

Just remember... don't complain about farmers with your mouth full :-)

Mac - I think you missed something. Local cost MORE. It will be a long time yet before that changes if ever.

Yes backyard grown is cheap but that dynamic too is killing the market farmers.


I think you missed something. You WILL be eating more locally. Whether it costs a bit more or a lot more. Food prices are crazily artificially low as it is. It WILL cost more, one way or the other. Food will take up a larger proportion of people's budget, just like in all the rest of the world.

I don't think backyard growing is anywhere near big enough to be affecting market farmers. And if it is? Does that mean we actually CAN grow our own? I don't think so. We need farmers. We need farmers locally.

But as I said upthread (or is it downthread?), these are early days in a huge transition of our food production system. It will take time to sort itself out, and like all these transitions, it will proceed by fits and starts.

Having lived in a different part of the world for a few years now the food system in Canada/US seems ever so different to what i live now

The prices of most things in grocery stores in Canada/US seem ridiculously cheap compared to what we pay here, even when you factor in the exchange rate and the low local salaries. Here apples are $8 a kilo (not great quality) and bananas are $2 a kilo even though it is a banana producing country. Food takes up a larger portion of people's income. Next time my job takes me to Canada or the US I will be returning with a suitcase full of sugar cereal, cat food, jerky, peanut butter and every other sort of non-perishable I can hope to get past customs as it is just so much more economic.

The concept of being able to buy whatever you want whenever it pleases you also has started to look alien. Food out of season is imported, which means expensive, which means not many people buy it, which means quality is bad. As well as seasonality food availability here is affected by politics, weather, profitability, transport and storage infrastructure. I no longer plan what to cook, I go to the grocery store and then create my shopping list. Today I bought two kilos of sugar because it was available, text messaged a list of people to let them know that I saw margerine, and cried because the line up for the butcher was about 4 hours long and in the self serve area there was only pig pallets and kidneys and soup bones.

When I read comments that the local farmer's in US/Canada is not economically viable because people don't want to pay 25 cents more, or shop in a place that doesn't sell ibuprofen and rainboots and fabric softener as well as food it makes me realize how much separates the developing world's economy from most places up north.

Next time i have to visit 4 grocery stores to find something similar to what I want, stand in line for more than an hour, pay 40% of my household income then go home and cook from scratch I will remember that there are some poor people who actually visit a separate farmer's market and pay double wallmart's prices and I won't feel so sorry for myself.

Mac - I think you missed something. Local cost MORE. It will be a long time yet before that changes if ever.

It probably won't change because it's always going to cost more to grow on a limited scale vs. large scale agriculture. That's one of the main concerns with peak oil. Descending from peak will means we will all be paying more for food, and yes getting more of it locally. Therein lies the problem of trying to figure out how to feed the same number of people when food will not only cost more, but the means to make money to buy the food will also be diminishing.

There is a bottleneck we are all headed for, and there's simply no way around it.

Local does cost more the way it is sold these days at boutique farmers markets with little in the way of economy of scale.I deo think local farmers markets will become more price competitive as time gos by.

And local growers often have higher costs due to lower volumes and less than optimum local growing conditions. I can't grow a lot of things for the cost I can buy shipped in products.

Local guys can't grow potatos as cheaply as the guys in Maine or Idaho, and yankee spud farmers can't grow cabbage as cheaply as my nieghbors.

But I can still buy potatos direct from a local grower cheaper than I can from a wholesale market supplied from Maine, especially if I apy cash and bring my own bxes oer bags-the savings generally run from twenty five to seventy five percent.

The key to getting back to really affordable food is going to be cutting out the middle men and the packaging, processing, refrigerating, aand shipping they do-plus the enormous tax and regulatory burdens they must cope with.

But the buyer must be willing to do the work at home formerly done by the processors.

Now I do realize that I am at some small risk when I buy ungraded eggs from or sell uninspected side meat to a nieghbor. But A good part of the risk is offset by the fact the both of us have more income and better diets than we could otherwise afford- and the savings can be applied to increasing our health and security in other ways.

My opinion is that the continued growth of the nanny state is a greater risk to my personal security, health and happiness tghan a slight chance of food poisoning.. If tshtf I can still probably get a little milk from a nieghbor with a couple of cows, but the commercial dairies system may fail or the milk may be rationed or beyond my financial reach.I can trade my nieghbor a box of apples, or some labor, for milk.

If people want cheap local food they are going to have to adopt the food management practices of our great grandparents.

A local woman in Maine can probably buy a couple of bags of cabbage quite a bit cheaper from a Maine grower than she can fron a supermarket or farmer's market-my guess is for about half, maybe twenty cents instead of forty cents, or fifty cents to a dollar at retail by the pound.

The question is whether she is willing/able to spend a few hours on two different days putting up a years supply of sauer kraut, and whether her family will willingly eat cabbage and slaw two or three times a week for a few weeks at he peak of cabbage season on order to save maybe a hundred or two hundred dollars.

It is my experience that most people are simply unwilling to do this unless they are seriously short of money and have only one breadwinner working outside the home;and even then the habits and skills involved have mostly been lost.

But if times keep on getting tougher, I expect a heck of a lot of people will start buying potatos and apples by the bushel again before too long.

We'll see it this gets posted. I have yet been able to load HO's current page today-always times out.


It's not just ability to pay, but also as alluded, nobody prefers food over packaged products. Mom and Dad included. A $3 bag of Doritos is much preferred over cans of corn. And it is consumed NOW. As for apples, it's hard to find even adults that like them, but then, bananas have been the #1 US fruit for decades.

At the local farmers market here, the price differential is not really there. Most items are priced the same as the local supermarket, it's getting the customers over away from the supermarket. But they don't sell toilet paper, motor oil, movies and drugs also, so the convenience issue, one stop shopping, takes over.

I don't see a return to direct sales to ordinary people for quite some time. Food "stamps", gov and other giveaways, the torn "safety net" is still very alive at this end of the spectrum, can't overcome convenience and preference. Just look at what is purchased by these folks with all the time on their hands-bags of rice? Not lately.

I've sold meat, fish and apples at these, and it's not worth the trouble usually. Main reason I see is developing contacts for those few who value quality. Some of my apple folks don't seem that they have enough to rub 2 sticks together, which surprises me, but then they are much older. I can offer cut rate for bulk, but not many still making their own sauce. With store bought cider running $5/gal, you'd think that would be a nice niche, but all the new regs kill that thought. Take an arm and leg to afford the processing equipment, it's not just a press anymore. Same with meat and fish. Even with the volume issue aside, (few will buy quarter beef or whole sheep, the convenience issue again), the approved butchers take all the money. One rancher here went so far as to buy out a fairly good size, for the area, butcher, and refrigerated trucks, and now takes his meat clear to the west coast. Not many can afford that.


I suspect that most people won't be moving back to the old ways in one fell swoop, but rather in a bunch of intermediate steps. Already, I am seeing increasing numbers of people putting in small starter gardens, just growing a few things for fresh use in-season: tomatoes, lettuce, green beans, zuchinni, maybe a few stalks of corn, and maybe a few more things. I suspect that as they get into it and get more experience, the gardens will get larger, they'll try more things, and they'll eventually start thinking about canning the summer surplus rather than see it rot.

Quite a few people will also discover that some crops are very easy to grow, and others are not. Some - like corn and melons - just take up too much space for many people to be able to grow on more than a token scale. Once people have gotten "hooked" on eating fresh vegetables again by growing them (that is the secret to it, btw), then they will be in the market for those difficult to grow and space-demanding crops.

Yeah I can remember doing that about 25 years ago, actually we started it about the first year we got here, and then continued for a while with local stuff, till that dried up and then it was a hobby for us, with the produce from our garden.

We made pickles and things when we were stationed at the local air base, before we even got a house to live in, which is this one.

We'd get apples, tomatoes, lots of things, and can them up, but it was a family affair and my dad was head Cook anyway. My mom cooked during the week when he was at work, and we all chipped in for friday night and saturday meals, and dad had sundays and some quick stuff fixed up on the weekend and stored for some of the meals the rest of the week.

But my dad knows how to fix food for one person or meals for 500, how to plan a diet out and how to build a house, amoung other things. In fact right now he is sewing buttons on my mom's jacket, and just got through machine sewing a bigger project. When I was only a heavy spot in my mom, he made my mom her first Sunday going to church dress, because they could not find one that fit her in the stores. Tape in hand, paper on the table and zip zip stitch stitch and The next morning the ladies at church were praising her for the great dress and wondering where she bought it.

Proudly my mom surprised them with. My Husband made it for me.

I know you mean well, but I hear the "female is in the kitchen cooking" montage, and I wonder if the person talking knows that men cook as well. In fact before Mrs. Child took up the challenge, no one thought a women could be a Chef.

More power to getting this right before we loss the ability to fix the issue.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

Doug fir - You are wrong about supermarkets not dealing with local producers. Many are opening that channel in response to the demand for local goods.

This should be encouraged and expanded on. Perhaps several growers getting together in order to supply consistantcy and quantities required.

It will be the supermarkets that feed the masses. If that system fails then we have hell on earth.


That's a nice thought, about the channel openings, but I haven't seen it locally. Maybe it will come, but what I know of is different.

I was talking with an apple producer this spring at a show, he was several hundred acres in the basin of WA-apple country. He had switched all his production to organic for one reason, he emphasized. Price. But he was large enough to grab some contracts. Checking it out, it was a boutique area of the store that a major grocer was developing in a large city. So I hope the channels are more than large producers winning contracts for experimental marketing ventures.

What I see for local when in the city grocer is not what I consider "local". 500+ miles. Or US grown. Seems in many regards they are taking the local theme just like they did the green. Shell/WalMart a green company. Maybe it will get there. I hope so. But I've written before on some of the hoops WalMart puts you through to get their contracts. So they can return to their old "made in the USA" slogan with in country produce.

ee, I'm with you here.

Two of the three local supermarkets in my area (coastal BC) prominently display locally grown fresh produce - tomatoes, salad greens and the like. There are several home based operations doing preserves, relishes, salad dressings, specialist baking, breakfast cereal (http://holycrap.ca/) and the supermarkets are carrying their products, and proudly displaying their local origin. One store manager observed that on a same price basis, the local tomatoes outsell imported by 2:1, and they gets lots of positive comments about carrying and promoting local food.

I did say 2 out of 3 - one of the two is a family owned independent, been here since 1927, second is a locally owned franchise (IGA), and third is corporate owned chain (Extra Foods - Loblaws). I think where the store owner has discretion to do so, they will happily buy direct from a local producer, even if seasonal - it is a good way to earn the goodwill of local customers, and growers.

I hope we see more of this, and in my part of the world, we are.

Doug Fir said: "The supermarkets would not and will not buy from small local producers. Contractual obligations, supply timing problems, insufficient supply, state and federal regulations, xtra floor work, more billing, there's a litany of reasons the larger markets prefer the large distributors. The regs are especially damning for meat and fish producers."

Recently announced, and yet not enforced new regulatory schemes, have all but ended any hope of small scale food production. I live in an agricultural community, and every small farmer I know is in the process of figuring out if a second job is going to mean survival, or if he simply sells out to the developers. The notion of distributing locally grown direct to consumer, as the primary market and method of agricultural distribution cannot exist, as it is economically infeasible, and has functionally been prohibited by regulatory schemes. Thus, you find that "Local" production is boutique markets, and often priced 100 to 1000 percent above the commodity prices for foodstuffs.

Those of you who have applauded and campaigned for the "right to live by mandated government safety and it's enforced morality" have gotten what you've asked for. I hope you starve first.

Those of you who have applauded and campaigned for the "right to live by mandated government safety and it's enforced morality" have gotten what you've asked for. I hope you starve first.

Yep that says it for me, and that was just the beginning of it

I wonder if they ever wonder why most of the manufacturing is over in China now?

Amen, Mark!

I think you make some good points but there also has to be some recognition of just how screwed up our food situation is in general. While it may be true that only 1% of the food that a community consumes comes from farmers markets I'm not sure what that really means for the future - the other 99% probably live on Ho-Hos and Twinkies... but if we reach the stage where all this prepping becomes necessary - then the vast majority of what these clowns subsist on will no longer exist... it will be a "seller's market" and the buyers will be in no shape to be picky. I guess my main point is that while affluence may be a factor I think it's overstated - I don't think the vast majority would be buying healthier foods even if they suddenly won the lottery - their systems are too saturated with processed food to buy some fresh fruits and veggies even if they were sold at a nickel per pound.

As for the banks and investors and real estate industrial complex - one can only hope that they don't get messed up in any of this. It's way past time for them to get out of the way - at every turn they've tried to prop up "values" so some other speculators can make a buck on scraping off the topsoil and building McMansions. The real value in the land will be utilizing it for growing food on a localized basis - and that can only happen when the real estate "market" is allowed to truly adjust, independent of the financial nonsense that has served to price out those trying to simultaneously grow something AND afford a mortgage on vastly overinflated land prices... if land becomes affordable you can bet that the growers won't have to sell only to the affluent at veggie prices that are also way too expensive...

I'll ignore your condesending comment about what the majority consumes. Suffice it to say they eat food just like you and me and if the system that feeds 90% of the population fails we will be deep into massive dieoff and the cozy farmers markets will simply not exist.

Well if the "billions" served by McDonalds alone (now factor in 100 other fast food chains) were required to start eating more locally grown products because McD's could no longer get it done (due to transport issues, cost of processing etc.) then I imagine the local markets quickly begin to look a lot more "profitable" and would continue to develop to fill the void.

There are a great many people that probably eat better than me (less processed food, more locally sourced etc.) but I'm quite confident that there's a huge percentage that eats almost completely processed foods... I wasn't being condescending at all - I actually thought this was pretty well documented for the USA - just how lousy our diet is in general. I just don't think it's a slam dunk to assume that multi-national corporations shoveling crap in the form of "food" will have the advantage over local producers just because in the current completely skewed paradigm the farmer's markets have trouble competing without selling to the affluent at overinflated prices. Under a BAU situation you'll get no argument from me but when things seriously start to change on the economic / fuel front I wouldn't bet on the mass producers of anything.

Of course, there are situations where farmers markets, CSA's and coops cater to the wealthy.

But that is not the only case. There are many farmers markets in very poor neighborhoods, where there are booths that exchange foodstamps for chits that are honored by the local farmers. Studies have found the on average CSA veggies are significantly cheaper than buying the equivalent amount of veggies at the local supermarket. Coops ARE (or can be) a central element in localizing the economy.

And of course local food includes food grown in backyards and in vacant lands, food that is VERY affordable. I just helped put in a set of raised beds in a vacant strip of land that is next to a Native American housing project, the poorest neighborhood in the area. Others have recently expanded it. These are extensive--about 40 by 100 feet, growing enough to really make a difference to the nutrition and health of this very needy neighborhood.

All of our local coops sell bulk food at very cheap prices. Yes, you can find more expensive items, but anyone who wants to can find much cheaper staples in coops (at least around here) than in any other stores.

So what are YOU doing to move your area to more local sustainability? You seem to say that we have to build a local food system, but then you turn around and poohpooh all the serious moves toward the same. ALL movements start small--how else could they start. But current size is no guarantee of future effectiveness. These elements are growing very quickly, and not just here or in the wealthy neighborhoods, but around the world. Detroit is way ahead of the nation on local food systems. Are they not REAL enough for ya?

As you know, I happen to think that all efforts will ultimately (and perhaps very quickly) be in vain. (It is very likely that we will see a new low in ice cover on the Arctic Sea this summer, and that is quite likely to tip the seabed methane toward destabilization, dumping enough gigatons of that super-GHG to move the earth rapidly into a new and very deadly climate regime.) But the points you bring up do not seem to me to be the reasons for pessimism about these systems.

Perhaps you could clarify what you think we should be doing with our local supermarkets that would have so much more powerful effects on the system than these other initiatives.

So what are YOU doing to move your area to more local sustainability?

Your vision of sustainability sustains civilization, which is not sustainable. We need to sustain the ecosystem. The only humans who are living sustainably are here:

In my opinion, anything we do to sustain civilization will make the fall much more difficult.

In this case it can be both, especially by comparison to the BAU alternatives. Growing food locally with low energy and resource inputs is much, much gentler on the planet than the alternatives.

I do agree that much that passes as "sustainable" is really ways of sustaining the massive abuse humans are perpetrating on the planet. But unless you are advocating intentionally planning to starve lots of people, insuring that the food they do get has the least impact is a good place to start in moving toward a more generally low impact lifestyle.

Re: So what are YOU doing to move your area to more local sustainability?, I feel lucky to live in Seattle, which, like Detroit, is taking food security and relocalization seriously. I already mentioned the co-op that I am involved with, using sailboats for low-energy transport of produce. I am also researching how we can become authorized to take food stamps for the CSA payment. And we deliberately chose a pick-up partner location that is readily accessible by bus or bike.

Sustainable Ballard is now partnered with the Ballard Community Center and has access to the community kitchen. The Food Guild notes: "As a group, we'll make several dishes and everyone will take home the meals to freeze or eat during the week. Each month will have a different theme. Local and seasonal vegetarian dishes will be the focus."

Seattle recently hosted "Spring into Bed", a day-long blitz of garden-building all over the city. Tearing up your parking strip and putting in a garden has gone from weird, to commonplace.

Seattle also has a travelling slaughterhouse, courtesy Puget Sound Meat Producers Cooperative: "The purpose-built, 45-foot-long trailer is designed to act as a portable abattoir where farmers and ranchers can have their livestock dispatched, skinned, gutted, cut, chilled and made ready for packaging."

With a fond look back to where I grew up, from today's New York Times, a very interesting article about the home-grown food movement: Their Future, Made By Hand:

Young, college-educated, Internet-savvy, unemployed and hoping to find a place in the food world outside the traditional route, she is typical of the city’s dozens of new food entrepreneurs. As the next generation of cooks comes of age, it seems that many might bypass restaurant kitchens altogether. Instead, they see themselves driving trucks full of artisanal cheese around the country, founding organic breweries, bartering vegan pâtés for grass-fed local beef, or (most often) making it big in baking as the next Magnolia Bakery.

Joann Kim, 26, who organizes the market, cited the intersection of the economic downturn and the rise of the local artisanal food movement as reasons for the recent flowering of small culinary start-ups.

On May 28, the New York Department of Health confirmed that all food vendors in the city must have a food handling permit, and may use only approved commercial kitchens. Renting space in a commercial kitchen costs about $200 for eight hours. For some vendors like Ms. Lee, who is in the process of getting her permit, that would mean the difference between making a small profit and just breaking even on a day at the market.

And clearly, the laws and regulations have to be changed to allow for local-scale production of food. That will happen officially over time, and it's already quietly happening just by practice.

In San Francisco (population 800,000) there are 19 McDonald's and (by my count) 15 farmer's markets. At least half a dozen of those markets are in low income areas. Probably half of the markets have popped up in the last two years. An interesting trend . . .

In Portland's public schools, there are similarly active programs that have 'Harvest Days' for school lunches, using locally secured produce. Some of the schools have their own gardens helping to supply the kitchens, too.

I know of several local non-profits and CSA's that have been working to provide food for homeless shelters and other Social Programs.

I understand EE's frustration, but I think that this 'Wealthier set' that is supporting local AG is easy to misread. The people we see at the local farmers markets are broadly middle class to working class. Maybe to the seriously poor, it would look like the Hoi-polloi, but it's school teachers and social workers.. it's not like the Gated Community Maids are doing all this shopping. Plus, our grocers are definitely getting in on the action, and hearing the writing on the wall, (if you will) .. although Whole Foods was roundly trashed by the farmers when it undercut on the buy, and then overpriced on the sell, making their own brands the cheaper choice. They'll get theirs.


Yeah, WF seems to be a particularly nasty player in these areas, exactly the opposite of the image they try to convey.

And they still aren't cheap anyway. Around here they're known as Whole Paycheck.

Let's hope the vast thicket of new Federal regs people have been referring to in this thread doesn't kill of all those markets...

A farmers market is good, and other things like a good CSA or other groups that deal with food distribution.

The issues come into play when we are trying to localize and work with the system we have now, which is a broken system that is bleeding at the seams.

There are no easy 1-2-3 step programs for you to apply to fix the problem you have. But you need to gather the people involved and sit down with some good long range planners, people who have done it in their communities and have some hands on experience. Work with them , plan, debug and see what your area needs, and work toward your goals.

There are a lot of people doing little things in their own locales, and they are gaining ground and getting a name for themselves online and in the local press. Consider looking at their successes and then seeing if they can be applied to your area.

The issue with Farmers who are in Hock to the bank, and now trying to stay afloat, can be solved the same way, but you need to have people willing to help. I know it is frustrating when you have all the answers in your head but no one is listening. Or you have some answers and need help to work on other parts of it, knowing that certain people could help, but they are not willing to help you, because today is their fishing day, as was yesterday and so will tomorrow be.

I saw the price of some Sorrel in the store the other day, 4 ounces for $3.99. How can anyone afford that, it is to much of a niche market, and the area is filled with older folks and young folks barely making it. But there are some richer folks At least they have some nice digs with the bells and whistles, though we don't know if they can afford anything but their mortgage.

One Idea I have is this, might not work, as I don't know any farmers to ask locally. Gather a bunch of willing sort of out of work people. Take them to the farmer, and offer them as help to the farmer as labor. He works them, they get some of the fruits of the field. They get enough to eat, they pay him instead of the Local chain grocery store for the food. Cut out the middle man. It is not a CSA, it is more of a work, get food, and pay the farmer a little extra to for his land. Use the land and its potential as the new money for this group. The people who get food from the farmers land, pay his bills, and they get as much food as they and he can produce, any left over, goes to pay their bills on the backside.

Just thought of it, might be hot air, but it is not BAU and it is not something I have seen tried yet.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

An oil sheen was confirmed about nine miles off the Florida coast, and officials are saying it could hit the white sands of Pensacola Beach as soon as Wednesday.

You think people are getting wired about this spill now, then just wait until it hits Florida beaches in Summer! People will freak out.

The U.S. economy runs on three primary states, California, NY and Florida. All 3 have taken hits from the mortgage meltdown and now if Florida takes another hit with the loss of tourism with damage to their white beaches, it will definitely hurt the US economy.

Obama by failing to take charge to capture as much oil as possible early on, has sealed his political fate of being a one term president. Especially if a hurricane enters the Gulf and spatters oil onto the mainland. If houses, streets etc. are oil stained from a storm, people will freak out once more. This is worse than Katrina, and its no where near over. In fact it may just be getting started.

Just what the hell was Obama supposed to do? Nobody has a clue about what to do, including the world's most experienced petroleum techs. This thing is a total screwup. Corporations just drilling away, knowing all the time that their situation was dangerous in the extreme, but oh well.

I'm not a big Obama fan, but to blame any of this on him is absurd.

Which isn't to say he won't be a one-term president, because we love a scapegoat.

This is much, much worse than Katrina, for a number of reasons. One of them is that it's 100% man-made, or should I say, BP-made, or should I say corporate BAU-made. Privatize the profits, socialize the cost. This is where you end up.

This is always where you end up. It was foreseen, it was predicted, and of course the pro-corporate PTB claimed oh no, it could never happen. But it did, and of course, it's "it was impossible".

Every single f***ing ecological disaster ever was totally foreseen, predicted, and pooh-poohed by the conservative right-wing PTB. Nothing new under the sun.

We will eat the planet, and the last person down will say "nobody saw it coming".

I call complete and utter bullshit.

I agree with you, but.
"Just what the hell was Obama supposed to do?"
Day three, cut the riser at the bop ( I think the US navy could do this with thermite, but what the bleep do I know) stick big straws down there, pump it into supertankers, haul the mess off to BP refineries and MAKE them deal with the crap. Gas prices go up? Good. In he mean time, could our beloved nuclear enrichment team maybe start retro-fitting a centrifuge or two so the US NAVY could TRY to start separating this crud(e) out in the gulf.

or at he could have bitch slapped Tony

I think that most people realize that neither Obama nor most of the people under him are experts when it comes to oil field technology. The one thing where I think he can legitimately be criticized is for not assuming a worst-case scenario from the very start, until facts on and under the water proved otherwise. A more pessimistic set of planning assumptions and public statements probably would have served both Obama and the country a little better. I know they want to avoid causing panic, but it isn't like people were going to run around like headless chickens.

It was the same sort of thing under GWB's watch when Katrina was bearing down. "Worst Case Scenario" were the words actually used in the headlines on CNN. Yet, the FedGov was clearly not operating with that as the planning assumption until days too late.

We see the same thing wrt peak oil, of course. I'm not suggesting an announcement of TEOTWAWKI, but the constant glib over-optimism is not helpful - either for the President or for anyone else.

sgage, the Big O was cool, calm and collected and let BP handle the situation. Big, huge mistake! The oil got into the wetlands and that is unforgiveable. There are people down there still to this day trying to get permission to build berms to keep water out of the wetlands, but it still hasn't been approved. Obama could have gotten that approved in a nano second but he's got other things to do.

I voted for Obama, but he's let BP take charge and they didn't care a whit about the wildlife. Florida is a swing state - lose FL in the general election and there goes the Presidency. As soon as texas Tee gets on those pearly white beaches, there goes the 2012 vote to the other guy - Romney probably.

He should have done what Earldaily below suggested. You tell him Earl. Get the darn stuff out of the water into tankers and make BP pay for whatever needs to be done with it.

Oil isn't one of those commodities that you think - oh its down a mile underwater, so let's not worry too much about it until there's really something obvious. No, you gotta go get the stuff one way or the other before its a disaster. Capiche?

I've been wondering about the scale of an evacuation away from a crude oil and chemically contaminated hurricane--plus the obvious contamination effects to surface freshwater supplies.

I've also been wondering if the US will be seeing tens of millions of internal refugees, both environmental and economic, fanning out from the Gulf states to other parts of the country as this sorry spectacle unfolds.

Antoinetta III

Antoinetta III -

While your scenario might strike some as totally farfetched, it is not without precedent in US history. The exodus from the Plains States during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s resulted in a significant demographic shift, mainly to California and certain western states.

Going to something much more recent, a significant number of the refugees from Hurricane Katrina are not likely to ever return to the New Orleans area. Then we have the steady migration away from Detroit since the late 1950s, which has resulted is a city that now has about half the population of what it was at its peak.

I don't know if we're going to see tens of millions of people leaving the Gulf states, but I'm sure there will be lots, particularly those living right on the coast.

The history of the human race is the history of mass migrations, usually motivated by the desire or need to leave a place that is no longer a good place to live. Trouble is: we are running out of good places to migrate to.

BP has achieved a triple play--damaging the tourist industry, the fishing/seafood industry and the oil & gas industry. Check out the poll at the bottom of the thread.

The cylinder head seals on my car's engine are failing. I blame Obama. This happened on his watch. Hey pres, come fix my car! Clean up BP's mess, then come fix my car. Or else, I will vote you down!
Maybe I'll bike instead.

Only Obama haters are blaming him for the gusher not being stopped by now. And they would hate him just as much if the spill had been stopped in the first few days.

Ron P.


Darwinian, I don't blame him for the gusher, but instead for the lack of response to get the oil out of the water. You must admit there was a lot of time wasted just letting BP work on the problem, and what does BP care about the wetlands? Not a whit. No, not getting the oil before it went into the wetlands was a failure on Obama's part for not doing what was necessary to either stop the flow of oil into the wetlands or siphoning it up into a tanker or barge first. That's no way to handle a presidency and don't get me wrong because I voted for him.

From the BP thread:

Building DC Metro saves over 100,000 b/day. Expanding it could save an extra 150,000 b/day. We could use at least ten times the Urban rail that we have today in the USA (10 x NYC subway, etc.)

Balderdash. Pure unadulterated fantasy. Some rough numbers to consider:

Number of daiy boardings: 800,000.

Number of round trips: 250,000 (guessed: 400,000 tops, but many or most must transfer.)

Number of gallons to solo-drive those trips: 250,000 - taking them as national-average 12-mile commutes done at 25mpg - which is likely to be a gross overestimate since (1) the tourists often go just a couple of stops, and (2) the lines are only about 16 miles end to end, so they only go about 8 miles from downtown; most riders go between downtown and somewhere partway out.

Barrels of oil saved relative to solo driving, overestimated: a paltry 6000. Maybe, or even more likely, 3000 or 4000.

Operating subsidy: $450,000,000/yr, $1.2 million/day

Imputed cost to the taxpayer to save one barrel: $200, or maybe up to $400.

It seems arguable whether the taxpayer gets his or her $200-$400 worth. It seems insane to provide general funds to subsidize a sector (transportation) that consumes energy if we need to reduce energy use, when it should be net-taxed instead if that's what we want to do. But be that as it may, since it's partly a matter of taste, there's no use deluding ourselves that this transit system saves 16 times as much oil as it possibly could.

This matters because it gets to that financial stuff that Gail runs on about (too pessimistically IMO but deserves to be heard since China may someday tire of subsidizing the USA.) Discarding road systems and throwing away their sunk costs to invest gargantuan sums of capital (not discussed here) in something that incurs $200 in operating subsidy alone (never mind operating cost, and absolutely never mind overall cost) to save a barrel of oil may simply prove financially or politically impossible to scale up enough to make a difference.

I think your rate of transfer is far off, due to the fact boardings are probably counted by entrance into the station, any subsequent tranfers are not counted. It's a really obtuse ticketing system :-)

Also, I look at the monthly boarding rates, I would guess many are workers, not tourists because the rate is only ~ 200K different from November to April (high tourist season - cherry blossoms) and ridership on weekdays are ~500k different than weekends. I'd bet the 12mile or longer would be a good average.

I'd bet the 12mile or longer would be a good average.

Fortunately, the way they report these things, nobody can know. Except that you pay the full fare to go all the way out from downtown (the whole 8 miles), and it looks like their average fare might only be $2, which is in the lower-middle range. I know of nothing that could conceivably support a 12 mile average (riding all the way in from the end and halfway out again.) The most you can (sensibly) do even on a contrived trip is about 16.

More commuters may be getting on and off farther out toward the ends of the lines than you are estimating - there is a huge amount of "park and ride" on that system. So even those needing to drive to the nearest station might be saving more miles than you are assuming. Also, in more than a few cases you have a spouse, SO or neighbor dropping off/picking up someone on the way of their own commute to/from work. Complicated to all sort out, but it seems that your assumptions are pretty much on the stingy side.

Also, it must be noted that a big purpose of the DC metro is to reduce traffic congestion downtown. There has to be some fuel savings from vehicles not idled in traffic so much. I don't know what that number is, but it is certainly greater than zero.

"commutes done at 25mpg"

No way is anyone getting close to 25mpg in DC rush hour traffic, not even in a Prius. I would guess 5mpg would be closer. I routinely got 3-4 mpg in NJ (in a 30mpg car).

And that's with hundreds of thousands commuting by train. In fact, it's hard to make the comparisons, because cities like NYC, DC and Boston would be so different without the trains, that it's hard to predict. If NYC didn't have a subway system, there would simply be fewer jobs located there.

You're forgetting the cost of building and maintaining roads, which for the convenience of motorists is generally paid out of taxes rather than tolls.

Also, the reliance on oil directly affects our relationships with other nations, or haven't you noticed? What's the cost of the Iraq war?

Come on, guy! When I saw your post, I was so pissed I had to register and comment.

Their barrel count does actually seem pretty high, but either way, cut Paul some slack. He's so happy when he gets to trash Mass-Transit. You can hear his contentment in the very breezes, no?

Yeah, I'd sure say a factor of 16 is "pretty high". Even a factor of 8, if we throw all the new minor quibbles in and point every single one the right way, would have been "pretty high". Even a factor of 2 would be "pretty high", though perhaps acceptable in the context of guesstimating.

No wonder this stuff isn't being built on any scale that could conceivably even begin to make a dent in car-fuel consumption, despite all the histrionic advocacy. We haven't got great gobs of money any more, we blew it on houses and on the banksters who lent for the houses. And when people are repeatedly lowballed by factors of 8, 16, or 32, doesn't matter a whit which, the politics gets difficult.

Sorry, no amount of emotional rationalization can fix any of that. Complain about "trashing" to your heart's content - but the stuff isn't getting built, nowhere near enough to matter. If your emotions make you want it to be built, then you need to pay attention to the barriers. Merely wishing or emoting hasn't made it so and won't make it so.

There you go, Paul. You're on your happy train, all aboard!

Just because this article seems to have gotten some crappy math doesn't for a minute mean that the DC Metro is a failure, and that it somehow condemns the usefulness of Mass Transit in far more markets than it now serves.

But if they're not getting built, it might have as much to do with a certain financial meltdown, and the fact that the Nation is on the tail end of a few decades of being thoroughly Car Crazy and still can't see straight.. not because rail is a failed notion for countless Midsized American cities and suburbs.

So here, here are a few that ARE being built, in case readers were troubled by your cleverly ammended pronouncement that
'the stuff isn't getting built' ..


* San Francisco is one of two U.S. Light Rail Transit (LRT) projects entering final design with a Medium-High rating – the Project has achieved and held this rating for three consecutive years – see spreadsheet in column B, Overall Project Rating.
* If we include those ahead of the Central Subway now waiting for the FFGA, the Central Subway is one of three out of ten LRT/Bus Rapid Transit projects to achieve a Medium-High rating. Every project in the U.S. that has achieved a series of Medium-High ratings has received a commitment from the federal government for FTA funding.
* Like the Central Subway, all of the projects are new, major urban connectors mostly involving significant tunneling, bridges, electrification, new vehicles, and exclusive Guideway – see spreadsheet “Projects” column, Seattle, University Link Minneapolis Central Corridor, in bold type.
* San Francisco’s total capital costs are below the average of the $1.8 billion project costs for the six projects entering Final Design – see spreadsheet column D.
* At the same time, the $942 million dollar federal Total New Starts Funding is the highest percentage for all six projects waiting for the FFGA. The amount is well above the average of $710 million – this is due in part to recognition of the Phase 1 local funding – see spreadsheet column E.
* The President’s budget proposes (see spreadsheet last column H) annual allocations that approach the Project’s expected allocations for the Central Subway after the FFGA.
* The President’s budget proposes the allocation of the full amount requested for the Central Subway in 2011 – the amount that the Project cash flow requires next year.

Keep blaming 'emotionalism', Paul. You're doing great!

I am sorry to say that because of incredibly poor design, the Central Subway is a boondoggle and should be canceled and the money put into speeding up the new Transbay terminal (terminus for both Caltrain and future high speed rail) which will actually do good things for San Francisco and the Bay Area. I am an avid, avid fan of public transit--I would love to see an underground line go from the Richmond district in San Francisco under Geary Street and meet up with the Market Street line, and I absolutely can't wait for the high speed rail between SF and LA--but the Central Subway is a sad waste of money that has more to do with politics than good transportation planning. As a side note, I think the DC metro system is fabulous.

The DC Metro is fine - indeed, when it's in its normal automatic mode, it works as well as many lines in Europe and almost as well as the lines around Tokyo. (In manual mode, not so much.) The original discussion was over the patently absurd assertion that Metro saves 100,000b/d in oil. Everyone reacting prefers to display anger or change the subject, rather than actually defend the indefensible assertion.

It remains that it's going to be fantastically expensive to mitigate oil consumption by installing Metros, no matter fabulous some of them might be in other respects. At 6,000b/d a pop we'd need 3,500 of them to supplant our consumption. Not that we could take it that far but it shows the scale. As Jokuhl himself points out, the financial meltdown is not going to be conducive to such things. Even now, all the listed new projects combined might serve as much as an additional 0.5% of the population. Yawn.

What is the amount of resources and cost for the rolling stock of public transport compared to that for automobiles? Since people buy 10 million new cars every year in the USA alone, it's hard to believe public transport would come even close to rivaling autos. Let's not forget also the ancillary costs of autos -- insurance, repairs, etc.

Here's a thought: what if people's taxes instead of going towards the construction of roads instead went towards providing low-cost or even free public transportation? I believe it's safe to say the popularity of public transportation would soar.

Autos are BIG business all around -- for oil companies, auto manufacturers, parts suppliers, repair shops, insurance companies, construction companies, mining companies, steel mills .... you get the picture.

The money would be wasted as no one would want to use the public transport. Rail works well for moving big things, but not people from their homes to work quickly.

Here in Arkansas me and my dad use personal transporters. Just set the dial and you can beam anyone anywhere you want too. It is maintained by a very good worker, my mom. But we at times do make mistakes. Today there were 300 pink rabbits in the back yard and while beaming them elsewhere, some ended up in a Bar in down town Las Vagas. I have been handling calls all evening from the owner who wants me to refund him his lost bar tabs.

You know I can't stand some of these back and forth conversations, it is like watching well, Tennis.

Some places the transit is great and other places it sucks sand. We don't live in a country where we can say that NYC is going to be like Billings Montana. They all have different needs, and different monies coming in and different codes and laws, and it is really a mess to try to work through the red tape for years to get people to agree on something. Then have the deal fall through because an ant species is found in an area near the planned spaces.

We have only so many minutes till the end of the world as we know it happens and we have to do so much more than seems humanly possible to fix the mess we have had going for about Longer than most of us have been alive.

Just the fact that there is so much Tennis match head turning on this forum, where most of us can not set policy, is a clue to why the real world is going to be so much harder to get the fix in.

Hugs to you all, if you ever get to Arkansas, I'll buy you a beer, or soda and shoot some pool with you while we laugh about the times we could of had, dancing in the moon cafe, only if man could of have gotten his act together.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

People are going to want to use public transportation when gas goes to 4, 5, $6/gallon. The problem is when people want public transportation the most, it will be the most expensive to construct because oil will have gone through the roof.

No, then it's time for a hybrid car. If I double my gas mileage the cost per mile decreases by half. Gas would need to be $10/gal before I would drive less in a Prius.

If I double my gas mileage the cost per mile decreases by half.

A Honda Civic costs about 50¢ per mile, assuming about 12,000 miles per year. Assuming 30 mpg, the fuel cost at current prices is about 8¢ per mile. So doubling the mpg's would only cut the fuel costs to about 4¢ per mile, which would be about an 8% drop in total costs per mile. And this assumes no cost increase for the doubling in mpg's--which is highly unlikely.


The money would be wasted as no one would want to use the public transport. Rail works well for moving big things, but not people from their homes to work quickly.

In case you are wondering, that says BULLSHIT! in Japanese.

I could post the words for "bullshit" in dozens of other languages as well...

Japan isn't that large so high speed rail between cities probably works well over there. However Japan can not be compared to the United States.

Floridian, I live in Hollywood Florida I can walk to the TRI-RAIL and take the train to Miami and be there in 50 minutes or spend 2 hours on I95 to get there.

I've also lived in New York City where I didn't own a car. At another time I lived in Connecticut and commuted to New York by train every day. I've lived in other countries in both rural and urban settings, mass transport on trains and buses is the norm.

This argument that Japan or some other place can't be compared to the US is only true because we live in automobile fantasy land. That we haven't built the infrastructure we need is certainly a problem but to suggest that trains can't transport people is just untrue.

I've rode the train in Hollywood, fl too. I do not see how it would help most people get to and from work each day. New York City is about the only area of the country where rail works for people, but my relatives in that part of the country have always driven into the city for work as it is still more convenient.

When I lived in Indianapolis in the late 70s and early 80s, I took the express bus to work downtown every day for about 9 years. The bus was always full. Rail would have been even nicer and even faster, I'm sure we would all have taken it if it had been available. Apparently your "people" doesn't include all people.

What is the amount of resources and cost for the rolling stock of public transport compared to that for automobiles?

Useless question unless one also asks what proportion of people are served by each. In the USA, public transport is a small niche, and electrified urban rail, which was the subject here, is a small niche inside that niche. Oh, and the Red Line LA subway cars cost about $3 million a pop, those things don't come cheap!

And yes, if you give something away, more people may use it. But we're beyond that, see "financial meltdown". And we've been giving away public transport for decades, for maybe 1/6 of its overall cost (including capital and heavy maintenance, not just day-to-day "operating"), and it's still a niche. Maybe making it free wouldn't increase use by leaps and bounds, since it's already practically free.

"Useless question unless one also asks what proportion of people are served by each."

I assumed the reader had enough intelligence to figure this out. You have, evidently, passed the test.

"In the USA, public transport is a small niche, and electrified urban rail, which was the subject here, is a small niche inside that niche."

There was a time when autos were a "small niche" relative to the horse and carriage. I'm sure you're not suggesting that this be the rationale for ignoring public transport.

"Oh, and the Red Line LA subway cars cost about $3 million a pop, those things don't come cheap!"

In NYC, the R143 subway car is $1.5 million each and has a capacity of 240 people standing, probably half that number seated. How often are these subway cars replaced? Once every 20 years?


"And yes, if you give something away, more people may use it. But we're beyond that, see "financial meltdown"...."

You're bringing up the financial meltdown which was caused in part by the same people who want consumers to take out car loans as a reason against public transport??? Is public transport subsidized? Sure it is, just like road construction. The point is which has the lowest total cost of ownership? Public transport, hands down.

And all this stuff put together serves what, 0.5% of the population? Big deal.

Actually, in San Francisco, public transit is a very big deal. 800,000 people live in San Francisco. 522,000 more commute in each day for work. But because of various forms of public transportation and carpools (and because 90,000 people commute out of the city each day), there is only a daily net increase of 35,000 additional cars. Thank goodness! Since there simply isn't room here for extra cars (and the bridges and freeways have limited capacity as well), if it weren't for public transit and carpools, we would have utter gridlock.

30% of households in San Francisco own no cars. Another 43% own only one. (Average household size is 2.5.) 32% of our population takes public transit to work. (Another 9% walk, 3% bike, 8% carpool and 8% work at home.) Our city transit system (MUNI), though suffering severe budget cuts due to the utter dysfunctionality of our state government, carries 670,000 riders a day. Half of the buses and all the light rail cars are electric powered by the Hetch Hetchy dam, creating no carbon emissions or fumes. Public transit provides a huge environmental and economic benefit, and the city couldn't function without it.

If we don't build out mass transit, then when motor fuels become unaffordable/unavailable I suppose everyone could start doing what I have already been doing: walking to work. Fortunately for me, I only live 1.7 miles away from my workplace. Tough luck for those who live much, much farther away. At least as they are walking along, mile after mile, they will have the comfort of knowing that money was not wasted on a mass transit system that didn't save all that much energy.

Wow, sometimes I fly onto TOD and other times lately (since the oil spill) it's like watching wallpaper dry.


'Buffett Expects ‘Terrible Problem’ for Municipal Debt'

Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and chief executive, has previously warned about the risks of insuring municipal bonds. In his annual letter to shareholders in 2009, he said public officials may be tempted to default on bonds whose payments are guaranteed by insurance companies rather than push through needed tax increases. He said guaranteeing municipal bonds against default “has the look today of a dangerous business.”

Local governments rely on the $2.8 trillion municipal bond market to raise money for construction projects and fund other budget items. The financial crisis and recession battered governments across the U.S. by cutting into tax collections and causing pension-fund losses. Some governments failed to set aside enough money to cover retirement benefits promised to employees, which may place increasing strain on public finance.

I don't think they will default on the bonds and let the insurance pay for it. That would raise their insurance rates too high. Instead, the pain is coming in the form of increased local taxation, via property taxes, sales tax add ons, etc. The reason the taxes won't occur at the national or state level is because it's too risky for the politicians. You know the pain of increased local taxation is coming when you drive on all those roads that need repaving. Here it is Spring, with some roads so rough the vehicles make a loud rumbling sound and their surface is sharper than diamonds, but there's no repaving, at least not in our area of California.

In some areas the roads are disintegrating into gravel, and must be swept weekly to maintain quick stopping traction. The pain is coming folks - look out!

Lots to think about there, Earl. Like, how are people going to pay all those additional taxes? In one week, the numbers of people who are out of work and have left Unemployment Compensation behind begins its inexorable climb to perdition. Within a few months, if not sooner, the economy is going to be impacted in a big way. Those people will not be paying taxes, or anything else. New street people? Starving people get out of hand quickly. The answer is, what? More police? That would take more taxes...

And, as for our infrastructure of roads and highways... I have been giving that some thought as well. As gasoline goes higher, people will drive less (or as incomes drop). Less driving = less gasoline purchased. Last time I knew about it, most highway construction was funded by gasoline taxes. With those dropping (and, think about how EVs and hybrids will change tax revenue numbers as well), the roads deteriorate further, and the longer we wait, the behinder we get.

So, we just add to taxes on diesel fuel, 'cause the big trucks cause most damage on the roads, anyway. Which, of course, increases transportation costs! Meanwhile, the falling economy results in fewer truck miles driven. Fewer tax dollars. Less construction. Constructions workers lose their jobs. In a year or so, we could have 35% unemployment and most of them off UEC.

In the cities, property taxes are the mainstay. Of course, with 25% or more of homes foreclosed, no one will be paying those either. Raise them as you will... eventually the cities will take back the lots (the houses will be falling down from lack of maintenance), and you will have ... what? Farms in the city, ala Detroit!?!

So... let's say the cities do default on their debt. Now there are no capital intensive projects started at all. Fewer workers... less income... a spiral down to the depths of dispair. Of course, that will drive interest rates sky high for those bonds that are passed. Which will intensify the difficulties.

This is how an extremely complex society falls, quickly, to 3rd world status. Except that the 3rd world will fall a bit as well. I mean, those companies which sent their customer service and sales positions to India, Pakistan, and other outsourcing favorites will have no business when people have no money. For other than an affluent few, times will get tough.

Check labor statistics the next few weeks and you can watch the beginning of the end. From preliminary data, new drop offs go from 19,600 next week, to about 400,000 in two or three weeks time (this from a NPR broadcast this week). Other related items:



And, of course, HP is laying of another 9,000, and taking a $1 Billion hit for it. The numbers do not add up, since that is supposed to be mostly termination packages and is 10 x what they would pay 9,000 workers, so I think they are laying off 9,000 per year for 5 or so years, and fudged the way they said it.

Have a nice day, Earl. Hope your wallpaper stays put.


I agree with everything you wrote zaphod and thanks for the links, but still think they will raise taxes locally by simply relying on those still able to stay afloat. The reason why is because short of accepting collpase in which the infrastructure reaches a point of non-use, to keep things going someone has to pay, and that means those that still can. I know it means many more will become disenfranchised due to greater debt loads via higher taxes, but something must give or else the roads and bridges we drive on will disintegrate. That's why I referred to it as the pain is coming. Oh boy is it ever.

Craig thanks, and welcome to the third world!

I live and travel a lot in Latin America, and I feel your pain. But trust me, pavement quality isn't everything.

In my long experience, the people with the least possessions and the biggest family are the happiest. If you walk or bicycle, modern conveniences such as this matter very little.

Looks like you guys up north are in for some big changes, and believe me your lifestyle IS negotiable! In fact, looks like it's already been negotiated... :-(

If you walk or bicycle, modern conveniences such as this matter very little.

I have rediscovered the enjoyment of walking!

I now occasionally forsake both the bus or bicycle, and have started to _walk_ between work and home. It is about 4miles each way, and takes me a little under 90minutes each way, carrying a laptop and cell phone in my commuter bag.

Wow! You've got me beat. My commute on foot is 1.7 miles each way, takes me about 45 minutes. I carry a daypack, with a change of clothes, rain parka, and my lunch. If I had to go 4 miles each way, I would be going by bike.

No, I suspect that public employees are the ones that have already been designated by TPTB to take the hit. If there is to be any state and local government defaulting, it will be on their pension plans. We are seeing a steady stream of articles placed (and that word does have significance, I do use it deliberately) in the mainstream media bemoaning what an over-generous benefit public employee pensions are. This is no coincidence, it is an orchestrated campaign, laying the groundwork so that public opinion will be ready when the axe falls.

Maybe some of you are in sympathy with this, and if we are talking about trimming public pension plans prospectively then I have no problem with that, either. Give people advanced warning of what they can count upon so that they can make their own plans, or decide whether or not that government is where they want to be employed. However, to retrospectively default on pension benefits that a public employee has thought they have been paying into (directly - most plans do have a very substantial mandatory employee contribution - or indirectly, through employer payments which the pension plan gets instead of going into their paycheck) for decades, with no time left to make other arrangements, is unjust and disgraceful.

We were talking the other day about the fact that environmental thinking really got started 50 years ago. But the article up top and the moneyless man, was an old concept, just written large in the dirt found at the waste pile of our times.

My parents and many of you older folk's parents were growing up in times that wasting things was not an option and not thought to be a sound indicator of your mental wellness.

The generations following and the mindset that they have bred has resulted in our current generally seen wasteful attitudes and disconnect.

I was buying some food for a local needy person yesterday, and they had told me that they had not eaten in three days. Now I know them pretty well, but I did figure they were with out money it was the last of the month,( I forgot it was her payday at the time, but the days before she would of have been pennyless) anyway, I got her some food, and as I was in the house, I just thought I would check the fridge because she said it was acting up. My Dad procided the Fridge, he has access to things that most people can't imagine, but in this case we had a spare fridge in storage. So I checked inside, and found some food, no much, but some food, canned rolls, and tv dinners and a bag of french fries in the fridge.

In my mind that is all edible food, I'd have been eating potatos for most meals, maybe even potato soup made with them. But she did not see that as food, because she did not like them. The disconnect is that if it is food and even if you don't like it, and you are starving, do you sit back and not eat it, or do you eat it and thank god that you have something even though it is not what you want?

Reminds me of the story in the bible the manna from heaven got to be a plain ole drag on the kids in the wilderness and they wanted better foods.

Even though I have been homeless I usually did not turn my nose up at food. I have done my own time dumbster diving, always have done so, people throw away the darnist things. I have not had to hunt for food from them, but I have found food in them.

There is a place online where people can go to find food pantries and gardens in there area where the gardeners can give the panties their extra food, and help the needy get fresh foods.


There was also in some cities an organization where resturants could give their overages to a food bank and they would feed the hungry that day with those foods. But I don't know if the organization is still up and running. Health codes are different in different cities, if you get to big of a group working together the Code enforcers show up and tell you to shut it down. I has happened in the past here in Little Rock, where a grass roots project was started and they told us, they wouldn't agree to the places giving food away, it might be bad for the homeless to get food on a daily basis and get used to good food. Which reminds me of another story.

On my blog there is a link to HUSH Homeless united to save the homeless, the lady who runs the show is Jesse Goodrum, She was during most of 2008 and part of 2009 fixing homecooked meals enough to feed about 40 to 80 people every thursday morning at the Salvation Army in Little Rock. They had people every morning coming in with hard boiled eggs and donuts and juice and coffee, and sometimes milk, and vienne weiners in cans. But she fixed them great food on thursdays, things like, chicken roasted in herbs and buttered potatoes;pork chops and rice pilaf, All kinds of stuff like that. Well one day she told me that some well meaning folks told her, Why was she feeding the poor homeless people all that good food( as if it were a waste, that they could not honor the food with their hopeless uselessness).. ( She was a little more fuming than I am right now thinking about it.).

The point is, the people that see the need to help others, have been fighting an uphill battle for a long time. The beggers and homeless and those who try to do something different in our culture, are seen as under class citizens.

I am sure that for a while the general mindset was that tree huggers were those crazy eco-freaks that just needed to get back in the system of earning money in a real job.

Tons of things that can be done and tons of people to do them, but the only thing that can't be done is teach a fool that he is foolish, he won't listen.

At times I get frustrated and want to scream at people, at others I can calm down and nod and listen to them tell me about this or that the homeless, orphans need to do, and when they are through talking, tell them like it really is. I do try to be civil, can't win people over by being mean or rude, even if they are rude and crude back to you.

The system needs to be changed, maybe more people like this guy and the internet and even TOD and All of us with blogs, and the power is literally in our hands, if you have a computer you are powerful, you can spread information to places you never thought possible just 5 years ago, let alone 20 years ago, or 50 years ago. Use it. Change is what change does.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.
Hugs from Arkansas.

Given BP's track record, I am increasingly coming around to the position that BP should be banned from ever again drilling in US waters. To paraphrase Churchill, never before in history have so many been damaged by so few.

I think that BP is to the US oil & gas industry as a malignant cancer is to a human body, and I think that we need to kill the cancer before it kill us.

Houston Chronicle blog poll on whether BP should be banned from drilling in the US (closes at midnight tonight):


Houston Chronicle blog poll on whether BP should be banned from drilling in the US (closes at midnight tonight):


Thanks I rather enjoyed the comment section with that story, seems most of the locals do not support that point of view or at least the ones posting.

Of course, the actual poll results were tied, 47% in favor, 47% opposed to banning BP from drilling in the US.

IMO, the US oil & gas industry needs to see BP "killed" in the sense of seeing them banned from drilling in US waters, before BP kills the US oil & gas industry.

They'll just set up some sort of subsidiary called "US Petroleum" or something, and set it up in a way where the lines of ownership and control are obscured (running through multiple places like the Cayman Islands, for example). I am sure that they are far less concerned about what logo is on the drilling rig than they are about having what the rig brings up from below.

They could still invest, but the point is to keep them, or any subsidiary, from serving as Operator in US waters.

I finally got around to reading Monday's Automatic Earth blog post and spotted the following from Huffington Post's Les Leopold:

It's a troubling saga of public decay: Your high-flying financial manipulations helped bring down our economy. Millions of people lost their jobs and were no longer able to pay taxes; businesses everywhere went under. And now state and local governments are going broke and slicing their budgets. Tens of thousands of teachers are losing their jobs. (Those of you who live in New Jersey are watching this play out with a vengeance, as school programs are slashed to the bone.) Meanwhile, you walk away with billions, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers.

Whilst I agree 100% with the absurdity of the situation we all (globally)  find ourselves in - I cannot fail to notice that Leopold makes no mention of the fact that our entire way of life is predicated on growth built on a foundation of cheap energy. No mention that growth is required to facilitate money created as "debt bearing interest" and NO this has nothing to do with fractional banking.

Most of the TOD contributors are fully aware of the deep and profound ignorance that pervades every corridor of power, every facet of modern life. Yet there is still the issue of how to address that ignorance, how to bring the message home to (for example)  people in the Pacific North West that the situation in the Gulf of Mexico is going to affect them for the rest of their lives. That there will likely be an economic migration of the south-east to the north-west, that oil can only get more expensive, that this in turn places further burdens on already stressed personal economies.

Personally, I believe there is no longer any hope. The survivors will be those that both prepared (past tense)  and are prepared (future tense)  to take extreme measures.

As disgusting, sickening, depraved, immoral, and unconscionable as it may sound - there should have been no aid sent to Haiti instead it should have been a virus. Having stripped Haiti of 99% of its forest, the Haitians are now crossing the border into the Dominican Republic to cut down trees to create charcoal.

Yes, the Haitians are victims of farm subsidies in the USA, but to a far greater extent they are victims of unfettered procreation and their own ignorance. Pretty soon everyone and their dogs will be feeling like victims of something. I think I've transitioned from doomer to despondent.

Sorry, Houston.
I know you're reeling from all this, like any of us. But don't buy into the Haiti story like that 'Unfettered Procreation' .. I'll take that 'virus' comment as a bit of an outburst, and hope that's all it was.

Before the Big Ag manipulations, Haiti has been subjected to a string of backhanded bitc#slaps by the US for decades, probably centuries.. and now, they just got thoroughly slammed by a huge earthquake. Send a virus? Compared to their desperate lunges into Dominican Forests, it looks like the Mote in your Eye is the first thing to beg for a cure..

Fight the fires with water.. not more fire.


(EDIT: It seems like the 'failures' of Haiti are so reminiscent of the 'failures' of New Orleans. They didn't fall.. they were pushed again and again, and others were crouching up ahead to guarantee the trip. "Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline; They're trying to wash us away..." -Randy Newman)

Sure "virus" was an outburst.

When the really big famines, plagues, floods, droughts, pestilence etc. start in various spots around the world, no doubt sending aid and appeals for donations will build and build until donation appeal fatigue sets in and people just wring their hands and say "what more can we do" - not realizing that to a considerable extent (if they are long time residents of the USA, Canada, most of Europe, Japan, et al.)  they are responsible for the dilemmas and tragedy that unfolds before us.

RE: "Mote in your Eye", rest assured there is none.

I'm not even talking about aid..

I'm talking about for starters not hiring gangs of thugs from South America any more to take out elected leaders ..would be a good start.


March, 2004-

The groundwork for this coup was laid during the months when Aristide was first re-establishing his government. When the Clinton Administration reinstated Aristide, it too brought in the Marines, ostensibly for nation-building but also to make sure the reinstalled president didn't get up to any populist shenanigans: Clinton knew he was bringing Aristide back against the will of the Haitian elite, and the US President feared both another coup by the elite against Aristide, and then revenge by Aristide's supporters. So the Marines secured the transition back to Aristide and then remained for about a year and a half, during which time they did not disarm the Haitian army or the remainder of the Duvaliers' feared Tontons Macoutes. It was clear at the time that the Americans wanted to make sure there would be arms floating around that could be used against the Haitian government if need be.

One should be clear about the opposition in Haiti right now: although it includes some very good people, it is largely a group of malcontent career politicians, wealthy businessmen and ambitious power-seekers. It is exactly the kind of "civil society" opposition the United States encouraged and financed when it was attempting to remove Manuel Noriega in Panama. The Haitian opposition, too, was financed and organized during the Aristide years by US-funded groups like USAID's Democracy Enhancement Project and the International Republican Institute, an organization established in 1983 "to advance democracy worldwide." These have played a central and critical role in keeping an unpopular Haitian opposition alive and obstructionist. At every turn, the US-backed opposition tried to bring political life under Aristide to a halt.

I do not dispute that USA historical and current foreign policy is largely a shambles - whether it is direct, indirect, covert or overt.

In fact, domestic policy and the descent into an Orwellian 1984 Police State is not much better.

People from Somalia board a ship in international waters and hold it for ransom, typically with no one dieing - its piracy (I'm not disputing this).

Israeli commandos board ships in international waters, shoot and kill nearly a dozen people, that appeared to be armed with nothing more significant than wooden clubs and it is not piracy it is something they think is defensible.

The hallmark of the descent is a transition to more and more situations that should be recognized as being predicaments not problems.

The USA should not be trying to spread "democracy" or "capitalism" until we know they work - separation of church and state was a good start, it's a shame the founding fathers could not anticipate the equally valid need for separation of business and state.

Digressing and extrapolating to the ends of the Earth are not going to change any of the ultimate outcomes.

Israeli commandos board ships ... kill nearly a dozen people

This is way off topic re Peak Oil

All the same, why do you have a special "Pound of Flesh" Rule reserved just for Jews?

If an American drone plane kills 50 (fifty) people at an Afghan wedding party, that's OK.

If BP corporation kills 11 of its employees on a Deep Horizon rig through gross negligence, that's OK --no UN council meeting convened for that one.

But if a bunch of Jews have the "audacity" to defend their homeland (using paint ball guns) against a gang of avowed Jew haters who proclaim their intent to kill all Jews and who are running a so-called "aid" ship to an avowed terrorist group (Hamas) that needs no further "aid" supplies from a Love Boat Flotilla but wants very much to acquire missiles, bombs, etc. for a publicly proclaimed 'final solution' campaign, that's OK --by you people (yes I mean you Nazis, let's call you what you are even if speaking truth to deception slightly pinches your Jew-hating subconscious nerves.)

BTW, it was 9 (nine) killed, not "nearly a dozen"

The 11 who died on the BP oil rig, that was "nearly a dozen"

No UN council convened for them.

Do you see the special double standard?

No. Why would you?

The truth conflicts with your pre-made up mind on why Jews should always turn the other cheek.

(Obviously the turn-the-other-cheek model of Jews is very convenient for you should you choose to kick a kike today. Heaven forbid that the Jew might actually turn around and punch you hard and loud in your Nazi-loving face. Oh my. Lions, tigers and Jews who fight back. Oh my.)

Sorry for the rant folks.
The Nazi cockroaches that fester even here on TOD know no bounds until you flash the torching light of truth on their hypocritical and cowardly Jew-baiting ways.

They are too chicken to draw cartoon caricatures of Mohamed.
They are too chicken to march down the streets of Selma Alabama shouting the N-word. (Although God knows how much they want to).

But what the heck, they figure. There's a measly 7 million Jews left in Israel. Let's have a go at them It's church approved, good clean fun. Adolf would be right proud of this.

Sorry, Step Back, but Israel really stepped in it this time, and the US NEVER holds them to account..

this imbalance is only going to make it worse for Israel, which I do not want to see fall.. but their actions and self-defeating 'defense' activities have done them far more harm than good.


You must be joking.

Consider this:

An Iranian "Peace Flotilla" is heading towards the blockaded and beleaguered New Orleans Strip to bring those long suffering people "aid" and assistance, including means for throwing all BP employees and infidel Americans into the sea.

The UDF (USA Defense Forces), having heard chants of 'Death to America' on public Radio/TV by the Iranians decides it will just sit there and let the so-called "Peace Flotilla" cross over from "International" waters into US waters without doing anything because, ... because as you know, we Americans never act proactively. We always wait for all 10 airplanes to crash into our vital infrastructure and then we politely turn the other cheek. That's just who we are and why we expect the Israeli's to be exactly the same way.

After all, the cry of "Never Again" was never uttered in the first place by the Nazi-decimated Jewish people.

They always have and always will turn the other cheek.

How sheik of them to do so.

Perhaps you need another reminder of how "Peace Flotilla in our Time" operates:

Hitler and Chamberlain in warm friendship

Peace [Flotilla] in Our Time ... Hallelujah

step back: This is way off topic re Peak Oil

I partially agree. Hence my conclusion that "Digressing and extrapolating to the end of the Earth...", but my guess is you never read that far. My point is that the problems faced (for example)  by the UK government dealing with the IRA, by the Israelis dealing with Hamas, by the Russians dealing with ... (you get the picture), is that the situations we need to deal with in modern society are no longer of the type "do we choose a turkey or an eagle as our national bird".

step back: All the same, why do you have a special "Pound of Flesh" Rule reserved just for Jews?

I have a special rule? That's news to me. If Hamas lobs rockets into Israel then Israel is entirely justified in sending an even greater response - they often do.

step back: If an American drone plane kills 50 (fifty) people at an Afghan wedding party, that's OK.

Sorry, I do not recall saying any USA military action is OK. Kindly remind me.

step back: If BP corporation kills 11 of its employees on a Deep Horizon rig through gross negligence, that's OK --no UN council meeting convened for that one.

You start with an "if" and end with a rhetorical question - implying that is my position. Whilst that may be the conclusion reached through a judicial process, I am quite sure no one can state that as a fact yet. Basically you are constructing a straw-man argument.

Your argument falls apart because equating an occupational hazard -- working on an oil and gas rig with very large quantities of material known to be highly explosive -- with death as a consequence of military action, is invalid. That is such a poor argument, it hardly warrants a response.

step back: ... using paint ball guns... it was 9 killed ...

I need to git me some of them thar paint ball guns.

step back: Do you see the special double standard?

No. Why would you?

The truth conflicts with your pre-made up mind on why Jews should always turn the other cheek.

(Obviously the turn-the-other-cheek model of Jews is very convenient for you should you choose to kick a kike today. Heaven forbid that the Jew might actually turn around and punch you hard and loud in your Nazi-loving face. Oh my. Lions, tigers and Jews who fight back. Oh my.)

To put it mildly, that is an ad hominem attack, as is the rest of your rant. When I rant, I at least have the civility to rant at the world in general.

Try to put your emotions aside and work on your reading skills.

I need to git me some of them thar paint ball guns.

Yes you should get yourself some of them paint ball guns.

And also pack a lethal side arm in case some them thar "peace in our time" activists get active to the point where they are beating you to death with all their love and baseball bat kisses.

I think all will agree that I clarified my point and yet you persist with an off-topic and unnecessary digression.

The argument is not about whether the Israelis (apparently that's Jews to you)  were acting reasonably and lawfully (in my opinion, in this instance, they were not)  - the argument is about whether the situations we are dealing with these days have moved from being problems (with solutions)  to predicaments (with no solutions).

I could argue the subtle distinctions of what is happening in the photo above and point out that it is only fair to judge what is happening in the context of what preceded it. But it is obvious that I would be arguing with your emotions, a self defeating proposition.

I am also convinced that subtle distinctions mean practically nothing to you. One subtle distinction would have been for the Israelis to wait for the boats to enter their territorial waters - this would have changed their boarding from de facto illegal to legal. But whatever.

Well, I'm sure that IDF PR tape tells the whole story.

Of course, there are lots of stories.


Statements by senior Israeli military commanders made in the Hebrew media days before the massacre revealed that the raid was planned over a week in advance by the Israeli military and was personally approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak. The elite Israeli commando unit known as Unit 13 was tasked with carrying out the mission and its role was known by the Israeli public well before the raid took place. Details of the plan show that the use of deadly force was authorized and calculated. The massacre of activists should not have been unexpected.

On May 28, three days before the raid, top Israeli military officials revealed details of their strategy to Maariv, Israel’s most widely circulated paper. The caption of the Maariv article reflected the military command’s plan to use force: “On the way to violence; one of the boats is on its way.”

Here is a translation of relevant portions of the article:

So it was planned


Haneen Zoubi said Israeli naval vessels had surrounded the flotilla's flagship, the Mavi Marmara, and fired on it a few minutes before commandos abseiled from a helicopter directly above them.

And they fired first from the helicopter

And the rest is history

Israelis subdued captain by pointing gun at a child
Dubai/Cairo: According to a report in The Guardian, an Algerian activist, who gave her name as Sabrina, revealed that Israeli troops pointed their gun at a one-year-old Turkish child in front of his parents to force the captain of the Mavi Marmara to stop sailing.

A U.S. citizen was among those killed in Israel's flotilla raid Monday, the AP reports. ABC News, quoting the Anatolian news agency, reports that Dogan was shot at "close range, with four bullets in his head and one in his

She added that within minutes of the raid beginning, three bodies had been brought to the main room on the upper deck in which she and most other passengers were confined. Two had gunshot wounds to the head, in what she suggested had been executions.

The flotilla was filled with people just like you and me who finally decided it was time to risk life and limb to take a stand, to break through those prison walls, and we can thank them for it.

The Israeli government has rejected a UN Security Council resolution calling for an international investigation of their attack on a civilian aid ship earlier this week, saying that they would conduct their own internal probe and that this was good enough.

Edward Peck, a career foreign service officer and former ambassador, was with the Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla that was raided by Israel on Monday. He was detained by Israel, processed and expelled from the country. Now back in the United States, he spoke with Salon on Thursday.

Shameless lies from a criminal caught red-handed, Haaretz's Gideon Levy saying:

"The Israeli propaganda machine has reached new highs (distributing) false information. It embarrassed itself by entering a futile public relations battle....There is nothing to explain, certainly not to a world that will never buy (its) web of explanations, lies and tactics."


The sloppy Israeli propaganda effort against the Free Gaza humanitarian flotilla has been so bad that the pictures released by the Israeli army have been tagged by alert bloggers as forgeries, some of them having been on the Web for years. This site alleges that many of the pictures put out by Israel purporting to show arms on the aid ship still contained internal tags allowing them to be identified as old photos from years ago. Even if the charges of forgery are false, the photos show chains, sticks, an axe– things that would be on any ship.


Netanyahu also presents Gaza not as a territory conquered and occupied by Israel, but as an independent Hamas “regime” with which Israel is actively at war– a war that would justify a military blockade that must be honored by other nations. But Gaza isn’t an independent ‘regime’. It is not a state at all. It has no army or navy. It is the height of cruelty for Netanyahu to deny the Palestinians statehood but then to declare that he may half-starve them because he is at war with a Palestinian state! Gaza is a territory occupied by Israel, which controls its borders, air space and seas, and even whether its children may have chocolate and nutmegs (the answer is no, and I can’t help hearing in my mind a version of the line from Seinfeld about the cranky soup chef: ‘No nutmeg for you!’)

So the entire ‘blockade of an enemy state during war’ analogy to World War II trotted out by Netanyahu and his minions is mind-bogglingly stupid.

Since in the real world Israel is the Occupying power in Gaza, it is responsible under the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 for the welfare of its residents. Israel may not alter their lifeways, may not engage in collective punishment, and may not arbitrarily “put them on a diet” as a Likud spokesman observed was the real motive of the blockade when it was first tried out.

Finkelstein on Gaza Flotilla Attack

"I need to git me some of them thar paint ball guns."

I don't recommend it. A paint ball gun does you very little good when you are mobbed by 8 men with cudgels and every intent to kill you with them. That is what happened to the first IDF soldier to board that ship.

Well, the reason it was not piracy for the Israelis to board that ship is that customary international law, as detailed in the San Remo protocol on naval warfare, holds that blockades are not piracy. Simple as that.

But, in a situation where the US's leverage declines, the US's ability to stand for international law declines compared to the abilty of other nations to creatively reinterpret it.

Apuleius: Well, the reason it was not piracy for ...

I did not say the Israeli act was piracy.

Apuleius: ... Simple as that.

I think the situation in the middle east is anything but simple.

Apuleius: ... the US's ability to stand for international law

The USA cherry picks only those situations that are in its own interest. I have only one question for you - if you seriously believe the USA stand's for international law, then why has it not signed-up for this?

Rule of law versus rule of man. Institutions like the ICC would belong squarely in the latter category.


With due respect, you got special rules for special people.
Simple as that.

It is simply not true that "almost a dozen" (12) baseball bat swinging peace-niks got killed in the "Peace Flotilla in Our Times" incident. Nine is not 12.

On the other hand it is true that almost a dozen (11= 12-1) human beings and employees of BP who trusted in their overlord (BP) were killed due to gross and probably criminal negligence. See this link

No UN Council was convened to look into the death of the 11 unfortunate BP employees (who BTW were not volunteering to run through a legitimate anti-Hamas blockade).

Like I said, and like you don't like, different rule strokes for different Hebe and non-Hebe folks,
that's basically what you are subscribing to and that's the way the rabidly anti-Semitic UN rolls.

I know I'm not gonna change ya ways. But at least 'fess up to it in front of a mirror. You want the Israeli's to roll over and turn the other cheek. They're saying F*ck No. That disturbs you somehow. You iz what you iz. And it ain't being pro iz real.

Some will say what follows is ad hominum, whatever.

"Almost" denotes not quite. You are of course free to choose only 11 as being almost a dozen, and 10 (or 9)  not so much.

Obviously you have access to information no one else has and you know for a fact that the number of deaths is exactly 9 with no margin for error.

Further, you can also see into the future and you know that any injuries that have not already resulted in death, were also not critical and possibly going to result in additional death in the near to medium-term future.

No doubt, you have some ultra tight definition on exactly when a death in the future needs to occur for it to be directly attributable to the boarding.

Unlike you, I cannot see into the future, so I have no way of knowing if 9 is going to become 10, or 11, in order to satisfy your definition of what constitutes "almost" a dozen. But wait, where is the rule that I need to satisfy any of your requirements. To put it extremely mildly you are being a pedantic imbecile.

step back:On the other hand it is true that almost a dozen (11= 12-1) human beings and employees of BP who trusted in their overlord (BP) were killed due to gross and probably criminal negligence. See this link

There you go again, attempting to state as fact something that can only be determined as a consequence of an investigation and judicial proceeding.

Whilst it is possible that a BP sub-contractor may have been "grossly" negligent, and by extension (through oversight) this implicates BP - I somehow doubt that the evil "overlords" were involved in any kind of conspiracy to deliberately kill their own employees and drive their stock down. Like any modern jet liner crash, their are likely multiple factors involved, perhaps the biggest being complacency and arrogance that the depth of water was not an issue. It is highly likely, at the end of day, that the BP disaster stems largely from the excessive complexity that is a requirement of contemporary society - I am sorry if this is all way over your head.

And once again the rest of your post shows us someone foaming at the mouth. Get off your knees and stop offering fellatio to every minority group you perceive - because we are all in a minority at some point.

There you go again, ...

And you my esteemed TOD colleague, also have not allowed any judicial or other fact-collecting procedures to develop in the case of the guilty-as-charged Israeli's (Hebe's don't need no trial, they're all guilty as charged even before the facts are in)

Here is some newly developing information (could be dis-information, I'll grant you that --but ditto for your so called facts):

The Turkish Islamic charity behind a flotilla of aid ships that was raided by Israeli forces on its way to Gaza had ties to terrorism networks, including a 1999 al-Qaida plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport, France's former top anti-terrorism judge said Wednesday.

Link to above snippet is here

"There ya go again" ... isn't that what Raygun Ronnie always used to say? :-)

So in the space of 24 hours I have changed from a (I paraphrase)  "festering Jew hater with a Nazi face" to your "esteemed TOD colleague"?

Rest assured my relatively sanguine opinion of you changes at a glacial pace.

Regarding your link - who gives a toss? Bruguiere somehow has gone from being a finder of fact, to a source of facts! If, in his investigations, he found evidence sufficient to support factual findings, then the evidence should be allowed to (metaphorically)  speak for itself.

And as much as I adore the French language, culture, food, champagne and bicycle tours in France - lets not forget this.

... evidence sufficient to support factual findings

Dang Houston, you're starting to sound like a lawyer

But if you support Hamas, we must deduce that you are the Devil's Advocate ;-)

Apuleius: Rule of law versus rule of man. Institutions like the ICC would belong squarely in the latter category.


there should have been no aid sent to Haiti

In a sense all they did with the aid is prop them up to suffer some more. Now all the fuss is over and the world has turned its a attention to other things like the Gulf oil spill, what are those people doing except fighting over scraps of food.

An interesting thing did happen though. There was no big effort by anyone to move them off that island to the US or anywhere else. I thought that was very interesting and a sign of the times.

Perk Earl:In a sense all they did with the aid is prop them up to suffer some more.

Exactly. As a race, we are fast approaching a point, of learning the hard way, that it would have been better to either let nature take its course or limit aid to pain killers.

The ultra conservative amongst us are no doubt aghast at such a suggestion. These are the type of people that prefer their children not to see how a lion actually kills its prey - and are happy that nature programs ensure there is a large bush between the camera and the action. When their innocent baby asks what is the lion doing, they reply with the euphemism it's having its "dinner".

Perk Earl: An interesting thing did happen though. There was no big effort by anyone to move them off that island to the US or anywhere else. I thought that was very interesting and a sign of the times.

Indeed. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we are already on the down-slope. The only question that remains is; how fast and how chaotic the descent?

Every week, Denninger, Kunstler, Greer, the Automatic Earth, et al. pile on the evidence.

Citizens Utility Board in Chicago launches first-in-nation "Rewards" program to help customers reduce electricity biils.



The link to the CUB Energy Saver program is down at the moment I guess the volume crashed the site already.
Edit : It's back up and working now.

Despite many claims here that the US economy is now in some type of deflationary economic collapse, demand for oil products indicates that is not so. Well at least for now, check with me again after a GOM oil soaked hurricane-apocalypse.

Anyway the start of the summer driving season in the US was off to a fast start based upon gasoline sales.

It appears that last week's EIA report showing oil product demand up 5% as measured against the comparable month last year was not a fluke. [The next EIA report is tomorrow, delayed by the Monday holiday].

US weekly gasoline demand up 3.7 pct-MasterCard

It appears that last week's EIA report showing oil product demand up 5% as measured against the comparable month last year was not a fluke.

I'm not sure that percentage increase over this time last year is really that big a deal. At this time last year things were pretty bad. Millions of people were in financial straits.

US weekly gasoline demand up 3.7 pct-

From this time last year or the week before Memorial day weekend? If its the latter, then that's probably par for the course.

I think we're into another period of supposed green shoots, but the question is are these really great stats or are they mediocre due to the time period they are being compared?

It's kind of like falling off a cliff, then one year later they say, "Hey, look, he's staggering on one foot!!"

I'm back to watching paint dry and grass grow as these pages are loading so slow. Anyway, I know the great people at TOD are on it.

One problem I'm having is I put together a post, then hit save and watch that circular spinning bit as it tries to load. I give up on it and try again, but it still doesn't take. But when I go to the messages, there are multiple postings. Odd, but true.