Drumbeat: June 7, 2010

Another Ship Sent to Catch More Oil, Coast Guard Says

The containment cap placed over the stricken well on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico is capturing as much oil as BP can collect, so another ship is being sent to the site to increase capacity, the Coast Guard said on Monday.

Though considerable amounts of oil are still escaping from the well into the gulf, some 11,100 barrels were collected on Sunday, the admiral heading the federal response to the spill said on Monday at a briefing in Louisiana. The additional equipment on the way will increase the capacity to 20,000 barrels a day.

The sheer volume of oil gushing from the well — now known to be several times greater than the rough estimate used for weeks after the accident that left the well out of control — has forced BP to temporarily halt its attempts to close the vents on the capping device. . Oil continues to escape through some of the vents. One technician, amazed at the power of the oil gushing from its depths, called it “one hell of a well.”

BP Captures More Oil as Spill Costs Reach $1.25 Billion

he company said it brought 11,100 barrels of crude to a ship on Sunday after having collected 10,500 barrels Saturday, up from slightly more than 6,000 barrels the previous day.

BP sees 'severe' financial fallout from spill

Looking ahead, Hayward also said the moratorium imposed by the US on new deepwater drilling in the Gulf could reduce its crude production by up to 50,000 b/d next year and 75,000 b/d in 2015.

Hayward said final investment decisions on its six current Gulf oil projects already have been taken and delays to drilling development wells would hit output.

Last year, BP's production from the Gulf of Mexico was some 467,000 b/d of oil equivalent or 12% of its total production.

BP was hoping to bring onstream a further development stage of its Atlantis field in the Gulf before 2015. BP's five other deepwater Gulf projects include Tubular Bells, Mars B, Galapagos, Na Kika and Horn Mountain.

According to a report by Barclays Capital, Gulf of Mexico liquids production could decline by as much as 175,000-275,000 b/d if the government moratorium on drilling in waters of more than 500 feet lasts a full year.

$100 Oil Will Soon Be Here to Stay, Says Former Shell Oil President

Hofmeister predicts that, if the world economy recovers at all, the cost of oil will surpass $100 a barrel either at the end of this year or during the first half of 2011. Furthermore, he foresees prices staying in the triple digits until an alternative source of energy begins to replace liquid fuel.

"I think over the next 5 to 10 years we will peak in the production of what's called conventional or easy oil," he says. "We will not in anyway peak relative to the resources left in the earth. But the resources left in the earth will be higher risk and higher cost to produce, which will increase the cost basis on which ultimately gas prices are set."

BP struggling to process cap-collected mix of oil, seawater

BP PLC apparently underestimated the amount of processing capacity it would need to handle the gusher at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico after fixing a container cap atop the blown well, according to a report on Monday.

BP decided Sunday to keep some of the four vents open on the cap over its leaking well a mile below the surface of the Gulf because it didn't have enough processing capacity to handle the mix of sea water and oil coming from the gusher, according to a New York Times report.

The newspaper cited an unnamed technician working on the operation.

The cap was already capturing about 10,000 to 15,000 barrels a day without all its vents closed, while the Discoverer Enterprise drill ship at the site is equipped to handle up to 15,000 barrels a day.

"There is no chance to close the vents when you are at maximum production," the technician said, meaning oil continues to flow in.

Baker Hughes: US Oil, Gas Rig Count Down 29 To 1,506 This Week

The number of rigs drilling for oil and natural gas declined this week as the growing oil spill in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and subsequent drilling ban pared back activity.

The number of oil and gas rigs fell to 1,506 rigs, down 29 rigs from the previous week, according to data from oil-field services company Baker Hughes Inc (BHI). . .

The offshore drilling rig count fell by half this week to 24 rigs, according to Baker Hughes.

AP IMPACT: Many Gulf federal judges have oil links

More than half of the federal judges in districts where the bulk of Gulf oil spill-related lawsuits are pending have financial connections to the oil and gas industry, complicating the task of finding judges without conflicts to hear the cases, an Associated Press analysis of judicial financial disclosure reports shows.

Thirty-seven of the 64 active or senior judges in key Gulf Coast districts in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida have links to oil, gas and related energy industries, including some who own stocks or bonds in BP PLC, Halliburton or Transocean — and others who regularly list receiving royalties from oil and gas production wells, according to the reports judges must file each year.

Why the Oil Spill Won't End Gulf Drilling

More than 246 million vehicles are on the road today, and the truth is we still are at least 30 years away from electric cars on a scale that would have an impact, said Ebinger, who has served as an energy policy adviser to more than 50 governments. Even replacing a few million cars with electric vehicles is a "long way from getting our dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector ended," he said.

The Brightside of the BP Oil Spill


* Your shrimp dish comes pre- marinated.

* Newly affordable water front properties.

* Frolicsome beachside tar ball fights.

* Gulf Coast salad dressing: just add vinegar.

* Jet Skis able to refuel mid- trip.

* Lubricated Jelly Fish.

* Mortared with oil and tar, sand castles now tide- proof.

* Fewer silly election year cries of "Drill, Baby, Drill."

* No more squeaky oysters.

* Need an oil change? Wander down to water's edge and squeegee a duck.

* Hot enough day, and voila: the world's largest fish fry.

* Don't bother drilling for oil, the oil is coming to us.

* Romantic beach bonfires 24/7.

* Wriggling out of your tight swimsuit is a breeze.

* Every Gulf dock and pier instantly doubles as a Slip and Slide.

Hurricanes could derail August oil leak deadline

Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico would force the shutdown of BP's relief well operations, further hampering what BP has said is the best sure-fire way of plugging the massive oil leak.

Coast Guard Sees Cleanup of Spill Lasting Until the Fall

The Coast Guard commander in charge of the federal response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico warned on Sunday that even if the flow of crude was stopped by summer, it could take well into autumn — and maybe much longer— to deal with the slick spreading relentlessly across the gulf.

The Gulf oil spill muddle: when oil nears shore, confusion begins

A group of Gulf Coast mayors erupted Saturday, blaming BP for letting the Gulf oil spill come ashore. But on Sunday, Obama's man in charge said it was federal coordinators' responsibility. The exchange laid bare a still-misunderstood chain of command for onshore operations. . .

Allen summed it up this way: “Coast Guard is the federal on-scene coordinator for this response. BP is the responsible party. We are the ones accountable to make sure BP does the job.”

That gap – the space between the logistical capabilities that BP brings to bear and the Coast Guard’s ability to oversee their deployment effectively – has been the single murkiest area of command and control during the cleanup.

Gulf's Fishing-for-Fun Culture Also Takes Hit

With about a third of federal waters in the Gulf closed to fishing as of the weekend, scores of local angler tournaments are being nixed, bait shops are empty and charter boats are idle, illustrating the extent to which the slick is hurting not only commercial fishermen but the Gulf's deep tradition of recreational fishing.

Shale Gas Well Blowout Raises Specter of New BP: Energy Markets

Pennsylvania natural gas well “blowout” last week helped drive prices to a 14-week high on concern that tighter restrictions on offshore drilling following BP Plc’s Gulf of Mexico spill will spread onshore.

The incident on June 3 at the project operated by EOG Resources Inc. shot flames and drilling fluids 75 feet (23 meters) into the air, the state Department of Environmental Protection said in a statement on June 5. The well is in the Marcellus Shale gas find in Clearfield County, about 122 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Gas well problems likely, filmmaker warns

Josh Fox, of Wayne County in northeastern Pennsylvania, said problems can occur with five to 10 natural gas wells of every 100 drilled.

“We probably never will learn what caused the blowout,” Fox said prior to the showing of “Gasland,” his recently completed documentary about the potential environmental impacts of the drilling and fracturing process now in use.

“There could be big problems underground. Blowouts are very common,” the 37-year old Fox said.

Cornyn to Kerry: Try hitting some singles instead of home-run energy legislation

A Republican senator on Sunday said he would work with Democrats on limited energy proposals but warned against a comprehensive energy and climate bill that congressional leaders want to push this summer. “We need to be very careful here,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said on ABC's "This Week" as he responded to a call from Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that Congress use the Gulf Coast oil spill to advance sweeping energy and climate legislation.

Cornyn urged Kerry to think small.

“I think rather than try to hit a grand slam home run, I’d like to work with Sen. Kerry and others to try to hit some singles,” said Cornyn, who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He mentioned nuclear power, improved battery technology and expanded natural gas production as areas that could form the basis of an energy bill.

Policies bring ruinous results

We are increasingly faced with insurmountable challenges; debt, rising costs, higher taxes, energy shortage, oil gushing into our Gulf waters and onto our pristine beaches.

We wring our hands and point out fingers. Blame this one, damn that one.

The farmer for high prices, when we forced the restrictions. The illegal immigrants when we elected the scum who allowed them to illegally immigrate. The greedy banks while demanding loans we can't repay. Oil companies for making too much money, forgetting they keep our automobiles running, our air-conditioners and furnaces humming and provide millions of jobs.

Look into the mirror.

Hawaii’s weather, high gasoline costs lure electric vehicles

The first car imported to Hawaii in 1899 was an electric vehicle.

The royal Iolani Palace, home to the former king, lays claim to having electricity installed less than seven years after Thomas Edison invented the first practical light bulb.
Now, state officials and business leaders want Hawaii to become the real-world test ground for a burgeoning electric and alternative-fuel car industry.

The fierce urgency of energy

What we're doing with energy – what we've been relentlessly, myopically doing after being warned and warned about the consequences – is exacerbating a climate change already well under way by refusing to acknowledge that this is a crisis. Not a Priority #6, we-should-maybe-get-around-to-that-tomorrow-or-day-after-tomorrow kind of crisis. A right-now crisis. We have to stop dinking around.

We should treat our energy crisis like World War II.

Energy: Crisis ahead

ARGUABLY the biggest challenge facing not just India but the entire world in the 21st century is the challenge of depleting fossil fuels. For too long now, fossil fuels-particularly petroleum and natural gas-have fuelled global economic growth.

But now these fuels are rapidly getting exhausted, putting the world in a very uncomfortable and dangerous position. Already, India’s imports of petroleum have doubled from approximately 80 million metric tonnes in 2001/02 to 160 million metric tonnes in 2008/09. There are no signs of this demand peaking and stabilising. We are using oil as if there is an unlimited supply of it; instead of recognising the problem (that oil is a finite source and will deplete soon) and focusing on developing clean, renewable sources of energy.

Biofuels and Food Prices: An Update

When U.S. food price inflation hit 5.5 percent in 2008, a lot of people pointed to growth in biofuel production as the culprit. A lot has happened in the last two years, so it may be a good time to revisit old arguments in the light of recent experience.

Between 2005 and 2008, U.S. ethanol production increased from less than 4 billion gallons to more than 9 billion gallons. As more of the nation's grain was used to produce ethanol, the price of corn more than doubled, from $2.00 per bushel for the crop harvested in 2005 to $4.20 for the crop harvested just two years later. Prices for other crops also increased, and food price inflation hit the highest level in decades.

Food price inflation slowed dramatically in 2009, to just 1.8 percent, and it currently appears that 2010 food inflation will only be slightly higher. What happened? And what does it imply for the debate about the effect of biofuels on food prices?

Surging costs hit food security in poorer nations

Families from Pakistan to Argentina to Congo are being battered by surging food prices that are dragging more people into poverty, fueling political tensions and forcing some to give up eating meat, fruit and even tomatoes.

USA - Tyson leading the meat trade pack in bio fuels

Tyson—one of the world's largest processors of chicken, beef, and pork—and the fuel company Syntroleum broke ground in Geismar, Louisiana, on a "renewable" diesel plant. The fuel will be produced in part with Tyson factory farm byproducts, including animal fat and poultry litter. ("Litter" is the euphemistic term for poultry poop mixed with feathers, leftover feed, bedding, and whatever else ends up on the factory floor.)

Tyson says this plant, along with another one it's building with oil giant ConocoPhillips in Borger, Texas, will produce diesel destined for military and commercial aircraft. Once it is working at full capacity, the Geismar plant alone, Tyson estimates, will produce roughly one quarter of the country's current total output of biofuels.

Brazil buries carbon plan

A proposal supported by the UAE to fund the fight against climate change by burying carbon pollution underground has been blocked by a powerful, perhaps insurmountable foe: Brazil.

IEA counts $550bn energy support bill

The world economy spends more than $550bn in energy subsidies a year, about 75 per cent more than previously thought, according to the first exhaustive study of the financial assistance devoted to oil, natural gas and coal consumption.

The study by the International Energy Agency, the western countries’ oil watchdog, says phasing out subsidies over the medium term, as agreed last year by the G20, would trigger vast savings in energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Past efforts have foundered as many countries have vested interests in providing lower-cost fuel to their citizens and industries, and in propping up sectors such as coal mining.

1st commercial bike-sharing programs rolling right along

Reducing one's carbon footprint is as easy as riding a bicycle--especially if you live in Toyama or Kita-Kyushu, where the nation's first two commercial bicycle-sharing programs are gliding right along.

Community projects introduced in March enable residents to pick up a bicycle at one location and drop it off at another.

Organizers hope that affordable access to bicycles will eventually create a viable alternative to driving.

Building a better bicycle

Known as the “bicycle guy” around Iowa Park, Mack Carter creates innovative bikes out of other people’s garbage.

“The most expensive bike I have cost me $3 because I had to buy some pieces for it.

So far, Carter has built between 50 and 75 bikes.

“I’ve got tall bikes, low-riders, three-wheelers, recumbents. Anything with two or more wheels. Anything I can imagine,” he said.

Africa’s first high-speed train opens for World Cup visitors

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa will open the continent's first high-speed rail link on Tuesday, just in time to whisk a mass influx of World Cup fans Cup from the country's main airport into uptown Johannesburg.

The three billion dollar Gautrain project has been dogged by a series of problems since work began in September 2006, including strikes and excavation snags, and only one stretch of the line will open for business this week.

Europe’s debt woes push down commodity prices

NEW YORK: The biggest slump in commodities since Lehman Brothers collapsed is undermining Wall Street forecasts for accelerating economic growth and higher prices for everything from copper to crude oil. The Journal of Commerce Industrial Price Commodity Smoothed Price Index that tracks the growth rate of steel, cattle hides, tallow and burlap plunged 57% in May, two years after a decline that foreshadowed the worst recession in half a century. The index of 18 industrial materials declined the most since October 2008 as Europe’s debt crisis widened and China took steps to curb growth.

Agricultural Exporters Still Facing Equipment Shortages

U.S. exporters of agricultural products are likely to give ocean carriers an earful about the woes they are facing in getting their products to market when they convene this week in San Francisco for the 23rd annual Agriculture Transportation Conference. With a few exceptions, exporters of products ranging from almonds to wheat say they still do not have enough containers or ample space on ships to fill their orders in a timely manner. With competition heating up from suppliers in other countries, it is likely that even those exporters who have yet to lose sales may do so in the future.

The problem has been exacerbated by the rapid rebound of the Asian economy - where demand for U.S. beef has grown by 11 percent so far this year and by as much as 250 percent in China - combined with a slow rebound in the U.S. economy which is restricting the number of import containers entering the country.

Area farmers develop their niches

Agriculture once considered only full-time farmers raising grain and livestock to be “real” farmers, but the definition is changing. Only about one-third of Wayne County farmers work exclusively on the farm now, with the other two-thirds also working at other employment.

The mix of crops and animals on an Indiana farm now might include grass-fed beef, goats and llamas, grapes and wine, and homemade goat cheese or soap.

Seeing agriculture as a part of a community’s economic development is still a connection many people don’t make...”

Colin Peterson, the environment and the 2012 Farm Bill

In DC and at field hearings all witness were producers of agricultural commodities, producers of forest products or professors – mostly from land grant Ag schools. Conspicuously absent were witnesses representing the environment; only one organic producer was among the dozens of agricultural leaders who testified.

Scientists tell us that agricultural landscapes are key to maintaining biodiversity and agriculture is now the single most pervasive source of water pollution in virtually every US river basins. While the Clean Water Act has worked well to regulate point sources like sewage outfalls and factories, it has failed to control non-point pollution especially nitrates and pesticides from Ag lands, sediment from forest lands and stormwater run-off from everywhere.

Desalination only solution to avert crisis

He said more than 40 percent of oil and gas production is being used just to produce water, electricity and fuels for cars and industries in Saudi Arabia. These utilities are heavily subsidized, which is benefiting only a handful of people, not the majority of Saudis who need them.

Lack of water threatens Iraq’s long-term stability

The 50-year-old father of five from Falluja in western Anbar province was forced to abandon his 50 acres of land and take a job in construction after years of drought killed off his wheat, barley, tomato, cucumber and watermelon harvests.

He has little hope of returning to farming -- his primary source of income for 35 years -- and plans to sell some of his land as water levels in rivers and reservoirs continue to drop, increasing the concentration of pollutants in the water.

"Day after day, the soil situation is deteriorating because the level of salt is increasing and fertility is decreasing. It's like a cancer hitting the human body," Hasan said.

Already damaged by decades of war and sanctions, Iraq has acute water shortages which are expected to worsen as its population of around 30 million grows.

Total Seeks More Opportunities in Unconventional Natural Gas

June 4 (Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil producer, said falling natural gas prices hasn’t affected its plans expand in shale gas in the U.S. and Europe.

Europe faces an oversupply of gas until 2015, according to the International Energy Agency.

De Vivies said that while gas prices may pick up “in a few years,” helped by rising demand in Asia, consumption in Europe may be stagnant. “We expect high growth from China, India and the Middle East,” he said. “In Europe, maybe we have reached a peak of consumption. Everything will depend on the use of natural gas for power generation.”

Xinjiang Goldwind Seeks to Expand Outside China

"We hope to be one of the world's top three wind-turbine makers in the next three to five years," Mr. Wu said.

Xinjiang Goldwind, the world's fifth-largest wind-turbine maker by capacity, said it expects its 2010 net profit to jump to 2.24 billion yuan (US$328 million) from 1.75 billion yuan in 2009.

Apple Patents Solar Panels Under Multitouch Displays

Apple might be planning to integrate some kind of solar-charging technology in a future iteration of its handheld devices, according to a new patent filing.

Lubimbi coal project among the biggest

“Our immediate priority right now is to get the coking coal to market. I would like to have the first coal shipped from May 2011. Everything is geared towards that date,” Kgadima told Mining Weekly Online.

Water, transport and energy are close by in this coal-mining area that is largely under-exploited. Lontoh Coal is in discussion with Zimbabwe National Railways to refurbish 450 rail wagons and to acquire up to 16 locomotives to give it the capacity to transport an eventual two-million tons of coal a year to the Motola export port at Maputo and also rail coking coal in the copper mines Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo and to ferrochrome producers in South Africa.

The company is planning to produce at a rate of two-million tons a year from Lubimbi and increase output to 10 million tons a year in five years.

What does it mean to “enrich” Uranium?

Let's face it. If it were that simple, nuclear bombs would have been invented long ago. If there's one thing the internet proves, it's that people will never stop looking for flashy ways to hurt themselves and others.

Public meetings this week on proposed uranium mill

MONTROSE COUNTY, COLO. (KKCO)_Want to make your voice heard on plans to build a uranium mill in Montrose County near Naturita? Well you can at one of two upcoming public meetings.

Nuclear fusion dream hit by EU’s cash dilemma

A £15bn international bid to harness the fusion process that powers the Sun is facing a major funding crisis. Scientists have revealed that the cost of the International Thermonuclear Experiment Reactor (Iter) has trebled from its original £5bn price tag in the past three years. At the same time, financial crises have beset all the nations involved in the project.

To date, all prototype fusion plants have consumed more energy than they have generated.

China’s ‘cancer villages’ reveal dark side of economic boom

Like many other residents of Xinglong, a small rural community next to an industrial park in China's Yunnan province, she had little doubt about the source of her cancer. "The pollution in this village is bad, people get sick."

Such stories have become much more common in China in recent years as breakneck economic growth increasingly takes its toll on the nation's health.

Since last year, there has been an explosion of lead poisoning cases close to smelting plants. Studies have shown that communities that recycle electronic waste are exposed to cadmium, mercury and brominated flame retardants. Elsewhere, there have been protests against chemical factories that are blamed for carcinogens that enter water supplies and the food chain.

Nationwide, cancer rates have surged since the 1990s to become the nation's biggest killer. In 2007, the disease was responsible for one in five deaths, up 80% since the start of economic reforms 30 years earlier.

Petrobras Strikes Pre-Salt Oil at Brazil’s Marlim

The company plans to more than double oil production to 5.7 million barrels a day by 2020 as it develops fields sitting below a layer of salt in deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The company is spending as much as $220 billion to finance offshore oilfields including Tupi, the Western Hemisphere’s largest discovery since Mexico’s Cantarell in 1976.

Population self-control - NYT article:



The irony about population control is that the type of people who might think deeply about reproduction or read articles such as this in the NY Times are the very people that should probably be reproducing. If you want to see what the real face of America is and who is actually reproducing watch an old episode of "Cops", go to a Nascar rally or have breakfast on sunday morning at The IHOP or if you live down south The Waffle House.


Yes, these are the wonderful dysgenic effects of birth control. Is it any wonder why gated communities have become more popular over the past few decades?

Yet another phenomenon discussed here on TOD that no one could have predicted.

Hey what a great reference: The Marching Morons I had never heard of it. I especially like the origin of the title:

The title "Marching Morons" is derived from a theory of population growth referred to as "The Marching Chinamen", in which the entire population of China lines up and files through a gate, but China's population is large enough that the children of those currently passing through the gate will mature and have more children, who themselves have time to mature and have yet more children, ad infinitum. As a result, the marching never ends. The best known illustration of the concept was the "Marching Chinese" cartoon published in the Ripley's Believe or Not Comic strip, which claimed four abreast and specified the calculation was based on US Army marching regulation

So that's the origin of the Idiocracy story! Really how far is the assertion that the spill isn't that big compared to the Gulf itself from "Crude oil has the electrolytes plants crave!"

This issue came up a bit in a thread featured in the TOD Europe Campfire yesterday. I got married within the past few months and noted that my wife and I decided not to have children, which I noted as quite the footprint reducer. One reason for that is when I look around the world and a lot of the people in it... seems child abuse almost to try and bring a kid into it. And that'd be a healthy kid. So it's kinda self-reenforcing, the more awful folks there are, the more people who think ahead about little decisions like, oh, producing and raising humans are less likely to. Not a new problem, there's an episode of All in the Family in which Gloria and the Meathead struggle with this.

Incidentally I don't think it's the capacity for learning/genetics that's the problem, I think it's the contempt for book-learnin'. Paraphrasing Bucky Fuller, even an average human is a potential success machine. Having grown up working class myself I can also say that if the household physical environment doesn't support reflective moments, you won't get reflective people.

No one's yet said much about the Simmons thing directly. Well, he's quite out on a limb on this one. I can't think of a comparable example of this kind of neck-sticking-out in my lifetime. Either Chicken Little gone mad or like a Galileo. Let's hope the former.

Frankly, when the crash comes there are some people who do not live in gated communities, who perhaps enjoy IHOP and Nascar, who don't have a high education or speak in cultured words who would be excellent companions. They are the ones who also know some survival skills, like how to kill a deer and what to do with it after they kill it. They know how to fish for food and garden and how to put food by. How many of elite of NYC have those skills. Skills will matter. Learning and education will not. You cannot eat a feeling of superiority. Sure some at the IHOP might not have those skills. But some do and you can't tell by looking or listening to them. Some with little education might not have those skills but some do and you can't tell by their skill with words. But you can be sure that they will not share those skills with people who disdain them. I know some of them and frankly they have equal disdain for the elites and gated community type folks. I share their disdain despite my education. They know stuff that wasn't in any college text books.

The crash is going to be awful, but IMO inevitable and therefore I look forward to seeing smug people who look on various groups of people as being inferior getting their comeuppance. Small pleasures to look forward to in the coming upheaval.

I don't think everyone can go and try to gather food from the forests, that didn't work too well during the great depression.

No not everyone, but likely the people who can, are people you disdain. We have a young man who hunts on our property (and elsewhere) and gives us some of the meat he harvests. Our freezer is always full. Deer, feral hog, wild turkey, catfish, brim, even shark when he has gone to the ocean and once alligator.

Thanks for making that point, Oxid..

It's tough to see the snobbery that comes out of people here sometimes. We've got it up in Maine like anyplace, but generally, you can mix with many levels of people here if you want to, and if you are willing to work at it.

The snobs at either end are suffering from fear or disappointment, but the isolation it creates is no benefit to any of them.. to any of us.

jokuhl, thanks for your comment. Underneath the snobbery, perhaps buried very deep, I think is fear. And the disdain for others unlike self is very isolating. Until we are under the different regime of the crash, whatever form it takes, we don't who will have the resiliency to deal with a new world. We don't know if we ourselves will have it.

It does remind me of one aspect of 'doomerism' or 'collapsitarians' in which I fit the accusations of 'wanting this disaster to happen'

... it's like the stories of WWII, or how NYC was just after 9-11 (maybe a lot of the country, but I don't really know) - It was like the worst thing in the world had happened, was happening, and what did it do? It brought us all together and we forgot most of our differences, and got to work.

Who knows if it'll just be a hellish cock-fight or instead a 'we were poor, but we had love' (heard Loretta do the long version on American Routes last night) situation.. likely a bit of both depending on where and when.. but a guy can hope, eh? I know I'm not the only one!

Hope is like blessing yourself before a bout, it won't help if you can't fight.
My father said (regarding fighting) try to avoid a fight whenever you can but if there is no alternative (there is no "hope" of avoiding the fight) that is when you must be strong and get in the first lick.

WWII for the US came about because it was understood there was no alternative.
Similarly for CFC's and the destruction of the ozone layer. If we had assumed there was an alternative or we could adopt a sit back and see what happens approach, we would be doomed a lot sooner than global warming, peak oil the economic unraveling that is now upon us.

Action on the destruction of the ozone layer was delayed a year by Du-Pont arguing that there was not a problem, they were hoping. (we are still "not out of the woods" on that either) Now we have multiple problems, over population, pollution, deforestation, ocean acidification and I could go on. What is the "hope" for any of those situations? We don't want delays...every minute spent hoping just aids those with the power and resources to watch the destruction from the security of their bunkers.

They are the dangerous people. They preach hope, electric vehicles and railroads, windmills and nuclear fusion, (all money making economic solutions) while all the time preparing for the calamity themselves. They want you to do the hoping and spending while they do the shoring up.

Hopelessness can be our catalyst to action, it's not a do nothing thing, it's a realization that time for hoping is over. We have to get beyond the bargaining stage, we can't spend and engineer our way out of this, that's what got us into the mess we're in. Fight or flight, some will run some will stand and fight, that's not going to happen until the seriousness our our situation is accepted. Like the CFC situation, we need world wide co-operation, no half measures, the pain must be shared.

I understand though, that I am hoping too, I can't help it because I know mine, yours and everyone who ever visited TOD will not make a difference alone. I hope my despair is unfounded, that's my hope.

I guess Joe Cool, that's why I don't need you jumping on me every time I express my despair.

I don't confuse hope with some magical force that will bring good luck around all by itself.

Just like when the topic of being 'Positive Minded' comes up.. it's easy to accuse that or 'Hope' of being empty rhetoric or magical thinking, but that's assuming they are being done as an end to themselves.

'HOPE' is for me the thing that says 'There are good people out there, and if you go out and find them and try to make things work out, you'll be doing better than sitting and EITHER hoping OR despairing at home.'

'POSITIVE THINKING' to me is Shackleton, getting his 1814 crew on a routine of playing Football on the ice and having other routines that got everyone moving and accomplishing tasks that kept them alive with a Minimum of despair in Antarctica for 16 months.

I really dispute the theory you suggested that Hopelessness will incite activity, and when I jump on certain pissy comments, it is because I see them as poisoning the conversations in a place where people are finding the few people who also see this situation, to try to put some ideas together and get some energy from one another. This constant railing against anything positive that can be tried, with either the 'Jeavons Paradox' arguments, or the 'BAU' charges seems to me to be 90% Trauma talking. Sorry if Electric Cars will be sold by businessmen and will make profits in a functioning economy.. nothing is perfect, but that is a step in the right direction, even as it is still in the wrong place. We're here, and we'll still be 'here' as we try to head out of here..

I get it. I get that there is very real terror in all of us about this, and we're going to react to it and deal with it in different ways. But when I see chronic ranting that I feel is toxic to the discussion and to how people are treating each other, then I WILL jump on it. I try to be reasonable in how I do it, but also unremorseful in calling it out. I think it's bullshit, it's antisocial, and I'll say so. I mean really, comparing my Hope that a bad crash has the silver lining of pulling people together in a way that Suburbia never did, to DuPont sowing doubt about CFC's? That's not despair, it's your angst taking over your thinking, because there's no comparison. There ARE some things we can hitch a little bit of encouragement to, and if someone is going to piss all over it, I will start barking, and I might even bite.

But finally, I also don't forget that we're almost entirely all here for the same reason..


Maybe you should apply for the TOD police.

Someone's got to call an entrenching tool a shovel around here.

What does 'Police' have to do with it?

Is it that hard to have a conversation where you're not treated with blind impunity when you feel like going on antisocial rants?

No, I'm not your daddy, but I will act like an adult and speak up when the adolescent urges being displayed here are getting too much airtime.

But we're just talking. I'm not making you do or not do anything.. I'm just telling you what I think it is, when it's off.

I don't think everyone can go and try to gather food from the forests, that didn't work too well during the great depression.

Some of the success depended on the part of the country you were in. My grandparents were all living in rural south-central Iowa. Dirt poor before the Depression, got worse during. Meat on the dinner table was often the result of my then-10-year-old Dad's success hunting small game or fishing (when I was a kid learning to fish, he still distinguished between "sport" fishing and "meat" fishing).

My grandfather owned the little local grocery and regularly sold fresh venison that he took in trade for staples. I saw old copies of the newspaper stories when the local game warden disappeared after announcing one day that he was going out to the woods and take care of some out-of-season hunters.

Of course, you're right that it won't work out for most people.

I agree with you oxidate. I know a lot of those people who know survival skills and I never show them anything but respect. But if you're going to tell me that those rotundas wallowing aimlessly into WalMart with beach-balls that might be children I beg to differ. People who have spent the time learning survival skills don't look like that.

Joe, I know people who are very rotund who know how to put food by from their garden. They learned it when they were young. They got overtaken by too much food available but they still know how to garden and can food from their garden. They may be a small sampling of those you see in Walmart but they exist. How many Wallstreet executives know how to do that (fat or thin). Admittedly I live in rural part of a southern state so I may have a different group of Walmarters than you do. But I have learned that people can surprise you. There can be a toughness in people at the bottom of the economic ladder that surprises. People at the top can be surprising fragile if their world changes. As one friend told me, I'm not afraid of hard times, I know how to be poor.

I have learned that people can surprise you. There can be a toughness in people at the bottom of the economic ladder that surprises. People at the top can be surprising fragile if their world changes. As one friend told me, I'm not afraid of hard times, I know how to be poor.


"those rotundas wallowing aimlessly into WalMart with beach-balls that might be children I beg to differ"
Could obesity be the reason for our love affair with SUVs?

I never did like to get crunched into a small call, even when I was 180 pounds and could run up seven flights of stairs. I am tall, not overly so, but taller than everyone in my family.

SUV's were sold as the working man's city car, in the beginning, just trended with ads where you got themes from the Car makers to push tough and dependable, and you got the female vote because of different things. Then you got the youth vote and bam you have a massive trend, also when it takes $0.89 a gallon there was an upsurge in them 1999 gas was cheap to us now, but even to us then.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future, even if you can't have any Fossil Fuels

I am over weight. I can balance a 6 foot iron gas pipe on my head and walk with it there, balanced and talk to some local black kids about faith and hard work and how thrid world countries handle heavy loads.

Just because I am over wieght does not mean I can't survive in the wild. Just got through picking about 3 pints of dewberries this afternoon. Scouting out the groves of black berries within walking distance, but we were in the van, as we had errands to do, mowing someone's yard (or face a 25 dollar fee), pulling out a dead ceiling fan, buying end of the season Peat Moss (hard to carry that while walking, seeing as we had 6 bags of it)( got a great deal too, 3 dollars off regular prices at TSC, so I'd buy the lot they had left)

I used to rock climb even when overweight.

Sorry to burst your bubble of self worth for being better than the rest of the human race. Lack of compassion will kill the chances of getting through this mess we are all in, you never know you could need that big kid someday to help you out of your wrecked car, house, flood, etc.

Never write off someone that is different than you are. They are all human and they all have feelings, loves, and pain, and some even have compassion for others.

Wal-mart is one of the only places to shop in some cities. We have Krogers, Wal-mart, and a few small places that sell food. Granted the USA has a larger than normal heavy class of citizens, but their worth is not determined by their girth.

As to skills in the wild, I can walk into a feild, sit down and live there over night. What I have in my head, is more than I have on my torso.

Sorry if I sound mad, I am a bit miffed as to your blase attitude as if you are different than they are for some reason, but I still love you.

Hugs to the world that needs it, compassion doesn't grow on trees.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future where people care for their fellow man first.


You can't tell how useful a person is just by looking at them.

Get to know your neighbors, then you'll have a better idea who to count on in a pinch.

If You run into a Hells Angels Club riding on bicycles take my advice and join them. The future belongs to them.

O.K. in the US You are all well armed, but here in europe the common people have to trust in pepper spray to manage that the angels stay hungry. So I think they will be full up every day. Off course, I may be wrong again.

Frankly, when the crash comes there are some people who do not live in gated communities, who perhaps enjoy IHOP and Nascar, who don't have a high education or speak in cultured words who would be excellent companions. They are the ones who also know some survival skills, like how to kill a deer and what to do with it after they kill it. They know how to fish for food and garden and how to put food by. How many of elite of NYC have those skills. Skills will matter.

Thank-you. I know some such people here in Wisconsin. Low education, but salt of the earth who know how to hunt, fish, grow food, make useful stuff out of castoffs (they are master recyclers though they would never identify as environmentalists).

Then there are highly educated people in our neighborhood who obstinately and vociferously oppose community gardens and public orchards.

There are useful people and stupid people among the highly educated and minimally educated.


Y'know, I've *never* felt that my education has been particularly valued. At all. My contemporaries and most of my younger friends (I'm 39) did eveything right as far as staying in school, getting good grades, keeping to the straight and narrow etc etc. All the edumucated jobs are still occupied by baby boomers or older. No one can get tenure in academia, no one can advance in other structures, most people I know with graduate school education have switched careers and abandoned hope in what they strove for. Offshoring work has killed us too. I haven't had a salaried position in 5 yrs. Been laid off about 7 or 8 times. Eventually gave up looking and have two struggling small businesses, either of which I could've done with a 9th grade education.

I would've been better far off economically, beginning with college debt, dropping out of high school and being a day laborer like most of the people I grew up with.

I read the article.
Humans aren't the only creatures to suffer.
Sterilize the planet because life suffers?

We are integral components of a greater being, the planet.
This question is like my brain cells wondering if they should commit apoptosis because they are not happy.

Mind you, it would be good to sell this idea to most of us.
But I found it was only Europeans who bothered to comment.
I think they have too much Ragnarök on their minds.

The reason why I posted the link is because articles like this seem to signify some kind of awareness that perhaps humans are a significant part of the problem. I know the article did not quite articulate it that way but the fact that the topic was brought up in the first place in mass media is a signpost of burgeoning awareness.


I thought the majority of the comments reflected mainstream conventional thoughts - i.e. narrow, shortsighted and a general reflection of the 'yeast' mentality. It was obvious that few people realize we are at the start of drowning in our own waste products.

Taking the example suggested above of watching an early episode of Cops - it is readily apparent that more than 90% of people are not fit to be parents - the bar should be considerably higher than mere possession of working reproductive organs and access to alcohol.

I don't know.
It might work.
But we have to leave the loonies alone. They are the font of creativity.

Lets see..
Free alcohol, drugs, sloth and television to the chosen many?
But Mr Darwin will react and we will end up with resistance from the breeders.
It is a feedback loop.
But it might have bought us time.

Maybe we need estrogenic beer, or some alcoholic product containing the hormone progestogen which evidently switches off the body chemical signals that trigger the formation and maturation of sperm. Then men can get drunk and have unprotected sex without fear of reproduction. Might reduce the alcohol addicts in the population at the same time.

A way forward that I have suggested for decades is legalise hard drugs for addicts but add sterilizing drugs to stop reproduction.

Does that apply to the Harvard and Yale boys and girls who sniff cocaine. Come on, addicts are in every level of society, at every level of intelligence and learning. Just for starts try this list http://www.11points.com/News-Facts/11_Drunkest_Presidents_in_US_History

I know several intelligent people who live responsible lives who had both parents be alcoholics.

But actually if you just put sterilizing drugs in ALL alcohol, and other drugs that would cut the population down, just not a selectively as some like to think.

Why wouldn't it apply to the Harvard and Yale boys and girls who sniff cocaine? If you give out a free supply, the pushers are out of business, the junkies decay exponentially, you have no more crackhead babies after 10 months and the gene pool improves. Sounds like a cheap improvement. Helpful for when the Police 'can no longer answer the phone' - to quote Jim Kunstler.

If female hormones are also oil dispersants I think your opportunity's a-knockin'.

I've always maintained schizophrenia is usually genius gone just a little too far. It's our excuse and we're sticking to it!

J H Kunstler in his latest installment in Clusterf##k Nation Which Horizon , puts it quite succinctly:

So far, also, the US has done nothing in the way of holding a serious national political discussion about the the most important part of the story: our pathological dependency on cars. I don't know if this will ever happen, even right up to the moment when the lines form at the filling stations. For years, anyway, the few public figures such as Boone Pickens who give the appearance of concern about our oil problem, end up down the rabbit hole of denial when they get behind schemes to run the whole US car-and-truck fleet on something besides gasoline.

This unfortunate techno-narcissism shows that almost nobody wants to think about living with fewer cars driving fewer miles. We're going to be dragged there kicking and screaming, but that's our destination, like it or not. All the effort now going into developing alt-fuels and "green" cars is just a form of "bargaining" on the Kubler-Ross transect of grief.

Traveling around the US, it's easy to understand our failure to come to grips with reality. The nation is fully outfitted for extreme car dependency. You go to places like Atlanta and Minneapolis and you understand how deep we're into this. We spent all our collective national treasure -- and quite a bit beyond that in the form of debt -- building the roadway systems and the suburban furnishings for that mode of existence. We incorporated it into our national identity as the American Way of Life. Now, we don't know what else to do except defend it at all costs, especially by waving the talismanic magic wand of techno-innovation.

The obvious remedy for the oil-and-car problem would be to live in walkable towns and neighborhoods served by the kind of public transit that people are not ashamed to ride in. But it may be too late for that. We're going to be a much poorer society from now on. We squandered the financial resources for that transition on too many other things. We're stuck with our investments in houses and their commercial accessories, built where they were built, and no Jolly Green Giant is going to pick them up and move them closer together in an artful way that adds up to real towns. A reorganization of American life will occur, but now it will be on much less deliberate terms, a much messier and more destructive operation, a default to the smaller scale by extreme necessity, with a lot of losses along the way. The Deepwater Horizon incident only hastens the process.

As far as I can see this is the first national emergency Obama has had to deal with and his public face has left a lot of Americans wanting perhaps an angrier man at the helm. In his sound bites from the gulf he was saying the words but the feeling felt more like Tony Hayward telling the world that he "would like to have his life back".


Just wanted to note the irony of dedicating parts of a highway to fallen soldiers.


Hi, everyone. Finally I have a bit of time to post here. Here is some of the back story to the recent NYTimes article (Imagining Life Without Oil, and Being Read).

About 10 weeks ago I sent out a press release to let the media know about Carolyn Baker's new course, Navigating the Coming Chaos of Unprecedented Transitions. The course is for emotional preparation on the spiritual level. By spiritual I mean "one's purpose in life" — not formalized religion. One of the reporters who responded was John Leland of the NYTimes. He had written several stories about the impact of the economy on regular people as well as stories on religion and many stories about the Iraq war.

I know that the mainstream media sometimes portrays us as kooky so due diligence was in order. After reading some of his stories and speaking with him, I determined that the topic was in the best hands possible.

After obtaining permission from all the participants, I gave him access to The UnCrash Course private forums and material. Then he joined us for three Saturdays of Carolyn's course as we dealt with the big emotional issues: what future do we each have? Will do we handle more loved ones dying as this health care system degrades? How will the political system change as it responds to declining oil? What purpose can we each create for ourselves amidst all these changes?

The conversations were rich and we roamed freely looking at each topic in turn with John just listening in.

After that he interviewed several participants and me and Carolyn. I made sure to turn him onto the Transition Initiative so that he could see that regular normal people who happen to be paying attention are getting ready for a world with less oil in it. I also pointed him to Kunstler's The Long Emergency and Heinberg's The Party's Over as books that have opened many people's eyes.

Carolyn made sure during her interview to stress that the possibility of an economic and social collapse is now being discussed by many credible sources.

Interestingly, he chose not to use the spiritual angle. I have no problem with that but it's interesting how what catches a reporter's eye and what gets written can be two different things.

Many people have written me wishing that the article had more facts so that people could see that we have good reasons for preparing for the end of oil. Me too, but when all is said and done I'm still happy with the article. I know that he has to present "the other side" and reporters also have to put stories in their societal context, and I told people that they should expect him to do that. Especially when compared to other articles in the mainstream media I think he did a good job.

Interestingly, he chose not to use the spiritual angle. I have no problem with that but it's interesting how what catches a reporter's eye and what gets written can be two different things.

I view this from an existential point of view.
Many see spiritualism as the escape and control by elite's that its role has historically played.

But it is good that MSM is taking notice.

Mr. Angelantoni, 40, came to his concern about peak oil from an interest in climate change, because he felt its impact would be more precipitous. “The peak oil conversation is where the climate change conversation was 20 years ago,” he said. He distinguished the peak oil crowd from the environmental movement. “The Sierra Club tells people that if we use less energy, the underlying model is sound,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the case.”

The Sierra Club and a lot of other mainstream environmental brands have sold out to the corporate culture. I used to subscribe to the Sierra Club but printing expensive glossy magazines about nature is a part of the problem.

It is almost 6 years since I be come Peak Oil Aware. I don't know whether there is any common experience that people go through as a result of digesting this new paradigm but for me it colors everything I look at which can be a real distraction at times. For one thing I have learned to keep my mouth shut a lot of the time. Most people don't want to hear about it. After all Tony Robbins didn't get rich telling people to expect less.

But there may be salvation coming from Hollywood:

James Cameron on Larry King Live primetime exclusive! Can the groundbreaking film director and expert on deep ocean technology help stop the oil spill? He says he has solutions! Plus, T. Boone Pickens! He has a thing or two to say about the oil spill, BP, and what he’d do if he were in charge!

Tune in and "save the planet".


After all Tony Robbins didn't get rich telling people to expect less.

Just about sums up how (most) humans respond, doesn't it? I give people in the courses the opportunity to see themselves as part of nature rather than somehow aberrant. We are, after all, doing what every species does: fill its ecological niche until the environment knocks it back down to size.

Maybe you should get a "Green Drink" for doomers? It worked for Tony:

Anthony Robbins has spent the past quarter of a century seeking out the principles of vibrant health, vital life and physical mastery - and applying them to his own life with outstanding results.

Following his time spent with health pioneers such as Dr. Robert Young and Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins has created his own range of 'green drinks' under his Inner Balance brand.

Ultra Greens was the Tony Robbins Green Drink that was launched in competition with SuperGreens and other big-names such as Udo Erasmus' 'Beyond Greens' and Xynergy's 'Sweet Wheat'.

It overtook SuperGreens in terms of sales, as with all things that Tony Robbins sets his mind to - Ultra Greens brought the very best value to the end user whilst still being a huge commercial success!

Best hopes for success Andre!


Thanks, Joe. I'll keep releasing courses to address specific areas (post peak health is coming up next) but we're unlikely to have a branded drink!

Most people believe what they read/hear from the media. But when they have first hand background information, they see how inaccurate the reporting is. I often tell people then can believe half of what they read but they'll never know which half. Another way to look at it is that the reporter is in the process of "casting" a story and he is looking for "characters" to play various roles. It is a story I am very familiar with, government as villain, little guy as hero. I've spoken to reporters about their responsibility to society to educate and inform. Some don't see it that way. I remember confronting a reporter for completely misleading the public in a story he wrote. He had no problem with the amount of sensationalism and outright false hoods he wrote because as far as he was concerned it would get the attention of larger papers and ultimately lead to a better job. My advice to people, be extremely cautious with reporters--they are not your friends.

My advice to people, be extremely cautious with reporters--they are not your friends.

Debbie, you're bang on.

Infotainment is the name of the game. The Wizard of Oz had nothing over the smoke and mirrors of these clowns. Yet, despite repeated false leads, the public continues to follow the yellow brick road to find answers in the Emerald City.

The key difference is that the original Wizard was a gentle-hearted - even if totally messed-up - chap. Most contemporary media personalities, both anchors and reporters, are too self-absorbed to be decent. They're just simply messed up.

My advice to people, be extremely cautious with reporters--they are not your friends.

I remember that Sharon Astyk learned this the hard way a year or two ago, with the NY Times. They did a write up on her (hilariously in the "style" section), which made her come off as a borderline child abuser. She was very upset about it.

This comment is general, not to you Debbie, since I know you are experienced with them....

If one treats media behavioristically, as you might a horse, bear, or swarm of bees, they can be useful. It's only 'anthropomorphizing' them that gets you into trouble and raises hopes.

You pretty much can't give them a lot of input and expect them to pick the parts you think they will. You need to control the images they get and the statements they get. This works really really well. A lot of people who think the media is "controlled" just don't understand how to feed it information effectively. Like a zookeeper jiggling a dead mouse so a snake will eat it.

Indeed, the media and reporters really have very little volitional latitude. They are reactive. You can design situations they utterly cannot fail to cover even if they don't like you.

This is a comment on "the media" in general. Obviously if you have a friendly reporter, they can write whatever they like; but whether it will propagate farther once written often depends on how well it fits the formula.

Just an early-morning comment.

Debbie - The off hand tone of your comment is disturbing to me.

You have just described the end of democracy, well informed public and all that hooie. Oh well....what ever.

She's right though. I've seen it happen too many times.

There are a few decent news outlets where the truth matters, but elsewhere "If it bleeds, it leads".

Even the good ones aren't perfect, but it helps if you know the angle your reporter is coming from when you talk to them, that way you know how carefully to watch your words (or whether to say anything at all).

I wonder how many reporters are familiar with the Code of Ethics published by the Society of Professional Journalists:

Seek Truth and
Report It
Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:

— Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
— Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
— Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.
— Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
— Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
— Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.
— Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.
— Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story
— Never plagiarize.
— Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
— Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
— Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
— Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
— Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.
— Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
— Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
— Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public's business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.

It is so much easier for a reporter to play "gotcha" than spend the necessary time to understand the complexities of our energy challenge.

My mother was a newspaper journalist. She used to call her source and read the article to them (before it hit print) to make sure she had quotes and facts correct.

When I was in public works I once asked a reporter to extend me the same courtesy. He said they 'weren't allowed to do that'. :/

Hey, Deb..
Since you have now achieved some sort of Drumbeat editor status, how about doing a "rate the media coveage, 1-10" poll after Leanan gets back and thing settle down a bit. I'm totally disgusted with what I've seen over the last 50 days.

Is any reporter in the general media allowed the time and latitude to do even 25% of the stuff in that list any more?

Thanks for reprinting that, Debbie. I didn't know that existed (but should have expected it, I suppose).

I took an oath on graduation called the "Obligation of the Engineer" during an Iron Ring Ceremony upon graduation. Oaths and ethics are only as good as the commitment held by the people who take them.


From the Homer-Dixon quote at your Carolyn Baker link:

It may be a time of crises, but it doesn’t have to be a time of catastrophe.”

Methinks it does. This was how I felt five years ago. Now I realise that for most people, a spiritual approach to this situation may be the only viable response to what we face. Many see the cliff ahead, but the herd continues on its path toward destruction. Pray, and hope for the best.

I'm going to recommend this course to several "fatalists" I know.

It sates itself on the life-blood
of fated men,
paints red the powers' homes
with crimson gore.
Black become the sun's beams
in the summers that follow,
weathers all treacherous.
Do you still seek to know? And what?

(reference to Ragnarök in the Poetic Edda.)
Just some light relief.

You are firing on all 8 cylinders today,Arthur.Keep up the good work even though it seems to go over the heads of most.

Arthur's tip of the day.

Make space for your right brain.
It will double your intelligence.

Very few see the cliff ahead, most just see the ass in front of them; while even fewer see the gently sloping hill side to the left or right.

Speaking of asses, I would have responded to Arthur's great post earlier, but I went to look at some asses (donkeys) that someone wants to give me. My wife has a lifetime of horse knowledge, and I have some, but neither of us knows much about burros. Two Jennies and a Gelding, all under 5 years old, and they have some training as draft/cart donks. They took to us immediately. I guess I'm taking a crash course on ass. Any advice would be welcome.

They are good quality, well vetted/furried, and we have plenty of pasture for them. Considering my view of things to come, it's an offer too good to pass on. A bit serendipitous, since I've been considering donks as "guard dogs" for the goats I'm planning on getting.

Ah hell, one more layer of complexity on my quest for a more simplified life. The Gelding's name is "Burrito". I kind of like that.

They are good guard dogs. Neighbours across the street from my parents old place (1 year ago) had a donkey in with the goats. What a racket that burro could make.

On the topic of relief well delays from hurricanes: the Anderson Cooper article didn't take a crack at estimating what the delays may be.

Certainly the delay per hurricane will depend on the hurricane strength, damage, etc. But the shut-down and start-up processes are probably fairly consistent. For example: X days to shut everything down and get the heck out of Dodge and Y days to get everything back up and running after returning to Dodge.

What is the typical range of delays caused by a hurricane?

Bill -- 7 to 14 days

Gulf's Fishing-for-Fun Culture Also Takes Hit ... bait shops are empty ...

It would be interesting to see some statistics on businesses along the affected area of the Gulf Coast for the 36 months prior to the catastrophe and see how dramatically their revenues have fallen subsequently.

In court cases where damages are awarded for loss-of-life, the damages are often an estimate of the earning potential for the remainder of the persons life and can be substantial. What happens in the case of a business that is pushed into bankruptcy because of the oil spill?

Is it possible that compensation from BP could actually be the lesser of two evils - the context here is that a lot of businesses would ultimately have bitten the dust anyway in the 'Big Unwind' that everyone hopes is not already happening.


Are you kidding me? I'm a journalist who considers peak oil a serious issue for discussion. I regularly read TOD. But that NYT article had a specific theme. And I wouldn't call it particularly flattering.

Here was my take: http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/06/06/peak-oil-meets-the-new-age/

Well of course people don't need any emotional support as they confront the loss of their future and the stress that a collapsing economy brings. Losing a job, then a home, then being unable to send one's kids to college after dreaming about it for decades. Add to that confronting the possible rollback of much of the progress we've made as part of the Enlightenment (i.e. democracy, etc.). People really should just suck it up, shouldn't they?

Your post is absolutely correct: it is all claptrap. I'll take down that course right away. It clearly provides absolutely no value whatsoever. Instead, we should do precisely what you tell us all to do. I was so silly I didn't ask you first.

I await your erudite recommendations of what we should do instead.


Still, you gotta admire that singularly American can-do entrepreneurial spirit. If industrial civilization is going under, someone might as well cash in on the collapse.

I have a hard time not agreeing. Seems to me, you'd be offering this for donation or as a non-profit were you serious about something other than the cash. You sent out a press release about a class?


A guy's gotta eat.

Still, you gotta admire that singularly American can-do entrepreneurial spirit. If industrial civilization is going under, someone might as well cash in on the collapse.

Nicely put. Simultaneously funny, cynical and somewhat valid.

RE: "Sacred Demise: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization’s Path." in your article.

I certainly understand why you snickered at the use of language here. I would just say that it's possible to listen to titles like that with the intention of hearing what you agree with, and assuming that it's being done sincerely, and not just snarking on easy 'new-age' targets. The hippies are still a painfully convenient laughing stock, but they did a lot of things that were right, no?

We've all got this Sit-com patina of pithy and often mean-spirited putdowns built into our language now, to the degree that it makes each of US targets whenever we try to find the positive in things. We are looking down the barrel at a broad range of resource limits, environmental disasters and cultural mismatches.. and so at the time when it's probably the hardest to make this kind of a turn, I think we would do well to find whatever ways we can to ditch the negative.. the 'What's wrong with this picture?' as the one and only way we approach our world. We do have to notice and 'eliminate the negative' .. but just as much we have to 'hold onto the affirmatve', not only to find the directions to move towards for the world's sake, but for our own mental stability.


Lutz asked Ricard to meditate on "unconditional loving-kindness and compassion." He immediately noticed powerful gamma activity - brain waves oscillating at roughly 40 cycles per second -�indicating intensely focused thought. Gamma waves are usually weak and difficult to see. Those emanating from Ricard were easily visible, even in the raw EEG output. Moreover, oscillations from various parts of the cortex were synchronized - a phenomenon that sometimes occurs in patients under anesthesia.

The researchers had never seen anything like it. Worried that something might be wrong with their equipment or methods, they brought in more monks, as well as a control group of college students inexperienced in meditation. The monks produced gamma waves that were 30 times as strong as the students'. In addition, larger areas of the meditators' brains were active, particularly in the left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for positive emotions.

jokuhl - Recently watched the film Into Great Silence. Synopsis:

Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world’s most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. Gröning, sans crew or artificial lighting, lived in the monks’ quarters for six months—filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. This transcendent, closely observed film seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict one—it has no score, no voiceover and no archival footage. What remains is stunningly elemental: time, space and light. One of the most mesmerizing and poetic chronicles of spirituality ever created, INTO GREAT SILENCE dissolves the border between screen and audience with a total immersion into the hush of monastic life. More meditation than documentary, it’s a rare, transformative theatrical experience for all.

Best Hopes for a resurgence in monastic life as the current paradigm frays.



Joe, saw that documentary. It brought tears to my eyes, because when I was young, I was deeply moved by the idea of living that life. Pity. Thanks for reminding me of it. I will have to watch it again. Joe B

Keith - I read a couple of your articles with interest. I really liked the article Skeletons In The Closet.

On your assertion that the collapse hysteria is overdone I think it really is about where you happen to be in the collapse grid. If you're well fed, employed and worried about your 401K maybe rumors of societies demise might seem overdone. But if you spend a year in a Nigerian village decimated with environmental poisoning and internalize what those unfortunate people feel about the trajectory of civilization, the end of the world might seem very real and frighteningly close...



I read your take and you have a point and you missed Andre's point. Sure, I understand why"Sacred Demise" sounds like New Age BS, and us geek engineers might have a hard time keeping a straight face. In fact, when I read Andre's promotion for the course a while back, I did have trouble keeping a straight face.

However, it's also very real. I talk to a lot of people in the course of work, and they aren't preselected to agree with me. There is a whole grieving process going on there. People are grieving for their money, their retirement, their expectations, their ambitions that their children will go to college and become software engineers and marketing specialists, their real estate investments, their careers.

Without any discussion of externalities, people know something is wrong and they have tremendous fear and anger. If Andre's course can help some of them come to terms with a changing world, more power to him. Anything that guides people beyond the grief and encourages them ask themselves what they can do to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem is a step in the right direction.


Okay, I get that. I'm not denying the legitimacy of people's fears or worries about the future. I just think the collapse hysteria is unwarranted. And I believe courses like "Sacred Demise" feed into this End Days strain that has infected the peak oil debate.

End Days: There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:11)

I think it would be fair to say that as far as TOD is concerned End Days religious prophesies are an object of derision. To put writers such as Jared Diamond, James Lovelock or Paul Ehrlich in that camp is irresponsible. I don't grieve about the coming collapse but I agree with Tainter's Hypothesis that collapse is a rational response to an unsolvable problem: industrial civilization. But I would never claim nor long listen to hysteria that "the sky is falling!" For me John Michael Greer's Long Descent: A Users guide to The End Of The Industrial Age is a clear-eyed example of what's coming.


You'll have to say why it's unwarranted, especially since there is worse than PO going on. Your stance is really poor risk assessment. The likelihood of collapse is quite high given the many ways it might happen and the very real signals we are seeing. Ignoring that Black Swans exist, that non-linear systems are non-linear and that exponential changes can do occur is just plain dumb.


As goes the Arctic, so goes the global climate. For those of you who still think PO trumps climate change, that article should quickly change your thinking.

Keith, while I agree about profiting off of this whole mess beyond just getting by while helping others get prepared, your take on current conditions is seriously flawed.


Feed-in tariffs deliver bright outlook for UK solar market
New report predicts UK solar market will grow five-fold this year and deliver 1GW of installed capacity by 2015

The arrival of feed-in tariffs in the UK will trigger a five-fold increase in demand for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, according to a major new report from consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The report, titled On the brink of a bright future?, also predicted that the UK could deliver the 1GW of installed solar capacity by 2015, marking a 30-fold increase on its current size. Although the report also noted that it will still take a full decade for the UK to install as much solar capacity as Germany boasts currently.

The UK had just 32MW of solar energy installed at the end of 2009, representing only 0.3 per cent of the total renewable energy in the country. But the nascent sector is now on course for huge growth following the launch of the government's Feed-in Tariff scheme on 1 April.

Under the scheme, businesses and households installing solar PV systems can receive up to 41.3p from their energy supplier for each kilowatt hour of renewable energy produce.

The Solar Trade Association chief executive David Matthews agreed the introduction of feed-in tariffs will drastically shake up the market this year, adding that the projections detailed in the PwC report were achievable. Numerous solar energy firms have reported a huge increase in demand for their technology since feed-in tariffs were introduced and are expecting strong order pipelines to continue throughout this year.

However, Matthews, who also serves as head of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association, warned that the boost to the solar market could have a negative impact on other forms of renewable energy systems.

See: http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2264271/fits-shine-uk-s...


Peak Wood; Peak Oil: Nature Does Impose Limits: What lessons from the multiple experiences of Peak Wood can today’s society learn for addressing global peak oil? http://www.miller-mccune.com/environment/peak-wood-nature-does-impose-li...

Oil Spill Outlines the Limits of Government: If Americans don’t want the dubious comforts of a full-fledged nanny state, then they can’t come running for comprehensive succor when some milk, or oil, spills. http://www.miller-mccune.com/politics/oil-spill-outlines-the-limits-of-g...

I had the opportunity to have dinner with the author of the Peak Wood book and a group of UCSB professors when I gave a talk in Santa Barbara a couple of years ago.


I've uploaded a new version of my Peak Oil software to my site.

New features:

* Hubbert Curves for Colombia, Russia and UK added

* Implementation of Dr. Laherèrre's Multi-Cycle Hubbert Linearization (This means you can make multiple Hubbert Curves for an oil-producing region and you can let the program somehow merge them together to form a single curve. This is a highly experimental method and it only works for the UK, so you have to disable all other countries in the "Set Regions and Legend Dialog".)

You can download it here: http://sokath.sourceforge.net/


I live in NYC, where I happen to think I live a pretty green lifestyle. (Though I loved Boulder, Colorado, last year, when I was a journalism Fellow at CU, except the part where I had to drive my kids everywhere.) Anyway, encouraging people to become urbanites would go a long way to reducing stress on the planet (and the collective carbon footprint). That would be my first recommendation.

Lest anyone think I'm being too hard on the Peak Oil worry warts, here I am waxing just as cynical on the climate change fretters:


BTW, I believe that both peak oil and climate change represent serious issues that humanity has to grapple with. I just have no patience for the self-indulgent narcissism encouraged by the self-help wing. You want to make a positive contribution and feel better about yourself: go volunteer at a senior citizen center, a shelter for battered women, or maybe head over to Haiti, and help provide some balm to the many thousands still living in the streets.

For those new to me: My blog is mostly about the intersection of the human/environment relationship. My interests dovetail with much that is covered at TOD, including discussion of "collapse" in all its variations:



"I see the environmental crisis in combination with climate change being the inexorable headlong march to Armageddon". Gillian Caldwell

Interesting that she chooses to live in Tacoma Park, Maryland, a tony suburb outside of Washington D.C. , with her partner and two children. She apparently decided that life after Armageddon might be worth living after all.



thanks for telling me how I should live my life and the "correct" way to make a difference in the world. Instead of offering me your point of view for my thoughtful consideration and the freedom to adopt it or not, you seem pretty certain that you've got The Answer and that I should adopt it immediately.

And here I was thinking that different approaches would work for different people depending on where they are in life, their values and how dire their personal situation is or is expected to be. Silly me.

I should just send to you the people who email me asking for a scholarship to do my courses (which we offer on a limited basis) because they have had no work for 18 months, they are getting kicked out of their home, they don't know how they are going to feed their kids, they now realize the economy isn't ever coming back and they face the real possibility that the skill they have spent their whole life perfecting is no longer needed by the economy. Then you could turn them to all those other resources out there where there is a safe space to discuss what's happening to them. Perhaps they will get access to an experienced and trained therapist who has been studying the impact of economic collapse at the local senior center?

Alternately, you could send me links to all those resources so that I can post them when I take the course down.


P.S. I'm just playing with you. I don't think you've thought this through very well but you think you have.


You asked for a recommendation and I gave you one--move to a city. I also didn't tell you how to live your life. I suggested there were other (charitable) outlets for your 'students' to channel their existential angst.

Also, you're conflating the economic recession with the end of industrial civilization. Nice try. I don't doubt that you're attracting people in dire straits. I suppose if you're providing some succor to them then maybe it's not the total scam I'm thinking it is.

As for being playful, I'm all for it, as you can tell by my original post.

"I just have no patience for the self-indulgent narcissism encouraged by the self-help wing. "

Just hope that you never have to rely on one of these "self-indulgent, self-help narcisisists" to feed your hungry ass. If you're lucky, they'll have more patience than you do.

I'm usually on board with denninger, but he sort of embarrasses himself in this post, imo:


Hey guys, all we need is a few breeder reactors and to use the shale in the West and we're good! Cancel peak oil!

Where's the "disaster"? At $9/gallon we can make diesel out of oil shale and coal until we, our children, our kid's kids and several generations beyond are all dead.

Denniger comes across as a blooming cornucopian extraordinaire. Typical marketeer: money is the only reality - all we need to get out of our present fix is to fix the finances.

He trusts in the all powerful spiritual "hand of the market" as much as any Wall Street tycoon or broker.

The funny thing is he says this,

Liquid hydrocarbons and their use are a matter of thermodynamics. Nothing more or less. I know that these sorts of mathematical and physical realities aren't the stuff that is usually allowed to intrude into the useful idiots in the Internet blogosphere...

and then spouts crap about oil shale. I think he just indicted himself as one of those idiots. Stick to finance dude.

I agreed with much of what Denninger said, however he does not take into account flow rates of the oil shale or how we'd run the vehicles on electricity generated by nuclear power plants. I guess that is to be expected from someone who bans users who mention Peak Oil on his forums.

This is where receding horizons comes in. I forget whom coined the phrase but I'm giving credit to Heinberg, correct me if I'm wrong.

$9/gallon would make sense if nothing else increased in price. But at $9/gallon, oil shale would then need $20/gallon to be economically feasible due to the cost of the inputs to extract and process.

Of course, if diesel became $9/gallon and very little else rose in price, then the economy would collapse (again!) and Denniger could rewrite his article with a $5/gallon target to make shale oil viable.

Boy this is fun, it just keeps going round and round...

Can't remember who coined "receding horizons", but it wasn't Richard Heinberg

It first appeared, as far as I can tell, on 7 March 2007, http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2344, by user HeIsSoFly

Maybe in the context of oil, but receding horizons have been arround a long time.


Agreed. He admits increasing costs but no calculation of scale or impact. Weak.

Denninger's financial analysis more-often-than-not hits the nail squarely on the head - in most other regards, not so much.

Frankly, his latest post contains so many flaws it would take a couple of hours to dissect it and explain them all. If he makes it another 15 years, no doubt he will blame it all on political or economic policy mistakes made by either those in power or those that cast their votes.

Not much chance he will ever see the relationship between money and energy.

I think Denninger knows the relationship between money and energy at least some of the time. I think he is just a techno-cornucopian Amusing Nonsense ("Speculation")

The Public, again, and not just in America. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Government cannot hand out money it does not have. You cannot tax the people to pay the people - that's a circle jerk at best. Wealth is generated only from manufacturing, mining and growing things - that is, exploiting the "freebie" of energy from the Sun. All other acts are distribution of that wealth. When you attempt to distribute what you don't have you are participating in a Ponzi scheme as the only way to accomplish that goal is to borrow at ever-compounding interest. Coverage of that debt requires an ever-larger pool of suckers who will buy your bonds and finance your deficits - the definition of a Ponzi scheme. The unconstitutional acts of Congress and the Executive in the US, and their analogues worldwide, in pandering to the people do not change these facts - they can't, as they're immutable mathematical laws.

I subscribe to the notion that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Denninger understands the big picture link between wealth and energy at a basic level, but does not extrapolate the fundamental basis of externalized costs -- for example a hydro plant (if made from concrete) has enormous embodied energy -- on a through-life basis there are also enormous externalized costs in the form of environmental impact, sediment build up behind the dam / adverse affect on fish like salmon and so on. In addition there are the externalized costs of the embodied energy - creating cement for the concrete.

If any of the electrical energy created by the dam had to be used to capture CO2 and ALL other pollutants released into the atmosphere as a consequence of creating the cement and concrete and the dam itself, and some of that energy also had to be used to continuously move sediment and fish around the dam - then you can bet that the cost-benefit analysis would look far less compelling.

The 'no free lunch' relates to the notion of "wealth is generated only from manufacturing, mining and growing things" - no one is creating any wealth, unless it is in the abstract sense of cultural wealth, music, art, literature and so on.

Even in an agricultural sense, nobody is growing anything - the environment is. If you want to know the true cost of "growing" something, then try doing it on the Moon. A task that involves creating containment vessels and I would guess moving a substantial amount of resources from Earth to the Moon.

All manufacturing and resource extraction is simply a case of moving / converting something that already existed, typically at the expense of something else that already existed (fossil fuels) - and in the process, minimizing internal costs and maximizing external costs.

Denninger constructs what appears to be a cogent and forceful argument - but his argument is incomplete or as r4ndon puts it below is missing a "few extra steps".

Eh, it's just a failure to follow his own arguments an extra step down the road.

I'd love to be able to sit down with some of these "analysts" and just ask them to recurse an extra time or two. Then watch to see if the light can leak in when they've calculated it out for themselves.

In general I agree. It does not strike me as some giant leap, to make the extrapolation necessary to see the inevitable.

I'm being pedantic - but additional "steps down the road" would be closer to iterations than recursion. LOL, unless you are using the 'heads where the sun don't shine' analogy.

An update on the "Thelma & Louise" Grand Prix of Debt Race*

*Various government entities are racing each other to the edge of the fiscal cliff, taking on more and more debt, hoping that the good times return soon. The "Thelma & Louise" moment is that point in time when governments can't borrow enough money, at least from traditional sources, to finance their deficit spending, e.g., Greece today, the US federal government tomorrow. With that background, we have an item that was linked on Drudge:

Rating Cut by Fitch on Wealthiest U.S. State

Connecticut is preparing to borrow $956 million to close a budget gap in the fiscal year beginning July 1, after borrowing money last year to cover a deficit of $947.6 million. Not good. Fitch has reduced the states credit rating from AA+ to AA.

Looks like the Cameron government in Britain is looking to the Canadian example of the 1990s to put its finances in order.

What can the UK learn from Canada's budget cuts?

Cultural differences aside, state governments will have to learn the same lessons as any householder facing a credit crunch: there are two ways to square the books, cut spending (slash and burn) or increase revenue (read my lips, NEW TAXES).

The Canucks did it mainly through public expenditure cuts in the mid 1990s. However, it should be noted -- the BBC fails to do so -- that the previous Conservative administration of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney gave Mr. Chretien a helping hand by imposing a lucrative all embracing value added tax of 5% in 1991. It was the combination of a Conservative government's tax grab and a Liberal government's austerity package that did the trick.

Same principle as Mr. Nixon can go to China.

Now if individual states can only persuade Republicans to support new taxes and Democrats to support cross-the-board cuts then rating agencies may not have the last word.

Good luck and Godspeed.

[Btw, the vast majority of Canadians don't keep track little less give a fig newton what the New York Times writes, so that bit about using outsiders to get the point across is more BBC hyperbole and a bit bogus.]


The GST was initially 7% and is now 5%. Remember the masterful advertising campaign by the Feds to sell the "The 7% Solution"? Somehow it slipped through the cracks that the Sherlock Holmes story title referred to his preferred potency of cocaine solution.

Of course, this was before the days of the Internet and Google, so they can't be held accountable for not doing their homework.

The GST replaced a wholesale tax and retail tax system which was supposed to overall lower costs; but of course it did not. I know I spent enough time trying to get around taxes by buying wholesale. Now BC is implementing a one tax system, the HST and not too many are happy about it.

But, Canada managed to balance the books and have universal health care. Imagine that...

The GST was initially 7% and is now 5%.

BC_EE, I stand corrected. How could I forget so soon? And it's only been a few years since it was drawn down. Now that you mention it, I do remember the 7% Solution Campaign.

Nobody at the time liked the GST and everybody howled in protest. By the early 1990s, of course, Mulroney was so unpopular he could actually go ahead and do what he thought was the right thing. I'll give the devil his due. Hindsight has been kind to free trade and the GST.

But, Canada managed to balance the books and have universal health care. Imagine that...

I remember the days of austerity even clearer. Throughout the mid 1980s to the early 1990s, I worked contract with both the provincial and federal governments. Government jobs were scarce and getting on permanently was next to impossible, but since they wanted my services, my contracts would last 6 months minus a day renewable. That way I was not entitled to benefits or protection from the unions. By the early 1990s, anybody without seniority or not deemed absolutely essential was axed. The last public / civil service paycheque I drew was in November 1992. In hindsight, it was the best damned thing that ever happened to me, but at the time it seemed pretty bleak. The recession was biting hard. I was able to land on my feet relatively quickly. I went into the private sector for a few years and then into my present line of work. Haven't looked back since.

Like many Canadians, I emerged from that belt-tightening period far more conservative in my outlook. Reliance on self and family with a concomitant reluctance to turn to government for solutions became the norm. Chretien, ever the consummate politician, both rode and led public opinion during this "nothing off the table" period.

As the historian Niall Ferguson has pointed out in recent lectures, Canadians historically have been very consistent at balancing the books. We are, at heart, a conservative people. That has served us well. Our conservative banking policies shielded us from the grief of the"liberalization" mistakes of the banking sector elsewhere.

That basic conservatism also means that Canadians see an essential role for government, albeit one that promotes law, security and justice. It's more akin to deference to the Mountie on horseback than allegiance to the nanny state. Universal health care is simply viewed as a matter of justice. How to pay for it likewise becomes everybody's concern.

Here's to "Peace, Order, and Good Government." Long may it last.

I'll drink to that.


Good summary, and I'll tip one to you tonight also. Only, in in the early 1990's I was working at an Ontario electric utility and we don't see recessions there. But with any job that is implicitly considered "job for life", there is a lot of people eating their young and it became untenable.

I'm reminded of a fundamental difference between the U.S. approach to growth and infrastructure versus Canada every day driving to and from work. I live off of Highway #1, the Trans Canada and it is mostly a curvy, single lane track that winds between farms and ranches, or up over steep rocky bluffs beside the lake. Yet day in and day out a large part of the motor vehicle traffic used this highway that would barely make it as a secondary highway in the U.S. It's all we'll probably ever have and we make do.

Now there is the four lane Coquihalla going to Vancouver, so it tends to make the Fraser Canyon route more of a scenic adventure. But, as I make my way into town with my freshly brewed Keurig Island Coconut Coffee in hand, I pass by horses with new born colts, llamas and ginseng farms, past the gold mine under construction, and waiting atop a road light at the Coquihalla on-ramp is a red tail hawk every morning.

As Canadians we tend towards conservative en masse, but you wouldn't know it visiting Davie Street in Vancouver - actually, some of my gay friends are the most conservative. But we're also beer drinkin', slap shootin', back bacon and poutine eatin' sons of guns too.

In closing, to rub it in a little about the difference in medical systems, this is my total expenses so far for doctor's visits, CAT scans, and surgery for an organ or two that wants to get off the bus:


That's $4.50 for afternoon parking at the hospital and $2.05 for a coffee.

You're description of the route into Vancouver brings back fond memories. I worked for a period in late 1990 to early 1991 for the Department of National Defense at the naval base in Esquimalt, outside Victoria. Then I moved to Alberta. Slight change in climate.

As Canadians we tend towards conservative en masse, but you wouldn't know it visiting Davie Street in Vancouver - actually, some of my gay friends are the most conservative. But we're also beer drinkin', slap shootin', back bacon and poutine eatin' sons of guns too.

BC_EE, one of the anomalies of our conservative culture is that things peculiar or controversial in liberal societies often pass without much fanfare. Canada's cultural roots lie in 18th century conservatism, rising from both the pre-revolutionary ancient regime of French Canada and the mass migration of United Empire Loyalists following the American War of Independence. What was inherited - tacit, but not always acknowledged or stated - is a much more organic and less atomistic view of society.

For example, gay marriage came into law in Canada with some murmurings but overall was easily accepted by most of the population in quick order. Why? At the heart of a conservative reading on the question is whether everybody has a place in the scheme of things or role to play. In other words, in an organic view of culture, differences are cherished and peculiarities are welcomed since each contribute to the life of the organism, namely the country as a whole.

Atoms are more or less the same. Body cells are diverse, functional, and interact to bring life to every part.

Even in Canadian churches gay marriage is widely accepted as a legal reality. There is little appetite among Canadian Christians to reverse the crown's right to recognize in law marriages of people of same-gender. Then again, from a Christian point of view, the state's definition of marriage and the church's definition doesn't correspond at the best of times. The state got involved in the marriage business for reasons of property distribution, taxes, and pensions. In other words, it is about contracts. From a church's perspective, marriage is about relationship. And within my own denomination, the question that is being wrestled with now is whether the historical and sacramental definition of marriage is elastic enough to accommodate the legal reality.

My brother-in-law who died last year from AIDS and who was actively involved in the gay community in Toronto summarized the inherent conservative leanings of many of your friends in Vancouver. He championed tooth and nail for the state's recognition of same-gendered relationships, but, raised a good Acadian Catholic, defended tooth and nail the church's right to withhold blessing on such relationships. Agree or disagree, such a broad, if inherently contradictory, perspective is to be expected.

Peace, Order and Good Government. Long may it last.

Your deceased brother-in-law was very clearly able to discern between the secular and religious. Wish there were more around like him as this is at the very heart of the heated debate in the U.S. It's not really about marriage, its about equal rights and protections under the law that the U.S. torpidly attributes to marriage. If a person who has been with another for a number of years and practices all the good, bad, and ugly of marriage cannot visit their partner in a hospital because they are not married; well, there is something very wrong with that. And it can be fixed quite easily if TPTB can afford the medical procedure for a cranial assendectomy.

Just made that up, that's pretty funny :-D

The drive is into Kamloops from Tobiano along Kamloops Lake BTW. We should get current with the drumbeat, eh? Its a new day... but thank you very much for your comments. My heritage background was Scottish (thrift), English (order and form), and French (fire and appetite). My great-grandfather came to Canada as Marconi's assistant. That's him holding the kite on Signal Hill.

If a person who has been with another for a number of years and practices all the good, bad, and ugly of marriage cannot visit their partner in a hospital because they are not married; well, there is something very wrong with that.

I think, my friend, you have nailed the crux of the issue.

My great-grandfather came to Canada as Marconi's assistant. That's him holding the kite on Signal Hill.

My people are coal mining stock from Glace Bay, Cape Breton Island, another of Marconi's Canadian haunts.

Incidentally, I know quite a few people who could greatly benefit from a cranial assendectomy. If you can perfect the procedure, I can assure you, there would be a high demand :-D

Wonder if it would be covered by Medicare? hmmmm... an elective or emergency procedure?

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.



Whats interesting if you read the financial press it looks like the world is not ready to commit financial suicide with the US. The Europeans and Japanese seem increasingly resigned to dealing with a depression.

In the big picture this is fairly serious for the US as if Japan and the EU don't bloat their government budgets like the US has it leaves us in a really bad situation.

And this is for money we have already blown not the trillions more we need to blow to keep the game going.

The tides are starting to turn. All that has to happen is for interest rates on EU and British government debt to start rising in general and things are gonna get interesting ( pun intended ) in the US fairly quickly.


Sure interest rates on treasuries can go lower and stay there for a while does not matter if the US can't roll its debt substantially into 30 year notes. If EU interest rates start going up and the Euro stabilizes we could see a fairly dramatic change.

All kinds of interesting dislocations are becoming probable. IMHO. And all of them pretty much end with US interest rates rising without us raising the trillions more we need to pull off our grand plans.


The Fed can buy up unlimited amounts of U.S. Treasuries. This process, sometimes known as "quantitative easing" and other times as "printing money" means that there will always be a buyer of last resort for U.S. Treasuries.

After a deflationary depression I expect there to be stagnation (or decline in the economy about as fast as net oil exports decline) accompanied by increasing inflation. This increasing inflation may or may not lead to hyperinflation; whether or not it does depends on political factors.

The Fed can buy up unlimited amounts of U.S. Treasuries.

Yes but ...

Not without consequences. It one reason why I feel strongly that real shortages of commodities are absolutely required to cause our economic system to crash. Otherwise I see no real reason why some sort of managed inflation including the Fed's buying treasuries won't work for a surprisingly long time.

The money printing game blows up when real wealth creation fails that fails when we simply don't have enough commodities particularly oil. Thats not to say the system cannot fail fast if some sort of systematic risk gets out of control that risk is always there However printing itself will fail when growth becomes fundamentally impossible.

If the oil supply is really as good as claimed then this game can go on for a while if its not then no money game on the planet can change the situation.

As far as what happens if we really are short commodities why there is no real reason you can't have extreme debt deflation and commodity price inflation and wage deflation all at the same time.

Indeed my prediction is that anything which requires debt to support its price level esp long term debt aka mortgages will see a price crash while consumable commodities will see rising prices. Wages because of unemployment will fall.

For example if I'm even close to right about whats going on over 30% of the house sales made in 2009-2010 will result in default by 2012 if so then 70% probably will as this default rate will create a snowball effect. Obviously around 70% or more of the houses bought during the bubble years 2003-2008 will also default. And of course living densities will rise from around 2.5 to around 3.5 or so. Rents collapse. This tsunami itself overwhelms the printing presses. Debt deflation beyond all concept of debt deflation. On the other side of the coin you see spiraling commodity prices and falling wages.

Overall all I'm saying is people are going to simply move increasingly to survival mode with fewer and fewer willing or able to take on debt. However once people renounce debt then despite wage pressure most will make more than enough money to survive and thats the problem the pressure on commodities does not fall at nearly the rate as the rest of the economy.

Heck you can see this today as people who stop paying their mortgage remain in their home for free for over 400 days on average. This number will mushroom as banks are overwhelmed with defaults. More and more people will be able to live for free for a long time and once that ends many will move in with friends and family.

So even with falling wages a reversion of the middle class to simply staying alive means plenty of money for food and gasoline and help with utility payments. And rent of some is left over.

Wages will fall yes but they can't fall that fast as its really difficult to cut peoples wages to fast.
Those with jobs are not going to work well for a wage that puts them underwater or accept a job that pays less than they need to make their mortgage payment. To get real wage deflation its on the churn your going to have to fire people and rehire the more desperate ones. People who have moved in with friends and family and have nominal housing costs will be able to out compete those trying to keep the SFH going. But this is at a slower rate than the rate at which people fail to buy houses as cars.

As far as the Feds trying to inflate good luck how are they going to prevent wage deflation caused by more competitive workers that have reduced or eliminated their housing costs ?

How are they going to prevent spiraling commodity prices from eating into the net available to service debt much less uncertainty in your job slowing you from making large purchases unless your a fool. And if you are stupid enough to buy a home well you get 400+ days rent free if you fail to make the payments so you win in the end.

The problem is as the tide turns and people go to simply trying to stay alive the massive overbuilding over the last several decades kills our debt based economy. Its impossible to inflate your way out. Attempts to keep the collapse from happening simply ensure that the rate housing prices collapse slow for a bit creating more future defaulters and commodity demand remains a bit higher. No financial game on the planet can solve this problem as its fundamentally the only thing people can do. The problem is that debt deflation is faster than wage deflation which is faster than demand for commodities fall. So the fundamental differences in debt wages and commodity demand create a perfect vicious spiral that in my opinion cannot be broken via monetary games alone. Perhaps you can go on a spending bing and substantially increase your fuel efficiency but this will almost by definition require the wide scale move to public transport along with a huge investment in all kinds of commodities and raw materials which are in short supply.

The EV might be a way out but its solving the underlying problem of expensive fuel which is one of the things people can afford.

I argue you can't solve the underlying problem of expensive oil until after you have defaulted on all the outstanding debt taken out based on growth. Only after this is done does the fuel problem become a top issue and need solving before then simply defaulting on debt ensure that people can and will remain alive.

Once you have moved in with friends and family defaulted on all your debt and are having problems staying alive working part time for minimum wage and ditched the car in favor of public transport, car pooling and a bike does the fuel problem start to solve itself. At that final point when your wages no longer support both food and fuel does fuel start to get cut out.
And at that point and only at that point does expansion of public transport actually increase productivity.
Its impossible to jump forward if you will and solve this problem and avert the collapse of the debt pyramid there simply is no route from our current situation to one where public transport increases productivity that allows our current debt levels to remain intact. Indeed devaluing suburbia to zero is required to make it profitable to slowly build new public transport centric housing.

Sure the system can collapse or for all intents and purposes look like it has collapsed before this cycle is complete but it has to go through it. I'm arguing its already well into it. Now high commodity prices may mean 60 dollar oil they may mean 300 dollar oil if its 60 dollar oil then then that means wage deflation has to happen until oil is again expensive.

As long as housing remains relatively expensive deflation in housing prices via defaulting debt ensure that the system continues to fall into the vicious spiral of people reducing housing expenses and resisting wage deflation and keeping commodity demand high. If we are really post peak this will result in steadily rising oil prices on average and the cycle continuing.

Sorry to repeat myself several times but its a fundamental and basic tectonic shift in how our economic system works no financial game on the planet can stop it. As far as jobs go whats interesting is if your not in the FIRE economy things are not all that bad. People have plenty of money to simply stay alive and buy small items for cash. The simple economy is alive and well along with everyone that steadily drifts into this basic economy.

And whats really really interesting is this economy will become increasingly informal reverting to cash or cash equivalents to bypass taxes. Its fascinating that the fact we did not manage to eliminate the cash economy before now may well eventually allow us to survive. As government tax revenue falls off a cliff then printing debt itself fails.
Sure they can print old fashioned bank notes but so what this cash simply fuels the underground economy. One has to imagine that as demand for paper dollars expands in the US that plenty of hard cash squirreled away around the world will come back to the US. There simply is no shortage of US dollars to run third world America money is not a issue.


I agree with most of what you wrote, but note that real wages can fall drastically even as nominal wages rise rapidly. That happens in hyperinflation.

I agree that current debts will be repudiated. Much of this repudiation, however, I expect to be in the form of increases in the rate of inflation.

How many years of debt deflation will the Congress and the Fed permit? I think very few, because there is always an election coming up every two years. My guess is that the Fed is primed and ready for massive quantitative easing to finance U.S. federal deficits that may rise to or above the three trillion dollar mark by 2012, which of course is a presidential election year. If government deficits are big enough and the Fed buys massive quantities (several trillions, eventually) of U.S. treasuries, then I think inflationary forces will overwhelm deflationary ones.

In other words, first comes debt deflation and depression, then will come rapid increases in inflation (boosted by rising commodity prices, especially oil).

I don't think we'll go to a new currency. Rather I expect us to drop a zero (or two or three) off the dollar, as has happened many times, e.g. in Mexico and France.

Politicians are not going to explicitly cut benefits, for example in Medicare and Social Security, and are not going to raise taxes; thus deficits will increase. Obama's economic advisers strongly advocate increased deficits to combat the "recession."

Don, I didn't know you were still around here. I've said before that this inflation thing could get interesting since it tends to lead to price controls. In the 1970s, controls that forced the domestic oil industry (among others) to "eat it" were somewhat effective for a while, since imports were still low. But nowadays, most of the oil supply (and the consumer-goods supply) is beyond the jurisdiction of the Fed or of spendthrift Congresscritters. Surely, nowadays, others in the world will take up the slack if Americans are banned from paying the going rate.

So either the price of oil-based fuels goes up in fairly close proportion to the inflation the Fed creates, i.e. any price controls are strictly for show, just an excuse to expand Big Brother; or else the "no gas" signs and empty store shelves appear; or some combination - but much more so than in the 70s. On any such trajectory the screaming will be deafening. Think of all the commuters priced or banned out of their jobs. And how well does today's tourist "industry" (that beneficent provider of minimum-wage dead-end garbage jobs so assiduously courted by governors and mayors, already so much in the news over the Macondo spill) work with "no gas"?

Inflation might prove to be less easy a "solution" than last time around. Not to imply that the politicians wouldn't try it, they seem to feel encouraged when they can muck things up: as some Texas bard said, "when the final score is tallied on the field of loss and gain, ain't no politician worth a good slow two-inch rain." Just that the blowback might come faster and harder than before.

You're right. Hyperinflation will wipe out bonds, preferred stocks, and bank accounts. Thus savings will be destroyed, and a lot of people are going to lose all their savings. Inflation is also bad for stocks because it leads to high interest rates, but what is going to kill the stock market in the longer run is negative real economic growth--the long descent.

Hold cash or treasuries for now, but but get out of all financial assets at the first whiff of a return to inflation. I like TIPS for savings, Treasury Inflation Protected Securities.

Except in Zimbabwe, hyperinflation never lasts long--for political reasons.

Those that were not around in 1974 may want to note that we had price and allocation controls on gasoline and natural gas, as well as specified times, mostly weekends, when access to both of those was limited for industry and retailing.

This 'explains' how the US adjusted to reduced oil imports.

My view is that energy is much more important to the US economy than back then, so we would have depression levels of unemployment the next time these controls show up.

Exactly, and because domestic supply was so much larger a portion than it is today, they could throw red meat at the populists and cause a good deal of havoc, but without shutting down the economy. If they try the same stunt in the near future, with so much of everything imported, it's indeed going to be ... interesting ...

Mostly I agree with memmel and Don Sailorman. I would like to point out one misconception that has gotten some traction lately is that the ECB is not easing monetary policy. That is a false misconception. The ECB is very actively easing - even while federal government budgets are being reduced. The ECB has expanded its money base by about 150 billion or so euros or almost $200 billion US the last two months. At that rate the Euro money base would grow about 60 to 100% in one year.

Granted that the US just about doubled its money base in one year from March 2009 to March 2010 and there haven't been any significany consequences yet. The key word here is "yet". The inflationary aspects of the Fed's policy have mostly been offset by a "flight to quality" into the US dollar investments like Treasuries, which means those dollars are not being spent.

That flight into dollars and into bonds paying 3 to 4% will turn out to be one of the worst investments of the 2010s, and that may be reversed much sooner than almost every financial investment manager thinks. Once investors no longer want to hold dollars, essentially the sky is the limit for most prices.

A number of people, such as the frequently quoted Denniger, believe in a deflation theory - although in practice the US never had a sustained long period of deflation - even in the mid 1930s, just financial panics and sharp price declines followed new methods to pump up the money supply. Saying we will have Japanese style deflation would assume that we had a very high price level to start with, as Japan did. Well that may be true for real estate but not everything else. I agree that real estate can further 'deflate' but consumer price levels are most strongly influenced by energy and food prices (as Greenspan knew in the early 1980s when he was in the Reagan White House and had them removed from the 'core' CPI).

Once inflation starts heading up, wages will be dragged along upward, kicking and screaming, but still falling behind inflation.

Alternatively it is possible that some type of price and allocation controls, especially in regards to energy, will limit price increases, but will result in massive shortages. Still that will not prevent the value of the dollar, against a standard such as gold, from falling.

This is why I make a huge distinction between debt and money. Esp long term debt. Houses are bought with 30 year loans generally fixed rate with minimal down payment this works well with mild inflation. Volatility no matter how it moves causes havoc with this sort of borrowing. Also of course it throws monkey wrenches in attempts to roll short term debt.

One of the strongest links between the energy using economy and the debt economy was housing construction aka expanding suburbia. Breaking this link played a role in falling energy prices over the short term however its now broken further drops in housing construction will have a smaller and smaller impact on total energy consumption.

Thus the interaction between the world of debt primarily located in housing construction and energy usage have in my opinion become significantly decoupled. If so then expectations that further problems with debt result in significant changes in energy consumption are simply wrong. This has now moved up the ladder to government debt not even housing and thats even less coupled to daily energy consumption.

You can have extreme debt deflation and price inflation for commodities leading to fairly widespread price inflation amongst a range of goods if the debt deflation is no longer tightly coupled to the daily economy.

This scarcity driven inflation if its happening makes attempts at monetary inflation via expansion of debt impossible.

I'm not saying there has not been attempts to expand the money supply its just its not clear yet what the result is.
Indeed the result will become increasingly clear over the next several months.

For governments the problem is not one of just simply inflation from expansion of the money supply but rising interest rates from rising fear of default. As with oil money supply alone is not entirely in control. If we assume we see spiraling commodity price inflation and continued debt deflation then the attempts at printing our way out will eventually result in rising interest rates based simply on default risk alone. Regardless of inflationary expectation.
Thus even if they fail to overcome debt deflation all they have done is bloated their balance sheets to the point that default risks force interest rates higher

I personally don't think we ever make it to the point that the printing presses run long enough to overcome debt default. The amount of debt that can and will be destroyed if we see continued falling asset prices dwarfs what governments can print without causing a move right to simple interest rate increases because of default risk.

If you look back into the 1930's I'd argue that this was happening even then energy was problematic outside the US and people forget that. It was not the show stopper we are dealing with today but it was certainly a issue. But back then I think attempts at inflation where indeed crossing the line into default risk induced interest rate increases. We will never know as WWII broke out before the financial situation finished unfolding.

I'd argue that this time around a similar situation will occur. We will never make it to real inflation as other factors will ensure the system becomes untenable well before simple printing results in strong inflation.

This does not mean we won't see rising interest rates it does mean they will start rising out of fear before debt inflation is cured. As far as the 1930's goes one has to consider that real asset prices plunged even as interest rates fell so the borrowing power increased dramatically. This means the intrinsic value of the asset itself was closer to its cash value thus the loan security level increased dramatically. Borrowing money to by five homes for 100k at 3% that formerly cost 500k each at 6% interest is different. If one further assumes higher down payment requirements then the effective interest is even higher. By this I mean the loans are so well secured they are effectively zero loss so all interest is profit and loss reserves can be lessoned. Thus the effective interest rate needs to include the default risk.
And of course interest was being paid in a currency that was maintaining if not gaining value.

Its really the simple profit for lending out a given amount of money is much higher aka interest actually paid remains high the total loan volume of course goes down but profitability increases for the banks as prices approach their cash value. I'm probably wrong to call it interest its really not but my point is simple assumptions about monetary expansion which don't take into account the roles of cash and debt and collateral of what loans are made does not tell the whole story. It did not in the Great Depression and it won't now.

I don't think the pure Keynesian inflation by simple expansion of debt worked in the 1930's and it won't work now the reasons are different but eventually the fracturing of the global economy and economic and probably real warfare over attempts to simply keep the economy functional will overshadow and usurp attempts at inflation. Indeed the real economic situation with both population and commodities is far worse now than it was then.

This is similar to what I already posted however its important I think because the Keynesian dream of printing your way out simply does not work for a major world economy unless its backed by ample resources and rapid expansion and even then it simply kicks the can down the road for a bit. Eventually the system reaches limits and fractures and it simply cannot be driven by monetary expansion.

Perhaps and I'm not going to dispute this sort of approach. However you have a real problem if Europe and Japan don't follow suite. Sure the US can print but at some point you get a backlash against the USD which is the nominal reserve currency.


This is why it looks like Europe's decision and probably Japans etc to choose austerity is so important.

Sure the US can print but its very very dangerous for it to attempt to print in a vacuum. Right now the USD has strengthened quite a but based on anticipated issues. Everyone is betting Europe will print. However if they go the austerity route and allow interest rates to rise then all bets are off.

I don't think the US can print if no one else is willing to play the same game. This would send the USD down sharply vs other countries and we import way to much to handle the devaluation esp oil.

You can see how oil works to tie the hands of the US unless every large country plays the same games with us.

I don't think they are going to play ball. Its still of course way to early to know if I'm right or wrong but I argue that the whole time its been a oil game not a money game. My paper on my blog highlights the role oil played and if I'm right about my calculations its the oil stupid :)

If so then all our olde buddies are going to go for the oil which means they are prone to allow their currencies to appreciate vs the USD as needed to get oil. Exact opposite of whats happening now.

Now the intrinsic trap is beautiful in the way it works. The problem is simple as oil prices rise gasoline prices rise and people are forced to pay the higher prices immediately out of cash flow. If the Feds try and print the money goes into the banking system and it has to be lent out before it incites inflation. Thus the velocity of commodity price inflation is much faster than monetary inflation. We literally pay before we get the money if we ever do.
They only way out is to use direct subsides to offset rising fuel costs. This of course bolsters demand and if oil production is truly falling it puts even more pressure on oil prices.

If other countries decide oil is more important and don't print their currencies strengthen vs the USD and it works to accomplish exactly this direct subsidy what we are actually getting at the moment with the flight to safety.

This is why relatively minor details might be really important one thing thats happened recently is despite the troubles in Europe Brent has consistently maintained and unusual premium vs WTI. If Europe was really in the dire straits claimed one would expect that Brent should at least be at its normal discount if not lower.

So although its still early if its all really about oil not money then the actual moves that are made will differ from what one would expect if it was as simple matter of inflating your currency to effect a default on debt. Oil checkmates this game unless everyone in the world plays along with the US. We cannot in my opinion inflate on our own without sending oil prices skyrocketing in terms of dollars.

Indeed I think we have already gone significantly past the line that the world was willing to allow. Not only can we not blow to much more money we already blew to much the trillions we have wasted to date already have sent us over the edge if its really and oil game.

This means of course at some point we will see a snap back in treasuries and the treasury sales will fail even if the failure is covered by Fed buying its still a failure. My opinion is this has already happened.


An analysis by a primary dealer in the U.S. Treasuries market shows that domestic banks could account for a large increase in direct bidders for government debt.

Thats part of it and the rest is almost certainly hidden actions by the Fed to prevent obvious failures.

The game is already up the party is over. Indeed some of the issues in Europe may well be the result of a widening gulf between the US and its former allies.

Certainly the current situation is a bit of a twilight zone with treasuries hitting new highs and the dollar strengthening even after the gig is up. If so then the entire game can unwind viciously and rapidly as its beyond unstable.

Thus if its oil and really oil and has been oil all along then the fat lady has already sung the politicians are damned if they do and damned if they don't and can't do anything about the situation unless they can convince the world to inflate like mad. Small wonder the US has gone repeated to China asking them to float their currency. I don't think its for the reason claimed that the Yuan is to weak I think we really want to see it weaken as we print. If the US and China print like mad the rest of the world will be forced to do so. I don't think the Chinese are going to play ball. Japan might actually be willing but its already screwed itself and any more debt and its toast.

Again sorry for the long post but its important in my mind because if its about oil then the value of your currency vs oil is a critical factor and you favor a stronger currency over a weaker one which would be dictated by a purely financial situation.

Indeed if you look at the price of crude in Euros vs the Dollar Europe has played this game for a while if its indeed interested in oil. Perhaps they have allowed the Euro to simply strengthen to much. I'm watching Brent vs WTI and Euro vs dollar. I'd not be surprised in the least to see the Euro stabilize and strengthen if the premium for Brent reverts back to the normal discount.

We shall see but if it is oil then its economic warfare and no the US cannot print with impunity indeed as I said I think we already crossed the line and its simply a matter of when the repercussions hit not if.

And again sorry for the long convoluted post but if I'm right and its really all about oil then its intrigue amongst former allies played for very high stakes thats afoot and not your garden variety depression.

I agree pretty much with the analysis and predictions of Ilargi and Stoneleigh at theautomaticearth.blogspot.com.

They see first a serious deflationary depression, but they have concluded that hyperinflation (global) will follow this decline in real GDP. I find it hard to argue with their evidence and reasoning.

I don't have enough time to give a full response, but essentially, I agree that at some point the US will find its interest rates rising rapidly, and those interest rate increases will eventually exceed the true rate of inflation - thereby creating 'deflationary' economic circumstances.

However before that happens it is likely that inflation will increase first. Interest rates in the US will remain lower than they should be as long as there is some (falsely) perceived safety in dollars. It's hard to tell how long that will contnue. There is a possibility that due to the strong linkage between economic growth and low oil prices that a sudden and mostly unexpected oil supply shortage would pretty much collapse the economy regardless of what monetary policy existed at that time.

Of course, the biggest and blackest black swan is now arising out of the GOM. Based upon the rate of flow from the GOM oil apocalypse, I would no longer be surprised if the GOM turns into a "dead zone" where oil shipments are restricted. Then it's all over for the US economy. So much for the 'mitigation' of peak oil we had hoped would have happened.

The tides are starting to turn. All that has to happen is for interest rates on EU and British government debt to start rising in general and things are gonna get interesting ( pun intended ) in the US fairly quickly.

Seems to me things are at a point where as much money as can be borrowed for stimulus, favored corp. bailouts and club med countries has taken place already. The latest trillion dollar bailout in the EU was probably their last hurrah for huge sums borrowed. And yes, now the pain must be faced with no more massive amounts borrowed, instead accepting austerity measures as we've recently seen in the EU and of course in Japan. But like you mention, once interest rates rise the pain will get worse.

The US is stuck between a rock and hard place. They want to keep interest rates low to stimulate the economy by way of money borrowed by small businesses, but there is still a tight money situation with the banks, as many are failing and those still afloat keep more cash than usual to hold on while properties continue to go into default.

With the lack of money moving in the economy, deflation is still holding fast. Although last night I got a scare when I went to buy NY steaks at Safeway. Ouch - two fairly thin ones in a pack for 16 bucks?! I couldn't figure out why the price jumped so much so fast. That's inflation, but it only helps if wages go up with everything else. Give people some inflation, and those with fixed rate mortgages won't feel so stressed out - like our family. Of course most are ARMS and higher rates or inflation or both will hurt them.

I agree the road ahead is a rocky one. But what can one expect when oil is no longer super cheap.

"Give people some inflation, and those with fixed rate mortgages won't feel so stressed out - like our family."

Careful there - you'll certainly be better off with fixed than ARM, but you'll only feel less stressed if your wages keep up, as you said in the previous sentence. That might not happen. Way too much import dependence nowadays, the inflated dollars will just get sucked overseas in ever-increasing numbers to pay for imports, notably oil and oil products, but also consumer goods.

I agree about wages PaulS, however we have small businesses, but of course those are subject to economic forces as well. Just looking for a slight edge in the game of staying afloat.

Over here on the other side of the PAcific Ocean one small steak might cost $16 (1600 yen) or so. Luckily I hate steak and feel very sorry for the cows so I don't buy that. Beans taste so much better and are much cheaper ! I bet food prices in the US are still low compared to the rest of the world!

I've heard that pi about prices for meat in the UK from my Uncle who lives there. Just can't figure out why the prices went up so fast here though. Maybe it's just a temporary situation.

Fantastically expensive beef is not exactly new to Japan, though, is it? It's not as though Japan has any appreciable amount of range land, or the traditions that developed in North America from having vast acreages of it.

Food can be cheap in the US, but part (not all) of that is in the eye of the beholder. I'm remembering the expat English teacher I discussed this with while in Japan on a cultural visit. She said she had to eat "Japanese style" to get by on a modest budget, something which leaned towards fish, rice, beans, tofu, Asian vegetables, etc., and really didn't involve items like beef. Things have changed somewhat since then, but I understand that US expats (trade delegates, etc.) who try to eat a US diet are still not happy campers with respect to the cost.


Gas pipeline erupts in eastern Texas
By the CNN Wire Staff
June 7, 2010 5:00 p.m. EDT

(CNN) -- An underground natural gas pipeline exploded into flames Monday in Johnson County, Texas, injuring several people, a fire official said.

Several people were burned, and "we've got an unknown number of people still unaccounted for," said Cleburne Fire Chief Clint Ishmael. Crews could get no closer than 600 yards to the source of the fire, he said. "There's no way we can try to put this fire out."

The pipeline erupted around 2:40 p.m. (3:40 p.m. ET), and the shaking lasted for about 10 minutes, said Laura Harlin, who lives about a mile away. "Our house shook, glass shook," she said. "We watched this huge plume of smoke or steam rising above our neighborhood."

A rumble was continuing more than an hour later, she said.

3 known dead just reported on CNN tv, others missing. Live video on CNN website at time of posting. Flames still burning furiously.

Yeesh...what next ? (no, I don't really think I want to know)

More live news coverage with commentary at http://cbs11tv.com/

Wow. Just stopped almost instantly. Guess it's run out of fuel in the pipeline.

Think they just said workers were installing pylons when they hit the pipe. A team of eight workers were on site.

Yeah, but nuclear power isn't safe and wind and solar are impractical.

What's a nation to do?

George Monbiot on the oil industry's true costs.


About two years I made a post that said the marginal cost of new oil in the US was about $100 a barrel. That was disputed by some, mainly because I didn't have extensive figures to back that up.

However retrospectively, it appears that the marginal cost of offshore deepwater drilling is way higher than $100.

My gues is that Petrobras, drilling deep offshore Brazil, will find its costs much higher than now believed - although I see them raising their costs estimates constantly already.

Anyone else familiar with the Dead Kennedys' song "Moon Over Marin"? That's been playing in my head as the soundtrack to the riser plume. http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/deadkennedys/moonovermarin.html

"A Siege Across the Entire Gulf": BP Makes Progress, Still Way Short on Solutions

"some experts estimate the daily volume of the spill could be as high as 100,000 barrels per day so capturing half of 20,000 may be a best-case scenario."


Alleged BP contract clean up mole reporting from Elmers Island to Mother Jones:


Democracy now...the American people have a right to see their land, and not be run off by corporations backed by the government....

Is Louisiana treated fairly by the Federal government wrt GOM oil production royalties?


Writing for Truthout of the environmental debt owed Louisiana by the rest of the nation, Haney, a former New Orleans resident, makes the point that if Louisiana were an independent nation, its oil riches would render it a very wealthy one indeed. Instead, Louisiana has more residents living under the poverty level than any other state except Mississippi, its neighbor on the Gulf. Yet in terms of its gross domestic product, Louisiana ranks ahead of Connecticut, which is the nation's third wealthiest state.

Heisenberg, that's the reality around the world as money from oil does not make its way to 'The People', but instead to a select few.

Wow, this youtube video is a clip from a 60 minutes segment on the mortgage meltdown, and there is a graph shown part way through suggesting a 2nd wave of foreclosures will be occuring in 2010-2011 as ARM's that had initial teaser rates will reset. Also mentioned is a slower to become a problem with commercial property loans. Oh my!


But most striking is at the end of the program the 60 minutes moderator says 1 in 10 mortgage holders are behind in their payments, and that is the most since the Great Depression. Well, since that aired in 12/09, that ratio has increased to 1 in 7!

So it appears there will be a 2nd wave of defaults in 10 & 11. This going to be a tough economic time period to get through.

Here's a 2nd video reinforcing the same thing, centering more on the graph with the resets for 2010-12.


In a way when millions are in the same boat then things might become easier all around. For one thing the banks can`t keep up with processing the foreclosures. WHen the houses finally empty then rents go down or maybe the banks don`t pay taxes and the houses are taken by the state and enter a strange middleworld where they belong to noone so squatters take over. Everyone is poor and noone has a lot so soon people are scurrying around avoiding the automobile economy. Goats in the basement, rabbits in the garage, a still in the kitchen. Soon everyone being poor makes a critical mass of people who will form a new kind of "poor man`s" economy. Bartering, producing, secret restaurants that don`t meet code, a hidden metal shop that violates a zoning law, someone who will sew a dress for you for only cash or a bag of flour.

WalMArt gets ignored and goes under and noone really cares but some people show up to buy ---or just steal---the metal shopping carts to melt down. Food prices go up and people start looking around for grass to feed the rabbits and, hey, that corner of the defunct K-Mart parking lot looks like it could have its asphalt removed in an afternoon so that happens.

Basically the situation will get better the worse it sounds. Because all sorts of people will find jobs that don`t have any paperwork associated with them, because paperwork is too expensive. I bet that this is already happening much more than we realize.


Glad to read your post. Sometimes we underestimate people's resilience and ability to work around difficulties. We are much tougher than we often give ourselves credit.


Why can’t they calculate the amount of oil coming out of the well, it seems pretty straight forward to me. The oil is a liquid and it cannot be compressed at the pressures it is under. Knowing this the calculation is simple.

Area of cross-section of pipe times (X) the distance the oil travels up and out the pipe at any time interval

The gas is a little more difficult since it can be compressed but we know the pressure. Hence the volume of the gas can be calculated using the same equation for a given volume of gas at that pressure.

Where am I going wrong in this calculation-?