Drumbeat: July 12, 2010

In BP’s Record, a History of Boldness and Costly Blunders

Hurricane Dennis had already come and gone on July 11, 2005, when a passing ship spotted a shocking sight in the Gulf of Mexico: Thunder Horse, BP’s hulking $1 billion oil platform, was listing precariously to one side, looking for all the world as if it were about to sink.

Towering 15 stories above the water’s surface, Thunder Horse was meant to be the BP’s crowning glory, the embodiment of its bold gamble to outpace its competitors in finding and exploiting the vast reserves of oil beneath the waters of the gulf.

Instead, the rig, which was supposed to produce about nearly 20 percent of the gulf’s oil output, became a symbol of BP’s hubris. A valve installed backward had caused the vessel to flood during the hurricane, jeopardizing the project before any oil had even been pumped. Other problems, discovered later, included a welding job so shoddy that it left underwater pipelines brittle and full of cracks.

“It could have been catastrophic,” said Gordon A. Aaker Jr., a senior engineering consultant on the project. “You would have lost a lot of oil a mile down before you would have even known. It could have been a helluva spill — much like the Deepwater Horizon.”

BP May Stop Flow From Leaking Well After Test Today

BP Plc may stop the flow of crude from its leaking Gulf of Mexico well, source of the biggest oil spill in U.S. history, beginning with a pressure test today.

BP oil spill creates low-stress jobs, but some fishermen face emotional crisis

For these crews -- usually seen only in long-range TV shots, faceless participants in the gulf's drama -- working for BP can bring good pay and the pride of fighting the spill hand-to-hand.

But for some it comes at a psychological cost: They have given up control of their lives in exchange for hot days, bewildering bureaucracy and a nagging sense that the oil is still winning. The toll for a few individuals has been extreme, as illustrated last month, when a charter-boat captain working for BP committed suicide in Alabama.

Natural Gas: The New King Of Electric Power

Over the last three years, natural gas production has grown nearly 14%, which is in sharp contrast to the flat performance of production in the decade before that. Notably, much of that growth has been on the back of pre-Haynesville Shale plays, including the Barnett and Fayetteville shales, among others. Subsequent discoveries, including the Haynesville, Marcellus, and Eagleford shales, are merely adding to the already-rapid pace of growth.

The Real Reason More Women Are Childless

I was genuinely surprised to read the recent Pew Research Center study showing that the share of American women who are skipping out on motherhood has nearly doubled since 1976, rising from 10 percent of the population to 18 percent.

Personally, I was happy to see that more women feel free to forgo childbearing. But not everyone shares my enthusiasm. According to Pew, 38 percent of Americans now denounce childlessness as bad for society. That's up from 29 percent just two years ago. So what's behind the increase in women choosing the non-mom route? According to social conservatives, legal abortions are to blame for declining birth rates. Mike Huckabee told reporter Max Blumenthal that if it weren't for abortion, there would be no need for immigrants to come work in the United States. Some anti-choicers are issuing dire warnings about a "demographic winter" bringing an end to Western civilization.

Empire State Building goes green, one window at a time

Never has a structure so old and so tall gone so green. "It's the most recognizable building energy retrofit in the world," says Arah Schuur, director of a conservation program at former president Bill Clinton's foundation

If you can retrofit the Empire State Building, you can retrofit anything, says Kevin Surace, president of Serious Materials.

Iran saves power with a holiday

Iran’s government has shut down for two days, with all civil servants and public sector workers going home for an unexpected holiday, in a move apparently designed to save electricity.

The state is the biggest employer in the country, with about 2.2m full-time staff. Officially, the reason given for the closure was an “unprecedented” level of midsummer heat.

However, Iran’s Weather Forecast Organisation said recent temperatures of 40°C to 43°C in Tehran had been experienced before, al-though temperatures had stayed above 40° for longer than in previous years.

Ordinary Iranians and analysts believe the government’s real motive was to cope with a severe shortage of electricity. “People should help [the government] by consuming electricity more considerately,” said Majid Namjoo, energy minister, on state television.

Officials: U.S. to issue new oil moratorium

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will issue a revised moratorium on offshore drilling Monday.

Two administration officials have told the Associated Press of the plans. Both requested anonymity so as not to pre-empt the official announcement.

Chevron accusations a sign Kazakhstan wants more money

Kazakhstan oil ministry accusations that a Chevron-led venture is pumping too much oil are the latest signs the government wants more money from production sharing agreements it considers unfair.

Shah contracts cheaper than expected

Contracts for the United Arab Emirates’ $10 billion Shah gas project were 40-50% cheaper than expected, the chief executive of the Abu Dhabi Gas Development Company said, after economic crisis made firms cut prices.

Working to bring 'Hippos,' and water, to Haiti

Hippo rollers have proved to be life-changing in Africa. By using them, poor villagers cut down on the number of trips to their water sources. Going for water is women's work, most African men think, so many young girls miss school to help their mothers make multiple trips to rivers or lakes, Gibbs said.

Historic oil spill fails to produce gains for U.S. environmentalists

"This is probably our last best chance to pass a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill," said Dan Lashof, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's climate center. "This is the moment to choose."

It's hard to tell how many people are listening.

Energy Warning: Britain 'At Risk' Of Crisis

Britain faces soaring bills and the risk of power cuts unless major changes are made to the country's energy infrastructure, a manufacturing organisation has claimed.

The EEF warned the Government that unless it takes the lead on energy policy to ensure competitiveness and security, the UK could face problems as soon as 2015.

The sector faces an unprecedented combination of energy challenges over the next decade.

Billions of pounds need to be invested in infrastructure, the risks of a growing reliance on imported gas need to be managed and the industry must meet an ambitious and costly renewable energy target all at the same time.

Optimism, harsh realism, and blind spots — 10 years later

Ten years ago, energy analyst Steve Andrews challenged widely respected energy guru Amory Lovins via email for what Andrews thought was an overly optimistic vision—about coal consumption trends, evolution in the auto industry, future world oil production, etc.—articulated in the Rocky Mountain Institute‘s Spring 2000 newsletter. RMI published the subsequent email exchange at http://www.rmi.org/Content/Files/RMI_SolutionsJournal_FallWin00.pdf in the fall of 2000; most of it is reprinted below, with a few updated facts. Ten years later, read it for the blind spots everyone had.

Russia steps up efforts to undermine Nabucco

Russia's Gazprom has discussed its South Stream pipeline project with German utility RWE, sources said as Russia stepped up efforts to undermine the rival Nabucco project.

Troubles in Turkey's Backyard

Forget Gaza or Iran, Prime Minister Erdogan needs to focus on the reignited war with Kurdish separatists -- before a full-fledged war breaks out in Turkey's restive southeast.

Should you buy energy stocks?

FORTUNE -- At 82, T. Boone Pickens has worn multiple (10-gallon) hats: billionaire investor, corporate raider, hedge fund manager, and proselytizer for natural gas and wind -- not to mention fervent Oklahoma State football fan. Through it all, though, he's been an oil and gas man. He spoke with Fortune's Katie Benner about the perils and possibilities of investing in energy during a time of tumult for the industry.

Britain Won't Help BP Avoid Takeover

As rivals weigh asset sales by the reeling oil giant, the British government has sent clear signals that it won't intervene to save a national icon.

BP settlements: A gamble for Gulf Coast victims

FORTUNE -- "We're interested in total peace," says Ken Feinberg, the administrator of the $20 billion Gulf Coast Escrow Fund that is being set up to provide a fast, fair claims processing facility for most oil spill victims. "We're not interested in any halfway measures," Feinberg adds.

What he means is that the fund he'll be administering won't be dispensing any relief for losses already incurred unless the victim also consents to accept an estimate of his future damages, too, and then releases BP from future claims. "My goal is to settle then and there," Feinberg says. "Why bother coming back? Let's resolve it right now."

Both the victim and BP (BP) will, therefore, be making a gamble about the future since neither can yet foresee how bad future damages might become. As of the moment, of course, the gushing Macondo deep-sea oil well hasn't even been plugged yet.

New Thinking on BP Spill: Declare a Holiday!

The BP spill demands a far more significant response than ongoing cleanups, unsuccessful attempts to plug the gushing oil, and desperate efforts to mitigate the multitude of impacts from the biggest oil catastrophe in U.S. history. The BP spill demands a paradigm shift in how we run our economy and carry out our governance. Historians will one day look back on this spill as the nadir of governmental regulatory performance, in which oil companies commandeered and corrupted the Interior Department oil leasing program. So what’s the response we need to get the paradigm shift going? How about declaring a new holiday?

Kuwait To Decide On Restarting Suspended $15Bn Refinery Project

Kuwait’s Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) will decide by October whether to restart the mothballed plan to build a $15bn, 615,000b/d refinery at al-Zour, an official of state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation tells MEES. The frequently delayed project was originally scheduled for completion in 2010 at a cost of $6.3bn, but was suspended in early 2009 (MEES , 23 March 2009) following accusations in parliament of “irregular” contract awards and a rise in estimated costs close to $20bn.

Fuel crisis:Still waiting for private refineries

Nigeria’s energy crisis, particularly the inability to operate functional crude oil refineries to meet the needs of consumers of petroleum products in the domestic market, continues to be a source of worry to government, citizens and other stakeholders in the industry.

Analysing the feasibilities of going nuclear

Bangladesh government has recently signed a deal with Russia to set up a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh with a view to boosting up electricity generation in the country. In view of depleting fossil fuel reserve and huge carbon emission from fossil fuel based power plants, many developing countries in the world are opting for nuclear power generation. Bangladesh is facing shortage of natural gas which was so far considered as the main source of fuel in the country. Environmental consciousness has also grown tremendously. There is a huge demand supply gap of electricity impeding the process of development. Under this situation it seems that Bangladesh government has taken a very logical decision to feed the needs of the power starving nation. However, the question remains if the decision taken is based on adequate rationale and analyses.

Enel to start major plant conversion to coal 2011

FUSINA, Italy (Reuters) - Italy's largest utility Enel SpA aims to start converting a major oil-fuelled power plant to use clean coal technology next year as part of its drive to cut carbon emissions, its CEO said on Monday.

With a Boost from Innovation, Small Wind Is Powering Ahead

New technologies, feed-in tariffs, and tax credits are helping propel the small wind industry, especially in the United States. Once found mostly in rural areas, small wind installations are now starting to pop up on urban rooftops.

Has Electric Deregulation Helped or Hurt Texans?

So has deregulation caused the cost of electricity to go up or down for ordinary Texans? That answer is complicated by the fact that no one knows how rates might have increased without it. "Most Texans can easily buy electricity today below 2001 regulated prices," asserts the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, in a recent paper. With inflation adjustments, the group says, "the average competitive price today is 9.46 percent lower than regulated prices in Texas in 2001."

Rule on switching power providers prompts clash

Consumer advocates are clashing with a group of retail electric companies over a proposed rule that would keep some customers with unpaid bills from switching to new electricity providers before losing their service.

George Lakoff: Disaster Messaging

Almost every day, I get a request from somewhere in the US — or various other countries — to help some group do disaster messaging. It’s sad. Reframing rarely works with disaster messaging.

To work long-term, progressive messaging must be sincere and direct, must reflect progressive moral values, and must be repeated. Progressive framing is about saying what you believe, telling the truth, and activating the progressive worldview already present in the minds of those who are partly conservative and partly progressive.

Kurt Cobb: Whither the weak in the post-peak oil world?

In the fossil fuel era we have congratulated ourselves on our enlightened treatment of the weak, not realizing that our vast and increasing energy surplus made it possible to expand their possibilities without risking the viability of society as a whole. No doubt technology helped, too. How many books would Stephen Hawking have written without the special technologies available to the handicapped, especially those linked to the computer? How many children might have been left to wither and die in institutions were it not for new methods of instruction practiced by trained specialists who have made possible the vastly increased range of activities and even a degree of independence for some of the most profoundly handicapped among us?

But that infrastructure of people and machines implies a certain energy input from society. Even though we know that the current infrastructure can make those who are weakest among us vastly more capable of participating in society, will we be able to resist the calls from those who will say that the weak are too much of a burden on society--that it is best for society to let them wither and die and to nourish the strong instead?

Sustainability: From Excess to Aesthetics

Sustainability is defined as the operation of a steady-state economy in which natural resource inputs and waste-product outputs are held constant. Key issues in attaining a sustainability are addressing the problems of overconsumption of resource-intensive reinforcers, underconsumption of resource-light reinforcers, and lack of consumption skills that yield an enduring source of intrinsically reinforcing challenges and pleasures. Behavioral impediments to a sustainable society are described together with opportunities to achieve it. Opportunities emphasize sustainable futures people will find appealing rather than austere. These opportunities include a replacement of consumer culture with alternative value systems, embodied in John Stuart Mill's art of living, Tibor Scitovsky's cultural reawakening, B. F. Skinner's arts-based utopia, voluntary simplifiers, and the aesthetically-based values of Bohemian communities.

Rust in the bread basket

IT IS sometimes called the “polio of agriculture”: a terrifying but almost forgotten disease. Wheat rust is not just back after a 50-year absence, but spreading in new and scary forms. In some ways it is worse than child-crippling polio, still lingering in parts of Nigeria. Wheat rust has spread silently and speedily by 5,000 miles in a decade. It is now camped at the gates of one of the world’s breadbaskets, Punjab. In June scientists announced the discovery of two new strains in South Africa, the most important food producer yet infected.

Chili peppers stored in Arctic doomsday vault

Seeds from some of North America's hottest chili peppers were recently delivered to the cool Arctic and stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, where they'll be safe for centuries in case some terrestrial catastrophe renders them otherwise extinct.

The so-called " doomsday seed vault" now contains seeds of more than 525,000 crop varieties from around the world, making it the most diverse assemblage of crops anywhere. The seed vault was constructed deep in a mountain on a remote Norwegian archipelago near the North Pole as a fail-safe back-up to existing crop collections around the world.

Six lessons from the BP oil spill

For years to come, the United States and the oil industry will be absorbing the lessons of the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Regulators will toughen inspections. Oil companies will adopt more rigorous safeguards. New cleanup technologies will emerge from university and corporate laboratories. And spill drills could become a regular part of coastal communities' emergency planning.

What the BP oil spill does not signal, however, is a change in direction. Even as brown goo gushes from the Gulf floor 5,000 feet below the surface, and cleanup crews struggle to halt the slick from befouling beaches and shorebirds, companies are already developing the technologies to drill twice as deep off South America, Africa, and in the Gulf itself.

Oil plays too big a role in the world economy to turn off the spigot – or to stop exploring for new sources of crude to replace declining oil fields already in production.

Oil Declines From One-Week High as Traders Sell Futures to Lock in Gains

Oil declined in New York for the first time in four days as traders viewed last week’s climb above $76 as an opportunity to sell contracts, given signs that U.S. economic growth may falter.

Crude slid as much as 1.1 percent, paring last week’s gains. Retail sales in the U.S., the biggest energy user, probably fell in June for a second month and industrial production cooled, economists said before reports this week. Oil rose earlier as China, the world’s second-largest energy consumer, reported record oil imports in June.

Saudi Aramco to Provide Full August Contractual Crude Oil Volumes to Asia

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest state-owned oil company, will supply full contractual volumes of crude to Asia for loading in August, according to refinery officials.

Saudi Aramco, as the company is known, will provide 100 percent of cargoes sold under long-term contracts for a ninth month, according to a survey of three refinery officials in Japan, all of whom asked to remain unidentified, citing confidentiality agreements with the Middle East producer.

The decision to provide full exports comes after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed in March to leave output quotas unchanged for the fifth time since 2008. The group is exceeding targets by the equivalent of a little more than a supertanker a day.

Kuwait Petroleum Sets August Crude Oil Prices to Asia Unchanged From July

Kuwait Petroleum Corp., the state- owned producer, kept its official oil exports to Asia for August unchanged from July.

Price of gas falls nearly 4 cents in last two weeks

CAMARILLO, Calif. — The average price of regular gasoline in the United States has dropped 3.88 cents over a two-week period to $2.73.

Hedge Funds Bull Oil Bets Fall to 15-Month Low Amid Rally

Hedge funds slashed bets that oil would rise last week to the lowest level in more than a year just before crude began its biggest advance since May.

Oil May Reach $84 After Climbing Above Ichimoku Cloud: Technical Analysis

Oil may push toward $84 a barrel based on signals from on a Japanese charting method called Ichimoku Kinko Hyo, or “one-glance cloud chart,” according to Astmax Ltd.

Chinese producer, BP take over Iraqi oil field

BEIJING (AP) -- State-owned China National Petroleum Corp. said Monday it and BP have taken over operating Iraq's Rumaila oilfield, the country's biggest.

Iraq's government has signed a string of deals with foreign energy companies to restore its dilapidated oil industry and boost output.

Templeton-Backed Shiv-Vani Oil & Gas May Acquire U.S., European Companies

Shiv-Vani Oil & Gas Exploration Services Ltd., an Indian oil driller backed by Templeton Asset Management Ltd., plans to spend $50 million to acquire a U.S. or European company to get access to technology.

“We have the basic facilities when it comes to drilling,” Vice President P.K. Gupta said in a phone interview from New Delhi today. “We are trying to develop capabilities in specialized services, which companies like Schlumberger Ltd. have.”

Cap Connector Is Installed on BP Well

NEW ORLEANS — BP said Sunday that it had made progress toward installing a new cap that could contain all of the oil spewing from its out-of-control well in the Gulf of Mexico, and that a flotilla of skimmers was helping to collect the additional oil leaking while the procedure was under way.

EU considers deepwater oil restrictions: report

MILAN (Reuters) – The European Union could consider limiting the depth of deepwater oil drilling as part of new rules following BP's spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Europe's energy chief said in an interview on Saturday.

Oil companies reeling from drilling moratorium uncertainty

NEW YORK (AFP) – Fed up with the uncertainty surrounding offshore drilling following the Gulf of Mexico disaster, oil companies are considering increasing their inland exploration activities or venturing abroad.

Exxon Declines to Comment on Report It Has Government Approval for BP Bid

Exxon Mobil Corp. declined to comment on reports the company has received government approval to explore a bid for BP Plc.

Exxon’s Alan Jeffers had no comment on the report today in the London-based Times newspaper. Max McGahan, a spokesman for London-based BP, also said he wouldn’t comment.

BP puts oil leak bill at £2.3 billion

LONDON (AFP) – The continuing oil leak caused by the April explosion of a Gulf of Mexico oil rig has cost BP 3.5 billion dollars (2.3 billion pounds), the oil giant said Monday.

BP ready to pay six months in claims: fund administrator

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The man charged with doling out BP's compensation to victims of the Gulf oil spill said Sunday he is prepared to pay up to six months of expenses in advance, but getting people to file claims is a struggle.

Kenneth Feinberg told CNN he wanted to provide "some degree of financial certainty," to people who have found their livelihoods hurt by the massive oil spill. "If they are eligible, we will give them up to six months emergency (compensation)."

How we got stuck with BP

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- BP is the largest oil producer in the United States, pumping almost as much crude as Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips combined.

Yet the company arguably has one of the worst safety records of the bunch. So how did America - home to top-notch oil firms - get stuck with BP?

Babies of the oil spill face an uncertain future

FORT JACKSON, La.—The smallest victims are the biggest challenge for crews rescuing birds fouled with oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill.

There's no way to know how many chicks have been killed by the oil, or starved because their parents were rescued or died struggling in a slick.

Big Oil’s Good Deal

No industry enjoys the array of tax breaks and subsidies that the oil and gas industry does. No industry needs them less. For all the damage it has caused, the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may provide the political momentum to end this special treatment.

64 die in bomb attacks in Uganda during World Cup

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Explosions tore through crowds watching the World Cup final at a rugby club and an Ethiopian restaurant, killing at least 64 people. Police feared an al-Qaeda-linked Somali militant group was behind the attacks, as Uganda's president declared Monday "we shall get them wherever they are."

Peak oil vs supply crunch — or, both

But it would be superficial to look only at the paper’s peak oil warnings; it is more wide-ranging than that, looking at how existing energy use will need to change dramatically in the face of several impending developments: climate change, geo-political issues, the resurgence of coal, and natural gas substitution, to name a few.

The paper argues that these factors, collectively, mean a shift away fossil fuels is required. The problem is, that it is difficult when the big, long-term investments required are hampered by both uncertainty over the future supply and demand, and a lack of clarity about important energy policies such as carbon pricing.

Looking ahead to When the tank runs dry

Credible energy analysts such as Dave Hughes and Jeff Rubin (Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller) believe the day when global oil demand exceeds supply is not very far away. It's called Peak Oil theory, and it has some troubling implications. The first will be higher prices, for just about everything. The next will be shortages, ditto.

When the supply of the substance that underpins your society starts to run tight, you're wise to be concerned. Cuba experienced turmoil when its oil supply dried up in 1989 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It survived - but Cuba has no cold winter and can grow food year round. Canadians, far more addicted to fossil fuels than most, should be especially uneasy.

A shift in meaning for 'luxury' as shopping habits change

Steve Hundley dumped his Jaguar convertible. He stopped taking Baltic cruises. And he stopped buying his wife pricey jewelry.

But last year, just as the recession raised its head, the San Diego resident paid $6,500 for an outdoor artisan pizza oven.

"We don't need the Jaguar or cruises to the Baltic," says Hundley, who at 56, is semiretired following a heart attack two years ago. "But cooking healthy food is a big priority."

Prices of cars sold are up to an average of $29,217

While sales of cars and trucks in the U.S. continue to be more sluggish than expected, automakers — especially the Detroit Three — are enjoying the largest increase in average transaction prices in more than five years.

Uranium Bottoming as China Boosts Stockpiles

China is buying unprecedented amounts of uranium, signaling that prices are poised to rebound after three years of declines.

The nation may purchase about 5,000 metric tons this year, more than twice as much as it consumes, building stockpiles for new reactors, according to Thomas Neff, a physicist and uranium- industry analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Prices will jump by about 32 percent next year, the most since 2006, RBC Capital Markets said.

The day of the oil diatom

The Ramachandra-Gordon plan uses solar panels to mass-cultivate genetically modified diatoms - one of the smallest and oldest type of algae - that secrete a gasoline type of oil. The diatoms can be "milked" regularly, as cows for milk, for their oil to use as fuel.

The diatom milking process promises billions of gallons of fuel annually, according to Gordon. "It's a distributed production of gasoline (worldwide), and I have estimated that 10 square meters per person of diatom solar panels may suffice," he said in an e-mail to Asia Times Online. "Diatoms can generate oil independence, is sustainable, and have no net atmospheric carbon dioxide production."

Dead air

Remember last Wednesday, that brutally hot day? Around lunchtime, the wind turbines that on paper can deliver near 1,100 MW were actually producing only 14 MW. That still sounds like quite a lot, until we compare it to the day's peak demand of 24,660 MW. Wind was supplying less than one-tenth of one per cent of the province's demand, which is pretty feeble. Coal and gas supplied 600 times more.

Heat strikes farms, consumers

Record heat that has been baking much of the nation for weeks is likely to have lasting effects on farm crops and consumers in the Northeast.

"It's been devastating," says Carl Shaffer, president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. "The lack of rain combined with close to 100-degree temperatures just takes a toll on crops."

The Future Scientist as Young Idealist

The Union of Concerned Scientists has opened an advertising campaign that aims to soften the image of climate scientists by portraying future researchers as children and teenagers with an insatiable curiosity about the natural world.

Rising sea drives Panama islanders to mainland

Rising seas from global warming, coming after years of coral reef destruction, are forcing thousands of indigenous Panamanians to leave their ancestral homes on low-lying Caribbean islands.

Seasonal winds, storms and high tides combine to submerge the tiny islands, crowded with huts of yellow cane and faded palm fronds, leaving them ankle-deep in emerald water for days on end.

Law of hurricane power discovered

The intensity of hurricanes follows a simple mathematical law – a finding that could help us predict how they will respond to climate change.

S.Korea to invest $2 bln in carbon capture to 2019

(Reuters) - The South Korean government said in a statement on Monday that the country's total public and private investment in carbon capture and sequestration would reach an estimated 2.3 trillion won ($1.92 billion) to 2019.

Climate Finance Deal Needed to Break Treaty Deadlock, U.K.'s Huhne Says

Developed countries must devise a way to channel $100 billion a year in climate aid to poorer nations to secure an international deal to fight global warming, U.K. Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said.

“Helping developing countries tackle climate change is crucial if we are to secure a comprehensive and ambitious deal,” Huhne said in an e-mailed statement released today by his office in London.

An alternative route to achieving energy efficiency and greener shipping

Current estimates indicate that shipping’s share of global carbon emissions could increase to 20-30% by 2050. With 90% of global trade carried by sea, this is an issue that cannot be sidestepped. However, commercial realities must be recognised and “green” solutions with tangible commercial benefits may provide significantly more leverage to establish the win-win situation that will reduce costs and limit damage to the environment.

Climate change charges 'hitting fuel poor'

Charges included in energy bills to pay for investment in infrastructure and initiatives to tackle carbon emissions are having a "disproportionate" impact on households classed as being in fuel poverty, according to a new report.

Learned something new this morning from my favorite musician, David Rovics

The Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989 had devastated the shore around Prince William Sound, diminishing the marine population. Consequently, the fishery industry in the area faced a sharp fall on their fish catch and revenue. Feeling little had been done to study the impact of the spill, a group of fishermen sailed off to begin a blockade of the Valdez Narrows on August 20, 1993. While tankers must pass through Valdez Narrows to enter the port of Valdez, seven tankers were held off in the three-day blockade.

As oil was continuing to pump through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, and tankers were keeping off shore, the storage tanks in Valdez would soon overflow. With the probability in interrupting the oil flow to prevent an overflow, and also facing a growing loss in profits, the government came in to settle the blockade. The blockade was called off after Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt promised to release $5 million of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill restoration funds for ecosystem-wide studies.

Comprehensive studies of the effects of the spill toward the ecosystem around Prince William Sound began in the following year.


I of course knew of the Exxon Valdez event, but somehow the news of this nation did not manage to get this event, the blockade by fishermen to my attention.

David's new song about the blockade(as all his songs) is available on the Creative Commons for listening or download at http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=111310&content=songin...

This sort of tells us what to expect this time. Hope the gulf fishermen and other residents realize that they will get what they push for (maybe) but certainly if they don't keep pressure on BP and the government they will get as little as BP and the gov't think they can get away with.

If the EV disaster is any indication, they'll get a fraction of what they push for and it'll take nearly 20 years to get it. Lawyers and legal fees will get much of it:

The "Timeline of Events" and "Litigation" sections are particularly telling.

See Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce in BLEAK HOUSE by Charles Dickens. He truly understood lawyers and litigation.

Link up top: Oil companies reeling from drilling moratorium uncertainty

Amid the legal uncertainty, oil companies remain in limbo.

While driving from Pensacola to Orange Beach, Alabama yesterday I spotted a jack up rig parked in shallow water about a quarter mile off the beach near Perdido Key at about the Florida-Alabama border. I have no idea what it was doing there but I assume it is to sit out the drilling uncertainty. Still, I find that a little strange that it would pull in this close and just sit there. If shallow water jack up rigs are idle then the oil companies really are in limbo.

Ron P.

Ron -- The scuttlebutt I've heard so far: While they don't have a moratorium on shallow water drilling the MMS is taking their full legal time frame (6 months) to approve any new exploration plans. One operator had 4 permits in processing with 4 jackups ready to go. They got the word on the side about the foot dragging and called force majeure and released those rigs. Not sure yet how slow they're really going but with the restructuring proposed for the MMS more delays won't surprise me. From what I've heard there's a big demand in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere for jackups so if those drillers think this slowdown on the shelf is real we may see more shallow water rigs heading overseas too.


While discussing the big Bro ha in the interior PNW with tar sands and transport (google Lewistown, tar sands, Rt 12--Missoulian.com has alot of coverage), I ran into a wall. Thought that the tar sands were now #2 source of US imported oil, but is Canada actually the #2 supplier, which would include Hibernia and other production? Thanks if you know, or how US import supplies are playing out with Macondo mess and decline of Mexican production.

Seems PNW arguments started with Robert Rapier's old refinery, Conoco of Billings, upgrading their plant size. New, expanded oil cokers were to come upriver to Lewistown ID, then trucked to Billings. Port of Lewiston expanded, and now it seems to be becoming a new haul route for tar sands work--over a twisty 2 lane river road thru central ID wilderness.

Canada is by far the largest supplier of oil to the U.S. at nearly 2.5 million barrels per day - nearly twice as much as the next biggest supplier, Saudi Arabia. Almost half of Canadian oil now comes from its oil sands, East Coast offshore production notwithstanding.

The proportion of oil sands will increase in future, since Canada's conventional oil is nearly exhausted, but it has several hundred years reserves of oil sands. Its proportion of U.S. oil imports will probably increase as well, since I don't think Saudi Arabia has the potential for future increases in production, and production at the third biggest supplier - Mexico - has gone into freefall with the collapse of production at the Cantarell field. Actually, it's a close race between SA and MX for #2, but MX is definitely in steep decline.

With the suspension of offshore drilling as a result of the BP blowout, I think Americans will have two choices in future - 1) Canadian oil sands, or 2) walking everywhere.

rocky -- or as some may say one day: Canada...our 51st state. That ought to stir those beaver lovers up. Actually on that subject I heard a short report on NPR about a movement (perhaps just a small but vocal group) protesting the construction of a new crude export line to the US that is dedicated strictly to the tar sands. I think part of the augment was that they didn't want tar sands production to be exclusively targeted to the US. That a second pipeline to the west coast allowing export to China would max the value of their reserves.

That's one of Transcanada's projects: Opposition to Canada pipeline grows - UPI.com

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made public Tuesday, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said the pipeline would increase the amount of tar sands oil from Canada to the United States to 3 million barrels a day. That would also increase greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to putting 18 million more cars on the road, he said.

3 mb/d? Fella can dream, I guess.

Three million barrels per day of oil from the oil sands is quite possible in the next few years. Five million barrels per day is possible in a decade or so. Beyond that, I don't know. I'm not sure the US can afford to buy more expensive oil than that, and Canada doesn't really need that much money. It has fewer people than California, after all.

NEB figures 3 mb/d in 2015, CAPP sees 2.1 mb/d. The CAPP number is slightly lower than what I get with summing up megaprojects, so that sounds about right. Expect another investment shakeout if we have another economic slowdown with attendant drop in demand.

Actually, a group of about 50 congressmen signed a letter to Hillary Clinton opposing building a pipeline to the Texas Gulf coast to supply refineries there with Canadian bitumen.

The question does of course arise, if you ban imports of Canadian oil sands, and you ban offshore drilling, where are those Texas refineries going to get their oil from? Iran? Algeria? Angola? Certainly not Texas because there's not much oil left onshore in Texas.

The Chinese would be quite happy to buy oil from Iran, Algeria, or Angola, but the way things are going they want oil from Canada as well. They've put quite a few billion dollars into buying up oil sands assets.

General Motors is now selling more cars in China than in the USA. Somebody has to keep them supplied with gasoline, and the Chinese don't particularly care who that is.

Thanks RMG.

By country, EIA shows Mexico #2 for total petroleum, #1 Canada, matching your 2.5 mil bpd. SA, Mexico, Nigeria tightly clustered. Googleing around shows all ends, Treehugger to CERA, predicting tar sands to be the #1 source of US imported oil by end of this year.

Rt 12 is toast. That may seem petty in light of the GOM destruction for the sake of oil. Each region must sacrifice. :). Pair the tar sands with Euans report of Chinese coal. The two dirtiest forms from AGW standpoint advancing to the front.

Big Beautiful Photos Of Canada's Lucrative And Destructive Oil Sands

A Canadian artist, Louis Helbig, took aerial pictures of the area, fascinated by the power of industry. With his permission we're running a selection. More can be seen at www.beautifuldestruction.ca.

Oh sure, the oil sands mines are among the biggest mines in the world. But in the Canadian context they're not that large. Canada has islands bigger than Britain, parks bigger than Switzerland, and most of its provinces and territories are individually bigger than France.

After they're done mining, they'll plant grass, bring in some animals to graze on it, put in picnic tables, and it'll look wonderful. There won't be a lot of people to enjoy it because Canada has fewer people than California in an area bigger than Europe or the U.S., but the few people who are there will enjoy it.

Can someone then explain why we're NOT drilling madly in Utah? There's been huge finds there, and it's not tar sands, either. Rather, it's very much "drill straight down" to get it. Last I heard, all the potential leases were trashcanned and it's nearly all locked down and unavailable, except for the small bits that got finished before Bush left.

A small company called Wolverine found lots and lots of oil where previous exploration was certain there wasn't any.

Is this what you are referring to?


Or this is perhaps a better reference, since it mentions Wolverine (PDF):


I dunno...they certainly talk a good marketing game, but is the amount of recoverable oil per year at current or even double current price really going to save the day for BAU?

This doesn't strike me as any kind of conspiracy, since these references were findable on the Google in about 0.23 seconds...

After all, the Bakken isn't exactly going to displace KSA either, and lots of people got worked up into a lather about that too...

Your article up on top says.

Oil plays too big a role in the world economy to turn off the spigot – or to stop exploring for new sources of crude to replace declining oil fields already in production.

I think that this is something that people who have not studied the situation find hard to understand. What the author is likely thinking of is the tie of oil production to world GDP. But there are other connections as well. Oil production is closely tied to a lot of things we badly need--food production, ability to irrigate food crops, ability to pay back debt plus interest so the financial system stays afloat.

We don't have substitutes that work well. The one that comes closest to working is (unfortunately) coal, which Euan writes about today. China has managed to grow its economy greatly on coal. The low price of coal-fired electricity is part of what makes Chinese exports so attractive in the export market. Because we buy the exports, we have benefited from China's coal growth as well.

This is all frustrating. People would like wind, solar PV, and biofuels to "do enough" to make a difference. They act to "extend" the use of fossil fuels a bit, but it is not clear that they will reduce the total amount of fossil fuels burned. Mostly, they tend to leave fossil fuels in the ground for later. If they have the extending property that is hoped for, it seems likely that the total amount of fossil fuel burned will not be reduced by much.

People would like wind, solar PV, and biofuels to "do enough" to make a difference. They act to "extend" the use of fossil fuels a bit, but it is not clear that they will reduce the total amount of fossil fuels burned. Mostly, they tend to leave fossil fuels in the ground for later. If they have the extending property that is hoped for, it seems likely that the total amount of fossil fuel burned will not be reduced by much.

That would be my guess as well. If wind and solar act merely act as extenders for the fossil fuel supply, the next question is whether they will actually be able to reduce CO2 output in a meaningful way. How much would it really matter to stretch the same total amount of CO2 emissions out over a slightly longer period?

That would be my guess as well. If wind and solar act merely act as extenders for the fossil fuel supply, the next question is whether they will actually be able to reduce CO2 output in a meaningful way. How much would it really matter to stretch the same total amount of CO2 emissions out over a slightly longer period?

You know what? You and Gail are absolutely right! Let's just forget about this absurd idea of using renewables and trying to bring about a fundamental paradigm change in how we use energy and stop discussing what the hell it even means to have a high quality of life.

Sh!t, if I can't have his and hers Hummers and a 5000 sq ft. air conditioned house with a green lawn, palm trees and a swimming pool 50 miles from town somewhere out in the desert, then I just ain't freakin livin! I mean what's the point right?!

Everbody knows and completely agrees that what we have now is the only way it can ever be. Renewables serve no other purpose than to extend the use of fossil fuels for as long as possible, when all fossil fuels are finally gone then there will be no more need for any renewable energy either.

And if that's the case then why the heck should we invest in them. I say we drill baby drill and give the oil and coal companies as may tax breaks and incentives as possible. We just aren't ever going to need any of that useless energy guzzling renewable stuff. Let's stretch the fossil fuel and then just all jump off a cliff or go sit in some dark cave...

Party on dudes, cuz the new reality is gonna suck anyway so why bother even trying...

Gail says :"People would like wind, solar PV, and biofuels to "do enough" to make a difference."

Oh yee (y'all) of little faith!

143 million miles from the sun........
......100% PV powered.........

NASA's twin robot geologists, the Mars Exploration Rovers, launched toward Mars on June 10 and July 7, 2003, in search of answers about the history of water on Mars. They landed on Mars January 3 and January 24 PST, 2004 (January 4 and January 25 UTC, 2004).

......over 6 1/2 years into a 90 day mission!

If we can get our collective shit together we can do some powerful things.

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Has Two More Drives - sols 2287-2294, June 30 - July 07, 2010

Opportunity drove twice, tested the autonomous exploration for gathering increased science, or AEGIS software, and collected an atmospheric argon measurement over the past week.

The rover drove on Sol 2288 (July 1, 2010), covering about 71 meters (233 feet) in a simple zigzag pattern to the east. Over the 4th of July weekend, Opportunity performed two more tests of the AEGIS autonomous pointing software and collected an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). On Sol 2293 (July 6, 2010), Opportunity drove again heading east and covering another 71 meters (233 feet).

As of Sol 2294 (July 7, 2010), solar array energy production has improved to 359 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.226 and the solar array dust factor is 0.577.

Total odometry is 21,550.77 meters (21.55 kilometers, or 13.99 miles).


It's all in our heads..."I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...."

Aw, shucks pardah, doncha know that oil is abiotic... it just keeps bubbling on up, everywhere. And, besides we all know that those space aliens are gonna come down and clue us in on super solar, fusion and quantum energy. Unless, of course we figure it out ourselves in the meantime. And, ya'all know that won't take much time at all, once we get mad and decide to do it. 'Cause that's just the way us Americans are... U S A ... U S A ... S U V


A couple of weeks ago I was driving along an interstate that I used to travel frequently when I drove through a large wind farm that wasn't there the last time I had passed that way. It seemed to go on for miles. On the return trip I checked, and it did indeed go on for miles -- 9.8 miles, to be precise. A little poking around on Google revealed that this farm currently has a nameplate capacity of 600 MW. I'm guessing that average output is more likely on the order to 200 MW, or about a third of the output of a typical coal-fired power plant.

So with this farm producing an average of 200 MW, there are about 200 MW of power not being generated in the same area by burning coal (the likely alternative). The question is whether the coal that is not being burned now because of that wind farm will be left in the ground forever, or whether it will be burned eventually anyway. I don't think I'm being overly cynical to suggest that it will be burned eventually, regardless. What I would like to know is whether burning that coal a bit later than it otherwise would have been burned will actually contribute much to adressing the problem of AGW.

There's no law on the books that says that because that wind farm has been built, X thousand tons of coal must be permanently sequestered underground -- AFAIK.

If wind and solar act merely act as extenders for the fossil fuel supply, the next question is whether they will actually be able to reduce CO2 output in a meaningful way.

My short answer, No. They would slow down the rate of climate change, but have little effect on the climate a couple of hundred years out. In order for a real change in the fate of the climate renewables must do either or both of the following:
(1) provide enough of an alternative that the ore grade that we stop trying to get more goes up.
(2) Delay some combustion until carbon capture and storage is available.

Prospects of (2) don't seem very good at the moment.
I'm not so sure about (1) either. With wind/solar, it would be energetically possible to produce fossil fuels with an EROEI of less than one, and use them for specialty fuels. So it is possible the renewables could allow even lower grade deposits to be exploited.

The Day of the Oil Diatom

The diatom milking process promises billions of gallons of fuel annually, according to Gordon. "It's a distributed production of gasoline (worldwide), and I have estimated that 10 square meters per person of diatom solar panels may suffice," he said in an e-mail to Asia Times Online. "Diatoms can generate oil independence, is sustainable, and have no net atmospheric carbon dioxide production."

Seriously? Awesome! We're saved! See, technology to the rescue. Anyone have any more information on this 'wonder fuel'?

Milking Diatoms for Sustainable Energy: Biochemical Engineering versus Gasoline-Secreting Diatom Solar Panels

In the face of increasing CO2 emissions from conventional energy (gasoline), and the anticipated scarcity of crude oil, a worldwide effort is underway for cost-effective renewable alternative energy sources. Here, we review a simple line of reasoning: (a) geologists claim that much crude oil comes from diatoms; (b) diatoms do indeed make oil; (c) agriculturists claim that diatoms could make 10−200 times as much oil per hectare as oil seeds; and (d) therefore, sustainable energy could be made from diatoms. In this communication, we propose ways of harvesting oil from diatoms, using biochemical engineering and also a new solar panel approach that utilizes genomically modifiable aspects of diatom biology, offering the prospect of “milking” diatoms for sustainable energy by altering them to actively secrete oil products. Secretion by and milking of diatoms may provide a way around the puzzle of how to make algae that both grow quickly and have a very high oil content.

In the Preface to the Complex Materials II Special Issue containing this paper, the editor says:

Under the theme of inspirational learning from nature, the paper by Ramachandra et al. in this special issue reviews the prospect of harvesting oil from diatoms by altering them to actively secrete oil products through either biochemical engineering or genetic engineering of live diatoms.

The biggest problem with biological energy production systems such as diatoms or algae is that they must be grown in enclosed structures. The abstract specifically mentions "solar panels", which presents the usual problems of solar collection to mind.

Any system with a class or plastic cover will lose 5 to 10% of the sunlight as transmission losses thru the cover. If the system is fixed, such as a solar flat panel system, the transmission of the cover tends to decrease with angle away from the normal incidence. At high angles, almost no energy passes thru the cover. One way to overcome this problem is thru tracking, which work but which are usually more expensive than simple flat panel designs. Another big prolem I foresee is the need to clean the panels to prevent the buildup of biological "crud" on the inside of the transparent collecting surface. Another problem is that the collecting system will function as a thermal panel as well as a bio reactor, thus high temperatures may result in problems with diatom survival. One solution would be to circulate the fluid with the diatom culture thru the panels and then thru heat exchangers to cool the culture. As a result of these problems, the cost of the solar collector can become quite large, which is the same problem which builders of solar thermal or PV systems find so difficult to overcome.

Without more information on the proposed system, I remain very skeptical of the real level of production which may be possible from such a system. The authors claim that a 10 m2 area would produce lots of fuel. One would think they would have built one by now, if this is such a great idea. They had not built a system as of September 2009...

E. Swanson

Without more information on the proposed system, I remain very skeptical of the real level of production which may be possible from such a system. The authors claim that a 10 m2 area would produce lots of fuel. One would think they would have built one by now, if this is such a great idea.

I'd say that pretty much hits the nail on the head as to why this is just another pie in the sky cornucopian idea. *IT WILL NOT NOR CAN IT POSSIBLY SCALE*

Generally, cell proliferation seems to be counterproductive to oil production on a per-cell basis, which is a problem that has been expressed as an unsolved Catch-22. However, this balance may shift in our favor when we start milking diatoms for oil instead of grinding them.
—Ramachandra et al.

Looks to me as if diatoms still aren't much smarter than yeast... Apparently diatoms still hit limits to exponential growth?! What a surprise! This compartmentalized cognitively dissonant group think is bad enough coming from J6pk but from scientists who should know better it is really quite disheartening.

Not to mention that if they are actually able to produce all that gasoline. That means we could have another 2 or 3 billion Tata Nanos driving all over India. Thanks a lot there, Ramachandra.

Then again folks who work in Industrial Engineering & Chemical Research, are very rarely big picture systems thinkers.

I'm really depressed this week...

The key to this is that people say, claim and are investingating... no one claimed that anyone had created a super biatom.

Not new information, but Robert Rapier has a much repeated point that when people use terms like "estimated" it means they haven't built and operated full-scale plants yet, and there are many techniques that work when "carefully shepherded" at a lab scale where the yield and economics drops off when operated "brusquely" at much larger real-world scale. Not that it definitely won't work, but that there's still a huge uncertainty.

sure, but perhaps all is not so gloomy after all. Perhaps technology will provide the answer. Time for a few days of 'cheerful optimism' methinks, rather than 'death-spiral depression'. Glad that there are sill people out there working on solutions and not giving up is all I am saying.

I genuinely hope that technology will come up with enough solutions (probably lots of "small" contributions) that, combined with reorganising lifestyles to reduce energy use, humanity will survive. (Indeed, more and more these days I get the feeling that "believing in" a Singularity-lite is the modern equivalent of the Pacaline Wager


in that, if humanity collectively doesn't innovate fast enough, then there's no point preparing for the alternative.) I can see the reasons for looking for positives, but given how early and how much "estimated extrapolation" this is if I was looking for positives I'd be looking for ideas that are much further along development.

I genuinely hope that technology will come up with enough solutions (probably lots of "small" contributions) that, combined with reorganising lifestyles to reduce energy use, humanity will survive.

Embryonic, Pascal's wager says that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by betting on God. (Or more precisely by betting on Pascal's Catholicism.) However that is not the case when looking for solutions to save the world. I maintain that the case is the exact opposite Pascal's wager. That is assuming you are talking about saving all of most of humanity as a whole, and from your post that is obviously your point.

Suppose you spend all your time, energy and resources trying to save the world. But there are almost seven billion people in the world your meager efforts will have almost no effect. If the world is saved, it will not be because of your meager efforts. So if you do nothing and the world is saved, you will be saved anyway.

But if you do spend all your time, energy and resources trying to save the world and the world collapses anyway you will have lost everything.

On the other hand if you spend all your time, energy and resources trying to save yourself and your family, then you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by abandoning your worldly efforts and spending everything on your own private salvation, so to speak.

So forget humanity and concentrate on saving your own butt. Follow Pascal's advice on that line. But if you follow Pascal's advice and try to save humanity instead, then you have everything to lose and nothing to gain.

Ron P.

The key question is the extent to which one can effectively prepare for the case that there is a massive decline in available energy where, as you often point out, humanity is in massive overshoot. Does one think that by learning skills and trying to create "investments/stockpiles" one can noticeably improve ones chance of survival? I think you think it is possible, whereas I think that it's unlikely: in the postulated event, there will be so many people competing for so few resources that things will be decided on tenacity and chance circumstance rather than preparation. That's what leads to our different conclusions I think.

Now suppose that the future does create sufficiently many energy "generation" techniques that humanity continues. I don't expect that that future will remove the current economic system, so it'll still be possible to become homeless and die on the streets, or die of hypothermia one can't pay for one's power for heating, etc, so there's an incentive to try and stay economically relevant. (That's what I believe will happen, rather than what I'd ideally like to happen.) That's what I mean by "believing in" a Singularity-lite, in the same way that Pascal's believing in God was believing in something so large that it won't be affected by your decision, but it affects you based on your choice.

I wasn't being entirely serious about the Pascal's wager, but it does seem to me that trying to actively prepare on the assumption energy availability will collapse is pointless.

I wasn't being entirely serious about the Pascal's wager, but it does seem to me that trying to actively prepare on the assumption energy availability will collapse is pointless.

You may be right, but you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying. (Pascal's Wager!)

Seriously, those who do prepare will have a far better chance of being among the survivors than those who do not. And call me a wide eyed optimist if you will but I firmly believe there will be survivors. ;-)

Ron P.

As you'll see in my previous post, we differ in our views of what one can affect, and that influences how the wager applies. People in the UK do die on the streets, in houses they can't afford to heat, from lack of ability to pay for niche medicines, etc, due essentially to money even in our current cheap energy society. I'm very confident I can do things that will save me from that, in the event society continues. I have no confidence that anything I do now will make me a significantly better survivor in competition with the 60 million starving, desperate other inhabitants of the UK. I'm sure there will be survivors, but as above I think it'll be the most tenacious and "lucky" people.

So from my point of view, I have nothing to gain by preparing for a massive energy collapse in the event it happens, and something to lose if it doesn't. But that's based on my rating of which actions will be effective, which differs from yours.

I wonder whether there is a study of the characteristics of individuals and groups who suvived previous collapses. For example, what were the characteristics of people who weathered best the collapse of the Soviet Union? What distinguishes the Poles who made it through WW II the best? And so forth.

It is doubtful that attempting to achieve self-sufficiency on a small plot of land is a good strategy. The kulaks in the Ukraine did not do well, nor did the small land owners during the Chinese revolution.

I don't know that a study of those individuals would come up with much more of an insight than this book, Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzalez. http://www.deepsurvival.com/

Deep Survival was the first scientific book on survival. It set the bar and started the trend that spawned a spate of imitations. Since its publication, this best-seller has been embraced by everyone from the head of training for the Navy SEALs to the Sloan School of Management at MIT. Its appeal has been so broad and deep because the principles in Deep Survival apply to any challenge that life poses, from coping with a financial crisis to battling a life threatening illness or dealing with addiction and recovery. And psychologists, oncologists, business executives, and clergy have brought the principles of Deep Survival to their clients to help them face adversity, to manage risk, and to enhance decision making in every form. Read the original. You won't be disappointed.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way nor am I deriving financial gain from the sales of this book. I have read the book and found it to be a fascinating peek into the minds of those people that survive where others in the same circumstances do not. I found it to be a great read as well.

Interesting, I would add some points:

1) Our species may be an evolutionary dead end. We don't know this, as the timeframes are just too long, and we obviously can never know this, because as long as we are around thinking about it, then our genes are still around.
2) Every single human alive today will die, and every single human who ever lives on this planet will die.
3) Even if you look at our present culture, it is doubtful if much of it will be remembered in a couple of hundred years, much less a few thousand. Both of these timeframes are a blink of an eye. Only the big ideas and the most influential people are remembered culturally. Will people in the future worship at a Church of Hubbert?
4) This is to say nothing of the eventual fate of the solar system, or whether anything in this universe has any meaning whatsoever.

In short, doing something, or perhaps even hoping for something to happen, that will "save humanity" is the height of arrogance.

Just some food for thought. My own very humble opinion is that we will return to renewables, but only after we've gotten through all of the fossil fuels that we possible can, cooked the planet in the process, and culled 9/10 of humanity.

2) Every single human alive today will die, and every single human who ever lives on this planet will die.

Whoop tee doo... every plant or animal that ever lived will die. Tell us something that we didn't know.

In short, doing something, or perhaps even hoping for something to happen, that will "save humanity" is the height of arrogance.

No, your post is the height of arrogance Oilman. Obviously everyone on this list knew what we were discussing. To point out that that the universe and everything in it must one day die is a little like a child pointing out that the sky is blue. When Embryonic or I talk about "saving humanity" only a damn fool would think we were talking about saving humanity for all time, even past the life of the universe. So stop acting like a child by pointing out that even the solar system must eventually die and implying by that that all human actions are futile. You may as well say we should stop eating because we will eventually die anyway so why take any action to stay alive today.

We all do what we do for today! We all know that in the long run we are all dead. Pointing out the obvious is something a child would do.

Ron P.

I have to respectfully disagree here. Clearly somebody here had the notion that renewables would be a cure all and to talk of that is in fact what's childish. People who hope for this must be kept honest, and sometimes the only way to do that is a stark reminder of the reality of life on this planet.

Even you, in the past, have brought out the die-off trump card response which could just as easily be said to be pointing out the obvious.

I don't think a philosophical pessimism which leads to the conclusion that people should not worry about whether humanity will be saved is beyond the scope of a discussion about renewable energy.

Although maybe I shouldn't be so negative. I react strongly to worry warts, because there's nothing about our current situation that suggests we have control over our impending fate.

So if ever I see "save humanity" appear in a post, you bet I will look on it with suspicion.

Will people in the future worship at a Church of Hubbert?

We can hope not at least... then again, its really not as unlikely as some crazy Roman Emperor casting out the entire Greco/Roman Panthology, conquering under the sign of a supposedly pacifistic religion and changing the official state religion to that of a minority Jewish splinter group that had previously been persecuted. The believers would argue that Constantine was persuaded by the truth of Christianity, the non-believers would argue that Scientology is as believable a religion as Christianity.

The whole thing begs the question... will it be Emperor Tom Cruise who guides us into the new faith?

On the other hand if you spend all your time, energy and resources trying to save yourself and your family, then you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by abandoning your worldly efforts and spending everything on your own private salvation, so to speak.

Well, maybe yes and maybe no. How far are you willing to go with that "abandoning your worldly efforts"?

One of my uncles has deciphered some letters sent by our ancestors that relocated from Kentucky to SE Iowa shortly after 1830. There are three things that jump out of those letters:

  1. How impressed the new arrivals were with the quality of the land for agriculture: deep, dark, rich, plenty of water, and terrific yields.
  2. The requests that suggest how hard self-sufficiency can be. In particular, requests for nails, anvils, plows, iron stock, and woven cloth.
  3. How common early death was. Children dying from assorted respiratory illnesses; women dying in childbirth; men dying from all sorts of accidents.

I might argue that self-sufficiency requires a considerably larger group than a family. "It takes a village" at the very least, and quite possibly more than that.

Mcain, that is exactly what I have been advocating for years. You should form a community of like minded people, form a farming and defensive community with people from several different trades. There should be a blacksmith, a medical person,...etc. That way you will stand a better than average chance of survival.

By "trying to save the whole world" I meant exactly that, the whole damn world. That is the people of China, India, Russia and everywhere else. You can try to save your own ass by doing what I advocate above or preach about solar power and wind turbines till you are blue in the face but if you make no efforts to save yourself and your family then all is futile.

Ron P.

U got that RonJon... Trying to go at it alone can be a recipe for disaster. These clowns who think they are going to hide out in their bunkers and somehow survive on their stocks...have fun. I'd rather go down with the ship then float around on a piece of driftwood until the vultures peck my eyes out while i'm still alive.

I plan on declaring myself dictator and enslaving most of my local area.

I plan on declaring myself dictator and enslaving most of my local area.

I know you say that in jest but something like that may be closer to the truth than you realize. That may just be the natural progression of things as the collapse happens. That is exactly what happened in Somalia. Local warlords sprang up everywhere. I am sure something similar will take place in many other parts of the world.

Ron P.

I am sure that we are a decade, two at the most to having widespread diatom farming which replaces oil. This decade, two at the most is earily similar to the potential of fusion, etc. It is very difficult for complex systems to "grow" in an orderly fashion to a lower energy less complex state. Collapse is more common. Even with collapse the chance that humanity will survive approaches 1. Getting from six billion people to zero is difficult. A fair number of people don't use oil/electricity for much.

By "humanity surviving" I mean something like "human population remains above 1 million globally", below which I expect that a significant amount of human knowledge to be lost. The other thing is that I honestly don't know how many people don't use oil/electricity much, but it seems to me that you need to be careful to count those who trade for essentials with those who, somewhere along the line, use oil/electricity, who are only alive because of food aid, etc, as oil/electricity dependent. I honestly don't know how big that set of people is.

By "humanity surviving" I mean something like "human population remains above 1 million globally", below which I expect that a significant amount of human knowledge to be lost.

Oh... scuse me... I thought you meant ALL humanity. Hell, you are just another damn doomer... like me. ;-)

Ron P.

Morning, Darwinian,

I believe I will leave of posting very much about doom and gloom as you are better at it and better orhganized than I am.Generally speaking I think your arguments are asa close to airtight as possible , considering the subject.

One point I have not seen mentioned here is the tendency of collapse to burn itself out in the same way that a very contagious disease burns out due to a lack of new hosts.

If things do get really hairy , as I expect they will eventually for one reason or another,the roving mobs will not likely find enough food to sustain themselves very long in areas where civilian or military authority fails altogether.

Such areas as are relatively well off in terms of locallly produced food, ample local water, moderate climate, and so forth will indeed in my opinion wind up under the authority of a warloprd of some sort, while places such as LA and Phoenix Arizona will simply burn and blow away.

The question is this:

How long, very roughly, will this general process to play out so that things return to something approaching stability or a steady state?

Mac, that question is impossible to answer. After all we really have no idea how the collapse will play out, how fast things will collapse or how long it will take.

How long will it take before things get to a steady state? Probably never as there will always be famines, plagues and wars even after the collapse.

The question should be: How long before the collapse is over and normal chaos returns? I have no idea but I would guess about 100 years.

Ron P.

Such areas as are relatively well off in terms of locally produced food, ample local water, moderate climate, and so forth will indeed in my opinion wind up under the authority of a warloprd of some sort, while places such as LA and Phoenix Arizona will simply burn and blow away.

The science fiction book “Dies the Fire” and the sequels by S.M. Stirling reach the same conclusion. Entertaining and fairly well thought out.

I guess the editorial board at the Ottawa Citizen has never heard of an interconnect, pumped-storage hydro, or demand management. I wonder if they are aware that hot and sunny days are great for solar energy and that wind power is not the only renewable. I suppose they are unaware that regularly scheduled maintenance of a single coal-fired power plant would create a larger need for load balancing than all of the wind plants shutting down at once, and for a longer period of time. I wonder how they feel about all those times when the wind IS blowing, and all that gas doesn't have to be burned in the first place. I assume they think that coal and gas will be available and cheap forever.

In the world of science, they have a good phrase for that kind of cherry picking: "a bunch of hot air."

I guess the editorial board at the Ottawa Citizen has never heard of an interconnect, pumped-storage hydro, or demand management.

They probably have heard of it, but probably are aware that Ontario doesn't have any of that stuff. It would cost a lot of money to build, probably more than the citizens of Ontario are willing to pay.

At this point in time the backup facilities are the big old coal-burning power plants that Ontario built as an interim measure while all of their other energy strategies failed, one by one. They keep talking about closing them because they are a major source of pollution, but they can't do that until they get something else that actually works.

Ontario's Nanticoke Generating Station is the largest single emitter of greenhouse gases in North America. It burns high-sulfur coal imported from the U.S., and doesn't have sulfur scrubbers, or many pollution controls of any description. When the wind stops blowing, they have to start shoveling coal into it. The air quality deteriorates rapidly thereafter.

Its just the usual anti-renewables hit piece (OK I didn't read it, but the storyline doesn't change). My response, "Oh but you had stores of hydro in reservoirs, and natural gas in storage so you could handle the peak. And two weks ago when the wind was blowing strong, you didn't need to use up as much much hydro storage and/or natural gas, you could put some into storage for a hot windfree day. Power from stores, and power from time varying renewables are complementary.

In the heat wave, the case against air conditioning


"A.C.'s obvious public-health benefits during severe heat waves do not justify its lavish use in everyday life for months on end. Less than half a century ago, America thrived with only the spottiest use of air conditioning. It could again. While central air will always be needed in facilities such as hospitals, archives and cooling centers for those who are vulnerable to heat, what would an otherwise A.C.-free Washington look like?"

The introduction of cheap A/C units in homes and apartments is considered to have been the invention that made the Southeast a very attractive place to live. There's only so much that can be done to cool a home in the South with fans and architecture, unless you bury it underground.

Yes, I grew up in a home without A/C; only the kitchen and living room had A/C units and only by the time I was 12 or so. I didn't live anywhere with full A/C until I graduated from college in 1984. I've endured NC summers for a few days when the A/C unit failed, though, and it's not something I'd willingly do again, especially in a permanent situation. Most people living in the SE probably agree with me.

I live in Houston, probably the world capital of air conditioning.

I have no problem getting used to no air conditioning -- I am voluntarily sailing from Clear Lake to Galveston next Thursday, when a high of 94F is forecast, and there is certainly no air conditioning, nor fans, on the boat. And last Saturday, when the temperature was in the 90s, I spent most of the day working in the sun building and installing a new mailbox post. The old one was wrecked by someone who shouldn't be loose on the streets with a motor vehicle (I'd like to know who).

I have lived in Indonesia, the Philippines and tropical Queensland without air conditioning: it takes a bit of getting used to, and you certainly don't need to be wearing a three-piece suit, but if you wear suitable clothing and drink plenty of fluids it's quite livable. Just don't expect to get as much work done during the hottest part of the day. As Noel Coward wrote (before air conditioning), "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun."

My wife, on the other hand, tends to become distressed in temperatures higher than about 75F, though she grew up in Houston without air conditioning. But I think even she could get used to higher temperatures if she had to. It's not something she would do willingly, either.

I lived in Guam without electricity.
Speared fish for a living.
A clean tee shirt was formal.
Human skull candle holders (Japanese Soldiers from WWII).
One can adapt.

One can adapt.

Of course one can adapt... but everyone can't. That is the point many seem to totally miss. It is possible for a few people to live off the land. After all, the hunter gatherers did it for tens of thousands of years. Seven billion people cannot live off the land without the aid of fossil energy.

Even the current population of Guam could not live off spear fishing and the meager foodstuffs that can be grown off the land there. Before WW2 the population of Guam was about 20,000. They lived mostly off the land and sea then. Today it is 180,000, nine times the pre WW2 population.

There is nowhere in the world where the current population can go back to living off the land.

No Hightrekker, we all cannot adapt.

Ron P.

6.7 billion people cannot live off the land, you are correct.
The question is, how do we get back to under 500 million (or less).
I fed thousands of people as a hunter gather (fisherman), and still feed myself (partially) by foraging and fishing and hunting.
But it will not work as a strategy for the planet.

I know a guy in Milwaukee, WI who keeps his AC set at 66F all summer. Now, they do have a lake breeze, but its pretty much non existent after June and this spring/summer has been very warm. Lake Superior has temps 20F above normal right now, so i can imagine L Michigan is also well above normal.

My central air broke, but i have a window unit. The other day the temp was 89F but the dewpoint was 60F (measure of moisture)...i was fine without the AC on. Now, if the dewpoint would have been 70F and the temp the same, the AC would have been cranked. That moist crap is what sucks the life out of a person.

The best thing to do on a hot day is go swimming.

Some years back, about 5 or 6 , while visiting my son in N.Carolina I helped him look for a new house. It was a very daunting experience.

Most of the housing was not built to endure or cope with the normal climate there.

Full of foo-foo trim and lacking many essentials for living in the south.

When I lived in North Raleigh I enclosed a sun deck(a stupid thing to have there) and screened it in, hung a ceiling fan and left the trees near it for shade.

Afternoons in the dead of summer we would dine there and relax in comfort. I also added a 3 car garage and uppper story with massive insulation and two large french double doors on the shady side of the house. Where the tall pine trees were and the rest of the yard was 'natural area'.

We used A/C for sure but less , far less than most. And mostly for sleeping quarters upstairs. Also a full masonry fireplace in the great room.

This house then served, along with its wrap-around front porch as the answer to living
in the best manner in the south.

You can be comfortable in summer without having to constantly sit in an interior room cooled to 70 degrees. The heat pump was really not that big BTW. I also note that you save a huge amount of electricity in the south in the winter. Most times I never wore more than a light jacket. While the citizens in the northern climates were shivering.

I can live in the south without A/C. I just need good shade trees and a well designed lodging. In fact thats how I live now in the south.

If you live and work in highly developed areas and with lots of concrete and blacktop you might expect it to be very uncomfortable. The previous south was not like that. Only with the invasions from the north did it get unbearable due to the huge amount of sprawling development.

All the natives of Raleigh I found had moved out back before all the sprawl started. Down to Garner and further. I found it hard in 2006 to find many natives that I once knew there. One had to travel far from Raleigh to once more find good BBQ and seafood.

I lived there in the 70's. I missed the laid back lifestyle from then.

But if you build yourself and leave the trees, mostly pins and some hardwood,at least in the piedmont, then you can make do without or very little A/C.

Micro climates can be taken advantage of as well. Being near water ,etc. Far less dense housing. No nearby sprawl. Less auto traffic.

That's the problem; homebuilders in the South rely on A/C and don't take advantage of the shade and architecture that homes were built to in the days before A/C was prevalent. My home, for example, has trees on the north side and none on the south; very few shade trees exist in the subdivision except where the greenways and streams are located. I did add a porch to the south side to provide some shade, but the roof and 2nd floor walls get hammered by the sun all day.

To a developer, trees are obstacles to be removed, and very few build traditional Southern homes from before the days of A/C. There would be far fewer people in this area if A/C was eliminated, that is for certain!

I don't know. I live in a house built in 2004 in the middle of the forest in Southern Maryland, and there's no way we could do it without A/C. For two reasons really:

1. Without A/C to condition the air, it's far too humid and mold starts growing in the house. I'm pretty light on the A/C and last year I went a bit too far in trying to do without it. By July there was mold starting to grow in the basement, on the toilets, and also on the water lines where condensation built up. I bought a dehumidifier and it solved the problem, but I might as well use A/C for the cost of running the dehumidifier. Unfortunately...

2. ...the whole experience apparently triggered a severe mold allergy that I never had in my life up until last summer. I basically had a lost summer - my bones and joints just feel like I have horrible arthritis and my vision is blurry. About the only thing that allows me to function in daily life anymore is Claritin-D. If it's TEOTW and they don't have something equivalent, I'm done for. It's not as bad in the winter and if I use the A/C...but if not and there's no Claritin, I'm screwed. I tried San Diego in February and that didn't help, I tried Michigan in January and that still didn't make it go away. The only place where I haven't needed the Claritin-D is when I spent 2 weeks in Costa Rica this past February.

Maybe if they built homes out of cinderblock with minimal organic materials, but heck I even had some mold growing on my steel water tank before I turned the A/C back on. I don't know how they did it in the olden days, they obviously did somehow.

Actually, I am involved with the Alpine Club of Canada, and we started putting in wood stoves in all our alpine huts, mostly to control mold.

We have to fly firewood in by helicopter (there are no trees at that altitude), but we would have to fly propane in too, so it's a saw-off. The advantages of wood are that 1) with propane people will leave the heat on, whereas with wood the fire will go out until the next group comes in, so the usage is less, and 2) wood is a dry heat.

Thus when a new group comes in, cold, wet and hungry, they will fill the stove with wood, crank up the heat to sauna levels, and kill all the mold in the walls. Then they will sit around in T-shirts and shorts basking in the heat and drinking beer in a perfectly mold-free environment. The next day they will let the fire die while they climb the nearby mountains, and when they come back they will crank up the fire and do it again.

It works for us, it works for them, it may not work for everybody but it is a solution.

That is an interesting solution. I'm not sure how good it would work in a McMansion in the jungles of Southern MD in the middle of July... Perhaps it would work, but I'm not sure we'd survive with a piping fire in the house when it's 105 degrees with 70 degree dewpoints outside like last week. Death by mold might be a preferable alternative!

Ty -- This is somewhat off topic, but if you're in Southern Maryland, might I suggest you look up Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker on the Eastern Shore? He was one of the docs treating watermen for strange illnesses in the 1990s and tied it to toxins from the dinoflagellate Pfistieria. He's branched out into work with other biotoxins and neurotoxins, including mold-related illnesses (co-wrote a book called "Mold Warriors").

Some people's immune systems clear the toxins out and some people's don't. They can still be buggering you up long after the mold is gone. If you've got something chronic going on it's worth investigating.

By the time I had moved back east I had forgotten why my parents ran the basement dehumidifier all summer long. It didn't take long before I discovered mould growing everywhere including the furniture. The books, papers, pictures and other personal belongs that were stored down there were all ruined. I'm not making that same mistake again, so regardless of how much electricity they use, the dehumidifier or a/c will run for however long they are required.


So...how did people deal with this problem before the days of electric humidifiers and A/C?

I don't remember mold being a problem in Hawaii, despite the humidity. Perhaps because it doesn't get cold there, so buildings tend to be very open, allowing a lot of fresh air and sunshine. Nobody has a basement. There is a type of mold that causes small brown spots on fabric. I remember my mom telling me that once a year, you should re-fold clothes if you haven't used them. She claimed this was enough to prevent mold.

Hi Leanan,

I think the short answer is that people in this area didn't store anything of value in their basements. However, once you convert a basement into a living space with drywall, carpeting, etc. you have to ensure moisture won't be an issue. As I type this, the relative humidity is 100 per cent and the dew point is 18.6°C. Our basement, if left unheated, would be about 16°C and without the dehumidifier, humidity levels on this lower level routinely exceed 80 to 90 per cent.


But it sounds like, at least in some places, mold is a problem throughout the house, not just in the basement.

I wonder if there's something about newer building materials or methods that makes them more prone to mold.

My understanding is that it is a methods issue, since new homes are built much tighter for energy efficiency there is less natural air exchange so they are freindlier to mold growth. I first ran into mentions of this when I was looking at information on dome housing since it was a huge problem with the first generation of concrete dome homes.

AC, dehumidifiers, and heat exchanger type forced ventilation are some of the ways this problem is dealt with.

One of my favorite dome-home companies has some interesting information on how they deal with the ventilation problem on their website: http://www.naturalspacesdomes.com/

I don't believe that's necessarily true. The problem is largely related to basements because the earth temperature is generally several degrees below the dew point whereas the temperature on above grade floors is almost always, if not always above. Right now, the temperature on our upper floor is 23.8°C and the relative humidity is 73 per cent.

Environment Canada's temperature, humidity and dew point data can be found at:



It's a lot of work to sit down and figure out sun angles, roof overhangs, and exactly where to locate various different types of trees to let exactly the right amount of sunlight hit the windows at different times of year.

I did that on my current house, but then I designed and built it myself. Most builders want to bang together some kind of nice-looking structure at minimum cost, sell it, and move on to the next project before the homeowner realizes how uncomfortable it is to live in.

I'm reminded of some people who owned a 100-year old adobe house in Mexico. It had foot-thick adobe walls, an inner courtyard shielded by trees, and marble-tiled floors throughout. It wasn't until they sold it and moved into a modern American-style house with A/C that they realized how hot it gets in Mexico in the summertime. Their old adobe house never got hot.

My years of living in a solid masonry house have convinced me of the benefits of thermal mass for staying cool. I've never had air conditioning, and don't need it. Up until last fall the house was uninsulated, so what was a summertime benefit was a winter liability, but I've wrapped the house with 5" of EPS foam and stucco, and now the mass is a benefit in the winter also. The downside to the insulation is now I must open the house up to outside ventilation overnight to cool down the core; before it would ingress through the wall with about an eight to ten hour lag.

The daytime highs are over 90 degrees currently with nightime lows of 60. With that temperature gradiant, I can keep the interior temperature below 70 degrees all day. My neighbors look at me in disbelief when I tell them I have no AC. My electricity usage charge last month was $13.23 (higher than average).

Best hopes for climate appropriate construction.

Another reason for the masses to head to the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mtn states (and even Canada)... Mild winters, mild (hot, but not humid) summers...

It gets down to -40 or -50 in winters in Saskatchewan, you don't want to come here ;^)

40 below keeps the riffraff out!

As I've posted before, I grew up in Atlanta without AC until my mid teens. The city had more shade and less asphault then. Homes were built differently as well. Living in rural NC now, even with highs in the 90s the nights generally cool to the low/mid 60s. We only have AC in the bedroom, and only use it when things get really hot. I've noticed that not having AC full time, we acclimatize better to hot weather and have fewer respiratory issues (and drink more water). We also spend more time out of doors. Once a body gets acclimatized to AC, one tends to stay indoors much more and suffer more without it. The old and infirm are a different matter of course. In our case, AC is more of a luxury than a neccesity. That may change (with the climate).

My step-granny lived in central AL for 97 years without AC. When they put her in the hospital she "pert near froze t'death", literally hypothermic.

I'm sweating pretty good in Portland Maine today.. there is a window A/C, but we didn't even mount it yet this year.

I was also reminded that sweating is a key method for our bodies to get rid of toxins, and that some folks actually pay to go somewhere hot enough to have a 'luxury sweat'..

I don't mind a little pampering now and then, but today I get that luxury for free, and can still get some work done at the same time!

(and I FINALLY discovered that Baking Soda can do for my armpits what legions of Factory-Formulated Soaps, Sprays and Powders have so far failed to do. You could eat eggs out of my armpits now! Thanks to the incredible, edible Bicarbonate of Soda! Is that off topic, or just plain nasty?)


You really need to try old fashioned lye soap. Just like granny used to make.

I started using it when I brought some from the farmers I get my raw milk and range eggs from.

Older folks tend to get hematomas under the skin.Internal bleeding from a scrape or cut and for some they never every go away. Well the other day I scraped some skin off my lower arm. It bled as normal and a hematoma started forming right off.

That afternoon I washed it with my bar of lye soap and left some of the residue on the wound. Would you believe in three days I can barely tell where it happened? No under skin purple area. And the ones of old I had on the upper part of my hands also disappeared.

This stuff is really good. I wash my hair with it. When I get in my homemade 'hot tub', a rubbermaid 150gal stock tank heated by the sun, I use the lye soap. My skin has now regained it's 'tone' from what it once was like. All the callus on my right toes disappeared as well.

The old wife's tale of 'that lye soap made her hands red and angry' is nonsense. It is naturally full of glycerin which is extremely softening and healthy for one's skin.

Of course I also drink raw cows milk , full of cream(Jersey) and Amish butter plus all the other food I have canned and now harvesting from my garden.

I used to get 'galled' around the crotch area badly. Now I never have that problem anymore. I think the toxins from 'factory food' were responsible as they were exuded through the skin's surface.

Each time I revert , be it food or other avenues, to what was part of my youth, I find some benefits. Very good benefits.

I also eat organic meats. Range fed only. The price is sorta high but the resulting increases in a healthy lifestyle makes it worth it. In essence its just reverting back to what I experienced in my youth growing up on the farm.

If I set my mind to it I would go buy a Jersey or Guernsey and raise a calf or two as well and do my own milking. With a calf on the cow you only have to milk once a day and the calf does the other half for you. I really need to get started on a chicken coop as well.

I also brush my teeth with pure baking soda and salt mixed together. I haven't been to the dentist in 15 years. I now see NO doctors and threw my drugs and medicines in the ditch. It was only lisinipril but it was doing a real bad number on my health and happiness.

The summation is that regressing to the past I find has been very beneficial for me. I live in a far out of the way place and no one interferes with my lifestlyle as a result.

Wow.. I'm printing that one out, PB! Thanks!

I will look for some Lye Soap, and read up on it.. but I don't doubt you're right. I hear that Vinegar has some good uses as well.

Much of our food has been along the lines you mention. Lots of Raw Milk, Cream, Butter& Cheeses..
Local Cows, Pigs and Chickens, raised just eating grass and bugs and such..

Also trying the 'lacto-fermenting' angle, like SauerKrauts, Raw Pickled things, yoghurts, Soaked Grains and Seeds, etc.. (Weston Price Foundation- Very into Grandma Stuff .. tho' MikeB says they're a cult.. well I'm a Unitarian.. I like cults!)


One of my favorite sites for all of that "cultish" stuff:

...including how to make your own lye soap (and the lye as well):

My wife is a dental hygienist and has had many people in her chair that only brush with baking soda. She has mentioned to me many times that they consistantly have more cavities than people that use fluoride containing toothpaste. When they ask her what they can do to reduce the amount of cavities they get, she always says "brush with fluoride toothpaste". They dismiss the advice, keep using the baking soda because its "natural" (as versuses non-natural fluoride I guess!?!) and the cycle of dental problems continues.

Take home message: Brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste!

Actually, you can do both. We mix baking soda, salt, and a little cinnamon extract to make a lovely brushing powder (it's cheap). You wet this with a little H2O2 diluted with water and brush.

Then you rinse and go over your teeth with Gel-Kam fluoride treatment which we get from the dentist.

If you are going to buy the Gel-Kam anyways, cost-wise I don't see how you are saving any money. Regardless, using the Gel-Kam in addition to your homemade powder would pleasae your dental hygienist...

The thing about fluoride is that it does an extremely interesting remineralization reaction on the surface of your teeth that ends up making your tooth enamel much, much stronger than it would be be without fluoride. This results in teeth that are much more resistant to decay than they otherwise would be.

It's almost impossible to have no fluoride in your diet, but they have managed to feed rats completely fluoride-free diets, and they ended up with some extremely sickly and weak rats with bad bones and bad hair. You do need to have fluoride, it's an essential mineral. High levels of fluoride cause mottling of the teeth. So, you end up with mottled but extremely strong teeth. The toxic dose of fluoride is much, much higher than the level which causes tooth mottling, so there's not much chance of getting excessively high levels under normal circumstances.

Which would you prefer, mottled teeth or weak teeth? Having had fillings in nearly all my teeth and crowns done on most of them, I think I would have much preferred to have a lot of fluoride when I was young. It would have saved me a lot of money and a lot of painful hours in the dentist chair. I had a roommate in college who grew up with high levels of naturally occurring fluoride in his water, and he had never had a filling done. The dentists never made any money off him. I was so envious.

But to get back to the subject of what is natural and what is not, we are not designed to have anything near the amount of sugar in our diet that modern people eat. If you're going to eat a modern western diet, then you need the strongest teeth possible to cope with it. And then there's the diabetes issue because our pancreas are not designed for that much sugar, either.

It's good that you are rediscovering how healthy a lot of simpler ways of doing things are.

I would like to clarify the soap bit, though:

What you probably are using is "cold process" lye soap. It is usually made in relatively small batches and since it is processed at ~120F it does indeed retain the glycerin, as well as a small percentage of the original fat if the soapmaker chose to make it that way.

Great stuff. I love it and prefer homemade cold soap to any commercial product.

There is also "hot process" lye soap which is processed at significantly higher temperatures where the glycerin is separated out. Commercial soaps tend to be hot process soaps, frequently with glycerin and oils added back in to make the final product milder. This is the "harsh lye soap" that the ads you mentioned would be referring to.

That leaves the petroleum based detergents, which are just one more way that oil creeps into our lives. There are a few bar "soaps" that are actually detergent bars. They tend to be quite harsh as well.

Please don't brush teeth with salt; it's hard enough to take the enamel off. My dentist says baking soda is much better but can do the same if over used. Hydrogen peroxide works well. Save the teeth!

Key West once had a larger population then the city of Miami, before air conditioning. Air conditioning and electricity has allowed the settlement of places that heretofore were not habitable. Without air conditioning people would slow down in the summer, stop their frantic achieving, and suffer in silence.

A lot of the South will go back to being the agricultural backwater of its past, if AC goes.
The automobile and AC made the South livable (hence the NASCAR worship of Southerners).
Atlanta will go back to being a city of 50,000 if energy becomes scarce enough.
With AGW, it may be a moot point.

Of course there's air conditioning and then there's air conditioning.

Most of the benefits of air con can be realized by removing the humidity and lowering the temperature a little bit. If everybody would stop there, it would not be nearly as big a drain as it is.

If it's 95 and humid out, running the AC to 80 and non-humid makes a world of difference. Dropping it to 68 just makes everyone uncomfortable and makes you feel sick when you walk outside.

Then there is passive solar cooling. Not to mention passive solar swamp coolers if water is available.

There is a reason that riots don't happen on the coldest days of winter. Back in the 1960s we always looked with dread at what the next long hot humid summer would bring, i.e. more riots. There is a definite correlation between hot weather and crime. Hot weather, or more likely high due points, make it difficult for many people to sleep and as a sleep deficit develops irrational and violent behavior increases.

As climate change increases the number of nights with due points over 70F will increase and violent crime will increase. Having A/C not only cools your room it also lowers your ability to hear loud neighbors in the middle of the night. Trying to sleep with an open window means your drunken loud neighbors will disturb your sleep beyond the point of tolerance. If you have a loaded gun next to your bed the temptation to fire off a few rounds may be irresistible.

20 years ago we spent some time in the Charlie great house at Montego Bay in Jamaica. The owner's daughter was a friend of my wife. The house had been built by Lord Nelson back when. No A/C. Lots of tree cover including a multi hundred year old Ironwood. Massive stone heat sink with window shading shutters holding clay pots filled with water where evaporative seepage cooled the incoming breezes. Quite comfortable in 100 degree days.

We lived in Hawaii some time earlier and also in the Caribbean. Indigenous housing was built on stilts off the ground with cupolas so that natural passive air flow was cooling. Even here in Ontario, Canada, there are Victorian houses left standing with cupolas that produced a similar effect in summers.

I can't think of a more stupid decision as to build a Cape Cod in Arizona --- we have done similar in spades most everywhere.

Record heat that has been baking much of the nation for weeks is likely to have lasting effects on farm crops and consumers in the Northeast.

It would be interesting to see if this has any effect on the public's opinion on climate change. We are used to heat waves in the Southeast, yet the persistance and timing of this one has been a dose of the reality of things to come. Talking and blogging about AGW is one thing. Sweltering is another thing entirely. At least it has helped me to determine what garden varieties to plan for in the future.

Cloudy and cool (so far) today. Another .37" of much needed rain this AM. Nice break. Forecast back in the 90s the rest of the week. Very unusual.

Perhaps this is what we need to get folks motivated; heat waves and energy shortages/price spikes.

The field corn here was really starting to get stressed and then we had 2 inches last night. Farmers are now ok with their crops. Hill ground, creek ground and bottom ground are now flourishing. Maybe 200 Bu/Ac...last year I dumped some combine data to the PC and some of the creek bottom fields pulled over 300 bu/ac average. Never saw that before.

Forecast is for a rainy week to follow. The temperatures finally dropped to around the high 80s and low 90's.

i'm looking to buy some solar panels.

any hesitation about the fairly new 'thin film' panels. i usually avoid the less 'time' tested products but the thin film prices are some of the best per watt, & good initial reviews. Panels that are long lasting is a priority though.

Reviews say these Kaneka panels for example are well built. They are a good price at $109/55w panel; & $99 max on shipping:



That's about $2/watt. These are big panels for their output (fewer watts per sq meter). You can save on installation costs and space using higher efficiency polychrys panels like these:
http://www.affordable-solar.com/yingli-yl225p29b-225watt-solar-panel-pal... These guys always work well with me on shipping and price, especially if I buy my balance of system stuff from them. See their "by-the-pallet" chart and less-than-pallet pricing.

Also: http://www.altestore.com/store/Solar-Panels/51-to-99-Watt-Solar-Panels/K... They usually come off of their price when buying in quantity.

Best quality/well backed: These are nice (though a little more expensive):

Amorphous will give better performance at higher temps, just not sure about longevity. I have chrystalline panels producing at full rated output after 16 years.

thanks ghung

that first link is as good as i've seen for a pallet price.

i probably should have said i'm just getting approx. 200w for an old sw radio, laptop etc. the size/watt isn't a problem.

but like you say; you folks that have been at this a while; well that speaks lots for longevity.
thanks again.

Those amorphous panels should be great for that. 12vdc is easy to work with and you can get a charge controller and battery cheap.

well put the order in & am now on backorder til late aug...too good a price for that smaller no. of panels i guess.

speaking of 12vdc easy to work with & cheap components;

here is a post on building slowly with the easier 12v & cheaply to get folks started towards bigger systems:

"12v requires heavier wire to handle larger current loads and generally has more loss over distance traveled because of it. It also is less efficient at inverting to usable AC current but it also is far cheaper to obtain a vast quantity of technologies, from inverters of many capacities to electronic devices that are all designed to run directly on 12v."

& later in the thread a cheap[recycled]24v inverter;

Glenn: "A 1200W 12V inverter, after all, can be had for less than $100 easily. A similar power 24V inverter cannot. "

"Actually there is a source that can be and with pretty high quality AVR (automatic voltage regulation).

I did a little field surgery on an old UPS for my computer that had crapped out because of dead batteries and discovered that not only is it configured to operate at 24v but when I did a background investigation on APC products I found that most of them are. I have been using a modified UPS as a 1Kw inverter back-up power system now for a few weeks and it seems to handle alternative back charging with no difficulty.

There are a lot of these products out there and laying dormant, if not on their way to the dump unnecessarily. Even the market for new ones is not all that expensive given that they come with the batteries. "

thanks ghung i'm learning. maybe one day i'll be off grid too.

It's easy nowdays. I know folks that build a small system just for their electronics, etc. They then have a backup if the grid fails. Add an inverter and some 12vdc lighting, fans, and buy stuff that works on 12 vdc (drill motor, flashlight, car radio, CB, shortwave, etc, etc) and you're on your way. This was how I began my off-grid life. In an RV, everything 12 volt. Sometimes I long for those days.....

This is why I recommend an old class C or class A RV for a bugout unit. It's all there: stove/oven, small fridge, water and waste tanks, shower, toilet, sink, generator, propane tank and battery compt built in, water heater, pump, beds of course, and room to store food and clothing. Just add a couple of PV panels to the roof and a charge controller, upgrade the batteries perhaps. If you have land somewhere, or friends that do, you'll be in better shape than a lot of folks. I saw an old but well maintained 26' class C a few weeks ago that sold for $5k. It was in fine shape and only had 37K miles on it.

Wire size is critical. Just remember:
amps= watts/volts. The 1200 watt inverter mentioned above would be pulling 100 amps at rated power. That's pretty high. I used to buy welding cable for all of my high amp DC stuff. Nowdays the high amp fuses, connectors, etc are available at W'mart (for highpower stereo equipment) cheap.

great info ghrung.

wow on the wire/amps. i know the math but never dealt with 12v.

maybe i'll get out west with my wife afterall...in that motorhome...she'll possibly send me by myself if i tell her i want to buy one...maybe a nice small trailer. i bought a hefty truck due to Peak Oil- live near a metro area.
we put off going to the parks since learning of PO.

gotta dig some potatoes to go w/ the deer in the pressure cooker.


speaking of 12vdc easy to work with & cheap components;

12VDC has been hobbled by the lack of a decent standardised connector.

I was introduced to these(-10ga) and these(6-8ga) connectors working for the phone company, and have been in love with them ever since. I have them on all my vehicles including yard maintenance and toys. I've whacked alligator and cigarette lighter plugs off everything and installed these.

bookmarked. thanks.

I would look at the thermal efficiency number (not sure the official name). Polysilicon usually comes in at -.48 to -.49 percent per degree C. They rate panels at a cell temperature of 25C (77F). But under full sun your cells will be much hotter (20-30C as a wild eyed guess). Some of the thin film stuff has coefs more like .2 to .3, so relative to the more expensive polysilicon's they will do better than expected. From my winter sunny day output of 10.5KWhr/day I estimated summer would give me 23KWhr/day (even with the sun being further away in summer), but the most I've seen is 17 (with 15 average). So that thermal coefficient shouldn't be ignored in making the comparison between different options.

Does this suggest Falklands oil predctions are wrong, or is it just an bad luck in the initial choice? Dunno.

It started drilling the Toroa well at the end of May.

Despite its optimism at the time, it now says it there are no hydrocarbons there and it will plug the well.

Shares in FOGL fell by more than 60% before recovering slightly to trade 45% lower at 110p.

But, it said it still hoped there was oil in the area, which is about 90 miles south of the Falklands Island capital, Stanley.


embry -- I have no idea myself. But such questions always reminds me about a seldom mentioned fact about the North Sea and all the oil/NG produced from it: the first major field was discovered by the 93rd well drilled out there. All that is required for oil/NG exploration is smarts, a fat wallet and a lot of patience. Oh, and a good bit of luck doesn't hurt either.

Does anybody see the irony of these headlines over at Yahoo Finance? At about 12:00 DST, I go to the Yahoo Finance home page and see the following headlines one after the other:

Bernanke: Spurring credit key to rebound
More Americans' credit scores sink to new lows

I haven't had time to read the stories yet but. I found the sight of those two headlines one after the other interesting. I guess a rebound is looking less and less likely.

Alan from the islands

Ineresting Alan...thanks for the distraction. Makes you think about the complusive gambler who, after losing half his paycheck, figures he can get back to where he started from by betting the other half of his paycheck. Not a bad theory...assuming you get it right this time.


You more than most of us should know and practice: "Be happy, don't worry . . ."

The U.S. is on fairly shaky financial ground, but for now the Fed has matters reasonably well in hand. Over the next dozen years, due to falling oil production our real GDP will go down, and this decline will greatly exacerbate existing financial problems--and generate new ones too. The decline in volume of oil produced is what is going to choke off and reverse economic growth. Don't be distracted by all the finance hoopla: The key problem is Peak Oil, and declining production after Peak will force the Long Descent.

Will there be deflation? Maybe, but it isn't here yet; price levels are above those of a year ago, and thus we still have some (but not much) inflation. As the economy declines over the next dozen years or so I expect there to be unstoppable political pressure on the Fed to let the value of the dollar fall so as to reduce the burden of existing long-term debt and obligations such as Social Security payments. In other words, politically numerous and influential debtors will gain, while perennial unpopular creditor organizations such as banks will lose.

As a very rough rule of thumb, I think a 25% unemployment rate will tend to trigger double-digit inflation. The Fed has unlimited power to "print" money, and sooner or later they will be pushed into massive quantitative easing.

Does the Fed really have the power to "print" money? I don't think it does, and perhaps our use of the "print money" metaphor may mislead us. I realize that many countries especially in the past, increased their money supply by printing it, but today the Fed increases the money supply by loaning money rather than printing it. As best I can understand quantitative easing, it seems like these QE measures are just further previously unused ways of loaning money.

The reason I bring it up is because if the Fed can print money, it is all-powerful in its control of the money supply. But if they can only loan money, they are constrained by the willingness of lenders to borrow, and the willingness of other financial institutions farther down the food chain to lend.

When the TBTF borrowers can easily profit from low rates then they will continue to borrow:

ZeroHedge: Fed Funding Treasury through banks

In literal truth, the Treasury Department, not the Federal Reserve System, prints up currency. The Fed, however, can easily pump up the money supply by buying up Treasury securities (T-bills, T-notes, and T-bonds) to finance increasing U.S. government deficits. It does not matter if anybody wants these Treasury securities; the Fed can keep (at least short-term) interest rates low by buying up enough of the Treasury securities on the open market to keep their price up to (or above) par and thereby holding down interest rates.

If the Fed does too much quantitative easing ("monetizing the debt") then expectations of inflation increase and nominal interest rates tend to rise to match increasing expectations of inflation. However--and this happened in the early eighties--real interest rates can go negative, when the expected rate of inflation is higher than the nominal interest rate.

The idea of a liquidity trap applies only to private borrowing and private lending; when the Fed and the Treasury are the only two big players in the game they can contrive to increase the money supply fast enough to create rising inflation. Thus though the Fed does not literally print currency, the effect can be just the same as it would be if the Fed did have that authority and just printed more money.

Once you grasp the astounding fact that the Fed can write checks of any amount with no backing at all, you have got at the essential basis of the Treasury-running-increasing-deficits while the Fed buys the new Treasury securities (or similar old ones on the open market) and thereby in effect lends newly created money to the government. Of course the government will spend this money on salaries, transfer payments, supplies, equipment, and so on, so the money keeps circulating and is not frozen in the liquidity trap, where potential private borrowers may not want to borrow, and where potential lenders (private banks) may not want to lend their excess reserves.

In other words, fiscal and monetary policy work together. Expansionary fiscal policy won't have much of a stimulus effect unless the Fed goes along to finance expanding public debt. On the other hand, pure monetary policy can stop inflation dead at the cost of rising interest rates, even if government deficits increase. Currently the Fed is fully committed to easy money and keeping interest rates low.

By the way, there is no need to worry about China dumping its dollar holdings, which are primarily short-term U.S. government securities, because the Fed can always step up to the plate and buy a trillion dollars or two trillion or any amount of U.S. Treasury securities. Even if the velocity of money falls drastically, the Fed can more than make up for this decline with ever more aggressive buying of Treasury securities.

Our currency bears the blasphemous statement, "In God we trust." God has nothing to do with the creation of money, but the Fed and the U.S. Treasury have the ability to create money out of thin air. So when I become First Emperor of the U.S. I'll call in all the old currency and have newly printed bills that state "In the Federal Reserve System we trust."

So what is the backing for the dollar? Nothing more and nothing less than trust in the Fed.

NASAguy, you are correct, the Fed cannot just print money. In fact the Fed cannot loan money except money it has on deposit, or a percentage of that money. The Fed is sanctioned by the Federal Government but it is not actually a part of the government.

However even the Federal Government does not just print money. It prints the debt. The Federal Treasury can just print debt instruments then auction them to the public, foreign governments or the Federal Reserve System.

Of course just printing the debt eventually has the same effect as just printing money. But there is a delay if you only print the dept. How long that delay is is anyone's guess but I am guessing about ten years. That is ten years before printing the debt has the same effect as just printing money would have, massive inflation.

"Printing money" is a euphemism for "printing the debt". And some people have come to believe that the US just, willy nilly, prints money. They do not. They just willy nilly print debt instruments. Which is, with a delay of a few years, exactly the same thing.

Ron P.

The typical time lag between the implementation of a change in monetary policy and impact on price levels is eighteen to thirty-six months. Thus, what is happening to the price level now reflects policy actions by the Fed about two or three years ago. There are also long and unpredictable time lags between changes in monetary policy and expansion or contraction of real GDP. Fiscal policy to be effective needs to be backed up by appropriate monetary policy. About fifty or fifty-five years ago there was sometimes a problem of coordination, with fiscal policy going in one direction while monetary policy went in an opposite direction, but during the past fifty years there has been close coordination between fiscal and monetary policies, with monetary policy used especially to bring down inflation (as happened under Volker in the early eighties) and stimulus usually initiated by fiscal policy--i.e. increasing the deficit by cutting taxes or increasing government spending, as Obama has done with his famous stimulus package.

Supposedly the Fed is independent of political influences, but really it is not, because Congress created the Fed and defined its powers. Thus if the Fed got too many legislators mad at it Congress could abolish the Fed or take away its powers. Since the Fed was created in 1913 the supply of money has increased so fast that the dollar has fallen to a small fraction of its purchasing power a hundred years ago. Note that a two percent rate of inflation will cut the value of the dollar in half in only thirty-six years. A ten percent rate of inflation will halve the dollar's value in only seven years and a few months. It would not surprise me to see double digit inflation in the U.S. within five years.

As the quotes around "print" in your original post indicated, very little money is actually printed.

Almost all money exists only as account balances at financial institutions. These are recorded on disks as submicroscopic magnetic domains -- about as close to not existing at all as you can get.

Almost all payments are made by an exchange of messages which has the effect of saying: "debit X dollars from account M at financial institution A, and credit X dollars to account N at financial institution B." To create money, you implement the second half of the directive.

Does the Fed really have the power to "print" money? I don't think it does


For someone who is technically oriented, I think you have your Dilbert cap on backwards today.

Think about the time of the Dinosaurs

There was no "money" whatsoever back then

Where do you think all the money comes from? Santa Claus?

Of course it's all "printed".
--Actually, it's just computer bits in some bank computer. That's how we can generate "trillions" with the snap of an Obama/Bernanke finger.

Amazing, isn't it?

If you need a credit score, you are far too imbedded in a delusional system (just look around).

These days, you need a good credit score just to get a job.

Straight gigs have never been my cup of tea.
But I'm a little out of goose step with the rest of society.

I was rather surprised to see that the highest rating category (800-850) went UP a lot. I guess people with the mean to are paying down loans and improving their CRs, while those in distress are going the other way. The middle ground (ratings wise) is losing out.

A reader has a website that talks about various issues related to peak oil called Planet for Life.

He has recently added a section called The Science Underlying the Deepwater Horizon Blowout. The site is sort of an overview, in fairly simple language. The physics aspects particularly are emphasized. Some readers may want to take a look.

Hello world, great opener isn't it?

Sorry It has been a long week, the localvore is okay but not prefect as a standard issue, choice, but if you choose to go that route, lets talk, I am trying to get anyone that is in the central Arkansas area gathered together at least one weekend a month to do something more than exchange email addresses.

If you notice any dyslexia, well you can either ignore it, or well I'll ask for forgiveness from you, take your pick.

I haave not had time for TOD in a while, I am not gone, just burnign the whole place down and starting,,, ggrrr, Thank God it rained, the place was a tender box waiting to happen, hope arizona and all the really dry states are okay.

I am starting a seed exchange, I have found a few endangered in the wild seeds, I can't be sure if the facts on them are true to the facts online,

Anyone got a good general set of all around species of the species collection books, I have to get in my shed and get those great books out I have in there.

I have been trying to extend my tomato plants and the methods are still waiting to be tried.

I'll be brief,
Hugs to all,
Good Night it is 11:46 am time for sleep.

Who am I kidding, work harder the task master told me, oh yeah, well I am on disability, giggle, I volenteer, I can't spell

I moved a 21 foot pole and pulled a muschel I sound like Mutts.

That Girl Electro House DJ is my first student.

Thanks again
BioWebScape design project to make a better world well fed and housed for all, humans and others, why not include the whole universe.

By the way she is also the DJ at techno night at my the place I play pool, I preform stand up conducting her techno, JoKuhl, bring your cameras, WE got to hook up, thanks you all for being here, I have learned how to be a better person from reading this site.

Hello world, great opener isn't it?

willie nelson said hello to the walls.

.......some of what he's smokin' ;-)

Lawrence Livermore Nat. Lab: The Soviet Program for Peaceful Use of Nuclear Explosions

Pg 25-32. Some cautionary tales of the Soviet attempts to enhance oil and gas production with nuclear devices. Projects ‘Butane’, ‘Grifon’, ‘Neva’, ‘Takhta-Kagulta’, ‘ Helium’, ‘Angaga and Benzene” et.al discussed in detail.

Also details on extinguishing gas well fires.

Poor Suburbia: Rethinking the geography of American poverty

People have this idea that poverty is this ultra-urban or ultra-rural phenomenon,” says Kneebone, a senior research analyst at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “They think of inner cities or Appalachia, but in reality American poverty is increasingly suburban.

...To receive food stamps or job skills training, for example, a person typically has to travel to an office in order to apply or participate. For suburban residents who can’t afford a car or don’t have access to public transit, new approaches may be needed to help connect people to services.

“There are a lot of questions about why this is happening,” she says. “With this series, we want to tease out the different drivers and implications of the suburbanization of poverty so that policy-makers can make decisions that promote more inclusive and sustainable growth moving forward.”

Thanks. I missed that last -"-. Time for new glasses.

Global population study launched by Royal Society

The UK's Royal Society is launching a major study into human population growth and how it may affect social and economic development in coming decades.

The burgeoning human population is acknowledged as one of the underlying causes of environmental issues such as climate change, deforestation, depletion of water resources and loss of biodiversity.

...However, some economists and policymakers consider population growth a good thing, as it produces a swelling workforce capable of producing more goods and continued economic growth./blockquote>

From above:

Historians will one day look back on this spill as the nadir of governmental regulatory performance, in which oil companies commandeered and corrupted the Interior Department oil leasing program.

Compare that to this article from The Guardian:

'Soulless corporations are the enemy of the environment,' says Pavan Sukhdev

It is up to society and its leaders to ensure that companies do not become cancerous, says leading UN official


Some key quotes:

Companies usually take a short-term view of the importance of the environment, said Pavan Sukhdev, head of the UN's investigation into how to stop the destruction of the natural world. This short-term thinking is seen in their lobbying against new policies that could slow environmental devastation, he said.


"We have created a soulless corporation that does not have any innate reason to be ethical about anything," he said. "The purpose of a corporation is to be selfish. That is law. So it's up to society and its leaders and thinkers to design the checks and balances that are needed to ensure that the corporation does not simply become cancerous, and that's something that sometimes we do and sometimes we really don't."

Re:Iran, I wonder who is singing "Hava Nagila" (lit. Let us rejoice) right now?

So I was on my way to work this morning when I saw something that made me realize why I will never be rich - a mini bus with ads all over it touting the service with which the bus was associated. The service was finding out all the foreclosed homes in an area and taking people on a tour of them. I've been reading this site since soon after it came into existence and following all the developments tracked here almost too obsessively. But not once did I say to myself, "Look at all those people suffering after having been suckered into the real estate boom. How could I make a buck off their misery? OH! I'll round up bigger suckers and charge them to look at the albatrosses around the victims' necks." I imagine there was someone charging for tours of the hole in the side of the Titanic as it was going down too.

Why I will never be rich

It takes a certain class of parasitic mind to be thinking of how to make profits off of other people's miseries and tragedies instead of helping them.

(Understand where you're coming from.)

p.s. your web link didn't work. try this google search

pps I live in Bay Area too but haven't seen such buses yet. On the other hand, do know many families that are hurting because at least one spouse lost job and they're hanging on by a bare thread. Told my unemployed spouse that Marty Nemko (WKGO AM job pundit) was telling people on radio there are lots of jobs in her area of specialty. She says, WTF? I say: now you're starting to see the truth. They all mis-trutherize through their smiling fake white teeth, these pundits. Do you believe me about Peak Oil now? No.

so it begins....
"Pipe bomb disguised as chocolates sends woman to hospital

chocolates2 Package bomb goes off at Houston oil executives homeA seemingly anonymous gift left on the front porch of a Houston home owned by an oil company executive has the city's affluent population of oil profiteers on edge this weekend, after that package exploded and seriously injured a 62-year-old woman.

Neighbors of the victim told an ABC News affiliate in Houston that the bomb was disguised as a box of chocolates in a gift bag, left on the home's doorstep around Thursday."

i guess that is a do it yerself approach. i am for big goobermint UAV predator drone missile strike, and will gladly push the button to "take care of" wayward hayward the CEO of BP. didnt BP contribute to the death of 11 people AND the gulf of mexico? well? didnt it?

a thread in today about people adapting and some people not adapting. if CEO's cant adapt we should let darwinism cull them out, social darwinism no less.

how about a colorful chart showing how many rich people can feed how many poor people? i submit to
the trolls, shills, pundits and apologists of the oil conundrum that we are reaching PRP, that is
peak rich people. how can we eat the rich when there is so few of them? we must start a breeding program to increase rich people so the rest of us can eat. we should discuss it endlessly without result as we do with any other topic on this fine website.

the man enslaved to wealth can never be honest.

Researchers witness overnight breakup, retreat of Greenland glacier

NASA-funded researchers monitoring Greenland's Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier report that a 7 square kilometer (2.7 square mile) section of the glacier broke up on July 6 and 7, as shown in the image above. The calving front – where the ice sheet meets the ocean – retreated nearly 1.5 kilometers (a mile) in one day and is now further inland than at any time previously observed. The chunk of lost ice is roughly one-eighth the size of Manhattan Island, New York

"BP & OTHERS to be charged with CRIMINAL Negligence"

Jim Rickards correctly predicted that BP would be charged with criminal negligence, and he also predicted this would result in damages that would finish the company altogether. In less than 30 days, Politico has confirmed that criminal charges are forthcoming against BP and that others will be prosecuted as well.

This was from the Jim Rickards piece on June 18th titled Why BP Will Not Survive:

“Don't think the law can stop this. The law will accelerate it. BP's negligence will turn out to be criminal, not civil and the criminal penalties are exponentially greater than the civil fines and normal tort claims. Obama will use the threat of criminal prosecution to get more and then use an actual criminal prosecution to get the residual.”

This was from the Politico article signaling the BP criminal investigation:

Attorney General Eric Holder signaled here that the Justice Department may be conducting a sweeping criminal investigation into the Gulf Coast oil spill, saying that its suspected targets may cover more than just BP.

"There are a variety of entities and a variety of people who are the subjects of that investigation," Holder told CBS' Bob Schieffer at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

EPA pounds another nail into the coffin of cellulosic ethanol:


Meanwhile the Obama administrations issues a new drilling moratorium:


Now all we need is for EPA to rule against increased blending rates for ethanol.

It appears the goal of this administration is to reduce domestic liquid fuel supplies as much as possible.

Reality Check on the small wind article above,

I have put up several small wind turbines and have taken them
down for possible re-location, One 235 watt PV Panel will make more power unless you
happen to be blessed with average wind velocities greater than 8 mph
and NO surrounding buildings or trees


Windmills need a tower or ridge.

I'm starting to notice a number of wind turbines on the roofs of tall buildings in Chicago. They have the benefit of height, and onshore breezes from Lake Michigan.

Windmills, smaller ones in particular, need lower startup wind speeds and more realistic (or more comprehensive) name-plating. I see bunches of "400 Watt" wind turbines (i.e. http://www.amazon.com/Sunforce-44444-12-Volt-400-Watt-Generator/dp/B000C...) that have crap like this buried somewhere down in their description (or not at all): "The Sunforce 44444 12-Volt 400-Watt Wind Generator can provide an average monthly output of 38 kilowatt hours with an average 12 mile-per-hour wind speed. It requires an 8 mile-per-hour wind speed to start generating power."

The amazon ad doesn't even tell you that you need 28mph steady winds to get the 400 watts and since the wind speed and power generation are linked by a third order polynomial, the drop off at lower speeds is more than you would initially imagine. Their nameplate rating seems to be deceptive and the design geared toward putting up high numbers in high wind speeds so they can make that deception. The turbines need to be designed to have a much larger sweep area with lower start-up speeds (which will tend to limit top end) so that they have a more usable day to day output, as opposed to getting squat most of the time then getting bombed during a wind storm (and thus providing high name-plate wattage for the brochures).

The reason for the low power at startup is the fact that the power available from the wind is a rather simple third order relationship. Not really a polynomial, although the link between the power at any wind speed and the output of the wind turbine may be. The available power of a 12 mph wind is (1/2)^3 or 1/8th that available from a 24 mph wind. A wind turbine rated at 28 mph has only (12/28)^3 or 0.079 the energy available for conversion at 12 mph times what ever efficiency the particular machine produces.

Since the small wind turbines have no pitch control, they operate most efficiently at only one wind speed. At other speeds, their output drops considerably from that theoretically available from the wind. From the point of view of serious wind power production, those small turbines one finds on eBay and elsewhere are little more than toys, IMHO. That many people have bought them may have given folks the impression that wind energy is a losing proposition.

There appears to be a gap in the available wind machines, with decent small scale turbines being hard to find. Back in 1973, I worked to install a 2kw Dunlite wind mill which was imported from Australia. They came with a 10 ft diameter 3 bladed turbine with speed limited by active pitch control and were part of a complete system including 40 kwh of lead acid battery storage. They are no longer being produced...

E. Swanson

"A shift in meaning for 'luxury' as shopping habits change"

The last line from the article above :-

"A lot of people feel like chumps if they pay full price," says Lyne. "When you get a deal on a luxury item, it makes you feel smart."

And so people end up with a whole lot of unnecessary garbage, but feel smart because they "scored a great deal". The true emptiness of our civilization's values.