Drumbeat: August 9, 2010

Obama Oil-Spill Panel Asks Whether Drilling Ban Should Include Exceptions

The presidential commission investigating BP Plc’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill has asked the Obama administration if a temporary ban on deep-water drilling should be lifted for certain rigs.

The commission wrote to Michael Bromwich, director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, on Aug. 6, seeking information on the moratorium, according to a letter released today. President Barack Obama suspended drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet though Nov. 30.

Texas AG sues BP for Texas refinery pollution

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is suing BP Plc for excess pollution in April and May from the energy giant's massive Texas City, Texas, refinery, his office said on Monday.

Abbott said in a statement the lawsuit could cost BP millions of dollars in fines for pollution released during the 40-day malfunction of a refinery unit.

Can U.S. Refiners Maintain Strong 2nd Quarter Performance?

Baker & O'Brien, Inc.'s second quarter 2010 (10Q2) release to PRISM subscribers indicates that refinery cash margins have increased, on average, by almost $3 per barrel versus the previous quarter, with the strongest improvement noted in the West Coast (PADD 5). Countering the general improvement trend was the East Coast (PADD 1), where margins declined slightly because of a widening light-heavy crude oil discount and general market conditions. Overall U.S. first half 2010 (10H1) cash margins were much stronger than the last half of 2009.

However, during the second quarter of 2010 (10Q2), refining crack spreads began to slip relative to the previous quarter (10Q1), with further weakening noted in July.

The Future of Natural Gas Prices – Permanently Lower Due to Disruptive Technology?

Those of you who have paid attention to our discussions concerning our energy investments over the years might remember that at one point we strongly favored domestic producers of natural gas, given what we saw as a favorable supply-demand dynamic with natural gas—the favored carbon fuel of the environmentally conscious. At the time we thought that a business that could develop and produce natural gas for under $4 per mmbtu and then could sell it at prices in excess of $7 per mmbtu was a good business. It was even better in those periods when a substantial amount of yearly production could and would be hedged for sale at prices in the range of $8 - $10 per mmbtu. In recent months, the dynamics of the natural gas marketplace have changed and we have reduced our exposure to gas considerably. Moreover, our other energy investments, primarily in Concho Resources, Cenovus, and Apache, have taken on a more oily mix. Because of these changes, we felt that a discussion of disruptive technology was in order.

Pennsylvania broke law on natgas water use: group

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Pennsylvania regulators are illegally allowing natural gas companies to withdraw water from rivers and streams for use in the Marcellus Shale drilling boom, an environmental group claims.

The Allegheny Defense Project says the state's Department of Environmental Protection has no legal right to permit drillers, as it does, to take millions of gallons of water from rivers in the western part of the state.

India Asks, Should Food Be a Right for the Poor?

India’s ability, or inability, in coming decades to improve the lives of the poor will very likely determine if it becomes a global economic power, and a regional rival to China, or if it continues to be compared with Africa in poverty surveys.

India vanquished food shortages during the 1960s with the Green Revolution, which introduced high-yield grains and fertilizers and expanded irrigation, and the country has had one of the world’s fastest-growing economies during the past decade. But its poverty and hunger indexes remain dismal, with roughly 42 percent of all Indian children under the age of 5 being underweight.

New traffic signals make it safer for pedestrians

Developed about a decade ago by city traffic engineers in Tucson, but in limited use until recently, the signal stays dark until a pedestrian or bicyclist wants to cross. They press a button, and the overhead signals flash yellow lights, followed by a solid yellow and a solid red, stopping traffic so the person can cross.

"Drivers get that: Red means stop," said Mark Luszcz, assistant chief traffic engineer with the Delaware Department of Transportation.

The solid red light is followed by flashing red lights, allowing drivers to proceed if the crosswalk is clear. The signal then goes dark again and traffic flows freely. Researchers with the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University last year compared before-and-after accident data at 21 HAWK sites in Tucson and found a 13% to 29% reduction in all crashes and a 50% drop in pedestrian accidents.

Kurt Cobb: The end of prevention

It is a frequent conceit among humans that they are at the beginning of some new important era or at the end of a previous grand or decadent era. It is quite boring to imagine oneself simply in the ongoing stream of an already well-established pattern of life that will neither reach a climax nor inaugurate a new epoch.

What if, a friend of mine proposed, we are not approaching a point that will tip us into a grand ecological catastrophe which we are called upon to prevent? What if we are in the middle of that catastrophe and it began some time ago?

Santos, Chavez Seek to End Colombia-Venezuela Spat

(Bloomberg) -- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will meet tomorrow with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez in a bid to restore diplomatic ties and end a trade war between the two nations over Chavez’s alleged support for Marxist guerrillas.

Russia ups Primorsk oil exports, delays maintenance

(Reuters) - Russia's Transneft will raise Urals crude shipments ex-Primorsk in August by 400,000 tonnes after fears of forest fires forced the pipeline monopoly to postpone pipeline maintenances, trading source said.

Showa Shell may cut Iran oil imports more due price

Japan’s Showa Shell Sekiyu cut imports of crude oil from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) by 30 percent this year and may impose a deeper cut if an agreement is not reached on fourth quarter prices, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Iran was pushing for a high prices for its crude as its economy suffered from the new rounds of sanctions imposed by the United Nation and United States in June and July, oil trading sources said.

BP relief well closes in, eye on weather

MIAMI/HOUSTON (Reuters) - BP 's relief well is closing in to start a permanent kill of the blown-out Gulf of Mexico oil well this week, unless an approaching weather system disrupts the timing, the top U.S. oil spill response chief said on Monday.

"They are closing in on the last 30-40 feet ... It's ongoing and going in segments," retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen told a conference call to update on the final stages of definitively plugging the world's worst offshore oil spill.

BP, Government Reach Agreement on Oil Spill Fund

(CBS/AP) A Justice Department official says negotiations with BP have been completed to ensure that the oil company follows through on a commitment to establish a $20 billion compensation fund for victims of the Gulf oil spill.

The official calls the conclusion of negotiations an important step forward for BP to honor the promises it made regarding the fund.

Big Oil Has Replaced Big Tobacco In The Bulls Eye of America's Vitriol

Despite giant pay packages, I wouldn't want to be a CEO of an oil firm if my life depended on it. Everyone hates you. You have to deal with some of the most unsavory people in the world who steal, bribe, reneg, and lie to you all-the-while demanding signature bonuses, sometimes upward of $70 million. You at times put your own life at risk via your business travels.

Byron W. King: How to Profit from Mexico’s Crashing Oil Industry

After decades of production, Cantarell is getting long in the tooth. Oil output from Cantarell, is declining rapidly. Cantarell is depleting at an astonishing rate. Meanwhile, the yield from new Mexican oil fields is simply not making up the difference.

The Mexican government obtains about 40% of its national receipts from oil-related revenues. Yet due to falling oil output, especially from offshore, Mexico will likely cease being an oil exporting nation by 2015. This looming problem holds dire implications for the national balance sheet of Mexico, as well as — by implication — for U.S. energy and national security.

Political fights over clean coal get dirty and expensive

FORTUNE -- The politics of clean coal keep preventing the United States government from actually finishing a clean coal project. Last week, the Department of Energy added a new twist to the on-again-off-again clean coal project FutureGen, and it probably didn't have much to do with technology.

Iran boosts nuclear enrichment efficiency - IAEA

(Reuters) - Iran has started using extra machines installed this year to enrich nuclear material to higher levels more efficiently, in violation of United Nations sanctions, the U.N. nuclear agency said on Monday.

Chinese entrepreneur accepts White House solar panel with humility, vision

Unity — Huang Ming, the soft-spoken 49-year-old chairman of Himin Solar Energy Group, the world's largest manufacturer of solar hot water heaters, wore a T-shirt when he appeared at a formal presentation at the Unity Centre for the Performing Arts, August 5. He was, he said, "against the bad habit of overheating and overcooling."

Huang was there to receive a symbolic gift to the people of China from Unity College: a solar panel once installed on the roof of the White House.

Steady State Transportation: Closing the Door on the Dirty Oil Era

If human civilization is to make the move to a steady state economy that provides prosperity without growth, it must meet people’s basic mobility needs without reliance on fossil fuels. The U.S. requires a revolutionary transformation of its transportation systems, and recent experience with the downsides of oil provides a potent political push to overcome inertia.

The Death of Generosity

At the last G8 summit in June, the world’s leading nations agreed to work hard on the usual litany of good causes—peace, global warming, etc.—with one notable exception. The issue that had dominated the summit just five years ago, foreign aid, got little mention. Perhaps that’s not surprising, given how many rich nations are busy bailing themselves out of the debt crisis, but it is emblematic of a wider malaise: the death of generosity itself.

Companies donate employees' time, service instead of cash

Corporate employees have long donated their time to charitable causes. It's only in the past several years that volunteer work has gone beyond the soup kitchen to include skills-based programs that allow employees to donate not only their time but their talent.

"More than 90% of companies offer some type of formal volunteer employee program," says Alison Rose of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, an international forum of business executives.

Sit-down has people talking in East Chicago

Steve Bankes just wanted a place to sit and watch his kids play, and he ended up helping change the world. Go figure.

Once-thriving cities may one day be ghost towns

We do know for a fact that factors as diverse as climate change and aging populations mean that even as the global urban population continues to grow, some cities are shrinking. It's not just small towns, although in wealthy nations, small communities may face the most extreme effects. In Japan, many rural hamlets, left with only a few elderly residents, are in danger of total disappearance. In the U.S., towns in Kansas and the Dakotas face extinction mainly because of an exodus of young people. Some Kansas towns are fighting back by giving away free land, with mixed results.

But some bigger centers also face the risk of annihilation. Urban planners across Europe and North America are already grappling with what to do with "shrinking cities." After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, millions of residents of what had been East Germany moved west. More than a million apartments were simply abandoned.

Analysis: Pakistan floods, Russia heat match climate trends

OSLO (Reuters) – Devastating floods in Pakistan and Russia's heat wave match projected trends of ever more extremes caused by global warming even though it is impossible to blame mankind for single severe weather events, scientists said.

This year is on track to be the warmest since reliable temperature records began in the mid-19th century, beating 1998, mainly due to a build-up of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, according to the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

"We will always have climate extremes. But it looks like climate change is exacerbating the intensity of the extremes," said Omar Baddour, chief of climate data management applications at WMO headquarters in Geneva.

The 2010 heat wave: 5 excruciating climate records

New York – It's hot. So hot, in fact, that 2010 is on pace to become the warmest year, worldwide, since record-keeping began more than a century ago. The scorching weather has caused massive droughts in Thailand and Israel, and killed hundreds in India. Russia is still suffering from its worst heat wave in 130 years, which has sparked deadly wildfires and left thousands dead across the country. Some scientists have called the mercury-busting highs the "best evidence yet" for global warming. Are they right? Here is a look at some of the record-breaking temperatures from across the globe:

Ban announces high-level panel to tackle global sustainability issues

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today unveiled a new panel on global sustainability that is tasked with finding ways to lift people out of poverty while tackling climate change and ensuring that economic development is environmentally friendly.

“I have instructed the Panel to think big,” the Secretary-General told reporters in New York today. “The time for narrow agendas and narrow thinking is over.”

Global warming heats up a nuclear energy renaissance: Global warming and the BP oil spill have helped rehabilitate nuclear energy in the eyes of the public – and some environmentalists.

Public and political acceptance of nuclear power as a logical large-scale alternative to fossil fuel is higher than it has been in a generation. Once mainly associated with mishaps like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl – not to mention bumbling nuclear plant worker Homer Simpson – the energy source now has support from 62 percent of Americans, a Gallup Poll found in March. That's the highest since Gallup began asking about the topic in 1994.

Even former foes like Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog and an alternative-energy crusader, and Mark Udall, a member of the Udall family Democratic political dynasty that has stewarded natural resources, are rethinking the nuclear energy option. They're influenced more by the immediately tangible environmental consequences of greenhouse gases than by possible radiation disasters.

U.K. to Open First New Nuclear Power Station in 2018, Secretary Huhne Says

Britain’s first new nuclear power station will open in 2018, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said, denying the country will miss its own carbon-reduction targets because of delays over planning permission.

“We’re on course,” Huhne told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” show. “We have very clear signals from investors that they are going ahead. I’ve absolutely no intention of the lights going out on my watch.”

Oil Rises First Time in Four Days on Optimism Over U.S. Economic Recovery

Crude oil rose for the first time in four days as advancing equity markets buoyed confidence that the economic rebound will stimulate fuel demand.

Hedge funds last week boosted their holdings of crude oil futures and options to the highest level in 13 weeks in a bet that Tropical Storm Bonnie would delay imports to states along the Gulf of Mexico, reducing supplies. The dollar traded close to a three-month low against the euro, enhancing the appeal of commodities for hedging against inflation.

Atlantic Low Pressure Area Has 70% Chance of Becoming Cyclone in 48 Hours

A low pressure area about 1,100 miles (1,770 kilometers) east-northeast of the Leeward Islands has a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Iran Sanctions Make China, Russia Winners While Reliance Loses

Sanctions punishing Iran for its nuclear program are deepening the country’s ties with China and handing Russia opportunities to sell more gasoline while hurting suppliers in Europe and India.

ENOC patent ensures smooth flow of revenue

Scientists at Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) have catapulted the government-owned oil and gas outfit to the cutting edge of invention, leading to its first US patent.

ENOC was awarded the patent for a pioneering method of preserving jet fuel that is designed to save airlines and refineries billions of dollars.

Peak Oil – the Chinese Contribution PT 3

But this is only the start of the troubles to come. Like the west, China cannot serve its own energy needs without importing energy (oil and coal) from elsewhere. In the case of oil, we are now at the peak of production – in the next few years, supplies will start to drop, and this drop will accelerate. China, with its booming economy, will be demanding more and more of what is becoming less and less. Some people may remember the 1973 oil crisis, when Americans were coming to Canada to fill up their tanks because of the gas shortages at home. Imagine this on a world scale, where the gas shortages are coming from North America and China, who together want more than the market can supply. Each party, quite naturally, wants “energy security.”

Currently the US is trying to achieve energy security. Thousands of its young people have died in an unwinnable fight to the death called Iraq. The worst case is that the US will continue its fight for energy security, not only in Iraq, but also in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, possibly even Alberta. The Chinese, meanwhile, would invent a “need” to liberate the Iranians and their neighbours. The result: two concurrent Gulf Wars. The cost, both in human lives and the materials we need to live with: don’t even ask. And the winner: nobody, even assuming that the Chinese and the Americans don’t go to war with each other directly.

Testing to begin on burst oil pipe to fouled Kalamazoo River

The National Transportation Safety Board took possession Sunday of pieces of a damaged crude oil pipeline whose rupture caused a massive spill into the Kalamazoo River.

The federal agency is investigating the cause of the July 25 spill at its labs in Virginia but is not likely to release a report for 12 to 18 months, said Susan Hedman, the regional administrator with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago.

BP oil spill response costs hit $6.1 bln

LONDON (AFP) – BP has spent 6.1 billion dollars in response to the huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it said on Monday, but the amount is set to spiral on expected massive compensation payouts.

"The cost of the response to date amounts to approximately 6.1 billion dollars (4.6 billion euros)," the group said in an official statement.

Hurricane could bring bureaucratic delays to Gulf

WASHINGTON – If a hurricane hits the Gulf Coast and whips up oil from BP's massive spill, cleanup workers will not be able to swoop into action to fix the mess. A new Obama administration edict requires that the oil be tested before it can be cleaned, according to a response plan obtained by The Associated Press.

The extra step is supposed to make it easier for the government to get reimbursed if a hurricane slings oil from the Gulf of Mexico into backyards, neighborhoods and wetlands.

But it also could cause frustrating additional delays and prevent residents from returning to their homes while the government figures out who pays the bill.

Deep-water drilling ban is hurting related businesses

GALVESTON, Texas — The effect of the government's moratorium on deep-water oil and gas drilling is evident here at an almost deserted boat dock.

Normally, two or three boats that service offshore oil rigs would be here, getting equipment or repairs. On a recent Saturday, there was one. Craig Marston, general manager of the 80-employee Malin International Ship Repair, didn't have any oil-related clients scheduled to come in. Instead, he's bracing for a 30% to 40% drop in business in the next few weeks as the full impact of the moratorium, in its third month, sets in.

US urges more study of sea damage after BP spill

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US officials urged further study of the damage to sea life wreaked by BP's broken well in the Gulf of Mexico, and warned that the energy giant would face a "large financial penalty."

White House energy chief Carol Browner declined to say if criminal charges could be brought, as the US Justice Department continues to investigate the causes of the spill that unleashed the worst maritime oil disaster in history.

Washington vows no slack-off in Gulf oil cleanup

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The government vowed on Sunday that operations to completely clean up BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill and compensate those affected would not slacken off despite the success in halting the leak.

Some Gulf Coast beaches and fisheries were reopening after the world's worst offshore oil accident, as optimism grew for a final kill of the blown-out BP well this month, the top U.S. spill response official said on Sunday news shows.

Crabs provide evidence of oil tainting Gulf food web

BARATARIA, La. — To assess how heavy a blow the BP (BP) oil spill has dealt the Gulf of Mexico, researchers are closely watching a staple of the seafood industry and primary indicator of the ecosystem's health: the blue crab.

Weeks ago, before engineers pumped in mud and cement to plug the gusher, scientists began finding specks of oil in crab larvae plucked from waters across the Gulf coast.

The government said last week that three-quarters of the spilled oil has been removed or naturally dissipated from the water. But the crab larvae discovery was an ominous sign that crude had already infiltrated the Gulf's vast food web — and could affect it for years to come.

Insurance Companies Find There Is Money to Be Made in Green Technology

HONG KONG — Every day, national and local officials, municipal utilities, corporations, homeowners and consumers are weighing the risks and rewards of adopting renewable energy. The up-front costs can be daunting.

Sure, putting solar panels on my house might be good for Mother Earth and could save me money in the long term, but what if they break in two years and I’m out $5,000 before I have recouped my investment?

Unfortunately, good karma points are not going to pay the power bill. But insurance might.

Increasingly, insurers are stepping in to bridge the gap between green intentions and actual capital outlays on green technology.

Australia: What's black and white and green all over?

Even as political parties waver on setting targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a unique Green Magpies program is helping small and medium enterprises (SME) take the lead by adopting sustainable practices to save costs and expand their enterprise.

Airports handled fewer passengers worldwide in 2009

Air traffic worldwide fell 1.8% last year to 4.8 billion arriving and departing passengers, according to a report last week by the Airports Council International. The decline was more pronounced in North America (down 5.2%) and Europe (down 5.4%). But the emerging markets in the Middle East (up 7.7%), Asia-Pacific (up 4.9%) and Latin America-Caribbean (up 1.5%) maintained growth.

Intra-country traffic was flat around the world, but international traffic dropped 3.9%, ACI says, based on data from 1,350 airports.

Dubai peak demand for power rises

Dubai’s peak electricity demand last month was 9.6 per cent higher than in July of last year, despite sluggish economic growth.

Smart grid to recharge electricity industry

The Abu Dhabi Government’s efforts to transform the emirate’s electricity industry will create a multibillion-dollar market for goods such as solar panels and new computer software, power companies said yesterday.

The Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC), the emirate’s main electricity retailer, will by the end of the year install advanced electricity meters in every home in the capital and surrounding areas, said Abdulrahman al Dhaheri, the deputy managing director. At the same time, he said, the company had proposed a subsidy system for rooftop solar panels that was now under consideration by the Executive Council.

Capital to mark gains in meters

Electricity meters could start running backwards as soon as next year in Abu Dhabi as the Government lays the groundwork for a more advanced power grid and weighs incentives for rooftop solar panels.

The new infrastructure, disclosed yesterday by the emirate’s main electricity supplier, will allow owners of buildings and homes to sell power back to the grid at a guaranteed price and paves the way for Abu Dhabi to host one of the most advanced, or “smart”, electricity grids in the world, experts said.

Deregulated electricity prices lead to conservation

David Case says energy conservation has become a priority in his Upper Gwynedd home. The bedroom air conditioning units, operated less than usual, are turned on at night while the living room units are turned off.

The procedure reverses itself during the day, according to Case. He said the family has purchased several low wattage light bulbs, and has gotten into the habit of turning off lights that are not in use. They only do full loads of laundry, as well.

Case and his family are bracing for an electricity rate hike in less than five months. Beginning Jan. 1, a projected 10 percent increase for all PECO clients will add approximately $8 to the monthly bill for the average residential customer, according to Karen Muldoon Geus, the company's director of communications.

Collapsible bike enjoys resurgence

After a brief heyday, collapsible bicycles largely disappeared - mercifully, say many. But they are having a revival of sorts in some European metropolises because they are a convenient mode of transport. But today’s models bear little similarity to their predecessors. At the same time, they have yet to achieve the popularity of the first collapsible bicycles.

State laws kill buzz of home brews

When the 2010 Oregon State Fair opens on Aug. 27, there won't be an amateur beer-brewers competition for the first time in 22 years.

An overlooked, 80-year-old statute that says Oregon home-brewed beer can't leave the home has forced fair organizers to cancel the competition, which had 335 entrants last year, says Oregon Liquor Control Commission spokeswoman Christie Scott.

Green living: Off the grid families pioneer sustainable energy lifestyles

Once on the fringe, about 750,000 off the grid American households pioneer green living by tapping sustainable energy from the wind, sun, and earth.

Green living: Sustainable design is Big Thunder's big payoff

This was the year the dream finally came completely true at "Big Thunder," the house that John Sagebiel and Mary Cablk built.

Seven years after moving in, they figure the $40,000 they invested in sustainable architecture and solar energy has finally been recouped in the savings they've had in heating, cooling, and powering their two-story, 3,200-square-foot home outside Reno, Nev.

Green living: tapping geothermal energy for a home HVAC system

Even after several decades working with geothermal-energy pioneer James Bose at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Gerald McClain sounds like a kid in a candy shop as he describes his new home's geothermal heating and cooling system.

"It's exciting. It's like you're discovering something new," he says.

Thanks in part to Dr. Bose's influence, Oklahoma has become a national leader in geothermal heating and cooling (not to be confused with geothermal power generation).

Green living: This solar home is completely off the grid

During the long, frigid winters of Michigan's remote Upper Peninsula, the sun makes a frail arc low in the sky for only about seven hours – hardly ideal for a solar-powered house in the woods. But when Bob and Cynthia Pryor decided to build a home here in 1993, the local utility company told them there was "no way," in Cynthia's words, they'd extend a line to the cabin off a tiny dirt road. The only option was to go off the grid with solar or wind power.

Green living: Wind turbines power a Bronx apartment complex

Like many New Yorkers who live cheek by jowl in rented concrete spaces many times removed from the energy sources that power the city, plumber Ivan Crespo says he used to "look the other way" when confronted with news about environmental issues and climate change. But since moving into the Eltona Apartments in the Bronx last fall, he feels he's finally taken a stake in the environment. That's largely because of the 10 eight-foot-tall wind turbines mounted on parapets atop the five-story building – an experiment in urban wind power that developers hope could become a national model.

Greens push for passenger rail

The Australian Greens are pushing for more southern Tasmanians to have access to rail as a means of public transport.

The State Government is already considering a business case for a light rail system between Hobart and the northern suburbs.

Reducing New Mexico’s carbon emissions = economic sense

Recovering and restoring local food and energy production requires a conscious transformation and set of ecological and economic leaps for our communities. In recognizing the links between health, food, fuel scarcity and poverty, energy, and green jobs, we can address the global challenge of climate change and peak oil and the economic and health challenges afflicting New Mexico. I urge you to support the carbon cap as an effective economic and policy stimulus.

Peak Oil? Yes! Peak Food? I Don’t Think So!

How do you know that the stories were not planted in the corporate media so that people would be scared into accepting the Monsanto "solution" for food crises? So often, corporations/governments create the problem e.g. 9-11, so they can propose their solution e.g. global war on terror and clamp down of dissent. And you know that so much of the media is under corporate control that the fact that so many stories came out at the same time should be a big RED flag.

I believe Peak Oil because oil is a finite resource whose decline has been measured over time. Food is not the same beast that oil is. Production levels are variable; a potato field can yield more a season after a bad harvest, whereas once an oil field is in decline, it won't produce at higher levels later on. We have ready alternatives for food production: We can go back to the organic production methods we had before WWII. No need to invent anything new.

How Will Small Businesses Survive Peak Oil?

From Yahoo to Virgin, big business is waking up to the threat of peak oil. So much so, that Virgin bross Richard Branson believes we should be mobilizing for peak oil as if for war. But what about the little guy? It's often assumed that because peak oil will make global shipping a challenge, that we'll just transition back to smaller, more local economies. I suspect the truth will be a little more complicated than that.

Finding New Life (and Profit) in Doomed Trees

A four-year-old business in Seattle is beating the recessionary odds by building furniture from trees doomed by development, disease or storms.

Russia’s climate problem is our problem

This is a story of unfolding extremes. Extreme high and lows, heat and cold, rain and drought – however you want to measure it. So as central Russia and Ukraine (and earlier India) burn, we have Pakistan and parts of China dealing with the worst flooding in 80 years.

That’s just in parts of the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, Argentina, Peru, Brazil and Chile are experiencing record cold and snowfall.

But even with these cooler temperatures in the south, 2010 is on track to surpass 1998 as the world’s hottest year on record. This has been confirmed by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Spaces Studies and the U.S. National Climatic Data Center. Who knows what the rest of the year, or the new few years, will bring now that the sun is entering a period of higher solar activity?

China, Pakistan Brace for Rain Amid Floods, Landslide as Russia Fires Rage

“Weather patterns are becoming more extreme,” said Greg Smith, founder of Global Commodities Ltd. with A$200 million ($184 million) under management. “You would expect these events to be rarer -- they tend to be clustering more often,” he said from Adelaide, Australia today.

King Coal's Pyrrhic victory

The US experience has wider implications. If it proved impossible to introduce a moderate carbon tax in a rich economy, it is certain that no commitment will be forthcoming for the next generation from China, which remains much poorer and depends even more on indigenous coal than the US. And, after China, India looms as the next emerging coal-based industrial superpower.

Africa: Mass Migration As a Result of Environmental Changes

Climate change is provoking mass human migration. According to scientists, 50 million people worldwide will be displaced this year because of rising sea levels, desertification, dried up aquifers, weather-induced flooding, and other severe environmental changes.

A joint study by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre shows that in 2008 climate-related natural disasters forced 20 million people out of their homes. Research conducted by the Red Cross shows that more people today migrate due to environmental disaster than because of violent conflict.

AFRICA: Adaptation strategy hit parade

JOHANNESBURG (IRIN) - Crops that mature faster and are tolerant of more frequent and intense droughts top the list of how most countries adapt their food production to climate change, says a new paper.

Global warming may require higher dams, stilts

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the world losing the battle against global warming so far, experts are warning that humans need to follow nature's example: Adapt or die. That means elevating buildings, making taller and stronger dams and seawalls, rerouting water systems, restricting certain developments, changing farming practices and ultimately moving people, plants and animals out of harm's way.

Adapting to rising seas and higher temperatures is expected to be a big topic at the UN climate-change talks in Copenhagen next week, along with the projected cost, hundreds of billions of dollars, much of it going to countries that cannot afford it. That adaptation will be a major focus is remarkable in itself.

Until the past couple of years, experts avoided talking about adjusting to global warming for fear of sounding fatalistic or causing countries to back off efforts to reduce emissions.

Looks like Nova Scotia's off-shore revenues have peaked. The party is over.


ExxonMobil delivered bad news to the province last month, saying it won’t expand Sable.

So, what’s the upshot for taxpayers as the revenue dries up? Tax increases? Program cuts?

Steele says those are the tough choices facing the government, borne out of not just lower royalties but other revenue sources, too.

"The royalties are just a particularly stark example of that, but it’s the challenge we’re facing across the board," he says.

Happy days are here again.

Huh, I was just reading about Sable Island - it's the highest point on a much larger body that was submerged at the beginning of the Holocene when sea levels rose. Have been looking into past attempts at Drill Baby Drill, like the wildcats drilled on Georges Bank. About Ammonite

84 days til Obama is banned

Not particularly welcome news, Tom, to say the least. We only need substitute the word "harder" for "happy" to make your last sentence read right.


Hi Paul,

"Happy Days are here again", was a song popular during the dire days of the Great Depression. Hence my use of the phrase.

Sorry, realize now the irony may have been lost on a few readers.

That said, the party is over. Budget cuts and higher taxes are on the horizon.

Cheers, errr... Cheerless?


I say no to the use of nuclear energy.

If we cannot handle oil spills worldwide, how can we handle the dangers of nuclear waste that has a life span longer than civilization itself?

I used to be an anti nuclear activist. But no more with global warming and the fact that coal spews a lot more radiation than nuclear. I don't have much hope for civilization, anyway, so I'd rather take its chances with nuclear than with coal. On the other hand, I wonder how viable nuclear is going to be with ever warmer "cooling" sources of water.

If I thought we could simply ramp up solar, wind, and other renewables and even meet half of our current electricity consumption, I would be all for it. And I very much support ramping up renewable to the maximum extent possible.

But the people and its leaders are asleep and will remain so for a very long time. Have we heard a peep from our President about the fact that Russia is burning? Too busy playing B ball, I guess.

As I understand it the source of fuel for the present generation of nukes (uranium) is non-renewable (uranium ore being a finite resource on planet Earth); therefore a large-scale shift to nuclear will only delay the point of peak non-renewable energy. While this might be helpful in giving more time for a transition to 100% renewables, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that we will still have to transition to 100% renewables before the uranium runs out.

Or move to a sustainable form of nukes (which I think are there in theory, but not yet in practice).

I'm no expert however so will defer to those who are...


PS however if you're more concerned about climate change than peak oil, then shifting to nukes probably makes sense (although I don't think anyone's done a cradle-to-grave analysis of emissions per unit generated to compare nukes with conventionals, so there's still some room for debate about that).

Plenty of fuel for nuclear breeder reactors. Thorium looks particularly interesting and we have enough to supply our needs for over a thousand years.

Before you get to thorium, the US plus Russia have something just over a million tons of depleted uranium that has already been mined and refined and is sitting in storage somewhere. The starter fissionable "sparkplug" you need to start a fast-neutron breed-and-burn reactor using that U238 is essentially the same as what you would need for thorium. The stockpiles continue to grow, as even with conversion of plutonium from weapons and reprocessing of spent fuel, there is demand for enriched uranium.

That said, there are no licensed fast-neutron designs in the US, and the DOE shut down its (quite successful) fast flux test facility back in the 1990s. If the US is to have a long-term nuke program, it seems intuitive that fast-neutron, with its several potential advantages, will have to be an important part of the mix.

In 1830 Earth had a population of 1 billion people and this was before the expansion of the ‘Industrial Revolution’; today teenagers of the world are 1 billion people of the 6.7 billion people.

What must be examined is our current life style using fossil fuels and what is even less written about the use of our rivers and the making of dams.

Clean fresh water will be the next commodity to capture our attention.

While we can adapt to living with less ‘widgets’, no one can survive without safe fresh water.

Clean fresh water will be the next commodity to capture our attention.

Bears repeating.

(and the doomers of you out there may wanna make sure you have some water purification gear. Saltwater fish tank catalogs are a good source.

Here's a good paper from a physicist who keeps live corals.


I like this talk on TED by Michael Pritchard as well...


Talking about clean water... this program using solar cookers blew me away.

Solar doesn't work it's just a fossil fuel extender and it costs too much. It only works if its supported by government subsidies and tax breaks. People won't adopt it because it goes against what they are used to...You can't change culture, it's way too difficult.

Solar doesn't work it's just a fossil fuel extender and it costs too much.

You do understand that Fossil Fuel is just old solar power right?

And the 'costs too much' argument is that way because all the time, pressure, process and volume of solar biomass is not counted in the calculation of 'cost'.

Something is wrong with price signals where a renewable in the lifetime of a human item like Cow's milk is more expensive than something that is not replaceable in a human lifetime like gasoline.

I do believe FMagyar was imbibing some sarconol on that one. At least, I hope so...!

.. in fact, he was trowelling it on with a big Fat Frosting Spatula.

Eric, read carefully!

(of course Fred is biased, because he's in the industry.. and I'm biased, because I think I want to be in the industry)

Eric it's ok! To see hundreds of cheap solar cookers being used in Africa as substitutes for cooking with wood could not have made me happier! I'd like to see billions of them from see to shining sea all over the globe.

I actually work with PV.

"....coal spews a lot more radiation than nuclear."

Kinda like saying that all of the small "point of source" oil leaks release much more oil into the environment than the BP spill.

I'll not choose between two evils.

I'll not choose between two evils.

Oh but yes you will. The choice is very seldom, if ever, between good and evil. The choice is always between the greater evil and the lesser evil. Does coal power plants release more pollutants into the atmosphere than nuclear power plants? Of course they do, hundreds of times more. And society, not you personally, will choose one or the other or both.

And both have their evils. Which is worse? Definitely coal but the choice is not up to me.

But perhaps you had another choice in mind, like using neither, just powering down. And would you like to suggest that this choice does not have its evils? Naw... I really don't think you would dare suggest that the power down, which will eventually happen regardless, will be without evils. Yes there will be evils that accompany the power down, and very horrible ones at that.

Ron P.

...then again, Ron, it depends on what your definition of "evil" is.

I think his point, Ron, is that that particular Choice is a false one. It's constantly accused that by opposing Nuclear, you are implicitly supporting Coal, and that is just an outright falsehood.

Other choices might be 'Really Hard', as in 'People will die, the boundaries of how much population can be supported will become brutally clear..' But is that 'Evil', the way spewing poisons into our own Air and Water are Evils?

As Ghung said.. you might have to clarify some of the assumptions about what evil really means. It could be called either Evil or simply Tragic that we've seen our population expand so much that we are now hanging over a terrifying precipice.. but I don't personally see it as evil that we A) Acknowledge this fact, and B)Choose directions that may be supportable for various communities or regions that can adopt them in time, and that also have enough other resources in which to keep going, but choices that will probably see many other places that are too heavily and blindly dependent on piped-in energy, crash and burn. As you point out often enough, that vulnerability is already in the cards, and the hand is probably already in play.. and if I get to be the 'King of Maine/New-England/Maritimes' .. I will not be choosing to build either Coal OR Nuclear to secure our energy situation. They're both dead ends in too many ways. False Choice.

Ghung and Jokuhl, The term "evil" is obviously a human invention. In nature there is really no such thing as good or evil. The word "evil" must be a definition of human actions and subject to human interpretation.

So my definition of evil is: "Actions by human beings that cause great misery and suffering." Consequently that which causes the most death and misery is the most evil. That which causes the lesser death and misery is the lesser evil. So Ghung, now you know what I mean by "evil". I am aware that either you or Jokuhl may have a different definition but I just want you to be sure of what I mean when I use the term.

If we had all nuclear power and no coal power, there would be a lot less acid rain, a lot less lung diseases, and a lot less soot and other pollutants in the atmosphere. In fact Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste.

So according to my definition of evil, (though perhaps not yours), coal power plants cause far more deaths an misery than would nuclear power plants. Coal power plants cause thousands of children to die of asthma and other diseases. And that is just for starters. There is global warming, there is acid rain that causes billions of fish to die and kills rivers and lakes. And I could go on and on. But I will stop here because I hope I have made my point.

Ron P.

However, research has shown that low or even moderate levels of ionising radiation exposure have relatively little long term impact on human health, if spread out over months or years. It is short, intense bouts of exposure which cause serious damage. Human DNA is a lot more robust than some people think.

That said, I suspect nuclear plants built today will never be safely decommissioned. They will be left to rot in situ when the global economy collapses on the downslope of peak net energy. They will be dangerous places to be near for centuries if not millennia.

The term "evil" is obviously a human invention

...in your opinion, Ron.

Oh I am sorry HAcland, of course the term could have been invented by a monkey. I was under the silly impression that only humans invented words and terms. I should have realized that some other animals may have invented a few words, word like "woof" or "oink" or "meow" or... But I still maintain that the term "evil" was invented by a human and not a monkey. Of course as you point out, that is just my opinion.

Ron P.

so evil only exists as a term ?

I expect that rabbits would think hounds are evil, if they were capable of thinking in such terms.

Rats would also think of rattraps and the people who set them in similar terms.

Nothing is good nor bad but thinking makes it so -from Shakespeare I believe but he undoubtedly cribbed the thought otself himself from some older work.

Nature is entirely "disinterested"; as nature is not a sentinent being, the concept of good and evil cannot be appllied to any natural occurence.

I disagree with Darwinian in practical matters from time to time, but he has an admirably cohesive and internally consistent grip on reality.

I couldn't have put it any better, Mac. Hounds rate high with me, too.

so evil only exists as a term ?

Did I say that? If I thought that then how could I maintain that there are greater evils and lesser evils?

The concept of evil is a human invention. Is that better?

Only humans are capable of committing evil acts. And our choice is always between the greater evil and the lesser evil.

From "The Ostrich Factor" by Garrett Hardin, page 103. An Earthling and a Martian discuss saving thousands of lives by providing free food for masses in impoverished countries. The Martian explains that by keeping thousands alive today you greatly increase the misery and death later on. The Earthling speaks:

"But what am I to do?" I asked in anguish. "God tells us that all men are brothers and commands us to take care of the immediate needs of our brothers. We feel so good whenever we share! Is it wrong to feel good?"

"No: but I assure you, it feels even better to be right. The Earthly God apparently thinks that the human choice is between good and evil. Our Martian God knows that the choice is always between evils--the greater evil verses the lesser one."

"What a dreadful thought!" I exclaimed. "You won't find that detestable thought in any of our gospels."

The point is Elwood, in case you did not get it. It is definitely evil to let people starve but it is a greater evil to provide them the means by which they may multiply to greater numbers so that twice as many will starve later on. Letting one person starve, when you could prevent it is an evil act. Providing the means that two people will starve later on is a greater evil.

Ron P.

Providing the means that two people will starve later on is a greater evil.

Taken to its logical end (and humans are wont to do so) that means the least evil would be to summarily kill all humans (that way the fewest will have died in the end).

So we are forced to make other decisions, constructed around other logic.

OF course the problem is the definition of evil. And, to say that human death is evil is nonsense. It is how people die, and how they live, that are good or evil, as the case may be.

Doing intentional harm to another is evil. That includes killing, starving, and subjugating. It would also include the sins of greed, especially as embodied of late in our national economy in the US of A. It is evil to aggregate enormous wealth to yourself while those who toil for you are underpaid, or undernouriished. It is even worse to steal from unborn children, either yours or others, by overstimulating the production of absolute junk in order to enhance present wealth... the sins of unsustainable economics as practiced in the world today.

The entire feeding one, etc., conundrum is a straw man. Education of all, sustainable economics (including agriculture and birth controls), ecologically sound production methods and transportation... these are within the realm of possibility. When, and if, greed is eliminated. And that begins with a thorough debunking of the lies of the economic gurus who have brought us to, what seems at least to be, a potentialy deadly crisis. Or rather, to several deadly crises.

I don't care what our Gospels say... what they should say is, "Be good to each other, make a small footprint, and improve the earth. In these things you can be happy and healthy. All else is folly."

Best wishes in feeding the multitudes.


And, to say that human death is evil is nonsense.

And what idiot said that? No one of course. Then why do you make such an obvious point?

The entire feeding one, etc., conundrum is a straw man. Education of all, sustainable economics (including agriculture and birth controls), ecologically sound production methods and transportation... these are within the realm of possibility.

Are you serious? No, you cannot possibly be serious? Education for all? Yeah right, we should educate the Taliban and they will stop killing medical teams that only want to help their people. We should educate all Sub-Sahara Africa and they will stop having so many children, they will stop killing monkeys, gorillas and chimps for meat. Educate them, that is all we have to do. And you say:

these are within the realm of possibility.

Well hell, I guess you were serious. Education for all is within the realm of possibility.

When, and if, greed is eliminated.

Christ! It's getting worse. You think we can change human nature. We can eliminate greed. Got any more real juicy ones like that Craig? This is getting to be real fun.

Ron P.

OK I you made my day ;) what mood you are in today...
I laughed out pretty loud in the office
(no offense to posters debating Ron P - simply his rebuttals are interesting to read).

Time for my coffee in Europe.


I have always found that the starve now or starve later example to be out of whack, to use that phrase. If I save the life now, they will only die later, as will we all. So using the logic you have given us. I should not help anyone. Because if I help them now, they will only suffer and die later, and having to die later they might suffer more than they would now, by just dying while we still have the means to save them.

I have a pound bag of rice on the table. If a homeless person asks for it, I should just turn them away saying to myself, they will only eat today and tomorrow they will need more, why bother feeding them today?

If the baby is there dying, we should just let them die because who knows if we were to feed it and let it grow up, it'd just have more babies and they'd die too.

The fatalism that all breeds is just pathic.

Hand everyone a single bullet and gun and get it over with.

Sorry to go on about something like this, but I can't predict the future if I feed someone today, I have no clue what they will be doing tomorrow. Anyone that says they know what the future will bring is misguided.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world.
Hot summer(ice cold water)hugs

Sorry to go on about something like this, but I can't predict the future if I feed someone today, I have no clue what they will be doing tomorrow.

Sorry to say, but yes, we can predict the future if you feed someone today. We are not yeast to be oblivious to effects of the next multiplying when we reach the half of the petri dish. Or are we...?

If you feed someone today, he will live and try to procreate. It's not a rocket science. And sorry to go on about something like this, unchecked procreating is what got us into this mess in the first place. So in this particular case we can predict the future very well. Maybe you have chosen to voluntarily not to see where we are headed, to pretend that we can't be sure that people will make more people, because you have some vested interest in that (kids maybe and wanting them to have kids, too..? :P) and accepting that you are part of the problem can be really hard and people generally deny that possibility very heavily. "Me???! Nooo waaay! My neighbor did it!" :P

I'm not judging you or anything, just explaining why I think Darwinian is right and that "fatalism" (methinks understanding of the cause and effect relation/outcome is not fatalism) is quite justified.

No I am sorry you can't predict that someone will procreate. You can not alos predict what that person will do beyond a few itty bitty things, the rest of the puzzle of their future is still a mystery.

I can feed lots of people who I know for a fact won't be procreating anytime soon.

I get the drift of feeding a child today and tomorrow you think when they grow up they have this Genetic need to procreate, but that is not the case either.

Yeast do not have brains to change their own actions, and humans do. I am not going to get into the muddy waters of genes trying to pass themselves on to other generations, Which I hold to be bad science.( might look good on paper but does not hold up in actions).

I have not procreated, I don't have the ability to do so, unless you clone me.

I see that we have a lot of people on the planet, I see the fact that few people have great lives, when their governments and their local leaders would rather see them starve than give them food, because of a "Me First" fault in the system.

I guess we will have to agree to dis-agree.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world.
Hugs from arkansas

..it is a greater evil to provide them the means by which they may multiply to greater numbers...

you mean octomom was is an agent vessel pawn of lucifer ?


so evil only exists as a term ?

Essentially yes but it's a little trickier than that. I can be in a conversation with someone and they might relate to psychotherapy as evil (there are groups of humans who believe this, so it's a real example) whereas I think it's "useful." In other words, the label evil is a concept that can be applied to a circumstance and for the subject doing the applying that set of circumstances is now in the "evil" bucket.

But psychotherapy is not inherently evil just become one or more humans relate to it that way. Nor is it useful just because another group of humans relate to it that way.

"Evil" is an element of a technology called language, primarily used by humans but also by other animals (particularly other primates).

However, I have not come across any research that indicates other animals have used the concept "evil" but I'm open to being proven wrong.

So I think it is safe to say that for everyday usage "evil" is restricted to humans. Take away language and evil goes with. All that is left is atoms and molecules moving around with no meaning attached to them. The universe has no meaning until language is used, despite what some so-called learned men say.

This fundamental mistake — humans thinking that their thoughts are anything more than just interpretations of the world — is the cause of much misery in the world.

N.B. Even the term "inherently evil" can leads us astray. It is, in my view, a non-sensical statement because nothing can be inherently evil the way I'm laying things out. But it's a useful term to help distinguish what I'm saying.

Ron, you do come out with some odd comments! You know exactly what I meant.

You seem to get more bigoted and opinionated as the days and months go on! A little bit of humility that you don't know everything and that there are other opinions out there might be in order, don't you think?

I thought Ron was rather cleverly sidestepping the question of whether the content of "evil" is divinely defined. Besides, even if it is, it still must be interpreted by humans when applied by them to particular or specific circumstances.

I would say that the term/concept of evil was created under the cover of divinely defined.

You seem to get more bigoted and opinionated as the days and months go on!

I deeply resent that remark. I may be opinionated but my opinions change when the facts change. And my opinions have been changed by the presentation of facts many times in the past.

I am not a bigot! That was a low blow, a cheap shot, and totally uncalled for in a civilized conversation.

I am a white southerner who marched for the civil rights for blacks over forty years ago. I have been spat upon by bigots!

I have, on this very list, defended the rights of gays. I have stated gays were born gay and discrimination against a fact of birth is the worst kind of bigotry.

I am not a bigot HAcland. What gives you the right to call me such a vile name? You owe me an apology.

Ron P.

Those are words for sounds, a human invention :)


I think Ron's statement is silly.

Its apparent that ALL words/terms were INVENTED by humans.

WTF? Please make sense. This is just twaddle for twaddles sake.

Not speaking to Hacland but what he is replying to.

Darwinian appears to be 'losing it'. IMO of course and using words all of which were invented by humans and repeated by me. I used NO animal words in the above. Nor do I know of any Animal words.

Sheezzz a big waste of bandwidth.

So besides the word 'EVIL' is all the rest invented by space invaders or what?

I have to go take an Excedrin after reading such nonsense.

"Darwinian appears to be 'losing it'."

Be nice now. The last guy I said was "loosing it" (2 weeks ago) died last night.

Ghung? are you evil incarnate? Vade retro, Satanas!++

I blew my deal with the devil years ago. Git thee behind me Satan!

Be nice now. The last guy I said was "loosing it" (2 weeks ago) died last night.

Ghung, now that's a scary thought.

But let's not get carried away. I wouldn't want everyone to spoil all the fun by always being nice.

That said, remember, Darwinian, there are many of us out here who like having you around. So, for kripes sake, don't do anything stupid like die on us!

That goes for everybody else.

We luv ya, even when we spar with ya.



"Ghung, now that's a scary thought."

Yeah. This guy:

Matt Simmons, Oil Industry Icon, Dead at 67


I had figured out from your comments for 'whom the bell tolls', it tolls for Matt.

When I said, scary, I was speaking about your sensitivity and regret over saying "he was losing it."

I deal a fair amount with people who regret unkind remarks spoken in jest or anger or spite or meanness and then have the person die shortly thereafter.

My point is this: "that's life, folks." And, if anybody is bothered by such an eventuality, they should cease and desist saying anything bad about anybody.

And many people out of respect or for conscience sake try to do precisely that.

The downside is the loss of spiciness in conversation.

Darwinian, like many on this blog (including myself by times), like to spar. Sometimes we get carried away by our own rhetoric and puffed up with indignation over opinions that we disagree with.

Hence your own remarks about Matt Simmons a few weeks ago.

That, IMHO, is what makes this place such a delight to visit. I enjoy reading some of the saltier exchanges. I would just hate to see 'too much niceness' ruin it all.

As long as we keep a modicum of decency about it, we'll be all set to go. That's why we expect Leanan to come to the rescue when we step too far out of line.

She's like the cavalry, waiting close by.


Hi Tom

I'm having trouble following this, as I wonder if you're referring to a previous post (other than the one referred to on this DB) - ? (question mark?)

re: "When I said, scary, I was speaking about your sensitivity and regret over saying "he was losing it."?

(I didn't see an expression of regret.)

(I didn't see an expression of regret.)

Aniya,that's because Ghung hadn't expressed one, at least not directly.

What I'm trying to say is this: I like T.O.D. because of the broad range of discussions that take place here. Yes, I even like (dare say, enjoy?) an occasional set of fireworks.

It's a sign that people are passionate about the future, that they genuinely care about the subject of resource restraints. And sometimes we step on each other's toes and say things that may come across as harsh. So be it.

Trying to encourage that. That's all.

So keep it up folks. Eat, drink, and be merry (or contrary, if that gives you a reason to get up in the morning). For tomorrow, we die.


After some thought, "regret" wouldn't be appropriate. I carry enough undeserved baggage as it is ;-)

My first post yesterday contained some things from the TOD thread about 2 weeks ago (links/quotes) about Matt, that were to the point, perhaps cutting and insensitive for the moment. I believe that I was trying to express the sureality of the timing.

I may have regretted it, had Leanan not removed it.

CNN reporting plane crash, fmr. Senator Ted Stevens (Alaska) on board. Unclear if he survived.

Edit: Fmr NASA Admin. Sean O'Keefe also aboard.

Yes, Ghung, perhaps "surreal" is the best word to describe the sentiment around Matt Simmons demise.

CNN reporting plane crash, fmr. Senator Ted Stevens (Alaska) on board. Unclear if he survived.

Edit: Fmr NASA Admin. Sean O'Keefe also aboard.

Back to surreal again. The good news (from my own perspective) is that from where I sit, these gentlemen are not household names.

Saves on guilt, remorse or regret when a name has never crossed one's lips in any previous conversations :-)

For their families, I should add, it is sad news :-(


Passing By, and all others who think I am losing it, you are not reading my words correct. Obviously I am saying that the concept of evil is a human invention. In nature there is no such thing as good and evil. But I am repeating myself, I said that before. Why, dear God, must I repeat myself so many times to make some people understand.

Of course all words are human inventions. But some things were here before the advent of human beings. Time, space, distance, infinity, the stars, galaxies and I could go on and on, but these things are not human inventions. The concept of good and evil are human inventions. Good is a human invention! Not just the word but the concept of good is a human invention. Ditto for evil.

Hell, there I go again, repeating myself. But it seems that is what is required in some cases to get a point across.... well... with some people anyway.

Ron P.

That's a correct assessment, in my view. "Good" and "evil" exist only in language. Take away language and there goes good and evil (and a whole bunch of other stuff, too).

Close but not completely correct.

What is good and what is wrong (evil) is subjective to thought processes and not constrained to language. It is possible that other animals have their own (self-developed) beliefs of what is good or evil, but the difference is that they (most likely) lack the verbal means of communicating that to others. More importantly is that without written language, history becomes limited to life experience to develop those beliefs. But don't make the mistake of believing that language is a requisite of moral development. Non-verbal communication works just as well.

Close but not completely correct, :)

I would argue that right, wrong, good, evil are all human language invented terms with only a loose connection to anything "real". What I suggest is real is two factors.

First, is the concept that an event is optional or sub-optional for the desired end result.

Second is the concept or win,win; win,lose; and lose,lose.

Therefore a sub-optional "they" win,you lose end result becomes thru the contortions of human language labeled as evil with all its make believe baggage.

You lost me.

My contention is that words/language are totally the construct of the human mind. That human thinking process has been commandeered by language and therefore most "normal" people think in language.

Granted this is a short cut, efficiency that has many advantages but does also have some nasty short falls. Making, creating the illusion, that a make believe word is "real", connected to the natural order of things, is one of these.

The illusion that good, bad, right, wrong are "real" is one of the most dangerous, destructive and dysfunctional fake concepts human society has created. What I have tried to point out is the "real" concepts that these words are loosely connected too.

The illusion that good, bad, right, wrong are "real" is one of the most dangerous, destructive and dysfunctional fake concepts human society has created.

Exactly! But we live in a world of illusions. The illusion of free will being just one of the grand illusions.

Ron P.

Enlightenment, the ability to think for one-self or also called free will. Maybe even the grandest of illusions, we can strive for the goal but we need to accept that we will never get there.

This is a tricky one because I do think that conversations/narratives/memes "run" people. They are very close to what computer programs are to computers, we being just a biological machine rather than a silicon one.

At the same time, I've also done a lot of personal transformation work which could be described as the discipline of getting outside of the machine that is running show and observing it. In psychotherapy it would be called distinguishing the ego, perhaps.

On the other, other hand, having done all that work I have seen first-hand exactly how difficult it is to get that distance from the machine. Our thinking processes are so tied to the machinery that even people who would bet their life they are thinking on their own aren't.

For example, most people decide, not choose. To decide comes from the same family of words that give us homicide, regicide and suicide. In the decision process will "kill off" the alternatives until we are left with our selection. The usual way this works is that we avoid the options we don't like for some reason rather than select the option we want and it happens very quickly. This process is so quick we are often fooled into thinking we made a choice when we really decided.

In contrast, a choice is a selection for no reason or "just because." The moment we have to have a reason to do something, we have used the decision process because doing something for no reason was selected out. In other words, it is the reason doing the selection, not "us." If there is a reason then the decision machinery was invoked.

All this is to say that fundamental to our thinking process are mechanisms hidden from our view that on the surface look like free thought but actually aren't. It's very, very difficult for a human to genuinely have a free thought. It takes practice and Eastern traditions are more likely to lead to it than the Western ones.

I think we agree on this, but thanks for your reply. You added some details I had not known/considered.

Ok, we're saying the same thing on that score but I still don't get the whole optional/sub-optional piece.

Sorry I used the wrong word, optimal not optional, asperger thing... :)

Actions are either optimal or sub-optimal, (ok this is not an either/or, but a spectrum but to keep it simple...), for the goal at hand. If our goal is to live a long healthy life smoking 2 packs a day is a sub-optimal action for the goal at hand. It is neither good or bad, simple sub-optional.

It seems to me that you have simply replaced one frame of reference (good-evil) with another (optimal-suboptimal). Neither exist except in language.

It is quite a challenge to communicate about the limitations of words/language while using works/language as the interface of information transfer.

Ok, I just feel that there is a natural process/spiritual matrix that forms a framework that the natural order uses to create the basic reality that our illusions are loosely based on. Yes I believe that there is something behind the curtain.

I feel that the concept of optimal is much closer to this natural order reality/framework than good,bad.

I feel that the concept of optimal is much closer to this natural order reality/framework than good,bad.

That is an illusion that likely comes from your background in the sciences. The good-evil continuum and optimum-suboptimum continuum are equally valid frames. That you say that one is more accurate than the other is you using the optimum-suboptimum frame to assess the optimum-suboptimum frame. Of course you would think that if you are standing in that frame. The trick is to step out of that frame completely, which, as I have mentioned above, is a devilishly difficult thing to do for a human.

This isn't easy to get and many people stumble over it but the world that our brains inhabit is all a sort of illusion and must be because it can never be the thing itself that we are apprehending. The image of the table in front of me isn't the table, it's merely a representation of it. Same thing with language.

You're welcome to believe there is something behind the curtain but that too is more likely to come from the frame you are operating from and not that there is actually anything there. Billions of people believe there is something behind the curtain but since they are saying conflicting things they can't all be correct.

However, as Russell pointed out, they can all be wrong.

Either I have been unable to communicate clearly or I do not get your main point here. The way you are using the word "frame" is unclear/incomplete. If you are talking about the need to step outside the constraints of language that comes easy for me.

The advantage I see in optimum-suboptimal vs good-evil is that it takes away the make believe concept of morality. Does it still have language-induced baggage, yes. I understand the logic behind the table example, but I believe that there is still a "physical table" that our illusion is based upon.

As far as behind the curtain, that a logical non-physical reality exist, I have more confidence in this being true than I have confidence that it is not. Granted within my sandbox is the study of the magical arts and some exposure to high level physics which tends to make me biased toward my view.

I do not accept that things are difficult to understand, I do accept that things can be extremely difficult to explain.

I don't think you are loosing it, Ron. I consider you one of our "Wise Men", one of the Human Beings:

Old Lodge Skins: Do you see this fine thing? Do you admire the humanity of it? Because the human beings, my son, they believe everything is alive. Not only man and animals. But also water, earth, stone. And also the things from them... like that hair. The man from whom this hair came, he's bald on the other side, because I now own his scalp! That is the way things are. But the white man, they believe EVERYTHING is dead. Stone, earth, animals. And people! Even their own people! If things keep trying to live, white man will rub them out. That is the difference.

In fact, you remind me of Old Lodge Skins:

Old Lodge Skins: Come out and fight! It is a good day to die! Thank You for making me a Human Being! Thank You for helpin' me to become a warrior! Thank You for my victories, and for my defeats! Thank You for my vision, and the blindness in which I saw further! You make all things and direct them in their ways, O Grandfather. And now You have decided the Human Beings will soon walk a road that leads nowhere.

(Chief Dan George, from "Little Big Man")

Well put, Ghung!

And while I spar with you at any ripe opportunity, I do raise my glass to you, Ron, though it be scarcely half full! It'll be empty soon enough,


..or to put into another Cinematic Western-wannabe,

'Here's to the good stuff, may it last a long time!'
Stella, The Evening Star (Linda Hunt)- Silverado

"Why, dear God, must I repeat myself so many times to make some people understand."

Why, why , why? Because you did NOT say 'The concept of evil'.

You take others to task far far too often to not be able to withstand the incoming slings and arrows when you speak or post with lack of precision.

If you will chastise others for this then you should expect the same Ron. l

And the annals of TOD are full , massively full , of your chastening.

You have little right to complain.

Yet without Darwinian on TOD the world would not be the same and yes I never skip over your comments like I am prone to do with many others, such as X.

From one of my favorite philosophers,
"And what is good Phaedrus, and what is not good? Do we need anyone to tell us this?"

Evil exists in the heart of man. According to ancient sages it exits on the left side on man and good on the right. This is as far back in human history that I know of it being used as a word, of course translated from the Hebrew.

A domesticated animal can be come very attached to its owner if the owner treats it within the bounds of 'goodness' or behaviour that the animal(dog in my case) can tolerate. And that dog, at least my two ,will willingly lay down their very lives to protect me from observed harm to my life.

The same dogs would bite the hand of the owner if he mistreated them.

So even though animals they be they do have a code of conduct that is very highly refined. I can tell by words and tones I use in communicating with them they then understand very very well. Not the semantics but more. Body posture, facial expressions and so on.

But for what it is worth I would also lay down my aged life if someone dared to attempt to serious hurt or harm either of my dogs. They live with me, the sleep with me, they communicate with me and they do so by recognizing me as their Alpha Male and Leader.

When I leave them alone with someone they howl with their muzzles in the air and are hard to be consoled.

Also much of the same is true of horses. In the past I raised many many horses. I once owned 14 and had two studs. Some breeds were not as intelligent as others but the American Saddle Breds I preferred and one stallion in particular was able to communicate effectively with me in the manner of horses.

A book titled 'The Man Who Listens to Horses' explains it very very well. This was where The Horse Whisperer originated.

So is their evil in animals? Yes IMO but not as we view the term or in our mode of communications.

My two dogs recently ripped to death and savagely a young coon who was up in my apple tree. Was it an evil act? To some humans possibly yes. To them? No. They were protecting their turf and my turf as well. I rewarded them for doing so since last year I lost my entire crop of corn in my garden due to coons. Every last stalk was ripped to the ground.

I will not needlessly harm a coon in the wild but if it predates on my livelihood then it will be eliminated. I do not consider this act evil either but many would.

Eye of the beholder.

Human language in my view can be very very misleading and imprecise. One only has to look to our elected representatives and the MSM to find this truth.

Lies , lies and damn lies are the soup du jour of the day in this dying nationstate we once called the Home of the Brave and Land of the Free. Fahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Its a joke. We have little freedom but many died for it. All apparently in vain as regards what now passes.

I served alongside men who gave their lives. I had hoped they would not have died in vain. I would have given mine and it was asked as well by the oath I was sworn to.

Those days are over and now I am pass caring for what the country becomes.

I see and sense EVIL everywhere and it abounds.

Are hubris and greed the dam and sire of evil? Is evil the get of immorality born of fear, hunger, pain and unchecked desire? Perhaps "evil" is simply the bucket into which we pour all of our detritus, the concentration of all that is inhuman about humans.

"Evil", the concept, the word, is an oversimplification of our disfunctional, sociopathic selves, the first step to putting a face on our dark side.

Evil gives us permission to hate.....

I don't disagree with any of that, Ron.

Yes, the idea of 'Evil' is purely subjective to us (or various subsets of us), and Coal is currently producing a vast array of toxic evils upon our species and the ecosystems where it's precipitates land.. as such, my objection to this Choice stands..

Also, Nuclear carries a number of clear evils, although it is often easier to sweep under the rug of media ignorance (Like Mine Tailings and Underclass communities ravaged with cancers after their mining jobs are long gone.), or its ongoing ties to Nuclear Weapons development, its casually dismissed Waste and Storage 'problem', it's dependence upon economic extremes and command economies in which to function at all, it's outsourcing of constantly spawning decay and leakage problems out into the future where our youngun's will have to clean up our messes for us, and finally, our own infrastructural dependence upon such oversized energy-sources that can quickly become unstable without the right diet of high-energy materials, specialised replacement parts, pipes, sealants, etc.. as we head into a time when this complex range of materials and suppliers could find any number of bottlenecks in very short order, destabilizing this 'fleet'.

The irresponsibility of creating such a race of finnicky thoroughbreds is, in my view.. another evil.

So again I say.. I'm not forced to choose between those two evils.. I reject them both.

You made your point, but missed mine.

Naw, I got your point Jokuhl. But I think everyone missed my point. But that is my fault, I still have not expressed my true feelings on the subject.

I really do not believe people who build power plants, nuclear or coal, are really committing an evil act. They all think they are doing good.

The greatest evils are often committed by people who truly believe they are doing what is best for humanity. You have often heard the old cliche; The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Or Eric Sevareid's law; The chief cause of problems is solutions.

No one, except criminals of course, are really doing what they believe is evil. Only the results, results that cause misery and deaths, are evil. And the results that cause the greatest sorrow, misery and suffering are the greater evils.

That was my point.

Ron P.

I agree with your points, Ron, and I think that the quote "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" is a truly applicable, wise, deep saying that captures pithily the whole of Tainter`s thesis about energy giving people the capacity to engage in problem solving which leads to complexity that cannot be sustained once the energy is withdrawn from the system.

The Interstate Highway System---built with good intentions! But it foisted automobile dependence on millions and brought about obesity, diabetes, a ruinous appetite for oil, global warming, wars for oil and the deaths involved in that, accidents, pollution....

The "War on Terror"---planned with good intentions. Yes? (Maybe no, actually!)....but a recent Washington Post expose showed that millions of jobs to fight terror were added to government payrolls....lots of buildings built, lots of money diveted to their cause...without really any transparency or any productive outcome....just a kind of black hole of corporate welfare. Good intentions ("let`s employ a bunch of people and keep Americans safe") but the results are truly awful.

The list is endless. Wars. Cars. Plastic. Factory farming. Incinerators. Dry cleaning. Lots of medical research and the drugs that are produced. All good intentions that led to more problems....such as waste, suffering, alienation from the planet and fellow creatures....

Actually it does kind of seem that people should not try to do too much, that they should let nature have its way and try to fit in with nature, not fight it too much. Although this suggestion always makes some people get mad....

I have read that the Interstate Highway System was started during the Eisenhower adminstration for the purpose of being able to transport ICBM's from one silo to another so the Ruskies couldn't target them. Good intentions indeed! You might want to pick a better example. The IHS ounds like the devil's fruit to me.

That is partly correct. The Interstate system was seen as part of national defense (among other things). But it was troop and supply movements, not necessarily ICBMs.

However, some roads and bridges are designed with military uses in mind, including moving ICBMs. Not all interstates. but on certain routes, the military gets to determine the vertical clearance and the load.

This is one of the best threads that I can remember, on a site I consider the best.

The question is, "is evil a matter of intent or a matter of results?"

I submit, it is a matter of intent. Not subjectively... a person could say, "it would be good for me to make more money, therefore I will cut corners on safety in my coal mines. More money is good." No... the it is not that simple. The problem of evil does not go away with a solopsistic incantation. It comes down to fundamental evolutionary discussions. We are part of a species. Any species that acts in ways that cause its own demise will fail. Any sentient species that acts in such a way is evil. Also, while one species may contribute to the demise of another, in evolutionary ways that could be simply a natural phenomena. Never before (as far as we know) has one species known its impact on those other species. To know that your acts will cause the destruction of other species, and continue those acts, when the same acts in no way improve your species' probability of success, is evil.

And here we are... knowingly causing one of the largest mass die offs in the history of the world, and blithely continuing to do so. If evolution carried with it any sort of karma, I would say that no species has ever so deserved to fail as ours.

Not to say that all men are the same... just as a species. And, not to say that it is not possible to change. It will just be very difficult, and so far there are no 'white knights' or 'supermen' out there vying for the job.


To know that your acts will cause the destruction of other species, and continue those acts, when the same acts in no way improve your species' probability of success, is evil.

Evil misguided term at best, I would suggest the word stupid instead.

I often spar with traditionalists on religious websites, people who are certain that they possess the Truth, because they are repeating what some authority or other says. Sometimes they've studied the authorities and come up with their own perfected version that is even more true.

The trouble is that if you have the Truth, then those who disagree with you are not only wrong, but fighting against Truth.

I think it is a true saying, that possession of the Truth is a license to kill.

I personally know quite a few criminals, and most of them do not percieve thier activities, past or present, to be at all evil,although some of them ARE ashamed of thier bad habits.

They simply believe that they are leveling the playing field, which is rigged against them, and doing what the captains of industry are doing-seeking out whatever opportunities are available to THEM , and taking advantage of the same.

One guy who is in jail at the moment, who is a sometimes tree climber when he is out, compares the risk of getting caught breaking into a vacation house to the chance of falling out of a tree and breaking a leg.

He is qualified to make this comment, having experience in both respects. ;)

He believes that the rich people who own the vacation houses stole thier money in a rigged game of life;some obviously well educated and perceptive regulars here believe the same thing.

I have known this young man to donate a day's work to to one of his nieghbors who was laid up and unable to work himself.

He is always ready to share his last dollar to buy a busted friend a beer.

Criminality , like good and evil,like beauty, resides largely in the eye of the beholder.

Except if the beholder is a cop or judge paid to see the world in black and white.

Or maybe an anally up tight repugithan. ;)

Or a demorat in a close race.

I try to see the world and the people in it in an impartial and disinterested way;this makes a lot more sense, in terms of explanatory power.;)

They simply believe that they are leveling the playing field, which is rigged against them, and doing what the captains of industry are doing-seeking out whatever opportunities are available to THEM , and taking advantage of the same.

I can believe this. Although I think that for some they probably just lack control over certain compulsions. Once you think that society is deliberately stacked against you -or your kind, I can see this happenning. I would have (I think, since I never tried it), I would have no moral problem stealing from a casino (either directly, or through cheating on a game) -but I know they take their security pretty seriously, and have gotten local law on their side. This is because I consider them to be immoral parasites (on society in general, not myself since I don't gamble). So given the right circumstances, I can imagine acting like your friend.

I am heavily into looking at things in a systems sense, however. Doing net harm to society is wrong in my book, but few look far enough from their immediate surroundings to percieve it. A lot of things that are considered legal and good in our society fall under this category. And society does need some rules of engagement under which we all implicitly agree to play by. Otherwise chaos results.

So my definition of evil is: "Actions by human beings that cause great misery and suffering."

Evil is kicking the can. I suspect the yet-to-be-born will decide which of our choices fit their definition. I also suspect that 500ppm CO2 and a foul nuclear legacy will both qualify. We haven't even figured out how to warn folks in millenia to come:


Those cute bunnies...... are meant to warn future people — really future people — away from a nuclear waste dump. Created by Brandon Alms, the artwork was a winning entry in the Desert Space Foundation's contest to design a universal warning sign for a radioactive repository planned for Yucca Mountain.

The winning entry. Sure! http://www.npr.org/blogs/bryantpark/2007/10/nuclear_waste_a_warning_sign...

(goes off and decides that this is the last time he'll use this particular figure of speech)

they ain't bunnies.

Hares. Ears are sticking up.

Well said. There are no "solutions" that will make it all OK. Both coal and nuclear may make life easier for some for a time, at the cost of making things much worse for more in the long run. Perhaps if we could try to understand what is happening without passing moral judgment on it. The planet cannot support the present population - is the planet evil? We cannot continue using the amount of energy we do - is that evil? I wish there were not 7B people, but there are. In time there will be many fewer, and we don't have the power to change that - is that evil? There are many things that people may do in response to these situations that would indeed be evil - saddling future generations with uncontainable nuclear waste or even worse climate change crisis could qualify.

If I thought we could simply ramp up solar, wind, and other renewables and even meet half of our current electricity consumption, I would be all for it.

If I thought we only could ramp up wind and solar to meet just one quarter of our electricity consumption (maintaining BAU) I'd still be against nuclear on purely economic grounds.

Until building new nuclear power plants becomes economically viable
without government subsidies, and the nuclear industry demonstrates
it can further reduce the continuing security and environmental risks of
nuclear power—including the misuse of nuclear materials for weapons and
radioactive contamination from nuclear waste—expanding nuclear power is
not a sound strategy for diversifying America’s energy portfolio and reducing
global warming pollution. NRDC favors more practical, economical, and
environmentally sustainable approaches to reducing both U.S. and global
carbon emissions, focusing on the widest possible implementation of
end-use energy-efficiency improvements, and on policies to accelerate the
commercialization of clean, flexible, renewable energy technolgies.

Note: I am not affiliated nor do I directly support NRDC, I just happen to agree that without subsidies nuclear fails completely and it is based on a non renewable fuel source.
I would much prefer to see the subsidies that nuclear and more importantly, The fossil fuel industry, receive go to renewables such as wind, wave, microhydro solar and others.

If we are talking about subsidies, it has been estimated that half our defence budget is really to protect our access to 4 billion barrels of imprted oil per year. That is a subsidy of give or take $70 per barrel.

Which gives us $150 oil. Interesting.

But no more with global warming

The "solutions" to global warming are only 30% effective and for every unit of money spent on the actual carbon reduction, a unit of money goes to places like Goldman Sachs - just for 'arranging' the 'trade'.

Solving global warming via the commonly proposed methods is just an excuse to transfer money from the masses to the investment/banker class.

You keep repeating this but it really makes no sense.

Colorado has built many wind farms in the last decade and installed many PV systems on people's roofs. Our Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard will require 10% renewable energy by 2015. Mamy of my neighbors have installed PV, which clearly reduces carbon consumption (given the 20X+ EROI) without giving a penny to Goldman Sachs or any other similar company.

If you are referring to "carbon reduction trading" then the concept of Goldman Sachs, et al, syphoning off some percentage makes some sense, although the 30% is probably exaggerated.

But there are myriad ways to spend money on "actual carbon reduction" that do not give a penny to Goldman Sachs. When I walk or bike to my destination I do not pay a toll to Goldman Sachs, and when I insulated the attic in my house and the rental properties that I own, I did not pay a penny to Goldman Sachs, but the carbon reduction is certainly actual.

You keep repeating this but it really makes no sense.

And I keep posting the link. No one I've seen has debunked it or provided a different study.


Overhead and profit-taking in the carbon offsets system eats up about 70 percent of what is spent on carbon offsets, according to a report from UK-based Carbon Retirement report.

About 30 percent of the funds go into actual projects that reduce emissions, such as a wind farm in a developing nation, reports BBC.

The rest of the money goes into the following channels:

30 percent – Investment banks often buy up carbon offsets before a project is up and running, and they take an average 30 percent of the total in profits and operations.

When I walk or bike to my destination I do not pay a toll to Goldman Sachs, and when I insulated the attic in my house and the rental properties that I own, I did not pay a penny to Goldman Sachs, but the carbon reduction is certainly actual.

And I support effective efforts like those.

Efforts that have only 30% going to the actual effort and 70% feeding various kinds of parasitic loads I do not support.

Tommy you have achieved absolutely nothing for carbon reduction.
Like the sanctimonious Prius driver or home owner with solar, until you sequester the amount of carbon equivalent to that which you WOULD HAVE burned, you have achieved nothing.

While we are burning at peak, all you are doing is leaving more for all the other grateful Joe's to use.
The only solution is power down, leave it in the ground. That should be the slogan chanted by all sincere environmentally concerned people.

"Power down, leave it in the ground".

I don't mind the odd herculean challenge, Bandits, but the presumption that you can keep others from extracting it is beyond audacious, in my eye.

What Tommy has done is acquire the tools and the setup in which he can live with less. He's less financially vulnerable to supply disruptions and price shocks, while all those 'others' who would theoretically be burning this remaining fuel must still buy it first, right? How much do they have to pay for it, can they? Even with a few million Tommys out there, supposedly crushing demand, if the supply is choking down, do you think that price will be affordable? I don't.

A person will be called 'Sanctimonious' any time they take a step to do something right, when pretty much everyone else is still entralled in old, bad habits.. but that doesn't mean they're right to say so, or you're wrong to do so.

Talk about sanctimonious...............
I did not say it was possible to keep others from extracting fossil fuels. I understand the complete opposite, you obviously do not. Most of all I don't begrudge Tommy doing what he thinks is best.

I've got it all too. From solar panels, wind generator, heat pump, vegetable gardens and fruit trees, insulation, stock piles of useful things to a small car.
But I'm not like you, I'm truthful with others and myself. I understand that I'm looking after number one. I'm doing nothing for anyone or anything, except maybe provide income for the "alternatives" manufacturers and retailers and probably extend the amount of time we can continue to burn fossil fuels and cause further and longer lasting damage to the planet.

Like I said, what you do not use will be used by someone else, cost has nothing to do with it. EROEI will always be the limiting factor. If what you don't use could be forever hidden or made unavailable to others then that would be a step in the right direction. I don't see that happening.

"But I'm not like you, I'm truthful with others and myself."

Damn, 'kuhl, I think he called you a liar. 'Round here, them's fightin' words!

Some good discussion today I must say.

The rabbit hole goes far deeper than coal vs. nuclear, as so many here are aware by now. Even if we did build nuclear plants in America...what then? Energy for 400, 500 million Americans? Invite everybody from Latin America and Asia to join the party? More strip malls and McMansions and housing and stock bubbles? Investment bankers making trillions of fiat dollars as opposed to billions?

At some point the game...population and debt growth...must end. The fat lady has to sing at some point. And when she does, it'll turn out that we actually have plenty of coal and natural gas left in the ground, and that won't be our problem...our problem will be collapse of our financial and political structures.

It's always instructive to remember that the Great Depression and WW2, cataclysms by any measure, occurred while we were swimming in energy and still had so much more to discover.

There's the rub...peak oil is destroying our economy faster than coal and natural gas are being depleted. So basically kiss any hope of large scale nuclear or renewables goodbye.

Until we humanely solve finance and population growth, we solve nothing.

So basically kiss any hope of large scale nuclear or renewables goodbye.

But do "we" "need" 'large scale'? "we" are used to it, but in terms of energy slaves - how many slaves are needed? Todd on TOD gets by on not a whole lotta energy. Would having "5 slaves" be enough for a 'good life'? Is a '5 slave' equivalent be 10 150 watt solar panels? 100? 1?

Who really knows. I agree that we could get by on less, but everybody getting by on less simultaneously is the essence of deflationary depression. The last time that anything like this happened...well, I wonder what the ghosts of Auschwitz or Hiroshima have to say about it.

Which of course brings up the other part of the story...without energy slaves, rulers and elites will need slaves of another sort (the human kind). And if there are still billions of people around who aren't starving, there will be plenty of manpower.

There is of course a third option besides nukes or "alternative" energy, both of which have some serious shortcomings in an energy constrained and socially destabilized world.

That is the option of "no energy". None of us would exist if it weren't entirely possible to get along without fossil fuels or electricity generation. Granted -- such a life will support far fewer of us, but that's inevitable anyway.

The no energy option, as I see it, is the only option which gives humanity a fighting chance of survival.

The no energy option, as I see it, is the only option which gives humanity a fighting chance of survival.

The 'no energy' option will be a cold dead planet.

Rapid conservation back to sustainability or where burning of fossil fuels are not an issue.

Maybe a better life than pre industrial revolution given what we have learned ?

Rapid conservation back to sustainability or where burning of fossil fuels are not an issue. Maybe a better life than pre industrial revolution given what we have learned?

An excellent question, well worth discussion. What types of technology do we need to have "better life than pre-industrial revolution"? That's a serious question, with absolutely no disrespect intended. Examples of sub-questions that might be considered:

  1. Medicine. Modern pharmaceuticals? Modern medical imaging? Surgery with anesthesia?
  2. Farming. Electric-drive tractors? Horse-drawn plow? Human power?
  3. Food storage. Refrigeration? Canning? Root cellar?
  4. Electronics. Personal computers? AM radio? Nothing?

Just my opinion, but I think one of the really sharp dividing lines is whether or not we can support wide-spread electrification. Absent both electricity and fossil fuels, it seems likely that the downward slide would go a very long ways before things might stabilize.

The dangers of nuclear wastes have been so greatly exaggerated that in the minds of the remaining anti nuclear faction, they are comparable to the role of the devil in the minds of fundamentalists.

It is time to get over it and consider reality.

In terms of the big picture, the risks of depending on nukes compared to the risks of burning coal are miniscule.

A greenhouse run wild world will not be a peaceful place, and most of the higher species of plants and animals in it will not survive.Most of the very most desirable land we live on today will be under a few hundred feet of water.

Contrasted to the reality of runaway warming, a few hundred nuclear hot spots(dumps, not actual reactors) will be a minor joke-even if they are poorly designed and located.

The wastes are miniscule in terms of actual quantity, and once the hysteria dies down, satisfactory storage can be easily devised.

The current arguments regarding the costs remind me of one of the anticapital punishment arguments put forth by those opposed to that practice.

The argument is that capital punishment is too expensive, that it is cheaper to lock up a murderer for life.This may in fact be true, in some localities, but only because the OTHER PROLIFE FACTION does everything in its power to keep the cases in court for decades on end.

I do recognize that nuclear wastes are going to be dangerous for a VERY long time, but if they are mixed into something along the lines of concrete and buried correctly in the right spot, they will stay buried-until we dig them up again to recycle them.

The wastes from the coal industry are already everywhere and threaten us with immediate destruction.it may be technically impossible to contain such wastes permanently, and as a practical matter such containment is not even under serious consideration.

The world would be a far, far safer place today had we continued building nuclear plants over the last couple of decades.

We would in that case have in place the infrastructure and the human capital to provide a much more satisfactory jumping off spot for dealing with peak oil and global warming.

As it is, we are probably not going to be able to ramp up our electricty supply fast enough to make the transition off of oil for transport and away from coal for power generation.

We aren't going to run out of fissionables.

The engineering of new reactors capable of recycling old fuel will be tough but it has already been DEMONSTRATED that it can be done.

Furthermore the uranium resource is much larger than it is made out to be by antinuclear opponents;we have found ways to mine coal once to expensive or impossible to mine, and to drill for oil once to expensive or impossible to drill for.

There is no reason to suppose that the case for increasing uranium supplies is not similar.

Just a few more decades might be enough to turn the corner and allow the renewables industries to grow to the point that we can avoid an outright collapse as coal and oil deplete.

I believe in renewables, efficiency and conservation to the bottom of my heart;but as a practical matter, we need the nukes, we simply MUST HAVE the nukes,as a bridge technology to a renewable world with a smaller population.

If nukes are ok for you then they must be ok for everybody - including places like Iran.

IMO the main reason people don't want places like Iran to have nukes is that they could make bombs and defend themselves against ALL potential enemies (including the USA which saw nothing wrong with using them against people who couldn't strike back!)- Mutually Assured Desruction does actually seem to work.

If the Middle East could defend themselves from attack they could sensibly keep the oil for their own personal use and not be forced to sell it to fossil energy junkies around the world.

"If nukes are ok for you then they must be ok for everybody - including places like Iran. "

I do not understand this line of reasoning. We have national interests, and as a nation, should do what is best in our national interest. Having other countries do the same things is not neccessarily in our national interest.

Your position is therefore a rule by thuggery.

There has never been a global state, it has allways been an anarchy where might makes right.

We are very lucky that we since several generations have major powers trying to maintain an illusion of global rule by law. Unfortunately has the major power recently started to include torture in their rulebook and that is worrisomme. We need you to stay good, please...

More than a few of us have benefited from being in the thug states. At least being aware of the thug status and your part of it is a start.

Thuggery and anarchy are entirely consistent with nature and evolution.We won't solve our problems by denying what we know to be empirical truth.

I don't LIKE this truth, but I don't try to avoid it.

I don't LIKE this truth, but I don't try to avoid it.

That's why I bring up the Iran and its reactors.....the truth is fission power is not a global solution because some members of the global community don't want it to be a global solution. Oil is a global problem - looking for a solution should also be global.

Capturing solar energy looks to be a global solution.

Capturing solar energy looks to be a global solution.

Not up here in Sweden close to the polar circle.
The only economical solar power up here is so far hot tap
water, pool heating and recharging to small bedrock
heat pump system, all of it during the summer season.

It is the same in the UK - at high lattitudes the sun doesn't shine at even intensity all year round which is why it gets too cold here for humans to survive 'as designed', we are clearly designed to survive in places that don't require any heat input all year round - I have solar panels, they don't come anywhere near being an economical solution for day to day survival, let alone BAU.

As a matter of fact, there is a very good reason to believe that MAD does work-no major powers have been in direct nose to nose belly to belly fights since the beginning of the nuclear era;the closest we have been to this is Korea, but we didn't invade China and China didn't invade us.

There is no doubt a perpetual nuclear standoff is extremely dangerous;but in my estimation, it is no more dangerous than the possibility of another Hitler or Napoleon launching a war of conquest.

The potential consequences of large scale nuclear war are worse, but this is probably offset by the lesser likelihood of it happening, compared to a large scale conventional war.

We have lived so long in a culture where fear is marketed that safety has become a super virtious holy commodity.

But there is no such thing as safety in and of itself;there are only choices to be made between various more or less risky alternatives.

Bed ridden patients never die falling down stairs but they still die eventually, often from the effects of lack of exercise. ;)

I don't worry so much about intentional full scale nuclear war, but the accidental war does scare me. Most people don't know how close we came:


i don't think we have had much of a test of whether MAD works!

Hi Consumer

Apparently many such close calls. http://www.nuclearfiles.org/menu/key-issues/nuclear-weapons/issues/accid...

In addition, there's a reference I don't have handy, (would take some time to find), about an incident aboard a Soviet submarine.

That's sad about Stanislav's nervous breakdown.

As a matter of fact, there is a very good reason to believe that MAD does work-no major powers have been in direct nose to nose belly to belly fights since the beginning of the nuclear era;the closest we have been to this is Korea, but we didn't invade China and China didn't invade us.

Except, that China didn't have the bomb until the 60's! But, otherwise spot on.

We have lived so long in a culture where fear is marketed that safety has become a super virtious holy commodity.

But there is no such thing as safety in and of itself;there are only choices to be made between various more or less risky alternatives.

Bed ridden patients never die falling down stairs but they still die eventually, often from the effects of lack of exercise. ;)

Pretty much describes the USA since 9-11.

MAD has been painted as a stabilizer, but only as much as a Mexican standoff.. and as such it has done nothing to work as a deterrent to proliferation of weapons. In fact, it has been (as the Global Infection rate of Nuke Arms spread easily shows) an excellent incentive program.

I'm sure somebody got rich on that one..

IMO the main reason people don't want places like Iran to have nukes is that they could make bombs and defend themselves against ALL potential enemies (including the USA...

The Indian Prime Minister is reported to have answered the question "What lessons should we learn from Iraq?" with "Finish building your atomic bomb, then piss off the United States."

The fission bomb genie is out of the bottle. Any country with access to modest technology, sufficient electricity, and domestic uranium reserves, can build a bomb:

  • The Canadians built plants that produced enough heavy water to operate reactors in the 1940s.
  • They were running a heavy-water reactor using unenriched uranium by the early 1960s.
  • Separation of plutonium produced in such a reactor from the remaining uranium fuel uses chemical processes (ie, it's straightforward).
  • In the 1960s, the US military hired a couple of new nuclear physics PhDs and asked them to design a bomb. Experts evaluating the detailed design thought it would detonate.

The alternatives to stop a determined country seem to be military occupation, bomb their electric grid out of existence, or sanctions that reduce their economy to nothing.

IMO the main reason people don't want places like Iran to have nukes is that they could make bombs and defend themselves against ALL potential enemies

You do understand that if that is the 'low bar' "we" are going to use to say who gets civilian fission power and who does not, there are nation-states which posses nuclear weapons for exactly that reason.

Solutions to fossil fuels that make ya sound like a hypocrite are only gonna stoke more friction between the energy haves and have nots in the world.

The world would be a far, far safer place today had we continued building nuclear plants over the last couple of decades.

Which "we" do you mean?

The "we" of humanity? Cuz there are parts of that "we" that other parts of "we" don't think should have fission power plants.
And what happens if you were part of a "we" that was 'allowed' to have the plants and others of the "we" think was 'wrong' and demands the previously OK plants to be turned off?

we can avoid an outright collapse as coal and oil deplete.

That collapse will happen anyway. Oil/coal was underpriced and that low price sent the wrong message to the market so lots of things needing cheap energy to function will have a hard time functioning.

I mean the prosperous western nations in particular, as that would be where most of the nukes would have been built, and humanity in general, as we would have a larger window of opportunity to deal with the energy and population problems.

You left of the "might " found in the sentence you quote about avoiding a collapse.

I believe that there will actually be a collapse, but I do not believe it is INEVITABLE.

There is still a possibility that we can avoid it, but the odds grow worse from one year to the next in my estimation.

My thinking is that given the realities of politics, the only realistic course of action in respect to energy is to support all renewables and nuclear, plus all initiatives furthering conservation and efficiency.

No industry or initiative is going to get full funding or unamious support from the bau community, but every indistry and initiative can and will contribute.

Wind and solar power that looks at present totally out of reach price wise will be considered cheap when that is all that is available.

In a world of hurt, such as we will be in if a war interrupts oil, gas, and coal deliveries, a single nuke that might not need refueling for a couple of years can keep the water and sewer system up and a refrigerator running in every house in a very large city, if all non emergency uses of power are banned.

Without water and sewer service, you must move out in a week at the most.

Where do you suppose all the people will go will go?

I believe that there will actually be a collapse, but I do not believe it is INEVITABLE.

The only way a collapse would be inevitable would be so much excess energy so the entropy expressed as soil fertility -> cities and potable water -> made non potable could be reversed. Man's history has that entropy 'turned back' via solar and biological cycles.....cycles that seem to now be swamped and unable to handle what Man is doing.

Unless there is magic fusion/tapping zero point/keeping a singularity in a small bottle - I don't see Man having excess energy to reverse the entropy man otherwise makes.

a single nuke that might not need refueling for a couple of years can keep the water and sewer system up and a refrigerator running in every house in a very large city,

Refueling is the least of the worries - the plants need parts to keep running and staff. That staff needs to be fed, watered, et la. In a world of hurt - the lack of support material will shut down the plant long before it needs fuel.

Without water and sewer service, you must move out in a week at the most.

I'd have to go because my neighbors are asses and would turn the streets into a sewer - yes. I'm not 100% sure that the 1 way valve and the butterfly valve installed on my sewer pipe will work. Nor am I sure if the sewer leg I'm on will work without pumps.

(I deleted my personal preps because, thinking about it, none of you need to know. Todd has far bigger water storage than I.)

Hi Eric,

I think you may have misspoken - ? - when you say:

re: "The only way a collapse would be inevitable would be so much excess energy so the entropy expressed as soil fertility..."

Did you mean to say:

"The only way a collapse would *not* be inevitable would be so much excess energy..."

Just wondering,

did a lotta typing yesterday......not was missed.

From what I have read from many posts here on TOD, is that nuclear, or any other system for electrical grid energy, still will not allow BAU that FFs provide...

So, even if there were plenty of GWs of power, and a grid to distribute them, it would still not fix the lack of FFs, and everything that FFs provide.


I believe that with appropriate investments (such as electrified rail, renewable energy, conservation/efficiency) and reduced consumption (to divert resources to investment), we can create a new and potentially better "BAU".

Oil-Free transportation via electrified railroads, Urban Rail, limited EVs (electric cars & trucks), bicycles and walkable neighborhoods.


How music helped save New Orleans after Katrina

The dangers of nuclear wastes have been so greatly exaggerated that in the minds of the remaining anti nuclear faction, they are comparable to the role of the devil in the minds of fundamentalists.

It is time to get over it and consider reality.


30 mile exclusion zone around Chernobyl.

Radioactive boars in Gernmany

Radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster is still poisoning Germany's boars nearly 25 years on, with authorities fighting to keep toxic meat off the market as the wild boar population rockets.

The boars feed off mushrooms, truffles and wild berries which still contain high levels of caesium-137, carried in the radioactive cloud that spread across Europe following the 1986 accident at the Ukrainian nuclear plant.

Sleeping security guards at the plants.

Tons of radioactive mushrooms are routinely exported from Belarus to European Union nations, a Belarusian official said Monday.

Consider the reality indeed. We'll see what reality gets considered if the 'for civilian use' labeled fission plants in Iran get attacked.

One side of the equation has a non-zero number on it, and I don't know what's on the other side, so the side with the non-zero number must be bigger!

Ladies and Gentlemen - the rebuttal of the Pro Nukers!

Revel in its glory, its lack of rigor, its hand waving.

If you think that nuclear waste is not that big a deal you may put it in your back yard. We had to fight like hell to keep the FEDS from putting it under the Ogallala aquifer in the Texas panhandle. The project manargers were from Ohio and when asked if they were planning to move to the panhandle to monitor the site they said the didn't have to move that they could monitor everything they needed from Ohio by phone.Right!John

Why would we spend carbon reduction dollars anywhere except those actions with the highest reduction in carbon per dolar spent?

By this metric, we should build no nuke plants until every building in the US is insulated to Passive House standards. Oherwise we are wasting our money, devoting it to low return investments and ignoring potential high return investmens.

Yet, the nuclear proponents always propose the false choice of nuclear versus coal, ignoring the safest and most cost-effective alternative, efficiency. False choices lead to incorrect decisions.

Capital is always scarce, and should always be deployed for maximum effectiveness. Building nuclear plants fails this elementary test (even without considering externalities like mining/milling impacts, waste storage costs/risk, etc.). Which is why nuclear proponents argue but the capital markets do not invest.

Furthermore the uranium resource is much larger than it is made out to be by antinuclear opponents

How large is it? I've heard some very conflicting views on this to say the least, and never anything backed up with a trustworthy source.

The answer is highly dependent on reactor technology. With today's thermal-neutron reactors, particularly with a once-through fuel cycle as is used in the US, there is considerable question about the size of the resource than can be used. Yes, fuel prices are a relatively small part of the cost of nuclear electricity; yes, there are staggering amounts of uranium dissolved in sea water; yes, no one has been looking particularly hard for new deposits recently. But it's possible to raise questions about how much fuel is available.

If you postulate fast-neutron reactors with some minimal reprocessing, the fuel resource is very much larger. The million tons of depleted uranium that the US and Russia have in storage already becomes fuel, not waste product. Thorium also becomes a potential fuel. OTOH, there are no licensed fast-neutron designs for commercial reactors in the US, so some amount of engineering remains to be done. It's possible to make reasonable arguments for both the "there's lots of uranium" and the "uranium can't carry us for very long" cases.

Greetings, OFM,

I'd like to respond only to the analogy itself, on it's own terms. Namely, when you say:

re: "The argument is that capital punishment is too expensive, that it is cheaper to lock up a murderer for life.This may in fact be true, in some localities, but only because the OTHER PROLIFE FACTION does everything in its power to keep the cases in court for decades on end."

Just to say my personal opinion, so as to get it out of the way: Personally, I'm opposed to capital punishment as a matter of principle, and after seeing a longer version of this interview with Don Cabana, a former prison warden - (highly recommend it) - I felt like I gained new insight.

Also, when you hear Cabana's full story, you'll see it appears he (on behalf of the State) executed someone who was innocent.


As to the practical arguments for and against capital punishment, which is what you bring up:

While time, and thus the precious life experience, can never go backwards or be replaced, death puts an end to any time left to the wrongfully convicted.

The facts show many wrongful convictions. Here's a sample:

OTOH, a wrongly convicted person sentenced to a long or life term will simply languish, forgotten. Those with a death penalty will get legal help, a large number of appeals on every possible grounds, etc.

If I was wrongly convicted, I would *MUCH* rather get a death sentence.

The much greater tragedy is those wrongly convicted and sentenced to 5, 10, 20 and life terms than those wrongfully executed. So I do not see wrongful executation as a valid reason to oppose the death penalty.


Hopefully the 1980's NRC analysis will help you sleep better.

The most complete and recent probabilistic risk assessments suggest core-melt frequencies in the range of 10-3 [one in one thousand] per reactor year to 10-4 [one in ten thousand] per reactor year. A typical value is 3x10-4 [three in ten thousand]. Were this the industry average, then in a population of 100 reactors operating over a period of 20 years, the crude cumulative probability of [a severe core melt] accident would be 45 percent.

. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. "Delayed Access to Safety-Related Areas and Equipment During Plant Emergencies" (Information Notice No. 86-55). 10 July 1986 is the alleged source.

The light green nuclear supporters will soon change their tune once wildfires and droughts start causing meltdowns and the threat of nuclear radiation becomes immediate again. Some people just have short memories. How are we going to protect the most complex aspect of our critical infrastructure when we are in terminal decline? We will need to divert resources from elements of our society essential to survival in order to prevent a calamity from occurring? Seems that is exactly what Russia is doing now...


It will only get worse, of course. Yet some seem prepared to set ourselves up for even bigger problems by reopening this can of worms. Ignoring the dangers of nuclear energy by calling it the 'lesser of two evils' is an unwise and short-sighted course of action.

Some say that nuclear energy will make the problems of climate change better. The opposite is actually true: climate change (and peak oil) will make all the problems of nuclear energy much, much worse.

once wildfires and droughts start causing meltdowns

That is hysterical nonsense. No nuclear plant is in any danger in Russia or elsewhere from wildfires. Meanwhile, global agriculture is in grave danger from CO2 emissions by the BAU love for fossil fuels.

That is hysterical nonsense. No nuclear plant is in any danger in Russia or elsewhere from wildfires.

From the headlines:
While 3000 firefighters battle flames and try to protect Russia's main nuclear weapons laboratory
Russia's devastating wildfires were on Monday nearing one of the country's largest nuclear facilities
Russian Wildfire Threatens Nuclear Facility

Sure - just "hysterical nonsense" with no basis....

sidecross,the amount of waste which is produced by current nuclear power generation is miniscule compared to the toxic waste produced by coal mining and burning.

Generation 4 reactors will burn present stockpiles of used fuel.This is practical technology and pilot plants have been built.There are programs underway in many countries to scale up Gen 4 to commercial scale using uranium and/or thorium.

Oil spills have got nothing to do with nuclear power plants.Like many anti-nuclear activists you are off with the pixies.

An instructive thread for anybody who needed a short lesson in the emotive subject of nuclear energy.

It seems that the protagonists can be roughly categorized as -

(1) Doomers who say we don't need nukes because civilization as we know it is for the high jump anyway.
(2)Renewable power believers who think we can do everything with sun and wind and if we can't it doesn't matter because we are all doomed anyway.
(3)The Waste Worriers who believe that nuclear waste is a bigger problem than fossil fuel waste.
(4)The nuclear Weapon Worriers who believe that nuclear power generation is the necessary first step to having nuclear weapons in spite of the evidence to the contrary.
(5) The nuclear Accident Worriers whose favourite word is Chernobyl and think,fondly,that every other nuclear reactor in the world is another USSR accident waiting to happen.
(6)A few practical and reasonably knowledgeable people like OFM and Darwinian.

I suggest that the first 5 categories take a leaf from the the book of category 6 instead of chanting the same old, same old mantras of a tired and discredited faith.

I might suggest a 7th category: Those of us that have worked in and around the industry, seen budgets busted, promises broken, corners cut, mediocre training, poor planning, "swimming pools" full of lethality, a lack of transparency, industrial hubris, and are hoping to at least see a cultural change and some real progress on these things, beyond talk and claims about "gen4 and LTRs.

Even if nuclear will work on the scale you would like it to (and we could afford it), your goal is to do one thing: make more electricity. To what end? So we can make more i-phones and frybabies, watch more reality TV and leave the lights on. It's clear to me that humanity hasn't developed the maturity to use most of the energy we already have wisely. But, hey, show me how well we're doing up to this point. I'm listening.

I suggest that the first 5 categories take a leaf from the the book of category 6 instead of chanting the same old, same old mantras of a tired and discredited faith.

How about you come up with actual data to refute the "same old same old" rather than:

Like many anti-nuclear activists you are off with the pixies.

If the best you can do is 'off with the pixies', why should anyone think that YOU are right about Fission power?

Re: Collapsible bike enjoys resurgence

I have two collapsible bikes - folding bikes as they are called here. I did have three, but Bromptons are in such demand here that ours were stolen by professional thieves.

A typical story here in the UK was when I went on a short business trip last week. The first three miles on my Brompton to the rail station were through Cambridge's narrow, bumpy medieval streets where I was jostling for space with cars, delivery vehicles, pedestrians, buses taxis and hundreds (if not thousands) of other bikes. Then the train journey, no problem except that the privitised rail companies all have different policies and regulations for transporting bicycles, making every journey a lottery. Then the destination town. A 'new town' rebuilt in the 60s with huge 4 lane highways everywhere, with mile after mile of high quality cycle lane along side with underpasses at every junction. I was early so I went on a 5 mile tour of this facility. In the entire time I saw one other bicycle being ridden. The lanes went everywhere EXCEPT the rail station.

Turning up at my destination, I found a large car park and not a single stand or lamp post to lock my bike against. Fortunately it was clean enough to take into the office. Chatting to the local staff they all reported the multi-hour traffic jams they regularly suffer getting to and from work. Not a single one had considered cycling.

So, the UK is just about as screwed up as the US, I guess.

Worse - less land. And less temp range over the land 'controlled' by the State.

Re: Green living: tapping geothermal energy for a home HVAC system

As usual, the headline writer for this story doesn't understand the physics of a ground source heat pump. The earth surrounding the underground pipes acts like a giant thermal storage mass. The system heats the ground during Summer, then cools it in Winter. As one digs or drills deeper into the Earth, the temperature does rise, but close to the surface, things are different. There isn't a "constant" temperature "source" below ground, only an average temperature which is the result of years of variations at the surface. In fact, the temperature profile with depth as measured in a bore hole has been used to reconstruct the long term variations in surface temperature over thousands of years.

A ground source heat pump works best in an area where there is a need for both heating and cooling. Otherwise, the underground temperature would not recover from one year to the next. In a location where only heating is required, the result would be a mass of very cold earth surrounding the pipes, which would eventually reduce the efficiency of the heat pump. That fact is the reason that a large area of trenching and piping is usually needed, to minimize the possibility of frozen ground...

E. Swanson

Arab food imports $39 billion, food exports $11.5 billion

This while Saudi winds down wheat production (water security is more important than food security). Three million fewer tonnes of wheat when the wind down is complete.

And Arab population growth of 2.34%.


Not much Hope,


Trade food for oil. Maybe we can do that ?

the russians won't be able to ....

"At least 20 percent of Russia’s wheat crop has already been destroyed by the drought, the extreme heat—circa 40 º C for several weeks now—and the wildfires. The export ban... is needed, explained Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, because “we shouldn’t allow domestic prices in Russia to rise, we need to preserve our cattle and build up supplies for next year”. If anybody starves, it won’t be Russians. "

Peak Oil? Yes! Peak Food? I Don’t Think So...I believe Peak Oil because oil is a finite resource whose decline has been measured over time. Food is not the same beast that oil is. Production levels are variable; ...So if food prices do soar, I will ask if agribusiness is behind it

I suspect we are at Peak Food or near it, and probably well past peak food per capita. While food may seem to be something that can be increased while oil is a fixed amount, the amount of arable land is somewhat fixed, but if anything declining due to climate change and misuse. We well may be at peak usable water (I say usable because a flood, while replete with fresh water, is not very usable except if it deposits some fresh soil. All to often it erodes soil.

As far as being saved by organic farming, I have my own story to tell. I garden on soil depleted by cotton farming. I garden organically but to increase my fertility and yield I add leaves raked and bagged by folks in town. I also add chicken manure from chickens raised on grain grown most likely in the midwest. If we are to convert vast tracts of conventionally farmed soil to organically farmed soil where do we find the vast amounts of organic material to restore those soils. One way would be to compost all the human waste in this country (if the humans are going to eat food grown on that soil they should return their manure to the soil) but that would require a vast retrofitting of our management of human waste, not to mention weaning people off flush toilets, people who are so horrified about smelling the least whiff of their own poop that they have their bathrooms constantly smelled up with plug in smelly things.

There are a fixed amount of nutrients in the environs. We have forgotten that over the years as we moved to making nitrogen out of natural gas and mining phosphates etc using petroleum. People forget all about soil, calling it dirty and working hard to stay not dirty. Soil will gift us with food but only if we give back to it what is left when we process it through our gut.

deposits some fresh soil. All to often it erodes soil.

To deposit fresh soil, that had to come from someplace else.

Soil creation via 'weathering' is a 1000+ year an inch process. Earthworms can make 7+ inches a year...but you gotta feed the worms and that feed material is someone elses soil/hydrocarbons-made-into-something-and-transport.

To deposit fresh soil, that had to come from someplace else.
Yes of course, I didn't elaborate enough. In the past if soil was deposited in the Nile Delta it probably came from somewhere that was not being farmed. But now of course pretty much everything that can be farmed is so in most cases flooding brings soil from one place where it was being used to another. However since we have put levees and dams up most of that silt is either sitting useless behind dams or washed out to sea.

We forget soil at our peril, thanks to civilization moving ever more people away from farming and into cities. The treasure that fertile soil is is unknown to most denizens of cities.

We could always learn to eat more things than we do right now! Part of my BioWebScape project is getting to know all the edible plants I can get my hands on, and all the different ways to eat the plants I do know about now.

While on one hand the author of the article is telling the truth about how much food is wasted in most grocery stores, and for that matter in most houses around the West. We are still going to see peak food in places like Russia, in that they have lost so much production to fires and dry spells. Couple that with governments hoarding stockpiles of grains and letting them rot in place, we have a bad case of the supply side blues.

I still maintian that we could feed everyone on earth, if we had a better system of growing food and distributing it out there into the world's hungry hands. We have grown a lot of food on just a bit of land, even in the hot summer we have had here, though I have colleted a lot of rain water, and did a lot of work moving water from collection buckets to storage containers. The yearly average of over 8 inches below normal for rainfall has not been good on most people who started thier gardens later than we did. And even here we have seen a lot of plants take a beating. While I have several oddities on the food list, that you won't find in the grocery stores, even they have taken a beating as well.

The biggest thing the world is going to have to deal with, is the change in climate patterns and the change in rainfall amounts where crops are grown. Tie that in with the fact as stated that water in a flood is mostly wasted eroding things into the sea, and little of it is kept locally to raise the ground water levels. We are in for a world of change in the next few years. I wonder if anyone will have a normal 10 year span of usual weather?

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world.
Hugs from arkansas.

From link above:

Food is not the same beast that oil is. Production levels are variable; a potato field can yield more a season after a bad harvest, whereas once an oil field is in decline, it won't produce at higher levels later on. We have ready alternatives for food production: We can go back to the organic production methods we had before WWII. No need to invent anything new.

I remember listening to a farmer being interviewed on the radio a few years ago. The interviewer asked him why he dumped such volumes of chemicals on his soil. He replied that without the chemicals, his crop yield would drop in half. This is why you cannot feed 10 billion people using organic farming.

Agree, except that the last three words are an unnecessary qualification.

Some time ago there was a fascinating TV series on the BBC called 'The Victorian Farm'. A man and a woman - both well educated - went to live on a small holding for a year. It was kitted out exactly as would have been in early Victorian times, about 1850 ish.

They had to farm using 100% Victorian methods. Not only did it prove highly entertaining to watch but it also brought home the truth of just how labour intensive farming was back then. Quite literally every waking moment was spent working. They were able to draft in additional workers but, naturally, had to provide for their food and pay them a small income too. They had access to professional agriculturists for advice. Even so, the yield from the farm was only about 25% of what it could have been had modern practices been employed. However, they were just about able to feed themselves and their workers and pay their rent to the landlord. What struck me the most is that there is simply no way that there is enough land - yet alone yield - for all here in Britain to farm our own small holdings.

I think we have really gone and got ourselves into a mighty pickle. As it is we currently import nearly half the food we consume, although admittedly there is a lot of waste and most eat far too much. I can not see how we could ever do with out fossil fuel inputs to agriculture in the UK. May be it is slightly different in the US as the amount of available arable land per capita is substantially higher than our small island affords us.

..and yet I have to wonder how many Londoners could be fed from 'Heathrow Farms'.

I can't believe that this Victorian Farm show gives you much of a sampling of the potential for farming small holdings.

First off, we do have a couple centuries of developments in Ag technique and technology that won't be simply eradicated with the onset of PO.

Second, a modern couple, no matter how well educated, were not raised into the culture they had to adopt for this show, which means they were on any number of learning curves to develop the basic understanding of things that would have been available knowledge all around them, with extended family, neighbors, etc. If you're going to object that this is the very challenge we'd face ourselves, I'd say 'yes and no'. What we'd be adopting and learning is not 'strict Victorian approaches,' and so current farmers and gardeners and communications tools are and should still be generally available to support much more of such a transition.

Finally, (and not that any of this makes it 'Easy'.. but also not entirely as dire as you've suggested, either..) Even with the support of the experts on this show, I think that people setting out to start really farming a small holding today or tomorrow would have a range of neighbors in similar straights, and whether these others were seasoned or somewhat green, there would be the regular variety of approaches and solutions being tried here and about, so that the overall chances of devising workable farms and a resilient county, let's say, would be much more likely than with a single couple under a spotlight for 10 months, or whatever it was..

When we had the 'Pioneer house' on some years back, they had three or four families sort of 'competing' to see who was the 'fittest to survive'.. which struck me as particularly puritanical in it's assumption that it's everyone for themself. Needless to say, watching a bunch of 'Barnraising's By One Man' was a fairly excruciating exercise.. but TV thrives on discord and hardship, and yawns at cooperation and 'feel good solutions'.. even when they actually can solve problems, and feel good! But who wants that?


(My wife just got told by a friend about the convention of 'No Locked Doors' in their community, except in Zuchinni season, as protection against 'Random acts of Generousity'. I'm trying to use up my current Zuke crop by applying a special Mayonnaise/Epoxy blend to create some composite beams for my next house..)

. I'm trying to use up my current Zuke crop

6 c. cucumber (or zucchini)
2 onions
1/4 c. salt
1 each - red and green peppers
2 1/4 c. vinegar
3 1/2 sugar
1 tsp. each: celery seed, dry mustard, turmeric, nutmeg
Dash pepper

Grind cucumbers and onions, add salt, cover with cold water. Let stand 2 to
3 hours. Rinse and drain. Combine vinegar, sugar and spices, add cucumber
mixture and chopped green-red peppers. Simmer for 10 minutes. Hot pack into
hot jars (boil seals and rings) and seal. Process 10 minutes in hot water
bath. Makes 2 quarts.

Thank you Eric, your recipe comes at a perfect time.

Too many zukes this year. Too many cucumbers. (The cukes, though, I can turn into pickles and give away.)

Normally I grow a few zucchini to put in spaghetti sauce... chop it up, cook it among chopped tomatoes and all the other stuff, and presto, you've just added extra body and nutrition to the meal. That takes care of a few off the stock; unfortunately, it doesn't help when stuck with a bumper crop.

Considering how well zukes grow, there is not much you can do with them. A lot of substance but no taste.

Each adult needs 15,000 calories each week. 52 weeks a year. Go figure.

tomatoes and cucs won't cut it .


I was responding to the recipe not the thread.

Of course tomatoes and cucs won't cut it. Fortunately, a ten mile diet for me and those around me is still feasible - in an agriculture area with several family farms that produce both meat and vegetables.

Famine is not a big concern here. If the international food supply is jeopardized this fall, however, we might be reverting to 'local' very fast. Still, many of my neighbours could go back to a diet of fifty years ago with little fuss or fanfare.

Lack of food is not an immediate issue. Money is another story.

One of our two local cuisines, Cajun, is based on what can be gathered going out the front door, to the garden and hog pen, or out the back door, to the bayou. Often a "quarter or half mile" diet.

The other, Creole, is based on what city folk could gather in New Orleans in, say, 1850.

Local seafood, butter & milk (some from the edge of town, some from the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain), mainly local rice but also a bit of wheat from upriver. Spices from abroad and an occasional banana from Central America, all by sailing ship.

Best Hopes for New Orleans cuisine,



Yes, best hopes for New Orleans cuisine.

My mouth started to water when reading your post. No supper yet. So off I went down to the local farmer's market (it's about a mile away) and picked up some corn to boil. On special tonight, six ears of fresh peaches-and-cream for two dollars. Very tasty.

This, as you are aware, was originally Acadian (Cajun) land. It doesn't surprise me that Cajun cuisine is based on what can be gathered around the homestead. It has been well noted that the Acadians were remarkably self-sufficient, growing and manufacturing all life's necessities on their farms, often cut off from the French supply lines for years at a time. On a diet of berries, apples, milk, root crops, corn, grain, herbs, eggs, fish, with an occasional chicken or cow sacrificed to commemorate a feast, a handful of families, numbering in the low hundreds in the 1640s, expanded to tens of thousands by the time the British expelled them from Nova Scotia during the Seven Years War. Demographers have noted that three quarters of all persons claiming Acadian descent (now numbering in the millions) share thirty-five surnames.

It is because the Acadians could and did survive in isolation and by pooling family and community resources that I still have hope for humanity's future.

The Cajun story, filled with self-sufficiently at home and perseverance amid adversity abroad, speaks of the tenacity of the human spirit. If humanity is going to have a future, it is that tenacity that will see us through. My hope is that not all of it has been lost to apathy and despair or squandered on self-indulgence.

Meanwhile, let us continue to enjoy good food and good company wherever we find it. Despite its sham and drudgery, its hardships and heartaches, it is still a beautiful world. Take time to appreciate it.

And keep cooking. It's one of life's great pleasures.




You might like this idea...

I’d read somewhere that the Southern Italians sun-dried their zucchini to keep them through the year. I’ve even seen a web page offering dried zukes from Sicily jarred in olive oil — at $10 plus shipping. Seriously?

But, try as I might, I could find no recipe or method for sun-drying zucchini anywhere on the web, or in my not insubstantial cookbook library. So I improvised.

Well here's the recipe and the method. If you want to explore this even further you could build yourself a solar drier. There are lots of simple plans for them on the tubes...



Oh, disregard my comment about the solar drier, solar doesn't work...

The Sicilian Sun Dried Zucchini recipe seems interesting. Never thought about drying, seasoning, and bottling in olive oil. Betcha it would be quite tasty.

Worth a try.

Thanks FMagyar,


Quite welcome.

There was the 'problem' and in a rare moment on TOD - a solution that is concrete, works, and implementable.

Glad you found it of use.

My mom used to make zucchini cake (a bread without yeast, which used baking powder and a little sugar). It was very tasty. If I had a lot of zucchinis I would make a few loaves and wrap them up and freeze them (If I had freezer space).

First off, we do have a couple centuries of developments in Ag technique and technology that won't be simply eradicated with the onset of PO.

I disagree. What we have at this point is mostly technologies that rely on pesticides, irrigation, and powered equipment. What we no longer have is technologies and practices for growing crops without pesticides, powered irrigation, and power equipment. Is there a vast storehouse of scythes and people who know how to use them. Are there enough people who know how to plow with a mule and people that can make traces for the mules by hand. Where are the tanners for making the harnesses? Where are the blacksmiths to make the plows for the mules to pull?

My zukes here in Alabama failed early as did my yellow squash. I have found no organic means of controlling vine borers so I used a bit of Sevin dust on the stems and still lost the crop early.

Vast storehouse of scythes..

Scythes aren't that hard to fabricate. We have metalworking shops of varying sizes all over the planet. Yes, the energy to run them will be at a premium.. but we've also got a century of other tools on hand, some fuel powered, some hand-powered. We've got access to electric motors, to hardened steels, bearing sets and a broad range of mechanical approaches that were not available in the victorian era. We have communication tools that can share solutions and options across the planet. (It won't be hard to keep a robust number of Shortwave Radios running, at the very least, let alone FM, CB-band etc..) We have access to glass and hoop-houses, to artificial light, to simple electric fences.. and so on.

We're not going to need a hundred million mules up and snorting in a matter of weeks.

As I said, I'm not saying it's therefore 'Easy and no problem' .. but there are many factors on the ground that can help us that weren't available to Ben Franklin.

No point continuing the discussion. You assume a slow and moderate decline in energy. I assume a chaotic and rapid decline including the demise of the grid happening long before we run out of fuel.

There are still people today who know how to feed themselves with simple human and animal powered tools. I doubt if Ben Franklin could have fed himself. I doubt if most people on this discussion board could feed themselves in the conditions that peasant farmers have and still do.

Wishing you the collapse you envision. Hope you are right, doubt that you are.

Listening to an organic gardening dude (one who actually has a degree in horticulture) on NPR the other day, he was commenting on the fact that many bottom (valley) gardens (here in the mountains) are having the same issues with squash, cukes and tomatos that you are, gem. He says it isn't the high daytime temps but the high nightly lows. Many veggies require a certain number of hours at night in the low to mid 60s. It hasn't been happening enough this summer. Up on the ridges, things get cooler at night so these gardeners are having more success.

He also made the comment that this is an issue with urban gardening. The cities are large heat sinks that don't cool down much at night, limiting productivity and variety.

I noticed that my cuke crop fell off a cliff when the nights got much warmer (about a month ago). I'm sprouting a pickle variety now, hoping for a fall crop. I normally plant fall peas, c'flower, beets, broccoli and carrots about now, but it's sooo damn hot! Hard to know what to do.

Next year I'm going to test some crops on plastic mulch (I know, not very organic), and start a month earlier. Plastic mulch is cheap and stores for a long time. A guy I know tried it with great success, so he alternates beds, leaves one area fallow (cover crop) for each one he plants. He says his production is about the same on half the land, fewer pests and virtually no weeds. He still amends his soil, etc the same. Requires irrigation, but saves water in buckets.

Best hopes for afternoon showers and cool nights.

......and 40 minutes later, a nice shower and a 15 degree temperature drop. Here's to hoping!

I have been down to just okra for some time now.

Perhaps 45 days till time to plant a winter garden.


..... fried okra, boiled okra, sauted okra, creole okra ,okra kabobs, okra gumbo, okra `etoufette................

Fried okra, boiled okra, creole okra, okra gumbo, stewed okra with ...

Best Hopes :-)


Crawfish sounds good. Crawfish/Okra Gumbo!

I'm noticing problems with cucumbers & squash too. Plenty of flowers, good pollination, but no fruit. The few cucumbers I've had have been pretty small.

We've had hot and humid days, up in the 90's, and nights generally in the mid-70's.

I'm now dealing with powdery mildew.

No problem with tomatoes and peppers. Lots of beans. Pumpkins have escaped the borders of my yard and are heading down the alley.

Hi oxidatedgem

re: "I assume a chaotic and rapid decline including the demise of the grid happening long before we run out of fuel."

About the "demise of the grid" part, what are you seeing as the proximate cause?

(Sincere question, BTW.)

Aniya - no single cause although a solar storm could do it.

According to a report issued by the National Research Council (NRC) in January 2009 a large solar storm can cause severe disruption to the U.S. electrical grid. In a severe solar storm, electrical transformers can be melted causing power blackouts for extended periods. Repairs to the damaged electrical grid, according to a New Scientist article published in March 2009, could span from several weeks or months up to ten years. Also, there is no guarantee that repaired electrical grids would not again succumb to new solar storm activity as Solar Cycle 24 reaches its maximum over a several year period around 2012.

or EMP attack http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_pulse

But more than likely it will be through increasingly not attending to infrastructure repair due to privatization and worsening economic conditions, as well as increased demand due to global warming complicated by less fuel available. Add to that the aging of the experienced linemen ( 50 yrs http://www.pest-03.org/articles/FutureShortages.htm ) It appears that the 2003 northeast grid collapse was a series of small cascading failures. As these problems accumulate the time may come when all the grids in the mainland fail about the same time. No gasoline can then be pumped after the stored fuel for generators runs out. Therefore no ability send out repair trucks or repair supplies. When one grid fails trucks can be sent in from outside the failed area. When they all fail if they are not restored quickly they won't be restored.

Of interest "U.S. electricity blackouts skyrocketing" http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/innovation/08/09/smart.grid/
Also this about the aging electric infrastructure in NYC "Many of these cables are over fifty years old." http://www.grist.org/article/2009-10-13-our-old-electric-grid-is-no-matc...

Do you think we will pull back from Afghanistan and put all that money to upgrading our grid?

How We Eat, Produce Food Could Bring Down Society

a new book, Empires of Food: Feast, Famine, and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, takes a hard look at how American habits -- in farming, eating and treating the environment -- could lead to a food famine. Host Guy Raz talks with co- author Evan Fraser about how food empires fail and if America is next.


Also try any bread and butter pickle recipe using the zukes in place of cukes.



Thought about doing a batch of zuke pickles. Do they taste the same as cukes?

If so I may try it. May even enter a jar at the local exhibition.

Someone should make a horror film featuring zucchinis. Almost every gardener I know has made themselves enemies of family and friends with their generosity of these multiplying green nuggets. Zukes really are like the "Gismo" of the film, Gremlins. Small and innocent looking, add water, and watch as the offspring take over the neighbourhood.



Peckerwood Zucchini Bead

3 yard eggs
1 cup olive oil
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup walnuts
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup sunflower seeds (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degree
In a mixer, beat eggs. Add oil, sugar, and vanilla; continue beating mixture until thick and foamy. With a spoon, stir in the zucchini and pineapple.
2) In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

A third at a time, add dry ingredients into wet and gently stir (by hand) after each addition. Add the walnuts and raisins, blend gently.

3) Divide the batter equally between 2 greased and flour-dusted 5 by 9 inch loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

Makes 2 loaves.



I have tried various Zucchini breads before but not one with crushed pineapple, walnuts and raisins. Sounds positively delicious.

I would make one slight adaptation. Walnuts cause my tongue to break out in cankers. Probably safe to substitute with almonds or other nuts.

Thanks for the recipe.

I'm making away like a bandit tonight.

My neighbours will probably appreciate it. Not quite so many mysterious zucchinis on their doorsteps this year.



Pecans should work. My neighbor says you can substitute zukes for bananas in any banana bread recipe. Just add a little more sugar.

Sorry about your tongue ;-(

Zukes would probably add similar texture to the bread as do bananas. Who'd thunk it to try it out in the first place?

I know who? People desperate to get rid of their zucchinis, that's who :-)

Pecans are not as rough on my tongue. That may just work.

Thanks again,



My preference is to use a variety called zucchini rampicante which has a very long seedless neck. This makes a better pickle than cucumbers in my opinion -- much firmer and not quite as bitter as cukes can be sometimes. When I use standard zucchinis, I usually core the pieces to remove the seeds.


Again, Stephanie, thanks.

With all these recipes and pickling ideas, I could open the first ever all-you-can-eat zucchini restaurant.

Possible brand name: E-Zs? Motto (for the U.S. anyway): "Go E-Z with the Zucchini."

The rest of the English-speaking world, however, pronounces the last letter of the alphabet as "zed." Would have to be a little more creative to come up with jargon that could work elsewhere and everywhere:-)



Mail them to me. I have tried several times to grow Zuchinnis in my yard and everytime the plants get almost big enough to flower then die. While I have had cucumbers, muskmelon and watermelon growing all the time, and setting fruit and getting eaten when ripe. But the summer squash have died everytime I planted them.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world.

Try straw-ble growing or one of them earthtainer ideas.

Ask for links if you can't find 'em.

Never thought this was going to be me first post... But if you have a surplus of zuchinni, this makes short work of it. If uninformed guests won't be able to tell it from apple pie. All the better if you cut the zuchinni to look like apple slices. I have experienced several kodak moments from serving this.

Zuchinni Pie

Pastry for 2 crust pie
7 cups peeled chopped seeded zuchinni
1/2 water
1 c granulated sugar
1/4 t salt
2 T cornstarch
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 c lemon juice

1. Place zuchinni and water in large pan, bring to boil, if using frozen zuchinni do not add water
2. Cook uncovered, stirring often, for about 10 minutes until tender and most of the water is gone. Volume will reduce about half.
3. Mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt in bowl, stir into zuchinni along with lemon juice. Cook and stir until thick and remove from heat.
Set pan in cold water to cool for 10 minutes
4. Prepare pastry, pour filling into pie shell
5. Sprinkle about 1/4-1/2 t sugar over top of pastry.
6. Bake at 375 about 55 min until browned.

Who was the genius who came up with a way of using zucchini in a pie and passing it off as apple? Obviously, someone with an deep appreciation for food.

Thanks ex Jet Captain for the recipe. I live in an area of numerous apple orchards. Apple pies are a common autumn treat around here. In fact, they're a common treat any time of year.

But I also know many locals who end up growing too many zucchini as well. So this could very well be a trend that could catch on easily.

Perhaps even as an ideal way to handle frozen zucchini slices. Give more options on storage.



P.S. Curious, does your handle, "ex Jet Captain", indicate a career as a former pilot?

P.S. 2: Welcome aboard T.O.D. You're part of the family now.

dangit, capn jet,

I'm having trouble enough finding customers for my apples without your posting recipes for fake apple pie! ;)


Works both with fresh and frozen, just note the water requirements or lack thereof. I have no idea who originally came up with it, I recieved it from a co-worker. I have appreciated it over the years, one no longer has to (anonymously) give zuchinni's to unsuspecting friends and neighbours.

My 'callsign' :=) was a result of the early changes coming in the industry I'm still in. I just happen to not be a Jet Captain anymore (or likely ever again in the future..)

Thanks for the welcome, I've actually been around as lurker for quite some time doing my best imitation of a sponge, soaking up the vast amounts of information that is available on this site. I also took some time to come up with what I felt was a (somewhat) appropriate handle. I likely won't post much but hopefully what I do will be useful to at least some.


Plant some zuchinni then and sell it as well :=) One could also encourage (?) the use of dehydrators, I process approximately 100lbs of apples a year for use as snacks for the rest of the year. It works well enough that when I share with co-workers it's not uncommon for them to subsequently ask "Where can I get one?"

fyi, you almost got me to break my silence a number of months ago with a comment you made regarding airline employees "punching their meal ticket", but I thought better of it at the time, posting while your blood is boiling generally leads one to make comments they later regret. The one rebuttal that I'll make at this time is that, like the vast majority of people, all we are trying to do is work at something that we like and that we feel will enable us to do the best for our families that we can. The fact that it's a ultimately a dead end is something that is a separate (although admittedly a critical and ultimately insurmountable) issue.

Thanks for listening.

HAc wrote:

I can not see how we could ever do with out fossil fuel inputs to agriculture in the UK. May be it is slightly different in the US as the amount of available arable land per capita is substantially higher than our small island affords us.

I must agree with you HAc, sad to say, despite my having been interested in organic agriculture and gardening for many years. UK has about 6M hectares of suitable arable land for crops (we went up to 7.8M ha in WWII, but not all of that was or is well-suited), so that works out at about 10 persons per hectare, or 4 persons per acre. Or, to put it another way, some very favored places in the world like the Yangtze delta might perhaps sustain more than 10 or more persons per arable hectare, but not unfortunately, UK, even, I suspect, with all industrial inputs, e.g. NPK, plus any re-cycled nutrients, remaining available to us.

PS It is actually possible to build up soil during farming (both the structure and soil carbon and nitrogen): the most straightforward method being mixed grass clover or alfalfa swards. Unfortunately these acres will produce much less human food while you are doing it, and if you are going to continue 'organically', you will need to repeat the process often enough in a regular rotation. Our Victorians did this, and were even able to raise enough fuel for the horses, to the point when circa 1850, about 22% of the population was just about able to feed the rest (England's population in those days about 18M). Hard work - and after that date this country needed substantial food imports.

Average wheat yield in the UK is 8 tonnes/hectare, so everyone could have 2kg/year, plus a little meat & fish. Admittedly wheat has to be rotated - can't have all 6Mha continuously in wheat - but some other crops achieve even higher yields. With turnips, potatoes, and even apples, 50 tonnes/hectare is possible, so the lucky citizens of a self-sufficient UK could look forward to a diet of 14kg of turnips every day.

So no need to panic, guys. If you can't stand turnips, plant some apple trees in your garden: at Latitude 57-and-a-bit, mine produce far more apples than I can possibly eat.

I have read accounts of conversion of farms to organic farming methods which claim a recovery of yields after a few years of organic husbandry, although not to pre-organic levels.

My question is "where do they get the organic material". To bring the farm up to snuff with organic material quickly they need inputs from outside. Because as you note it takes some years after you stop putting on chemicals to transform the farm. I do that thanks to people in town who think leaves are waste. But hey the farms in the Midwest and elsewhere are pretty big. Once you get it back to a self fertile condition you still have to add back everything you take out. If you are only feeding yourself, a composting toilet will suffice to return to the soil the minerals you have extracted. But if you are selling your produce to a city, how do you get back the minerals, especially if the city is still flushing all those minerals to the sea?

A mate of mine works in the construction industry and he has just finished a contract to provide a system at a large sewage treatment plant just south of London. The project is a trial to take human slurry, de-ordourise it, bag it and sell it to organic farmers. There is an issue with various chemicals we humans ingest, the most prolific culprit being the Pill. Apparently the Pill is a devil to break down. At least condoms can be filtered out!

There is real concern that plasticisers used in food packaging are oestrogen mimics which have seriously damaged male fertility in the industrialised world in the last 30 years. Recycling human waste may further reduce family sizes below replacement levels in industrial countries.

Perhaps that is not such a bad thing.

Interesting, but go to any maternity ward in any U.S. hospital and I guarantee you will have trouble believing that.

Yes, I read somewhere that background levels of plasticizers (chemicals used in plastic) are so high now in much tap water (it just cycles around from waste water, falls in polluted rain, etc.) that it makes no difference if you buy water in plastic bottles or drink tap water. Both are harmful. Ugh....even worse than the radioactive mushrooms from Russia.

I suppose we asked for it, in a way!

The EPA has recently (as of 2009) released the Targeted National Sewage Sludge Study, which reports on the level of metals, chemicals, hormones, and other materials present in a statistical sample of sewage sludges.[6] Some highlights include:

Silver is present to the degree of 20 mg/kg of sludge, on average, a near economically recoverable level, while some sludges of exceptionally high quality have up to 200 milligrams of silver per kilogram of sludge; one outlier demonstrated a silver lode of 800–900 mg per kg of sludge. It is unknown whether mineral speculators have yet invested in the sludge stocks of the United States.
Barium is present at the rate of 500 mg/kg, while manganese is present at the rate of 1 g/kg sludge.
High levels of sterols and other hormones have been detected, with averages in the range of up to 1,000,000 µg/kg sludge.
Lead, arsenic, chromium, and cadmium are estimated by the EPA to be present in detectable quantities in 100% of national sewage sludges in the US, while thallium is only estimated to be present in 94.1% of sludges.
For produce to be USDA-certified organic, sludge (biosolids) cannot be used

Because as you note it takes some years after you stop putting on chemicals to transform the farm

Things that help is trying to bump your soil food web back into existing. Part of the web - symbiotic fungi with plant roots 'go away' - can be brought back.

Things like compost tea will provide the material back to the soil

And one can always visit the fine work of Elaine Ingham

But if you are selling your produce to a city, how do you get back the minerals

With the present system - you do not.

Things like compost tea will provide the material back to the soil

Yes, yes, but compost tea comes from something you compost. If you are restoring depleted soil it comes from something somewhere else. In other words you have to borrow fertility from some other piece of land.

I compost chicken manure, mixed with leaves from the litter in the coop. It comes from in town leaves from yards where people nicely rake up the leaves and midwestern grain fields fertilized with mined phosphate and manufactured nitrogen. Its great stuff but it is borrowed fertility. I also have a humanure toilet ( http://humanurehandbook.com/store/THE-HUMANURE-HANDBOOK.html ) . Since part of what we eat is from our garden I have partially completed the garden human garden loop (the leaves in the humanure are again from town).

My garden is a continual mulch per Ruth Stout ( http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/2004-02-01/Ruth-Stouts-... ) It is getting over time a healthy soil web with all the little living things - since I don't till those living things are mostly left undisturbed.

At some point perhaps I might get this cotton farmed soil back into full self sustaining fertility but it takes a huge amount of inputs.

My point was never about what you could do in a small garden plot, especially if you borrow from other land. My point is about the whole country and world. How do we get back all that soil that we washed into the oceans? How do we restore vast states worth of farmland? And how do we do it in a time of climate chaos? My garden is suffering from a long bout of heat and drought and my well is unable to keep up - so I have had to just abandon many of my plants to the drought. If I depended on my garden for all my food I would be getting quite skinny this winter.

Yes, yes, but compost tea comes from something you compost. If you are restoring depleted soil it comes from something somewhere else. In other words you have to borrow fertility from some other piece of land.

What you are doing with compost tea is take the microbes of the compost and multiply them via the adding of:

You can find recipes with Fish emulsion - Seaweed - Blood meal and Bone meal

Boosting the soil microbes is the idea of compost tea. Breeding microbes in a tank will get ya more of 'em for less material input than breeding them in the ground "naturally".

My point is about the whole country and world.

That's why I mentioned the fungi and bacteria culturing of compost tea. Frank Teuton is a good resource as I remember.

Yes eric but that doesn't address the potassium, phosphate and other trace minerals.

Fish emulsion of course is taking stuff from elsewhere, in this case the sea. Bone meal and blood meal comes from animals grown on soil elsewhere. Thus your enriched compost tea is wonderful stuff but it it includes stuff from elsewhere. You are just taking the stuff from elsewhere and turning it into a more useable form for you plants. You are not adding anything except what the microbes can draw out of the air. Last time I checked the air was not a source for phosphates. I use wood ash on my garden. Good source of a variety of minerals but of course I am taking from elsewhere on my property and by not returning that to the woods eventually they become less fertile. Works on a small scale. Again I am addressing the problem of organically feeding the human population - in which case the problem of where you get your organic material for re-enriching all that soil becomes real.

Did you know that back in the 1800's the problem had loomed so large that ships were sent from Europe to mine the guano of South America and its islands. The US passed a Guano act to allow them to claim any island with Guano on it that wasn't inhabited. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guano_Islands_Act They were of course reaching out to elsewhere to get the minerals they had depleted. Then came oil and the ability to mine phosphate, potassium and make nitrogen. And it looked like problem solved. So we began to treat manure as waste instead of a valuable resource... and now we will pay for that.

Your fungi can capture carbon from the air, but can they create phosphate? Can they add selenium? etc. If you sell your produce you take these important minerals out of the soil and no amount of fungi in the soil can bring them back.

Former Energy Advisor Victim of Apparent Drowning on North Haven
"Authorities say the body of 67-year old Matthew Simmons was found Sunday night."


Don in Maine

Thoughts for his family and friends.

Maybe, given his recent erratic pronouncements, his memory will be better preserved by his untimely death.

Yikes. I wonder what happened? Was it in the ocean, or did he have a pool?

While BP finally sealing the well and Matt's death may be coincidence, but it would also seem just as likely that the two events are in some way connected. CNBC seemingly said Matt's death was due to a heart attack.

Matt was obviously under a lot of strain regarding this whole BP spill. It's tragic that this has happened to someone we all had respect for, even if we disagreed with his views over the last few months.

It's tragic that this has happened to someone we all had respect for, even if we disagreed with his views over the last few months.

I couldn't have said it better. He had a very big impact on me with Twilight; in fact I am not sure I would have started writing had I not read that book. The fact that I didn't think his comments on the BP spill were credible in no way diminishes my respect for his earlier work.

My deepest condolences to his family.

This just popped up on the web: 'Peak Oil' Theory Advocate Matt Simmons Dies

Matt Simmons

Matt Simmons, a prominent oil investor who argued the world was rapidly approaching peak oil production capacity, died suddenly on Sunday of an apparent heart attack at his home in North Haven, Maine...

In the wake of Simmons' comments, the investment bank Simmons & Co. severed its ties with its founder, who until that point had served as its chairman emeritus.

I did not know that.

Ron P.

The article is misleading because they don't state whether it's the Peak Oil comments or the recent oil spill comments which caused S&Co to distance themselves. It was of course the latter, not the former.

I will miss the Matt before his recent mental lapse began. We all can't last only as long as our well functioning brain, many hang on longer. So we can excuse is recent lapses. Condolences for all involved.

When the time comes and it REALLY starts hitting the fan, we will all be struggling for our sense of sanity. When that happens the people around us without our foreknowledge won't understand. They will think we went completely went bonkers instead our normal eccentric behaviour. Who will be there to defend you?

Matthew Simmons, Rest in Peace.

Author of Twilight in the Desert meets his twilight on the sea. Sad news, indeed:-(

Whether we thought he made sense or was completely off the wall, he elicited many a response from us.

He will be missed.

I'll second that. May he rest in peace.

Simmons was responsible for my initial awakening to peak oil. That fact that he was a very wealthy Texas oil banker and not an 'environmentalist' somehow gave his pitch a lot of credibility.

Hope his project in Maine comes to something. Would be a wonderful tribute to him.

Indeed, the fact that he was Mormon Republican oilman based in Houston certainly gave the peak oil story more credibility that just hearing it from far-left tree-huggers. Although many of his pronouncements were exaggerated and some just dead wrong, he did publicize a very large amount of true information about the peak oil issue.

I had been saddened by his more recent bizarre pronouncements (methane is more toxic that chlorine gas? It comes out of my kitchen stove!) since they have severely cut into his credibility. But I am still very appreciative of all the work that he has done publicizing this issue, especially in the conservative world where such concerns are often met with scorn.

I did not know that he was a Mormon. Interesting. I too am saddened by his untimely passing. Hopefully his written and spoken words will resonate even more in the battle to change the world in the face of peaking resources.

Curiously, Simmons & Co. sent out a message this morning saying Matt Simmons died in his sleep in his house.

I hate to say it, but my gut is screaming out suicide.

The strange comments, possibly stress induced, could indicate serious mental strain.


"According to police reports, Simmons suffered a heart attack while in a hot tub at his home on North Haven. An autopsy is planned for today in Augusta, according to the Knox County Sheriff's Office"

Someone drowns in a tub nearly every day in America
Experts blame alcohol; others suspect homicide

RIP, Matt

The rate in the UK is one third of that per capita.

Do we have smaller baths, wash less or swim better? Perhaps all three.

Do we have smaller baths, wash less or swim better? Perhaps all three.

Perhaps you have fewer inviting places to swim... A friend of mine just swam the English channel recently, that doesn't count anyway, plus he was from this side of the pond >;^)

Now here where I live in South Florida it's a whole different story. BTW, I helped fish a Brit out of a rip current off my beach the other day. He didn't seem to take the posted "Danger Rip Current", sign very seriously.

Actually I wish everybody swam better! I taught my own kid to swim as soon as he was out of diapers. I used to hate the sign that said to always swim near a life guard, so I became a certified rescue diver myself. I think swimming well is an absolutely essential survival skill. Of course if you have a heart attack, the point is probably moot!

Sometimes it is more respectful to leave your gut screaming until a few more details of events come to light.

You are correct. Hopefully this means that his last days were spent in peace.

That goes double for this website, where the spewage over the past several months has been that the oil gusher could not possibly be more than 30,000 barrels per day and likely under 20,000. In the final analysis, the independent estimates by professionals at various universities was right. The initial oil flow exceeded 60,000 barrels per day and never fell below 30,000 bpd until it was capped.

Maybe next time BP should not drill at the edge of intrusions. The 40% of the cement that leaked into the formation during the last cement job clearly shows all the feelings about the normality of this well were out to lunch. Pretending that all locations can be handled by the existing well technology is insane hubris and was the most likely cause of this "accident".

Respectful maybe, but - intuition is often the best gauge. Hell, my first reaction to the Deepwater downing was that it was actually leaking from the well head and not just riser oil. The experts all said - "Nah, that can't happen" - but a few days later that's what we all discovered to be true. But of course not everyone's intuition is equal, so for many of you it might be best to rely solely on your reasoning abilities.

I wonder if his plans for offshore ammonia weren't working out.

May the good man rest in peace. I will take another look at my copy of Twilight tonight.

Possible - the effort seems to have lost steam once oil "dropped in price".

Good heavens! It's probably safe to say none of us expected this. What a timing as well, now there are things we will never find out.

Condolences to his family and friends.

Terrible news, condolences from me as well.

This article says the cause was an apparent heart attack, in a hot tub - perhaps that last detail was misinterpreted as drowning: Energy expert Simmons dies in North Haven | The Morning Sentinel, Waterville, ME

Could have been both. I've heard of cases where people have heart attacks while swimming or in the tub, and drown.

He made a tremendous contribution to the understanding of peak oil and was a man of integrity who refused to simply follow the conventional wisdom. It makes me sad.

RIP Matt Simmons. I greatly respected the vast body of your work.


Gov. John Baldacci called Simmons a kind, generous man. "I visited Matt and his team last month and thanked them for their partnership with the state as we aggressively build an independent energy future for Maine. Our state has been viewed as a leader in alternative energy in part because of the groundbreaking work spearheaded by Matt Simmons and the Ocean Energy Institute. His leadership and commitment to a better world will be missed, and we need to continue Matt's work and vision as a way to honor him," Baldacci said.

Simmons is the author of the 2005 book "Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy," which laid out an argument of peak oil, that the world was approaching peak oil production

Could some mods keep an eye on the BP thread where some people think this is hilarious news it seems.

My condolences for his family.

He made great contributions to the study of PO.

Email press release from Ocean Energy:

Rockland, Maine (August 9, 2010)

Matthew R. Simmons, founder of the Ocean Energy Research Institute in Rockland, Maine, passed away suddenly on Sunday. He is survived by his wife, Ellen, and their five daughters. Mr. Simmons was also former chairman of Simmons & Company International. Details of services are pending. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Ocean Energy Research Institute.

Kind regards,

Laura Russell
Executive Assistant to
Matthew R. Simmons

Ocean Energy Institute
Email: lrussell(AT)oceanenergy.org

Bakhtiari & now Simmons.

My thoughts exactly - two of the great ones in our community now gone. I'm greatful they left us a great body of information, and that they did so much of the work to get the subject of Peak Oil out to the rest of us.

RIP Matt Simmons.

"Twilight in the Desert" is a fascinating book that opened a lot of eyes to Peak Oil, and no doubt will continue to open many more in the months and years to come.

His descriptions of the actual geologic work that always needs to be done before production estimates can be made (the "due diligence") even though that work sometimes isn't done, ought to be read by everyone who's interested in the technical aspects of petroleum geology and petroleum engineering.

For example, p. 207-208 in "Twilight: (I know that info like this is old hat to TOD regulars, but with the numerous new readers who've found TOD since the Deepwater Horizon disaster, these passages might be of interest to some):

The second problem...involves a property of reservoir rocks known as wettability. Oil-bearing reservoir rocks tend to be either oil-wet or water-wet:

• In oil-wet reservoirs, the water occupies the centers of the pores while the oil clings to the sand grains, making it far more difficult to recover the oil.

• With water-wet rocks, the oil is in the centers of the pores where it is free to flow through the reservoir to the wells or to be picked up and carried along by a water sweep.

...Detailed knowledge of the preferential wettability of ...reservoir rock is of the utmost importance to Saudi Aramco's petroleum engineers and geologists. ...Misjudgment about this tricky wettability issue can lead to serious recovery problems and massive amounts of oil accidentally left behind.

And on p. 233-234, some text that is my personal favorite in the entire book (because of what I do as a consultant):

The Need to Drill to Find Oil

Despite...advances, all three survey methods provide information only about the subsurface geology, the various rock layers, the different kinds of rock, and the shapes or structures of the rock and their locations. They do not tell the explorer whether a structure contains oil or water. The only sure way to go beyond these survey indications and prove whether an identified structure contains oil or gas is essentially the same technique Colonel Drake used to find oil at Oil Creek near...Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859: Drill a well and see if oil is there.

...To collect the most precise data about the potential productivity of the reservoir rocks, it is still necessary, as it was 30 to 40 years ago, to cut core samples in these wells to understand the true nature of the oil-bearing rocks. These cores then have to be laboratory-tested to determine the permeability, porosity, wettability and other properties of the rocks. If cores are not retrieved and analyzed, production forecasts are likely to be based on shaky assumptions.

Furthermore, one or two producing wells, even if they are also cored, rarely reveal the essential character of a producible reservoir. It is only after a lengthy time period when many wells have produced large quantities of oil and gas from a reservoir that a thorough, detailed picture of an oilfield begins to crystallize.

If you haven't read "Twilight", it's definitely worth the time to read it. Simmons wrote a very good book, IMHO.

In the "Time Flies" department, five years ago I proposed and helped organize a symposium featuring Matt Simmons and Jim Kunstler. It was held on November 1, 2005. It was cosponsored by Southern Methodist University and the Greater Dallas Planning Council. Boone Pickens was one of the underwriters. A small historical footnote: Matt and Jim had never met until the evening of 11/1/2005. Here is a link to a transcript of an interview with Matt & Jim on a local NPR station with the late Glenn Mitchell on 11/1/2005:


SIMMONS: The oil will actually never run out. One of the reasons that too many people scoff about the notion of peak oil is that they immediately think that we are running out of oil. The problem isn’t running out, the problem is peaking. And the problem of peaking wouldn’t be a big deal if we created a world where demand was also peaking. The problem is - and while Jim is talking about the United States I worry a lot more about the whole world - we have created a world that’s on a road map to needing at least 120 million barrels a day of oil to be daily consumed by 2020, which is only 15 years away. We could easily by then have a world where the supply has dropped from 82 million/83 million barrels a day now down to 70 or 60. At 60 million barrels a day we haven’t run out of oil. We just have an enormous gap between what we needed and what we can use.

KUNSTLER: You know the further implication of that is that it will generate enormous competition. Enormous contests to get control of the remaining oil in the world, and you know all bets are off about how that’s going to play out. Does it mean that the Chinese are going to try to control the oil in Central Asia? They have less oil than we do, the Chinese. They are madly running around the world now making contracts for oil with Venezuela, with the Canadians for the Alberta tar sands. What are we going to do if we cannot maintain our police station in Iraq in the Middle East which we set out by the way in order to modify and influence the behavior of those nations in the Middle East so we could continue buying their oil.

Well that’s a project that is not working out very well for us and we cannot be confident about our ability to control the terrain or the populations of these unfriendly nations. What happens when we have to leave that part of the world? Will we retain access to the 2/3 of the remaining oil that’s there? And how soon may that happen? You know these are all tremendous questions that we are not even beginning to ask ourselves.

MITCHELL: Matthew?

SIMMONS: Yes sir.

MITCHELL: What about India and China? When they start really using oil?

SIMMONS: Well the China’s use is doubled in the last 7 to 8 years. But what is astonishing is if you take the total amount of growth in China it is less than the growth in the last five years from the United States. And China today on a per capita basis still uses less than 2 barrels of oil per person. India still only uses about 1 barrel per person. If India and China both some day grew with no population increase, which is unrealistic, to the level of Mexico today, which is about 6 ½ barrels per person, you would have to add 44 ½ million barrels a day of additional oil. It’s impossible.

Incidentally, my daughter and son-in-law perhaps deserve some kind of "Great Regrets" award. I repeatedly asked them to join us for for the event and/or for dinner with JHK. They were too busy with college work at the time. They have the distinction of having turned down two opportunities to have dinner with JHK, and the opportunity to meet, in one night, Jim Kunstler, Matt Simmons and Boone Pickens. To their chagrin, two of their respective professors later highly recommended Matt and Jim's books.

Sad news, indeed.

At least he won't see the end product of our oilless culture. May he fret in peace.


sad , sad about matt. he was a trooper.

i never doubted his integrity; even with the claims that didn't make sense.

A true visionary who called 'em like he saw 'em, proposed real solutions in a discussion dominated by hand-wringing doomerism, and prepared the next generation well to take up our society's most critical discussion. RIP.

From the Archives

Ottawa Citizen - Aug 24, 1972

Arctic oil reserves 'equal rest of world'
MONTREAL (CP) — Potential gas and oil reserves within the Arctic Circle—a major portion of those are within Canada's Arctic—are equal to all known reserves in the rest of the world, says Dr. A. J. Eardley, professor emeritus of geology at the University of Utah.

During presentations Wednesday on worldwide distribution of petroleum at the International Geological Congress, he estimated the reserves within the Arctic Circle at 540 billion barrels of oil and 38,800 billion cubic metres of gas.

Dr. Eardley based his figures on areas of the geologic basins in which oil and
gas are found and the potential oil-bearing of existing wells. He said his are "preliminary estimates" and further drilling could prove them on the low side.

Once again I'll point out what should be obvious by now to many on TOD: First, are those inplace reserves or recoverable? And if they are recoverable reserves then they are worthless in that no pricing assumptions are included. How ever much oil is recoverable at $200/bbl then considerably less is revoerable at $40/bbl. Additionally the author implies that much if not most of those "reserves" are not recoverable with existing technology.

1972...those were the days

Yep, extraction is "dependent on development of technology." OK, you've had 38 years, where's that gusher?

Tomorrow's feature will reflect on price considerations, linking to a 1976 study with some EOR projections for the US. Dunno what our prof here was thinking back in 1972, prices were still, what, a magnitude cheaper than you'd pay for a cup of milk, to use one of Simmons's analogies. It's hilarious how you could just change the dates and precise bbo figures on this and have a story from the last few years about the cornucopia awaiting in the Arctic.

Poor Matt. Always wondered how diligent a TOD reader he was - I know he was a fan of the site, but don't know if he parsed every DB. Like to think he'd enjoy these news clippings.

yeah, well potential reserves ? i have heard that westex has vast potential to date julia roberts.

I'm expecting her to return my call any day now.

Hey, me, too! Fancy that.

Potentially you will all have behave with some reserve. Or probably not.

Wall Street Journal: America Is at Risk of Boiling Over

Our problems as a nation have been growing on us for a long time. Their future growth, and the implications of that growth, could be predicted. But there is one thing that is both new since 1994 and huge. It took hold and settled in after the crash of 2008, but its causes were not limited to the crash.

The biggest political change in my lifetime is that Americans no longer assume that their children will have it better than they did. This is a huge break with the past, with assumptions and traditions that shaped us.

I don't think that America is at risk of boiling over, though I do agree with many observations in Noonan's article. Expectations are bleak, but revolutions occur most often at times of rising expectations, when these are frustrated. (See Crane Brinton, "Anatomy of Revolution.")

Lowered expectations are appropriate for what John Michael Greer describes as "The Long Descent." Living standards are going to fall for the next hundred or two hundred years due to the ending of energy from fossil fuels. It is not just our children that will have lower living standards than we have had, but also our grandchildren and their grandchildren. Dowmward social mobility is now and increasingly will become the new norm. No technological miracles are going to come along at the last minute to reverse long-term declines in real GDP, rising unemployment and eventually rising death rates.

In my opinion the appropriate philosophy for times like these is not pessimism but stoicism. Accept what we cannot change and do our duty to be the best human beings we can be during increasingly worsening circumstances.

Remember the article she wrote five years ago? It was called A Separate Peace.

Do people fear the wheels are coming off the trolley? Is this fear widespread? A few weeks ago I was reading Christopher Lawford's lovely, candid and affectionate remembrance of growing up in a particular time and place with a particular family, the Kennedys, circa roughly 1950-2000. It's called "Symptoms of Withdrawal." At the end he quotes his Uncle Teddy. Christopher, Ted Kennedy and a few family members had gathered one night and were having a drink in Mr. Lawford's mother's apartment in Manhattan. Teddy was expansive. If he hadn't gone into politics he would have been an opera singer, he told them, and visited small Italian villages and had pasta every day for lunch. "Singing at la Scala in front of three thousand people throwing flowers at you. Then going out for dinner and having more pasta." Everyone was laughing. Then, writes Mr. Lawford, Teddy "took a long, slow gulp of his vodka and tonic, thought for a moment, and changed tack. 'I'm glad I'm not going to be around when you guys are my age.' I asked him why, and he said, 'Because when you guys are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart.' "

Remember the article she wrote five years ago? It was called A Separate Peace.

It is Peggy Noonan. For her, things suck now because Democrats are in control. Five years ago, everything was beautiful since Republicans were in control. She's a political hack not worth listening to.

Ummm...did you read the article from five years ago? She did not think everything was beautiful. Quite the opposite. She was predicting that the end was nigh. We featured it in a key post here and everything, because it was so doomerish.

The older article has this quote which comports well with what Kevin Drum says:

    Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere. I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they're living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they're going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley's off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.

Except that they are doing something with it - they are enriching themselves. We are headed towards a bipartite society like many "poor" countries: a tiny wealthy oligarchy, and a vast, miserable underclass.

I agree, and I predicted as much, around the time Ms. Noonan wrote the earlier article.

However, I think the reason will not be greedy elites, but limited resources. Once the pie stops growing, everyone becomes less generous.

Pie, yummm. Remember that poem of Bushisms, "Make the Pie Higher"?

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen
And uncertainty
And potential mental losses.

I'm kind of disappointed in Kevin Drum's response. Like Noonan, he blames politicians. Only instead of high taxes and scary social changes, he blames the rich and powerful for sucking the wealth from the lower classes for their own sybaritic pleasures.

Drum has written about peak oil and is presumably aware of resource limits. How can he argue that our children will be wealthier than we are, and should be much wealthier (but might not be because of our bad politicians)? Is it reasonable or desirable for people who are consuming way more than their fair share of the world's resources to expect their children to consume an even larger share? Noonan, I can see expecting that, but I would expect a little more awareness from a Mother Jones writer.

They'll be extremely wealthy Leanan...with vast riches of pollution, endless wealth of barren lands, and overflowing awesome abundance of suffering!

The room is so crowded with elephants that previously insightful commentators can't make sense any more. They've taken up trumpeting in order to fit in.

And I guess that's why I differ from Don in that some very surprising realignments are possible and we may not see them coming. Who saw Palin coming? Things are more tense now.

Things are more tense now than when in the past? I remember the urban riots of the nineteen sixties and early seventies; I remember the anti-Vietnam War protests; I remember 1968; the country was truly boiling over in those days. Today I see more resignation and retreat; e.g. the tea partiers are just retreating to old comfortable anti-tax anti-government positions, but they have no new ideas, no challenges for the future.

During the Great Depression we had the Veteran Bonus marchers, not to mention real fascists and real communists; at present I see no mobilization around extremists as there was then. People are self-absorbed with their own concerns, unemployed or fearing unemployment, accumulating student loans with poor prospects for good jobs or fearful for their pensions. The religious right seems to have less influence than ten years ago, and left-wing politics in the U.S. is moribund.

Compared to past times, this is an era of political apathy, a "curse upon both your houses" feeling among many. Of course this situation is not permanent, and it could change quickly, but though there is much frustration and much anger, most of these volatile feelings are not channeled into political channels or social protests or burning the cities.

In most ways I agree. But I would see the boiling over of the '60s as the result of two very successful world systems colliding. There was no deeply ingrained economic pessimism. And those fights gave meaning to a lot of people's lives -- forward looking and progressive people, smart people. Lots of fighting but no lack of hope. The elites were not resigned. Nor were they resigned in the Great Depression either.

My point was that there is more of a grinding tension now than in 2008 when there were certainly episodes of acute anxiety (a different emotion).

Maybe I'm just projecting.... but I don't think resignation is part of the national character except for short spells & don't believe the country is set up to muddle through while feeling resigned. i.e. it needs passion & focus to function. So, the tension I feel is that something big & bad will hit us in the next year and then things will become aligned and dangerous. Without hope.

I would like posit that the removal of Lead from gasoline and other materials coincides with the "calming" of society. It is a mood changer in high quantities and probably affected city folk more than rural.

Bingo!! In what passes for our national dialogue, whether from the left or the right, it rarely if ever occurs to anyone of the pundits that perhaps there are no solutions, and certainly no solutions that have anything to do with the classic economic prescriptions for what ails us.

In November, people will vote for a new congress, and they will have choices which have nothing to do with what truly ails us. As long as we assume, there are not limits, we will make choices that only exacerbate the situation. It is time for a twelve step program for America and the world.

Anyone who dares to swim against this mainstream will be quickly rendered as a non person, someone who never existed.

In what passes for our national dialogue, whether from the left or the right, it rarely if ever occurs to anyone of the pundits that perhaps there are no solutions, and certainly no solutions that have anything to do with the classic economic prescriptions for what ails us.

No solutions is right, but that won't stop people from voting for someone else or some other party thinking it will make a difference. It's so cliche' to think that simply voting for someone different will provide better results. The game has permanently changed now we are paying 80 plus bucks per barrel for numerous products embedded in our oil based economy.

Go left, go right, but really it makes no difference at this point. In fact, the mere idea of having the luxury of choosing conservative or liberal ideals was part and parcel with cheap energy. Now the cheap stuff is gone, its real simple: Contraction on all fronts, from infrastructure to teachers, from income to retirement, from transportation to budgets, housing to investments, you name it, it's all downsizing.

In Crackdown on Energy Use, China to Shut 2,000 Factories

HONG KONG — Earlier this summer, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China promised to use an “iron hand” to improve his country’s energy efficiency, and a growing number of businesses are now discovering that it feels like a fist.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology quietly published a list late Sunday of 2,087 steel mills, cement works and other energy-intensive factories required to close by Sept. 30.

Over the years, provincial and municipal officials have sometimes tried to block Beijing’s attempts to close aging factories in their jurisdictions. ... To prevent such local obstruction this time, the ministry said in a statement on its Web site that the factories on its list would be barred from obtaining bank loans, export credits, business licenses and land. The ministry even warned that their electricity would be shut off, if necessary.

Energy efficiency my foot. The Communist Overlords are closing them because they can't sell so much stuff anymore.

Death rate doubles in Moscow as heatwave continues

Moscow's health chief has confirmed the mortality rate has doubled as a heatwave and wildfire smog continue to grip the Russian capital. There were twice the usual number of bodies in the city's morgues, Andrei Seltsovsky told reporters.

Meanwhile, a state of emergency has been declared around a nuclear reprocessing plant in the southern Urals because of nearby wildfires

And there was a new warning over shortfalls in Russia's grain harvest.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said this year's harvest, hit by fire and drought, would be worse than previously forecast. Currently expected to be 65m tonnes, it could be as low as 60 million tonnes, Mr Putin said. Mr Putin also said that a ban on grain exports could be extended beyond the end of 2010 because of shortages for domestic markets.

Wasn't Russia expecting 85 million tonnes this year? >30% reduction.

Heatwave causes fires across Israel

Fires broke out across Israel on Friday as the heat wave continues, Israeli press reported.

Firefighters are attempting to control fires in Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and in the Galilee, Israeli daily Haaretz said.

Temperatures soared throughout Israel on Monday peaking at a scorching 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in the southern city of Eilat in the afternoon.

Wasn't Russia expecting 85 million tonnes this year? >30% reduction.

We will happily trade grain for lots of Putin's black gold.

Heat wave? We had better get used to it:

June 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record (March, April, and May 2010 were also the warmest on record). This was the 304th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last month with below-average temperature was February 1985.

(emphasis mine)http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/?report=global

304 months! It miffs me how the deniers can spin this. I'll bet my pumpkin patch that July was 305.

Yeh. "Heat Wave" connotes a temporary,passive phenomenon, something that comes and goes as part of the normal pattern. But these "heat waves" are coming more frequently and harder. But,as we know, facts have nothing to do with it and have no effect on the outcome of the debate. The weather, data, of course, has been distorted as part of a world wide conspiracy by environmentalists to destroy modern civilization and all its wonders.

Europe had it's coldest winter in 50 years this year, America had a record cold winter this year, the southern hemisphere is currently experiencing the coldest winter for 40 years (some places longer) etc. etc.

Be it a wish for a warmer or colder, or stagnant climate, It miffs me how anyone thinks they can have any control over the climate at all.

It miffs me how anyone thinks they can have any control over the climate at all.

I have yet to hear of any reputable climate scientist make any mention of control over the climate. BTW, proponents of geoengineering schemes don't count as reputable climate scientists.

Dr. Stephen Schneider on climate science expert credibility


We are doing a large scale, uncontrolled chemistry experiment on our atmosphere and you can somehow pretend that this will have ZERO effect ?

You live in a fantasy of your own creation called denial.


It sounds like some economists might be starting to recognize that we have entered the "T1 Phase" of SamSam Bakhtiari's "Stages of the Transition": the period when the old rules and norms of BAU no longer work.

Fooled by Stimulus - Structural Problems Still Intact

The world changed in September 2008. We call it a regime shift. It's a move from one (good) equilibrium to another (bad) equilibrium.

Statistical models that worked well in the old regime don’t work in the new regime. We hustled to adjust our models, but admitted that with limited experience in the new regime, we were less confident in our forecasts.

Some economists didn’t recognize the regime shift. They went about their business using the same old models in a new world ... (it was clear these economists) didn’t understand the situation.

Looking forward, there is little reason for optimism. We’re considering huge increases in our energy costs through greenhouse gas regulation. We have a massive tax increase scheduled at the end of the year...

we face a long slow struggle to overcome ourselves and restore real prosperity. The forecasters’ consensus appears to be moving toward accepting that reality.

Why blame government regulation for higher energy prices when good old supply and demand is a more than adequate explanation? The supply of crude oil is not going to rise significantly, China is becoming a net coal importer, and population is still rising. Less fuel and more customers means rising fuel costs for everyone. Carbon taxes may be trivial when compared to the price rise caused by more demand.

I agree.

What struck me is that economists might be waking up to the idea that BAU is over. Their models, their expectations of recovery and what constitutes a "recession," etc no longer apply and that a new "regime shift" is occuring.

Yeah, I think that many Economic doctrines just no longer work. There is the big argument between the Austria school and Keynesians. I think the point is a bit moot since you can't implemented them much like you once could. Keynesian stimulus doesn't work since the stimulus dollars slip out of the country into China instead of acting as a local multiplier.

But relevant to the oil drum, energy now eats up a larger amount of our budgets thus making the current situation a "new normal" that many refuse to admit. The US economy cannot become as strong as it once was when we have spend hundreds of billions to import ~70% of the oil we use. That is the current situation and there is not much that can be done about it. We can move to more domestic energy sources like solar, wind, natural gas, coal, etc. and we should . . . but they just don't provide us with the cheap oil energy that we were once drunk on. We will adjust . . . but things will be different now.

Hi, all.

Just came across this presentation by Mikael Hook at Beijing University, July 25, 2010. Interesting how he explains peak oil. In particular, he incorporates the Uppsala Global Energy System Group's recent work that demonstrates that for the IEA's WEO2008 projections to come true the remaining oil fields would have to deplete at rates never seen before. That is, the oil would have to be pumped out faster than has been pumped from any oil region ever. (Slides 18 and 19.) The graphs in WEO2008 have little resemblance to historical production rates.

He also discusses NGLs.


Thank you for the link aangel.

You're welcome.

Here are some other papers in which you might be interested. They give a solid basis for the peak oil story in peer-reviewed journals:

His papers are listed here:

Some of his most important are:

Giant oil field decline rates and their influence on world oil production, Mikael Höök*, Robert Hirsch+, Kjell Aleklett*, Energy Policy

The Peak of the Oil Age - analyzing the world oil production Reference Scenario in World Energy Outlook 2008, Energy Policy

How reasonable are oil production scenarios from public agencies?

Growth rates of global energy systems and future outlooks
Submitted to Energy Policy

Depletion and decline curve analysis in crude oil production (his Licentiate thesis)

IIRC, the point about depletion rates is in the paper "How reasonable are oil production scenarios from public agencies?"

Kjell Aleklett discusses it in his ASPO Conference presentation from last year (behind paywall):

Kjell discusses it again in Berlin in the video below but the audio is truly terrible:

Is solar power cheaper than nuclear power?

A new study out of Duke University, though, casts doubt on the idea that nuclear power is cheaper than solar power. Using information from North Carolina, the study shows that solar power may be more cost efficient than nuclear power. With costs dropping on the production of photovoltaic cells, and with solar cells becoming increasingly efficient, it appears that -- in North Carolina at least -- solar installations offer a viable alternative to nuclear power, which is the source for about 20% of the electricity in the U.S.

...When the cost of a kilowatt hour (kWh) of solar power fell to 16 cents earlier this year, it “crossed over” the trend-line associated with nuclear power.

"...When the cost of a kilowatt hour (kWh) of solar power fell to 16 cents earlier this year, it “crossed over” the trend-line associated with nuclear power."

could not find that figure in the article

Kunstler has some good points today:

Peak pretending now joins peak oil, peak credit, peak rare earths, and all the other peaks visible to us humble valley dwellers. Pretending bought America two years of respite from the ravages of fraud and mismanagement...

The greatest loss of the last decade was not in 401-Ks or manufacturing jobs or foreclosed houses, but the rule of law... The comprehensive failure of leadership deepens every week, as does the gulf between what people like Barack Obama and Mitch McConnell say and what is really happening on-the-ground in the arena of everyday life.

The failure of leadership extends through government to the news media to business to the universities to the courts. All authorities are suspect. All are dishonest and cowardly...

That cartoon is excellent (especially the "we've seen entire nations role playing").

You should send it on to Kunstler.

Speaking of role playing, I've noticed many political signs and television ads that do NOT mention the party affiliation of the candidate. It seems candidates are distancing themselves from both the Dem or Repub. Maybe they are 'role playing' as Independents ??

I won't sent 'em to Kunstler....besides he does read TOD and will see it if he's ment to see it.

Speaking of role playing, I've noticed many political signs and television ads that do NOT mention the party affiliation of the candidate.

Similar things are occurring in the Australian general election campaign (voting 21 August). Lots of TV advertising throwing up "facts" and "arguments" - with tiny fine print at the end of 30-60 seconds telling you who is it from.

I assume it reflects two things: (1) a belief that blowing your own trumpet is old-fashioned and the voters turn off it, and (2) "anonymous" advertising conveys truth rather than partisan spin. But the lack of showing your party colours is very odd indeed - a major change from past campaigns, I suggest.

That is very interesting... Aussies as well as the American politicians sensing the Ship is Going Down ???

Confuse your audience, blur the lines of distinction...

America Goes Dark By PAUL KRUGMAN

"The antigovernment campaign has always been phrased in terms of opposition to waste and fraud — to checks sent to welfare queens driving Cadillacs, to vast armies of bureaucrats uselessly pushing paper around. But those were myths, of course; there was never remotely as much waste and fraud as the right claimed. And now that the campaign has reached fruition, we’re seeing what was actually in the firing line: services that everyone except the very rich need, services that government must provide or nobody will, like lighted streets, drivable roads and decent schooling for the public as a whole.

So the end result of the long campaign against government is that we’ve taken a disastrously wrong turn. America is now on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere. "


The vast majority of tax revenue goes not to social programs, but to the military budget and wars, and to the incredible sums being given over to the already very rich. You can't really call this fraud and waste, as it is the very reason our government was founded - to protect and increase the power and privilege of the rich. For a short time after WWII, when we had finally established a global empire and the petroleum age was really kicking in, then there was enough to give everyone a piece and we built a large middle class. But that was only a brief period - now we go back to the way things usually are. Krugman's article is either propaganda or ignorance of history.

There is far more entitlement spending than military spending overall.

Workers and self employed are required by law to pay for social security and medicare insurance. It is Congress and the Federal Government that the money was entrusted to. Washington raided the SS trust to hide deficit spending by Republicans and Democrats. These IOU's are part of the Federal debt. Medicare insurance, at age 65, is the only protection anybody has against rising health insurance costs as age is the primary consideration in setting the rate. Fortunately my medicare insurance kicks in soon.
Congress should put the $2.5 trillion back in the SS trust before they cheat the SS recipients in addition to not giving a raise for 2 consecutive years and creating a commission to hide the coming attempt to reduce the income of the old and defenseless in the name of financial necessity again. The demographics have been obvious for 30 years and easily forecasted for 45 years.

"Entitlement" brings on a vision of something free, that someone is demanding.
In reality SS has usually run a surplus, paid by the people using the system.

Top 5 Social Security Myths

Rumors of Social Security's demise are greatly exaggerated. But some powerful people keep spreading lies about the program to scare people into accepting benefit cuts. Can you check out this list of Social Security myths and share it with your friends, family and coworkers?

Myth: Social Security is going broke.

Reality: There is no Social Security crisis. By 2023, Social Security will have a $4.6 trillion surplus (yes, trillion with a 'T'). It can pay out all scheduled benefits for the next quarter-century with no changes whatsoever.1 After 2037, it'll still be able to pay out 75% of scheduled benefits--and again, that's without any changes. The program started preparing for the Baby Boomers retirement decades ago. Anyone who insists Social Security is broke probably wants to break it themselves.

Myth: We have to raise the retirement age because people are living longer.

Reality: This is red-herring to trick you into agreeing to benefit cuts. Retirees are living about the same amount of time as they were in the 1930s. The reason average life expectancy is higher is mostly because many fewer people die as children than did 70 years ago.3 What's more, what gains there have been are distributed very unevenly--since 1972, life expectancy increased by 6.5 years for workers in the top half of the income brackets, but by less than 2 years for those in the bottom half.4 But those intent on cutting Social Security love this argument because raising the retirement age is the same as an across-the-board benefit cut.

Myth: Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security.

Reality: Social Security doesn't need to be fixed. But if we want to strengthen it, here's a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share. If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come. Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income. But conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share.

Myth: The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided and is full of IOUs

Reality: Not even close to true. The Social Security Trust Fund isn't full of IOUs, it's full of U.S. Treasury Bonds. And those bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The reason Social Security holds only treasury bonds is the same reason many Americans do: The federal government has never missed a single interest payment on its debts. President Bush wanted to put Social Security funds in the stock market--which would have been disastrous--but luckily, he failed. So the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund, which are separate from the regular budget, are as safe as can be.

Myth: Social Security adds to the deficit

Reality: It's not just wrong -- it's impossible! By law, Social Security funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit.

Unfortunately, Krugman won't take on the millitary industrial complex. If we did that and cut our so called defense expenditures and homeland security expenditures by at least 50%, we could much better address our social and energy problems.

The fear lobby, unfortunately, found their perfect argument in anti terrorism, a battle that can never be won and elicits boundless expenditures that last forever.

Unfortunately, Krugman won't take on the millitary industrial complex.

I know I shouldn't project my thinking onto him, but I think our thinking processes don't differ too much. He would like to reduce the military industrial complex, but see's this as a losing battle that will detract from his primary battles. In terms of scale, the medical care that society expects far exceeds all the other expenditures, so it is the make or break issue.

The trouble with setting up programs is that they develop bureaucracies and constituencies. The war on drugs was ill conceived and counterproductive. The establishment of hundreds of military bases all over the world is wildly expensive and making enemies for us. The medical insurance industry is wasteful and profits from denying care. But these enterprises employ millions of people. Close them down, as reason would indicate, and what do you do with the overstaffed sheriffs' departments, the soldiers brought home to communities without jobs, the insurance company employees with no reason to exist?

We were talking earlier about greater and lesser evils. There are seldom entirely good policy choices. (Hey, I'm a Liberal. But what are we going to do with all the people on this planet?)

Well . . . I don't mean to attack his thesis. But we really do not need to light all our streets. Our cars do have headlights. Sometimes we really do need think "Do we really need this?" Clearly educating our children is paramount. But not every street needs lights.

What about pedestrians? Should they all wear miner's lamps after sunset?

Not sure if this has already been posted, but Simmons has passed away:


'Peak Oil' Theory Advocate Matt Simmons Dies

Matt Simmons, a prominent oil investor who argued the world was rapidly approaching peak oil production capacity, died suddenly on Sunday of an apparent heart attack at his home in North Haven, Maine.

Simmons, 67 years old, founded Simmons & Co. International, an investment bank that caters to energy companies, in 1974.

"US Electricity Blackouts Skyrocketing"

"(CNN) -- New York's Staten Island was broiling under a life-threatening heat wave and borough President James Molinaro was seriously concerned about the area's Little League baseball players.

It was last July's Eastern heat wave and Consolidated Edison was responding to scattered power outages as electricity usage neared record highs.

So, authorities followed Molinaro's suggestion to cancel that night's Little League games, which were to be played under electricity-sucking stadium lights...."

"...Should Americans view these kinds of scenarios as extraordinary circumstances -- or a warning sign of a darker future?

Experts on the nation's electricity system point to a frighteningly steep increase in non-disaster-related outages affecting at least 50,000 consumers."


The answer, according to experts interviewed, is the "Smart Grid".

"Experts on the nation's electricity system point to a frighteningly steep increase in non-disaster-related outages affecting at least 50,000 consumers.... a warning sign of a darker future" ???

How soon before we are experiencing problems similar to those of Pakistan, or South Africa. Maybe we have the time, energy, resources and Capital left to convert to a "smart grid, and maybe it might help. And maybe our government and financial sectors will survive long enough to move us in that direction.

Or maybe not.


How much of the lighting is really necessary ? or just recreational ??

Wait . . . little league kids play games under stadium lights? Who pays for that? And why? Call me the cranky old man but that seems ridiculous. I'd be fine with it if the parents of the kids pay the bill to install the lights and pay for the power. But I doubt that is the case.

OT: The numerous reports of heat waves and wild fires call to mind one of my favourite British films entitled "The Day The Earth Caught Fire" (in this case, the trigger is not AGW but rather nuclear testing). I highly recommended it.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MYGonuA4_o


Hi Paul,

My first encounter with this gem. Very good movie.

Quite prescient, too. Hard nosed. And the focus on the weather is uncanny.

Boy o boy, how much I miss these quality classics. Wonderful character development, good acting, and an edgy story line. People actually cared about current events in those days.

We've perfected the image only to show garbage in high definition. Pity.


Hi Tom,

I happen to like this film a lot and it strikes me as a harbinger of what's to come with regards to AGW. Insightful and wonderfully executed in every way. The title might throw some off, but it's truly a gem as you say.


Just got this message from Matt Simmons' office.

He passed away unexpectedly yesterday at his home in Maine. Here's the message:

Rockland, Maine (August 9, 2010)

Matthew R. Simmons, founder of the Ocean Energy Research Institute in Rockland, Maine, passed away suddenly on Sunday. He is survived by his wife, Ellen, and their five daughters. Mr. Simmons was also former chairman of Simmons & Company International. Details of services are pending. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Ocean Energy Research Institute.

Kind regards,

Laura Russell

Executive Assistant to

Matthew R. Simmons

From Bob Cavnar of the Daily Hurricane - http://dailyhurricane.com/2010/08/matt-simmons-oil-industry-icon-dead-at...

Matt Simmons, Oil Industry Icon, Dead at 67

Matt Simmons, who founded investment house Simmons & Co. and who wrote several books on peak oil, died yesterday at his summer home in Maine; reports are conflicting; the source in Maine says it was by drowning and others, a heart attack. Matt was 67 years old. A Peak Oil advocate, Matt wrote a great book in 2005 about the state of the oil fields in Saudi Arabia, called Twilight in the Desert. He told me earlier this year that he was working on a second edition of the book to update for current affairs. I'm sorry to see that project come to an end; it was some of his best work.

This news made Drudge through a link to a Yahoo News. There are more than 100 comments at this site, some of which are quite strange.

I thought I would pass on a warning to everyone who follows some links in TDB especially to newspaper sites. There is a particularly pernicious virus/trojan horse that enters through browsers from sites that support a lot of advertising. I got my latest hit from HuffingtonPost.com (still trying to track down which advertiser). This virus is one of the most clever yet devised and new versions are popping up at several per day! It establishes a 'root kit' and after that you are hosed. If an unrecognized "virus scanner" pops up and starts reporting various files as being infected you have a problem. The only thing you can do is kill the computer and do a clean and reinstall.

I can't tell you how much time I have lost in the last three weeks because of this, so I thought I'd better alert those who have a habit of clicking newspaper links (newspapers are particularly bad because they are so hurting for revenue from advertising that they accept ads from just about anyone!)

I've had this too, and several clients I've worked at.

There's free anti-malware software that will take care of it, but it may have to be run from an external hard drive or flash drive, as some versions of this virus disable anti-malware on one's computer.

All the more reason to use Firefox and Ad-Block. I haven't seen ads in years.

Leanan, they are not usually actual ads. Instead server websites (sometimes fairly high profile) are hijacked and the code runs directly when you visit the website. Ad-block alone won't stop it. Need s script blocker.

He said it was an ad.

In any case, I have NoScript and Flashblock installed as well.

I think I said it was from sites (meaning servers) that support advertising (meaning loaded from still other servers). I did not mean to imply it was a specific AD. But your advise is good.

"NoScript" (with the little snake) is an excellent firefox plugin.

All the more reason to browse the 'net via running Linux as an unpriviledged user.

Havent' had my system compromised by such things, to my recollection, ever. Not since I've been running Linux on my home workstation, which I started to do in 1999.

Agreed. The machines I use at home all run Linux. I still run No Script to keep things speedy.

Agreed. :)

Running Linux, too. Never had any problem, but of course, I update my system regularly and also run ClamAV antivirus with fresh database now and then just for fun of it and to be on the safe side.

But I disagree with George Mobus' :

The only thing you can do is kill the computer and do a clean and reinstall.

There is this booting to "Safe mode" for that. Being an IT technician, I cleaned many PCs using safe mode and it worked well. Sometimes even used MiniPE or Hiren's BootCD if things got very messy and had to copy system restore point manually (to restore registers).

So there are ways to avoid that sometimes time-consuming reinstall. :)

I assume that this is a Microsoft problem. Just saw a news item that Microsoft is issuing 14 software patches, eight of them critical:


follows some links in TDB especially to newspaper sites. There is a particularly pernicious virus/trojan horse that enters through browsers from sites that support a lot of advertising

This doesn't help the non-tech-hip. What is TDB? When exactly does the attack occur- simply by going to the front page of msn? click into a story from the front page? click on a link inside a story?

*sigh* Paper newspapers were so much better- news, animal bedding, mulch and woodstove tinder all in one...

That fake virus scanner has been around for years in one guise or another. I use a freeware program ( www.malwarebytes.org ) to remove it when I run into it. I have not downloaded it in some time, but the version I have works well.

i'm not sure if anyone posted this yet but it appears Matt Simmons has passed away


Just saw that at TAE. I, for one, appreciate his early involvement in peak oil, and for being one of the many who have helped prod me along the path from intelligence to education to wisdom.

Energy, Economy and Environment

"Martenson supports the theory of peak oil, which maintains that, at some point, the maximum rate of petroleum extraction from the earth will be reached and production will start declining. There will still be oil, but it will be harder to find and more expensive to produce. Martenson says that he is unsure of when we will reach peak oil, but predicts it will be soon, if it has not begun already.

"There is a very large story, that I still feel is under-appreciated out there, around the imminent arrival of peak oil," Martenson says. "It's coming, it's coming soon, whether its in five years or maybe 10 years or maybe its already happening. In terms of long-term planning, that's now."

The problem is that the global economy is driven by energy and dependent on it being plentiful and relatively affordable. Alternative energy sources are years away from being as efficient and prevalent as petroleum. Consequently, the mechanism for economic growth must change to adjust to the new conditions"


More and more , Peak Oil is appearing in the main stream media