Drumbeat: August 30, 2010

Kurt Cobb - Personality profile: Do you "go with the flow" or do you "stock up" just in case?

Why is it that some people believe they can really store up much of anything? Yes, it is wise to have emergency supplies in case of a power outage or other disruption that might make it difficult to get food, heat and even water. But can one really stock up for a lifetime?

The illusion that we can is given to us by money. We are told that if we save enough, we can have a comfortable old age. But what is money other than a claim on the current flow of goods and services? It's not really a stockpile of anything. So, its value depends entirely on the smooth flow of energy and resources through the economy.

And yet, there are people who believe that money will somehow make them immune to the breakdown of this flow. Yes, enough money might make it easier for someone to get scarce goods during such a breakdown. But, ultimately a community that fails to function won't be able to provide you with anything no matter how much money you have.

Veils, Boomerangs, and Goldilocks

I don't have an answer to this question. I'm not sure anyone does. What I can say, however, is three things:

1. Whether from the wall or the brakes, a lot of us are going to get whiplash. There's no scenario I see to avoid some measure of hardship. But I'll take whiplash over broken bones. How about you?

2. I know we're on a train here, but if you haven't already, you might want to think about putting on a seat belt. The seat belt in this case is personal resilience and community resilience.

3. We increase our odds of stopping the train in time (and reducing casualties) if we help more and more people understand there's a wall up ahead.

A Hell of an Anniversary

HCN’s founder, Tom Bell, marks our 40th year with a prediction: We’re all doomed

How should progressives respond to the end of the Oil Age?

This serves as a valuable reminder that like most modern people, self-described progressives are also accustomed to technological fixes for nearly every problem and challenge, and the very possibility that some breakthrough technology or solution isn’t just around the corner is scarcely fathomable; that alternative energy might not be able to replace fossil fuels is so alien and so far removed from popular consciousness that this possibility need not even be discussed or rise to the level at which it is worthy of being dismissed in “The Progressive”: apparently it “goes without saying”-- the presumed untapped riches of renewable energy is, after all, “the only way”

U.S. Gulf Drilling Critical to U.S. Economy, Energy Security

The current drilling moratorium in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and proposed legislation that would add increased regulations, costs and taxes to offshore drilling pose a threat to U.S. energy and economic security, according to energy advisors with the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions.

Adding layers of regulation will make it more difficult to drill for and develop U.S. resources, and rules that create a punitive tax and royalty regime likely will result in companies investing in projects overseas. For smaller companies with no overseas operations, the consequence of added regulation and associated costs may mean going out of business.

Kazakh tax has Western oil firms over a barrel

This month, Britain's BG Group and US oil giant Chevron faced a case of Hobson's choice – either start paying Kazakhstan more than $1m (£650,000) a day in unwarranted export duties, or see their oil and gas exports stopped dead at the border. There are no prizes for guessing which option they took.

Power Hungry: Iraqis Ask 'Where Is The Electricity?'

The country is generating almost double the amount of electricity it did immediately before the 2003 invasion, but the amount is still woefully inadequate to meet ordinary Iraqis' needs.

"It comes for one hour although it is not for a whole hour. It goes on and off all the time. Technically we have the electricity for about 20 minutes only," says one Baghdad resident who wished to remain anonymous.

'Iran seeks nuclear fuel self-sufficiency'

An Iranian political analyst says the inauguration of the country's first nuclear power plant has been a step in the direction of becoming self-sufficient in the field of nuclear energy.

Iran offers Lebanon upgrading of defence capabilities and solution to energy crisis

Beirut - The Iranian ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi declared, according to An Nahar, that his country is prepared to support the Lebanese armed forces with equipment according to their needs and Iranian capacity.

Diminishing Returns From Middle East Projects

As my fellow blogger Malini Hariharan wrote last week "the projects environment in the Middle East has irrevocably changed" and with it the rather glib and outdated assumption still being frequently made that building capacity in the region represents a licence to print money.

First of all, as Malini pointed out, further supplies of advantaged gas feedstock are no longer available with high sulphur content meaning that extra processing costs could push non-associated prices to $4/mmBTU and above.

Malaysia: Pro-coal group adds new twist to coal controversy

KOTA KINABALU: The controversial proposal to build Sabah's first coal-fired power plant has taken a new twist with the arrival of a new pro-coal pressure group, the People's Assembly Action Committee (PAAC).

The newly formed pro-coal lobby has incurred the wrath of anti coal-fired power plant coalition, Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future), for claiming that the people in the east coast of Sabah support the project.

For green movement, a change in climate

On Thursday, some of the country's most respected environmental groups - in the midst of their biggest political fight in two decades - sent a group of activists to Milwaukee with a message.

We're losing.

They put on what they called a "CarnivOil" - a fake carnival with a stilt-wearing barker, free "tar balls" (chocolate doughnuts), and a suit-wearing "oil executive" punching somebody dressed like a crab. It was supposed to be satire, but there was a bitter message underneath: When we fight the oil and gas industry, they win.

Prefab home assembled in hours wins green honor

In Newport Beach, Calif., a modern factory-built home assembled in hours and finished in days has recently earned a coveted green certification.

The two-story boxy model, ideal for narrow urban lots, won the top or platinum rating from the private U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.

Greenest wines? Vintners avoid heavy glass bottles

Many vintners are striving to be organic and eco-minded in their farming, but only a handful have addressed the packaging issue, according to a 2010 ranking of 25 major wineries.

Biofuels Firms Buy Up African Land, Cause Deforestation, Food Output Loss

Biofuels companies from the U.K. to Brazil and China are buying up large swaths of Africa, causing deforestation and diverting land from food to fuel production, the environmental group Friends of the Earth said.

Across the continent almost 5 million hectares of land, an area bigger than the Netherlands, have been sold to cultivate crops for biofuels since 2006, Friends of the Earth’s Brussels- based European division said today in a 36-page study.

Crude Falls From Seven-Day High on Skepticism About U.S. Economic Recovery

Oil fell from its highest price in more than a week on concern that last week’s 2.3 percent gain was optimistic, given the outlook for fuel demand in the U.S., the world’s biggest user of crude.

Futures erased earlier gains after the dollar strengthened against the euro, making dollar-priced commodities less attractive for investors in other currencies. The Commerce Department reported on Aug. 27 the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 1.6 percent in the second quarter, down from an estimate of 2.4 percent last month.

U.S. Gasoline Falls to $2.6979 a Gallon as Crude Declines, Lundberg Says

The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. filling stations fell to $2.6979 a gallon as supplies of the motor fuel increased and crude prices dropped.

Gasoline declined 7.43 cents in the two weeks ended Aug. 27, according to a survey of 2,500 filling stations nationwide by Trilby Lundberg, an independent gasoline analyst in Camarillo, California.

Risk-Taking Rises as Oil Rigs in Gulf Drill Deeper

In a remote reach of the Gulf of Mexico, nearly 200 miles from shore, a floating oil platform thrusts its tentacles deep into the ocean like a giant steel octopus.

The $3 billion rig, called Perdido, can pump oil from dozens of wells nearly two miles under the sea while simultaneously drilling new ones. It is part of a wave of ultra-deep platforms — all far more sophisticated than the rig that was used to drill the ill-fated BP well that blew up in April. These platforms have sprung up far from shore and have pushed the frontiers of technology in the gulf, a region that now accounts for a quarter of the nation’s oil output.

Major offshore accidents are not common. But whether through equipment failure or human error, the risks increase as the rigs get larger and more complicated.

BP's life on 'frontiers' of energy industry at risk

LONDON — At a celebration of BP's centennial last October, CEO Tony Hayward boasted to guests that the oil company "lives on the frontiers of the energy industry."

But this week, in the first major sign that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill may have caused lasting damage to the company's long-term strategy of embracing projects with high risks, BP was frozen out of a potentially lucrative license to drill for oil off the coast of Greenland.

In Oil Inquiry, Panel Sees No Single Smoking Gun

HOUSTON — More than four months after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, there appears to be no single smoking gun that implicates one person or company in the disaster. Instead, several missteps and oversights by the crew are being explored by federal investigators as possible triggers of the emergency.

Mr. Feinberg and the Gulf Settlement

Mr. Feinberg’s plans for distributing BP’s money, announced last Monday, seem magnanimous and fair. They would provide swift, short-term relief for Gulf Coast residents, and a process for measuring — and appropriately compensating — long-term losses. Mr. Feinberg must be willing to make adjustments along the way. But everyone will get a hearing, and his fund is sure to be vastly better than the BP operation it replaces.

RWE joins Kurdistan’s gas effort

Kurdish hopes of exporting natural gas from northern Iraq have been bolstered by a German company’s offer of assistance.

On Friday, the big German gas and power company RWE signed a co-operation agreement with the regional government of the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan. The object is to create pipeline routes and other infrastructure for marketing Kurdish gas.

Russia Will Boost Oil Exports to China With New Pipeline From East Siberia

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin opened the Russian section of an oil pipeline that will boost oil exports to China from East Siberia.

“This is an important project because we are beginning to diversify the delivery of our energy resources,” Putin said at today’s opening of the pipeline in Skovorodino in Russia’s Far Eastern Amur region, in comments posted on his official website. “Thus far, shipments were made to our European partners.”

Shell near finishing new Nigeria pipe

Supermajor Shell said today its Nigerian joint venture, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), was close to completing a new $1.1 billion pipeline to the Bonny export terminal which will have a capacity of 600,000 barrels per day.

Chevron to explore for oil off Liberia

Reuters) - Chevron Corp has signed a deal with Liberia to explore for oil and gas in three deepwater blocks off the West African country's coast, an official in the president's office said.

Italian energy agency asks for ENI gas rule change

(Reuters) - Italian energy authorities want the government to amend gas market rules approved earlier this month that would let ENI (ENI.MI) control up to 65 percent of the Italian market, the Authority for Electrical Energy and Gas said on Monday.

Saudi and Kuwait make Khafji gas plans

A joint venture between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait plans to build gas and natural gas liquids collection and distribution facilities at the Khafji oilfield, according to reports.

'Lukoil must stay public'

Russia’s Lukoil should not buy back its remaining shares from ConocoPhillips according to the company’s chief executive Vagit Alekperov.

Alekperov, who had said the same before Lukoil decided to proceed with the first part of the buyback earlier this month, said that it would be hugely beneficial for Lukoil if the remaining stake were sold on an open market, the business daily Vedomosti reported.

Norway's natural gas production down in July

(Reuters) - Norway's natural gas production fell to a preliminary 7.5 billion cubic metres in July from actual production of 8.5 billion cubic metres in June, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said.

With Neighbors Unaware, Toxic Spill at a BP Plant

TEXAS CITY, Tex. — While the world was focused on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a BP refinery here released huge amounts of toxic chemicals into the air that went unnoticed by residents until many saw their children come down with respiratory problems.

For 40 days after a piece of equipment critical to the refinery’s operation broke down, a total of 538,000 pounds of toxic chemicals, including the carcinogen benzene, poured out of the refinery.

Rather than taking the costly step of shutting down the refinery to make repairs, the engineers at the plant diverted gases to a smokestack and tried to burn them off, but hundreds of thousands of pounds still escaped into the air, according to state environmental officials.

‘Central banks, governments can’t print barrels of oil and shale gas is no game changer’

In our view, shale gas is not a game changer.First and foremost, shale gas suffers from very high depletion rates.

The Republican Who Dared Tell the Truth About Oil

Matt Simmons understood the wages of addiction and wasn't afraid to sound warnings, even to George W. Bush.

Sign of the Times

Cook argued that even if we could buy ourselves a few more decades or even a century, a crisis was inevitable--one that would threaten the lives of billions around the world. Although people today tend to think mainly of how a declining oil supply would affect the economy, Cook was more concerned that without abundant fossil fuel or a renewable replacement for it, the global population would be unsustainable.

Losing our way on roads

Everyone pays for public transport, first through taxes and then through fares, and it is time everyone had access to it, just as they do to roads. Instead, Melbourne's transport planning has for decades been focused on building more roads while applying pain-killing injections to a moribund public transport network.

Transition movement eyes bleak future and sees opportunity to plan for change

Climate change. Dwindling oil supplies. A precarious economy. Disruptions to the national food supply.

The future, some believe, is likely to throw a large wrench into life as we know it. The assumptions that we make - that there will be food at the grocery store, gas at the filling station, a regular job to go to on Monday morning - may be tested in a way that's hard to imagine. And there could be considerable hardship if we don't put those assumptions aside and begin planning for change.

Environmental Sustainability, Peak Oil and World Hunger

Last year, The United Nations reported that over one billion people in the world are starving. That's more than 16% of the world population that are in extreme want for food; meanwhile industrialized nations waste almost equal to their consumption. And considering the general girth of industrial waistlines, that's a lot of food.

What's the value of home-grown food?

While my garden has so far been unprofitable, at least in financial terms, there are apparently people out there -- even in space-scarce cities -- who grow lots and lots of food in their backyards. Like enough to feed their families, or to make a significant dent in their grocery bills.

Curious how they do it, I set out to find someone whose backyard vegetable garden was a substantial source of food and a real money-saving venture.

European Commission Receives 19 National Renewable-Energy Plans, 8 Missing

The European Union’s regulatory body has received 19 national renewable-energy action plans and will prepare legal action against the remaining eight EU countries if their strategies aren’t submitted “very soon.”

German Solar-Power Capacity May Exceed Wind by 2020, State Adviser Says

Germany probably will have more production capacity at solar power plants than from wind-energy turbines within a decade, a government energy adviser said.

Europe’s biggest electricity producer by the end of the decade will likely have about 42 gigawatts of installed capacity from photovoltaic panels that turn sunlight into power, compared with 41.9 gigawatts of wind power, both onshore and offshore, Stefan Kohler, chairman of the DENA agency, an energy adviser to the government, said today at a briefing in Berlin.

Scale down industry call from climate change expert

SCALE down industry, strengthen local resilience and “include nature” in all development models.

That is the call from retired industrial chemist Hugh Laue, now a green business consultant, chairman of the Zwartkops Trust and a leading campaigner in Nelson Mandela Bay against climate change.

Japan plans to bind large firms to CO2 caps: draft

Japan's compulsory emissions trading scheme is set to start in April 2013 and cover large CO2 emitting companies, a draft of the government's proposals showed on Monday, but several issues are still open to debate.

UN climate change panel to face Himalaya error verdict

An international committee reviewing the "processes and procedures" of the UN's climate science panel is set to report on Monday.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has faced mounting pressure over errors in its last major assessment of climate science in 2007.

The review was overseen by the Inter-Academy Council, which brings together bodies such as the UK's Royal Society.

The findings are to be unveiled at a news conference in New York.

FACTBOX - Errors, findings by UN panel of climate scientists

Following is an overview of errors and overall findings in a 2007 IPCC report:

Greenhouse-Gas Regulation Backed by a Majority in Defense Council's Poll

A majority of U.S. voters say the government should regulate greenhouse gases linked to global warming and that the Environmental Protection Agency is up to the job, a poll for the Natural Resources Defense Council found.

The Urgent Islands

If a country sinks beneath the sea, is it still a country? That is a question about which the Republic of the Marshall Islands — a Micronesian nation of 29 low-lying coral atolls — is now seeking expert legal advice. It is also a question the United States Senate might ask itself the next time it refuses to deal with climate change.

Quebec utility bets on the electric car
Hydro-Québec launches largest electric vehicle pilot project, but critics say they don't have much to gain

In a few months, the town of Boucherville on Montreal’s South Shore will welcome the first of a fleet of 50 quietly whirring compact cars in what is being billed as the largest electric vehicle pilot project in Canada.

The $4.5-million project, using Mitsubishi’s all-electric i-MiEV car, is at the heart of Hydro-Québec’s e-vehicle strategy. The utility views the test fleet as a key tool to gather real-world data on day-to-day use of electric vehicles.

The information will be used to make crucial decisions about how to revamp the electricity grid to meet expected rising demand based on e-car use, and how best to deploy charging stations where the vehicles can plug in.

See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/quebec-utility-bets-on...


Hi, everyone. I'm off to Burning Man as I mentioned many months ago. For those who don't know it, it's an art festival and experiment in self-reliance and self-expression in the Nevada Desert. It's a community of communities in which just about everything can be found.

Vending isn't allowed and corporate logos must be covered up. It works only on the gift economy and/or the barter economy (mostly the gift economy). Attendance is roughly 40,000 people from every state and province and dozens of countries around the world. This will be my fourth time attending. BTW, though boundaries are stretched, it's far from lawless and has local, state and federal police presence, in case you're curious.

See images of past burns and learn more here:

Here is what the city looks like when fully built.


Scattered throughout the city are art installations, many of the largest ones are far to the left and require quite a hike or bike ride to reach.

The city is built on an ancient sea bed (nicknamed "The Playa") and the event is Leave No Trace. Before we leave, we will scour our site for even the smallest bits of garbage. The commitment is to leave the land as close to how we found it as we can. Anything that wasn't there before is considered MOOP — Matter Out Of Place.

The art cars are often something else. There are several hundred of them, all registered with the DMV (Department of Mutant Vehicles).

This video shows off many of them:

For more on the art of Burning Man, see:

Have a great week while I'm out in the desert trying to keep my skin from burning in the sun!

Enjoy the Burn!
My grand nephew left for Burning Man from eastern PA on Saturday morning. He should arrive sometime this evening.

Lots of fossil fuel burning ....


I'm so jealous, Andre'!

I just met an electronic-music artist here in Portland who is the curator of a VERY SMALL Maine version of burning man, called 'Sacred and Profane' .. so maybe I'll get a taste!

I did my 'free expression' by delivering my first-ever 'Sermon' yesterday, using a Yoda Puppet and my best Yoda Voice, to kick of a stream of ideas about Science and Spirit finding a balance. Unitarian/Universalist, naturally (or supernaturally..)

"Luminous Beings are we.. Not this Crude Matter!"

Anyhow, My mutant vehicles are all tugging on their chains to get West now!


If you have an interest in work that focuses on science meeting spirituality, I have a work to recommend - my email is in my bio :-)

Hi, everyone. I'm off to Burning Man as I mentioned many months ago.

At least you will get to have free cell phone service there!

"Today I bring you a story that has it all: a solar-powered, low-cost, open source cellular network that's revolutionizing coverage in underprivileged and off-grid spots.
...by offering free cell phone service to the 50,000-ish attendees at Burning Man, which begins today in Black Rock City, Nevada."


Re: Biofuels Firms Buy Up African Land, Cause Deforestation, Food Output Loss, up top:

Left unsaid is that this foreign land investment in bio fuels will likely be beneficial to local African economies. As bio fuel infrastructure is built, jobs will be created and countries with the investments will become more energy independent.

Friends of the Earth probably doesn't care much about that though.

Feeding into the ethanol plants around here is the little appreciated infrastructure of elevators and farmer storage which are de facto parts of the renewable fuel infrastructure. Last year’s corn crop of 13 billion bushels all had to find a home someplace until it was needed by hog /chicken factories, ethanol plants , export markets or whatever. This is no small undertaking.

Cellulosic ethanol lacks this infrastructure. If it were to ever become reality on a large scale a similar infrastructure of storage, feedstock gathering and quality control would have to be built. My thesis is that it isn’t going to happen because there is no market for cellulosic feedstock whatever the form.

To provide large scale cellulosic feedstock requires investment. Solving the technical problems of converting cellulose to ethanol is just the first baby step. Scaling up will be impossible without infrastructure, a market for feedstock and a dependable market for ethanol itself.

Ethanol is constantly under attack based on the fallacious EROEI concept which is IMO funded by oil interests who are fighting to hold onto liquid fuel market share. They have been largely successful.

So now we are in a situation where the ethanol market is nearly saturated. There is no market for cellulosic feedstock nor is there much of a market for ethanol of any kind: corn, imported cane or cellulosic. The market is capped at the blend rate for all practical purposes since E85 is a small part of it.

When gasoline demand drops due to conservation, improved mileage, recession or rising prices due to Peak Oil, the demand for ethanol also drops since most ethanol is consumed in blending at the fixed blend rate.

We are now committed to oil imports as much or more than ever. The American economy is being drained to pay for oil imports. This wouldn’t matter much if we had a trade surplus like Germany, China or Japan for example. But we don’t.

Instead we fight perpetual wars for oil security with terrorism flashback financed with debt partly sold to competitors like China and Japan. Americans have stagnant real wages, a shortage of jobs and a general loss of wealth.

They do have cheap gas though. That is what the electorate wants and will vote out anyone who proposes increased gasoline taxes that are common in many oil importing countries.

The whole thing is absolutely insane. It will eventually end and end badly.

Something that can not continue, will not continue.. Just when and how the total nonsense of American energy policy/non policy collapses is the only question.

I have a share in North Central Coop It cost $25. When a farmer has a share the coop pays a dividend in proportion to the business done with the coop. It can amount to a few cents per bushel of grain delivered for example. Other business done with the coop pays different rates.

This is provided the coop is making money. The Woden facility was once a small elevator coop that that got in trouble back in 1995 when corn prices spiked to around $5.00. They mismanaged their “hedge to arrive” contracts or farmer members defaulted on the contracts. Anyway they got in trouble and were bailed out by North Central Coop which was better managed.

"Left unsaid is that this foreign land investment in bio fuels will likely be beneficial to local African economies. As bio fuel infrastructure is built, jobs will be created and countries with the investments will become more energy independent."

What BS, more likely farmers will lose their land, the infrastructure projects will ruin family life and social cohesion, corrupt officials will get rich and investing countries will be held to ransom by IED loving guerilla groups. The US Africa Command will suddenly have a "raison d'etre" and start killing everyone and huge amounts of money will be transferred from tax payers to the elite and other assorted scum.

Burgundy -

I'm with you 100 percent on this one.

This is nothing more than a modern version of colonialism. Or perhaps economic colonialism, to be more precise. It is one big resource grab trying to disguise itself as economic development.

Big international agri-businesses will control the land, pay the natives a barely subsistence wage, and will export both the bio diesel and the profits, with of course a generous cut going to corrupt government officials and their cronies. The former farmers not 'lucky' enough to get work on these giant plantations will flock to the cities, making these already overcrowded and over-stressed Third-World hell-holes even more of a nightmare than they already are.

And as you alluded, there will be periodic and perhaps chronic local food shortages, as vast amounts land is diverted from local food production and as product leaves the country. This will be not unlike the situation during the Irish potato famine in the mid 1800s, in which absentee landlords were still exporting large amounts of beef back to England, while peasants outside the gates of the estates were literally starving to death.

And yes, making Africa another 'oil producer' in this way will ensure that there will be perpetual low-level armed conflict, which always has the potential to deliberately or inadvertently escalating into something far more serious.

I might go along with growing large amounts of bio diesel in Africa if it were to be used locally by Africans, but that will not be the case. As such, I can see nothing good coming from any of this.

It's all about the EU B20 biodiesel requirement --almost all FOE projects are jatropa, palm oil, castor bean, etc. plus some sugar cane and one possible maize project.
Most biodiesel crops get under 80 gallons per acre.

The only efficient biodiesel crop is oil palm which gets 600 gallons per acre but is restricted to certain climates.
Besides palm oil is an absolute food necessity for cooking oil.

Biodiesel from algae in photoreactors is a better idea, as is getting off diesel entirely.

What you've described is 'Ethano-collonialism' .. it may make the 'averaged economy' go up, but only because the rich who scooped up the land from the poor family farmers are going to be raking it in even more than ever.

That would be the saddest legacy for your beloved Biofuel, to simply outsource the landgrab to the African continent, so we here can claim it's not cutting into food-acres.

I hope you're careful about what you lobby for.


Biofuels - in the main,just another ecological disaster in the making.I know,x,that you have skin in the game but maybe you need to step outside of self interest for a while if that is possible.

Deforestation and loss of food vs a few short term (maybe) jobs. Doesn't sound like a very good tradeoff. A little deforestation here and little there and before you know it, there aren't any forests left. Yes, almost everything we do involves a tradeoff but we are creating/destroying a world where there won't be anything left to trade off. IMO, your point of view is funded by ethanol interests. Pretty silly statement, doncha think? But just about as persuasive as your statement that EROEI is funded by oil interests. For all I know, math may also be funded by oil interests.

math may also be funded by oil interests.

I would be surprised if an industry as big and technologically dependent as oil hasn't funded a few math scholarships, and university chairs. But thats an entirely different thing.

Peter Beutel was on CNBC this morning. He said oil inventories are the highest they've been in 27 years. And that's only because records only go back 27 years. They're probably higher than they've been in a hundred years.

He said they're higher than they were when oil was $10/barrel, and oil would be $10/barrel now, except that investors nervous about stocks and bonds are putting their money in oil instead.

Here is a link to that video:

Drilling down on the Markets

Airtime: Mon. Aug. 30 2010 | 5:33 AM ET
Insight on currencies and commodities, with Boris Schlossberg, GFT Forex, and Peter Beutel, Cameron Hanover.

Ron P.

That's quite interesting. Sounds like a bubble. So when the much-touted economic recovery does not happen and demand for oil drops, won't that bubble have to pop eventually?

Peter Beutel was on CNBC this morning. He said oil inventories are the highest they've been in 27 years. And that's only because records only go back 27 years.

He thereby betrayed his ignorance, since Annual Energy Review numbers for the US go back to 1949. Perhaps he meant international numbers? EIA international numbers go back to 1956, with separate series for industry and government starting in 1977.

Don't know what the 2010 US average is but the 2009 level of products stored was lower than that obtained in 1968. The size of inventories were growing at a much faster pace 30 years ago, too.

Oil inventories in one picture.. How does it compare to the current daily oil demand in the US? I think westexas rightly pointed out that the correct number to follow is the days of supply. Even if the inventory is higher than 30 years ago, so is the daily consumption.

I suspect that he is including the SPR, which of course was increased significantly during the Bush administration. Here is the SPR chart:

A more relevant picture is Days of Supply (commercial crude oil inventories):

And given a MOL of about 270 mb, the US has about 5.7 Days of Supply of crude oil in excess of MOL (not counting the SPR), but the industry has clearly gone to more of a just in time inventory system, since they have the SPR as a backup.

But if his point is that US demand is weak, relative to our 2005 consumption level, no argument here, but as I have said before, focusing on US inventory numbers, as an indication of global demand, is like the old joke about the drunk looking for his keys under a streetlight late at night. He lost his keys down the street, but the light was better under the streetlight.

My forecast for the US is that we are well on our way to becoming free of our dependence on foreign sources of oil--as we are outbid by developing countries, for access to declining global net oil exports.

focusing on US inventory numbers

Thanks - that's the point I missed. I didn't realize the topic was only US inventories.

This is the first time that I have actually shown these two graphs together. The horizontal time scales are not exactly the same, but note the pre-1995 increase in the SPR, versus the decline in Days of Supply crude oil supplies in the same time period (presumably because refiners had the SPR as a backup).

Record number in government anti-poverty programs

WASHINGTON — Government anti-poverty programs that have grown to meet the needs of recession victims now serve a record one in six Americans and are continuing to expand.

China's banking system shows disturbing, U.S.-style cracks

HONG KONG — Off-balance-sheet liabilities. Bad mortgage loans. Uncertain growth prospects.

These issues, which nearly toppled the U.S. banking industry and triggered the financial meltdown, are increasingly threatening the stability of Chinese banks.

Re disturbing cracks....

Barron's reports a rumor that the chairman of China's central bank has defected.

Currently circulating the Interwebs is the note from Stratfor this morning that Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, has fled the country, apparently because of a $430 billion loss on U.S. Treasuries suffered by the People’s Republic, according to Stratfor.


China: Rumors of the Central Bank Chief's Defection

Rumors have circulated in China that People’s Bank of China (PBC) Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan may have left the country. The rumors appear to have started following reports on Aug. 28 which cited Ming Pao, a Hong Kong-based news agency, saying that because of an approximately $430 billion loss on U.S. Treasury bonds, the Chinese government may punish some individuals within the PBC, including Zhou. Although Ming Pao on Aug. 30 published a report on its website indicating that the prior report was fabricated by a mainland news site that had attributed the false information to Ming Pao, rumors of Zhou’s defection have spread around China intensively, and Zhou’s name has been blocked from Internet search engines in China.

I haven't been able to find any confirmation of this story.

Anyone who has lost $430 billion in US Treasuries deserves punishment. But it seems pretty unlikely, given the market.

Would have had to be massively short. Much more short than they are currently long. If they were doing that, it's more disturbing than any defection. It would be a declaration of economic war. This rumor is just too far-fetched.

The only sensible interpretation I've heard is that he pulled back from US Treasuries and invested elsewhere. So the $430 "loss" is money that might have been made by staying in Treasuries. OTOH, you usually don't punish someone for diversifying a portfolio to reduce risk.

No way. You cannot short-sell the bonds of a sovereign nation, to such an extent, and not be detected. The Chinese have a massive long position in US treasuries, and are losing money on it.

China couldn't have lost $430B on its Treasury portfolio - rates have been plummeting which drives up bond value.

This raises the interest possiblity that China was shorting bonds (via swap or options) to hedge its exposure to Treasuries.

The magnitude of trade required to generate $430B of income would be stupendous, however. (Probably several trillion in notional.) I can't see how this could have occurred without some discussion in the markets - unless China used special facilities (e.g. swap lines) through other central banks.

If China truly lost $430B, what will they pay with without destroying the market for that asset?

It will be interesting to see the news develop.

Stratfor has come out with more analysis of the rumor.

What makes the rumors about Zhou more interesting, beyond his position as governor of the central bank, is the specific claim that he has defected to the United States. If true, this would have serious ramifications for domestic and foreign perceptions of China’s political and financial stability, as well as for U.S.-Chinese relations. Though the rumors may prove false, their emergence alone likely suggests an attempt to detract from Zhou’s reputation. This could be related to his economic policies — while the rumor of a loss of $430 billion related to U.S. Treasury bills is difficult to comprehend without more context, China has recently adjusted its foreign exchange reserve management, or Zhou may have been targeted as part of the factional struggles ahead of leadership transition in 2012. However, it is relatively rare in China for political leaders to be punished for failed policies, and more likely the consequence of scandals, misconduct or political purges.


"Defected" is such an old fashioned word. I wonder what it means? Were there any restrictions on his travel prior to his leaving? Is he just another illegal immigrant requesting political assylum? Was he a spy working for US intelligence who was spirited out of the country?

I think he can land in almost any nation and claim asylum. He did nothing wrong besides make a bad bet in the markets. He does not deserve to be scapegoated for it, let alone shot. Of course, if he lands incognito, he stands a much better chance of maintaining asylum.

The bigger mystery in all this ... is: what happened to reasonable, rational, educated people of purpose in this country to drive them into such burrow of cowardice that they can't speak the truth, or act decisively, or even defend themselves against such a host of vicious morons in a time of troubles?

-Johann Hans Kunstler, August 30, 1932

Found Jim some wheels - a redneck limo, no less:

So will we all be forced to wear patches IDing us as Collapsotarians? "First they came for the ASPO members..."

I see that Hurricane Earl is headed up somewhat near the east coast and predicted to have winds in excess of 110 mph. Looks like it ends up at Nova Scotia on Sat still a hurricane. Are evacuations of rigs in that area being planned?


Haven't heard of anything so far.

Hurricane Earl may make direct hit on Nova Scotia

Halifax - Atlantic Canadians should keep on the watch as several organizations are reporting that Hurricane Earl may make a direct hit on Nova Scotia as a category 2 hurricane.

According to the National Hurricane Centre, Hurricane Earl may make landfall in Nova Scotia early Saturday morning as a category 2 hurricane.

The Haligonia says its not time to panic yet but people should be aware and make necessary precautions as the storm is predicted to be as strong as Juan which hit Nova Scotia in 2003.

See: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/296794

In the next day or so, this little fella is off for a tune-up and oil change:


Good reminder. Thanks, Paul!~

Hi Bob,

Oddly, Environment Canada's latest weather forecast is calling for a 40 per cent chance of showers on Saturday, the day the hurricane is reportedly to make landfall (see: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/ns-19_metric_e.html) and yet when you look at the forecast track, as at 15h38 today, it's expected to hit Halifax pretty much smack-dab-centre (see: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/hurricane/track_e.html).

I drop off the generator at the dealership tomorrow morning and on the way back I'll rotate out the gas in the jerry cans, refill and add stabilizer. Powering the boiler ten minutes every other day will allow us to recharge the water heater and so we'll have plenty of hot water available to us should we lose power. We also have a propane cook top so we can prepare hot meals and drinks that way if need be, and I've started to make extra ice that we can pack inside the refrigerator. This extra coolth should allow us to coast a day or two before we become truly dependent upon generator power. I don't want to compromise food safety, but I'm hoping an hour or two of runtime each day will be sufficient to keep its contents at a safe temperature. If so, we'll have enough fuel on hand to keep us in good stead for three or four weeks if it should come to that and, if not, we start siphoning it from the Chryslers.

Addendum: The latest report and animation from CBC News...

Hurricane Earl raised to Category 4
Could threaten the Maritimes by weekend after striking U.S. east coast

Hurricane Earl was upgraded to a Category 4 storm Monday, as it lashed the northeastern Caribbean and set a course for eastern United States and Canada later this week.

The still-growing storm, with winds at 215 km/h, was upgraded by the National Hurricane centre at 5 p.m. ET.

"A turn to the north is still expected, but is being forecast to happen later and later. This means that more of the U.S. east coast could potentially be affected by Earl, from South Carolina to Maine," said CBC Meteorologist Natasha Ramsahai.

"After that, most forecast models are still bringing Earl as a potential Category 1 storm to the Canadian Maritimes for the Labour Day long weekend. There is still a chance that Earl could be kicked out to the east of Atlantic Canada, so we will have to wait another couple of days to better forecast this long-term track."

See: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/08/30/hurricane-earl-atlantic-storm.html


We've got a lot of food in Freezers.. stocked up heavy on berries and beef this summer.

But really, I'm worried about my roofs, both of which have some dodgy spots during wind and wet.

Guess we'll see..


Best of luck to you, Bob, and your fellow Mainers. We're fortunate in that our home is relatively sheltered from the south and east, although trees pose another risk. I have a chain saw, some tarps and an ample supply of nails on hand just in case.


How often does Halifax and environs get hit by hurricanes?

Hi dohboi,

Not very often, thankfully. Our last major hurricane was Juan in 2003. Generally speaking, we normally get the remnants; that is to say, by the time they hit here they're either tropical storms or depressions with moderately high winds and heavy rains.

Additional information can be found at: http://www.hurricanecity.com/city/halifax.htm


by the time they hit here they're either tropical storms or depressions with moderately high winds and heavy rains.

Where I used to live in New Mexico, we would get a remant (never even a recognizable depression by the time it reached us), about once every two years. We looked forward to them as welcome rains (usually an inch or two). We got more Pacific remants -or more often simply high altitude moisture blown off the top of them, but the heaviest ones came from the Gulf of Mexico. I remember a late season one, which collided with a cold front over our mountains. It caused freezing rain, and was the only time I ever saw a remnant take out trees.

But it seems , you get them with often full strength or not too far weakened. Often hurricanes transition in strong extratropical storms over the north Atlantic. That and even though they have to cross a lot of hurricane unfriendly water (ocean too cold, and usually high wind shear), the storms are usually moving so quickly that they have little time to weaken.

Hi EoS,

It's often the storm surges that wreck the worst damage. In case you may have missed the links at the the bottom of the above reference, take a look at: http://www.hurricanecity.com/images/hurrbillns1.jpg and http://www.hurricanecity.com/images/hurrbillns3.jpg


A quiet day off the British coast :) Yep, surges were the problem when we got sideswiped by Hurricane Kenna. Sea water flooded back, many streets from the sea, washing through shops and other buildings. There used to be a large stand of Mangos, next to the beach, which were probably 40-50 years old, by their size, and were wiped out by the salt. Fortunately landfall was some way north and we escaped the worst. Rain is another issue. Last night we had our main bridge linking 2 states and 2 halves of our bay taken down by the river torrent caused by heavy rains. The rains were from the stream of hot moist air that has been coming up after the last hurricane came past and new area that is forming, the airport reported 8.5" of rain.


Um,aren't you guys leaving that a bit late, shouldn't you have done that before the start of the season? :) What happens if it doesn't get back from servicing in time or they break something? Rotating the gas is one thing but a service just before you might need it might be asking for trouble.



It's a simple tune-up and oil change, so I think we'll be ok. Nonetheless, if disaster strikes, I still have my older Honda generator as backup. I don't like using it because it's not an inverter model (therefore "dirty" power), but if push comes to shove, it's there.


Good luck though. BTW I read somewhere that recommended welding generators for emergency backup as they outlasted ordinary gensets when run for long periods. The recommendation came from experience. Any thoughts?


Thanks, NOAM. I'm afraid I'm not very knowledgeable about gen sets. I like my Yamaha because it's amazingly quiet, fuel efficient, relatively light weight and the power it produces is super clean (our boiler has a Tekmar control system and I was always worried I might fry the damn thing if I operated it on the Honda; not a problem with the Yamaha).

BTW, to get a sense of just how quiet, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6tksq2kZws

More background can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiYrVaf6ZqA

To conserve fuel, we run the generator for short periods and only as needed. During the wintertime, it basically allows us to fire-up the boiler periodically so that we have heat and DHW (I'm kinda paranoid about pipes freezing). This time of year, our primary concern is the refrigerator and food spoilage. Otherwise, we have lots of batteries, flashlights, a couple battery operated radios, candles and enough basic supplies to see us through an extended power cut.


Gas powered welders make great emergency generators, Most are 10,000 watts, and cost about the same as a good quality generator only. They will weigh about 200 lbs more due to the extra parts(reactor)for welding.

I have a Miller Bobcat I picked up for $500. It spent it's life on the back of a heavy equipment service truck and had very few hours. Uses .9 GPH, some models have 2 modes, 1 for welding, and one which runs at lower RPM for power.

You just about stole that Bobcat!

Mine is my primary go to machine, and judging from past experience , I can expect it to last just about forever, excepting possible electronic faults-which are rare.

Anybody who is considering sinking money into a backup generator is a fool if he does not consider getting a true industrial quality machine, if he also expects a powered down future.

I could if necessary chill out my three food freezers, bring both refrigerators down to 32, and pump a couple of days water on less than a gallon of fuel.And while I haven't tried to do it, I am sure I could modify the engine to run on straight grain-ethanol.And run a load of clothes thru the washer to boot.

I checked the meter on one of these machines on a service truck at a job site recently-it was showing 7,500 hours.The guy using it said except for oil changes and tuneups and a new battery , "it has never been touched".

In ten years you may well not be able to buy critical components of the kind of machines sold to homeowners-and this has nothing to do with collapse.Been there as both an owner and a service tech.

As a general rule, you can buy parts for industrial machinery for at least twenty or thirty years and usually for forty or fifty year;and if repairs are necessary, there are trained dealer mechanics-something not necessarily the case when dealing with the ONLY MODERATELY CHEAPER cheap stuff.

Thanks OFM, it was you about a year ago that posted something that prompted me to look at Craig's list, and there it was.

I wish I were back in Halifax to hoist a pint at the Lower Deck.

I hope you have the opportunity to visit again soon, damac. Lots of great bars in the city, but the Lower Deck is pretty special.

See: http://www.lowerdeck.ca/


Climate change predictions must be based on evidence, report on IPCC says

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should only make predictions when it has solid scientific evidence and avoid straying into policy advocacy, a group of national science academies has warned in a report.

The IPCC was hit with a wave of criticism after acknowledging in January that its 2007 global warming report had exaggerated the pace of Himalayan glaciers melting. It had previously said the report had overstated how much of the Netherlands is below sea level.

"Qualitative probabilities should be used to describe the probability of well-defined outcomes only when there is sufficient evidence," said the review group, which was supported by the academies of science from the United States, Netherlands, Britain and other countries.

The report said the chairman of the IPCC should be limited to one six year term. Its current head Rajendra Pachauri of India, is in the middle of his second term. It called for an overhaul of the panel's management, including the creation of an executive committee that would include people from outside the IPCC.

Regarding the errors that appeared in the IPCC reports, the review group's report called for stronger enforcement of the panel's scientific review procedures to minimise future mistakes.

In brief,

"We appreciate responsible research, until it starts looking like it calls for actual responses, expenses, and further restrictions on the Business Community."

Put another way - "We'd rather *not* have people who really know what's going on involved in determining public policy"

In my opinion, what we've already pumped into the atmosphere has probably set our course for the next few generations. While I'd love to see us do whatever we can to stop the damage we're doing, realistically I don't believe that humans can stop themselves. Rather, I think those limits will have to be imposed externally. The only forces strong enough to accomplish that are peak oil and economic collapse - and the consequences of climate change itself.

So while the environmental damage and species extinction break my heart (and climate change is only part of that), "help" is on the way - in the form of long term, significant impediments to the ability of humans to cause such problems.

So let the denialists prattle on - it won't matter much anyway.

A relatively small group of people could bring that about rather quickly--

If all those skilled and trained in oil development stopped doing so, ideally sabotaging the system directly in the mean time, they would bring about a sudden and dramatic "reduction in economic activity," activity that is in fact omnicide.

Last time I brought up this possibility, though, rock was dismissive--though in a highly humorous way.

It is hard to see what else will slow the juggernaut.

Of course, every one of us who uses more ffs and ff derived energy than we absolutely need (that is all of us) are doing something about the problem every day--we are making it worse.

Policy advocacy is not part of their mandate. Organization

Because of its scientific and intergovernmental nature, the IPCC embodies a unique opportunity to provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers. By endorsing the IPCC reports, governments acknowledge the authority of their scientific content. The work of the organization is therefore policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive.

Development and advocacy of policy measures is the purview of other branches of the United Nations.

I do appreciate that.. but how many tones of voice does one have to choose from when 'suggesting that the theater is most definitely on fire' .. it might be fair to say that some conclusions will be so severe that a bit of commentary about 'doing something in response' is simply a human duty, mandate-be-damned.. particularly when the announcers are noticing that all prior warnings keep getting shushed out of the conversation, shouted down or otherwise prevented from turning into meaningful action.

It just becomes so much Country Club, 'We don't speak publicly about such things, dear. It's just not done!'

There comes a time to drop a dime..

Their real purpose from the beginning was to delay any really effective international efforts to avert GW by endlessly calling for more research before anything substantive was accomplished. The consensus structure insured that the biggest oil and coal producers and consumers could always water down the final report before it came out, as was done at the last moment even last time.

That is why it is particularly laughable (or would be if it weren't so disgusting and catastrophic) that the denialists paint IPCC as some kind of radicals pushing unsubstantiated claims about AGW on an innocent world.

The first paragraph of the main conclusion:

The Committee concludes that the IPCC assessment process has been successful overall and has served society well. The commitment of many thousands of the world’s leading scientists and other experts to the assessment process and to the communication of the nature of our understanding of the changing climate, its impacts, and possible adaptation and mitigation strategies is a considerable achievement in its own right. Similarly, the sustained commitment of governments to the process and their buy-in to the results is a mark of a successful assessment. Through its unique partnership between scientists and governments, the IPCC has heightened public awareness of climate change, raised the level of scientific debate, and influenced the science agendas of many nations. However, despite these successes, some fundamental changes to the process and the management structure are essential, as discussed in this report and summarized below.

(Swiped from commenter Heraclitus at RealClimate; the reviewipcc site seems to be slammed.)

The mistake I fear is underestimating the extent,speed, and impacts of climate change. They may well be right about the Himalyas yet. Anyway, it does not make any difference what they say because no one in a position to do anything about global warming is doing anything.

I just counted my spam folder. I was bored. Out of 50 spam e-mails 35 were Nigerian Bank scams, 8 were computer software/website ads, 4 get 'bigger' ads and the last 3 were on-line dating spams. It would seem that the spammers are concentrating on the big money these days. Sign of the times, I am sure. Whatever happened to the bygone days of 90% get 'bigger' ads? That was so long ago. 2002, I think.

The ones I haven't seen for years were for "Russian mail-order brides." I'm not sure if it's because the filtering software has gotten better or that the Russian economy has picked up a lot since those days. Some of those women were intimidating, at least as presented: pretty, multilingual, Masters degree or better education.

No problem with the women. It is the Russian mafia that sets it up that you need to worry about.

The vast majority of spam I get is still either "get bigger" or "last longer." Facebook-style Trojans are increasing, though. "Your nude photos on the web" or "Your wife's naked pictures" - trying to get you to either open an attachment or log into a fake Facebook site.

I got a classic "Send us your email and password so we can fix your account" scam last night.

Which I took as the umpteenth time to remind my family that anyone who should be able to do anything to any of your accounts doesn't need your password to do so.

So now we know: the only thing that makes oil more than $10 a barrel is the speculators:


Re: With Neighbors Unaware, Toxic Spill at a BP Plant

Enough. Please, whichever states chartered BP's various operations in the US, rescind the charter(s). I'm sure you've got laws on the books somewhere that allow you to dissolve corporations that act badly enough.

Photos of what happens when gearbox lubrication failures occur in windmills.
Spectacular no?


Doesn't top the images posted here last year of the Russian hydro turbines disintegrating, but this why I like Solar - No moving parts. Now if we could work on the capacity factor. Sun only comes up every 24 hours (at least on earth) - but it's reliable


Who will be 1st with a direct drive/gearbox-free Megawatt wind turbine.
Imagine how many poles that sucker will have.

Sell Vestas

Can't buy GE - they make ... well CNCB.. and Banksters

A bigger crash and burn ??


Who will be 1st with a direct drive/gearbox-free Megawatt wind turbine.
Imagine how many poles that sucker will have.

Enercon, up to 5 MW.


Off topic, but relevant.
A post from al.com I made earlier. I corrected some English and added clarity, but I think we need to discuss this. The underlying case was an illegal immigrant DUI/Murder charge, but I am talking about how Americans feel about Mexicans and vice-versa. For the record, though I am part Spaniard, I love and respect the Mexicans as a people and I want them as a major trading partner and free travel area. Reciprocated here but well regulated on both sides.

I wonder if Mexicans harm our lives more or the United States folks harm Mexicans more. I do not mean in this tragic case either, I am talking about Mexicans that stay in Mexico. Is Mexico jacked up because of the US? Surely the US has an effect even though Mexico controls their own destiny. I seem to have read somewhere that the richest 12 families control 90% of the land in Mexico. Our drugs laws and demand for the drugs have helped Mexico become an awful place. I am a patriot and a nationalist, but we are shafting Mexico far worse than they are shafting the US, IMHO.
One more thing. Mexico is our #1 trading partner. Not China, Taiwan, or the EU. Mexico. If I were Mexican, I would not buy anything from the US. I am not Mexican, in fact more Spanish. The Spaniards have been known to look down upon the Mexicans over here, but I try not to. God Bless America. That would include the Northern Territories of Canada to Cape Horn.

Mexico for the most part is fine, Unemployment is under 6%. Mexico shafts itself, the U.S. has very little to do with the bad things.

The homicide rate of Chicago is nearly double that of Mexico City, the crime in Mexico is concentrated in certain areas.

"the crime in Mexico is concentrated in certain areas"

Yeah, like Juarez where the homicide rate is higher than in many wars.

NAFTA had the effect of dumping tons of our cheap corn on Mexican markets, putting many of their farmers out of work. Many fled to the slums of MC, but many others came to the US, many of those, ironically (or rather intentionally) to provide cheap and essentially slave labor for the huge ag corporations who set up NAFTA for their benefit in the first place.

I think NAFTA has hurt Mexico at least as much as helped it. We flooded their market with cheap corn, driving their farmers out of business. The theory was that they would grow more profitable crops, like cut flowers, or get jobs in the city instead. But in the light of peak oil and resource constraints, it's probably not a good thing. There were "tortilla riots" during the food price spike three years ago.

People need to understand just how important tortillas are and are made from corn. A family may consume 1-3 Kg daily. I walked past one of the shops that make them yesterday. The machines turn out several a second and there was a queue outside. They are an essential part of the diet and provide a lot of the daily protein. They are a staple here like potatoes or rice are in other places (rice being very important here as well).


What is the deal with all this bedbug talk? I keep seeing articles pop up like these things are everywhere attacking everyone. Is this some ploy by the chemical companies to sell pesticides? Scare tactics by some obscure government office? Its just weird. Reminds me of all the flu scares.

I slept in a hotel over the weekend bare naked... i hope the bugs feasted on my drunken passed out body!

We had to get checked for them this year. Had sniffer dogs and everything. A Big Heating System was put into our APT to cook them out. My wife and daughter were getting a lot of bites, but not me. We also had an immediate neighbor with a really tough infestation to rout out. Luckily, our tenants places were clean. (Though one is a biologist who professionally collects and mounts insects on our 3rd floor!)

I don't know how much is hype, but not all of it, I can promise you that!

Now we've got mice and ants..

I was the one who they liked in our house. Pretty hellish, but rather me than my daughter.

I'm guessing, lax regulations on hotels (as on just about everything else) in the last ten years have lead to this explosion. It has been a great boon to the exterminator companies, though.

Or possibly you were the one that developed the greatest allergic reaction to the saliva that bedbugs inject with the bite. Others may have been bitten but not reacted to the bites.

jhk, the curmudgeon of armageddon, is on another "corn pone nazi" rant. i guess he is trying to
marginalize himself so he doesnt end up dead in a hot tube like mat simmons.

there should be "the manner in which jhk will be found dead" pool. folks pick which way jhk will be found dead. the different ways and frequencies can be plotted in a colorful graph. those that guess correctly will each be able to say, "first!".

jhk is an old guy. there was a picture of him on his website, CFN, where he looked like mr drucker
who ran the general store on the tv show green acres.

maybe jhk secretly eats cheese doodles. we all know he jet sets around the world and stays in air conditioned hotels using elevators and rental cars. i never read of jhk using a train to get anywhere or a sail boat or a tramp steamer. so we can eliminate those from his death scenario. perhaps he will be found dead in his garden propped up on a hoe or rake.

we need to chose a new messiah who will take his place as his mortal coil gets bundled off to eternity. we are on the downward slope of peak jhk, just read his blog....

other pundits say we need many earths for all humans to have an uhmerikan lifestyle. let us not forget mars and titan (a moon of saturn). those places have lots of hydrocarbons. let's go get them.
we should build a fleet of space ships shaped like oil drums. it could be done on a fraction of what the usa spends on it's military every year, year after year.

it's 90 on the east cost. i live slightly south of jhk. i had my AC running full blast and most likely til friday. however the unusual run of clear days has meant that my PV solar panels are juicing the AC. if the grid fails my solar panels do nothing. i aint got no money to hack the system and put in bat-trees. mebbe 10 grand more.

i work in a smithy for sheet metal. i make enough federal reserve notes to AC the house, pay property taxes and bills. guess i wont be going to burning man. no one is gifting me, although i am purty shore some one is shafting me (GS).

what exactly are you talking about?

Sssh.. just listen.

He's one of our Artists-in-reticence. .. and he can't decide whether he's proud or ashamed of his PV getup. I know all about ambivalence.

I'll write some free-verse about it when my Solar Hot Air panels start flying NorthEast under Hurr. Ike on Friday.

You've got enough income for the A/C, but not for a few Trojans? (Those are big, honkin' Lead Batteries for Solar Systems..) 'Safe Solar' is the way to go, my belligerent brother.. but I think the rants keep you happy.. and they are funny, so just do that, it's fine!


Yes-Hombaba is somewhat of a wordsmith and our best resident comedian with a fine grasp of the theatre of uhmerikan absurdity.

I always enjoy his comments.Sometimes he reminds me of the tv characyer Fred Sanford, other times Archie Bunker, other times Mark Twain.

There's an undercurrent of Thoreau's everymans' "quiet desperation" beneath his jocular commentary for those capable of appreciating it..

Humbaba ,I would be proud to have you for a nieghbor;life would be more worrthwhile.

Actually, I think JHK is on to something. Unfortunately, the odds of a Sarah Palin takeover increase daily. And I am sorry but I don't see the humor, or is it intended humor, with respect to JHKs death.

I will agree, however, that there is little evidence that JHK is actually making any meaningful changes in his lifestyle or mode of transportation. I think he should bike across the country and blog as he makes his way west through the American waste land.

JHK is the absolute definition of doomer porn. I always feel a little dirty after reading him. But I go back.

Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium

If Barack Obama were to marshal America’s vast scientific and strategic resources behind a new Manhattan Project, he might reasonably hope to reinvent the global energy landscape and sketch an end to our dependence on fossil fuels within three to five years.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard,
The I E A says the world must invest $26 trillion (£16.7 trillion) over the next 20 years to avert an energy shock. The scramble for scarce fuel is already leading to friction between China, India, and the West.
Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia at CERN on the use of thorium as a cheap, clean and safe alternative to uranium in reactors may be the magic bullet we have all been hoping for, though we have barely begun to crack the potential of solar power.

Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal – named after the Norse god of thunder, who also gave us Thor’s day or Thursday - produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal. A mere fistful would light London for a week.

a modern factory-built home assembled in hours and finished in days... two-story boxy model, ideal for narrow urban lots

A mobilehome. It's a doublewide mobilehome, with the two parts stacked atop each other instead of next to each other.

*scorn* 'bio-composite siding'! Chipboard! It's chipboard! And double pane windows, just like every mobilehome built since 1990. *uber-scorn* $500,000????

Tell ya what, I'll take the halves of mine apart, stack them atop one another, and let it go for $250,000. What a deal!

You may be able to sucker rich fools with trash like that, but the Trash know the layout of a mobilehome on sight. You won't find anyone of 'modest' background falling for this one! ROFL