Drumbeat: September 1, 2010

Oil Price Ignores Long-Term Supply Worries

You could be excused for seeing a grim metaphor for the death of the oil age in the scenes of destruction visited on the U.S. Gulf coast this summer.

However, production from the ocean floor is growing more quickly than from any other type of reserve and is supposed to allay concerns about ‘peak oil’, the idea that the amount of crude the world can produce might suddenly decline.

Now, so far, this notion hasn’t had much of an impact on energy prices.

But, as cheaper oil fields are run down and more crude is drawn from expensive, hard-to-reach offshore reserves, the costs of energy supply are starting to rise.

Drilling agency imposes conflict-of-interest rules

WASHINGTON – Scandalized by federal regulators who had sex with oil company executives and negotiated with them for jobs, the agency that oversees offshore drilling is imposing a first-ever ethics policy that bars inspectors from dealing with a company that employs a family member or personal friend.

Michael Bromwich, head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said the new policy should help restore credibility to his beleaguered agency, which was widely criticized under its former name — the Minerals Management Service — for being too close with oil and gas companies.

President Barack Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have pledged to end the agency's "cozy relationship" with industry and slow the revolving door between government and the energy industry.

Pemex looks to shale

Pemex is considering opening an entire line of exploration that concentrates on shale gas wells in the northern state of Coahuila.

Pemex board member Hector Moreira told Market News International the new line could reduce the company's dependence on natural gas imports.

OPEC oil output falls to lowest since Nov 2009

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC crude oil supply fell in August to the lowest since November 2009 as reduced supplies from Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq offset increased output in Angola, a Reuters survey showed on Wednesday.

Supply from the 11 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries with output targets, all except Iraq, averaged 26.83 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, down from 26.95 million bpd in July, according to the survey of oil companies, OPEC officials and analysts.

The Gas Bulls of Summer Turn into Bears

Recently, the last of the raging bulls on natural gas prices traded in their horns for bear uniforms – and we don’t mean the Monsters of the Midway variety! By throwing in the towel on gas prices for this year, these bulls-turned-bears then proceeded to claw their future gas price forecast by stating they expected $6 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) to be the long-term average. The reality is that these bulls of summer were really merely acknowledging the power of the market as natural gas prices are about two dollars per Mcf below where they were at the start of 2010, and well below the $7.50/Mcf average gas price the bulls had forecast.

Feds downplay risk of leak when well cap moved

The federal government's point man on the Gulf of Mexico spill response said Wednesday there is no "significant risk" that more oil will leak into the sea when engineers remove the temporary cap Thursday that first contained the gusher in mid-July.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said vessels will remain on standby just in case to collect any leaking oil.

FACTBOX - Key political risks to watch in Uganda

(Reuters) - Uganda expects to become an oil-producing nation in 2011, but a protracted dispute with British exploration firm Heritage Oil may delay production and risks unsettling other investors.

With the potential to be a top 50 oil producer, Uganda stands to reduce its budget dependence on foreign aid and improve poor infrastructure.

Nissan starts selling all-electric Leaf sedan today

At long last, Nissan begins taking actual orders today for the first next-generation fully electric car from a major automaker, the Leaf.


Passengers might be the most under-appreciated factor in how much fuel and money you waste. As I write this, for example, a business headline boasts of Toyota’s multi-million-dollar plan to boost fuel efficiency by 25 percent, with the usual discussion of what this will mean for the economy and the climate. Any of us, however, can boost the efficiency of our cars by several hundred percent instantly, with no additional expense or technology, simply by getting more people in the car.

This fact is also forgotten when we judge car owners by the wastefulness of their vehicles. An SUV is a spectacularly inefficient machine compared to a Prius, for example, but pack that Dodge Durango full of people and suddenly it is greener than the electric hybrid driven alone.

Transit systems easier to predict with smart phone apps

Allen Stern says he had a 40-minute wait between buses when he lived in Manhattan. Using a free mobile app that became available about a year ago, he could at least tap into the Metropolitan Transit Authority with his cellphone and find out exactly how far away the next bus was from his stop.

Jatropha: A new form of energy

SINGAPORE - Biotechnology firm JOil is confident that it can breed and genetically engineer the Jatropha plant to be a more sustainable alternative to fossil fuel and other biofuels.

It plans to create a Jatropha hybrid that can produce more fruits and match the four to six tonnes of oil per hectare that palm trees can generate.

Pedal power takes off as exercise produces electricity

Pedal power is gaining traction as thousands of bikes and elliptical machines are retrofitted to produce electricity.

Gyms are using sweat equity to help power their facilities. A Brooklyn eatery uses it to make smoothies. Female inmates at a Phoenix jail pedal to power their TV to watch soap operas. Actor Ed Begley Jr. bikesrides a bike to run his toaster.

Obama lobbied to add solar panels to White House

A campaign to make the White House greener is intensifying as a group of environmentalists plan this month to give President Obama a solar panel that used to sit atop 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Points of departure

There is a strong correlation between energy consumption and economic growth. We can for sure hope for "decoupling" - to be able to have continued economic growth while maintaining or even reducing energy use - but no country has ever managed this Indian rope trick and that does not bode well. Maybe we are high on energy, listening a little to closely to the voice of intoxication, but it will unfortunately all too soon be replaced by a massive hangover.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Prospects for China

The key question in all this is how much longer China's economic miracle can continue before the realities of finite mineral resources force a slowdown? Another five years of 10 percent annual economic growth will result in Beijing increasing its oil consumption by another 2.5-3 million barrels per day. This alone would likely mop up much of the world's spare capacity to produce oil and result in very large price increases. When China's ever growing demand is added to that of India, Brazil and the oil exporting states, the likelihood that we will see a substantial increase in oil prices within the next five years becomes very high.

Secret German military study warns of dramatic oil crisis

Berlin : A confidential German army study warned of a looming oil crisis which could have dramatic political and economic consequences for the world, the Hamburg-based weekly news magazine Der Spiegel said Tuesday.

According to the report, a think-tank of the German army has for the first time ever analyzed the security policy dimensions of the peak oil problem.

Peak Oil from a Security Studies Perspective

The Strategic Institute of the German Bundeswehr has now published a document on the implications of peak oil for security (more precisely: the study was leaked). The study is very well written and recommended as an essential read not only for geostrategist but especially for those involved in global sustainability questions. In fact, at least in wording the authors care about such diverse issues as environmental impact of unconventional oils and the impact of global-marked-induced land-use change on indigenous populations. It is worthwhile to have a closer look on some of their results:

Remembering Matt Simmons

Matt Simmons, a long time friend of the Maine coast and its islands and a student of the winds and waters of Gulf of Maine, loved to tell the story of his first trip to Maine, courtesy of a labor strike while he worked construction one summer as a college student in his home state of Utah. When a labor dispute suddenly shut down the construction site, he and a buddy were only too happy to collect their strike checks and head out on a jaunt. They went north into the Canadian Rockies then turned right and headed toward the Inscrutable East, dipping back down into the United States via the border at Jackman, where they drove along the shores of Moosehead Lake before ending up in Boston. On a lark, Matt ducked into the Harvard Business School, which had not had a long history at that point of actively recruiting students from Mormon country in Utah, but the visit was enough to entice him to apply and enroll. Matt loved telling that story because it held the kinds of mutually opposed contradictions he loved to explore-a businessman who owed his right future to a labor strike. If genius is the ability to hold mutually opposing ideas in the mind at the same time without being paralyzed, Matt Simmons would certainly qualify.

Oil Drops, Caps Worst Month Since May, as Hurricane Earl Threatens Demand

Oil tumbled, capping its worst month since May, on forecasts Hurricane Earl will pelt the U.S. East Coast, curbing fuel demand during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Crude dropped the most in 12 weeks amid speculation that stormy weather will keep beachgoers and travelers at home. Labor Day is the traditional end of the U.S. summer driving season, the peak gasoline demand period. U.S. gasoline demand slid to a 12-week low last week, MasterCard Inc. reported today.

“It’s the last thing we need,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy. “It’s a big gasoline consumption weekend. Given how poor the gasoline demand has been, it will be a final parting blow for the summer driving season if people won’t hit the beach in droves.”

Ethanol Surpasses Gasoline for First Time Since December

For the first time since December, ethanol prices are higher than gasoline as corn surges and refiners profit from tax breaks.

Gas Prices Explained

So what determines the price of gasoline? Speculators? Evil conspiring oil companies? Well, actually no. It's demand and supply, of course. On the demand side the American automobile fleet gets better gas mileage than it did a few years ago and Americans, whacked by the recession and high unemployment rates, are driving a bit less than they used to. In addition, thanks to government subsidies, about 9 percent of what goes into our gas tanks is ethanol produced from corn, which also reduces the demand for refined crude. On the supply side, global oil supplies are ample and refiners in the U.S. evidently believed the Obama administration’s rosy “recovery summer” scenarios and stockpiled a lot of gasoline.

Sinopec Plans to Cut September Oil Processing by 4% at Refinery in Hainan

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia’s biggest refiner, will process 4 percent less crude oil at its Hainan plant in September compared with last month, an official at the refinery said.

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Saudi Arabia

(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, under the rule of an ageing King Abdullah, has the dilemma of making reforms that keep the austere clerical establishment that opposes change on side and violent Islamist militants at bay.

Any instability at the helm of Saudi Arabia, which controls more than a fifth of the world's crude oil reserves and is a regional linchpin of U.S. policy in the Middle East, would be a concern for the rest of the Arab Gulf region.

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Yemen

(Reuters) - Rising al Qaeda militancy, a surge in violence in a secessionist south and crushing poverty will be this year's critical tests for Yemen, neighbour to top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

Reid hopeful for GOP energy votes after elections

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he hoped to pick up Republican votes for a pared-down energy bill after the midterm congressional elections.

"Maybe after the elections we can get some more Republicans to help us on these issues," Reid, a Democrat, told reporters in a teleconference on Tuesday.

Sinopec Sees Solid Gas Growth Ahead

While oil production experienced sluggishness in the first half, natural gas production showed solid growth. China is ramping up gas production as it seeks to find alternatives to coal, which emits high carbon levels. It is set to raise the country's energy needs from the current 3% to 10% by 2020.

Insurance likely to reduce BP's liability for Gulf of Mexico oil spill

BP PLC has taken on some of the blame for the Deepwater Horizon rig that spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year, but the company is still expected to have limited liability for mistakes made misreading pressure data that indicated a blowout was imminent.

BP Raises $363 Million in Malaysian Asset Sale to Help Pay for Gulf Spill

BP Plc, seeking cash to help pay for the worst U.S. oil spill, agreed to sell its Malaysian chemical assets to Petroliam Nasional Bhd. to focus on projects in China and India.

BP will sell its 15 percent stake in Ethylene Malaysia Sdn and 60 percent interest in Polyethylene Malaysia Sdn for $363 million, the London-based company said today in a statement. It will also be eligible for a possible $48 million dividend from the ethylene unit.

A Nuclear Giant Moves Into Wind

Exelon, a nuclear giant that recently backed away from building new nuclear plants, is moving into wind.

Canada company builds major waste-to-biofuel plant

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A Canadian company started construction on Tuesday on what it says is the world's first industrial-scale plant to turn municipal waste into biofuel.

Privately-owned Enerkem Inc said the C$80 million ($75 million) facility in Edmonton, Alberta, will produce enough biofuel to keep more than 400,000 cars a year running on a 5 percent ethanol fuel blend.

Thorium Cures the Free Market

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.

New Warnings About Costs of Nuclear Power

As anticipation grows about a possible renaissance for the nuclear power industry — and about its potential for curbing greenhouse gas emissions — some politicians are stepping up warnings about the high cost of such projects.

Last week, Traicho Traikov, the Bulgarian economy and energy minister, said the cost of building a second plant near the Danube River had reached 9 billion euros, or $11.4 billion, according to the Sofia News Agency.

The original cost of the project for two reactors was expected to be just under $4 billion.

Homeowners Must Pay Off Energy Improvement Loans

Many homeowners who participated in a program that let them repay the cost of solar panels and other energy improvements through an annual surcharge on their property taxes must pay off the loans before they can refinance their mortgages, two government-chartered mortgage companies said Tuesday.

The guidance came from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as efforts to resolve a dispute over the program — called Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE — have failed.

Calif. rejects ban on plastic shopping bags

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California lawmakers have rejected a bill seeking to ban plastic shopping bags after a contentious debate over whether the state was going too far in trying to regulate personal choice.

The Democratic bill, which failed late Tuesday, would have been the first statewide ban, although a few California cities already prohibit their use.

A Greener Champagne Bottle

“This is how we’re remaking the future of Champagne,” he said, pointing to the area just below the neck. “We’re slimming the shoulders to make the bottle lighter, so our carbon footprint will be reduced to help keep Champagne here for future generations.”

The Champagne industry has embarked on a drive to cut the 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide it emits every year transporting billions of tiny bubbles around the world. Producing and shipping accounts for nearly a third of Champagne’s carbon emissions, with the hefty bottle the biggest offender.

Cleaner Cars, A to D

The Obama administration has proposed new stickers for cars and light trucks that will make it easier to see whether you are buying a fuel-efficient one or a guzzler, and how much it contributes to global warming. The stickers are a symbol of how far this country has come in providing a wider range of environmentally responsible choices to help ensure cleaner air and a healthier planet.

L.A. mayor, Latino activists take on oil companies over Proposition 23

They say the ballot initiative to suspend the state's climate change law would hurt low-income communities already suffering the most from pollution.

Jeff Rubin: High energy prices make Copenhagen green

There is certainly much to be said for Denmark’s leadership in green energy. While North American carbon emissions have risen by around 30 per cent since 1990 (the reference point for the Kyoto Accord), Denmark’s emissions are actually lower than they were two decades ago. That’s generally ascribed to the fact that a world-leading 20 per cent of the power generated in Denmark comes from wind.

Less commonly known is the source of the other 80 per cent. I was surprised to discover that it comes from good old King Coal. In fact, coal’s share of power generation in Denmark’s power grid is basically the same as it is in China.

Tiny creatures reveal ancient sea levels

"It was a very big surprise," says David Barnes, lead author of the study at the British Antarctic Survey, of the find of similar bryozoans 2400 kilometres apart in seas on either side of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which is 2 kilometres thick.

"The most likely explanation of such similarity is that this ice sheet is much less stable than previously thought and has collapsed at some point in the recent past," he says.

"And if the West Antarctic ice shelf has been lost in recent times we have to re-think the possibility of loss in future with climate change."

Referring to the Thorium article cited above.

Now we know what TOD is all about:
"The manipulation of the market in the 21st century saw the rise of yet another movement that we may refer to as Peak Oil - the idea the world was running out of fossil fuels and would soon starve in the dark. These movements, the conservation movement and Peak Oil were among some of the most perfect power elite dominant social themes every floated. They were highly-tuned, fear-based promotions designed to drive believers into waiting arms of elite-created, authoritarian solutions, many of them globalist in nature. Eventually, these two movements would be joined by a third promotion called global warming.

Together, these three promotions constituted an intellectual backbone for a rigorously authoritarian command-and-control structure."

If we at TOD are all "elite globalists" and running an authoritarian command-and-control operation, then all I want to know is, where's my check??

My thoughts exactly. I've lost at least one job because of my concerns about global warming. That was 19 years ago I haven't had steady employment since then. While it may be true that only a few of the educated "elite" understand our twin problems of Peak Oil and Climate Change, that doesn't mean that this same group is going to get rich from either...

E. Swanson

I think the "elite" is just as clueless as any other group, if not more-so (since it's in bad taste for them to admit/believe that their system might not last).

Funny, but this is Drumbeat, a news aggregation that pulls from a variety of sources, which have varying views. To single out one article and attack TOD completely misses the advantage of having a wide spectrum of news sources to weigh and consider.

I certainly don't agree with the authors of some of the news articles, but at least I see their arguments and the facts/analyses (or lack thereof) by which they support them.

The quote attacking TOD-types was from the article "Thorium Cures the Free Market" which was published at www.rightsidenews.com/ .

You realize of course that by implicitly denying the conspiracy, you must be part of the conspiracy.

Surprisingly, peak oil and climate change do not require people to believe in them. Funny thing about reality - it just doesn't care whether you believe in it or deny it.

Which proves that Obama is a Moslem.

No, he's a muslin.

You're confusing him with socialist breakfast cereal.

Wouldn't that be a Muselin?

You're confusing him with socialist breakfast cereal.

I didn't realise that breakfast cereals were capable of holding political beliefs. You learn something new every day...

Okay, guys, here's a spelling hint for ya:



To be fair, many of the solutions proposed on this site imply a major top-down implementation and enforcement regime.

But at least no one here pretends otherwise. There is a story on the Thorium site -- rightsidenews.com -- entitled, I kid you not: "The Media Loses Readers and Viewers to its Own Radicalism." Do you think they have any idea what irony is?

Well, you might not be elite but I most certainly am.
(You may remain seated).

Only the elite have my studied indifference to money.
(And money's indifference to me).
I do believe we are estranged.

same here. i could pay some bills with it or put it to fixing my septum. :P

I posted on yesterday's drumbeat, hinting at my perception that I was a member of a lunatic fringe.

I commented on the story, pointing to the double hazards of Peak Oil and Sea Level Rise but, I guess the moderator thought I was some crazy, doomer nutcase so, the top comment is some BAU, optimist type

It's nice to know that there ARE people who are further out there, like the author of this piece!

Alan from the islands

Haven't rubbed shoulders with our planet's copious share of whackjobs yet, eh? Went trolling (pun) for some good quotes from freerepublic.com, and what do you know but there's a dedicated blog: Freeper Madness.

And now this word from outer space:

It is no coincidence that Obama is the common thread that connects all these separate forces of evil.

He is, indeed, The Unifier.

He is the very personification of all manner of evil...he is Muslim Holy Warrier, Marxist, Alinsky-Luciferian, white-hating/God-hating Black Liberationist, and G-d D@mn America Jeremiah Wright-styled Jew Hater.

On the chess board of life, Satan has at last revealed and exposed his black queen. Because an exposed queen is extremely vulnerable, this can only mean one thing.
The Endgame is at hand!

So Obama == Sinister, skinny, dark hued Divine?

OMG, we're gonna die!

Or, we could run everything on teabags. Yeah, that would work. Teabags and multi nationals could solve things.

Interesting times, but what are the real limitations of Thorium? It is often mentioned on TOD.

Thanks experts.

what are the real limitations of Thorium?

Having read the hype and the comments about how the idea has been worked on for X years - I'm guessing the models say it'll work but the models are not 100% and it doesn't work 'quite right'.

How long from 'lets split Uranium' till the 1st fission pile? Till the 1st boiling water/steam gen?

Given the science of atom splitting and the understanding of the math - there must be some other issues beyond 'spend money on research'/'you need the will to implement' message being pushed.

(The Thorium reactor VS Uranium reactor strikes me like the Stirling Cycle Engine VS otto cycle engine debates. The Sturling people state 'if only the money spent on Otto's were spent on stirlings' and then handwave ... yet Cattipiller spent a whole lotta cash and sold off that research and it's STILL not a commercial product 30 years later.)

Fission reactions to boil water to run a steam generator still suffer from:
1) being a target in war (Iran has said if they are attacked they'll wack a plant in Israel.)
2) the effect of an EMP pulse on plant operations
3) failure modes will render areas many, many acres of land uninhabitable. (demonstrated by Chernobyl)

Thus - if Thorium reactors were working - would they address the failure modes?

Thorium is NOT nuclear fuel(U-233, U-235, Pu-239).

If placed in a nuclear reactor a small fraction of it becomes nuclear fuel, U-233.

All reactors breed a little. A typical light water reactor with 4% U-235 fuel produces about 1% Pu-239 fuel.
A fast neutron breeder with 20% U-235 can produce 24% plutonium by changing U-238(depleted uranium) into plutonium Pu-239. These units have all been mothballed except one in Russia and a reopened one in Japan. The US 1966 Fermi fast breeder melted down, so the USA doesn't do those anymore.

The Shippingport, PA light water reactor with 20% U-235/Pu and thorium mix produced 20% U-233 and Pu-239 when it was shutdown.

The problem is getting the expensive fissile material to begin with and disposing of the waste products.
Thorium is no more valuable than depleted uranium which they put into anti-tank shells.

In natural uranium only 0.7% of the metal is U-235, all man-made fission reactions come from this isotope.

It is possible to put either depleted uranium or thorium into an atomic accelerator and producing U-235, U-233 or Pu-239 (called the Energy Amplifier)but the electricity required is huge.

Another way is to put depleted uranium/thorium into a laser powered thermonuclear reactor(NIF Life reactor) which then produces U-233,U-235, Pu-239. The US government is working on this today at Lawrence Livermore.


Thorium is NOT nuclear fuel(U-233, U-235, Pu-239).
If placed in a nuclear reactor a small fraction of it becomes nuclear fuel, U-233.

Then perhaps that is why the power reactors are not Thorium VS Uranium.

I have been going around starting a new urban myth that the reason why Thorium was not chosen for fusion reactors is because it did not produce Plutonium, which is much lusted after by the military.
If I had a conscience, would I feel guilty?

Spent power reactor rods have too much Pu240 to be used in nuclear weapons. Furthermore, since the mass difference between Pu240 and Pu239 (the good stuff) is only 1 unit (compared with 3 units for U235 and U238), it is really hard to separate.

More likely is that the early work was done on uranium reactors for plutonium production, followed by uranium reactors for naval propulsion, followed by reactors for electical power production. So R&D followed the uphill path to the local optimum, which may not be the global optimum.

India, which has abundant thorium and less investment in the existing technology, may arrive at a different point.

How long from 'lets split Uranium' till the 1st fission pile? Till the 1st boiling water/steam gen?


Well, a molten salt test reactor with thorium was run for 1.5 years during the 60-ies. But of course there's a lot more R&D work to be done before commercialization, and a strong country's government need to to be sponsoring that R&D for it to happen. As I said, apparently fusion is sexier, but I believe LFTR is a much better bet.

Stirling Cycle Engine VS otto cycle engine

Perhaps that's a good comparison. But maybe this is more like transistor vs tubes. Some people understood that a solid-state amplifier would be superior, and there had been basic patents for decades, but someone had to do the final commercial R&D. Bell Labs did and the rest is history.

But maybe this is more like transistor vs tubes.

I'd say not - But argument by analogy rarely works out.

How long from 'lets split Uranium' till the 1st fission pile? Till the 1st boiling water/steam gen?

Oh, oh, I know this! Chadwick theorized the existence of neutrons in 1932. Chemical detection of the byproducts of fission resulting from bombarding uranium targets with neutrons was 1938 (well, results that could be reproduced in 1938). Fermi's pile at U of C achieved a chain reaction in 1942. EBR-1 generated at a 100 kW level in 1951. The Soviets began operation of a civilian plant generating 5 MW in 1954, and the first power plant in the West was in England in 1956. So, from the theory of the neutron to a commercial reactor in the West, 24 years. From demonstrated fission to that reactor, 18 years. From a sustained chain reaction to that reactor, 14 years.

Heck, it wouldn't even be the first thorium-burning commercial reactor in the US -- that would be the Fort St. Vrain plant in Colorado in the late 1970s. Fort St. Vrain had lots of problems, but the major ones were due to the attempt to use helium as the coolant, and some really bad operating practices. The thorium-related bits seemed to work just fine.

Pretty close. I was part of the engineering crew to load the first fuel load into Ft. St. Vrain. We started on December 26, 1973. But it wasn't the first. General Atomic had actually built a smaller reactor for Philidelphia Electric at Peach Bottom some years earlier. It, too, used the same Uranium-Thorium fuel cycle, helium cooled, but with quite different geometry.

I don't think the helium coolant was the main problem. I think it was much more a reliance on untested, unproven mechanical hardware.

Funny but my most enduring memory of the trip was the day I left. I put $10 worth of gas in my rental car. I was horrified, 20 gallons at $0.50 a gallon. Outrageous.

Actually, none. As a fertile fuel, it's more abundant than uranium. It could power humanity's entire energy needs for millions of years. However, it has to be bred (irradiated and reprocessed), but on the other hand doesn't need pre-enrichment as there is only one naturally occuring isotope. Arguably, it is more proliferation-resistant. Only India is conducting research on the thorium fuel cycle - however, they are doing it rather seriously. Unfortunately, they use solid fuel reactors and not the more interesting molten salt ones.

The fusion experiment, ITER, is projected to cost about 15 billion euros. I think the finishing R&D for liquid flouride thorium reactors could be done for that amount with a much higher likelihood of providing a commercially viable solution. But someone has to commit to it, and while fusion is cute, fission is feared, so it's a tough sell for politicians, and it's a bit too much for private companies.

Peak neutrons.

Peak neutrons.

That only seems humorous. The salts most often proposed for the LFTR include lithium as a component. I don't know how much would be involved, but people are already worrying about peak lithium and batteries. Some other thorium designs propose helium as the coolant. The Drumbeat has included articles suggesting that peak helium may be an issue before long. Considerable research may be needed to verify that we could obtain some of the incidental, but critical, materials to build a significant number of reactors.

They might try CO2 instead of helium. Any peak on that stuff?

Drat, you found us out! It all started after we killed the Fish carburetor and engine that runs on water. How will I explain this to the boys at the yacht club?


How do we "know" that this is what TOD is about?

I ask this question seriously because most of the people I know do not practice serious conservation, most don't even entertain the idea of Peak Oil, and most don't believe that they will ever see the consequences of global warming in their own lifetimes.

I'm a little confused by this article. Following are the opening and closing paragraphs:

Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium ... If Barack Obama (left) 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. . . .

Conclusion: There are plenty of solutions to energy issues (were there problems to begin with) that can be brought to bear. The free-market is a wonderful tool even though modern-day citizens of the West have been taught to fear its putative "greed and waste" via meretricious elite fear-based promotions. It is only when people begin to reach a consensus about the corporate manipulation of energy supplies and the benefits of the Invisible Hand that the conversation itself will grow more comprehensible and, ultimately, rewarding.

The opening paragraph calls for a massive government directed, and presumably government funded, nuclear program focused on thorium, but the closing paragraph asserts that "The free-market is a wonderful tool."

Get the government off my back and keep your hands off my medicare.

I'm Sarah Palin and I approve this message.

And, lets keep Amerika strong and promote Liberty by spending lots more money for that super socialistic organization, the Defense Department, all the while borrowing $billions more to pay for it...

E. Swanson

hang on - isn't this the bit where the so called "fringe" , greenies, climate change "belivers" and peak oil "nutters" - get the blame for all the oil running out ?

I'm sure I read on the TOD one time that we'd be the ones to get the blame ...... its not geology ! its those nutters! not that the big corp and the joe public that burnt it all and sent us all to hell in a hand cart!

looks like we're being set up as the modern Cassandras - look what happened to her !


heading for his bunker.............

So the guy who wrote the piece linked to concerning trorium reactors is an idiot;big deal , the world is full of idiots.

But even stopped clocks are right twice a day.

Let us suppose that all the engineering talent and money being expended on fusion power, which will not be a commercial reality within FIFTY years at best, IF it is EVER commercialized, were to be diverted to solving the engineering problems associated with thoruim breeders-which HAVE been demonstrated to work.

My personal wag is that we could have commercial thorium breeders actually on the grid within twenty to twenty five years.

Tradition ends: No Michigan state fair this year

The Michigan State Fair had been a state tradition for 160 years and held at Eight Mile and Woodward, within Detroit city limits, since 1905. But the fair had been running deficits and needed $360,000 from the state in 2008 to cover losses. Fewer than 220,000 people passed through last year. At its peak in 1966, the fair drew 1 million.
One thing that hurt the Michigan fair was the state's economy. Michigan's unemployment rate of 15.2 percent led the nation in August 2009 when the last fair was held. Detroit's jobless rate is about 30 percent.

Feeling the pressure from a life 'underwater'

The percentage of adults who hold a “core belief in the inherent value of owning a home” has fallen from 77 percent six months ago to 72 percent as of July, according to a survey from San Francisco-based Trulia and Harris Interactive.

Among renters, 27 percent don’t ever intend to buy, while among those considering buying 68 percent intend to wait at least two years.

Mixed news on the economic front.

Private employers cut 10,000 jobs in August

NEW YORK — Private employers unexpectedly cut jobs in August, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday, delivering another blow to the already faltering economic recovery.

The private sector cut 10,000 jobs in August compared to a revised gain of 37,000 in July, ADP Employer Services said. The July figure was originally reported as a gain of 42,000.

Manufacturing activity expands for 13th month

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Manufacturing activity expanded in August for the 13th straight month, said an industry report released Monday.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) index of U.S. manufacturing rose to 56.3 in August from 55.5 in July.

...The report was a welcome surprise as economists surveyed by Briefing.com had expected a decline to 52.9.

Dow is up 200 points.

Happy days are here again.

Dow is up 200 points.
Happy days are here again.

It's in anticipation of the ordained GOP earthquake on Nov.2, 2010
when the Teabagger Jubilee commences.
Praise the Lord!


As I expected...

Tax Cuts Weighed To Propel Growth

Efforts to boost growth have taken on urgency as the economy has shown signs of flagging and is among voters' chief concerns ahead of November's midterm elections.

The White House is struggling with whether to propose ideas that would appeal to Republicans—such as tax cuts—and thus get support on Capitol Hill, or to promote ideas that officials believe could have more economic impact but might hit political resistance, such as more aid for states and more infrastructure funding.

The good news is that tax cuts don't increase the deficit, only spending does. Except for military spending and certain ear marks. Sarc off

I expect the Federal Reserve to start buying mortgage- backed securities again to prop up the sagging real estate business and add money to the economy (reserves to banks and corporations).

Clearly the Wall Street Journal does not understand deflation Top line article (neither does the Federal Reserve for that matter).

Theories that we’re running out of oil have been washing about since the 1970s, but they have grown much more fashionable in the past few years.

Many respectable analysts dismiss the notion of imminent peak oil, but there are still nagging questions about the reserves and long-term production capacities of some large national oil companies.

These are pronounced enough that the head of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the largest producer in the world, felt moved to give a speech in late July protesting that fears of peak oil were “baseless”.

By most estimates (the actual figures are a closely guarded secret), it costs less than $5 per barrel to pull oil out of the Saudi Arabian desert.

By comparison, the capital and operating costs of deep-water Atlantic wells come to between $30 and $40/bbl, according to the Centre for Global Energy Studies. Other reports put deep-water production costs at around $70/bbl.

So far so good, but the Journal implies that prices are low because demand is short of supply (and that peak oil is a theory):

even if the world economy remains depressed and demand fails to lift, oil prices could very well remain high.

Who is going to pay the high prices? Everyone is broke! What is left to provide supply is the oil that costs $5 a barrel to produce. What happens when the $5 wells run dry?

$5 production @ $75 sales' price is a direct transfer of wealth from consumer to producer, the output gained on the oil in hand is the same whether the 'input' costs are high or low. Of course the return disappears at the higher price. At $75, how does an economy built around $20 oil make a profit?

$75 oil is another bailout, this time of the oil producers. The motives are identical to those of investors and stock plungers who are being bailed out of finance markets by the government. They are rats abandoning the sinking ship of finance.

With customers for oil going belly- up there are fewer left to bid up crude. This is conservation the old- fashioned way! Ex- customers are returning to the stone age, living in tarp 'tents' in roach- infested encampments under deteriorating freeway overpasses. Is this our country's future?

Less employment means lower prices for oil (less customers) as well as less customers for other goods and services which means more bankruptcies and even less employment. The (useless) Fed adds cash to the economy; businesses can earn more profit by hiring money and firing staff. The cycle intensifies with each worker laid off. The more workers laid off the greater decline in overall demand. More businesses fail and cycle intensifies. This is deflation; it is happening all around, under the noses of the Wall Street Journal and the Federal Reserve; we are at the edge of an energy- compounding spiral.

Added to declining net exports and domestic depletion, the outcome is not a gentle decline into energy senescence but a plunge into the abyss of constricting shortages at (very) low prices.

At some point the entire country will be unemployed and gas will cost 15 cents a gallon. There will be only a few thousand cars left on the road because the owners of same will be the only ones left with any money! The small car- owner population will be insufficient to support auto factories, car repair, highway construction or oil production and refining on any sort of scale.

This is the continuation of BAU right from the pages of the Wall Street Journal that they themselves refuse to see.

The ongoing economic collapse that is taking place right underfoot ...

The key to watch is petroleum futures markets; the appearance of backwardization - where longer dated futures contracts are priced lower than the current or 'front' month. This would indicate that oil traders are seeing expanding growth in America's newest industry - poverty. When backwardization appears the death spiral will begin. Be warned. There will be no relief from the shortages to come which will be permanent.

At $75, how does an economy built around $20 oil make a profit?

That's it right there. We have an oil based economy spoiled and geared for really cheap oil. In fact, much of this country's (US) infrastructure was built when oil was a few dollars a barrel. Now we are suppose to make the leap to gear our economy to handle 75-80 dollars a barrel, but what's involved in accomplishing that task, and even if it is possible, then what happens when oil rises to a 120 a barrel? That's why price of oil is in my view more crucial than worrying about the descent from peak plateau.

People think things have leveled off, but not if you take into account the number of unemployed, of businesses and banks still being suttered, houses and commercial property being foreclosed, and the money being borrowed by the feds to keep the States afloat in one manner or another.

Its a downward slant, but some folks, like the ones dipping in on the stock market today just haven't figured out what's going on yet. When they do, 10k on the Dow will be a historical footnote.

"Ex- customers are returning to the stone age, living in tarp 'tents' in roach- infested encampments under deteriorating freeway overpasses. Is this our country's future?"


Thanks for your very eloquent (and poignant) description of our situation and future. Now, where is my gin?


"Who is going to pay the high prices? Everyone is broke! What is left to provide supply is the oil that costs $5 a barrel to produce."

Interesting comment in general Steve, in particular the appearance of backwardization that you point out. I have, no doubt, oversimplified the forces which are mutually holding each other at bay (oil prices and recession) in my recent post http://visionsofanothertime.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/oil-prices-recessio.... But I sense we are in a kind of gridlock that will simultaneously erode further the global economy and everything else with it...

Tax cuts would be a damned fine policy-if only they were cut in the right places-on the wages of people working for modest to lower middle sized paychecks;the chance of that happening of course, is vanishingly small.

Remember what Warren Buffet had to say about his taxes, and those of his receptionist.

OTH, my 22 YO daughter closes on a place in about 40 days. "Well, Dad, it's no more than I'm paying for rent now."
Mom died last year, so I can front the down payment. In exchange, she'll let me build a lean-to in the back yard when I get too old to live by mice elf.

Bravo Rat:

Best one for quite a while, smae problem here.

"when I get too old to live by mice elf."

I don't expect the 100 YO Rat will be shot be a jealous husband, so I need to have a back-up plan.

Rent is forever.

Mortgages ain't.

Just make sure the interest rate is fixed.

And even though it seems fairly likely that living costs will increase faster than earnings for most people most of the time, nominal earnings are more than likely to continue going up for most of the people who actually have jobs, over the longer term.If you get a five percent raise every year and your expenses go up six percent annually, you are in the hole for sure, overall-BUT every year that goes by, you need spend a SMALLER FRACTION of your cash income on the roof over your head.

After fifteen years of even very moderate inflation, it will take only half as many days to earn the house payment.

As a homeowner, you can reasonably afford to invest in long term improvements that will increase your equity, improve your quality of life, and lower your long term expenses.

In the last few years, we have installed insulated vinyl siding, double glazed windows, built a sunroom,and made other improvements to our older house.

I am nearly finished with a solar domestic hot water system, we have fenced and irrigated household gardens, raised bed gardens are under construction, and other energy saving, quality of life enhancing projects are in the household pipeline.( As opposed to the farm.)

More than likely none of these improvements would have been made by a landlord.

A homeowner who is handy can learn to make many useful improvements with his own hands, purchasing only necessary tools and materials;and the EFFECTIVE per hour returns earned can be simply incredible;my solar domestic hot water system will cost about a grand ;it will save probably two hundred fity dollars a year initially.The money was earning zilch in a checking and savings account;my forty to fifty hours of liesurely and enjoyable work will return me a thousand after tax dollars in less than four years.

When I was a tenant in the city , that liesure time went to enjoyable but nonrenumerative activites;or if they were paid activities, a couple of weeks later, I wouldn't have been able to say with any certainty where or for what I spent the money.

I expect my electricity rate cost per kwh to double within ten years, so my investment of time and cash will effectively see a growing effective annual return for as long as I live.

A properly cultivated homeowner's mindset helps fre us from the sharp discount rate that causes us so much grief in so many respects.

In a typical suburban or urban environment, the positive effects of high home ownership rates may not be apparent, or they may not even exist;but in a fairly low density or low density rural area, most of the people tend to have deep community roots;and such roots can make all the difference in what happens to a community, in terms of education, policing and crime, development or lack thereof.

We will never be OVERRUN by immigrants (or lowlife homegrown types) here simply because very little property changes hands from one year to the next; and a lot that does change hands is sold nieghbor to nieghbor or family member to family member,without ever really being "for sale" in the market place,thus maintaining the character and flavor of the general nieghborhood.

Unfortunately this is coming to an end as a lot of the younger folks who inherit a few acres can't wait to convert it to cash fast enough to even wait for a good price;in another twenty years I probably won't recognize a lot of old places dear to my heart if I'm still around.

I have personally lived in two nieghborhoods in a city where the locals simply gave up and left as the character of the nieghborhoods changed for the worse.The more tenants, the faster things tend to go downhill, more likely than not.

Now of course the actions of any single family don't matter in terms of the big picture;but a lot of people here at TOD seem to believe they are morally obligated to lower thier carbon, energy, and overall environment foot print to the end of preserving the envoronment.

I believe home ownership can and does serve the same moral imperative to a great degree.

Nice summary of benefits OFM. I just went thru a wrenching phone conversation with my daughter about her trying to get her landlord to make some upgrades to her apartment as she has had some scary issues with creepy neighbors. They refused to install her damaged front door or the poorly installed, worn out sliding glass door. She has been there a couple of years and calculates she has spent over $30,000 on rent. They said they couldn't justify the estimated $300 to replace the door and wouldn't even discuss the slider. They told her to put a padlock on the gate of her patio. She said she wasn't worried about the patio because if someone tried to climb over the fence it would obviously collapse.

I'm a big believer in home ownership. We have a couple of acres, a garden and some fruit trees. Its all paid off and we can do whatever we want here. There's a lot more to it than financial costs and benefits.

Why doesn't she leave?

If the landlord's that bad and the neighbors are creepy, why would she stay?

She's in an internship program, working maybe 60 or more hours a week and getting paid for 20. She just doesn't think she can take the time to find a place and move until the internship is over in March 2011. When she moved to her present location it was extraordinarily difficult to find a decent place. This one seemed pretty nice and she had some friends in the complex already because her sister had just moved out.

Sometimes being a long distance parent is pretty tough duty.

I have been a homeowner most of my life and still am. However, I spent the last 14 months renting in California. It was hassle and worry free and the landlord fixed everything that needed fixing. That is anecdotal to be sure. But so is your story. Also, for those who bought at the top of the market, they are not feeling much love for home ownership about right now. Also, if you need to move and you can't sell your house, it is not so great either. And then there are is all the maintenance that I have spend money on all these years. If I had to do it over again, I would rent.

The bottom line is that it is a very personal decision and what is better all depends on where you live, where you bought, your luck with landlords, the price of renting versus buying, mobility, and a lot of other factors.

Yes, I think this is definitely something where one size doesn't fit all.

If I were OFM's age, and had deep roots in a place, I'd probably be more interested in buying. But I'm not, and I don't. I still think there's a lot of deflation yet to come, at least when it comes to housing, and I think being able to move will be more important than being able to install solar panels. But that's just my own view. YMMV.

Home ownership is definitely not a one size fits all question.

Our family has been investing in rental properties for more than a decade. Rental income and savings have paid off 3 properties already. As more people convince themselves that hone ownership is a bad idea, demand in the rental market increases, rents go up, and return on investment for rental property investors increases. Owning property does not necessarily decrease mobility. If equity in the property is high enough that rental income can carry both payments and property management costs, then absentee land-lording is quite practical and common.

I know some people are convinced that in a Mad Max doomer future, real estate titles will be no more than pieces of paper that everyone ignores. But my opinion is that successfully preparing for that Mad Max future scenario is not practical anyway, while the future of increased energy costs and decreasing US wealth is already here and likely to continue for a long time. In that context of economic dislocation and the bumpy plateau, ownership of hard assets like well-located and energy efficient buildings can offer relatively reliable return on investment.

Operating rental property is a mix of investment and labor, and I have done lots of maintenance and energy upgrades that I believe add value both for my family and for tenants.

I have a friend who made his fortune via rental properties. It allowed him to retire early. However, he tells me he wishes he'd put his money in the stock market instead. He'd have made more money and it would be a lot less work.

He sold everything a few years ago, because he was tired of the work involved. He couldn't even go on vacation without a maintenance emergency popping up.

My parents have a rental property, and had it most of the time I was growing up. But they hire a management company to deal with the maintenance, tenants, etc.

As more people convince themselves that hone ownership is a bad idea, demand in the rental market increases, rents go up, and return on investment for rental property investors increases.

I don't think I'd count on that. In many markets now, rent and home prices are both going down. People are doubling up. The brother in law on the couch version of the apocalypse. Also, there are a lot of people like the one in the article that started this thread. They are taking in boarders to help pay the mortgage or renting their homes because they can't sell. The rental stock is increasing at the same time home ownership is falling.

tstreet, you make great points.

But so far as I can see, the primary point of being smarter than the average bear is to make good long term INTELLIGENT decisions.

Being able to recognize a bubble and not buying in the recent past in most places would have been intelligent-only an idiot could believe that houses could go up forever-or go past and stay past the point at which the typical citizen in a typical city could qualify for a mortgage at a realistic interest rate-meaning one a potential buyer is likely to be offered five or ten years down the road.

Everybody I know who is a LONG TERM homeowner-EVERY SINGLE ONE-is glad he or she owns rather than rents.

I've been a landlord-repairs, taxes ans routine maintainence are included in the rent tenants pay.

This said it is a little appreciated but well known fact that it has been and continues to be long term public policy to steadily inflate the currency.

The spigots are going to be opened far enough to get the job done before too much longer-electrons and zeros are dirt cheap.

I don't believe inflation buys prosperity-but it definitely wipes out long term debt.

All this said,people who earn a lot of money can afford the luxury of simply calling thier landlord when there's a problem, and people with iffy jobs or who work in fields requiring a lot of moves are probably better off renting.

But as bad as things are around here, rents of single family homes are still generally higher than the payments the landlords are making-if the loan is ten years old or more, often TWICE as high as the piti payment.

I know people who are getting three times piti on rentals they bought twenty or more years ago.

There is always the possibility of a decline in nominal OR true property values of course.As I see it, the homeowner should keep an eye on his block, street, nieghborhood, city, and state-just as a smart stock market investor keeps an eye on the economy in order to make his buy and sell decisions.If he does decide to move for any reason, he will only rarely lose anything if he has paid due attention to the real bottom line fundamentals of real estate as an investment.

Everybody I know who is a LONG TERM homeowner-EVERY SINGLE ONE-is glad he or she owns rather than rents.

That's not true for me. Many of my friends and acquaintances regret buying, for various reasons.

Also reflected in your statement is the belief that because something was true in the past, it will be true in the future. But most of us here don't believe that. We wouldn't be here if we did.

For me, I don't want to go into debt, and I don't want to be tied down. Maybe debt would be "good" if there's hyperinflation. But I still don't want to be in debt.

I most definitely believe many things, possibly most things, are going to change al most beyond recognition within the next few decades.

But if the ecomonic situation changes SO MUCH that home ownership turns out to be a poor long term deal, there is also some likelihood-impossible for me to estimate as to its magnitude, but in my opinion,a very large likelihood- that being debt free won't matter very much.

Beyond that, there are many ways of legally or at least for practical purposes seperating assetts that can be attached or siezed and sold from other assets such as a stash of cash or gold or art or whatever-although this is not the proper place to discuss such matters.

If we expect life to be recognizable , in business terms, a few years or a decade or two down the road, the conclusion that there will be long term and possibly massive inflation is virtually inescapable.

Human nature doesn't change;and if our form of govt changes enough to switch from currently accepted economic theory and policy to some new paradigm-say communism or a totalitarian fascist dictatorship for example, I would argue that being in-or out- of debt will matter very little.

But if the ecomonic situation changes SO MUCH that home ownership turns out to be a poor long term deal, there is also some likelihood-impossible for me to estimate as to its magnitude, but in my opinion,a very large likelihood- that being debt free won't matter very much.

I still think it's likely that peak oil is going to look like the Greater Depression. In Japan, it's been 20 years, and real estate prices never recovered. That's what happens in the aftermath of a bubble, even without peak oil.

In any case, being debt-free may not matter much...but it won't hurt. While being in debt may turn out to be a nightmare.

If we expect life to be recognizable , in business terms, a few years or a decade or two down the road, the conclusion that there will be long term and possibly massive inflation is virtually inescapable.

This is where we disagree. I think in business terms, Japan is probably a good model. And it's very recognizable.

I agree that Japan is a very possible model for future US scenarios.

Owning in real estate in Japan makes economic sense to most people, despite the real estate bubble and crash of the 90s. About 60% of Japanese own their own homes, almost identical to the US percentage. Rental property owners are still earning a sufficient return on investment to stay in business housing the other 40%, so I don't see how a Japanese-style future makes an argument for or against real estate ownership.

In Japan as in the US, the choice still comes down to personal circumstance. When I was a student, mobile with few possessions, renting made sense. As a parent supporting children and my own parents, owning and investing makes sense now.

None of us really knows what's ahead in our lives...and this is true even in the good times!

The curveball that peak oil throws is that it forces localization of human sociopolitical structures. Politics, energy, finance, will all localize to some degree or another, even if it takes a long time (or even war) to get us there.

Owning a home is a tacit vote of approval, so to say, for the the place-the locality-where you live. Why else would you put a substantial amount of hard earned money down on an essentially illiquid asset, and then agree to make payments to a bank on said asset for 30 years? You would really only do this if you are convinced that it makes sense, and that you and your children (and perhaps even your grandchildren) can have a future there, or at the very least have ownership of an asset that is worth something.

When times are good, when there's alot of energy available, it makes sense to do this practically anywhere, because there will be jobs and availability of goods and services from around the world-all made possible by oil.

When times are bad, all of a sudden it's the complete reverse...you really never know how your own area is going to fare.

The best, but perhaps most extreme example of local decline is urban Detroit. The are many, many people there who owned nice homes, had lives and families, and likely imagined that they had a future, and that each new generation would be better off than the next. It would be a shining city on a hill.

As everybody here knows, that never happened. And so, inevitably, houses there are worthless and are being razed to the ground.

The point being that Detroit's future could be our future. May not be, but we just don't know. In that sense, taking on a large mortgage in a post-peak world is a serious commitment. A good argument could be made that for those who don't already own their place of residence outright, they are much better off staying liquid and renting, as this allows them to navigate the uncertainty of a changing world and avoid putting a large amount of money and time into a home-a place-that might ultimately be of no value to anyone.

This is just my two cents, but thoughts like these keep me up at night. If you believe someone like Kunstler (who is quite articulate, if a little bit negative and prone to repetition), then all of American suburbia will eventually be worthless just like urban Detroit. Who would want to own on oversized home in suburbia with all of the associated energy and maintenance costs?

Ultimately this is a very complicated question that has no easy answers. I do think that ownership of reasonably sized homes and townhomes in areas that have a fighting chance at sustainability is still a good thing for most people.

Whats really interesting is if you try and figure out how much you would make if you simply farmed land using minimal equipment i.e you where dirt poor and scratching out a living. Obviously you would have to resort to leaving a lot of land fallow. Probably use inefficient animal labor etc. Not quite back to the 1800's but some sort of mix of methods. Of course today we can assume you have access to agricultural knowledge organic farming practice etc.

Still after everything is said and done and you fed yourself your total profits are quite low. Most of the time I do this it comes in under 30k a year of cash. We assume no loans i.e everything is owned outright and you make most of your stuff food obviously but also perhaps cloths. Cash outlays are kept mimimal.

The result is land if its used this way simply does not have a lot of value. By this I mean your talking about perhaps 2K and acre or so for the best land grazing land and woodlots much lower a few hundred dollars.

Now large estates have value but your talking 1000 acres or more of good land to have and estate with a net income in th 100k area. Of course labor costs are and issue at that point so your net goes down.

Indeed if you look at history ancient estates which produced decent income where up well into several hundred acres of the best land if not more.

Compare this to the price points for land in most areas which are driven by anticipation of growth and the disreprency is huge. The intrinsic agricultural value is not even in the ballpark. Even assuming modern methods does not do a lot of good since costs rise steeply with yield and the average net becomes even harder to figure.

Indeed again this is obvious as many farmers have a hard time turning a profit no matter what methods they use.

Now if your rolling in cash and want to translate it to a hard asset well fine. However taking on debt for hard assets right now is not a good idea.

With that said I actually do have and interest in owning outright simply because it helps with the cashflow.
If you have some other means of employment and farming is not the way you make a living then owning a small farm to really drop your monthly cash flow is attractive. This of course takes you back to cash at hand and again a loan does not make sense for the most part.

At some point post peak either society will successfully wean itself of oil and probably keep on BAU that probably marks the low point in asset price or it won't and land and dwellings will fall to their intrinsic value. In most areas using my logic this is quite low vs today in the thousands of dollars often 90% or more off todays prices.

And not that they are worth a lot more its the real value as all they offer is a fairly meager living just for some its not the wealth but the stability of such a lifestyle. Plenty of better ways to make money would still exist that are much easier just your net probably be much different.

No rush really if we do bottom out then its still a few years out at least best to stay mobile and see where that bottom is if we don't then you probably can pick your place if you hold onto cash. The sale price will simply be some percentage of the tax lien. Future taxes obviously would be forced a lot lower. In the first case if we do bottom it certainly won't be any sort of V shaped bottom we will be near it for a very long time.

Well put. This is very much my line of thought as well.

In the long term, I think Detroit might do well in a post-peak world. The qualities that made it a good location before the age of oil will serve it well in the post carbon age. But it's not a sure thing, and getting from here to there might be a long and difficult road.

"Japan is a very possible model for future US scenarios"

Ha! We should be so lucky!

Owning in real estate in Japan makes economic sense to most people, despite the real estate bubble and crash of the 90s.

I don't think that necessarily follows. People choose to own and rent out real estate for a variety of reasons, that may or may not make economic sense.

Japan's population is shrinking, and homelessness is increasing there. That generally doesn't make for a robust real estate market. And indeed, prices show this pressure:

Entropy is the problem with homeownership.
And now that real estate is not an investment vehicle (unless you are shorting it), it is a lifestyle choice.
I just would not want to be in that locked cage.

Yes, there is maintenance, some of it routine and some that is big ticket (e.g. new roof).

There is insurance, which might be quite a bit, depending on your location (e.g. hurricane prone area, flood zone)

There is property tax, which is like continuing to pay rent (and in some cities and states is a very significant part of your "mortgage payment", since the mortgage holder collects the tax too).

There is the interest part of the mortgage payment (which is another large part of the payment in early years).

There is the payment of principle (which puts more of your savings at risk in a highly leveraged investment).

Then there is the down payment, which is your initial investment in a highly leveraged asset, and which your spouse immediately wants to multiply by a series of ill advised improvements and furnishings.

Then there is the 7% commission you pay with additional fees, and the costs to dress the place up, whenever you want to sell this highly leveraged asset.

You don't own a home; the home owns you.

Well the maintaince on this house is up there, but my dad can do most of it, besides the roofing.

We did most of the work on all the improvemtents. My brother is is laying tile floors and the wood floors in his slab house, but it pays to be handy that way, if you are not you have to spend the money.

more mobile less yours, more stable more mine, and then the shades between the two.

I preffer ownership to renting.

" Hey Mike1 you rent that pool cue? or own it? Rent dude, it is cheaper, this thing costs $1,700 new."

Then again I only pay under 40 bucks for a new cue, I am not good enough to warrent a 2 thousand dollar stick of wood and glue and a bit of metal.

Hugs from a lazy lout.


My Dad wanted a farm, but that was and is to much work considering his job now, still working for the owners of the last bit of the MMCohn investment group.

My dad being who he is, paid extra money to the princepal of the loan( mortgage ) on the house note. Any sane person would cut the years by paying the loan off faster by any means available.

I'd have done it by making double or 25% to 50% extra a month, or all overtime.

I love the idea of a owned lot, with house.

Recycle collector gave me his number this morning, he scored a kids bike up the block, he had a bed spring and something else in the trailer, told him I'd call him when something came my way to haul off, or if I saw something on the side of the road he'd like.

connecting the dots,

I life in the laundry room if I had too, the sheds are not that easy to get around in, I want the space of one of them for a greenhouse, lik ethat might ever happen in my lifetime.

But my dad thinks like me at times.

Ugh long day but it is cloudy here, so we are good.

I have no time to read all the good comments, but I miss posting and getting into the thick of things, maybe whent he rains come or I can sleep better.

Cheers Mac,

Lazy lout with billard stick, on hiking jaunt.

It's fixed...15 year owner financed.

From your post below, "the primary point of being smarter than the average Bear is to make good long term INTELLIGENT decisions."
She is; made it thru Cal in 3.5 years :>)

She understands this may be her house forever. Does not want to live in the Big City or the burbs.
This was The One, first time she saw it. 1900 ft, 11 acres, mostly in timber fir, pine. Even has a water district, so no well problems. Roof is 4 years old, and I think it has double glazed windows all around. Fenced back yard (looks like they fenced it against the garbage dump bears) with about 6 fruit trees and some grape vines.

"nominal earnings are more than likely to continue going up for most of the people who actually have jobs"
She figured that out really fast. She'll get her first raise, $2/hr, B4 the house closes. Her company is growing (just opened a branch office in Oregon), and they have her on a career path.

Bioengineering Associates, Inc. restores damaged terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. We emphasize the use of live plants as the basic building blocks

There will still be some bright spots in the overall economy. Seems to me like she is one of the fortunate ones, and I've been trying to remind her of that. This only happened because of small town connections...the COO, whose daughters were in the same play group when they were pre-schoolers, asked her K-3 teacher if she knew anybody looking for a job.

Just sent her this..
A Dream House After All

Alaska OK's 5 MW small hydro to serve island with 6,000 people.


It baffles me why Alaska does not invest a small portion of it's oil related revenues (which are depleting fast) to build enough small and medium size hydroelectric plants to serve the vast majority of their needs (including electrical heat). Gov. Palin cut the budget for a slow increase in renewable generation in Alaska.

It is my understanding that taxes on oil companies pay for almost all of Alaska's state government (no state sales or personal income tax) and royalties go into a fund that sends a check every year to every Alaskan. $3,269 in 2008 (Sarah added extra that year), $1,305 in 2009).


A rough calculation is that the 5 MW will displace the majority of the oil fired generation, but not all of it on Prince of Wales Island. Sitka and Juneau are largely hydroelectric. Fairbanks and Anchorage could be served by a proposed dam.


In another decade, little oil will be left at Prudhoe Bay and Alaska may not produce enough oil to meet domestic demand (they use a lot of oil per capita up there).

A broad system of hydroelectric powerplants plus an improved and electrified Alaskan Railroad (state owned, but no state support) could go a long way to buffer Alaska post-Peak Oil. Add a few electric trolley buses or streetcars in several cities and it would be even better.

I am reminded of Aesop's fable about the Grasshopper and the Ant preparing for winter.


It baffles me why Alaska does not invest

Alaska is prime Republican territory, these folks don't believe in hippy power.

So, I can get my converted solar energy in a protein package with lots of Omega 3, or I can kilowattage. Can I get both? Even for the typical pot-smoking Republican hippy in Alaska this is not an easy question to answer.

An effort to find new sources of renewable "small hydro" power for the Railbelt is running into opposition from advocates of another, equally noble environmental cause: protection of the mountain headwaters of the fish-rich Kenai River.

Homer Electric Association, working with a private consortium, is studying "low impact" small-hydro projects for four mountain lakes and streams around Moose Pass and Cooper Landing.

But the state-funded studies ran into loud opposition in the last two weeks from local residents, who foresee plenty of possible impacts from the proposed diversion pipelines and access roads, including threats to the scenic area's salmon spawning and its tourist-based economy.

"None of these are acceptable in the Kenai River watershed because they're going to modify the natural flows," said Bob Baldwin, president of the Friends of Cooper Landing, a group active in land-use issues for a decade.

He dismissed the term "low impact" as "total PR spin."

Read more: http://www.adn.com/2009/02/01/675881/search-for-low-impact-hydro-power.h...

Actually, Alaska generates 24% of its energy from renewable sources, more than any other state in the country: http://www.adn.com/2009/01/16/657216/palin-unveils-state-energy-goals.html

Alaska generates 24% of its energy from renewable sources, more than any other state in the country

Oregon is one of the Nation's leading generators of hydroelectric power, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of State electricity generation.


In May, 2010, Hydroelectric generation was 2,794 GWh, Other renewable (mainly biomass & wind) 524 MWh and total 3,874 GWh. That is 85.6% renewable generation,

Alaska has the resources, natural and financial, to beat that, but simply chooses not to.


Let us not put dams in Alaska and kill one of the last reasonably intact ecosystems on the planet.

We have killed the Columbia, and most lower 48 salmon runs, lets not finish them off in Alaska.

I was in Alaska in the 60s before the North Slope brought all those rednecks up.
It was a wide open, wonderful place. You could walk into the Governors office and have a drink.

85% to 90% of Juneau's hydro comes from tunnels that tap two lakes from below.

Run-of-the-river schemes have little or no impact.

Alaska has such a large area, elevation and adequate rainfall that there are more than enough sites to pick several with minimal environmental impact.

Tourist fishing, a major economic activity in Alaska, will shrink quickly post-Peak Oil. And Alaska, as a high latitude state, will feel more of the force of Climate Change than most.


Sent that to a friend in Juneau. He told me..

If you tell me who alan is I can unbaffle him. There is a reason Alaska does not invest in small and medium size hydroelectric plants:

1) We learned from Alberta's soverign wealth fund experience that, if we start investing our money in state, the crooks will get hold of it and poof it is gone. We put in a law that we cannot invest in state for just that reason.

2) We have tons of heavy oil and infinite amounts of gas.

3) Still we can do it within our budget cycle and are doing some hydroelectric plants. Juneau, the capitol, is run 100% on two hydroelectric plants.

4) But we are also a very red state and environmental ideas are not something we think a lot, about except we do monitor our fishing resources quite well.

We have infinite amounts of gas.

Really? Infinite?

I diss him enuf already. I let him get away with that.

Today is the five year anniversary of my solar array going live. To date I'm just over 25,001,000 watts. The system was only rated for 4MW a year, so 5MW a year is a nice bonus.

We could argue all day about what is the best solution for future energy, but I'll stick with solar because of it's remarkably consistent output over the years. And the only transmission system necessary is about 60 feet over very thick copper wire.

As for maintenance, I haven't done a damn thing.

If you have the means, I highly recommend solar panels on your roof.

I hate to be pedantic, but 5MW is the output of the largest wind turbine in a force 7.

I assume you mean 5MWh.

I understood him to mean 5MWy, which would be about 2.5kW output 5.5 hours a day for 365 days.

I haven't come across MWy as a unit. MWh is a unit of energy, ie power over a period of time, specifically 1MWh is 3600 MJ. (1 MW of power over 3600 seconds.)

By analogy 1 MWy should be 365 * 24 times more energy, and I don't think that is what you mean.

5MWh per year is itself a measure of the average power generated by the panels, and is about 500watts.

My family's domestic power consumption averages at a little over 200 watts.

You're right. I should have written that I understood him to mean (1) 5MWy.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 27, 2010

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.8 million barrels per day during the week ending August 27, 68 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 87.0 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.3 million barrels per day.

Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.3 million barrels per day. U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.7 million barrels per day last week, down by 202 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.6 million barrels per day, 530 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 196 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 3.4 million barrels from the previous week. At 361.7 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.2 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.7 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.5 million barrels last week and are in the upper half of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 4.0 million barrels last week.

The above article, “Oil Drops, Caps Worst Month since May”, paints a pretty dire picture about demand. However available information about current business conditions does not support the gloomy outlook about demand. Today, a survey of manufacturers shows improving business conditions.

Distillate (diesel) demand in the latest four weeks, as compared to last year, is running at almost 8% over lat year’s demand. It was only a few weeks ago we saw some well placed business articles were telling us about the “collapse” of distillate demand and how demand was “falling off a cliff”.

Those statements have, well, turned out to be completely wrong. Granted the goods sector and import sectors of the economy may be the strongest parts of the economy right now (and housing the weakest), but distillate demand is closely related to overall business activity – especially the movements of goods.

Implicit in the bearish price expectations of market traders (in the article) is that oil imports will hold up at a level equal to last year’s imports. So far it still has, but only after catching up with last year’s level after all that floating storage out there came ashore. OPEC exports and non-OPEC exports from Mexico and Venezuela have been slipping recently, so it appears that we are at the tail end of whatever US import surge we are likely to see for the rest of 2010.

Charles, you have totally neglected the protocol when mentioning problems related to any topic which might be related to the economy. Example:

You said: "so it appears that we are at the tail end of whatever US import surge we are likely to see for the rest of 2010."

Of couse, you omitted: "and, it is all Barack Obama's fault."

Of course, it is not, but so many people want a scapegoat with one face that they ignore the truth and blame Obama for all of our ills once said ills are identified.

If this was an intentional oversight on your part, thank you. Otherwise, perhaps you will do a mea culpa and add the requisite language to blame Obama.

Whether Obama is, or isn’t, responsible for what’s currently happening to US oil supplies is not something I want to debate right now.

However there are two things that are notable about this year’s oil supply, which may have generally gone unnoticed (outside of TOD): 1) Russia is exporting much more oil to the US than previously, and especially over the last month or so – propping up recent import levels 2) US domestic output has increased this year over the last few years.

I don’t know if these two trends will hold up in the future but they have certainly helped the US facilitate an increase in oil demand this year.

Since Russia is sending the US more oil, does anyone know if the other countries are getting by with less from Russia?

German military report on PO

Thanks for that link (#3 above)... I've not seen it posted anywhere else.

I've gone through the doc but it's in German so of course there is much that I don't understand yet.
However, it is clear that the authors take PO seriously (with graphs from Oil Drum, etc and a couple of pages on EROI/net energy) and they have a good deal to say about agri-food.

Jeff, the study examines oil imports (p. 11, etc) but I don't know yet how thoroughly it examines the threat of export decline.

Apart from some of the war college studies (and they are "only" the opinion of the analyst) this appears to be the most detailed military analysis of PO yet (at least among those that are publicly available).

I've asked a couple of German friends to assist.
If any of you can read German, please help us out.

It was posted in the comments in yesterday's DrumBeat, along with a partial translation (via Google Translate).

Some of the TOD staff are working on a translation as well.

Thanks, Leanan

Last night I made the mistake of wasting my time on the feuding which was happening at Deepwater/Open Thread.
I then neglected to check Drumbeat, which would have been much more productive.
I'll try not to make that mistake again....

You folks are way ahead of me, as always

My German's a little rusty, but if there's any sections you're interested in, I'll have a go at translating it.

The report was mentioned in a post on yesterday's DrumBeat...

E. Swanson

Apart from some of the war college studies (and they are "only" the opinion of the analyst) this appears to be the most detailed military analysis of PO yet

Are you saying that this report has more credibility because after the analyst(s) prepared it, some bureaucrats signed off?

If the part about OPEC pursuing a political strategy, when 'empowered' by changing supply conditions, turns up in the next translation, I'll file this report with several others in the 'weak analysis' folder.

In appears that in this case, no bureaucrat signed off on it.
If it had been vetted through the appropriate military channels then I would argue, Yes, that does lend more credibility to the report.
That said, the theses of war college analysts always have a disclaimer such as this:
"The paper is a scholastic document, and thus contains facts and opinions, which the author alone considered appropriate and correct for the subject. It does not necessarily reflect the policy or the opinion of any agency, including the Government of Canada and the Canadian Department of National Defence."

I put quotations around "only" in my earlier posting because the thesis is only the opinion of the officer (usually of the rank of Major or Lt. Col.), that certainly does not mean that his opinion or data are incorrect. Many of these theses are thoroughly researched and quite insightful.
Given that this research is conducted by officers with proven experience and analytical skills (or they would not have been promoted and recommended to the college) and a perspective which is well outside that of industry or bureaucrats (who typically make up most government energy analysis teams), their independent analyses ought to carry more weight than they appear to.
Furthermore, when we see a very consistent pattern to these independent studies (ie. I have yet to find a war college study which dismisses PO as unfounded alarmist nonsense), then collectively they should carry a good deal of weight.

Credibility is in the eye of the beholder, I'd say.

This makes PO a 'viable' topic for more eyes than when it's just coming from the hirsute crowd at ASPO or TOD, it would seem.

'Only the Wehrmacht could go to TEOTWAWKI ..'

plus ca change,....

The article has now been translated to English:

“Military Study Warns of a Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis”

But an English version of the report would be very useful..

Interesting, I happen to be in Germany at the moment. I don't speak German well enough to translate the document myself but I'll get some feedback from my family here who does.

That document illustrates out how peak oil will loosen the US grip on Europe. And weaken support for Israel.

German reliance on Russian oil is striking (See Figure 1. German Oil Sources). It also appears from what I can make out in the text that this is a deliberate policy to reduce dependence on OPEC oil following the '70s oil crisis.

Germany in particular, and Europe in general, would be better off bringing Russia into the EU instead of increasing their reliance on the Middle East.

The report is 99 pages so I only translated some bits and pieces. I will try to translate the table of contents and the lead paragraphs.

1. Introduction
2. The Importance of Oil
2.1. Oil as a Determinant of Globalization
2.2. Aspects of German Energy Security
3. Possible Developments after Global Peak Oil

3.1. General Peak-Oil-Induced Causal Relationships
3.1.1. Oil becomes a crucial factor of (re-)shaping international relations
The share of globally and freely accessible oil traded on markets will decline in favor of oil traded through binational contracts. Economic strength, military might, or nuclear weapons turn into a paramount instrument of power projection and a determining factor of new dependency relationships in international relations.
- Appreciation of producing nations within the international system
- Conditioning of supply relationships
- Volatility and loss of trust
- Supply diversification becomes more difficult
- Geopolitical turnover and new strategic alliances
- Undermining of value-oriented foreign policy
- Shifts of power in international organizations towards big emerging countries

3.1.2. The development of additional and alternative energy sources creates new security challenges
The decline of conventional oil reserves under the conditions of Peak Oil causes alternative energy sources to gain importance. That includes as yet to be developed unconventional oil and gas resources, coal and nuclear, as well as renewables. The use of those resources implies new security policy challenges.
- Contest for oil sources in disputed regions or international waters
- Natural gas as an extension of the oil age
- Expansion of nuclear power and increased proliferation
- Growing global production of fuels competes with food production for arable land
- Striving for energy independence makes infrastructures more critical and leads to large "energy regions"

3.1.3. The roles of states and private economic actors shift
Private actors traditionally play a central -but as yet purely economic- part in oil exploration and extraction. After realizing Peak Oil, states will push even more for security of oil supply while companies are confronted with situations where taking over functions traditionally fulfilled by states seems sensible or essential. Three areas stand out: Contest for drilling licenses, organizing security, and the protection of oil infrastructures.

3.1.4. The transition to a post-fossil society leads to economic and political crises
Modern economies have developed on the basis of cheap fossil resources, esp. oil. Individual and commercial transport are oil-based. Highly increased oil prices will have massive effects in both areas. The security-political implications are a fragmentation of societies that are most affected and economic and political systemic crises.
- Curtailments in individual and commercial transport
- Food security threatened
- Transformation of economic structures
- More regulation, less market
- Society loses trust

3.1.5. Interventions become more selective - actors are overstrained
Peak oil will pose to most states enormous economic, political, and financial challenges. The massive burden to economic, political, and financial systems and fuel shortages will lead to a curtailment of options for transporting large goods over long distances. Therefore interventions of all kinds will become more expensive and difficult for all relevant actors while the number and intensity of internal problems will decrease attention and available resources. Actors (NGOs included) can operate only selectively.
- Focusing on one's own problems

3.2. Systemic risk whilst crossing the "Tipping Point"
- Total Liquids production declines
- Short term, the world economy contracts proportionally to the decline of oil supply
- Medium term, the global economic system and every market economy collapse (see also bullet point 4 of my initial post)

4. Challenges for Germany
4.1. Danger of new dependency relationships for Germany
Gas perpetuates the security challenges of Peak Oil and becomes an important "second political currency".

4.2. Heightened Focus of politics on supply relationships
Concentration of remaning reserves in the "strategic ellipsis" and difficult diversification cause (a) an appreciation of producing countries in the region and (b) an increased interference of outside powers to ensure their interests and resources. There is a danger that producing nations will exploit their position of power, form alliances along ideological fault lines and aggressively pursue their goals.

4.3. Foreign policy becomes more pragmatic
Peak Oil forces the primacy of securing energy and increases pragmatism and politics of interest in international relations to the disadvantage of value-oriented foreign policy.

4.4. Shaping power and importance of western industrial nations declines
New partnerships between big emerging economies and resource-rich developing countries will be forged. There will be more catering to the 'clientele' within international organizations. The position of western industrial countries is weakened.

4.5. Helping to stabilize fragile producing nations
The multiple challenges of PO will weaken the performance of states. This will lead to more weak or failed states. Oil extraction&export however require a stable framework. If governments cannot guarantee stability, the probability that such functions (including use of force) are performed by third parties will increase. The relevant actors could be non-governmental, sub-governmental, or governmental. Consequences include a displacement of governmental structures or dominance by private and half-governmental actors but also foreign powers.

4.6. Potential for conflict in the Arctic grows
The ambiguity of the apportionment of arctic areas and their resources increases the conflict potential between neighboring countries, esp. when PO happens.

4.7. Proliferation of nuclear technology & materials
With the expected expansion of nuclear power under PO, the proliferation of nuclear technology and materials will increase. That will increase the number of real or potential nuclear powers. An increased risk of terrorist use of nuclear material or accidents.

4.8. Heightened potential for conflict of KRITIS (critical infrastructure)
Oil and gas infrastructures become more attractive as targets of violent conflict and political blackmail. Infrastructures for electrial energy become even more critical. The need for investing in direct and indirect protection measures will increase. Non-state actors will play an increasing role.

4.9. Large energy regions change alliance systems
Building out new energy regions will not only be a technical and ecomic challenge but will also be linked to security-political processes to ensure stable conditions in changing environment.

4.10. Peak oil for militaries
A massive reduction of mobility has huge implications for training, equipment and above all global abilitiy of armies to project and intervene. Short-term solutions will have to include alternative liquid fuels. In the medium/long-term armies will have to transform towards post-fossil mobilty alongside societies and economies.

4.11. Oil as a systemic risk
A fundamental problem of security-political challenges of PO is the systemic nature of scarce and expensive oil in a complex economic environment. The transmission channels of an oil price shock include very different, interdependent and partly essential infrastructures. Consequences are therefore not entirely predictable.

5. Conclusions
The two and a half page long conclusion deserves a post of its own.

Appendix FAQ
1. What is Peak Oil?
2. How do critics argue against Peak Oil?
3. What kind of resources are there?
4. What is the difference between conventionals and unconventionals?
5. What about new oil finds?
6. How do refineries work?
7. How does EROI influence the oil price?
8. Are there ways to deal with Peak Oil?

My summary of Chapter 5 Conclusions:

Thinking about PO can't be led by everyday observations and historical parallels. Envisioning the consequences of a successive deprivation of the most important energy source is therefore hard. Psychological barriers suppress irrefutable facts and dealing with the topic.

But PO is inevitable. This partial study shows there is a substantial risk that a scarcity-induced transformation phase will not happen without frictions in the security-political arena. The desintegration of complex economic systems and their infrastructures has grave consequences, esp. in industrial countries.

Our results show there is great uncertainty regarding the development of Germany following PO. It's possible to name concrete dangers but that shouldn't hide the fact that most of the coming challenges are in the dark. Probably the most effective strategies are not only goal-oriented measures to facilitate an early shift of the economy and energy supply but also the development of systemic virtues such as independence, flexibility, and redundancy.

The most important security-political change is the coming appreciation of the MidEast, Africa, and the Caspian region for Germany's energy supply. The possiblities for Germany's foreign policy within a dialogue with exporting and transit countries could be widened. But for that German interests would have to clearly defined, intra-European differences regarding the approach to those regions would have to be overcome, and the chances to include influential actors like China in finding political solutions in those regions would have to be seized.

Policy towards Russia should be more balanced between national and European energy interests. A differentiated energy foreign policy should be conceded to Moskau, even vis-a-vis EU members. At the same time this must not lead to Russia dividing Europe too much over questions of energy security. The hitherto existing strategy of assisting integration on a corporate level seems to show promise but should be continued in a larger European context.

Efforts will have to be made in government, between different departments and levels, to better understand and control the complex interdependencies of value chains and infrastructures. A revaluation of criteria is necessary: not only efficiency but robustness will be a hallmark of sustainable policies.

The transformation to a post-fossil society is especially dependent on the availability of non-fossil technologies. Here too, sustainable solutions seem problematic. Substituting a dependence for another (e.g. rare metals) is not productive in the long term. Non-fossil transport will be a core competence of post-fossil societies.

PO poses dangers for mission-critical abilities of armies. Strategic and tactical mobility and avoiding a loss of functionality have to be paramount. Advancing and optimizing current procedures and supply chains is therefore not sufficient. Future changes have to reduce systemic dependencies and avoid them altogether in new structures. Identifying those dependencies requires new methods and deeper analysis.

To draw conclusions about future mission environments of the Bundeswehr from a single-topic study is certainly not admissible. But it's probable that PO will lead to more fragile states and humanitarian crises. Parts of the Mideast will profit, resource-poor countries in central Africa will have massive problems. Collapses of economic systems, undersupply and humanitarian emergencies will make transnational political upheavals very probable. Weak governmental structures further increase the danger - even industrial nations will be limited in their efforts to counter PO. This study has therefore addressed (1) food security, (2) concurrent political instability, and (3) a tighter resource-political connection to those regions. Additionally, the Mideast and Africa border on EU and NATO and are therefore important security factors for Germany.

The results of this study are starting points for further research. However, this should not hide the fact that implementation will be the biggest hurdle to preparing the German economy for PO. The concurrent paradigm change of less efficiency and more robustness contradicts economic logic and can therefore not be left to market forces alone.

A preparation for PO is necessary even if the scenarios in this study don't come to pass. The time factor can be decisive for a successful transformation to a post-fossil society. To accelerate democratic decisions in this regard, the dangers of an eroding resource base have to be implanted in our social consciousness. Only then will there be an awareness/acceptance of the coming change of course. At the same time, chances for autonomous preparation have to be tested and seized. Decentralized solutions can be supported by central hubs but they can usually not be developed and implemented by them.

Thanks very much for doing these translations for us.
This German document gets more intriguing by the hour....
-- rm

If there are other parts of the report that are especially interesting to the TOD staff I could try to summarize them in English. But there isn't really that much new in the report, at least for TOD veterans (may I call them TODlers? :-). Not much in terms of concrete action either, only some general outlines for a (energy) security strategy. The real value of this kind of report lies in the many descriptions of causal relationships and facts, some of which one might not have thought of before. Of course you can find parts of such explanations in the general media but nobody really wants to assemble all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. It's too painful to contemplate. "It can't be because it must not be!" Hopefully it will send a little (healthy?) jolt through the system.

Some interesting bits that I liked:
The term "transformation unemployment" i.e. unemployment because of deep structural changes, e.g. Germany since reunification. Leads to devaluation of human capital, different skillsets preferred.

Historical case studies show that only a continual improvement of living standards ensures an open and tolerant society (Friedman, The moral consequences of economic growth). Let's hope that's wrong.

Re: Hirsch Report. Crash program 20 years ahead could avert negative consequences. But without a crash program the transformation phase post peak would also last 20 years. Hirsch report implicitly assumes a comparable investment environment for both scenarios. This assumption seems very questionable from the systemic viewpoint in the report ("tipping point").

I read the study yesterday.
It is really brilliant and should be a must-read not only for defense people but for all sorts of policymakers.
I especially appreciate its matter-of-fact risk assessment tone. Which makes it hard for objectors to call it scaremongering and easier for sceptics to swallow the tough stuff.
Interestingly, the analysis goes far beyond a pure technocratic problem-solution approach, as the authors also cover the implications concerning the economy, politics, psychology etc.

There are quite a few parallels with the more recent paper from Robert L. Hirsch "Mitigation of maximum world oil production: Shortage scenarios". But this is only 8 pages long and only available to the scientific community.

I only found one weird point, which might be a flaw: The study says (on page 51):

"Because of the close economic and political ties with Norway and the UK these can be regarded as particularly reliable suppliers. Both countries have already exceeded their national peak, but according to BGR they still can produce the same annual amounts of oil for more than 25 years."

However, according to BP data (see data browser) UK is a net importer since 2006. So I wonder how UK can be a "particularly reliable supplier" for Germany. And Norway's exports are going down, too.

The study from the German geological service BGR, which is cited as source says indeed:

"The most important supplier of crude oil in 2007 was the CIS with 42%, with the lion's share of 32% from Russia. Behind this the North Sea states of Norway and United Kingdom follow with a share of 29%."

So BGR contradicts BP data (which it uses elsewhere frequently), too.

On the other hand the BGR study clearly states that there are

"Countries with declining reserves and falling production. These include Norway, Britain and Syria, which also expects falling production in future."

And I didn't find the "25 years" plateau claim there anywhere.

So I am a bit puzzled about this point about the supply situation of Germany.
But this shouldn't cast a bad light on this excellent work.

Some of the authors appeared at this year's ASPO meeting in Berlin, where they announced that they are working on this topic.
They also had a flyer with a short description:
Study project from Jan 2010 until December 2011
"Environmental Dimensons of Security"
It comprises three parts and looks 30 years ahead.

One concept had the title:
"Peak oil is today".

The original Der Spiegel articles about the Secret German military study warning of dramatic oil crisis can be found here (in English):

PART 1: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,715138,00.html

PART 2: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,715138-2,00.html

The original document of the German military (in German) can be found here (as you see there are many references to TOD):


Summarizing the main insights (from Der Spiegel International):

- DATE OF PEAK OIL AND EFFECTS: According to the German report, there was "some probability that peak oil will occur around the year 2010 and that the impact on security is expected to be felt 15 to 30 years later..."

- OIL WILL DETERMINE POWER... "The relative importance of the oil producing nations in the international system is growing. These nations are using the advantages resulting from this to expand the scope of their domestic and foreign policies and establish themselves as a new or resurgent regional, or in some cases even global leading power."

- INCREASING IMPORTANCE OF OIL EXPORTERS: For importers of oil more competition for resources will mean an increase in the number of nations competing for favour with oil producing nations.

- POLITICS IN PLACE OF THE MARKET: The Bundeswehr Transformation Center expects that a supply crisis would roll back the liberalization of the energy market. "The proportion of oil traded on the global, freely accessible oil market will diminish as more oil is traded through bi-national contracts,"

- MARKET FAILURES: The authors paint a bleak picture of the consequences resulting from a shortage of petroleum. As the transportation of goods depends on crude oil, international trade could be subject to colossal tax hikes. "Shortages in the supply of vital goods could arise" as a result, for example in food supplies. Oil is used directly or indirectly in the production of 95% of all industrial goods.

- RELAPSE INTO PLANNED ECONOMY: Since virtually all economic sectors rely heavily on oil, peak oil could lead to a "partial or complete failure of markets," says the study. "A conceivable alternative would be government rationing and the allocation of important goods or the setting of production schedules and other short-term coercive measures to replace market-based mechanisms in times of crisis.

- GLOBAL CHAIN REACTION: "A restructuring of oil supplies will not be equally possible in all regions before the onset of peak oil," says the study. "It is likely that a large number of states will not be in a position to make the necessary investments in time," or with "sufficient magnitude".

- CRISIS OF POLITICAL LEGITIMACY: The Bundeswehr study also raises fears for the survival of democracy itself. Parts of the population could comprehend the upheaval trigged by peak oil "as a general systemic crisis." This would create "room for ideological and extremist alternatives to existing forms of government."

Interesting thought about Democracy being challenged by PO. Well, democracy is constantly being challenged, even by (esp?) Democratic Nations.. as the great imbalance of power that seems to be created in large part because of this potent energy source has made Corporate and Political power capable of wielding such magnificent Forces.. well, it makes me wonder if what might be challenged as much as the hoped-for egalitarian virtues of Democracy, aren't instead going to be the Manipulative Chains of these 'Managed Democracies'.. particularly as the supply chains that now keep the international consumers strung along as obedient puppets .. as these start to fray and people have to find their own sources for their necessities. (They being Communities and regions as much as Individuals and Families)

I think the prospect of powering your house and maybe your ebike and your family business from your own roof or fields might move some areas into a MORE truly democratic relationship than we have now.

Historically democracy has only worked well in small homogeneous populations (e.g. Switzerland, Iceland) or in conditions of low population density and high resource availability (e.g. US from colonial times through 19th century). The world is headed towards something more like pre-colonial India, with a large inhomogenous population living at or beyond the limits of the environment.

I think the prospect of powering your house and maybe your ebike and your family business from your own roof or fields might move some areas into a MORE truly democratic relationship than we have now.

The one thing that is immediately apparent here in Germany is the ubiquitousness of Solar PV installations just about everywhere you look you see it, homes, businesses, barns, factories, everywhere you look you find these installations. I was walking down the street today and saw a poster advertising incentives for PV installations in the window of the local bank. Same for solar hot water. The Germans are way ahead of the curve at least with personal Solar installations.

In the article

According to the Guardian, the DECC, the Bank of England and the British Ministry of Defence are working alongside industry representatives to develop a crisis plan to deal with possible shortfalls in energy supply.

Looks like other governments are also paying attension. During the recent election David Camereon stated on one of the TV debates that the Conservatives would consider variable taxation on transport fuel to 'smooth out' a volatile oil price - since then it's gone very silent.

The feed in tariffs seemed to appear from nowhere as did the DECC/OfGem energy diversity policy. Everything seems to be under the cover of 'climate change' to encourage reduced consumption of FF.

DECC is closely monitoring Peak Oil and they seem to understand that it will happen this decade (I had a meeting with them for my research). They basically have a team working on that... and it seems that the new energy secretary (Chris Huhne) is well aware of the situation:

Britain is “very likely” to face an oil shock within the next decade, triggering economic volatility as fraught with “nasty surprises” as the 1970s, the energy secretary has warned. FT

But I'm not sure they are doing enough to deal with it...

In France, the junior ecology minister (Chantal Jouanno) said last January that PO will happen "before 2020". As far as I know, they are in regular contact with Total... who speaks relatively clearly about the problem.

Interesting. From http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/e-serve/sm/Documentation/Documents1/Smart%20mete...

...The rollout of smart meters will play an important role in Britain‟s transition to a low-carbon economy, and help us meet some of the long-term challenges we face in ensuring an affordable, secure and sustainable energy supply.

...The greater energy awareness generated by smart meters will in turn encourage uptake of the Green Deal, the Government‟s overarching consumer-led policy to enable households to reduce their energy consumption by improving energy efficiency...

Smart metering will be an essential enabler for a move to a low carbon energy system involving greater use of electric vehicles, renewable energy and more active management of energy networks, often referred to as smart grids.

If you have a minute, please contact me directly:

-- Rick Munroe
National Farmers Union
Howe Island, Ontario.

deanfa -

I think the conclusions of this German study are right on.

The one that I think is inevitable is POLITICS IN PLACE OF THE MARKET. When the oil supply situation gets really tight, the oil that is available won't go to the highest bidder in the context of an open and functioning market, but rather to those who have enough power to enter into long-term bilateral supply relationships.

The form these would take will likely be along the lines: You give us first crack at your oil production at a reasonable price, and we in turn will furnish you with military protection and help your regime stay in power. The US has had a sort of 'lite' version of this in its relationship with the Saudi royal family since the end of WW II. And it appears that China is attempting to establish the same sort of thing with Iran. At the present time, these relationships are relatively subtle, i.e., the US protects Saudi Arabia but doesn't have exclusive access to its oil output. But give it time, and as thing get ugly these relationships will become more overt.

It's all a matter of making sure you have a chair to sit in when the music stops, and you don't do that by bidding the highest price for a chair. You take it.

China also establishes these bilateral relationships with Venezuela, and even more clearly outside of the market through loans to be paid in oil (over 20 years), for instance :


Yes, I agree with that point, particularly now that financial markets are becoming a king of "multi-player real time online game", thanks to high frequency algorithmic trading that now represents the most of trading volume:




In this situation, where the market is basically an online casino', completely disconnected from the underlying economic and financial situation, if we add oil supply constraints the need for long-term bilateral supply relationships is simply a necessity.

As for the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia, I think it will become more strict in the medium term, since now the US is too overstreched and has to solve the problem of the debt, or by hyperinflation, or by some form of debt restructuring (which some witty analysts called "polite default") or both.

We plan to have an article about it -- I am not sure how soon. Next week would be the soonest I would expect, but it could be later than that.

That would be great. I saw that Normk above translated the table of contents and the chapter 5 conclusions: I am sorry I cannot help more with the document translation, but after having spent 1 year in Germany during my PhD studies, I did not use any more German, and any language which is not practiced is destined to get forgotten.

Bjorn Lomborg seems to have changed his mind on the whole climate change thing and now thinks it is actually a big deal and worth addressing. I wonder what it will take to undo his years of providing talking points to readers who believe the opposite. Better late than never?


Noted anti-global-warming scientist reverses course

With scientific data piling up showing that the world has reached its hottest-ever point in recorded history, global-warming skeptics are facing a high-profile defection from their ranks. Bjorn Lomborg, author of the influential tract "The Skeptical Environmentalist," has reversed course on the urgency of global warming, and is now calling for action on "a challenge humanity must confront."

Lomborg, a Danish academic, had previously downplayed the risk of acute climate change. A former member of Greenpeace, he was a vocal critic of the Kyoto Protocol -- a global U.N. treaty to cut carbon emissions that the United States refused to ratify -- as well as numerous other environmental causes.

I live in Alabama and blog on the local boards, and I often have to blog about race. In case you do not know I am dark skinned. Spanish Creole/Korean, but on the al.com site i would have to say I identify with the AA culture as much as the 'white' culture. I have never brought a post about such here, this place is so wonderfully diverse. I just found out something funny and it turned out positive. I felt compelled to share. It was a story about a crime with a nice mugshot of a dark skinned person. We were talking about crime stats and as usual it was open minded me and about six folks that were really scared or angry. I relate to them, but of course disagree. I live in Baldwin County Alabama so I was forced to dig up some crime stats. Here is what I found. In 2009 2058 'black' persons were arrested for crimes. 6292 'white' persons were arrested during the same time period. The post blew up. It got seriously funny in no time. I was asking the other bloggers to save me from 'whitey'. Told them I was moving to the 'hood'. Now we are scientists here, and of course the population numbers have more to do with it than anything special about Baldwin County, but that is not the point. I know these other bloggers and in general they are great folks. It is just when it came to race, we still have work to do. God blessed me with genetic diversity in such a combination that I cross most racial divides, internally if not externally. For the first time in a long time, I think the group all felt better about such race relations in our community. It proved that staring at mugshots should be left to victims.

I looked at those statistics and the actual demographics of the county. It appears those of Sub-Saharan African descent are arrested at 2.5 times their proportion of the actual population.

Yeah, but it doesn't tell you the reason. Are they actually committing more crimes, or are the cops engaging in "racial profiling," consciously or not?

Well sure, but the point is, the converse is obviously invalid, whitey does not proportionally commit more crime. Yet, I can honest say I am 9 times more likely to randomly meet whitey in the street and since whitey commits 3/4 of the crime, I need to stay away from whitey. It sounds logical but of course it is faulty logic. Just because it is 'more' faulty than the converse, the conserve is still faulty nonetheless. At least in coming to any kind of workable conclusion. I had grown people tell me that 'dark' skinned folks scared them. I do not scream racist, I am concerned. I do not want folks to be scared of dark skinned folks like me. Read the post.

I am a white man born in Rhodesia. I grew up with the aBantu. They killed my brother.
I relate to them on a personal level better than with the with the Australians that I live amongst now.
I have been very angry with them. I blame their tagati for my rage. It is a shameful memory for me but I was not myself on that occasion.

To button hole an entire people with singular attributes is understandable. We cannot build up personality profiles of every chance encounter we make.

However there are aBuntu who don't view us as human, and see it as their duty to their race to eliminate us, or at least breed us out.
Much as we may have eliminated Neanderthals.

Uh, boy.

There's a hostage situation at the Discovery Channel. The perpetrator is apparently an environmental extremist.

An angry manifesto posted on a website called SaveThePlanetProtest.com repeatedly refers to humans as "filth" and demands that the Discovery Channel "stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants."

"Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is," the 1,149-word statement says.

"Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what's left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture," it continues.

Lee also blasts immigration, farming, weapons of mass destruction, automotive pollution, "and the whole blasted human economy."

At least he puts blame on the proper sources for once "immigration, farming, weapons of mass destruction, automotive pollution, and the whole blasted human economy."


From the domain registration of his website, it appears he lives in the Vancouver, Canada area.

He's a Daniel Quinn fan. Maybe they will put him on the phone to defuse the situation.

He's already been shot. Crisis over.

He wasn't the first & won't be the last to be driven around the bend by these issues which are definitely not going away and seem utterly unsolvable.

May he rest in peace and may Gaia have mercy on us all.

Discovery is paying Sarah Palin a million for her TV show about Alaska. That is reason enough to protest. He's got most of it right, although would not support the hostage approach.

Looks like Earl is supposed to stay offshore, but here is a History Channel (Mega Disasters) analysis of a direct Cat 3 hit on NYC:


Looks like Earl is supposed to stay offshore...

Hi WT,

That's because the world ends at Houlton Maine? (see: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/hurricane/track_e.html).


Guess I should have said off the shore of the US. . . . but a small variation in the track could make things "interesting" for the US East Coast.

Don't let us steal your fun... here, take it, she's all yours.... [steps back and stoops forward, as both hands swing downward and point left]

Actually, here's hoping our good friends in New England come through unscathed.


That's because the world ends at Houlton Maine?

Well, At least by the time it reaches you it will lose "tropical" characteristics, and instead just be an very nasty "extratropical storm". But if there is damage that needs to be covered by referal taxes, it will be Ottawa not Washington on the hook.

And, Paul, on that nice weather map where the nice red hurricane symbol marked 04/12Z is nicely located on the eastern (Nova Scotia) side of the Bay of Fundy, well that marks the spot where I live :-(

That's one mother of a storm coming this way. Time to hunker down.

Here's hoping for a Hurricane Category 1 not 2. The abnormally warm Atlantic waters this summer, however, is not boding well for Earl's quiet arrival.

The good news is that he is likely to bring to an end this unbearable heatwave. The bad news is that the mean brute will rip up the landscape as he passes through.

Since Halifax bore the brunt of Juan earlier, guess it's maybe the Annapolis Valley's turn to entertain a tropical guest. Will know more about the storm's projected landfall as the weekend approaches.

Meanwhile, here's to safe haven for all mariners along the eastern seaboard.


And, Paul, on that nice weather map where the nice red hurricane symbol marked 04/12Z is nicely located on the eastern (Nova Scotia) side of the Bay of Fundy, well that marks the spot where my house is located :-(

Hi Tom,

That didn't go unnoticed ! It's probably safe to assume it will remain at least a Category 1. I understand water temperatures off Nova Scotia are several degrees above normal and I'm guessing the hot moist air that has been tormenting us these past few days won't help matters either. Tomorrow, we're putting away the BBQ, patio furniture, planters and anything else that might be at risk. We'll be in relatively good shape if the winds remain from the south-east, but with this latest westward shift in its expected track, it looks like we could be in for a rougher ride. In any event, I wish you and everyone else the very best.

Edit: Tom, as it stands now, Stormpulse shows Earl making landfall as a Cat 2 and it has you squarely in its gun sights (see: http://www.stormpulse.com/).



Most people around here are taking the approach of Earl very seriously. All things that can act as possible flying projectiles are being tied down, taken in, or secured as safely as possible. Brisk sales in the local shops for flashlights, can goods, and extra fuel. Major concern is, of course, flooding as much of this region is low lying tidal flats and thus is at risk from heavy rains and tidal surges. My house is on a hill and some distance inland from the basin. However, all that protects the town of Windsor itself from the brunt of a raging sea is the highway over a causeway.

May the tide be low when this hits.

The biggest danger for those of us living in higher elevations is trees. Most wind storms occur in late fall or winter when the heavy foliage is missing. Not now. A fully laden tree is an ideal parachute for wind gusts in excess of 125 kms/hour. (Just to put it in perspective, picture driving on a freeway with an fully grown oak in the back of your pickup truck as you exceed the maximum speed limit. You won't get very far without seeing serious damage to both tree and truck.)

Juan struck in full fury after midnight when most people were safely tucked in their beds. Still seven people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time died, mostly as a result of falling trees on vehicles. Earl is projected to hit around noon Saturday and on a Saturday of a long weekend, too. Unfortunately, people are more likely to try to "experience" a storm in broad daylight. No amount of emergency planning can protect people from their own curiosity and dare devil antics.

Let's hope for the best and prepare for the worst.



Tom, as it stands now, Stormpulse shows Earl making landfall as a Cat 2 and it has you squarely in its gun sights.

Yikes. Here's hoping my neighbours are stocking up on fuel for their chain saws. Might be needed Sunday morning.

This may turn out to be a very memorable Labour Day weekend in Nova Scotia. So much for the 2010 apple crop.

So it's already a cat 4, and just strengthened to 145 mph winds, 10 mph short of a cat 5.

But NOAA says there is only a 6% chance of it going to 5.

It looks to me as if its projected path takes it right over warm waters just off the E coast, and going directly over a hot spot just off the Cape.



Is there some mitigating factor that might weaken this thing? Wind shear?...

But NOAA says there is only a 6% chance of it going to 5.

That's bookie odds of 20 to 1. And like a gambler's luck, quite a windfall if it comes to pass (pun intended). As you say, dohboi, at 145 mph winds, Earl's a high category 4 so he's very dangerous. Can do a lot of damage just skirting the Atlantic coast.

Is there some mitigating factor that might weaken this thing? Wind shear?...

Problem is the water temperatures. Juan in 2003 strengthened just before landfall in Nova Scotia owing to unseasonable warm waters. The waters are even warmer in 2010.

Where's the Labrador current when you need it?

This monster could remain a monster all the way through. The governors of North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland have today declared states of emergency.


The folks of Cape Cod should be a little nervous now, too.

Hi Tom,

Earl appears to be shifting further westward towards New Brunswick which isn't great news for you as it puts you on the nasty side of things as it races up the Bay of Fundy. If it's helpful, you might want to follow the discussion of Earl at the storm2k website (see: http://www.storm2k.org/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=109110&st=0&sk=t&sd=a...). This link will take you to page 201, but jump back a few pages for additional context, then move forward.

Again, stay safe and stay in touch.


Hi Paul,

Keeping a very close eye on this... if need be, prepared to scramble out of harms way.

Being responsible for four other buildings (churches) besides my house, all one can do is await events.

The lateness of the current heat wave - a scorcher of a day here (calling for a high of 34 C (mid 90s F)) - makes this seem all the more surreal.

Out to meetings all day today but I will stay in touch.



I predict that on the 18th when I am supposed to take a river boat trip downt he Arkansas river witha group of Techno-rockers I will have a rainer time than we thought back then when we made the plans.

The storm track for Gaston, which is the smae name as a small town in Alabama, and also a town in Arkansas I think( hunts downt he book of small towns in Arkansas, gives up cause his room is a mess, trying to find the floor).

Oh well you heard it first here., or rathe ryou read it first here.

going on 215+ hours without sleep, or in my case a normal week.

Well not normal, but if anything is normal in my life, nothing is normal.

I have been promoting locally my BioWebScape designs, while I have been doing some helping of a friend's park land, and just hanging around a fellow Landscape architect/back to living on the land type.

I have several neato things in the works for the yard this fall and spring. But in the last part of the month we will be cutting down with the help of Buck's Tree service one of the older trees on the lot. The main lowest branch has root going down about 3 feet into the tree's base, about 4 feet off the ground I figure the rot is about 2 feet up from the ground if not lower.

I did not think anything of it, till a branch almost hit my mom on Tuesday about midafternoon, if it would hat hit it would have been the 3rd old person in my life to have gotten hurt in the last 2 weeks, all the ladies in the low to high 80's in age.

Not something you like to think about, but my mom will be 81 this next year, and the oldest of them is going to be 90 next year she fell backwards and hit her head yesterday last week( tuesday of last week)

not something you like ot see happen to the older folks.

Ron where are you, I did not get mail back from you, go to hunt for posts you have made recently after this post.

I have need of sleep, anyone got a trank, try elephant!!!

News in yesterday's Yahoo news talked about the state of Watermelons in the markets, I ahve been wanting to get a big watermelon, but we were limited on fridge space, because the outside spare one needed some work done on it, which may dad did and fixed Tuesday afternoon late.

We are slowly sorting out things in the pack rat's nests of our house and the sheds and the storages areas of our life.

Dad said, the only thing our yard grows is sheds.

A guy across the street wants to move north to Cabot the going to place for people looking to get away from the rife rafe non-whites. Smirkles, I like the well mixed street, 5 black families/house fulls, 6 whites, 2 hispanics. 13 houses on larkspur lane, we are the oldest, besides on lady, who is living in the house she grew up in, but had moved away for 10 or more years, and the house changed hands so she does not count. going on 34 years for this family here.

I only grew under 200 square feet of planted bed and container space on a 6th of an acrea plot of city burbian lot.

not bad.

Hugs from Arkansas, I felt rain outside, but the radar said nothing in the area really.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world.