Drumbeat: October 1, 2010

BMW, Daimler Test Electric Scooters

Two of the splashiest premieres at the Paris Motor Show Thursday weren't the sleek coupes or roadsters that typically steal the show but electric scooters unveiled by BMW AG's Mini and Daimler AG's Smart, which also went a step further by displaying an electric bicycle.

One reason is that while questions abound as to how many consumers will embrace electric cars and at what price, the market for electric two-wheelers has already taken off. Electric bikes, motorcycles and scooters are fast overtaking the existing gas-powered motor-scooter market among urban dwellers in developing nations who typically ride bicycles for transportation.

A recent study by clean-technology market research firm Pike Research estimates some 466 million electric bikes, motorcycles and scooters will be sold world-wide over the next six years. The majority of sales are expected in China, where some 100 million electric bicycles are already on the road. Because e-scooters are used mostly in cities and towns, their limited battery range isn't so much an issue as it might be with car buyers, said Pike Research senior analyst Davie Hurst.

US Wind Power's Surge Finally Slows

The increase in wind power prices in 2009, combined with the deep reduction in wholesale electricity prices (driven by lower natural gas prices), pushed wind energy from the bottom to the top of the wholesale electricity price range in 2009. Although low natural gas prices are, in part, attributable to the recession-induced drop in energy demand, the discovery and early development of significant shale gas deposits has reduced expectations for increases in natural gas prices going forward, putting the near-term comparative economic position of wind energy at some risk.

In addition, among a large sample of wind power projects installed in 2009, reported installed costs had a capacity-weighted average of $2120/kW — up by $170/kW (9%) from the weighted-average cost of $1950/kW for projects installed in 2008, and by $820/kW (63%) from the average cost of projects installed from 2001 through 2004. Installed costs may — on average — remain high for some time as developers work their way through the dwindling backlog of turbines purchased in early 2008 at peak prices. There are expectations, however, that average costs will decline over time with the easing of the cost pressures (e.g. rising materials costs, the weak dollar, turbine and component shortages) that have challenged the industry in recent years. Differences in average installed costs among regions and by project size are also apparent in the data. . .

Industry analysts project a range from 5500 MW to 8000 MW of wind power capacity likely to be installed in the United States in 2010, a drop of 20%—45% compared to the nearly 10,000 MW installed in 2009. After a slower 2010, most predictions show a market resurgence in 2011 and 2012, as the Recovery Act programmes mature and as financing constraints ease. Beyond 2012, however, the picture is considerably less certain, due to the scheduled expiration of a number of federal policies at the end of that year, including the PTC, the ability to elect a 30% ITC in lieu of the PTC, and the ability to receive the 30% Treasury cash grant for projects that initiated construction by the end of 2010.

Governator to utilities: Invest in energy storage … maybe

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB2514 into official law this week, and it may change the face of the entire power industry if the details of that law spread to other regions in the U.S.

What makes this law so unique? It gets very close to mandating that utilities invest in energy storage systems to make connecting renewable power easier.

AB2514 requires that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) “open a proceeding” by March 1, 2012 to discuss potential investor-owned utility (IOU) energy storage targets with a two-fold deadline---one set of targets achieved by December 31, 2015, and the second set by December 31, 2020.

There would be a similar set of requirements for public utilities, along with a plan for significant demand response activity. . .

AB2514 only requires that the CPUC discuss the matter and set targets. There is no guarantee what those targets might be. And, in fact, they may decide that no targets are needed at all, to stick with the status quo.

EIA Reports Bearish Gas Injection

The federal government’s Energy Information Administration (“EIA”) reported a higher-than-expected increase in natural gas supplies, attributable to the onset of fall, a season in which demand is usually lower on account of moderate weather conditions across the country.

Stockpiles held in underground storage in the lower 48 states rose by 74 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ended September 24, 2010, above the forecasted range of 67–71 Bcf increase. The latest build compares with last year’s net injection of 65 Bcf and the 5-year (2005–2009) average of 67 Bcf for the reported week.

Indonesia's crude oil output may fall 10 pct on leakage

Indonesia's daily oil production may fall 100,000 barrels, or about 10 percent, after a gas pipeline leakage earlier this week affected oil production at Chevron Corp's (CVX.N) unit, officials at oil and gas watchdog BP Migas said on Friday.

Iraq says oil reserves higher

The oil ministry on Oct. 4 will make a "big" upward revision to the current estimate of 115 bil barrels, spokesman Assem Jihad said. Iraq resumed exploration in '08 after years of war.

Shell to boost Gulf output despite new rules

Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it will spend aggressively to boost its oil production in the Gulf of Mexico by 250,000 barrels per day, confident it won’t be hamstrung by new rules announced by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Thursday.

Marvin Odom, the company’s North American head, said Shell already meets the new regulations that the Obama administration adopted Thursday. “We like the regulations – they sit very well with what we have been doing in the Gulf and worldwide,” he said in a telephone interview.

Kris De Decker: The velomobile: high-tech bike or low-tech car?

Recumbent bikes with bodywork evoke a curious effect. They look as fast as a racing car or a jet fighter, but of course, they're not.

Nevertheless, thanks to the recumbent position, the minimal weight and the outstanding aerodynamics, pedalling a "velomobile" requires three to four times less energy than pedalling a normal bicycle.

NOAA opens more Gulf waters to fishing after spill

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Friday that it had reopened 5,628 square miles of Gulf waters off eastern Louisiana to recreational and commercial fishing.

About 11 percent or 26,287 square miles of U.S. federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico remain closed to fishing in the wake of the BP oil spill, NOAA said in a statement.

The Japan Syndrome

China's teetering on the verge of its own lost decade, and a meltdown in Beijing would make Japan's economic malaise look like child's play.

The funny thing is that China borrowed much of its economic model from Japan: producing low-cost exports to fund investment at home while aggravating trading partners. At times, it seems like only the names have changed. Where Detroit automakers once denounced Honda and Toyota for dumping cheap, fuel-efficient sedans on American housewives, Treasury secretaries now wring their hands about the undervalued renminbi while China's trade surpluses yawn.

As pleasurable as it must be for China's leaders to have beaten Japan at its own game, the joke might soon be on them. In fact, they would do well to veer off of Japan's development path promptly.

A future energy giant? India’s thorium-based nuclear plans

As part of an ambitious three-stage plan to fulfil its nuclear vision and desire for energy security, India could find itself a leading global exporter of an alternative nuclear technology that is more efficient than today’s uranium-plutonium fuel cycle.

Saudis Aim for Renewable Energy Revamp

Renewable sources could account for up to 10 percent of Saudi Arabia's power output by 2020, an executive from the state-owned national oil company Aramco said.

"The proposed target is between 7 to 10% of peak electricity generated by renewables by 2020," Ahmad al-Khowaiter, director of new business evaluation department at Aramco told Reuters.

The renewable energy would most likely be solar energy, he said, and Saudi Arabia will start exporting solar energy by 2020.

Major oil companies in Europe pledge to end Iran investments

The United States announced Thursday that four of Europe's five biggest oil companies would end their energy investments in Iran, a significant advance in the Obama administration's efforts to pressure the Iranian government to enter negotiations over its alleged nuclear weapons program.

At the same time, U.S. officials said they were working to pressure China and other countries to bar their companies from filling the vacuum created by the departing Europeans.

Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg said Royal Dutch Shell, based in Britain and the Netherlands; France's Total; Eni of Italy; and the Norway-based Statoil had committed to no further investments in Iran.

How Chavez lost the popular vote -- and won by a landslide

On a day of heavy turnout, 52 percent of voters chose opposition parties, vs. 48 percent for Mr. Chávez's Socialists.

In a normal democratic country -- even in Venezuela itself up until this year -- that outcome would have produced something close to a tie between government and non-government deputies in the congress. Instead, thanks to the blatant gerrymandering he ordered, Mr. Chávez probably will have 98 seats, compared with 67 for the main opposition coalition and a small leftist party. That allowed the caudillo to claim victory in a news conference, during which he heaped abuse on a reporter who dared to ask about the discrepancy between votes and seats.

BP pledges Gulf of Mexico oil fields to spill fund

BP, which faces U.S. opposition to drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, named fields there that it will use to help finance its $20 billion fund for victims of the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The oil major on Friday said it would channel revenue from a number of its fields in the Gulf, including Thunder Horse, Atlantis and Mad Dog, into its compensation fund.

"It's quite a clever thing that BP's done which is, here are our deep water Gulf of Mexico assets, and we're pledging overriding royalties as collateral which should suggest to the U.S. administration not to in any way meddle with these facilities," said Seymour Pierce analyst Alan Sinclair.

Oil jumps to $81 on China, U.S. data

Oil rose on Friday to $81, a seven-week high, boosted by stronger-than-expected U.S. and Chinese economic data which raised hopes of demand recovery in the world's largest consumers.

China's manufacturing sector gathered momentum last month, the official purchasing managers index (PMI) showed, providing further evidence that an important engine of global growth is humming again after sputtering in the second quarter.

Gold at record for sixth day

Gold hit record highs for a sixth successive session on Friday as the dollar fell to a six-month low against the euro, with expectations for further U.S. monetary easing driving strong demand for the precious metal.

Sinopec to Invest $7.1 Billion in Repsol Brazil Unit

China Petrochemical Corp., the country’s second-largest oil and gas producer, will invest $7.1 billion in Repsol YPF SA’s Brazilian unit as the Spanish oil company raises funds to develop offshore projects.

The acquisition is the second-largest overseas purchase by a Chinese company as the world’s biggest energy consumer snaps up fields to meet surging demand.

Refining Profit Threatened by EU Carbon Rebuff: Energy Markets

The European Union’s refusal to delay phasing out free carbon-emission allowances may drive up costs for refiners already struggling with a slide in crude-processing profits.

Operating expenses may jump about 13 percent for refiners by 2013, when polluters will be forced to pay for more carbon permits under the EU’s cap-and-trade system, according to the European Petroleum Industry Association, or Europia. The profit from turning crude into fuels such as gasoline and diesel in northwest Europe sank to a seven-year low in the three months through Sept. 23, according to data compiled by BP Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company.

Having to buy more allowances will “add to the concerns of the industry at a very difficult time,” said Konrad Hanschmidt, a London-based analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a provider of data and research on carbon markets.

S. Korea Oil Imports Rise Fifth Month on Fuel Demand

South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest crude buyer, increased oil imports for a fifth month as refiners expanded output to meet overseas orders for fuel.

Mexico's Pemex Gets $1 Bln In Loan Guarantees From US Ex-Im Bank

Mexico's state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said Thursday it had received $1 billion in long-term loan guarantees from the U.S. Export-Import Bank to purchase goods and services for projects at the oil giant's exploration and production division.

French Fos-Lavera Port Strike Ongoing, Delays 37 Ships

The Fos-Lavera oil terminal near Marseilles in southern France was still blocked Thursday by a rolling wildcat strike that has prevented 37 tankers from discharging cargo since Monday when the workers began their protest against French harbor reform, a port spokeswoman has said.

Exxon Mobil to Sell Japanese Retail Fuel Business, Yomiuri Says

Exxon Mobil Corp. plans to sell its petroleum retailing operations in Japan as fuel demand declines, the Yomiuri newspaper reported, citing unidentified people close to the decision.

Iran Atom Progress "Slow But Steady" - Ex - IAEA Aide

Iran is making steady progress in its nuclear enrichment programme but there is still time to find a diplomatic solution over work the West fears is aimed at making bombs, a former top U.N. nuclear official said.

Olli Heinonen, who stepped down in August as chief of U.N. nuclear inspections worldwide, also voiced doubt about reports that Iran's atomic activities were the target of a cyber attack.

Interior Department toughens regulation of offshore drilling

The US Department of the Interior announced two rules that toughen regulation of oil and gas drilling practices and equipment performance. The rules, which industry groups greeted with warnings about further drilling delays, join other DOI reforms since the Apr. 20 Macondo well blowout and rig explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Operators will need to comply with tougher requirements for everything from well design and cementing practices to blowout preventers and employee training,” US Interior Sec. Ken Salazar said. “They will also need to develop comprehensive plans to manage risks and hazards at every step of the drilling process so as to reduce the risk of human error.”

Wassit leaders defy Oil Ministry in armed standoff at Ahdab

Iraqi forces drew weapons on one another as a dispute involving the Wassit provincial council and the Oil Ministry in Baghdad threatened to turn violent.

Nigeria: Fresh Doubts Hit Nation's 4,500 Kilometre Oil Line to Europe

But while the oil was supposed to be flowing through the Nigal by 2012, completion is now likely to be delayed further -- with the earliest date of commissioning now pushed back to 2015.

Some experts see an even later date. Hafidh Souaili, expert and writer on energy affairs in Algiers, says: "2017 is more or less the earliest we shall see light at the end of the tunnel."

Many difficulties have arisen, key among them being funding," says Souaili. In spite of Algeria and Nigeria's commitment to partially support the $13 billion pipeline, they have yet to put serious money on the table.

Silent treatment in inquiry

The leaders of a federal probe into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill complained Tuesday that companies involved in drilling BP's doomed Macondo well are stonewalling their investigation.

William Reilly, the co-chairman of the national commission on the spill, said a number of people have declined to comment on the record about what happened on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the days and hours before it exploded April 20. Some witnesses, he said, have agreed to answer questions anonymously. Reilly did not specify which companies were not cooperating.

UK oil use drops as renewable sector grows

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has released its quarterly energy statistics, which reveals a 5.3 per cent year-on-year fall in oil consumption and a big increase in the take-up of renewable sources of power.

Namibian Uranium Output Rose in Second Quarter on Demand From China, India

Namibia, Africa’s second biggest producer of uranium, mined 18 percent more of the nuclear fuel in the three months through June compared with a year earlier, the Windhoek-based Bank of Namibia said in a quarterly report published on its website today. Production increased by 9.9 percent from the first quarter, it said, without giving figures.

“The demand for uranium continued to be high, emanated mostly from China, India and South Korea, coupled with planned nuclear plant programs across the globe due to increased demand for clean energy,” the central bank said.

South Africa Metals Report Q4 2010 - New Market Report Published

Major challenges to growth remain. Access to raw materials is also a long-term concern for South African producers. Iron ore reserves are depleting, while power shortages and labour unrest continue to disrupt mines. In the short term, steel suppliers will face cash-flow problems and will be focused on merely treading water.

Recharging clean energy dream

Although it is developing faster than anywhere else in the world, China’s clean energy accounts for only about 8 percent of its primary energy consumption. Fossil fuels will dominate for a long time to come.

Coal constitutes more than 70 percent of China’s energy mix, far higher than the world average of 29.2 percent. China’s coal consumption per unit of GDP is 15 times that of Japan and 8.7 times that of the United States.

U.S. aims to end China’s rare earth metals monopoly

Diversifying supplies of the rare metals is important to the Obama administration, because they are used in electric cars, solar panels and wind turbines, all of which the White House is promoting in its overhaul of U.S. energy policy.

China forces firms to cut energy use

SHANGHAI (Kyodo) Japanese businesses in China are being severely affected by local orders to reduce electricity use and achieve energy-saving targets, business sources said Thursday.

Rice rots in depot as locals turn to WFP

The locals stopped buying rice from the NFC in Bajhang after the World Food Program (WFP) started distributing rice in remote districts facing a food crisis.

WFP, under its food-to-work program, has been distributing rice in remote villages. “We receive rice for working on road construction sites,” Jay Singh Bohara, a resident of Surpa village said. “As we receive rice in our own villages, we do not go to district headquarter for it.”

New rules take effect for Colorado uranium mines

The legislation was aimed at protecting groundwater during in-situ uranium mining, which involves injecting a chemical mixture into a site to draw uranium out. The laws also updated mining fees and pushed for disclosure of more information during prospecting activities.

Will ballooning state budgets be the next systemic financial crisis?

Meredith Whitney, the superstar financial analyst who first warned how the real estate crash would create a disaster for U.S. banks, now warns of a looming sovereign debt crisis -- but the sovereigns she refers to are not Greece, Ireland or Portugal. They are California, New Jersey, Illinois and Ohio.
In a new 600-page report (which I am trying to lay hands on), she argues that the next systemic risk in U.S. finance is state and municipal government.


this is seriously scary stuff. What the heck is happening in the US at the moment? Looks like the US is slowly tearing itself apart. No sensible society would want its children to become snoopers for the ruling elites. What next? Issue them a smart uniform with an arm-band with a nice logo with rotational symmetry?

Jeez fellas... Hitler Youth by iPhone...

Note that the program was developed by a "Winston O'Brien" is the combination of names of the main protagonist and antagonist characters in "1984".

Joke probability is strong on this one.

Indeed! I had twigged that. My post should also have had [parody] tags attached.

When one can not see the twinkle in one's eye, the InterWeb can be a distorting place...

Hey it's going to get better!

Coming Soon: SnapScout Reports

Want to keep an eye on what people are saying about you? With SnapScout Reports, you can monitor the anonymous SnapScout reports before they go to the authorities. And if you don't agree with the report, you can negotiate with the reporter to explain your actions.

If that's not parody, I don't know what is!

Also, MiniTru LLC: The Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue, in Newspeak) is one of the four ministries that govern Oceania.

Cute spoof. Nonetheless, the concept of a crowd-sourced social network focused on using modern technology, i.e. smart phones, to gather together and organize non private information (current law holds that actions in the public space of outdoors are not private) is one whose time may have come. The loss of anonymity in the public space via security cameras is already disconcerting. This concept just takes it to the next logical step. The paranoids amongst us are just going to absolutely love it...

Graphics from a mac Adobe XMP Core 4.2.2-c063 No actual meaningful text in a string scan of the apk My guess it's a few graphic screens done up on a mac that does very little. (8 mentions of "Adobe Photoshop CS4 Macintosh")
for people who'd like to try running it.

What the heck is happening in the US at the moment?

If you are smart you are looking at the riots elsewhere due to "austerity measures" and then looking at the rhetoric of groups like 'the tea party' where there are claims of wanting spending cuts ..... how does it end well?

(think about it...what party kept claiming they wanted to cut spending and never did? Now look at other nations where spending *IS* being cut.)

Too bad the Grand Jury system is a no-go, because some of the deviled ham sandwiches running things need criminal charges.

Hey, where's our gigantic Iraqi oil reserve increase announcement?

So far all I am seeing is that there will be an announcement of a big reserve increase today, not what it is.

If by some miracle the increase actually happens, and tar sands are developed, and we keep digging out and burning every ounce of extractable coal on the planet...we will definitely be seeing more extreme weather events such as those we have seen/are seeing this year--


"NASA’s Hansen: Would recent extreme “events have occurred if atmospheric carbon dioxide had remained at its pre-industrial level of 280 ppm?” The “appropriate answer” is “almost certainly not.”
"It is likely that 2012 will reach a record high global temperature.""

It don't happen until Monday.

Friday, October 01, 2010 13:31 GMT
Iraq Ministry of Oil Spokesman Issam Jihad said on Thursday that Iraq will announce next Monday increasing its oil reserves which are currently estimated to be 115 billion barrels. Iraq crude oil reserves are the third in the world. Iraq government had signed contracts with international companies in order to boost the productivity from 2.5 million bpd to 12 million.

You see they cannot increase oil production to 12 million barrels per day unless reserves are dramatically increased also. So they are going to increase their reserves by announcing their reserves are much larger than previous estimates.

Ron P.

Hmm - I wonder if that would work on my bank account?

Ah, yes. Monday. Thanks.

I will be quite interested to see this near quintupling of output of Iraqi oil production in only six years... all that stands between Iraq and the #1 producer spot is a reserve restatement.

Where's that "easy" button? Time to hit it!

hysterical Chris...


On the the extremely remote possibility that gigantic Iraqi oil reserve increase announcement turns out to be another dud.

Kris De Decker: The velomobile: high-tech bike or low-tech car?

Umm, neither, it's a differnt paradigm for personal transport, it's a *VELOMOBILE* ... why are people always trying to stick square pegs into round holes, can't the see they dont fit?!


Now for the good news!

Velomobile versus electric car

Dries Callebaut and Brecht Vandeputte, the Belgian designers of the WAW-velomobile, calculated how the efficiency of a velomobile relates to the efficiency of an electric automobile (using their own data and this source). During an eco-marathon earlier this year they equipped their velomobile with an electric motor, a complete substitution for pedal power. This is not really what the vehicle is intended for, but the advantage of the experiment is that it allows for an unequivocal comparison.

The energy consumption of the WAW was measured at 0.7 kWh per 100 kms (62 miles). This makes the velomobile in excess of 20 times more efficient than electric cars currently on the market. For example, the Nissan Leaf requires 15 kWh per 100 kms. The enormous difference is of course due to the enormous difference in weight. Without the battery, the Nissan weighs just over a ton, while the WAW weighs less than 30 kgs.

Yeah! Baby!

I do have a question though, at an average price €6,000.00 it's more expensive than a Tata Nano, can we change that and bring the price down to about $2,000.00 please.

Now if you add some some solar powered charging stations you... eh, never mind!

Oh, slap a yellow ribbon on your SUV...


Re: Sinopec to Invest $7.1 Billion in Repsol Brazil Unit

From a WSJ story on the same deal:

China's biggest oil refiner and fuel marketer, Sinopec Group has been aggressively going overseas because it currently buys some 70% of the product it refines. For Repsol, with oil demand flat or declining in Europe, teaming up with Sinopec gives it access to the biggest energy market in the world, where oil demand is expected to continue to soar.

Looks like China is rapidly locking in oil supplies which are going to be traded in the export markets. Given China's other investments within the US and other OECD countries, they may soon be the dominant nation, replacing both the US and Britain as the next superpower (read: empire).

E. Swanson


Gold at record for sixth day

Gold hit record highs for a sixth successive session on Friday as the dollar fell to a six-month low against the euro, with expectations for further U.S. monetary easing driving strong demand for the precious metal.

And as I type:

Gold 1319.75 up 10.83
Silver 22.120 up 0.390

Pyrite 1428.03 up 1428.03

That's my special offer for today only. I'll take Visa, Mastercard or Paypal.

There is a flock of financial pigs-on-the-wing circling The Capital, and another circling the Fed, and another over the HFT/stock markets, and another shitting in the mortgage markets... they're all over.

They can't stay airborn for long, being pigs an' all.

Weaning itself from China? / Rare earth-free motor for HVs, other suppliers on the cards

China's recent blocking of rare earth exports to Japan has accelerated development of alternative rare earth-free products and diversification of the minerals' suppliers to the nation.
The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) on Wednesday announced it had developed the world's first rare earth-free high-performance motor for hybrid vehicles.
A certain type of rare earth is used to strengthen the magnetism of permanent magnets for hybrid vehicle motors. According to experts, about 1 kilogram of rare earth is used to make a motor for Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius.
NEDO's high-performance motor was developed jointly with Hokkaido University. The maximum power generated from the new motor is 50 kilowatts--the same as a Prius motor.

Northern Iraq breathes life into Nabucco

The Kurdish regional government's energy minister says gas reserves in northern Iraq are adequate enough to fulfill the US-backed Nabucco pipeline requirements. 'In fact if we can provide the full 200 tcf, then we can supply the entire need of the Nabucco pipeline,' he says.
The natural gas reserves in Iraq’s Kurdish region in the north have the capacity to fill the European Union’s flagship Nabucco project, aimed at shipping Middle Eastern or Caspian gas to Western markets. “Our estimate for the region is about 100 to 200 tcf (trillion cubic feet), which amounts to three to six tcm (trillion cubic meters). That is more than adequate for internal use, the domestic supply of Turkey, as well as to satisfy the requirements of Nabucco,” Ashti Hawrami, natural resources minister of Iraq’s Kurdish regional government, told a small group of journalists Friday on the sidelines of the Atlantic Council’s Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum at the Conrad Hotel in Istanbul.

Gunmen torch Afghan-bound NATO supply trucks

"Around 20 attackers armed with rocket launchers and assault rifles attacked these trucks. They set ablaze 27 trucks parked there," district police chief Abdul Hameed Khoso told AFP of the pre-dawn attack.
"Trucks carrying fuel and other goods for NATO are still not allowed to enter Afghanistan," an administrative official at Torkham, the main border crossing in Pakistan's Khyber district, told AFP by telephone.

It is not easy to fight a land war in Asia with a several hundred mile long fuel tail.

Why, over the past few days, have there been links to two anti chavez articles on the drumbeat? Ok the first one was related to oil, but was also heavily opinionated. I understand that the volunteers are based in the US, and as such have likely been subject to a fairly heavy torrent of propaganda against chavez and also the other left wing leaders in South America (we get the same here in the UK). Some balance would be good.

Chavez only got 48% of the popular vote?

Until this spring no UK government had got anywhere near 48% of the votes cast since I was born, and a long time before that.

Come on article writers, you can do better slander than that!

2000 Presidential Election:

George W. Bush Al Gore

Percentage 47.9% 48.4%

I have been using some articles compiled by Tom Whipple of ASPO-USA. The Chevez articles were from him, IIRC. I considered them reasonable, since Venezuela is a significant source of US oil imports.

I, for one, was greatly amused by all the references to gerrymandering, as if that could never happen here in a true democracy like the USA.

How about NOT choosing articles that have such a heavy, blatant, and frankly stupid bias? Though I must admit that Chavez is such a polarizing figure, someone would likely accuse nearly any article of some kind of bias.

Just to balance things, here's the first article that pops up when googling "Chavez election."


One would at least like to see an acknowledgement that, as others have pointed out, the method of senatorial election greatly skews power toward rural states (though here as elsewhere, not necessarily in the long term interest of actual farmers and ag workers).

I was thinking along the lines of if they really are pissed about this then where is the anger at the U.S. Senate? A state like Wyoming with the smallest population in the United States gets more representation than the most populous state, California. And if you want to know how this got this way go back to the late 19th century and I believe it was either Hayes or Harrison who granted statehood to a bunch of western territories with small populations for the sole purpose of gaming the senate for the republican party (he believed they would vote republican but it ended up backfiring for a while).

Now I'm confused.

I have seen with my own lying eyes that every state has only two senators. Representatives are allocated strictly by census population which can and does change.

So how does Wyoming get more representation than Ca ?

The US Senate and House of Representatives. Do that math. Here take the number of people in that state and divide that number by the number of senators and then the number of house members.

It's because the number of representatives was capped. I believe initially it was dependent upon the actual number of people.

The US Senate and House of Representatives. Do that math. Here take the number of people in that state and divide that number by the number of senators and then the number of house members.

But representation in the two chambers cannot be averaged in that way. In terms of getting something passed, the Senate is usually the obstacle -partly because of the defacto fillibuster limit of needing to win 60:40. The odds of having your representaive making the difference are much lower than your odds of your senator's vote making a crucial difference. Now of course the smaller state still has less absolute "power", but relative to population it has more than its share. This harks back to the early preunion days, when the US was a federation of semi-independent states.

I recognize that you're not the one raising the Senate issue, but I am seldom able to let even a mention of it pass :^)

First, a nit. Only Congress can add states to the Union: "New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union..." Presidents may lobby, but action is up to Congress. Texas, for example, was admitted by joint resolution, which excludes the President entirely from the formal process.

I always find it interesting that so much of the "outrage", when it is raised, is directed at western states. Four of the ten smallest states by population are East Coast states, and only 10 of the smallest 20 are western states (as defined by the Census Bureau). Any argument aimed at the legitimacy of giving Wyoming two Senators must also consider the legitimacy of Vermont or Delaware or Rhode Island getting two Senators each.

The US Constitution is an attempt to accomplish two fundamental goals. One of them is majority rule. The other is minority protection. I am open to alternatives to the current Senate structure that provides comparable protection to small states. But I'm not willing to just toss the principle that those small states should have some protection from the potential tyranny of a few big states.

pd - did you read all thre responses? I didn't keep a count simply because the subject held little interest for me. But as best as I recall the responses were about 50/50 or maybe a little bit in favor of Chavez. Maybe you see the world differently but I would call that fairly balanced.

The latest piece of propaganda from the AGW crowd: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE3g0i2rz4w

Big fail for de 10:10 movement, they removed the video a couple of hours after they posted it. The fact that they spend money and sanctioned this crap is a eye opener to the totalitarian mind set in some of the AGW proponents. I guess exploding the unfaithfull isn't a good way to convince people.

Who is "they" and how do you know the people behind 10/10 posted it? Bill Mckibben is in charge of 350.0rg. I seriously doubt if we would have sanctioned this. More likely it was put together by the anti AGW crowd and they posted to make it look like it was sanctioned by those who support AGW. No AGW supporter would have sanctioned this nonsense.

Brit Black Humour Alert!!

I thought it was funny but clearly intentionally in very bad taste. And yes it is genuine and the people blown up include England Soccer International Peter Crouch and Gillian "Scully" Anderson. The writer was


Richard Whalley Anthony Curtis, CBE (born 8 November 1958) is an English screenwriter, music producer, actor and film director, known primarily for romantic comedy films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones's Diary, Notting Hill, and Love Actually, as well as the hit sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean and The Vicar of Dibley. He is also the founder of the British charity Comic Relief.

They have apologised in any case I see



Today we put up a mini-movie about 10:10 and climate change called 'No Pressure’.

With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh. We were therefore delighted when Britain's leading comedy writer, Richard Curtis - writer of Blackadder, Four Weddings, Notting Hill and many others – agreed to write a short film for the 10:10 campaign. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.

As a result of these concerns we've taken it off our website.

We'd like to thank the 50+ film professionals and 40+ actors and extras and who gave their time and equipment to the film for free. We greatly value your contributions and the tremendous enthusiasm and professionalism you brought to the project.

At 10:10 we're all about trying new and creative ways of getting people to take action on climate change. Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn.

Onwards and upwards,

But hey, "No Pressure" - It's not as if anything bad will happen if we do nothing about climate change and peak oil... :-(

But hey, "No Pressure" - It's not as if anything bad will happen if we do nothing about climate change

When 70% of the spending is not effective (30% of any project actually goes TO the project) then why bother lining the nest of the investment bankers.

Come up with a plan that isn't such a waste.

LMFAO! Luved it, Luv. (My wife thinks I've lost my mind)

Didn't love it. Blowing up school kids? No. I don't think that would be a helpful message. Hardly a great way to get people on your side.

How to Communicate in Community


Didn't love it. Blowing up school kids?

Luckily school kids will be magically protected from climate change disasters - especially if we do nothing.

By the way South Park regularly blows up school kids and much worse in every episode. Is that ok?

I didn't say that I thought it was an effective way to communicate the message. But it could possibly have worked. Many conservative deniers seem to think blowing up school kids in Iraq or Afganistan is an effective way of conducting foreign policy.

It all depends on who's turn it is to manufacture rage and fear.

Most of the rage and fear will be directed towards the 10/10 group. I am a strong advocate of doing something about global warming and I maintain that blowing up school kids may be great on South Park but this is a dumb ass message. Rest assured the deniers will be all over this.

Perhaps when our childrens' children have distended bellies from starvation and cracked, bleeding lips from thirst, we can march them all down to the school house (or what's left of it) and show them reruns of An Inconvenient Truth. We can dub in some nice music from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. As they file out for the evening we'll let them each lay a hand on the last known signed copy of Hansen's latest book.

"G'night, Kids! Sleep tight! Don't let the bed bugs bite."

Deniers have a funny way of deciding what is a "dumb ass message", so I guess we had all better just walk on eggshells. Wouldn't want to upset anyone so let's keep things rational. Yeah, that'll work.

I have to agree with your wife. Yes, I agree, it is all going to be very grim. Fear may be appropriate but this video doesn't create fear; it just creates rage and gives the right ammunition to attack. I am not arguing that so called rational thought does anything to persuade the hard core deniers but neither does pointless, childish, humor. So, if you don't do something about global warming on a personal level,we will blow you up. Maybe that is the way some people feel but a video expressing those feelings just doesn't work on any level and is morally repugnant.

Obviously, AGW supporters need to figure out the right framing to reach the masses. But this ain't it. This just creates blow back.

too many over-educated kids in the green movement in the UK - over educated but stupid and lacking in critical judgement - as this video only too clearly demonstrates. Brit comedy is mostly in this style now and is constantly panned for its lack of humour and reliance on shock tactics, bad taste or language.

You guys didn't like Monty Python much I take it.

And Benny Hill, that is not at all funny.

Just ask Blackadder

Maybe.. (and I didn't watch this film.. I'm just saying..)

I do have to wonder how much the current Administration isn't doing because they are too worried about the Blowback.

I'm thinking of T.E. Lawrence right now (Ok, Peter O'Toole), holding his hand over the candle and saying.. "It isn't that it hurts, it's not minding that it hurts."

We might have to start damming the torpedoes and diving in with some potshots, even if some of them miss.. we have to range these guns, and if it's clear what it's being done for, that also speaks for itself.

Watch the damn video. It only takes a couple of minutes. Totally sick and pointless.

Yeah.. finally had a couple minutes.

Yes, sick and pointless. I didn't laugh, not even a nervous laugh.. and I'm not surprised by my contemporaries who made this with these familiar themes of blase' revenge, and how they're not messages I would use (but they did redact..)

But the population drives on in a drone-state. "Voting" for the next Idol, Fullback or Millionaire with their viewing choices.

How do you wake them up and get a few more to take up the banner and start hitting the brakes, turn away from the cliff? While learned intellectuals argue endlessly about 'whether one couldst wake them up, whether it's 'politically feasible', and proffer historical examples.. Some folks will do unruly and unthoughtful things like this. Firing a couple live rounds into the theater ceiling, or crying 'rape' to get the audience to harken to the 'fire'.

'This calls for immediate discussion!'

I don't know how to wake them up but the film was counterproductive. This would just invoke push back. I thought the video on Free Speech TV was pretty good that showed the train, symbolized by global warming, about to run over the little girl to demonstrate we are sacrificing our children. Whether it would have been more effective with a bigger audience, I don't know.

I would like to see some passion for starters from the top leadership. I see no passion from Obama and very little passion from any of the Senators of Congress persons. But no one listens to them anyway.

Other countries have riots for all kinds of things. No riots in America anymore. Perhaps that would be pointless as well but it wouldn't hurt to be involved in some kind of passionate, balls to the wall statement.

All the anger seems to be amongst the Tea Partiers and such. As if things like taxes is really our problem.

And pro life. All the passion is directed to the unborn as if they will not need a tolerable planet to live on. Having a baby in this day is unwise. After all this baby could very well be around in 2010. And that won't be a good time to be around. Of course, massive dieoff could appear earlier.

I am not against harsh,riveting, controversial, edgy, scary, shocking messages. But only if they have a chance of having a positive impact. Otherwise, they are just nihilism.

but this video doesn't create fear

That's what "you" say.

But the rest of your brain doesn't care much about what "you" say.

Sorry about that mini-me --keep (blink) dreaming (blink) that you are in charge

Wait, they ACTUALLY blew up real school kids?

Holy shit, hasn't somebody called the police?!

Also, this just in: no one is on the side of stopping AGW. Monbiot succinctly nailed this point recently. There is no way to stop the juggernaut now, not after Copenhagen, not any more.

I'm going to go push a few more red buttons. Them there kids across the street've been eyeing me funny...

"Wait, they ACTUALLY blew up real school kids?"

Blasted 'em to pieces. I seen it myself. Grubby little carbon emitters ....

I thought it was pretty funny too. Must be the 10 years I spent in the UK...

I hope it goes viral.

Afterthought : perhaps we are seeing the gloves coming off at last. Maybe an element of desperation to get people to wake up. Shock therapy.

Thanks, s_t. It was getting lonely out here. In my case it must be a preponderance of British genes :-/

My other afterthought was to wonder why people are so upset.

After all, if you look at the routine TV fare we are subjected to on a daily basis, we have our fair share of violence and mayhem, and actors being "slaughtered" in all kinds of innovative ways for ratings. CSI, Law & Order, the reality shows, etc.

Not to mention our daily news - "if it bleeds, it leads..."

Maybe some feel global warming is too serious a topic to warrant a for-once comedic treatment, albeit with a serious underlying message.

...or perhaps some posters need to get more in touch with their inner sociopath clown ;-> IMO, they're going to need it.

Add me to the list of people who are still giggling about it.

It reminds me of the anti-smoking campaign a few years ago. Ron n' Ron - The Management. "Stop smoking or we'll come round and break your legs". That was banned too. Later research found that it was the most effective campaign yet ran. Who said the ad agencies don't know what they're doing?

I do suspect a large amount of cultural differences on this one. I'm told that the ad agency had a very hard time selling the idea of Gary Lineker being evil in the Walkers crips advertt, as the American public wouldn't accept a sports star to be treated that way.

the totalitarian mind set [of] some of the AGW proponents

Sorry mate, ya got your finger aimed up the wrong road.

"Anarchy" drives in with its own death squads.

The anti-AGW crowd is populated with anarchists
They don't want nobody telling them no how how to live
Long live NASCAR --turbo charged power to the people


Probably the most interesting thing in this week’s Fed balance sheet update is that Treasurys held by the Fed are now $812 billion, an increase of $7 billion from the week before, which those who follow the FRBNY’s almost daily POMO liquidity explosion know all too well. Indicatively, Japan owns $821 billion and China, $847 billion. We believe that within one week the Fed will surpass Japan as the second largest holder of Treasurys, and China, the current top holder, in just over a month.

Errr, the group that is neither federal nor a reserve and is supposed to make coin for its shareholders will be the largest holder of US debt?

How exactly is that going to work out?

Same way it did in Japan. Or should I say is happening in Japan.

And perhaps the Lords of the Realm will add this to the zerohedge post.

Paul Volcker, former head of the American central bank Federal Reserve, announced last Thursday at a conference of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago that the US financial system is largely insolvent and "broken".

And that's not Greenspan who talked about gold being good money back in the late 20th century, this was Volcker.

If daimler and other established automotive manufacturers put electric scooters and motorcycles into production, we will know that they have "arrived" in terms of consumer acceptability in the prosperous countries;it is going to be critically important that the purchaser of such expensive machines know that there are mechanics and parts available, and that he can expect the scooter to last for a very long time.

Right now, a typical American consumer who also owns an economical car can drive it for less than ten cents per mile fuel costs.even if gasoline prices triple or quadruple,he could still drive over ten thousand miles on five thousand dollars worth of gas.

And my estimate is that the lifespan of the cheap scooters now finding thier way into this country will average considerably less than ten thousand miles.

A car that actually gets fifty mpg will go one heck of a long way on five thousand bucks even on five dollar per gallon gas.

I doubt if very many people who can actually afford a car will buy a quality electric scooter anytime soon;a used car will probably be cheaper for a good long while yet, and probably easier to finance too..

Of course the ease of parking and low cost of insurance and tags will go a long way towards convincing some urbanites to invest in one of these machines, especially if they live someplace they can ride it to work or class and take a bus or subway on days the weather is rotten.

But how long will it be before the health insurance industry catches on and figures out a way to add a substantial surcharge to the premiums of people who are riding such vehicles on the highways?

I personally gave up motorcycles a long time ago myself due to the high risk of getting killed or severely injured on a public road thru no fault of my own.

I think you are thinking of a price point that is far too high.

There are cheap chinese scooters and more expensive european electric scooters.

Just like a car, not everybody will buy a BMW or Mercedes.

My guess is that the scooter made by someone like Honda will be a good compromise between price and quality. I would expectr a price of $2500 to $3500.

How far can you go for $5000 on my modded $1500 Chinese scooter?

For $5,000 in electricity and batteries I could go at least 200,000 miles, but I not perfectly sure on my battery life. I am still going strong with the originals.

For $5,000 in gas at $5 per and 50 mpg you go 50,000 miles.

"my estimate is that the lifespan of the cheap scooters now finding thier way into this country will average considerably less than ten thousand miles."

I am at 7500 miles and I estimate I am less than one quarter into the bikes life. It's cheap to fix... $20 for brake parts. Tail light bulb was $2.84 for two. A whole new hub motor can be had for less than $200 so I will keep doing any maintenance and little repairs and might get over 50,000 miles

This thing is electric, so its really quite reliable. It might be like a washing machine goes 10 years without major repairs. Even if the controller goes that's less than $100. As, I said the hub motor is less than $200.

hi Dp,

My sour opinion of cheap scooters is the result of trying to buy parts for them, which has proven to be virtually impossible locally.hence when someone wants one repaired, all the local shops and back yard mechanics simply laugh at the person who was dumb enough to buy a Chinese scooter.

Furthermore while these kinds of machines do use some stardardized parts such as tires and bulbs, even the very best ones that are gasoline powered, such as Hondas, are in my experience expensive to repair due to the fact that nearly all the parts are "dealer only" meaning generics aren't available.

I presume you either live in a major city or else get what you need thru the internet.When you do eventually need a motor controller, will you be forced to buy it from the manufacturer for a hundred bucks plus?It would probably only cost twenty bucks for a generic at Napa -if a generic were available.

I am glad to hear that you are not apparently having any trouble keeping your electric bike running;this encourages me to believe that the quality of the cheap imports is getting better faster than I expected.

My point about the distance a car will go on a thousand gallons of gas still stands, as the large majority of people will opt for a car first, then second a car plus an electric bike if they can afford both.Most of the costs of owning a car are more or less fixed, including taxes, depreciation, insurance, finance and so forth.Driving a car a few thousand more miles per year does not cost much, on a marginal mile basis, especially if the owner expects to trade before the car gets very old.

"I am glad to hear that you are not apparently having any trouble keeping your electric bike running;this encourages me to believe that the quality of the cheap imports is getting better faster than I expected."

That's not really the case. I think I have just found a way to make it work.

You hint at the key "get what you need thru the internet."

There is lots of information about specs, alternate replacement parts, upgrades and modifications, etc. You just have to do some reading. There are forums on scooters just like there is on peak oil. I had an old motorcycle as a child, so fixing and maintaining this bike just seems normal.

If shops and backyard mechanics are laughing, it might be because they don't know as much as they pretend, wish you bought their product (and don't want to fix anything else) or because they are bit unfamiliar with the electric bikes.

They are used to working with gas bikes. These are electric and it means some new lessons. They probably never modified a battery pack before or upgraded the mosfets and capacitors on a circuit board.

Guys like that laughed at small Japanese cars 30 years ago too.

If you take the time to understand the electric scooters, and actually get your hands dirty, you begin to recognize the simplicity of some of these bikes.

Some parts I can get local. I have bought parts at NAPA. I did some research and got a much better replacement tire in stock from the local Honda motorcycle dealer.

Many of the parts are very standardized and universal, they fit many brands. You can avoid the dealer. I have ordered parts from vendors in China, but often that was matter of good price...a set of 2 mirrors for $5 plus another $13 shipped to my door...a battery charger for $12.

Ebay is filled with parts and there are all sorts of online vendors. I don't really need to buy a controller from the dealer. If needed, I get it on ebay. Go ahead search electric scooter parts on ebay...lots of controllers

I'll be the first to admit that many Chinese bikes could improve in quality, but I am paying so little and so it seems fair value.

If you want a better bike, they are easy to find. You just have to pay more. A Brammo or a Zero are well made and much of the assembly is done in America with quality parts from America all over the rest of the world.

With the tax credits, the Brammo is a very nice bike for the price. $4200 to $7100 depending on where you live.

"Driving a car a few thousand more miles per year does not cost much, on a marginal mile basis, especially if the owner expects to trade before the car gets very old."

I am not into that life style. Trading in car before it gets very old? That's the sort of over-consumption that got us into this mess.

With the scooter, I now use the car so little that I am actually considering not insuring the car March to November, or getting rid of it. I only buy a couple tanks of gas per year. That's how little I drive now.

At minimum in the future I will avoid the purchase of at least two vehicles that all my neighbors will have to buy, because I bought a cheap scooter and kept it running. The current car will last a long time if its only being driven a thousand or two thousand miles per year.

The purchase price of two cars...that's not an insignificant saving.

Plus, driving the scooter is fun.

I agree about safety.

I will be happy to scooter or bicycle to work again, if and when it is safer to do so.


People typically over-estimate the danger of bicycling in traffic, and under-estimate the health benefits of the exercise.


Bicycling to work cuts all-cause mortality by 39% (above study). The all-cause mortality, of course, includes the traffic risk.

Bicycling to work cuts all-cause mortality by 39% (above study). The all-cause mortality, of course, includes the traffic risk.

In general, perhaps. For _my_ specific commute bicycling to work, too many close calls. Not interested in bicycle commuting that specific route under BAU conditions.

I'll continue to use public transit, and walk.

In general, perhaps. For _my_ specific commute bicycling to work, too many close calls. Not interested in bicycle commuting that specific route under BAU conditions.

This much higher risk of cycling (some 20x?) might be able to have a slow solution, if the newest car radar systems, could either
a) Be designed to be bike-seeking
b) Be designed to pick up a cycle transponder.

That solves the fail to see a single bike, but I guess it still has problems with multiple bikes. ie the Car driver sees 2, but misses the 3rd one...

This is not going to work out but it now appears that those in the Fed that want higher rates of inflation are going to get it, and a lot more of it than they want.

Measures of underlying inflation are currently at levels somewhat below those the Committee judges most consistent, over the longer run, with its mandate to promote maximum employment and price stability.


Keep in mind that Congress allowed the Federal Reserve almost 100 years ago the right to take over most - and later all - of the US money printing and ownership of government gold, basically in the belief that inflation was better for big business interests.

Many here will be surprised to know that gold or silver backed currency is the only type of currency the US treasury can issue - and the Treasury is also not allowed to issue fiat (unbacked) money, like the Fed.

Amazon sent me my pre-ordered copies of the new books by Deffeyes and Hirsch, et al. this week. Deffeyes' book is skinny and a little disappointing (not because it is skinny), but I love the man and his humor.

The Hirsch, Bezdek, Wendling book is old news, but a pretty phenomenal read nonetheless. Chapter VII in particular is stunning. It is a summation of the various methods and reports forecasting oil supply problems in the near future.

It reads like a litany of doctors' diagnoses, all advising the patient that, in so many words, he is screwed.


I've just finished Hirsch, et al. This book is likely to cause a big stink:

...we have serious questions about climate research and the fixation of global warming as an earth-killing disaster. There are clearly many competent, honest researchers involved in this area of research, but there are also a number that have behaved poorly. Until the discipline undergoes a major restructuring, there is just too much that is too unsettling for us to believe that a scientific basis exists to justify draconian, expensive, civilization-changing measures.

...we believe that the impending decline in world oil production will impose hardships that could be catastrophic to human wellbeing. To effectively mitigate the enormous oil shortage problem while also trying to reduce world carbon dioxide emission is impossible in our judgment.

(Page 224. See Hirsch link above for source.)

I tend to read their analysis this way: "Human-caused climate change can't be true, because it if were true, we are really and truly intercoursed."

Anyone still holding onto hope?

Government wants avg 62 MPG by 2025 in new CAFE standards.

The only reason for that is they believe there will be less oil in 2025.

I would like to see a Ford Excursion get 62 MPG......pigs can fly too.....

They will just let SUVs off the hook. The Expedition might be able to get 62 mpg going over a cliff.

That is because SUVs are called Trucks.


--at the Back to the Future reference
I guess it means, be careful what you wish for

At least they are trying to do something. But you are right, this is unobtainable for trucks/SUVs, and besides if they are excluded then it makes the new standards meaningless.

To say nothing of efficiency paradoxes, population growth, or the fact that we are broke while Wall Street swims in dollars.

I checked the oil price on Bloomberg just now: $81.73! What a jump! What is going on there? Why the sudden increase? Is this finally the crunch occuring?

And is the recent increase in the gold price related?

Nope not yet.

Do I know for sure? No, just a hunch.

I believe that basically the Fed is going nuts. They are determined to destroy the dollar to achieve all important "growth" which is assumed to be the final bailout for the Wall Street banks, and for America as a whole.

So the price of oil is rising, which is a sure sign that we are about to hit the wall again.

"I checked the oil price on Bloomberg just now: $81.73! What a jump! What is going on there? Why the sudden increase? "

I saw on CNN earlier that South Korea's oil imports were well up, based on strong demand.

Three things going on here this week pushing up the price of oil:

1. the US dollar is steadily dropping in value
2. the EIA weekly oil report shows very strong US product demand last week, although that may be in part pent up demand after the temporary spike in upper Midwest gasoline prices (following piepline closures)
3. tankers are backing up in French ports due to a dock workers strike


Basically the rise this week in the price of gold reflects the fall in the value of the dollar.

Elsewhere in the News

Ocean conditions likely to reduce Colorado River flows during this winter's drought

The convergence in the coming year of three cyclical conditions affecting ocean temperatures and weather is likely to create unprecedented challenges for states that depend on water from the Colorado River, a new UCLA study suggests.

"If I were concocting a recipe for a perfect drought, this would be it," said Glen MacDonald, co-author of the study and director of UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

Study finds national debt 'tipping point' that slows economic growth

Researchers from North Carolina State University have identified a "tipping point" for national debt - the point at which national debt levels begin to have an adverse effect on economic growth.

“If a country’s public debt reaches 77 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), bad things start to happen,” says Dr. Mehmet Caner, professor of economics at NC State and co-author of the study. “There is a tipping point for national debt, and if you exceed that point the amount of debt will have a linear relationship to declines in economic growth. The more debt you have, the slower your GDP will grow.

In light of the study above it is sobering to look a the national debt graphed on Fig 6 pg 11 of the (CRS)Congressional Research Service Report

On a more positive note, check out these wheels
Student builds solar motorcycle, launches club to push more electric vehicle breakthroughs

Physics major Tony Danger Coiro, a junior from South Bend, Ind., received a provisional patent for his motorcycle that uses solar energy to cut his transportation costs down to well less than a penny per mile. The lead acid batteries also can charge from plug-in AC current.

After purchasing a 1978 Suzuki for $50, Coiro spent $2,500 redesigning and retrofitting the bike, which gives him a range of up to 24 miles per charge and top speed of 45 miles per hour.

Thanks for the links, Seraph.

The first time I saw one of these I thought it would be a great candidate for an EV version.


More room and stability for batteries, a single large hub motor in the rear.

Sorry, totally off topic but here's a great skit on the climate change propaganda machine:



With enough meditation and concentration, you can train your amygdala to ignore the death panel subtexts in these anti-climate propaganda pieces

or not,

no pressure, honest

It is more common than not to have to make several injections and this can be attempted with grout.



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