Drumbeat: March 2, 2011

Oil shakes starting to unsettle Saudi Arabia

FEARS that Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, could be destabilised and rock global economic recovery have edged closer to reality.

As oil prices reached a fresh 2½ year high - just shy of $US100 a barrel - on Tuesday night, the Saudi stockmarket dropped to its lowest since April 2009, shedding 6.8 per cent.

Economists believe the selloff was sparked by the jailing of a senior Shiite cleric, who was pushing for a constitutional monarchy in the predominantly Sunni Muslim kingdom.

Libya's oil exports cut as companies hedge their bets

Oil companies are hedging their bets over who to back in Libya as the country descends further into chaos, leaving oilfields, pipelines and export terminals in the hands of different warring parties.

The fighting has encouraged foreign energy groups to make tentative approaches to rebels holding key oil and gas assets, but they are anxious not to fall out with Colonel Gaddafi for fear he could still restore his autocracy.

Libya: Spending oil money across the globe

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- In the span of a few years, Libya's financial tendrils have reached across oceans, across borders and across continents.

The U.S., the U.K., Switzerland and the European Union recently moved to freeze billions of dollars of Libyan assets, as the violence and chaos spread.

Asia moves to shore up strategic oil reserves

As oil prices spiral higher amid turmoil in Libya, developing countries across Asia are taking evasive action, shoring up their strategic petroleum reserves against the risk of a prolonged supply shock. Their actions could propel crude even higher.

Clinton says China seeks to outflank Exxon in Papua

(Reuters) - China wants to elbow U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil out of a $15 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Papua New Guinea, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday in an example of the new competition Beijing presents to U.S. interests.

Texas activists ready to fight over $7bn oil pipeline in the home of black gold

In an earlier life, David Daniel jumped through fire and performed a motorcycle stunt called the Wheel of Death. For his second act, he picked a fight with a $7bn oil pipeline set to run through Texas.

He is not doing badly for a man taking on big oil in the home of black gold. Growing opposition to a Canadian project to pump crude from tar sands in Alberta across six American states to the Gulf coast could force the Obama administration to reconsider – and possibly delay – the project.

U.S. military to help develop energy storage device

(Reuters) - The energy-hungry U.S. military plans to help develop advanced power storage devices with the help of a branch of the Energy Department that fosters innovation in high-risk, but high-potential, technologies.

The Department of Defense, the single largest user of energy in the world, will work with the Energy Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, known as Arpa-E, to develop technologies that could also have civilian applications, officials said on Wednesday.

Biofuels only major way to decarbonise road fuel - BP

(Reuters) - Biofuels represent the only way to significantly reduce carbon emissions in road transport fuel and are likely to account for at least 12 percent of supply by 2030, an official with oil giant BP said on Wednesday.

"There is no other alternative that I can really subscribe to in terms of decarbonising road transport," Olivier Mace, head of strategy, regulatory affairs and communications at BP unit BP Biofuels, told a conference organised by Agra Europe.

Sharon Astyk: Nasty, messy things that make you late for dinner: Energy, environment, reality

What I found eloquent and right about Lindberg's story is simply that it mirrors my own direct experience and the experience of people and organizations I know - that we who are preparing and doing good work are in some measure not expecting the realities into which we plunge. We speak, as Lindberg points out of "after peak oil" or "when climate change really hits" the way children do of "when we grow up" even though these things have already struck us. We are, in many ways, already living the grand sweep of adventure that we sometimes imagine will come "someday." Someday, in fact, is here.

Analysis: Regulation, Prices Top Issues Facing Energy Execs

Regulation, prices and investment are the top issues affecting energy executives' outlook for the industry in the coming year, according to Grant Thornton LLP's ninth annual Survey of Upstream U.S. Energy Companies. The survey revealed that 68 percent of U.S. oil and gas senior executives believe that an increase of 20 percent or more in the cost of drilling because of changes in government regulation would make new exploration and development projects uneconomical.

Top EU official warns of 'volatility' in energy supply

A senior commission official has warned of "volatile" energy supplies due to continuing instability in the Arab world.

Speaking at an energy conference on Wednesday, Philip Lowe said that, currently, there were "legitimate concerns" about the security of Europe's energy supply from Libya and other parts of the region.

"At present, there is great uncertainty over which gas and oil fields will be under whose control in Libya," said Lowe, the commission's director general for energy.

A dirty little oil market secret

Holy smokes. Are we gullible!

Have the Saudis really boosted oil output?

Fresh Saudi oil output or are they just tapping storage?

Oil prices are too high. Period.

Rumors seem to be playing more of a role in what's going on with oil than anything else. Crude prices popped Tuesday morning on reports (which later turned out to be false) that Saudi Arabia was sending tanks to neighboring Bahrain to help quell unrest there.

"The run-up in oil prices is all due to concerns about 'what-if' situations," Ober said. "None of the fundamentals have really changed."

Gas: Why I'm paying $4 but my neighbor isn't

Gas prices vary a lot depending on the state, city, and even the block where you buy your gas.

The biggest reason is taxes. 75% to 80% of the disparity between states is due to taxes, according to Rayola Dougher, senior economic advisor for the American Petroleum Institute.

Crude Oil at $200 a Barrel? Oil Output at Risk

Most of the Libyan (oil and gas) fields are well to the south of the country and in areas of low population (this is why the oil companies had to build their own airports). However, the crude is exported from Tripoli, Bengazi and Ajdabiya (40km south of Bengazi), so it is the infrastructure that is the main risk. But any incoming regime of whatever flavor will want to keep the oil and gas flowing, so we doubt there will be any "official" destruction of infrastructure ... but the risk of collateral damage remains. Libya produces around 1.6mb/d of crude and consumes 200kb/d. The whole of this output is at risk of being put out in the short term.

Gaddafi’s rehabilitation with the West and Libya’s current oil production

Libya’s time of greatness as an oil-producing nation was around 1970 when they had their maximum production of over 3 million barrels per day (Mb/d). This then declined to a stable production of 2 Mb/d until 1980. During the 1980s their production sank for a few years to just above 1 Mb/d. It was clear that Libya’s oilfields had past their first phase of oil extraction during which the fields’ innate initial pressure is the force driving oil flow. They needed help with modern technology to increase oil flow.

10 dead as Libyan rebels repulse deadly Gadhafi offensive

BREGA, Libya - Libyan rebels fought intense battles to repel Moammer Gadhafi's forces from the key eastern oil port of Brega Wednesday as the regime's biggest counter-offensive yet left at least 10 people dead.

IEA: Political Unrest Impacts Libyan Oil Production

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that between 850,000 kb/d and 1 million b/d out of 1.6 million b/d of Libyan oil production is currently shut-in as political unrest in the country has prompted oil companies to evacuate employees and shut-in production.

The IEA said it continues to closely monitor developments with regard to Libya's production and export facilities. However, information on production levels and export volumes is incomplete due to the poor communications channels and staff shortages in Libya. "In addition, there continue to be conflicting reports on the status of Libyan port activity due to very high winds affecting operations in some of the ports," IEA said in a statement.

Libya's oil status is hard to tell with any certainty

CAIRO — Libya's leader blamed rebel "gangs" Wednesday for scaring off international oil firms and triggering a steep drop in crude output, but he also said all oil facilities were firmly under government control.

Oil officials in the rebel-held east, meanwhile, in an apparent attempt to reassure oil companies, said there was no dip in exports from the region and that funds from oil sales would continue to be deposited in Libya's accounts, even if the OPEC member state comes under international sanction.

Recession Threat Due to Higher Oil Prices Grows

The recent and growing civil unrest in Libya has raised the specter for an explosion in crude oil prices, the possibility of a supply cutoff and a potential global recession. These increasing fears come despite statements from Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali Naimi that the world is adequately supplied with crude and that his country stands ready to boost production to prevent a spike in world oil prices such as happened in 2008. He did acknowledge that recent oil price volatility will continue to be experienced in the near term but would fade as market participants recognize the large amount of surplus production capacity available to offset any supply shortfall coming from the problems of Libya's oil industry.

FACTBOX-Mexico's historic oil field operating contract auction

(Reuters) - Mexico's state oil monopoly Pemex will auction operating contracts for three mature oil fields to private companies in 2011, the first time in more than 70 years that private firms will be allowed to operate Mexican oil fields.

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Tanzania

The state-run utility imposed Christmas power cuts after a shortage of natural gas to turbines led to a power deficit. Power rationing was expected to end in January, but drought at hydropower stations has now pushed up the power deficit to 230 MW.

Hope for improved power dims

Is the hope for regular power supply in Nigeria about to become a dashed hope for Nigeria’s long-suffering energy deficient citizens? Is the trumpeted gas-to-power project, upon which the Federal Government has anchored its plans to boost energy supply on the verge of going into history as another white elephant project?

Zimbabwe: Govt Can't Afford to Run Dry

Although the fuel situation has since normalised over the past weeks, events of the past month call for Zimbabwe to urgently build its own reserve stocks to use in the event of a mishap in the supply line.

$100 million more sought for Exxon Valdez cleanup

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- A federal judge will hear arguments Friday on whether Exxon Mobil Corp. owes another $100 million to remove oil remaining on the Prince William Sound shoreline from the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker spill.

Oil Spill Response in Arctic Requires Further Study

The Macondo oil spill has prompted government regulatory agencies worldwide to study the environmental impact of an oil spill and how to respond to such an incident. This concern appears to be even greater for the Arctic, which has been relatively undeveloped and is viewed as a pristine environment with a delicate ecosystem.

‘Fracking’ Comes to Europe, Sparking Rising Controversy

As concerns grow in the U.S. about the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to extract natural gas from shale, companies have set their sights on Europe and its abundant reserves of this “unconventional” gas. But from Britain to Poland, critics warn of the potentially high environmental cost of this looming energy boom.

How Solar and Oil Coexist in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian solar, however, looks like it’s a part of an overall oil strategy. The country wants to diversify its energy portfolio with solar and nuclear. By reducing its need to burn oil for electricity, it can preserve more oil for money-making exports, Reuters writes.

UK consumers add solar panels to shopping lists

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - British shoppers can now pick up a solar panel while out grocery shopping as the country's third largest supermarket J Sainsbury Plc has started to sell renewable energy technology in some stores. Sainsbury's Energy -- a five-year partnership with British Gas -- is offering small solar panels and loft insulation at stores and online so people can start generating their own energy at home.

Utah: Open state agencies five days

The inconvenience is just not worth it. The program saved $502,000 in energy costs in 2010, about a sixth of what its proponents claimed would be saved.

Interview: Richard Heinberg

The problem is that for policy makers all of the incentives are to continue with business as usual. To pursue economic growth, for example, even if it’s no longer possible.

And to deny that there are even limits to economic growth. Which means that, because there are, in fact, limits to economic growth, this means that policy makers are basically operating in a delusional condition.

And deluded people who are fundamentally separated from reality just don’t make good choices.

What gas spike? Americans still hungry for SUVs, pickups

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Rising gas prices did not keep Americans from buying large pickups and SUVs in February, according to sales results from leading automakers.

Industrywide U.S. auto sales shot up 27% compared to a year ago according to sales tracker Autodata. That's well above forecasts of about a 19% increase. The sales rate was the best since the Cash for Clunkers program, and at that pace, sales could reach 13.4 million vehicles over a full year.

GM, less reliant on U.S., focuses on global market

The famous Chevy bowtie seems to be popping up everywhere, from Berlin to Beijing. A full 45 percent of the brand’s sales came from outside the U.S. last year, and Chevy wants to raise its share of the international market in 2011. Chevy is a dominant force in Latin America and one of the fastest-growing nameplates in both Europe and China.

How high can oil go before it derails growth?

Francisco Blanch, head of global commodity research at BofA-Merrill Lynch, warns that the disruption in Libya could be the eighth-largest supply shock since 1950. “Worryingly, the oil infrastructure in Libya sits on the eastern side of the country and could be prone to attacks by either Gaddafi loyalists or opposition forces, creating the risk of a prolonged output loss,” he says.

Lessons from oil shocks

Korea might as well throw this year’s targets - 5 percent growth and 3 percent inflation based on oil prices of $85 per barrel - out the window.

ANALYSIS - Iran can seize brief window to fill Libya gap

DUBAI (Reuters) - Lost Libyan oil gives Iran a chance to sell off its shunned crude stored on tankers, but only in a brief time window before promised Saudi supplies sail to the rescue of anxious European refiners.

Lighter Saudi grades also make a better substitute for Libyan crude than heavier Iranian oil, which Tehran has struggled to sell as international sanctions limit its capacity to trade.

Libya woes pulls tankers' oil storage deals-shipper

(Reuters) - U.S.-listed Overseas Shipholding Group said it expects all tankers used for storing crude to be released due to the tightness in the oil market amid the conflict in Libya.

"We're expecting all ships that have been used for storage to be released due to the tight market because of what's happening in Libya, so it's obvious that storage is vaporising," Overseas Shipholding Group CEO Morten Arntzen told Reuters on the sidelines of a seminar.

We're No. 1 (and No. 3)! Surprising Facts About the U.S. and Oil

With the price of oil fluctuating around $100 per barrel, here's a timely question: Where does America get its oil? Some of the answers might surprise you.

Gold, Oil & Dow: Death Spiral Update

The current events of the Mid East have made the Death Spiral more possible than at any previous point in the crisis. Exponentially more possible.

A Peak-Oil Survival Kit for Meetings

There was a moment during the Green Meeting Industry Council’s 2011 Sustainable Meetings Conference last week in Portland, Ore., when more than 300 meeting professionals glimpsed the end of the world as they’ve known it.

Ian Lee, an airline industry analyst at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, had just made the case that six out of 14 European airlines will go out of business by 2015 if oil prices stay above $100 per barrel. If prices reach $150 per barrel, nine of the 14 will disappear.

PG&E rejected safety warning for shut-off valves

WASHINGTON — The California utility whose gas pipeline exploded last fall had rejected federal recommendations to install more automatic shut-off valves to help reduce the risks from a rupture and fire, an investigative panel was told Tuesday.

Farmers can meet nation's energy needs

"The simple math is that we are going to need a new energy source to grow food to feed the world," he said.

"In the old days we'd grow oats to feed the horses to grow oats.

"Now we need to feed the iron horses and I believe the best way is with oilseeds which can be converted to biodiesel."

Where the Sidewalks End, and Why: Don't Blame the Market

When I wrote that being carless in America is like second-class citizenship, it stirred up quite a debate. In between the calls for me to "go back to Britain", and the firm metaphorical nods of agreement from many carless Americans, commenter Vboring made an assertion that "the fact that neighborhoods without sidewalks exist implies that people don't value sidewalks enough to pay for them. If they don't want sidewalks, who are you to force them to install them?" On the face of it, there's a certain logic to this argument—but that logic is limited. The market is not, and should never be, the final and only authority on what should, and should not, exist.

Motorist in Brazil ploughs through Critical Mass cyclists

A dozen cyclists were knocked down after a motorist appeared to deliberately plough his car straight into them.

Frozen Assets

Sometimes our assumption of the availability of energy got seriously in the way, like when we tried to open the garage to take out the car but couldn't because we have an electric garage door opener. I grew up without garage door openers quite well, but the convenience of opening the door without having to get out of the car is wonderful, particularly in winter or on rainy days. Such conveniences are one of the trappings of middle class life, which attempts to make our things easier for us through the burning of fossil fuels. In reality, they are an unnecessary extravagance that attempt to let us think we are among the privileged.

The United States: A Country without a Revolution

The way of life that Americans enjoy is unequivocally more privileged than that of the average Egyptian or Tunisian. But it would be a dire mistake to think of that way of life as something indestructible. What we have seen in North Africa and the Middle East is that a dictatorship can be taken down. What we are seeing in the West is that a stable democracy can be chipped away at as well.

Five pieces of pizza to go

For the sensible people who don’t follow such things, let me fill you in on (I think) one of the most intriguing debates taking place within the environmental movement. It concerns global issues large enough in scope to seem abstract and almost unreal to us – and yet your take on them will likely dictate the contours of your everyday life.

I like to think of it as the “save the world”/“save yourselves” argument. At face value, of course, the former is a more appealing slogan. But a growing number of prominent voices within the movement are throwing themselves behind the uglier second option.

Ungreen the Capitol? Styrofoam returns

When Democrats held the majority, the various cafeterias throughout the Capitol complex served their wares in compostable food containers as a part of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi's initiative to "Green the Capitol."

But the GOP's reorganization of the House means that the more environmentally-friendly containers and utensils – which were biodegradable but flimsy - have been replaced with cheaper plastic and Styrofoam versions.

"Styrofoam and Libya," one Hill staffer was overheard saying. "Are we back in the 80's?"

Peak Oil: When Reduce, Reuse Recycle Isn't Enough

We are running out of oil-fast. Funny thing is a lot of people think alternative energy sources are going to save us. This is funny because it's just not going to happen that way. Think about it, it takes energy, power and oil to build EVERYTHING that is a part of our daily lives. Coal plants, nuclear plants, hydro-plants, even solar panels and windmills take energy to make. Airplanes, tires, bottles, food, cars, cell phones, you name it-even if it doesn't take oil to run it, it takes oil to make it. Without oil, our whole lives are in for an abrupt change-that is, unless you're prepared.

WeatherBill Raises $42 Million

Google Ventures and Khosla Ventures have led a $42 million financing round in WeatherBill, a San Francisco start-up that insures farmers against extreme weather conditions that can cripple crop production.

Founded by Google alumni, the four-year-old WeatherBill runs computer simulations to predict the likelihood of extreme weather in any location at any time and charges farmers accordingly.

Clothes Makers Join to Set ‘Green Score’

With just a few clicks on Google Maps, anyone can call up a satellite image of blue dye and other chemicals washing downriver from textile mills in Xintang, China — the world capital of blue jeans production.

But American shoppers in a typical department store encounter no obvious connection between those polluting plumes of dye — or really any other environmental impact — and their favorite pair of designer blues. In many cases, the company whose name appears on the label is only marginally better informed.

But a new and prominent assemblage of retailers, clothing manufacturers, environmental groups and academics plans to change that.

Popular unrest could crush OPEC spare capacity

(Reuters) - Unrest sweeping the Middle East could squeeze OPEC's precious spare oil capacity for the long term as well as the near term as fearful governments delay reforms needed to tame galloping domestic fuel use.

The disruption of much of Libya's 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of production already threatens to make a serious dent in the less than 5 million bpd of OPEC oil that can be swiftly added to markets in times of shortage.

INTERVIEW-Libya hopes oil does not become weapon

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya hopes tensions with Western countries over a popular revolt in the country do not reach the stage where the Tripoli government considers oil as a political weapon, a top oil official said on Wednesday.

Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation, also told Reuters in an interview that Libya's troubles had created the country's worst energy crisis in decades and Libyan supply disruptions to world markets could push oil above $130 a barrel in the next month if troubles persist.

Jeff Rubin: Only a recession stands in the way of $200 oil

With very limited excess capacity in Saudi Arabia and the rest of OPEC, further production shutdowns in the convulsing Middle East will soon push oil prices to new record highs. The Brent futures contract, the world’s benchmark price, almost reached $120 per barrel in London last week. With gasoline soon to cost six pounds a gallon (£1.32 pounds/liter), the British government is already considering alternative rationing systems to the brute price mechanism at the pumps.

Oil rises near $100 after surprise US supply drop

SINGAPORE – Oil prices rose to near $100 a barrel Wednesday in Asia as a report showed U.S. crude and gasoline supplies unexpectedly dropped last week, suggesting demand may be improving.

...The American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday that crude inventories fell 1.1 million barrels last week while analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos., had forecast an increase of 1.6 million barrels. Inventories of gasoline fell 4.9 million barrels and distillates fell 1.4 million barrels, the API said.

Credit Suisse Sees Oil Prices Falling Below $100 on Saudi Arabia's Supply

Global oil prices will probably decline to below $100 a barrel as Saudi Arabia releases supply from its reserves and demand drops from elevated December levels, Credit Suisse Group AG said.

The rise in prices is “manageable” and central banks are unlikely to raise interest rates “on account of oil alone,” Andrew Garthwaite, an analyst at Credit Suisse, wrote in a note dated today. Still, any rally driving Brent crude 100 percent higher year-on-year to between $140 and $155 a barrel may be a “trigger point” that has historically led to equities “correcting” by 34 percent, he wrote.

U.S. gasoline price jump biggest since Katrina

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The average price U.S. drivers paid for gasoline soared 19.4 cents in the latest week to $3.38 a gallon, the biggest jump in pump prices since Hurricane Katrina disrupted petroleum supplies in September 2005, the Energy Department said on Monday.

Gas station owners: Don't call us gougers!

Bellman knows why prices are rising, and it isn't because of any shortage of oil in the United States or the world market.

"It's because of speculation about things that could hurt the supply in the future," he said. "These last couple of years, speculators have moved market prices for gas more than they have ever before."

Planned layoffs spike in February

"At the very least, rising energy costs could force employers to postpone hiring plans," Challenger said. "At worst, increased costs could kill the fragile recovery and spur another round of layoffs."

IEA economist says expensive oil here to stay

BERLIN (Reuters) - High oil prices are a threat to the global economic recovery and present a challenge the world will have to face over the long term, the International Energy Agency's chief economist said on Wednesday.

"The age of cheap oil is over, though policy action could bring lower international prices than would otherwise be the case," Fatih Birol said at a conference in Berlin.

Is the price of oil rising too fast?

Harsh winters, quantitative easing and political unrest have pushed crude to around $100 a barrel. Rising oil prices could cause a double dip recession.

Crude Oil: Are we headed to inflated 2008 levels?

The April 2011 WTI Crude oil contract opened last week at $90.04 and closed the week at $97.88. Crude hit a high last week of $103.41. With record supplies of crude in the United States why are we paying so much? Is it the fear of an oil stoppage from Libya? Actually Libya makes up only 5% of OPEC’s production. Saudi Arabia already said they would make up the difference, so where is the problem. Was the reported threat of the Suez Canal getting shut down real or simply uninformed speculation?

Mideast Crisis Update: Don't Count on the Saudi Oil Supply

Almost two-thirds of the world's known conventional oil supplies are located in the Middle East region. And the question that isn't being answered - or even asked - right now is this: Are oil supplies sustainable in the face of a longer-term crisis?

The answer to that question will leave you feeling less than sanguine.

Shell CEO: Oil Market To See Short-Term Spikes Amid Libya Turmoil

PARIS -(Dow Jones)- The oil market will continue to see price spikes in the short-term, but additional output from OPEC will stabilize market more long-term, Royal Dutch Shell's Chief Executive Peter Voser said Wednesday .

"You will see price spikes in the short-term, but in the longer term, the OPEC has made very clear on how it will operate," Voser told reporters in Paris on the sidelines of a conference at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

UAE sticks to OPEC oil quota despite Libya cuts

DUBAI - The United Arab Emirates, OPEC’s third-largest oil exporter, continues to produce oil within its OPEC quota despite Libyan supply disruptions that led Saudi Arabia to pump more oil, an official told Reuters on Wednesday.

“The UAE is producing within its OPEC quota,” an industry official told Reuters. Production is still in the range of 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd), while total capacity is around 2.8 million bpd, he said.

Adnoc signals rise in crude oil availability

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has issued a strong signal that it will join Saudi Arabia in making more crude available to the international market.

Adnoc's marketing and refining directorate lifted restrictions yesterday on three of its four export grades of crude oil in a note to its customers.

Libya exposes risks of China's African ventures

Tens of thousands of Chinese workers are scrambling to escape the chaos in Libya, highlighting the risks taken by Chinese businesses now piling into unstable African countries in search of oil, gas an other resources.

Beijing is taking unprecedented steps to aid with the evacuation, sending charter flights and ferries along with military transport planes and dispatching a navy frigate to provide security for its nationals in Libya, where increasingly violent clashes are threatening to transform the 15-day popular rebellion into a civil war.

Qaddafi Counterattacks in Rebel-Held East Libya After Rebuke

Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi counterattacked against rebels who have seized the east coast ports where much of the country’s oil is refined or shipped abroad.

Germany seeks block on Libyan oil payments

New threats emerged to Libya's dwindling oil supply yesterday when Germany's foreign minister urged a freeze on payments for oil shipments to the regime of Muammar Qaddafi.

Libya's Gadhafi claims oil fields, ports safe as his loyalists try to retake key installation

BREGA, Libya - Leader Moammar Gadhafi says Libya's oil fields and ports are "safe" and "under control."

He said Libya will replace Western banks and companies by others from China, Russia and Brazil.

Officials: Libya's account still gets oil payments

CAIRO — A Libyan oil official said Wednesday that exports from the rebel-held east were proceeding normally and that funds for the shipments would continue to be deposited in the country's accounts even if the OPEC nation comes under international sanctions.

The official said production in the east had declined by just over 50 percent, but that full storage tanks meant exports were continuing at normal levels for now. The country's de facto oil minister, Shukri Ghanem, said several days ago that production nationwide has also declined by half.

FACTBOX-Libyan oil production, outage, exports, customers

(Reuters) - As fighting continues across Libya, the oil industry is trying to assess the output lost from Africa's third-largest producer, with outage estimates currently around 800,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation, said on Wednesday the country's oil output had fallen to 700,000 to 750,000 bpd due to the worst crisis for Libya's oil industry in decades.

Fitch slashes Libyan credit rating to junk

Fitch Ratings has cut its rating on Libya for the second time in just over a week, citing increasingly chaotic political and economic conditions in the oil-rich North African country.

Gov't focuses on stable oil supply than relief from price hikes

MANILA, Philippines - Saying the government has more urgent matters to attend to, Energy Secretary Jose Almendras hit back at critics who are complaining about the recent string of oil price increases and the agency's alleged lack of transparency in its computations.

Almendras said their priority right now is to ensure stable supply of fuel in the market so as not to disrupt economic activities.

Iraq's February oil export highest since invasion

A senior Iraqi oil official says the country's crude oil exports in February reached their highest level since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Mexico opens bids on 1st integrated oil contracts

State oil company Pemex announced on Tuesday the first "integrated" exploration and production contracts, which allow greater private involvement in the tightly controlled sector.

Nigeria to build 8 industrial plants

Nigeria's government says it is building eight industrial plants to turn the oil-rich West African nation into a regional petrochemical hub.

Nigerian oil firm has poorest transparency -study

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's state oil company had the poorest transparency record of 44 national and international energy companies evaluated in a report published by international watchdogs this week.

Turkmenistan agrees to raise natural gas supply to China

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- Turkmenistan has agreed to increase its natural gas supply to China by 20 billion cubic meters a year, China's top economic planning body announced Wednesday.

BP in UK sale 'talks'

BP is talking to a range of interested buyers over the sale of some of its UK oil and gas interests, a company spokesman was reported as saying today, with the North Sea element alone reported to be valued at $1 billion.

Iraq to start water injection project in a month

(Reuters) - Iraq is expected to start the first phase of a multibillion-dollar water injection project to help boost crude production rates from its southern oilfields in a month, an Iraqi oil official said on Wednesday.

Arkansas Quake Is Its Most Powerful in 35 Years

An earthquake Sunday was the latest in a group that has raised questions about links to natural gas drilling.

U.S. to study health impact of BP oil spill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. National Institutes of Health has launched a massive, long-range health study of people who helped clean up last year's BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The study aims to check for possible health effects on 55,000 clean-up workers and volunteers in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Participants will be followed for up to 10 years, NIH said in a statement.

Few taking final offers to settle oil spill claims

Records show that in the last two weeks more than 8,100 people and businesses have been offered final payments from BP's oil spill compensation fund, but few have accepted so far.

Revolution in the Gulf States

With peak oil on the horizon (or already passed, if one considers recent Wikileaks), only decades of Gulf oil exports are left. And with stalled diversification programmes due to poor planning, corruption, and nepotism - all by-products of the undeveloped political system - the monarchies' economies are going to be tied to oil for the forseeable future. As a result, the grandchildren and even children of present-day citizens are being doomed to a rather bleak future.

Bahrain has already provided a glimpse into this ugly fate, as its oil reserves are now pretty much finished. Unable to shift to an extractive state and alter fiscal policy due to decades of subsidizing citizens in return for no representation, the ruling family has run out of options and the Bahraini people have made their move. And with the Al-Khalifa sanctioning the use of live ammunition (warning: video includes scenes of death) and deploying Pakistani-origin mercenaries on the very first day of protests, the regime has exposed itself for what it really is.

International Energy Agency confirms peak oil was in 2006

The Energy Watch Group (EWG) has reiterated its warning that the highpoint of conventional worldwide oil exploitation had been reached in 2006 and said that with its "World Energy Outlook 2010", the International Energy Agency (IEA) expressly endorsed this conclusion for the very first time, corroborating that the production of crude oil will never again achieve the 2006 level.

Lurching toward the peak

Many have pointed out that while humans can have all kinds of arguments and disagreements, when we try and argue with the laws of physics, we will always lose. But in the meantime, companies make massive profits from spreading false information about climate change, oil production, energy use. They point to worst-case scenarios of the costs of making any changes to our energy systems, all the while ignoring the much more significant and fundamental costs to humanity of continuing on our current path of depleting resources at an unsustainable rate.

City’s Lengthy Push for Hybrid-Engine Taxicabs Hits a Legal Dead End

The Bloomberg administration has banned cars from parts of Broadway, prohibited smoking in public parks and cracked down on fats and salts in restaurants. But City Hall’s march toward better living, whether its citizens want it or not, may have finally met a yellow-hued Waterloo.

The United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to consider an appeal by the city on its longstanding effort to mandate fuel emissions standards in New York City’s taxicabs, using up the legal options for a policy that had twice been struck down by lower courts.

Rolls sets its venerable sights on green future

An electrically powered Rolls-Royce? It sounds as unlikely as nicotine-free Havana cigars or low-fat beluga caviar.

But the British maker of petrol-guzzling limousines has taken the revolutionary step of developing a battery-powered version of its Phantom model and plans to unveil it at the Geneva car show today.

Terra Firma Capital May Invest Almost $700 Million in Clean Energy in 2011

Guy Hands’s Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd. may invest as much as 500 million euros ($692 million) in clean energy this year as low interest rates and rising oil prices make the industry more attractive.

Native American groups sue to stop solar projects

BLYTHE, Calif. – Native Americans are clashing with the federal government over plans to fast-track approval and construction of massive solar energy projects that the Indians fear will harm sacred and culturally significant sites in Western deserts.

Recent lawsuits by two native groups pose a threat to half dozen proposed solar developments that the Obama administration has identified as a high priority in its quest for more clean energy production. One suit already has halted work on a major solar farm in Southern California.

Randy Udall and Auden Schendler: Guest opinion Aspen should take the lead on clean hydropower

The next step in getting to 100 percent clean power is back to the future. For its first 50 years, Aspen was powered by “white coal,” hydropower, and no wonder, since four different drainages converge here. The sun delivers its energy democratically, every town gets a dollop. But great hydropower sites — places where water and steep drops converge — are rare birds indeed. We've been blessed with a great natural opportunity, one we ought to seize.

Ageing Australia: a crisis or triumph?

A healthy demographic transition leading to a stable population of around 23-26 million by 2050 is still possible. It would be a major triumph for Australia. Conversely it would be a tragedy if we let selfish lobbies continue to enforce population growth in the face of climate change, peak oil, the depletion of our mineral wealth and diminishing food security.

David Suzuki: Politicians who reject science are not fit to lead

Times have changed. I wish I could say that we’ve evolved when it comes to science. But sometimes reading the news and listening to the pronouncements of politicians, especially south of the border, I’m bewildered by the rampant ignorance about science and the antipathy toward it.

FACTBOX-Japan proposes new CO2 market mechanisms to UN

(Reuters) - Japan has submitted proposals on new market mechanisms to cut greenhouse gases to the United Nations, aiming to complement U.N. talks by developing ways to use its low carbon technology.

Japan, the world's fifth-biggest emitter, called for new mechanisms to co-exist with existing ones under the Kyoto Protocol but to allow countries to establish their own following basic principles agreed at U.N. meetings.

Electricity tops carbon emitters

BIG electricity generators reduced their emissions of greenhouse gases last financial year but still dominate the Australian corporate sector's carbon footprint, according to the latest federal government statistics.

CO2 farming could help Australia brake emissions

SINGAPORE (Reuters)- Australia's farms and vast outback could help cut or offset up to a fifth of the economy's greenhouse gas emissions, a senior scientist says, as the government struggles to put a price on carbon pollution.

The country is a major coal exporter and consumer and is among the highest per-capita producers of planet-warming carbon emissions in the rich world.

Scientists: Global warming to blame for big U.S. snowstorms

What caused the colossal snowfalls that buried much of the USA this winter, setting snow records in New York City and Chicago? One group of scientists blames. .. global warming.

Counterintuitive though it may be, "heavy snowstorms are not inconsistent with a warming planet," says Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for the Weather Underground, a private weather service.

WikiLeaks cable from Riyadh implied Saudis could pump only 9.8 mb/d in 2011

Victim of peak oil ignorance:

Brisbane's Clem7 tunnel in receivership

Saudis could pump only 9.8 mb/d in 2011

wow, in 2005 KSA exported 9.1 mb/d

I'm guessing that they were talking about C+C. The Saudis produced 9.6 mbpd (C+C) and 11.1 mbpd (total petroleum liquids) in 2005. At the Saudi's 2005 to 2009 rate of increase in consumption, their 2011 consumption may be about 3.0 mbpd, versus 2.0 mbpd in 2005. At 3.0 mbpd for consumption, the Saudis would have to produce 12.1 mbpd (total petroleum liquids) just to match their 2005 net export rate of 9.1 mbpd.

2009 total petroleum liquids production was 9.7 mbpd (BP).

I'm guessing that they were talking about C+C.
2009 total petroleum liquids production was 9.7 mbpd (BP).

So why could 9.8 mbpd in 2011 not be total liquids ? When Ghawar is in steep decline...

Any dates set for ASPO-USA conference in DC yet ?

I was thinking of buying tickets soon.


I don't think they're anywhere near that point yet. Their web site says just Oct. 2011, no dates or ticket info, and their conference link goes to last year's conference.

And everyone's talking about the international ASPO conference (April in Brussels) right now.

Re: U.S. gasoline price jump biggest since Katrina, up top.

Meanwhile reported February U.S. cars were up so much that it almost looks like a Chinese report:


March U.S. car sales should be interesting. The battle is on for consumer dollars. Will it be a new car or gas to put in the tank?

I'm betting gas is more important and March new car sales will tank.

I have two cars, a Toyota Camry (6.5 years old) and a Toyota Sienna minivan (10 years old). Both are fully paid for and moderately efficient. We are thinking of replacing the minivan later this year with the new Prius V - which is a slightly larger version of the Prius. When we buy it, we will probably buy it for cash. We tend to keep our cars for long periods.
Reducing fuel costs would be nice but both of our vehicles are long since completely paid for and have fairly low resale value in any case. I work in the software industry and my approach to saving fuel costs will be to work from home to the extent possible and curtail frivolous trips.

Three years ago my wife and I were driving two cars daily, about 15,000 miles a year. Between gas prices and inflation, something in our budget had to give, so we parked one car, cut down driving the other, and I started cycling to work. Its worked great, I'm as fit now as I was when I was a teenager, and I'm continually surprised at how well we live on our income without all those vehicle expenses.

My family went down to 1 car 8 years ago. We do about 10,000 a year. I have been cycling to work for the last 12 years.

Yesterday I was knocked off my bike by an inattentive driver. Only minor muscle damage. However, I am without transport to work until my muscles heal. The problem with being efficient is that you end up being less resilient. Less slack in the system.

Sorry to hear that Ralph - Hope you get better soon.

This is one of the problems with changing infrastructure. Until a critical mass of new users can change the system, they must co-exist with the BAU users. So highly efficient and low weight EV's must pass crash tests against 3 ton SUVs.

It doesn't bode well.

I am in Cambridge, one of the few cycle hotspots in the UK. I was on a cycle path.

Fortunately the car was lightweight mini. If it was an SUV I would not be typing....

Driver's response was to complain about how inconsiderate cyclists are in Cambridge. And then drive off, whilst I was still lying in the road.

Cornered and brought back by other cyclists, who called the police.

Driver should be sentenced to riding a bike and advocating for cyclists rights, with a restraining order to keep 200 feet away from all motor vehicles.

Ah, Cambridge - you have Outspoken Delivery over there don't you? The cycle couriers. Seems to be doing pretty well..

Cycle couriers are mad. Got hit by one as I crossed the road between stationary traffic. I don't know what speed he was doing between the cars but I never got the chance to see him coming. Managed to grab him in mid air before he went head first into a car and all I got was a load of verbal. Decided that next time I wouldn't grab them.


Hi Ralph.
Last week I was at the courthouse downtown as a witness because the motorist who hit me in the summer contested his reckless driving ticket. He didn't show, so the ticket sticks...maybe. If he presents an excuse when he renews his license, we go through it all again.

Interestingly enough, my collision was also on a bike path. I was crossing an intersection with the signals in my favour. I was more lucky than you: I cycled home from Emergency at 3 in the morning.

This was the second time I had been hit: 10 years ago a car turned without signaling and hit me and my 3 year old son, who was in the child seat. The responding officer refused to charge. Nowadays I would be much more proactive, though in the more recent case I didn't have to be- the Officer was excellent, and has just passed his Sargeant's exam, so there's even more hope going forward.

So...keep fighting the good fight. Open a file folder so you have the info if you go to court. Write everything down, make a diagram, time lines, etc. Don't talk about the collision to the witnesses(If you go to court, you want to avoid the appearance of collusion.) Concern yourself with your story; the overall event is the officer's responsibility. Wait for the report from the constable, and put it in the folder; if it is mailed, you may have to call the Officer to get a translation from his handwriting because of specialist terms and haste.

And get better.


Boris Johnson Mayor of London is very pro-bike but he had a near miss recently ...


Car crashes ain't that fun either. I have 20 stiches in my head after surviving this:


And no, I wasn't the driver. Don't even have a license. This was the guy I was co-comuting with to work. A 25-year old male "happy motorist".


Glad you came away relatively ok. Another happy landing!


With the speeds involved, "landing" is probably the right word.

Yik, they needed a tin opener on that one! Not the way to get into the press.


Yes. The Jaws of life. Then they gave me drugs, I got to ride an ambulance and have a full body X-ray. Would have been hilarious if I wasn't knocked unconcious through the whole process.

But what was fun was; when I woke up at the hospital my memories was gone. I didn't know my name, past history or any other thing about my self. Like beeing born once again, actually. But the momories returned gradually. One week before the crash I had a week of, and when my boss and co-boss came to me at the hospital, I was just about to begin remembering that week. So every question they asked, I answeared with what I did on my vaccation. They were very amused :c)

Glad to hear you got through it. Luck was your other passenger that day.


Sorry to hear about the accident, I hope it doesn't set you back too much. I've been lucky myself - 30 years accident-free (if you don't count self-inflicted ones).

I'm lucky enough that most of my commute is on a bike path, and for recreation we have miles of very low traffic country roads.

The problem with being efficient is that you end up being less resilient.

Nature is often both resilient and efficient.



Were I designing your life, you'd not need to bike to work and/or everyone else would be, too, and/or there would be no cars, only mass transit. Nature teaches us to put in close proximity those things with highly symbiotic relationships. You're not non-resilient, you're just ahead of the curve.

Were I designing your life, you'd not need to bike to work and/or everyone else would be, too, and/or there would be no cars, only mass transit.

I started to take the bus to work sometimes. Not always a chair free. Now I imagine what happens if only 20% of the car drivers do or have to do the same thing. Chaos. The bus company or government has to buy much more buses, if they have the money...

That the journey is difficult is no reason not to make it. Where they have made cars either expensive to drive in to town or have banned them outright, people have adjusted, and ended up with a better quality of life. I suspect buses are one of the easier things to build out quickly.

...my approach to saving fuel costs will be to work from home...

Excellent approach. My employer allows workers in my department to telecommute every workday except Mondays.

Seems the best way to save FF while driving... is not to drive, but to telecommute (for those of us that can).

I was in Home Depot today talking to a woman who was looking for something they didn't carry. My friend suggested another place about 25 miles away. She grimaced and said that would cost her about $12 in gas. I'm guessing she drove an SUV. That's the first time I heard someone talk about that in public.

I think people are starting to "get it".

I was very encouraged watching the local news last night. Gas has gone to 4.05/4.15/4.25, so that was their lead story. Last week they did a story about rising prices and the interviews with people on the street were discouraging (speculators! environmentalists! the future is hydrogen, oil shale, etc).

This week one person was praising the good mileage they get with their motorcycle, another said they would just try to drive less, and the reporter signed off with something like "Now we'll just have to see how long before we get to five dollars a gallon! Back to you Ken..."

Weasel - Your story makes me think that as gasoline prices get higher folks won't be focused on the natural resource problem but the "damn gas problem". IOW focused on a symptom and not the root cause.

Psycologically, it is the same phenomena going on as when burning the jews to stop the plauge. I've suspeted a long while that public understanding of the predicaments will get more and more wrong as the evidence get clearer.

public understanding of the predicaments will get more and more wrong

Yes, that was what I saw last week. People "bargaining", scape-goating, and wishing on a star. That's why is was good to see more people adapting and indicating that they expected it. One guy even just shrugged, as if to say, "Yeah, gas is up. Not much we can do about it."

Slowly, slowly the worm turns...

Gas was $3.99.9 for super when I went to town. Ate lunch, went to the post office, bought some groceries. Gas was $4.05.9 and diesel $4.15.9 when I came home.

Jeez! It's $3.25 here in rural NH at the corner store - not the cheapest spot around.

Yeah, can't wait to see what it is on my way home. Yesterday it went up ten cents between when I went to work and when I went home.

In Seattle, regular has jumped from $3.59 to $3.79 in the last 2-3 days. I don't drive much, so I can't help but wonder how high it'll get before the next time I need to fill up...

Gasoline is 140 yen/liter here in Eastern Japan (a bit cheaper than Western Japan for oil & gasoline products). That is between 6 and 7 dollars per gallon! Luckily we don't have a car to fill up. I am very happy to have recently purchased a new bicycle!

So, during the 2008 oil price spike, people were unable to accommodate the rate of change of the price (along with the actual cost). The spike in price at the pump caused some small businesses to fail.

This time, the price was ramping up a bit slower, and was allowing us to get a better estimate for the pricing threshold that would force a "demand destruction". But, now we are getting a rapid spike again. My local gas station guy is out there every morning, changing the sign.

We may never know when the frog would boil with a slow heat. Something keeps putting gas on the fire.

So true, so true.

Maybe it's just me projecting, but there seems to be a shift in the zeitgeist happening.

This "temporary disruption" in the ME could last a while. Even with relatively peaceful transitions, they can last for years. In the meantime, depletion continues, so when everyone finishes their revolutions and starts singing Kumbaya, the oil prices are just as high, if not higher.

Back to the mindset thing; There was an interesting Tech Ticker today on Yahoo.

A key comment was: "Oil consumption is going up, but production is not". Peak oil?, not in so many words, but....

In case the link disappears, the gist of it was, Bernanke is (willfully?) oblivious to some very real cost shifts in food and energy, that the average Joe can not ignore.

This is nothing new for Bernanke, but perhaps new for Tech Ticker. My point is that there seems to be a percolation up the foodchain, from the blogosphere to quasi-media like Yahoo, and most importantly, to the general public.

There seems to be a general growing awareness, or at least unease, that something is very wrong, but like I said, it could just be me.

See Karl Denniger at Market Ticker.Finally agrees that limited energy means limited growth.

This "temporary disruption" in the ME could last a while. Even with relatively peaceful transitions, they can last for years.

During the 1979 Revolution Iranian production was offline for about 6 months. It declined again when hostilities broke out with Iraq, and then was damped down severely due to the crash in demand; but both of these factors may be considered tangential to postulating where Lybian etc production will be in the short term. These producing nations are deep in the throes of Dutch Disease and whoever runs the show will be badly in need of sales from resources, and will see to it that those sales occur ASAP.

Bernanke knows what he's doing. Not in a large, system dynamics sense. But he does know what he's doing in a monetary sense.

Printing money and exchanging it for the bankster's bad debts inevitably ends up in stocks and commodities now as they're the only game in town. Bernanke understands well that riots in the M.E. and a little higher food prices for obese Americans is a small price to pay to prevent the collapse of the entire system.

Meanwhile, the world doesn't want America to break down either, as that would mean - gasp! - countries actually having to defend themselves against their neighbors. So the world buys Treasury bonds with nary a complaint.

Here's the endgame: eventually, the system runs out of greater fools. I mean, it quite literally just runs out. World population will likely peak. Resources are becoming scarcer and more expensive, which puts a premium on them as opposed to higher order finance. China is, as we speak, constantly in the process of exchanging Treasuries for resources around the world. Expect this to accelerate as they face hunger and brideless men at home. At that point, collapse of the dollar would barely be on their radar.

Thus the political disruptions get closer and closer to the center. First M.E., next Europe, next Asia, next North America.

Pax Americana dies from the outside in, all in the name of preventing it from dying from the inside out.

Bernanke knows what he's doing. Not in a large, system dynamics sense. But he does know what he's doing in a monetary sense.

Printing money and exchanging it for the bankster's bad debts inevitably ends up in stocks and commodities now as they're the only game in town. Bernanke understands well that riots in the M.E. and a little higher food prices for obese Americans is a small price to pay to prevent the collapse of the entire system.

I'm not sure I agree with you, but it may be a matter of semantics. Sustaining the unsustainable is folly. He is not preventing the collapse, only delaying it. In a sane world, people who made bad bets and those that scammed would take a haircut down to the collarbone, or better, wind up in jail.

Deleveraging would occur, debts would be reconciled or defaulted and we start again. The unwinding will be horrific, but proportionate to the sociopathic behaviour during the run-up.

This is where I take my tin foil hat off. I've been tempted to run this by TOD for some time.

Let us assume that TOD, Heinberg, Tainter, Catton, Diamond et al are right. Let us also assume that some of the Captains of Industry understand the implications. I can see how this would turn the whole system into an all out free-for-all.

IOW, there is no point in resetting the system for another business cycle because there won't be one for a while; not until after we go through the bottleneck.

So, maybe we're talking about the same thing, from different perspectives. We will get off this peak one way or another. I would prefer we make some ropes and descend in an orderly fashion, rather than jump or be pushed.

Pax Americana dies from the outside in, all in the name of preventing it from dying from the inside out.

Nicely said. IIRC, Pax Romana went the same way.

I would prefer we make some ropes and descend in an orderly fashion, rather than jump or be pushed.

"Preference" will have nothing to do with it. Yours, mine, anyone's. Cultural and social directions are not created by rational thought. The most that you could say would be that through a concerted effort a small number of bright and dedicated people might be able to nudge the whole in one direction or another. But even at that, they could not ever know just exactly what that nudge will do or what opposition or misdirection it will encounter.

Consider, too, that what may be your "orderly" might be my disaster, and vice versa.

Pax Americana dies from the outside in, all in the name of preventing it from dying from the inside out.

Ouch! I think you nailed it.

I had a talk on the phone with mom last night (She is not a peak-oiler).
She was very upset about having to go to the dentist. But, it wasn't the pain or the cost of the visit. It was the $200 in diesel for the round trip to Houston, from Canyon Lake.

There aren't any qualified Dentists in SATX?

Change comes hard as you get older (same dentist for years). I guess this is another angle to the idea of adaptation to post-peak.

I understand that people from the Big Island in Hawaii often fly to Honolulu for medical care.

As a two year resident here on the Big Island I will tell you that it is true. Poverty is the name of the game on this island and most dentists do not want anything to do withe Medicaid patients. But that may change because the census came out last week and our island grew by 25%, mostly old white people.

I am leaving here in a month after living here for two years to see how it would be as a place to live while we are tumbling into peak everything. The education and compassion here is too low and if there will be a mad max like scenario any where in the states it will be in Hawaii. People here are angry and individualistic. Or they are just stoned. And agriculture, even back yard farms, are being decimated my new plant diseases.

Interesting comment. I've been thinking of what the best place to be is when TSHTF. Hawaii came to mind, because of its isolation and what I'd assumed to be a peaceful and compassionate people - the hope that everyone would pull together and utilize the resources available to feed those who are trapped on the islands which could turn out to be the best thing that could happen. The benefit of Hawaii being a State is that I could prepare and bring a plethora of guns and ammo which I couldn't do, say, by going to St. Barts instead.

I could actually see myself sipping a Pina Colada while contemplating the chaos that's overtaking the rest of the world but this would require a Hawaiian community effort.

My response to the 'Isolation' question is to try to find 'voluntary isolation', which is to say, you have a way to be connected to 'the world', but also ways to be just far enough from the big pop. centers so you're not simply surrounded by millions of other hungry humans.

Water supply.
Ocean Access.
Moderate Weather Range.
Potential access to other communities for trade and support.
(Near a national border, for one other potential choice-opportunity.. but not TOO near.)

Who knows.. but that's some of my primary targets.

(EDIT: and as far as weather goes, I picked a colder climate which most people would tend to move AWAY from, not towards, as I know how managable it is, while many would see it as a death-knell)

Water supply.
Ocean Access.
Moderate Weather Range.
Potential access to other communities for trade and support.
(Near a national border, for one other potential choice-opportunity.. but not TOO near.)

I think New Zealand ticks all those boxes - nice country, and you could do a lot worse.

I checked into moving to New Zealand as a retiree. Ouch! They are only accepting millionaires. I didn't qualify.

That's a pity - I didn't think it was quite that expensive to migrate there as a retiree. Plus we Australians have completely unfettered access to the place - to live, work, and buy - as they do in Australia too, of course.

Oh well - perhaps it fails as Plan A for you. But lots of North Americans have made a move there (to the extent that there is a very strong revival in rural land prices in areas that have been essentially moribund for at least a generation). It is a first world culture with a third world infrastructure, in some ways - like stepping back into some Oregon rural bolt-hole from 1965. It certainly has its own charm (and survivor index I expect) ... and would recommend it to anyone - especially millionaires!

One of the big problems with hawaii (even the outer islands) for considering such things is the fact that all the islands are terribly overpopulated, and unlike other areas where people can, as they no longer manage to make a living, pick up and move, the isolation of hawaii is sufficient that most of those people can't even leave. Those islands will be a serious pressure cooker.

(mind you, in a global scenario, where do those people picking up and moving move to? well, the answer is that most everyone will be on the move, from crappy conditions to other crappy conditions, mostly desperate people from place A moving into place B finding lots of desperate people in place B moving to places A and C and so on and so forth.. and a lot of the correction of the overshoot will be resolved by these folks on the move, as they exhaust themselves and bear great stress on everything else around them) Hawaii's isolation would be pretty good if the population were very low, though still perhaps too isolated. even the hawaiians eventually lost contact with the rest of polynesia.

Yes. I think the Big Island is an especially bad place to be. It's at double the population it was when Malthusian forces drove Kamehameha to conquer the other islands. The soil is exhausted, and it's so dry that many places are not suitable for agriculture.

The low rainfall also means the ecology is more fragile than wetter, older Kauai and Oahu. The Kona side of the island looks like Texas, complete with cactus. It used to be rain forest, with streams and everything. Cutting down the forest for agriculture caused erosion and turned it into the dry rangeland it is today.

Yes, the geology especially on the big island (very young volcanic terrain, very porous so all water falls right through it, etc) is very vulnerable to
deforestation and erosion. The older islands (e.g. Oahu at 4-5 million years)
have somewhat more developed geology and hydrology but, overall, still
vulnerable. There are no really long lived aquifers in that kind of ground, the wetness and all that lush green is just in the very short-term cycling of

it is not as well known as it ought to be, that at the time captain cook
and his fellows 'discovered' hawaii, the islands were in the middle of a serious overshoot and major wars symptomatic of meltdown. If they hadn't
been suddenly struck by epidemics of freshly imported diseases (spallpox etc)
things would have gotten quite ugly by a different path.

Actually, the big isle is probably a heckuva lot further from malthusan limits now than most places. Land is cheap in puna, there is an abundance of catchment rain, and one can still buy NPK cheaply if they'd like to lay in a supply. Certainly from the point of view of hundreds of years, the population will shrink back to the non-augmented carrying capacity, but from the point of view of a couple or a family now who wished to try subsistence farming, it's a lot better than many other places. Speaking as a person who has spent a fair bit of time there and still owns a little piece of land, the island climate is nice and can support a high quality of life. The challenges there will be unique, but that's true of anywhere. Heating, cooling, water and food should be reasonably easy to deal with for the coming 20-30 years; how many other places will that be true of?

It'd be interesting to hear RR's take on it. If one was in a community rather than making it as an individual, and had a bit of tech organization and moderate medical infrastructure, it would be an attractive place to be.

Actually, the big isle is probably a heckuva lot further from malthusan limits now than most places.

I don't think I agree with that. It's sparsely populated for Hawaii, but I would think there are huge chunks of the US that have a lower population, better soil, and more water than the Big Island.

Drought is a recurring problem there. They have an emergency water system. A few years back, they had to send water trucks to Hilo (the wet side of the island).

I respect your assessments.

I haven't done scientific study of the place, but I have spent a fair bit of time there and thought about it as a spot to be. As I've said, we've ruled it out due to the lack of access to medical care.

That said, it seems like the population supported with "stone age tech" prior to "discovery" was higher than many other areas I can think of. I'm sure that the sugar plantations, etc, have degraded the soil a lot more than the Hawaiians ever did. Still, I think it has potential. The amount of food that grows untended from the poor fill dirt in my Oahu backyard is impressive.

When hearing of the "emergency water truck" goin around on Hilo side I have assumed it was relative and not absolute scarcity of water, people not adjusting their water usage to lesser rain, in part because there IS an emergency water truck. I don't think we'll see Hilo going brown any time soon, though I think the tradewind showers will become less productive and reliable, and deluges from the remains of hurricanes will be more of a factor.

The fellow I sold one of our Fern Forest 3-acre lots to seems to be growing his own food on it, and it has hardly any soil at all, more like lava gravel.

That's what cisterns and mulch are for.

it is not as well known as it ought to be, that at the time captain cook
and his fellows 'discovered' hawaii, the islands were in the middle of a serious overshoot and major wars symptomatic of meltdown. If they hadn't
been suddenly struck by epidemics of freshly imported diseases (spallpox etc)
things would have gotten quite ugly by a different path.

Agree. It's not a coincidence that Kamehameha arose on the Big Island. There's been some fascinating research done, examining the soils there. Turns out, only relatively small strips of land were suitable for farming sweet potatoes, the main staple. (Other islands used taro as their staple food, but Maui and the Big Island were too dry, and depended on sweet potatoes.) You needed certain soils, and certain climactic conditions, and that meant large areas of the island weren't suitable for farming. They were up against the limit, which was the reason Kamehameha conquered the other islands.

They compared soil samples taken from under ancient stone walls with other soils, and found that the soil from under the walls was far richer in nutrients. The ancient Hawaiians had apparently been working what land was available to exhaustion.

Where did the nutrients go? Here, we put them in dumps and run them down the Mississippi. You'd think they'd have been bringing in fish nutrients and seaweed and improving the soils? Or maybe rains rinsed the cultivated soils bare?

Most of the arable land on the Big Island is nowhere near the ocean. The most fertile land is on the mountain slopes. The soil near the ocean tends to be sandy and salty.

Fungi can neutralize salt.

Any soil can be built up. In this case, I'd look at fast-growing indigenous plants and plant them all over the place I wanted to make a farm, then grow and chop n' drop as much as is humanly possible just to add organics to the soil. Drag up piles of seaweed, too. Make some nice fish emulsions (fish, water, sugars, bucket; stir for a few weeks then strain, etc.)

Interesting; I'm going to the Big Island for the first time in less than three weeks, for a workshop. Staying in Kona but hopefully I'll get to see as much of the island as possible. I was not aware how extensively it had been deforested.

well, the answer is that most everyone will be on the move, from crappy conditions to other crappy conditions, mostly desperate people from place A moving into place B finding lots of desperate people in place B moving to places A and C and so on and so forth

I live 45 miles from Austin... good friend in Austin read that 500 people move there each day... my response "and what are they doing for jobs?" People keep commenting on how many people are moving to Texas and I wonder how many are "fleeing" to here.

Eastex - I'm in a similar situation with my dentist, in Austin. At 20mpg, a 100 mile round trip visit at 3.25/gal cost me $16.25, which is more than my co-pay.

People are moving to the Front Range of Colorado in droves for no reason other than it is not California or Arizona. The unemployment here is listed as being 9%, but guess what? Those who move here are not counted as being unemployed. The true rate has to be near 20%, especially if the influx of undocumented workers from Arizona is added to those fed up with the situation in CA.

There are very few jobs available, and even those paying minimum wage are swamped with applications.

The state is broke beyond broke. School funding is being radically cut because there is nowhere else to trim the budget, but the student population is going up.

Rentals are becoming scarce and expensive, but housing sales are flat. There are an amazing number of people renting basements and spare bedrooms under the radar.

The mass transit program voted for a few years ago is out of money and they have only completed 20% of their projects! The Denver/Boulder area is actually worse as far as transportation options than other places traditionally thought of as being bad, like Atlanta or Dallas. What little light rail there is focuses on getting to/from downtown Denver, but there are literally dozens of employment centers strung out through the suburbs that are nowhere near rail. The bus routes are so constrained that it usually takes two or three transfers to get anywhere. Many people chose during boom times to live 30-40-50 miles from work, and now they are desperate. The housing in the exurbs has crashed like CA or AZ.

The only bright spot is that there is a good network of bike paths and bike routes, and the weather is hospitable about 300 days per year.

The Denver area is definitely feeling the strain of the post-Peak realities. Given all the issues brought on by bad past decisions, plus the water issues and the relatively poor soils and growing conditions, this will not be a place to hide when the stuff really hits the fan.

Edgy - In a way your story fits what I've read: in the last couple of years of all the new jobs created in the U.S. about 75% were in Texas. Hard to believe but I've seen it reported in a number of sources and no one disagrees. But that may also explain why the unemployment rate in Texas isn't anything to brag about: lot of new jobs but lots of new bodies to fill them. So still not enough jobs to keep all potential workers busy.

try Samsoe in Denmark delightfull island and they are getting there energy problem sorted. The Danes are great folk.



There's an article here about it, from Discover Magazine.

I am leaving here in a month after living here for two years to see how it would be as a place to live while we are tumbling into peak everything.

If things get bad in Los Angeles County, the closest place I am thinking of is Oregon, maybe near Salem, for surviving.

- They seem to get enough rainfall annually to not need pumped water, or water from infrastructure like Los Angeles does.
- They seem to grow enough food that the region might be self-sustainable (not sure for what population size though).

For jobs, maybe not ideal, but might be a place to 'park' if a survivable collapse occurs.

They seem to get enough rainfall annually to not need pumped water, or water from infrastructure like Los Angeles does.

Well, this seems related:

"...as the state struggles with ongoing droughts, the groundwater supplies are dwindling at a frightening rate."

According to analysis of data from GRACE, which can paint an accurate picture of changes in groundwater supplies, California's Central Valley lost 20.3 cubic kilometers, or 16.4 million acre feed of water between October 2003 and March 2010, most of it lost during the 2006-2010 drought.


From my European horizon, I have claimed for a while that Hawaii and Los Angeles/Las Vegas is the comming PO disaster areas. Citing mostly how itis completely dependant on oil, transport and imports, more than the rest of the US plus the water situation notiing to good. Hawaii is also mostly beach front, not so good in a world with raising oceans.

if you need to find a place to go post-collapse, I'd say find a place where the water is plentiful and fresh, the people are nice, the weather is somewhat moderate and the soil is fertile. Somewhere like the upper Mississippi valley, or Great Lakes region. Sea rise is no problem because we're far above the ocean, global warming isn't a problem because we're not a warm climate (yet have plentiful water supply) and the rest of things- resource depletion and financial collapse- won't matter because everyone will experience this.

I plan to go to New Brunswick (from the Great Lakes area), but there are personal reasons for that. Won't be on the coast, though, too cold and don't trust the sea.

I believe Scandinavia is one of the best suited areas in the world. Luckily I live there already.

I agree, and actually I'm hoping to move there myself within the next year to year and a half. Am hoping that being young, holding a doctorate, and having an aptitude for learning languages (and already possessing mastery of the pronunciation of the elusive umlaut vowels) will make me a semi-attractive immigrant. Any extra advice you can offer?

I'd be happy to offer you some advice. But not here; this forum is not an imigration support center. I'll put my email up in my bio for a week or so, before I remove it again. Mail me.

I've long considered Hawaii, not in the sense of surviving but just to get away from it all.

I don't think I have the stomach to go all the way out there, though. It's just too remote!

I've settled on Western Canada and will be making the move this year.


email me...it is in profile.

Lord willing and the crick don't rise, I'll be two years behind you.

Would be going north of the border this year too, but U Toronto's tuition rates for international students maximize their value as an immigration access point past my ability to pay.

Actually, the entire central and upper central part of the US is expected to see significantly hotter temperatures over time, and on up into Canada.

True - but if you buy in advance you can generally do it for less than $200.

That's a big reason my wife and I changed our plans to move there. An exodus of doctors. As long as jet airline shuttle service exists for a couple hundred bucks, the less-acute cases will do fine. But the current business model for jet airlines won't last out the decade.

The big isle has great potential due to its climate and remoteness, but older folks like me who are out of warranty will find that to "cheat death" they need to have access to the complexity of modern medicine. There will be a growing disparity between life expectancy on the big isle and on oahu, and between oahu and wealthy mainland areas.

For instance, my dad lived to be 81 despite having "flash edema" which would fill his lungs with fluid within 5 minutes. By having me next door, and an ER 3 minutes away, he was snatched from certain death four times at least; had he lived even 5 minutes farther from a good ER on this island, he'd have died at age 75, no question. For that matter, if he hadn't convinced me to move next door, same result.

My mother's doctor convinced her sister - who was a practicing GP on the big island - to move back to Oahu before giving birth, since if there were complications on the big isle little could be done. She didn't move back to the big isle after the birth.

I find that since I haven't been to the the big isle in 6-7 years, that I mostly see my "big isle" friends when I go to my HMO - they'll be there for xrays, getting suspicious moles removed and analyzed, basically anything a simply family doctor doesn't have the resources for... and good luck even FINDING a family doctor there, which is a reason that jobs which include off-island HMO privileges are sought-after. (I expect the major HMO's to not survive the loss of tourist revenues when jet tourism ramps down north of $100 oil in various depression scenarios. The one I belong to has taken on so much debt due to a "growth" worldview that it will go "poof" within a couple years).

It will be interesting the way complexity retracts toward wealth concentrations as "peak everything" progresses. It's mostly noticeable on the big isle since it's an isolated spot, but the same trends are probably taking place elsewhere. Except that once the jets stop flying, it's not a matter of how much gasoline costs to get to the hospital - it's a matter of doing without. (There used to be private "air ambulance" companies, but they kept crashing into the mountains and people started refusing to ride them).

I've heard of cases where big isle ER crews there will stabilize the bleeding of an accident victim and do a rough splint of broken bones, give them a vicodin and stick them straight on a scheduled commercial flight to honolulu, in coach.

But the land is a heckuva lot cheaper - might be a good way to go for people currently under 30. It's definitely got "wild west" aspects to it, particularly in Puna where the land is cheapest, but you won't freeze, rainwater is plentiful, food's not that hard to grow particular if you cheat and hide some NPK. You'd want to come to an accord with the dominant criminal families if you were living in the country, but that's just a foretaste what most places will be like.

(edited to clarify & ramble)

In the old days on Maui, I used to fly to Honolulu to shop, and go to the big city.
That is no longer the case.

$0.50 / mile for diesel? What does she drive that gets < 10 mpg on the highway?

Car expenses. You can include out-of-pocket expenses, such as the cost of gas and oil, when you use a car for medical reasons. You cannot include depreciation, insurance, general repair, or maintenance expenses.

If you do not want to use your actual expenses for 2010 you can use the standard medical mileage rate of 16.5 cents a mile.

You can also include parking fees and tolls. You can add these fees and tolls to your medical expenses whether you use actual expenses or use the standard mileage rate.


Let's please not be willfully silly about this. The 2011 table reads like this:

* 51 cents per mile for business miles driven
* 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
* 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

so quite obviously it's not a table of costs. After all, a mile driven for medical reasons or in service of a charitable organization costs not even a fraction of a penny less than a mile driven on business. The table is about politics; it has nothing much to do with the actual cost of driving round trip from Canyon Lake to Houston.

The 19 cents is sort of an average incremental cost of miles. The 51 cents is sort of a fully-allocated cost of miles. But yes, it is set by a political process.

On the other hand, if the incremental cost per mile of your ride is 50 cents, you could drive to New Braunfels, rent a Toyota Corolla for under $60/day, and drive it to Houston and back on less than 15 gallons of gas. You would save about 40%.

Ironic that the biggest threat to America is the possibility of Democracy breaking out in the Middle East?

More like the jig is up on the farce that US is just spreading Democracy.

Spreading something but don't get any on your shoes cause it stinks.

Libyan warplanes have bombed the oil refinery and port town of Marsa El Brega on Wednesday.

"It’s now an air attack. We just watched an air force jet from Libyan air force fly over Brega and drop at least one bomb and huge plumes of smoke are now coming out over Brega," Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley said as a battle between pro-Gadhafi forces and opponents continued.


In other news* from Libia:

Israeli arms distribution company Global CST has reportedly, under the authorization of Tel Aviv, provided Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi with African mercenaries to clamp down on anti-government protesters.

Egyptian sources have revealed that the Israeli company has so far provided Gaddafi's regime with 50,000 African mercenaries to attack the civilian anti-government protesters in Libya.

* The news doesn't have to be actually true, just thought of as true for it to have propaganda value. Being true makes it easier to sell. Remember folks - FOX news won't set up in Canada because of the Canadian law that makes it illegal to lie.

Wow. Bad news, if true. So much for "well, the oil infrastructure is being abandoned but not destroyed, and they can ramp production back up quickly once this all blows over."

From reports, they are not bombing the oil refinery itself. In fact the manager of the refinery said government troops took control of the facility this morning without firing a shot but now reports from the area are suggesting that the government troops have retreated from the area again. The bombing is apparently in the area away from the refinery where fighting is taking place between both sides.

EDIT: Here's the quote saying that government forces retook a refinery.


Ahmed Jerksi, manager of the Sirte oil company which runs the facility in the eastern town of Brega, said pro-Gaddafi forces retook control of the facility, south-west of Ajdabiya.

For the moment, the refinery is said to be operational but at minimum levels. Both sides still appear to be sending oil, gas and electricity into the distribution networks. I'm not sure how long that can or will be kept up. Massive country wide or regional black-outs could alter the situation on the ground rapidly - especially if water supplies were cut by knock on effects.

The aquifer used for This picture is just to the South of Bengazi. I believe Valmont VMI has been doing farm management in this area.


The secret to a long life isn't what you think

The idea that your job or your boss is leading you to an early grave is one of several myths debunked in an analysis of a 90-year study that followed 1,528 Americans. Among other myths: be optimistic, get married, go to church, eat broccoli and get a gym membership.

Interesting that this study found optimism doesn't increase longevity. Instead, the personality trait linked to long life is conscientiousness: "qualities of a prudent, persistent, well-organized person, like a scientist or professor — somewhat obsessive and not at all carefree." Which makes sense if you think about it, since such people are likely to avoid risk and take care of themselves.

Also, retirement is bad for your health. Which is good news, since most us aren't going to be able to afford it. :-/

Living to 90 years plus, isn't always a good thing. I know women of this age, who say god forgot them.

That's god for ya - chasing after the hotties....

Heard an interesting lady on NPR yesterday who wrote a book on the topic of our retirement self-delusions -- work until 55 or 60, live til 90, retire actively, and die of heart-attack while doing some leisure activity on vacation. This is an upper-middle-class dream that society has bought as a broad expectation.

"Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age" by Susan Jacopy

IIRC her comments, at current rates, 50% will have dementia by age 85 - many much sooner. Most will be poor. Almost all will have physical issues and illnesses that will greatly limit activities and travel by 70 or so. Hardly anybody can afford to save enough on a middle-class income to retire in a middle-class life. Most will struggle mightily to come up with a 30K per year retirement, and will have to choose between raising kids and putting them through college or having money to retire at all, let alone at 60.

On the flip side, many old people would say to live your life while you're young, rather than being 25 and saving 30% and foregoing kids to have money at 90. There is a lot to be said for being able to look back on the travails and blessing of marriage, kids, church, food, and indulgences when you're old and struggling. If you're going to end up decrepit and awaiting death anyway, might as well have lived life along the way.

As for me, I'm fine with working til I keel over, as there is much I hope still to accomplish. My only real fear is losing mental faculties while still being physically capable of existing.

I would guess few people forgo children in order to travel in retirement. The people who forgo kids are the ones who travel while they're young.

I also wonder how much of that is the "grass looks greener" syndrome. According to worldwide surveys, people in their 40s are the most unhappy. But if you ask the very old, they look back on their lives and claim their 40s were the best time in their lives.

Well, it probably depends both on perspective and situational realities.

For many, 40s are when kids are growing up and having teen issues, parents face car and college expenses, spouses deal with career issues (that new promotion you just got or didn't get) and just staying employed in an uncertain world, and the reality that you're no longer starting your career path but finishing it sets in. If there is a time to start a company, change careers, or make big changes, 40 is probably when you do it.

For some, personal illness, unemployment, or losing parents, kids, or significant others casts a permanent pall on periods of their life. For those lucky few who have no major external issues, I am sure their own psyche creates stresses and angst for them as well.

Perhaps when looking back, those successful risks and rewards, or coming to grips with unattainable dreams, while seeing the fruits of earlier ambitions, shifts retrospectively from a stressful and difficult period into one of excitement and accomplishment. My wife and I look back 10 years and feel that way about our life already, when our kids were babies and barely could afford a house and car, and we were exhausted yet happy. Now we can barely afford cars and college, and just feel stretched and stressed. Later I assume we'll barely afford downscaling and maybe retirement, but maybe by then this period will be the "good times" of watching our fledglings take wing (or perhaps to bounce back with others in tow!).

My fear is that for many high school will be the "best time of their lives", given how hard it is for high-school and college grads to find solid jobs.

Perhaps if there is a lesson here, it is to enjoy the period of life you're in, because it's short and uncertain. Planning for uncertainly with some balance between present and future needs is probably a wise choice.

Those testimonials describe two different times. The forties of a 90-year old person were the 1960ies, before oil crisis, outsourcing, offshoring. The forties of a 45-year old are now!

Unfortunately, on the health thing, one doesn't get to choose.
I'm lucky that I'm almost sixty and still in really good shape physically, because I've always taken good care of that. But even with that said, I've got issues. I have some physical problems that are work induced; repetitive stress injuries that is, and they won't be going away. Surgery might help; or perhaps not. And the health care thing gets dicier each year, too. And if one's goals include self reliance and doing more work around the house in order to be able to afford a decent lifestyle, well, you can guess that this just gets more and more difficult as time goes by.
So, I guess my point is that there are limits that happen regardless of how conscientious one is.

JW.Like you I am 58.My last visit to a doc was in 1993(18 years).I believe that people(in the modern society) fall sick due to stress and tension.This changes the bio chemical composition in the body(adrenal and pituitary glands)leading to health problems.I run away from stress and lead a what I call a "sufficient" lifestyle.Of course genes help.Both of my parents were diabetic and allied complications.Luckily my brother and me do not have these.Unfortunately my niece was born with diabetes type 1.The genes jumped a generation.

Hi Paleocon,

Or, perhaps just a lot of exercise will change the stats - (if one puts oneself in the exercise cohort):


Which makes sense if you think about it, since such people are likely to avoid risk and take care of themselves.

Like doing the other myths 'eat broccoli and get a gym membership' ?

Also, retirement is bad for your health. Which is good news, since most us aren't going to be able to afford it.

Getting fired seems more bad for health.

Like doing the other myths 'eat broccoli and get a gym membership' ?

No, I'm thinking more along the lines of being careful, avoiding risky situations, that kind of thing.

The top cause of death for young people is accidents.

The top cause of death for young people is accidents.

Leanan, it was about 'long life'. The difference between let's say 70 and 85. I don't consider eating healthy and physical activity as myths for longevity.

But the study covered people from the time they were born, not just from 70 to 85. Clearly, dying at age 25 in a car wreck will have an effect on your longevity. :-)

The study found that activity does help, but it's the everyday stuff done consistently - gardening, walking the dog - that makes the difference. Probably because more strenuous activities are difficult to maintain your entire life.

How about walking the ox?
Might be more useful soon :)

Or this ox (Entwistle) praying for water:


Clearly, dying at age 25 in a car wreck will have an effect on your longevity.

Eliminating not more than a few from the 1,528 in the study.

Probably because more strenuous activities are difficult to maintain your entire life.

Not if you are conscientious, one of the myths the study considers to be broken. In fact, every day walking, etc in combination with a few times a week some anaerobic activity is very healthy (also in preventing dementia) and not difficult, even if you are over 80. Many kids on sports teams end up doing sports only 1-2 times a week and drink a lot (of beer) after finishing their sport activity. Compared to that walking every day is much better indeed.

From article:

Those with the most career success were the least likely to die young. Those who moved from job to job without a clear progression were less likely to have long lives than those with increasing responsibilities.
Among participants who were still working in their 70s, the "continually productive men and women lived much longer than the laid-back comrades. ... This production orientation mattered more than their social relationships or their sense of happiness or well-being."
"It wasn't the happiest or the most relaxed older participants who lived the longest," the authors write. "It was those who were most engaged in pursuing their goals."

This is 100% related to the socioeconomic–health gradient. Evidence suggest that the lower you are in a societies stratification, the more illness and less healthy you will be and thus live shorter lives. It is universal in all modern countries where studies are done. What they are finding is it is not really being poor and some of the "life-style" choices, lack of health care, etc. But, actually, feeling poor.

Nothing will put you in an early grave faster than contemplating our miserable future. Just ask Matt Simmons.

Or ask Karl Denninger. He threw up a post where he went ape sh*t about unending growth without a better enegry source.

Supercycle Growth Smack Talk

...Oh sure, we could figure out dilithium crystals or something like that in the next 10 or 20 years, and solve all the problems. We could also figure out how to get way-over-unity light hydrogen fusion to work (despite the fact that nobody has for the previous four decades) sometime in the next decade or two. But in order to meet these lofty goals, something like that has to happen - we don't have a path, at the present time, that is visible to this nirvana of a "supercycle" growth spurt on a global basis.

Energy is everything folks. It underlays all technological and economic progress. It doesn't matter one bit whether you agree with this or not, or think I'm right or full of crap.

It's mathematics - behind every unit of GDP there is a unit of energy production.


Interesting. Denninger used to ban people who posted about peak oil or limits to growth.

I agree.

I am a Denninger regular, for his financial insights. Over the years, I have noticed a subtle, but continuous shift in his attitude.

As I've commented before, I found it ironic that he hammers home the very real dangers of exponentials in monetary policy, yet he couldn't transfer that concept to energy and food.

It appears he has put 2 and 2 together.

One more example of a shift happening.

Oh I don't think he's come around on peak oil. But every now and then he does seem to realize that oil isn't infinite.

Yes, I think that general awareness is finally coming around to Denninger and a lot of other people. Something is in the air. Perhaps it is the fact that oil is over $100 a barrel now and is causing people to rethink their old positions.

The article that got had Denninger rolling in the floor was "Get Ready for a Growth Supercycle". It is behind a pay wall but available through Google. But the author does understand that there is, or will be, an energy problem.

The other big problem is that a global economic growth cycle driven by developing states will generate overnight industrialization on an unprecedented scale, as hundreds of millions of new consumers migrate toward an emerging middle class. Until new energy technologies gain a global foothold, we can only guess at what this surge of activity will mean for competition for oil, natural gas and other scarce commodities, for the quality of the world's air and water, for the politics of climate change, and for the prices we all pay for food and other staples.

In other words this new Growth Supercycle will have hundreds of millions Chinese, Indians and other third world people moving up into the middle class. And this will create a surge in energy and commodity prices but only until new energy technologies take hold. Then it will be smooth sailing as the world's huddled masses move comfortably into the middle class.

Ron P.

I wonder if the practical point that oil is at $100+, and that gas prices are rising past historic WTI-driven levels toward the Brent-driven level, as a realization that the US isn't really driving things this time around?

With a weaker dollar and lots of drive from Eastern economies, the US stands to be hit harder than the last time.

On the one hand, above-ground issues bring the issue to the forefront more quickly and can engender change a bit earlier. On the other, they provide a convenient excuse for denial and political positioning.

What will be the real wake-up is when the imports drop and prices go up this summer, and the economy ratchet back another notch, but prices don't drop. Assuming China can tolerate a little more cost than we can at the moment, which isn't necessarily a given. Right now we're arm-wrestling over ME crude. If they could afford to pay $150 to load WTI from Cushing, the US would be in a world of hurt. Time will tell.

Paleo - From the bits and pieces that's exactly what China is working on: getting their hands on our Cushing oil. But the trick is they may be grabbing it before it gets to Cushing...getting it straight from Canada. Don't know if anything is locked down yet but they've been sniffing at the Canadian tar sands for a while. It would take quit a few years to make it happen but one day WTI may be more expensive then Brent.

The Chinese haven't just been sniffing at Canadian oil reserves, they've been buying them up by the billions of barrels. However, at this point in time the oil is going to the US. The Chinese aren't averse to making more US dollars, but I think the eventual goal is to send the oil to China.

Rocky - Yep...I should have been more specific: sniffing around the possibility of that rumored pipeline to the coast. Also makes me wonder if they might have a hand in the Canada/Gulf Coast pipeline proposal. As you know they can do swaps with the Canadian oil for U.S. oil contracted from elsewhere. Either way the same old golden rule applies, eh?

There is an Oil Drum posting from a few months back of a Lawrence Livermore research project that discusses just this effect. Basically states that over 10 years 300m Chinese will urbanize and each will require 3x more energy than previously, and all of it fossil fuel based vs. biomass. Certainly worth finding and reading.


We'll really know when Karl gets it. That's when he stops advocating "drill, baby drill".

Not that Karl matters, we will continue to extract every last bit, even past an EROEI of 1, as long as it's usefulness (i.e. Military, Aircraft, chemical etc.) remains.

I think this is all about blind spots. Karl is all about the numbers, and he's usually pretty accurate in his field, but consider this:

But that will not scale for the world as a whole at 10x, and it certainly won't scale if we have 7 or 10 billion humans on the planet in 2050 instead of 5. Not a prayer in Hell.

"Instead of 5?"!!!

Depending on where you look, we are just under or just over 7 billion already, not in 2050, 5 billion is so last millenium (~1987).

That said, although we may be there or well below it in ~40 years.

This why I think we are toast, and sooner rather than later because we have some very smart people that are looking at the world through a straw, which is why they don't "get it".

Generalists are rare these days, and groups like TOD that bring the big picture together are few and far between.

Most will simply wonder "what the hell just happened?".

I think he's seeing the geometry of the cliff and realizes it has many surfaces- worldwide unrest, perpetual debt, kleptocracy from Wall Street, and resource depletion are just a few. Give him time- we're all just like blind men trying to describe the elephant, he just is working his way forward from the financial part of it.

Live long and all you do is set yourself up for dementia, arthritis, hearing loss, and incontinence.

There's no solution to this dilemma, there really isn't.

The best you can do is try to be healthy, avoid debilitation, save money, pass quietly in your sleep and leave meaningful wealth to your children.

Few souls achieve that.

Once again, Americans - we who went to the Moon! - obsessed with "solutions," in this case trying to live forever. Every single person on every other country on this planet (who happen to actually live longer, as it were) would laugh in our face.

This obsession with immortality is surely bizarre.

However long you live, that's your whole life.

To be fair maybe I exaggerate. I'm just very upset by so many things and it often shows in my posts.

My basic point remains, though: America is a country in which there is little realism, only the never ending magic of solutions to every problem under the sun, which in turn create more problems which need even more solutions, etc. Obesity and bariatric surgery, as one obvious example pertinent to this discussion.

I do sense some change though. It's definitely in the air. I find more and more people want to lay low and enjoy whatever time they have.

"I find more and more people want to lay low and enjoy whatever time they have."

That describes me to a T :-)

"America is a country in which there is little realism, only the never ending magic of solutions to every problem under the sun, which in turn create more problems which need even more solutions"

I was watching a programme on BBC the other day ("Horizon") during which they mentioned a virus that affects chickens. Seemingly the virus was nothing more than a nuisance until they started treating it, now the same virus kills 100% of chickens infected by it. By medicating it they inadvertently caused it to mutate into something much more deadly.

Progress is probably just an unfolding disaster that we cannot visualise due to our bias and belief that science and technology can do no wrong. Solutions being the positive feedback propelling the system towards its ultimate disastrous outcome.

I would say that nearly all of our 'solutions' were actually setting us up for even bigger problems in the future. That future is now here. From now on, the problems that nearly all solutions create will become manifest much more quickly and apparently.

"Decreasing marginal return on complexity." Where have I heard that phrase before???

Main problem is we tend to see allproblems as isolated events. We need transport;we invent cars. We find out that changes the climate; we invent carbon capture. We need water; we pipeit in from somewhere else. "Somewhere else" loses its water, we pass a law to make it so. And the only thing we acomplish is to move the problems to another place. Making thembigger in the process. Seeing the holistic view on our probelms is something we just don't do.

I think there is a need for a viewpoint and perhaps a narrative to cover the timeline-snowballing of the impacts of past decisions, and if such exists I have not heard of it. Perhaps the "7th Generation" perspective comes closest.

The term "externality" is quite often mentioned, and that covers part of the reality -- the uncounted cost of decisions and actions beyond the scope of those who make or benefit from such. The counted cost is "investment risk" -- things that can go wrong which impact the stakeholders.

The missing aspect is failure of society to address the accumulating cost of the externalities, and the growing impact over time. In engineering terms, this is akin to "technical debt", where past short-cuts and poor decisions create impacts and carry costs going forward unless you take specific action to mitigate the debt, and those sometimes have some new debt as well. Over time, a habit of failing to address the mounting debt carries new costs which sap both the ability to undertake new endeavors or to address debt-reduction activities. If ever you cross the threshold where the cost of mitigating the effects of past actions exceeds your capacity to do anything, the system cannot persist. If you even come close to such a limit you must run faster and faster to stay ahead.

Note that I'm not really talking about money here, though those terms apply nicely, but rather any impact to an asset or resource of value in the societal system overall -- anything that affects that ability of the system to function properly. By making short term decisions, we are effectively borrowing quality of life from the future, and we are hoping for "lucky breaks" on both avoiding impacts of past decisions and expanding future capabilities. This is a profound violation of the Precautionary Principle.

The interactions and growth of externalized impacts likely grows exponentially, similarly to monetary debt. I suspect this will be the undoing of Kursweil's Singularity, in that we will be forced to contribute ever-increasing effort to keep the wheels on, slowing the exponential growth of technology just as we need it most to address the exponentially accelerating waves of problems.

My canary for the turning point will be Moore's Law failing. When it happens, it will not be because of a fundamental technological issue which cannot be surmounted, but because the demand will not justify the cost anymore. Technologists will say, "we could solve these problems more quickly, but there is no market for our new chips already". Kinda like "there is demand for more oil" from KSA. New technologies will still be developed for a while, but generations will last longer.

I have had discussions, mostly on other sites, about how much of this was inevitable. Once we hit on the jackpot of dense ff energy, perhaps it was inevitable that it would be exploited to the max.

But I think that it was not an accident that this happened first in the west:

where rationalism had loosened age old ideas of respecting what seem to be arbitrary taboos;

and where humanism (for all its positive attributes)set up an ethic that expanding humans' influence and human capabilities was seen as an inherent and nearly unquestioned good;

and where the beginnings of capitalist and pro-growth industrialist ideology were already developing;

and where, as Diamond would remind us, guns, steel and germs had developed to give advantages;

and where an Indo-European inheritance of stories of conquest and other cultural/linguistic tropes intensified an deeper drive (probably inherent in all post-African-exodus groups) of constant expansion...

All these factors and others predisposed Europeans and their colonists to make maximum use of new source of energy and power, and to overlook any potentially negative consequences--though there were always voices sounding warnings, mostly ignored or marginalized.

On the other hand, as a new power source there was no fixed taboo against ff use. So maybe any peoples would have eventually developed it as we did. Who knows?

The general sense of most moderns is that if there is an immediate expedient apparent solution at hand to some problem, one should assume that any negative consequences will be handled more than adequately by future generations who will be much smarter, more technologically advanced, and equipped with unimaginable quantities of cheap energy to handle it. That is exactly the ideology that ever increasing supplies of cheap oil (and other ff) fostered for some two centuries. Neo-classical economists (when they are not being simply knowingly fraudulent in the pay of some corporation or money lender) are perhaps the group most mesmerized by this ideology of eternal improvement and inevitable progress (along with growth, of course).

Apparently profs like our sailorman are an exception, but when most economics types and financial analysts talk about 'history,' they are talking about certain financial figures for the last 50-100 years. An actual historian might point out how very unusual and unrepeatable that period was, and warn about making any predictions for the next century based on the financial numbers of the last. But such basic, common sense real historical observations never seem to come up in those circles.

Sorry, I've blathered on too long. Where's memmel, by the way?

Where's memmel, by the way?

Said he had a lot of work to do at the moment so wouldn't be around as much for a bit.

Blathering it is not. Nicely done.

People don't talk about, or understand, externalities anywhere near enough. Not accounting for externalities is why so many have the 'let's kick the can down the road' mentality.

Unless you are paying for the full economic cost of whatever you make or do, that negative externality is going somewhere else. Our whole economic system can only survive with oil so cheap it doesn't come close to capturing the costs of the externalities.

If someone sells christmas trees for a living they don't just find it, cut it down and sell it. Or maybe they could to start with, but soon they will be out of trees and will have to start growing them sustainably. Until then they are not pricing in all externalities. Right now we are not replacing the oil we use, so are not using it sustainably and it is far cheaper than it should be.

Progress is probably just an unfolding disaster that we cannot visualise due to our bias...

(Here's an edited quote, to take out some ramblings:)

"Culture is not truth. Culture is other people's trash,
you know, the detritus of thousands of years of mistakes,
that's what culture is..."

- Terrance McKenna

Hi Oilman,

solution here:

Not to repeat myself. :)

Also, retirement is bad for your health. Which is good news, since most us aren't going to be able to afford it. :-/

Too bad then for the majority that won't be able to afford it but will still be involuntarily retired regardless. And try getting a job when your in your 50's or 60's even when the economy is doing well.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending February 25, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged nearly 13.8 million barrels per day during the week ending February 25, 263 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 80.9 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.1 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.0 million barrels per day last week, down by 96 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.3 million barrels per day, 480 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) remained unchanged last week averaging 808 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 170 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 0.4 million barrels from the previous week. At 346.4 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 3.6 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.8 million barrels and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 1.0 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 6.5 million barrels last week.

When oil prices are rising fuel tanks contain more fuel; when oil is falling fuel tanks contain less. If the differencial is 5 gallons for 250 million vehicles thats 30 million barrels.

Do you have references for that?

On another note, 4-wk average of crude and oil imports is at 8.6 MBD. This leaves a imbalance in supply-demand of roughly 1 MBD. With Libya indefinitely offline, the gap may well increase further. Tapping the SPR this summer is my guess.

"IF" 5 gallons is only for perspective. Even 1 gallon differencial equals 6 million barrels.

And this week crude stocks were "adjusted" up by 1.2 million barrels and other stocks were "adjusted" up by 2.3 million barrels. Last week, as has become the new norm, 0.5 million barrels a day of "commercial petroleum" apparently turned up in US storage with no record of how it got there.

Over the last four weeks alone, 14.2 million barrels have apparently been added to US stocks with no known source other than "adjustment". Are there fleets of invisible Ultra Large Crude Carriers floating around the USA?

As we discussed earlier, perhaps the EIA has concluded that they like the Fed model of creating dollars out of thin air, so they are doing the same with barrels of oil.

The EIA did not yet make its usual backward looking adjustments for prior months yet, well at least as far as I can tell. If there are going to be any reversals of those 'paper' barrels for January, we might see that next week.

Falling Down

A steep, counter-seasonal, fall in total US oil and product supplies continued last week - falling 6.6 million barrels after falling 12.1 mb and 8.4 mb in the two previous weeks. This can be directly attributed to a steep decline in oil imports. There are two reasons for the fall: 1) Since November 2010, the US is getting a falling share of total OPEC supplies, especially out of the Persian Gulf region and 2) pirates, yes – the pirates of Somalia, as well as concerns related to the legality of offloading oil from Libya in the Gulf of Mexico (due to sanctions), have prevented other oil cargoes from reaching US ports.

Unfortunately, Persian Gulf region oil exporters have slowed exports heading ‘west’ even more since January for three reasons: pirate activity moving ever closer to the Straights of Hormuz, concerns that military hostilities may start in or near the Suez Canal, and an unusual reshuffling of oil supplies internally within Saudi Arabia to their west coast port of Yanbu (see my earlier post on Monday, The Great Shell Game). [Late Update: Shippers plan to resume pickups from east coast KSA about March 15].

So for the next month, do not expect any significant pickup in US oil imports. This will leave the US oil supplies in a bad position for the start of the summer ‘driving season’. Had it not been for last summer’s (2010) substantial offloading of floating tanker storage into the US, the commercial oil supply situation in the US would already be rather bleak (except for the general area near Cushing, OK).

The possibility of oil market intervention by the US, that is releasing oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve, has increased greatly. Considering the distance east and west coast US refiners are from the SPR (which is located mostly in Louisiana), it would not be surprising to see a release within a few months – especially if the price of Brent oil moves past $120 (which it will before long).

To review: Let’s look at the reasons why the US needs more oil imports in 2011 than 2010. Putting this simply, US demand for oil has increased over 2010 – especially as compared to the early part of 2010 when the US economy was sluggish. Accordingly to the EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook, the US will need to import a net additional amount of 500,000 bpd of oil/products in the first quarter 2011 as compared to the fourth quarter 2010 – mostly due to the fact that US demand is expected to be higher in the first quarter as compared to the year ago (2010) first quarter. In addition, the US has increased product exports – such as more diesel shipments to the EU – for which greater inputs of crude are need at the refinery level.

So far US demand has fallen short of EIA expectations, growing about 200,000 bpd over the similar four week period last year. However crude imports are down 500,000 bpd and product imports are down 200,000 bpd. In sum, the US is falling 900,000 bpd behind last year’s import and usage rates. As compared to the same week last year, the US now has only 4 million barrels more in commercial supplies, but likely sometime in the next few weeks, the US will start to show year over year declines in total supplies.

Thank you for the analysis. I always enjoy reading your commentary on US oil supplies and imports. I had no idea that pirates were having such a big effect. But I guess they are very hungry and hunger is driving them to desperate acts,,,,

Recently I was shocked to read that Somali pirates are holding about 800 people hostage altogether. And many ships too.

Pirates only get into the news when something big occurs, or when someone gets killed, but there is a vessel or two hijacked in that area almost every day.

It is expected that after holding the tanker about two months, the supertanker that was on its way to the US will eventually be released after paying a ransom to the pirates - which may be a few million US$.

If that happens and the pirates are successful, then other tankers in that area could be hijacked in the future, so its not surprising that some shippers avoid the area - or charge higher shipping fees.

"Oil Movements" confirms that OPEC shipments will be falling in the first half of March.

Do you still believe that the Saudis have actually increased exports like they said?

OPEC to Cut Exports on Refinery Maintenance, Oil Movements Says
By Grant Smith - Mar 3, 2011 11:30 AM ET

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will cut exports through to March 19 as refiners idle units while conducting seasonal maintenance, according to tanker-tracker Oil Movements.

The drop is unrelated to any disruption in supplies from Libya, the Halifax, England-based company said. Loadings will slip to 23.63 million barrels a day in the four weeks to March 19, down 1.1 percent from 23.9 million a day in the equivalent period to Feb. 19, the company said today in a report. The data exclude Angola and Ecuador.

“Demand declines at this point in the year because of maintenance,” Roy Mason, the founder of Oil Movements, said in a telephone interview. Shipments will likely fall until mid- April, he said.


There was rumours already this fall that KSA was stealth increasing their oil output. If so is true, the claimed raise of 700 KB/d is at least partly already a done deal when the Libyan revolts begun. Wich mean they did not increase anything "in response" to the situation in Libya.

Why would you worry about it if you have 40 billion dollars? You can outbid anybody:)

Buffett loses his credibility. From Drumbeat Februari 26:

He knows about PO.


But if you take something like oil, I mean, we have been sticking straws in the ground now since, what, Titusville in 1850-something with Colonel Drake. And we have--we have--we have found a lot of the oil that's to be found. And if we're going to produce--or use 85 million barrels a day now and the rest of the world probably is going to increase its demand in the--in the--in the next five or 10 years, we're going to have--we're going to have a tough time maintaining production that satisfies those at this price, even. So I think something like oil, six and a half million humans--or six and a half billion humans are going to use a lot more oil than a lot fewer used 20 years ago or 30 years ago.

Heisenberg's comment:

He then says that he has some wind farms in Iowa, and that wind energy is growing,but that wind (and I assume he includes other RE) will not be 'the answer'.

So now the problem is more imminent, he talks different, just like the other idiots.

Ah. It's a shame, I quite like W.B.

The bit that lost it for me was around the 3:15 mark when he says 'You can't stop this country'. As if Americans are somehow genetically dispositioned to be the pinnacle of civilization and are to remain always so.

I believe that W.B. spent something like the full three hours as a special guest on CNBC's "Squawk Box" this morning. I caught a little bit of it before I had to get in the car and head to work.

I have been thinking about the things he said regarding his philosophy on capital allocation (and it's not that he doesn't make perfect sense in a "normal world") and comparing it to mine. If any of the three talking heads on the "Squawk" ever got a load of my capital allocation they would be convinced that I was certifiably insane. I'm talkin' about 54% cash or cash equiv., 37% precious metals, and only about 9% equities.

From link posted by Leanan:

Jeff Rubin: Only a recession stands in the way of $200 oil

Chrysler and Ford expect the biggest rise in SUV sales to happen in Russia. On the question what oilprice could start to dampen that
demand a spokesman answered $ 200. On that moment they just would sell more of the smaller, fuel efficient, cars.

We are moving inexorably closer to another oil price induced recession. And when we get there, oil demand and oil prices will once again collapse.

The only question is will we see $200 per barrel oil first?

My guess is that the answer is "no". Recession will hit first. We are wobbly as is.

My question is: Do we get a three year interval next time.

Because the spike happens quickly (in a matter of months), the short term effects are similar each time, regardless if the spike price is $147 or $200. That is just the price on one day of trading. The time that passed from the 2008 spike until this one, is pretty close to three years. How will the people cope, if each price spike comes sooner?

I don't think we will see a recovery, rather an increasingly higher oil price being offsetted by various 'surgical strikes' in the economy intended to keep it down. Sooner or later, however, it will become clear some will have oil and some will not.

At that point we can expect warfare.

It's pointless to speculate at what exact time that will come other than 'very soon'. How soon depends on a lot of factors but soon enough to make it impossible to avoid.

Even if demand is lower, depletion will make it's toll.
And, crucially, don't count out the two X-factors: food prices and as an offshoot to that, geopolitcs.

If anything, an increasingly volatile world will make it increasingly harder to predict oil prices based on pure geology and supply & demand.
Because as oil moves from being 'merely' the lifeblood to the economy to the literal blood needed to survive as a nation(and a people), it will become politicized even further. Supply will increasingly be conditioned by diplomacy and war rather than the 'free market'.

As for Rubin, I find it strange that such a talented man repeats the same thing over and over. It's not that he is incapable, but I notice a kind of special zeal in his comments. A messianic touch, perhaps. Am I far off?

Either way, I find him more and more sympathetic by the day. He's my favourite along with Hirsch in the PO community. Rubin's the energetic and funny infotainer(albeit with deeply intelligent brain), Hirsch is the moody, serious and deeply concerned man. Kind of like the beneign grandfather watching over his tribe/society, frowning and worrying for their futures.

I'm with you spec. The economists may say we've come out of the previous recession by the technical definition. But to the better part of the 10% of the population now unemployed not only did we not come out of the last recession but they are locked tight ino a depression. Hard to imagine the rising energy costs aren't going to move folks into the "D" category.

Yeah, when jobs aren't being created and haven't been created on a net basis since 2001, we're not doing so hot:

2001- 138 M jobs
2002- 136 M jobs
2008- 146 M jobs
2010- 138 M jobs
2011- 139 M jobs.

Net - 1 Million jobs in 10 years. Population growth in 10 years? 27 Million.

Getting a job is like musical chairs folks- the music stopped in 2008. Got a chair?

Edit- and Nonfarm payrolls have dropped since 2001. Recovery, my friends, is just a word.

yes, it is grim when the market celebrates with buying on the news that fewer first time UI recipients is a noteworthy statistic. Talk about keeping the myth going.

Net - 1 Million jobs in 10 years. Population growth in 10 years? 27 Million.

Net - 1 Million jobs in 10 years. Population growth in 10 years? 27 Million.

Millions ready to become organic farming entrepreneur.

Barbour says Obama cheers for higher gas prices

"This administration's policies have been designed to drive up the cost of energy in the name of reducing pollution, in the name of making very expensive alternative fuels more economically competitive," Barbour said during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce breakfast across the street from the White House.


Did he pin the price rises in 2008 and previous on Obama as well?

Didn't you know that Bush was a bigtime socialist?
Just wait until a Real American takes charge.
But they may have to dig up Ronnie.

"This administration's policies have been designed to drive up the cost of energy in the name of reducing pollution, in the name of making very expensive alternative fuels more economically competitive," Barbour said during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce breakfast across the street from the White House.

Yeah . . . you figured it Barbour. Because what makes the public love a president more than really high gas prices? Are they really that stupid?

Regarding the administrations work on alternative energy . . . Gee, Haley, maybe the administration saw high oil prices as a coming program and all the alternative energy programs were way to mitigate the problem of the coming high oil prices. I know . . . actually anticipating a problem and doing something about it before it beforehand. Imagine that?! You should give it a try some time.

Not sure I undersand Barbour's point. Is Barbour the reason Mississippi cannot produce enough oil to fuel its own cars?

Oh, I guess he was saying that only Obama is to blame. Makes sense though.

Seriously, politics is so terribly dull, and people actually listen to these morons.

I know it's difficult for people looking at the litre of oil on their dinner plate to grasp, but we don't live on oil, we live on ideas.

The idea of how to farm fish and of which species to farm is changing. Italics mine:

So should we simply stop eating fish? Greenberg seriously considers this option, but then chooses closed-containment fish farming -- not of the top saltwater predators, but of freshwater species more easily managed.

One is a version of Pangasius, known in Vietnam as tra. Goldberg makes a comparison: "Whereas an acre of codfish net pens will produce about ten thousand pounds of cod in a good year, that same acre in Vietnam will churn out half a million pounds of tra. . . From 50 million pounds in 1997, annual production has grown to well over 2.2 billion pounds, a large portion of which goes to Europe. Production is still growing, and no one can quite say where the upper limit will be."

Care for a tilapia fishwich?

Another successful species is tilapia, which has spread around the world from the Nile to Indonesia and Latin America. Fish farmers in the developing world have learned how to create the right conditions to produce an abundant product with a bland, "unfishy" flavour.

"In 20 years," Greenberg says, "tilapia production has tripled from 2 billion to nearly 6 billion pounds annually and is expected to grow another 10 percent in the next year [2011] alone."

And these are not the only species that adjust well to closed-containment fish farming and the demands of the market. Greenberg makes a powerful case that fish farming has been a good idea applied in the wrong way to the wrong species. Rather than trying to grow top predators in open-net farms, we should leave them alone.

So let the remaining wild fish feast and multiply on the vast numbers of forage fish we've inadvertently created for them. Meanwhile, let's use ponds and closed-containment facilities (including here in B.C.) to create a truly productive source of protein. When our own population has reached 7 billion and counting, it's a far smarter choice than driving the last wild predator fish into extinction.


One pound of fish per person is a good start, I guess. But even that is "living high on the hog" given that some sort of feed must be required for such high-density operations. I know fish is a lower divider than chicken or beef, but it's still a less efficient source of calories than the source grains. At least you get some different amino acids and proteins out of it.

Tilapia are opertunivores....they'll try to eat anything. Bugs, plants, other fish is all fair game and don't have stress issues like, say perch.

You can then have a high Nitrogen source dump into a duckweed pond and the duckweed feeds the tilapia.

What a load of malarkey.

Tilapia, perpetual motion machines, fusion, they never die. Maybe in the long term we will genetically engineer the fish into some mutant form we'll never recognize, or perhaps select that form over centuries via husbandry, but for now, it's a tried and failed solution, esp for the north, esp for Canada. It's a tropical fish, warm water metabolism, and the culture never offsets its cost until it's sold at boutique pricing.

The failed startup aquaculture ventures for this fish are legendary. As soon as that niche market is located, cheap wild T. mozambique imports shut it down. It's much cheaper to transport than heat water, that relation will remain.

To say nothing of consumer preference, of the myriad intercostal bones.

A much more sensible solution is to just eat carp.

but for now, it's a tried and failed solution, esp for the north, esp for Canada.

And yet NOT a 'failed solution' for places where it is warm.

A much more sensible solution is to just eat carp.

Don't worry. Carp will be the last fish standing in the Great Lakes so Canada can catch as many of them as they want.

Where I grew up there was a local gravel pit that had been turned into a fee fishing pond. The main attraction were the enormous carp the proprietor stocked on a regular basis. There were carp of 30-40 pounds in there. The proprietor would pay people who caught the really big ones to not take the fish home if it was in good condition. He would put the fish in an oxygenated feeding trough full of water for a day or so, then release it back to be caught again.

I used to catch carp in the 5-6 pound range from the local muddy rivers. I could usually sell one that size for a few dollars. I never had the courage to try to eat one myself, since I had heard they only way they would taste good was if they were kept alive in a tank full of clean water for several days, then "butchered" and smoked.

We did eat bullheads(a type of small catfish) from the same rivers with no apparent ill effects. We fried the daylights out of them and ate them with onions.

Both carp and bullheads are tough fish and will likely be two of the last freshwater species swimming.

"In 20 years," Greenberg says, "tilapia production has tripled from 2 billion to nearly 6 billion pounds annually and is expected to grow another 10 percent in the next year [2011] alone."

I guess the rise in oil prices will test the viability of this product vis a vis alternative ways to employ the resources consumed in tilapia production.

Here is the WWF on tilapia:


Perpetual is an interesting word. Perpetual motion machines have the problem of friction. And even if friction is eliminated, we can't really be sure that perpetual isn't as limited as say our universe might be said to be limited. Or as the horizon of cockroaches is limited by the impending death of our star. So how long is perpetual?

Culture seems to have self perpetuating characteristics. Some will protest. We've only escaped the endtimes because we figured out fracturing and it ain't gonna last, they will say. Culture they claim is an evolutionary cul de sac. I'm somewhat more sanguine, noting that self- and other-inflicted misery is an ongoing condition of humanity, and, happily, in some key respects appears to be declining and that there are enormous imperatives pushing it to continue to decline in a broad sense.

Our species has settled on culture as its adaptive mechanism. The evidence for this is sitting on our shoulders. The growth in brain size represents the expansion of our adaptive toolkit. We have selected for the skill to confront changing conditions. (Admittedly, the intergenerational transference isn't always successful. I wonder if the tendency to look to social mutants for leadership under certain distressful circumstances is linked to the high level of miscarriage of adaptive qualities such as empathy among certain sub-populations, rant radio listeners for example.)

Just as light is both wave and particle, culture is both tangible and intangible. It is self-propelled, moved forward by genes struggling for continuance, and interacting with necessity and accident, profoundly impacted by the process of novelty through combination described by Georgescu-Roegen.

The very nature of the self-propulsion of culture challenges utopian steady-state prescriptions and cautions us all our forms of organization need to remain flexible, not steady.

A much more sensible solution is to just eat carp.

Or your plump neighbors >;^)

Seriously, having grown up in Brazil as a kid I caught a lot of wild Tilapia there but it sure isn't the first fish that comes to mind when I think of Canada. There must be some more suitable cold, freshwater species that can be farmed, eh? How about Arctic char? I met up with a TODer from the North West recently who was down my way and he mentioned he has raised a few in lake on his farm.

There must be some more suitable cold, freshwater species that can be farmed, eh? How about Arctic char? I met up with a TODer from the North West recently who was down my way and he mentioned he has raised a few in lake on his farm.

Arctic char are indeed tasty fish - much like a more subtle-tasting salmon. In fact, they are in the salmon family. I prefer them to salmon but they aren't as widely available. And, yes, they are being commercially farmed in Canada.

Canadian Farmed Arctic Char

Canadian Arctic char are farmed in the Yukon Territory, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, Quebec and Manitoba.

How they’re farmed…
Arctic char are raised in land-based systems. Arctic char eggs are hatched within specialized hatchery facilities. The young fish remain in the hatchery until they reach ~100 grams; the fish are then transferred to tanks at the grow-out facilities.

Why they’re environmentally sustainable…
The land-based Arctic char rearing systems are considered to be among the most environmentally responsible fish farming designs. Features of the most systems include removal of particulate matter and effluent prior to releasing water from the fish tanks into the environment. Waste sludge removed from the water is then provided to terrestrial farmers for use on crops - while leftovers from fish processing may be incorporated into dog food or delivered to local compost facilities.

Arctic Char is highlighted as a “Best” choice by the Monterey Aquarium Seafood Watch Guide for Healthy Oceans.

Did you know…
In winter, wild Arctic char gather close together in small pockets of unfrozen fresh water – they are therefore accustomed to living in very close quarters with one another. As a result, farmed Arctic char must also be stocked at high densities in the rearing tanks; when stocked at low densities, the char grow poorly and have a higher incidence of illness.

Arctic char are indeed tasty fish - much like a more subtle-tasting salmon. In fact, they are in the salmon family.

Also known as mountain trout.

it's a tried and failed solution, esp for the north, esp for Canada. It's a tropical fish, warm water metabolism, and the culture never offsets its cost until it's sold at boutique pricing.

Okay, that's enough. Canadian Farmed Tilapia

Tilapia is a warm water, fresh water fish farmed in a few locations in Canada...

Tilapia is one of the fastest growing fish farming sectors globally, led by China and other low cost Asian and South American producers. Over 2 million tonnes were produced in 2006, and it is now in the top 10 fish species consumed in North America. The majority of farmed tilapia is exported to seafood markets in Europe and North American as frozen and value added products.

All of the Canadian production is sold live to local markets, where premium prices are obtained for fresh, live fish. Toronto is the single largest market for live tilapia in North America, and burgeoning markets exist in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

Where they’re farmed…
Tilapia are farmed in land-based, heated tank systems in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. The conditions are too harsh for survival in outdoor ponds, and so stocks must be maintained indoors at all times.

How they’re farmed…
Tilapia are raised in land-based, heated tank systems that employ state-of-the-art recirculation technology. The same water is reused several times by the fish, and the waste water treated with biological nutrient removal processes including aquaponics - systems combining hydroponic plant production with fish farming – to enhance the overall value of production. High end Boston lettuce and herbs are produced in aquaponics in Canada.

Why they’re environmentally sustainable…

Tilapia utilize plant-based diets, produced from low impact agricultural commodities for the most part.

They are raised in closed containment systems on land and well suited for intensive culture this way. Fish can not escape and even if this occurred accidentally, the all-male fish would not survive or reproduce in the Canadian climate.

Tilapia production requires minimal access to water as it can be produced in high densities in land-based systems with relatively little water turnover. The systems employed for culture are self-cleaning and generate little in the way of organic and inorganic waste, resulting in extremely low to nil environmental impacts on the surrounding environment.

Your quote is not incompatible with what Doug said. He said the costs are made back by selling the fish at boutique prices, which is what your quote says: "All of the Canadian production is sold live to local markets, where premium prices are obtained for fresh, live fish."

I think Doug's right. Raise carp instead. They are coldwater fish, and are food fish in many parts of the world. Indeed, they have a long history of aquaculture.

When I grew up in Hawaii, tilapia was consider a trash fish. A fish you would use as bait to catch other fish, or feed to your cat, not eat. A local TV show, "Let's Go Fishing," once featured a tilapia recipe that involved cooking the tilapia on a shingle...then throwing away the fish and eating the shingle. (It was a joke, of course, but still...that was people's attitude toward tilapia.) The criticisms of tilapia were the same as of carp. If tilapia can become a desirable food, so can carp.

Indeed, many of the fish that are eaten today were not considered worth a second thought as recently as 30 or 40 years ago. You can go into a "high-end" seafood restaurant today and find things like marlin and swordfish that would only have been smoked in the 1970s. Likewise, the fish sold as "grouper" today is not the same species as was the case before the "Goliath" groupers numbers were decimated. And that tasty favorite Mahi Mahi was rarely eaten before the marketing teams were able to successfully change its name from the earlier "Dolphin" (no one wanted to eat Flipper). Even that sushi favorite Maguro (Bluefin Tuna) was considered a second class fish amongst the Japanese until about a century ago.

Of course, much of the change resulted from the decimation of the earlier favorite food fish populations - cod, haddock, flounder.

Anyone notice that it is now possible to by ray or skate meat in some fish shops? Another change is coming...

My favorite seafood marketing success is "Rock Shrimp". Before they came up with that name you couldn't give those tiny things away. Everyone wanted "Jumbo shrimp".

Sea Bass is a marketing term for the Patagonian Toothfish.

They could try a similar ploy (Land Tuna??) for carp, but too many people already know it and despise it already, however unfairly, for this to work, I would guess.

Canadian authorities don't want Asian carp in Canadian river systems because they would wipe out the native fish and completely destroy the river habitat - sort of like the US. They could survive in all the river systems up to the Northern Territories. Their biggest concern is carp escaping from the live food-fish trade, which of course is how they got into US rivers. It's not a concern with tilapia because they are a tropical fish and would die in a Canadian winter.

After all the quality fish are gone, the only thing you will have left is trash fish like tilapia. The world's oceans are being fished out, and I think we have already achieved Peak Fish. From this point on people will have to eat lower quality fish until they are fished out, and after that they will have no fish to eat.

Canada suffered the collapse of the east coast cod fishery a few decades ago. It once was the biggest industry in Newfoundland, and now the only fish they can take are for local consumption. The cod are gone and they don't appear to be coming back. Many Newfoundland ex-fishermen are now working in the Alberta oil sands, and Fort McMurray is often called "Newfoundland's second largest city".

Similarly, last summer I was looking at what is is left of the Columbia River salmon fishery, which was once the biggest in the world. It's mostly gone, too, except for a few fish who manage to make it around the 33 dams on the Columbia. There are a lot of museum exhibits showing what "the good old days" were like. The big Columbia salmon run is gone, and it's not coming back unless you take out those 33 hydro dams.

American fishermen in the lower 48 states get most of their salmon by intercepting Canadian salmon heading back to the British Columbia salmon rivers, the Fraser and the Skeena, which the BC government has deliberately kept free of dams. Japanese and other fishermen are doing the same. This is a source of international friction.

The same thing (overfishing, environment destruction) is happening in the entire rest of the world, so in the future, after Peak Fish, you will have a choice between eating farmed fish or no fish at all. Enjoy that "wild salmon", because once they're gone they're gone and the only other alternatives are farmed salmon or no salmon. It's the same situation the Indians were in after the buffalo were wiped out - Asking, "Okay, now what do we eat?"

Tilapia are a good choice. You could probably raise enough in your living room to keep yourself supplied with fish. When you feel the urge for a nice fish meal, just dip one out of the tank and cook it up for dinner.

My hound just dragged me past the local (Ottawa) fishmonger: artic char (from Iceland) $14.95/lb; tilapia (origin unknown) $8.95/lb.

I guess it's artic char for you oil and liquor barons, and junk fish for the rest of us.

On the matter of peak fish, I read that predator fish have been decimated or are in decline but that there is a resultant explosion in the populations of prey fish like sardines and anchovies. Sardines are good nutritionally, although it will probably be a few years before they show up at working lunches at the office.\

Sardine sushi?

IRC - Sardine sushi is called Iwashi. I've tried most any sushi that's come my way and I have to say, Iwashi was without a doubt my second least favorite. The worst was salted Saba (mackerel).

How about Walleye Pike?

I have fond memories of eating that up in North Dakota...

Good eats!

Canadian authorities don't want Asian carp in Canadian river systems

I don't think the people of IL and WI want 'em either, yet due to a Congressman having a fish farm next to the Mississippi on a flood plain - here they come.

At least with Tilapia, they won't be invasive (for long) in the North.

That was a rather funny rebuttal. Greater detail for what I said, and confirming my comment. If you can maintain your boutique pricing, and very importantly, boutique pricing for other products whereby Tilapia production becomes an adjutant, you can write the press releases. There's not many who can afford $10+/lb fish, and they will leave for cheaper imports soon enough.

I've raised Tilapia, uni-species algal and cladoceran strains in a lab, rainbow trout, arctic char, goldfish/koi, messed around with brook trout, sunfish, bullheads, and perch.

Mike Sipe, who I have mentioned before, spent close to 30 years trying to breed a better Tilapia (ie large enough, firm enough, enough non-bony fillet), in FL and basically gave up/ran out of backers. He didn't even have the heating costs to maintain fast growth so many of the other failures have had.

In the 80's, a common Tilapia venture was attempting to raise the fish in old North Dakota grain elevators that were to be solar heated. It was a good writeoff for the investors.

In the north, if you have a lawn, a rabbit hutch in your living quarters will provide much more edible protein/unit of work than Tilapia. Speaking as an aquaculturist, livestock production on marginal or even prime land is the best bet for edible protein for the majority of us.

That book is worth reading, I just got through it.

Certainly makes a case for not buying farmed predator fish like Salmon, Cod, or Sea Bass.

There's this:

Suzuki's Top 10 Sustainable Seafood Picks
Our Top 10 sustainable seafood guide helps you find the best sustainable seafood available in your grocery store. This seafood is harvested in a way that protects surrounding sea creatures and the ecosystems they depend on. More »


I suspect the Suzuki people would prefer we abandon predator fish, but are completely caught up by the destruction the open-net farmed salmon industry is wreaking on the environment. So they will support, at least for now, containment aquaculture of predator species despite lower energy conversion efficiencies. I think their calculation is defensible. Hydrocarbons are not the only gift the gods bestowed on us.

Is Ron on vacation? I don't think I remember a Drumbeat without his input.

I taunt the brother sometimes, but only as a fraternal duty. May flights of angels loft him back to his keyboard post haste.. these are strange days. I'm almost on the verge of looking up those old Nostradamus lines again, instead of my regular fallback prophets of Steinbeck and Twain.

We can do without your sarcasm Jok. And nothing I have ever posted even remotely resembled a Nostradamus prophesy. I consider your post in very bad taste.

Ron P.

Sorry Ron;
I combined two somewhat isolated thoughts in that post, and they got tangled. I really wasn't trying to be obnoxious, I was just noting that I hadn't seen your presence today, and it was surprising. Anything out of the ordinary seems to be rattling my cage now.

Believe me, I have no reason to compare you to Nostradamus.. I'm honestly just spooked at the blossoming of weirdness across North Africa and the ME, the price ramp-up, and then with the Tea Party Actions across the US and resulting protests, it's all just a bit wild right now. I don't buy those prophesies, but it's interesting to hear them.. maybe good for a laugh, which I could seriously use at this point..

But again, all I had meant to say regarding you is that I don't remember a Drumbeat without your presence.. and I don't mean that as ANY kind of an insult. Your Oil Production posts are a steady and reliable part of the landscape here. I just take exception to some of your very firm positions on other topics.. but that's neither here nor there in this case.

Sincere Apologies for the misunderstanding..

Apology accepted Bob. But your comment about Nostradamus was preceded by the one where you hoped I would soon return. Implying, I thought, that since I was not there you had to resort to Nostradamus for your prophecies. If it had been in a different paragraph I might have assumed it was a different subject and unrelated. Paragraphs are supposed to deal with a single subject or idea you know.

These are interesting times. I get the feeling that something dramatic is about to happen. No, I do not think Saudi Arabia is about to go the way of Egypt or Libya. I think that is extremely unlikely. What I mean is I think there will be a media revelation concerning OPEC reserves and/or OPEC spare capacity. Not a Nostradamus prediction mind you but just a gut feeling. Perhaps I am wrong, or perhaps expecting it to happen sooner than it really will.

But it must happen sooner or later. Well, unless I am wrong and OPEC does have over 1 trillion barrels of reserves and OPEC does have six million barrels per day of spare capacity. If that turns out to be true then I would lose confidence in every conviction I have ever had. I might even start going to church. ;-)

Ron P.


While you were posting, I was replying to Eastex (above).

So it isn't just me, which doesn't mean that we aren't both seeing ghosts. ;-)

That said, it has to come out sooner or later, doesn't it?

Pragma, actually I have been saying these things for about a year now. I said things like: "It will be the shock felt around the world!" But before I hedged my bets and said it could happen as late as mid 2012. Now I believe it could happen before mid 2011... or later. ;-) And yes it does have to come out sooner or later.

I find it comforting that someone else is getting that same feeling.

Ron P.

I find it comforting that someone else is getting that same feeling.

Not to make light of the situation, but this comment really hit my funny bone. It's like waking on the day you are to face a firing squad, finding out that others will be shot at the same time and you're happy to have some company.

Not to pick nits here, but IMHO, there are two separate things going on.

- You, I and others are reading the tea leaves and getting very uneasy, and rightly so.

- The peeps don't know all the details, but there is a rising feeling that the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming locomotive, pulling a fully loaded train, and the train in on the down grade.

In the long run, I'm not sure that what you and I and TOD know will make us any better off WTSHTF, but it's better than the distraction of Monday Night Football. ;-)


- You, I and others are reading the tea leaves and getting very uneasy, and rightly so.

I know you only meant that as a metaphor, but I think it was a very poor choice of words. What we are doing does not remotely resemble reading tea leaves. We, or at least some of us, have been closely following the data for many years. We are making a very educated guess as to the status of the world's crude oil production and when it will peak, or when it did peak.

In the long run, I'm not sure that what you and I and TOD know will make us any better off WTSHTF, but it's better than the distraction of Monday Night Football. ;-)

I have stated from the very beginning, well before I joined this list over 5 years ago, that we are but observers. Some believe that they can make a difference to the entire world by making suggestions as to how to mitigate the problem... or something like that. I have laughed at that suggestion. Each of us are one of almost 7 billion. We can affect one 7 billionth of the problem.

However a person can make personal preparations and hope to increase his/her chances of being among the survivors. I am 72 years old and am making no such preparations.

As I said we are all just an observers. When you are watching the collapse of the world as we know it, it is just hard to take your eyes off it. But I know damn well that we are making no difference whatsoever. And anyone who thinks they are have visions of grandeur.

Ron P.

Ron, I agree about being observers. Or, if one wishes to wax more poetic about it, we might think of ourselves as witnesses. I heard once that in some tribes the shaman would live at the edge of the village, on the interface of the civilized and the wild. This would give him a certain perspective from which to witness the villagers as well as a broader natural context within which to place their mundane comings and goings. I don't know if there are ever moments when you feel like that sort of witness. I know I do.

I just turned 60, and like you I'm making no preparations at all. There's a certain childish bravado in facing this well-understood roller-coaster future with empty hands and open eyes, but I find it intensely exhilarating.

"I heard once that in some tribes the shaman would live at the edge of the village, on the interface of the civilized and the wild. This would give him a certain perspective from which to witness the villagers as well as a broader natural context within which to place their mundane comings and goings."

Yes, I certainly get that feeling as I live in the countryside and watch relatives and friends in the city. Their lives are totally consumed with trivia and nonsense, it's tragic to watch. Yet, they're completely addicted to that which undermines and harms them. The higher the degree of education the worse they actually are.

"Yet, they're completely addicted to that which undermines and harms them. The higher the degree of education the worse they actually are."

Yep. I completely agree. It seems an international phenomenon.

The higher the degree of education the worse they actually are.

This makes perfect sense when you consider the social purpose of the education system. Aside from its ostensible purpose of passing on information and skills, its underlying purpose is to pass on the core values of the culture. The longer one is exposed to it the deeper those values are embedded, and the higher the priority of implementing those values becomes. At a certain point this behaviour becomes its own raison d’etre and the Matrix is fully formed. If someone has the good fortune to avoid or break out of that indoctrination, there’s always television to take over the role of cultural programmer.

Developing a solid streak of anarchism is a good inoculation.

NPR interviewed a guy about brain development during aging awhile back, who had an interesting observation. There are two fundamentally different paths that you can find in the aging brain - some continue to maintain and even increase in their complexity and capacity until old age, while some begin to lose complexity and atrophy inexorably until age takes them.

The interesting part is what he found as the primary correlate - in declining brains, "eminence" was almost always present; which he described as recognition and success in a field (I believe his sample was drawn from academia). In other words, being successful tends to lead to fixed mental positions and real physical decline in one's thinking apparatus. On the other hand, being unsuccessful - whether left hunting about the fringes of various fields, shifting from one career to another, or having to frequently defend one's unpopular viewpoints - leads to vigorous and healthy brain development.

But...that doesn't seem to mesh with the other studies that found that higher education protects the brain from dementia. Though I suppose if all the subjects were academics, that might explain it.

Kind of reminds me of that "origins of genius" work done by that Harvard guy. He found that genius doesn't come from the elite. Presumably because there's no reason to challenge the status quo if you're already at the top. But it also doesn't come from the bottom, because you need to be in contact with those at the top if you're going to innovate - it doesn't happen in a vacuum.

I'm seeing the exact same thing, Burgundy.
But it's especially frustrating and painful for me to watch it because I'm talking here about my own extended family. I wish I could just wring their stupid necks until some sense seeped into their dull, grossly miss-educated brains.

The higher the degree of education the worse they actually are.

Makes total sense. The system teaches us to operate within the system. The higher educated you are, the better you are to act on the inside. The system does not benefit from teaching youto watch the outside world.

For example; if an engineering student learn to buld hydro dams, he does not learn what his dams will do to the delta at the mouth of the river. It is no requiered knowledge.

Obviously great minds think alike!

There is a long history of discussion of the "observer" within Buddhist philosophical circles. It applies not to the individual observing society, but to the core "function" or "essence" (it's philosophy so I have to short hand it here) of what it is to be alive and aware. It is most definitely NOT one's thoughts or mind. It is capable of watching those thoughts - thus the observer. However, the observer is not able to actually direct those thoughts. It is an illusion to think that through the concentration of the mind "we" gain control over them and direct them. To do so is merely to fall away from our observer awareness and once again get caught up in mind.

Nice pickup! That's exactly how I use the term, and for the same reasons. The observer or witness is the essence within which the "self" takes form. It stands outside time, space and experience, and is the ground upon which all those are manifested. It's not thought, as you say, but it is capable of watching thoughts, without judgment, desire or attachment. Strengthening awareness through the observer also reduces the personality's reactivity, much to the relief of its owner...

"Who am I?"

Not much to do with the price of oil, but fun stuff nonetheless.

Or as John Lennon said "I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round."

There once was a man who said though,
It seems that I know that I know,
What I'd like to see,
Is the I that knows me,
When I know that I know that I know.

— Alan Watts

I've spent many fascinating and enjoyable hours listening to him.


Here is an excerpt on "To Know That You Are God." People not familiar with the Buddhist tradition will mistake this concept of God for the one common in the West — it's not the same. It uses the same word, that's all. The "old man in the sky with a beard who grants wishes" is a fairly immature concept of God, in my view.


"...and if you don't know that [know that you are God], if you don't feel that, well naturally you feel alien. You feel a stranger in the world. And if you feel a stranger you feel hostile. And therefore you start to bulldoze things about, to beat it up, and to try to make the world submit to your will. You become a real troublemaker."

Sounds about right.

pushed pined to my cube space -

"Conventional though is, in brief, the confusion of the concrete universe of nature and cultural symbolism.... Thus one who actually perceives or feels this to be so no longer feels that he is an ego, except by definition. He sees that his ego is his persona or social role, a somewhat arbitrary selection of experiences with which he as been taught to identify himself.... Having seen this, he continues to play his social role without being taken in by it. He does not precipitately adopt a new role or play the role of having no role at all. He plays it cool."

from "The Book"

In this aspect of Buddhist thought lies a world of help in coming to an understanding of your place in a post-peak world.

I also highly recommend Stephen Batchelor's book "Buddhism Without Belief."

Some have suggested that gay and lesbian people have played the role of observers for tribal communities -- people outside the family and power systems, who don't see things from the same angle as the majority. On the edge of the social order, they could see better what was happening amongst the majority, and relate to outside events. They were tapped to become shamans or wise women.

Of course, just when we need Casandras and prophets most, the gays are being incorporated in the social order and losing their outsider status.

I've taken from Buddhist writers the idea that we should pursue compassion, justice, and mindfulness -- the awareness of what we do and how we relate to community and environment. That alone is a help in living effectively.

I've also read that same role is often the province of hermaphrodites in primal communities. I believe it was the anthropologist Clifford Geertz who wrote an essay on the different ways cultures view hermaphrodites - from the suppression, correction and demonization that characterizes the American approach to the adulation and special status accorded in some African societies.

I think you are on to an important aspect of what drives culture (and Leanan was noting this above in connection to the brain discussion) - the drive for change does not come from the center of the culture. So, maybe us buddha-type observers will actually initiate a change just by the facts of our having taken up that position?

Mr Patterson and Mr Chefurka I respectfully disagree that you are merely observers and if another on this forum said that of you I would I take their comments as offensive.

You have acted to warn others of a serious impending threat, and those of us that could hear your message are taking action to prepare and are warning others.

The role to warn others is as noble as that of the soldiers and leaders that act on those warnings to take up the good fight.

Paul Revere did not ride through the countryside calling "The regulars are coming out, and here is my 10 point plan..."

The generations that follow will take up the fight for survival and building communities that live in harmony with this world or perish. And your warnings help make a difference in what will be an incredibly tough fight.

Calaf, you've hit on the reason why I prefer the term "witness" to "observer". It may seem like a fine semantic point, but "witness" implies (to me, anyway) an active, aware, engaged "watching with purpose", while "observer" feels more passive and disengaged.

Everyone who is aware of the unfolding crisis has taken on a role in it, whether that was their intentional choice or not. I chose the self-definition of "witness" very deliberately. The choice acknowledges the fact that I am simultaneously embedded in and removed from the unfolding events. It also recognizes that any influence I have is purely personal rather than oriented towards structural change.

My choice of the role of witness also meshes with my belief that the only way out of this box, the only solution to the problem, is orthogonal to the problem space. We got here through an attractive but ultimately toxic combination of alienation and cleverness. Our cleverness, expressed through science, technology and social complexity got us here, but it won't get us out. I'm fond of saying that if you find yourself in a hole too deep to climb out of, switching to a more efficient shovel won't help. Our difficulties are rooted in our sense of separation - separation from nature, alienation from our fellow men and our inability to be whole within our own selves. I'm convinced that the solution, as radical and unpopular as it may sound, lies in nothing short of a transformation of human consciousness, so that we no longer see ourselves as apart from the universe, but rather as a part of it. It's a long shot, but it's our only shot. If we don't make it, well, that's life...


I am in total agreement with your take.

We are NOT going to "clever" ourselves out of this mess.

I know you only meant that as a metaphor, but I think it was a very poor choice of words. What we are doing does not remotely resemble reading tea leaves. We, or at least some of us, have been closely following the data for many years. We are making a very educated guess as to the status of the world's crude oil production and when it will peak, or when it did peak.


You misunderstand me. In our previous posts that we were trading, the running thread was that there seems to be a general change in peoples perceptions and that we (you and I) were sensing an imminent major change, based on what we already know.

So, my tea leaf reference was all about the future, and made no reference, implicitly or explicitly, to what we have already learned. Considering the context of the thread, I am puzzled why you would assume differently.

We are seeing events that augur many bad things, but nothing is written in stone. Who knows? Sanity may even prevail. ;-)


The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.


Gandalf, paraphrased :

Our job is to deal with thw world as we find it during our time.

Many a truth is spoken in Middle Earth.

That is how I took the 'Tea Leaves' comment as well. It's less about Magical predictions, and more about listening and watching the flow of nature around us, and letting our intuition speak to us from these inputs.. yet I understand why it rankles Darwinian.

Some of us speak impressionistically, and it doesn't always translate to the literal speakers all that well. But we're still all here for about the same reasons.

Or to use another Gandalfism--even the very wise do not know all ends.

This one gives me about the only comfort there is, as many of our wisest, from Ron to Hansen and Lovelock, are seeing ends looming in darker and darker shades.

No problem Pragma. It's just that we are basically trying to glean a view at the future by looking at what we are doing with our finite natural resources. And comparing that to "fortune telling" or tea leave reading makes me flinch. I know that is not what you meant but still....

Ron P.

I'd like to live until 72, but that's another 36 years to survive, and I am not sure I can make it. I stand in the middle a bit envious of your 72. ;-)


I'm coming late to the party but I'd like to comment on this:

However a person can make personal preparations and hope to increase his/her chances of being among the survivors. I am 72 years old and am making no such preparations.

I'm your age so I'm assuming you have seen "good deaths" and "bad deaths". I've come to believe that this really is the issue that no one wants to talk about.

People are going to die either from starvation or being killed "protesting". In my mind's eye I see the young mother coming back from the store and saying, "The shelves are bare! What are we going to do?" Now, for a few bucks a day they could have had extra food in their house. I grant that this wouldn't preclude their death but it could have made it less painful and stressful.

When we had a major wildfire near us a few years ago, the stress wasn't from the fire per se but rather that we couldn't find out what was going on. We were on voluntary evacuation for two weeks wondering what the heck to plan for. Let's say we knew our house was going to burn down in a few days. Ok, we would have the time to say, "Let's save this but we can let that go up in flames" and gotten on with the grieving for our loss (We've lived here over 31 years. That's almost half our lives.).

When the future hits, 99% of the population will panic; be under unbelievable stress and do it all wrong. They will die "bad deaths".

And, to put a somewhat morbid close to this, it is possible to chose to have a peaceful death with no drugs within a week - simply stop taking water and food. This is not theoretical. We had a family member chose this action after my wife and I told her about this option when it was clear she would spend her remaining days in a nursing home and she didn't want that. This was done with the full support from the family, facility staff where she was located and her doctor. Her only complaint was that it was taking so long. She died peacefully with a sigh.


That's pretty much my take as well. We seem to be on the verge.. (I just was highly clumsy in how I expressed it.. )

Something seems to really be up, to the degree that I sent "The Letter" out to my Siblings and my Wife and closest friends today. I've tried to share my PO concern with them all from time to time.. I don't even know if I've hit 'Send' on these other attempts.. these are usually put together more clumsily than the note you responded to. (Don't Shop when you're hungry.. Don't Write when you're scared..) It's usually not great in person to try to give them a full sense of the implications, so I do mention that it's a concern, that I think it's real.. but I don't try the full Lecture, lest I burn the bridge while trying.

But the Transport and Logistics article today was Plain and Direct and Viable enough to help me out with a reasonable backup to this intro..


My dearest of the dear;

I don't get WAY up onto this soapbox very often, but I'm on it today.

Oil is moving up fast, and there's no way to tell how much our fragile global economy can take of these bloated prices before hitting a 'second dip' on the recession we're already enjoying.. if you're seriously exposed in the Stock Market, be it savings or retirement accounts, please consider finding out what you can and diversifying away from it. If we take a hit like 2008 oil spikes right now, it could cut far deeper than the first time. We're all exposed to these prices, not just with Car and Home energy costs, but with Food, pretty much all prices, and the markets.. it will take an effort to reduce our exposure to the things which oil affects the worst, but I think the underlined is particularly time-sensitive. I don't know the answers of 'just what-all to do', but I do hear a waterfall nearing, and want you all to be aware of how serious a concern this is to me.

The political events in several Mideast Countries has seemingly helped boost even the cheapest benchmark Crude Oil, called 'West Texas Intermediate' or WTI up to $102 in futures trading today($97s yesterday), but it has been rising steadily all fall just the same, through the $70's 80's an 90's, and follows other classes of crude that are up in the $120's now. When oil hit $147 in the summer of '08, it directly preceeded the recession we keep hearing is 'In Recovery' right now. I don't believe it IS or CAN recover without an energy source to move the machines. The Major Media Voices out there are being coy about this.. they don't want panic.. and while I don't want that either, I do want you to know what I've been paying attention to for the last few years, so you can make up your own mind, and not just hear the 'Keep on Shopping' mantra that the Wall-streeters insist will save our nearly insolvent system. This system is in a hole, and we're being told to keep digging.

Here's an article from a typically buttoned-down Industry Website referring to the until-recently optimistic IEA (International Energy Agency's) position on Oil and our Economy.. The US and German Militaries have similarly taken clear public positions now on the vulnerability of our liquid fuel supplies.. it isn't just Tree-huggers screaming this stuff in the town square now.. and it isn't just the price of gas. 'If you bought it, a truck brought it.' .. it's the whole economy.

Don't Panic.. but don't ignore this either, please.
Yours Truly.. in good and complete control of his faculties, and with love,

(Followed by the Text of the T and L article)

We'll see if I get away with it.


(I'm sure I've got some errors in there.. but it's only goal is to serve as a wakeup call.. for that purpose, it'll have to do. I should have said tho', that "I don't believe it IS or CAN recover without a GROWING energy source to move the machines." )

Something seems to really be up, to the degree that I sent "The Letter" out to my Siblings and my Wife and closest friends today. I've tried to share my PO concern with them all from time to time..

I myself have done the same from time to time but have gotten a bad reputation for crying wolf. This time I'm taking a bit more of a wait and see approach and hoping that unfolding events will make them see the light or at least become more receptive to my message.

However to be honest I don't hold out much hope that they will come around even with all that is going on right now. The connecting of all the dots to see the big picture is simply not something that most people seem to be able to do.

I almost wish that I hadn't been able to do it myself. Ignorance is truly bliss.

I followed up with my spouse this morning, who is keenly aware of many of our economic and environmental bottlenecks, but still feels that you shouldn't get fidgety with the long-term investments, etc.. or in other words, doesn't really feel prepared to say 'This time it's different' ..

She knows that many systems are at the breaking point.. the new issue of Yes Magazine has a number of articles that round these things together, though, so she's been hearing it from more than just me. If I can have her on board, and a few friends, I'll count myself lucky.

Being isolated in this issue is the worst part..

Here's an article from the Fall Yes! that we were looking over together last week..


STORIES THAT LIGHT UP THE DARK: The experiences of our ancestors offer us wisdom for surviving today's crises.
by Sanjay Khanna

Iñupiat stories explain how communities got through this hardship and change. Victoria Hykes Steere, an Iñupiaq human rights advocate, recounts:

' Our world was green and then it snowed. It was warm and then it got cold. The few who didn’t die worked together. Snow and ice taught us to be human and think beyond our individual selves. In our legends and our history, snow and ice made us better people and led us to use our minds.

Our stories tell us that we didn’t become real human beings until we became communities, until the welfare of the whole became more important than the welfare of the individual.

We learned from the animals, such as the wolves, to see how they took care of each other. '

... Though the situation is grave, Hykes Steere’s family stories remind her how to find strength:

We do not control the environment, but we do control how we respond. … My grandmother said that when you lose hope, you lose everything.

My grandfather used to tell me I could keep certain sunrise moments alive in my memory. My grandfather trained me to look for moments when I was seeing something that would some day help me to remember the goodness.

I feel your pain. I brought up the stock market issue with my wife last night before she went to her martial arts class. She blew up and stormed out of the house. When she returned I learned that her instructor had the same "conversation" with her spouse, who was concerned about a market repeat of 2008. I was vindicated for the moment, but it looks like no mindsets are changed. My wife has a PhD in applied science, but she will not look at energy and economic data. It is immensely frustrating since she is otherwise a highly intelligent person. Unfortunately, silence on world matters is what keeps the peace on the home front right now. And so it goes.

It's really tough.. it is.

My wife and I just finished with the Tax accountant, and were happily told that we had over-estimated, and were due a decent return, yet that drive home wasn't joyful, happy relief, since with that issue at rest, three more were then allowed to surface, and we got all riled up over those burgeoning fears.

Luckily, she and I have figured out how to get through a battle or two without it sinking the ship.. we both see which issues will shut down our thinking or make us go into a fit. We also seem to take turns being traumatized. Once on a hiking trip, we discovered that she would freak out on the Ladders and not the Ledges, and I was the opposite.. a very convenient advantage to being complementary and not identical personalities. Maybe it's even a definitive of human partnering.. don't know.

For the most part, I think I've patiently made the Peak Oil story one that I don't have to hold onto in silence around her any more. I hope my Bro and Sis will also be able to hear it.. but also that I can bring it up without getting my words all soaked in my fears, which is what shuts down other people being able to hear what I'm saying. It's a tightrope..

My wife has a PhD in applied science, ... otherwise [she is] a highly intelligent person.

+/- tively:

You simply do not understand the female brain.

For many of them, it is not "what" is said that counts but rather "who" said it and what that owl's social status is in the community.

So if Oprah (example) said Peak Oil is real and is here, well that will be the second coming.

But if "you" say it, well quite frankly my dear, who gives a hoot?

My wife knows I'm a PO freak.
The other day, just for shits and teaser giggles she sent me this link:
Is the world running out of oil? [Exxon says No]

As a come back, I said, "Who are you going to believe, me or those lying sacks of s**t?"
She replied, "Well THEY are a somebody whereas you are a nobody" (followed by a quick wry smile)

(We were also talking about the fact that here in California, low grade unleaded has hit $4.00 per gallon --ouch!)


Of course that was so last year (Dec. 2010)

In Feb. 2011, the Exxon Ministry of Truth said the opposite


You simply do not understand the female brain.

For many of them, it is not "what" is said that counts but rather "who" said it and what that owl's social status is in the community.

True. Iv'e spoken alot with my mother about this, and just get the "you worry to much" attitude.

Then the state-television sent a PO documentary on their science show, and I told her to watch it, wich she did. And got the attitude "OMG, this is serious, just like you said. What are we gonna do? Shall I stock pile food?"

For many of them, it is not "what" is said that counts but rather "who" said it and what that owl's social status is in the community.

You really think that's a female tendency, rather than a human tendency?


In truth, my wife does this. A lot.


Apologies. I sort of knew this would get your goad.

Personally I am not 100% sure about that theory although it does seem to be anecdotally validated in real (off the internet) life.

The underlying theory (relayed to me by others) is that females (generally speaking) are much more socially oriented than are males. Females better understand social dynamics; most importantly who are the alpha males and who are the gamma geeks. It is unimportant to them as to whether the gamma geek speaks sooth and the alpha football quarterback reeks merely with jock sweat as long as the latter can be a better provider for her litter.

That's the theory in nut shell. Females are biologically pre-wired that way almost from birth. (Look up research studies on how little girls instinctively reach for dolls to play with while boys grab for the power things ... guns, cars, vroom, vroom.)

If you look at humans in general then, yes, we are all pre-wired to respond to authority; to respond affirmatively to whatever "they" say as opposed to what a nobody says. But females are more prone to behaving that way than are males.

Or at least that's what "they" say. ;-)

The underlying theory (relayed to me by others) is that females (generally speaking) are much more socially oriented than are males. Females better understand social dynamics; most importantly who are the alpha males and who are the gamma geeks.

I don't agree. I think men and women are equally socially oriented, just in different ways.

In particular, women tend to be more attuned to family and friendship type relationships, while men are more attuned to dominance hierarchies. (At least in our society; there is some evidence that this is not true cross-culturally.)

For example, little girls can easily tell you who is friends with who. But they can't tell you the pecking order. That is, they don't know who the alpha male is. For little boys, it's the opposite: they know the pecking order, but not necessarily who's friends with who.

The social organization that emerges in prisons is illustrative. In men's prisons, a strict hierarchy emerges, and everyone knows the pecking order. In women's prisons, you get a network reminiscent of a family, with mother-daughter-sister relationships. But it's not hierarchical.

"In particular, women tend to be more attuned to family and friendship type relationships, while men are more attuned to dominance hierarchies. (At least in our society; there is some evidence that this is not true cross-culturally.)"

I'm fairly certain that is what he meant.

I think he said almost the opposite: that women are more responsive to authority. With the implication that it's innate. ("Biologically pre-wired.")

But the evidence suggests otherwise. The famous Milgram experiment did not find any difference between men and women in obedience to authority. It did, however, find differences between cultures. Americans and Europeans had about the same obedience rates. People in Asia had much higher rates, and some cultures had much lower rates (aboriginal populations in Africa and Canada, Nigerians, Serbians, and others). That strongly suggests that response to authority is far more a cultural trait than "biologically pre-wired"; within any given culture, men and women are equally responsive to authority, but there are large differences between cultures.

In the play, "My Fair Lady (Pigmaleon)"; isn't there a scene where Professor Higgins exasperatedly asks, "Why can't a woman be more like a man!"

Well I think most of us would agree that viva la difference (thank goodness for the difference).

If women thought/behaved more like men then they wouldn't be interested in men and vise versa.
It's the difference in the way we think and act that makes the world less of a boring place.

With that said, I believe the female population here at TOD is spread pretty thin and that all here (men and women) would be hard pressed to get more women to participate on this blog site.

First and foremost, "oil" is a thing, not a person.
So right away it is boring to most women.

(More to the point, if you were at a supermarket check out line and ...
the impulse magazine stack had two competing tabloid magazines, one featuring ...
the next fight between Angelina and Brad and the other one featuring ...
scandalous admissions about Peak Oil,
well guess which one would not be selling too many issues?

Secondly, the Peak Oil thing is very technical and few women enjoy technical stuff. (But that said I do know a handful of women who do like technical stuff. They are the exception though, not the rule.)

Third, everyone is treated fairly equally here. There is no King of the above-ground-gang and Lord of the Depletion Ring (although WHT does rule as CMO --Chief Mathematics Officer)

Women would be more interested in this site if we had some good old fashion dominance wars.
Then they could watch to see who comes up on top as the alpha dog.

But we don't fight.

The reason is because we are all gamma geeks and we already know it.

With that said, I believe the female population here at TOD is spread pretty thin and that all here (men and women) would be hard pressed to get more women to participate on this blog site.

That might be true, but even if it is...that doesn't mean it's because women are more concerned with authority.

First and foremost, "oil" is a thing, not a person.
So right away it is boring to most women.

And yet, more women than men are concerned about climate change. Climate change is a thing, not a person, too.

Third, everyone is treated fairly equally here.

I don't think that's true, either. One reason women don't participate more here is because they perceive TOD to be sexist.

I don't think it's intentional. Probably the average man isn't even aware of it, but woman have often complained to me about how hostile TOD is to women.

Women would be more interested in this site if we had some good old fashion dominance wars.
Then they could watch to see who comes up on top as the alpha dog.

I think this is absolutely wrong. If anything, it's men who are interested in dominance wars.

But we don't fight.

That's not true, either. We fight a lot here. And would fight a lot more if we didn't actively discourage trolling, flamewars, etc. "Gamma geeks" are just as interested in establishing a hierarchy as alpha males.

I'm not saying there are no differences between men and women, but I do see gender as far down the list of things that shape people's views on peak oil.

One reason women don't participate more here is because they perceive TOD to be sexist. ... I don't think it's intentional. Probably the average man [here on TOD] isn't even aware of it, but woman have often complained to me about how hostile TOD is to women.

That's too bad and maybe you should express more clearly what we of the male persuasion are doing wrong so as to chase most of the women away.

Peak Oil has few enough adherents as it is.
It would sure be nice if we could somehow double the population by including women.
After all women do vote. Women do raise and teach their children. The hand that rocks the cradle shakes the world.

So if we thick headed Neanderthal men are doing something to chase the women out of the Peak Oil movement, someone should tell us in a more clear way what it is.

(But please be gentle. One concept at a time. We don't do well with multitasking.)

That's too bad and maybe you should express more clearly what we of the male persuasion are doing wrong so as to chase most of the women away.

Imagine an alternate universe where, on an alternate TOD, the comments routinely posted about women were instead posted about, say, Jews. "Jews just don't get it. Their brains are different." "Jews evolved to love shopping, so good luck trying to get them to power down." "Jews always want a bigger house. They can't help it, it's their nature." "It's Jews who are responsible for the mess we're in - if they didn't love money and wealth so much, the rest of us wouldn't have to consume so much to keep up with them."

A few might object, but they are ignored, or told they are oversensitive, or mocked for their political correctness. Most Jewish readers decide it's better to post somewhere else, and decamp for Sharon Astyk's blog. Those at TOD then look around, see few Jewish posters, and point to it as proof that Jews just don't get peak oil.

Imagine an alternate universe


You make some good points.

And it strikes doubly hard here because I am what is called "Second Generation Holocaust Survivor" (my parents survived Hitler's genocide camps, the rest of their families did not).

I was thinking about this subject; more so about married TOD men complaining about their wives (me being guilty as charged) and it occurred to me that we self-select because generally, it is opposites who attract.

So a guy who may be open to accepting Peak Oil (and that alone is a small percentage in the male universe) would likely have married a woman who is closed to the idea.

If you go back to My Fair Lady and Higgins complaining, Why can't a woman be more like a man?, for most people the very thought creates revulsion. Thank goodness they are not just like a man.

Another thought that occurred to me is that in our society, women are discouraged from studying science; or even talking about it in public. (Keep them barefoot and ignorant, aye?)

Off topic a little, I ran into the works of this professor (Robert Jensen) and you might be interested in what he thinks from a male perspective of how women are mistreated in our society:


No, you are just missing what he's saying. He's agreeing with you that women pay more attention to social connections. You are talking past each other in that in problem solving and leadership roles women appear to look at connections and consensus more than men, which makes them more aware of such things, thus also better at managing/manipulating them. And, the mate-seeking aspect is a different part of the equation with different parameters.

@ pri-de

I'm saying both things.

Yes I'm saying that women pay more attention to social connections (and connotations) than do men.

Also I am saying that because women are more sensitive to social connections/ connotations, they tend to give greater weight to "who" said something as opposed to what was said.

Also in real life social situation, they tend to pay more attention to body language, facial twitches and to give greater weight to "how" it was said as opposed to what was said.

Of course we all do that (except for the Asburger (sp?) Syndrome sufferers amongst us) to one extent or another. It's just that women do it more intensely.

I think we started down this thread by trying to understand the female brain.

But many much smarter and wiser than I have tried and hopelessly failed.
So I shan't try much more.

This whole thread brings back memories of similar thoughts, sentiments and premonitions from the late 70s/early 80s. Granted, cheap oil returned in the 80s/90s, undermining all the changes launched and imagined then. But I can't help feeling like I've been here before...and realizing how amazingly adaptable the overall political economic system was to what I thought were fatal shocks and imbalances.

These are interesting times. I get the feeling that something dramatic is about to happen. No, I do not think Saudi Arabia is about to go the way of Egypt or Libya. I think that is extremely unlikely. What I mean is I think there will be a media revelation concerning OPEC reserves and/or OPEC spare capacity. Not a Nostradamus prediction mind you but just a gut feeling. Perhaps I am wrong, or perhaps expecting it to happen sooner than it really will.

I've read more of your script than I'd care to admit, going back to your warring in the pre-TOD blogosphere, and I must in straight-up seriousness say that you've outdone yourself in the above. Edit: I mean this positively, good writing!

We know that price carries information, so your intuition is well-grounded. The information is carried unevenly and unpredictably, but relentlessly.

No sarcasm but without your posts TOD is a meal without salt and pickle.Absolutely bland.I am following your posts since TOD started and value your insights and viewpoints.

Ditto, and +10

One of the things that I am doing is simply preparing 'the raft' which will be there as needed for family. The letter is not going to be written. A both hard and joyous experience is seeing my first and only 5 day old granddaughter yesterday, and holding her; all the while trying not to wonder what might portend? Can't go there beyond planning the hayrides, picnics, and playground pirate ship.

And yet, I came away feeling I have witnessed something heroic, to hold an infant born into a family of so much love, and hope, is/was a powerful sense of humanity being something truly wonderful. It was uplifting. We soldier on, and as the cliche says, "hope for the best but plan for the worst".

Finishing off a good economics book entitled "Agenda for a new economy" (Korten), and was gratified to read confirmation of what I believed, that we can and should live differently.

We will all be moving on to another way of living. After the obvious we may even see it on CNN. And when the family starts going off about the changes you will have to smile and not say, "I told you so".



Thanks for the kind words HIH. But I will likely be posting less in the future. It is getting kind of boring. Several times just during the past week I have typed up a post then thought, "Naw, I don't really want to post this." Then I just delete it. Seems like everything I want to say has already been said. Everything from here on out is just a repetition of what has already been said.

But if some really new news comes along....

Ron p.

Everything from here on out is just a repetition of what has already been said.

Keep on informing the newcomers on TOD. Essential information, like from Rockman, westexas, aangel, Leanan and more.

When you put it like that it sounds like a bit of an onerous duty imposed on those guys.

I don't think it's fair to do that - they've given their bit and will continue to do so if they feel like it, but they shouldn't be pressured into it.

I don't think it's fair to do that - they've given their bit and will continue to do so if they feel like it, but they shouldn't be pressured into it.

No pressure, I meant the repetitions are no repetitions for the newcomers. How can someone completely get the implications of Peak oil if not confronted with the oil export mathematics posted by westexas ? Would sufficient attention be attracted to newcomers without the straightforward information from Rockman, etc., the logic and knowledge, sometimes added with terrific humorous irony/sarcasm, from Darwinian ?

Sure, I know what you mean - I didn't mean to aim that personally at you, I just meant to air as a general observation.

For what it's worth, I've never understood why there isn't a FAQ section on this site about those topics that crop up again and again that you could refer newcomers to - would save people having to repeat themselves over and over!

Don't cut down on the posts, Ron. You may end up repeating yourself, but it has to be done. Very often there will be a discussion thread going on with various people putting in their tuppence worth. Then you come along and post something and I say to myself 'Ah, forget the rest, that hits the nail right on the head.'

There are probably three posters here who I actively look forward to hearing from, and who I always pay attention to. You are one of them, so keep it up.

It is getting kind of boring.

Ha! That must be a very human reaction as I've felt the exact same thing recently. How strange to find the possible demise of civilization tedious!

I've been swept up with the unrest in the Middle East / North Africa lately. I think it's because it's something fresh.


This journalist says the proposed Mojave solar plant is a boondoggle, and we should be concentrating on distributed photovoltaic installations. I wonder whether he is right, or he just read an industry journal article presenting one side of the issue. His source is not online, but this source says about the same thing.

My own impression is that if we are to make a serious dent in our coal generated electricity, we need to work on all of the above, not one or the other solar technology. I suspect that most of the transmission lines are already there, to carry the five gigawatts produced at Boulder Dam to Southern California. Anyone on the board have any real expertise on this?

The desert plant could be an interesting thing - if a way is found to use the build out to create microhabitats or even be a path for re-greening the deserts man has created.

Distributed is the better plan - but that is not a plan big corps/big government will get behind. Centralised means control and control is what big corps/gov like.

The general sense of distributed versus concentrated solar harvesting resources is one of efficiency and robustness. It is much more efficient to have every panel, antenna, and heliostats in the highest quality solar resource land (Arizona, S Nevada, New Mexico, SE California, etc. for the U.S.), but very few people can live in the desert. Distributed power means you have to have a million little inverters (and battery backups?) for everybody, but if part gets screwed in the pooch, the rest isn't going to go down either.

It's all a balancing act, really, more so than a conspiracy.

This articled linked to the 4-myths article.


OMG - What sloppy reporting - almost as big as a hatchet job on decline of oil
flows and exports. Does the reporter or editor know what a non busted PV panel looks like? Looks like they are
recycling a panel that the bus ran over rather than building a new one.

It seems to me there are all sorts of Brownfields and other potential sites which may be much better suited than just plonking this stuff onto more undeveloped land. Desert Ecosystems can be particularly fragile, and yet we have waste sites galore.

To get more than 300 days of sunshine per year, you are pretty much looking at desert. We do have a lot of it,and the fraction potentially used by solar plants is pretty low. Actually, military land might be a good place for the next one. There ae plenty of huge reservations full of bomb craters.

Well Concentrating Solar gets more expensive per kwh the further you move away from your optimal solar resource, and cost per kwh is the only reason more isn't being built now. Due to low volume production and lack of development of higher-temperature collecting fluids the cost per kwh is a bit higher than gas or coal generation.

Assessment of Parabolic Trough and Power Tower Solar Technology - Cost and Performance Forecasts - Sargent & Lundy LLC Engineering Group Chicago, Illinois

For the more technically aggressive low-cost case, S&L found the National Laboratories’ “SunLab” methodology and analysis to be credible. The projections by SunLab, developed in conjunction with industry, are considered by S&L to represent a “best-case analysis” in which the technology is optimized and a high deployment rate is achieved. The two sets of estimates, by SunLab and S&L, provide a band within which the costs can be expected to fall. The figure and table below highlight these results, with initial electricity costs in the range of 10 to 12.6 ¢/kWh and eventually achieving costs in the range of 3.5 to 6.2 ¢/kWh. The specific values will depend on total capacity of various technologies deployed and the extent of R&D program success. In the technically aggressive cases for troughs / towers, the S&L analysis found that cost reductions were due to volume production (26%/28%), plant scale-up (20%/48%), and technological advance (54%/24%).

Given Sargent & Lundy Engineering's worst case scenario provides peak time solar electricity at $0.062/kwh by only building 2.8 GW and doing a few minor and definitely achievable R&D improvements, plus transmission, and a clear path is provided to offering 83% capacity factor using cheap sand and gravel tanks for thermal storage with 3x collector area and no additional central plant, which should make the installation no more expensive PER KWH if only the industry can get to 2.8 GW installed, I don't see what we are waiting for.

It also appears to me that the more agressive forecasts of NREL / SunLab of $0.035 / kwh if we can get to 8.2 GW insalled quite quickly is entirely within reach.

But Americans, who have lots of excellent solar resources, refuse to bite the "next step" development phase, an investment of perhaps $2 trillion more than the cost of electricity from N Gas during the development. Once the technology is developed and production in swing, the savings from getting even near that optimal $0.035 / kwh would rapidly return the investment multiple times. Oh well, I guess N Gas will last forever.... Let the Isreali's do it, we can buy the equipment and technology from them. I'm working on proposing such systems as an economic development initiative for Egypt and Libya.

PV and CSP are different beasts. The problem for the later class (in addition to various activists attacking any proposed sites), is that PV panels costs are getting pretty cheap. Unless you use thermal storage for solar thermal, so you can shift the generation, and maybe even load follow. The current solar market, simply pays for KWh, and doesn't care when they are delivered. But once solar penetration becomes greater, the ability to load follow (that CSP has, but PV doesn't) will become important. But it may be too late by then, CPV needs a long slow steady development process, and can't just go away until its needed.

Greenhouse solar plant for cheaper extraction of oil

(PhysOrg.com) -- A Californian company has found a way to reduce the cost of making steam for use in extracting oil from old oil fields: they heat the water using free sunlight.

...Vice president of business development at GlassPoint Solar, John O’Donnell, explained that producing steam is the largest cost in thermal extraction of oil. He said that with the solar assistance they can get 10-20 percent more oil from the same well because the cheaper steam means you can run the extraction longer

Danish Maersk Oil on Wednesday shut down a North Sea rig after oil was observed on the surrounding water.

The Rolf platform produces 400 barrels of oil per day and is some 220 kilometres west of the Danish port of Esbjerg.

Maersk Oil produces around 200.000 barrels per day from its North Sea oil platforms.

Diving Oil Production Puts Venezuela Default on Cards

Production was at 2.78m barrels per day in 2010, down from the 3.01m produced per day the previous year -- a fall of 7.7%...

The Economist opines that the chief cause of Venezuela’s current economic problems is Chávez’s “pillaging” of state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

Well that probably exacerbates the situation but Venezuela's oil production was in decline before Chavez came to power. The chief cause of Venezuela's oil production is natural depletion.

Ron P.

The Economist has been predicting bankruptcy for Venezuela every year since the coup failed.

Venezuela's oil production was in decline before Chavez came to power. The chief cause of Venezuela's oil production is natural depletion.

Actually, Venezuela's oil production was increasing before Chavez came to power, but with his magic touch he managed to make it go into reverse. The biggest factor was that he fired 18,000 oil workers who went on strike in 2003. Many of them were highly qualified high-level professionals, who are now working in other countries world-wide. It's difficult to produce oil without competent oil experts.

Venezuela has enormous amounts of heavy and extra-heavy oil locked up in its oil sands - probably more than in Canada's oil sands, and most of it is better quality than Canadian bitumen. However, to produce heavy oil you need to have heavy oil experts, and Venezuela doesn't have them any more.

Also, to produce heavy oil you need to make very heavy capital investments, and Chavez prefers to spend the money subsidizing gasoline consumption.

Actually, Venezuela's oil production was increasing before Chavez came to power, but with his magic touch he managed to make it go into reverse.

Please Rocky, all you needed to do was check the data published by the EIA and you would not make such gaff as this. Now you may not believe them but it is all the data we have. In 1997 Venezuela produced 3,280,000 barrels of oil. The next year 1998, they produced 3,167,000, down 167,000 barrels per day from the year before. Then in 1999, the year Chavez took power they produced 2,826,000 barrels per day, down 454,000 barrels per day from two years earlier. So when he took power Venezuelan production was down almost almost half a million barrels per day from two years earlier.

Chevez reversed this decline and the very next year he managed to get production back up to 3,155,000 barrels per day but still well below the level it was two years before he took power. Then it started to decline and has declined almost every year since.

Rocky, I track the data very closely. I said that Venezuela production was declining before Chevez came to power... and I was right! Don't believe it? Then check it out! And don't question my data again. ;-)

International Petroleum Monthly Click on 4.1d and get the following data for Venezuela. Production in thousands of barrels per day.

1997 Average 	3,280
1998 Average 	3,167
1999 Average 	2,826
2000 Average 	3,155
2001 Average 	3,010
2002 Average 	2,604
2003 Average	2,335
2004 Average	2,557
2005 Average	2,565
2006 Average 	2,511
2007 Average	2,433
2008 Average	2,394
2009 Average P	2,239

Ron P.

1970 Average	3,708
1971 Average	3,549
1972 Average	3,220
1973 Average	3,366
1974 Average	2,976
1975 Average	2,346
1976 Average	2,294
1977 Average	2,238
1978 Average	2,165
1979 Average	2,356
1980 Average	2,168
1981 Average	2,102
1982 Average	1,895
1983 Average	1,801
1984 Average	1,798
1985 Average	1,677
1986 Average	1,787
1987 Average	1,752
1988 Average	1,903
1989 Average	1,907
1990 Average	2,137
1991 Average	2,375
1992 Average	2,371
1993 Average	2,450
1994 Average	2,588
1995 Average	2,750
1996 Average	2,938
1997 Average 	3,280
1998 Average 	3,167
1999 Average 	2,826
2000 Average 	3,155
2001 Average 	3,010
2002 Average 	2,604
2003 Average	2,335
2004 Average	2,557
2005 Average	2,565
2006 Average 	2,511
2007 Average	2,433
2008 Average	2,394
2009 Average P	2,239

Ron, copy and paste whole range of data; from 1,677 in 1985 to 3.280 in 1997 looks like rising production to me.

Venezuela peaked in 1970 and have not exceeded that peak since. Then they declined until 1985 then reached a secondary peak again in 1997, two years before Chevez took power! They were in decline two years before Chevez took power.

Chevez then reversed that decline for one year before they began to decline again.

I had it right the first time.

Ron P.

I note the stagnation in production in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago.

Does RMG want to comment on this:

Synthetic crude – produced by oil sands companies such as Suncor Energy Inc., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Nexen Inc. and Syncrude Canada Ltd. – is fetching a premium of more than $15 over West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark U.S. crude that closed above $100 yesterday for the first time since October, 2008. Historically, the price for synthetic crude has stayed roughly level with WTI.


I understand that we're mixing and (mis)matching markets here, but I wonder if others might want to disentangle this information, especially in relation to the inventory build in Cushing. RMG?

There is currently a shortage of syncrude on the market due to fires at a couple of upgraders. This is sharply different from the situation with heavy oil and bitumen which are available in surplus quantities.

The upgrader shutdowns are temporary and the premium over WTI should go away once the upgraders are back up and running. However, some analysts believe there is something more fundamental at stake, and Canadian syncrude is now tracking Brent rather than WTI. I don't know why it would be tracking Brent unless some of it is finding its way into the Brent market, or more accurately the Gulf Coast market somehow.

Regardless, bitumen and heavy are still tracking WTI. We'll see what happens when the upgraders come back on line. That will take a few more months.

Fires early this year at two upgrading facilities, one owned by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and the other by Husky Energy Inc., have taken out of production roughly 150,000 barrels per day of synthetic crude – creating a shortage of a product that is important for U.S. refineries, who are now bidding up prices.

Some analysts believe the companies may be profiting not just from upgrader problems, but from the Middle East turmoil as well. The overseas uncertainty that has propelled crude prices in Europe and elsewhere has not been reflected as strongly in the WTI price, which substantially lags Brent, the overseas crude benchmark. But Canadian synthetic crude now appears to be more closely tracking Brent.

http://img3.imageshack.us/i/graphnn.jpg/ In the eyes of a beholder :-)

Venezuelan production doubled from 1985 until 1997, flattened out around the time Chavez took over, and has been declining since 2000.

The decline in production from 1970 to 1985 probably has something to do with the fact that in 1971 the Venezuelan government told the foreign oil companies it was going to nationalize their assets, which it finally completed in 1976. They were probably unenthusiastic about new drilling when they knew the government was going to take over the oil industry.

I think most of Venezuela's production ups and downs are related to the country's politics, because it certainly has the oil reserves to back up any kind of production rate it wants to sustain. It's just that its remaining oil is very expensive and technically difficult to produce. It can't sustain production rates in the face of poor economic policies and loss of its best production experts.

Canadian production shows a similar peak around 1970 and a decline to 1981. However, around 1981 production started to rise again and has been rising ever since. It is now much higher than it was in 1970, due to massive investments of capital and a lot of new technology. Venezuela hasn't invested the capital and doesn't have the technology to develop its oil.

Could have been simply market issues in the late '90's. Those were the good old days when gas was close to a dollar a gallon.

However, to produce heavy oil you need to have heavy oil experts, and Venezuela doesn't have them any more.

Also, to produce heavy oil you need to make very heavy capital investments, and Chavez prefers to spend the money subsidizing gasoline consumption.

There is going on something though. They have the 'Oil Sowing Plan 2005-2030'. With foreign experts.

Production blocks will be developed by PDVSA in cooperation with foreign partners. In all partnership PDVSA owns 60%.

Junin block 2 is under development in cooperation with Petrovietnam.

Commissioning dates not announced for:

Junin block 4 in cooperation with CNPC (40%).
Junin block 5 in cooperation with Eni (40%).
Junin block 6 in cooperation with a consortium of Russian oil companies, including Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, TNK-BP and Surgutneftegaz.

Carabobo 1 is developed in cooperation with Repsol YPF (11%), Petronas (11%), ONGC (11%), Indian Oil Corporation (3.5%), and Oil India (3.5%). The upgrader is expected to be ready by 2017.

Carabobo 3 is developed in cooperation with Chevron Corporation (34%), Suelopetrol (1%) pct, and Mitsubishi Corporation and Inpex (5%). The upgrader is expected to be ready by 2017.

There is no foreign partner for Carabobo 2 yet.

There is going on something though. They have the 'Oil Sowing Plan 2005-2030'. With foreign experts.

So Chavez fires all his own experts, and then brings in foreign experts. This suggests a certain level of desperation. Things are going down the toilet for him.

Which is why he wants to help Libya. Last man standing is not a great career goal.

So Chavez fires all his own experts

I think he will keep them for the conventional oil production.

I think that he has already fired them, and his conventional oil is largely exhausted. What he has left are oil sands.

I think that he has already fired them, and his conventional oil is largely exhausted.

Maybe not when they are going on with tertiary EOR.

I have usually seen the plan "Siembra Petrolera" used in the context of investing PDVSA's wealth in projects that strengthen and diversify the Venezuelan economy. Its the idea that Venezuela should produce products instead of importing. Two things that I remember from the publicity campaigns is that they planted tens of thousands of papaya plants, and opened up a cell phone assembly plant.

I believe that PDVSA always has had communication with foreign experts and probably always will, but it sound more interesting when there are multiple press releases.

I have usually seen the plan "Siembra Petrolera"

That's the 'oil sowing plan 2005-2030'. The blocks will deliver 200.000-400.000 barrels/day when ready. Maybe in 2020 Venezuela will get about 2 million barrels of oil/day from it. If the economy tanks oildemand is way down and then there won't be unconventional oil production.

Speaking of Hugo . . .

By CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER, Associated Press – 2 hrs 1 min ago
CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez has spoken with Moammar Gadhafi about creating a bloc of friendly countries to help mediate a resolution to Libya's crisis, Venezuela's information minister said Wednesday.
Venezuela's president, who has forged close ties with Gadhafi and refused to condemn him for his crackdown on protesters, spoke with the Libyan leader on Tuesday, Information Minister Andres Izarra said through Twitter.

Chavez seems a bit panicked about losing a friend there. Perhaps he realizes that he becoming ever more isolated. With all this talk about possible war if peak-times start getting hard, I'd say Chavez will have a target painted on his forehead pretty quickly.

Yeah, it is not the best quality stuff . . . but the Orinoco oil sands contain massive amounts of oil that western IOCs are salivating over. If only there were a stable government in Venezuela and they didn't have to worry about being nationalized.

The jackals are pacing.

Just some observation from the Topeka, KS area. Gas 3.29 gal, seemed to using lower quality of asphalt (full of loose gravel) for all our pot holes in my city streets, more cut backs for Kansas State Government which is rank at 43 in state salaries on the way. Just minor, note of one those Paycheck loans business popping up on effluent side of the city??
We been insulated somewaht compared to other parts of the world here in the Midwest, but still the signs are here. The city grounded the helicopter to save money, police chief wants it back to help curb the thief's stealing the A.C units off the business roofs for the copper. Is this catabolic collapse in slow motion? I guess if your one of the people have to put up your next week paycheck to have money today and hand over cut in interst to buy food and gas....then it's in fast motion.


Paycheck loans business popping up on effluent side of the city?

Now thats the best Fruedian slip I've seen in a long time. Effluent showing up on the affluent side of the city defintely sounds like TSHTF!

Are they saying the Flush are finally Flowing out again?

Phillip K Dick must have written a story somewhere about a Spellchecker with a sense of humor.

Maybe it's that string of Heuristic-Ironic-Algorhythms that will finally morph into Skynet, and it won't destroy us out of disgust, but just for amusement.


The above story is about the IEA publishing an admission that the world may
have reached the peak of crude oil production in 2006.
An experience yesterday indicates that the mainstream barrier to this situation,
is being breached. To wit: Yesterday was town meeting day in Vermont where local communities gather to vote on local budgets and other issues. In my town we had a guest visit from our new governor, Peter Shumlin. That was the first surprise. After addressing the assembled townsfolk, a second surprise was he offered to answer questions from the floor. As someone who has been following the global oil situation since the early '70s, it takes a lot to really surprise me concerning our serious oil situation. The 3rd surprise: in a response to a question about his stance on windpower the governor's response was framed by an initial statement that asserted "that since we have reached PEAK OIL...". I have never heard a top level government official make such an unqualified statement concerning our global oil predicament. I just thought it was worth sharing this piece of local news that will probably not get MSM coverage.

Here he is saying it on camera in October 2010 in a debate with rival Brian Dubie - it's about 5 minutes in. The video has only had 82 views since it was posted last October.


Re: Sharon Astyk: Nasty, messy things that make you late for dinner: Energy, environment, reality, up top:

Reality check:

The Decorah Bald Eagles are nesting. This web cam shows a couple with 2 eggs. If you watch long enough, the mate will come and take over sitting. You may catch a glimpse of the eggs.


And babies are still fun even if they make nasty messes:


WTI Oil over $102 / barrel today. What is the target date for $150?

June 2011!

Some lights over $ 120. The lights are going out.

Spot Crude at the Gulf of Mexico: $121.93


It's all because of Lybia being pretty much offline.

That's OK, Saudi Arabia will swing in and produce...

...just like they did the last time oil broke $100...

...just wait for it...


Even if they did raise production it would not have any effect on price until the revolutions are over.

August at the very earliest, I bet the SPR opens up in a few months. But $150 oil really could be anytime in the next 3-12 months i think now depending mostly on "Geopolitical Events." seriously. basically what's going to go down with Yemen and Oman (two important questions that will play out who knows how quickly) not to mention Iraq and Iran, and who knows, maybe soon, Saudi Arabia? this could all unfold very quickly, or very slowly. the US is already getting militarily involved with ships approaching Libya, that never portends well (Barbary Coast, anyone?).

but, at the same time, oil has been on a pretty linear 5% price increase per month fairly steadily for the last 7 or so months. except with a roughly 10% increase last month. if we assume the best case scenarios for "Geopolitical Events," and just continue the 5% streak the prices have been on prior to the recent acceleration, we'd hit an $150 average level on the major world markets sometime around Novemeber. Or maybe the next round of global demand destruction will hit before then and we'll have to wait to see $150 next time around. don't think oil will ever hit it's 2009 lows again, however. the macro-trend in the exponential increase in oil prices is passing the elbow of the curve.

No, I don't think it will take until June before it reaches $150/bbl. I think much earlier than that, then up further still, then another crash that leaves everyone aware.

Then the shortages will probably start. And then another cycle? And another??

Then maybe people will try to get through, away from oil, and it won't necessarily be all that bad. There might be a lot of ways communities and people will work together. A lot of empty cement buildings will have to be taken away to get land to grow food. Maybe people will work together on that. Also sharing things, shovels, bicycles, toys, etc. And trading used things. There would be many ways people could cooperate.

By the turn of the year I forecasted oil (WTI) to break 100 dollar before the summer, and 120 dollar before years end. I am happy my words were "before" and not "by". Sometimes you are so right you are wrong. This was one of those moments.

I can't see why there would be a shortage unless price controls are enacted. Otherwise, there is always enough for those who an afford it.

Aware of what? Peak oil, or a laundry list of demons and scapegoats? Sure, some will learn, but many will simply vote "drill, baby, drill".

Listening to BBC Radio this morning, I heard John Hofmeister, Shell CEO, being interviewed about the threat to oil supplies from the Libya crisis.

After talking up the threat to oil prices he then blamed the US for creating a potential shortage by 'exporting their oil addiction' to other countries like Libya. He went on to say that if restrictions on drilling in the US were lifted there would be more than enough oil to satisfy thir needs internally.

That's right, if drilling restrictions were lifted Johnny boy thinks the US can increase production by 200% !!

Unfortunately the interviewer was focused on Libya and didn't challenge his absurd claim.

John Hofmeister has traded in his reputation for a lobbyist paycheck. He's been spewing that line for months now. It is pretty sad to hear people who really must know better say things that are BLATANTLY FALSE. There is no way we are going to revisit the peak of 1970.

I commented on this in the last drumbeat. What he said was that the United States has more oil than it will ever need and refuses to produce its own oil preferring to export its risk and have others produce oil for the US. He didn't mention drilling restrictions. The speculation yesterday was that he might be referring to oil shale reserves.

The interview is on listen again at the moment. The interesting bit is after the 3 minute mark:


ok- perhaps a dumb question - but did oil recently start trading around the clock? I always thought WT crude trading closed at 3PM, but now I'm seeing the price change all the time. Tx!

NYMEX Crude Oil Trading Hours

                                              Electronic           Electronic
                      Open Outcry Weekdays    Trading Weekday      Trading Sunday  
WTI Lighe Sweet Crude    09:00-14:30 ET       18:00PM-17:15 ET     18:00-17:15 ET 

To interpret that: Open outcry trades from 9 AM to 2:30 PM Eastern time every weekday. Electronic trading runs almost around the clock, closing for only 15 minutes every day from Sunday at 6 PM Eastern time to 5:15 PM on Friday. Meaning they are open, except for 15 minutes clearing time every day except weekends. They close at 5:15PM on Friday and are closed until they open again at 6:PM on Sunday.

I don't remember exactly when electronic trading started but it was several years ago. Certainly not recently.

Ron P.

Thanks so much!

Humankind's potential legacy:


Humans on Verge of Causing 6th Great Mass Extinction

As some of TOD's posters said previously, "we will eat the Earth".

This what I usually change the subject to when encountering climate change deniers. I just ask them if biologists are going to be attacked next.

I just ask them if biologists are going to be attacked next.

Thanks Clint. I've got to remember that one.

Interesting. I was just planning the same strategy. But be ready for the stupid standard Limbaugh line: "99% of species that have ever lived have gone extinct."

At that point, I am sorely tempted to pull out a gun, and say, "99% of humans who ever lived have died, so I guess by your logic, one more death will be no kind of tragedy, sucka."

But I don't.

Anyway, the main problem with this otherwise spot-on article is that most biologist have considered us to be in an extinction event for the last few decades, well before the major effects of GW made themselves evident. With GW, we have a kind of double extinction--like getting hit by two dinosaur extinguishing asteroids at once--and just about that quickly, from a geological or evolutionary standpoint. When we hit the 5-7 degrees C above pre-industrial levels that even the staid Royal Society now says is likely within this century, the constant biblical downpours alternating with Sahara like droughts will make most terrestrial life impossible, and an anoxic ocean will eventually be burping clouds of H2S, killing anything unlucky enough to have survived the earlier annihilation (hydrogen sulfide, though extremely lethal, is not used for the death penalty because it is considered cruel and unusual to do so--the eaarth has no such quibbles).

God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the west... keeping the world in chains. If [our nation] took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts.

— Gandhi

This quote shows up in the upper right from time to time.

Unfortunately, the Eastern Mountain Lion was Officially declared "extinct" today. I say, leave it on the endangered list.

Recent genetic studies have indicated that the supposed Eastern Cougar was genetically identical to the Western Cougar, so it's not extinct, it's just living in the West now. Smart cat.

If you want some replacement cougars, we'll be happy to lend you some. They haven't bagged any cross-country skiers lately, but I'm sure there are some skulking through the woods around here. They are extremely sneaky.

The genetic evidence also indicates that the North American Cougar went extinct about 10-12,000 years ago, and some South American cats repopulated North America. There is now little genetic diversity among North American Cougars.

Dang you, I now have a picture of a cool mountain cat wearing shades and a Hawaiian propping up a surf board and clacking the chicks :)


According to zFacts.com, The National debt passes through $14.3 trillion tomorrow. Even on a non GAAP basis, without spending cuts, the debt will exceed $15.5 trillion by years end. Additional debts and losses by the FED, Freddie, Fannie,FHA, Sallie are not included, but because the Treasury has used these entities to further obligate taxpayers for bad toxic debts,the Government has manipulated debts to taxpayers in the trillions and should be included in any discussion of National debt. On a GAAP basis, unfunded obligations for SS and Medicare plus other GAAP treatment would run the current 2010 deficit to around $5 trillion and the negative net worth of the Country to $75 trillion. more than 5 times the GDP of the Country. Even though Wall Street and the Government wants to hide debts, and obfuscate real inflation, as reckless governments have always done, we are in an age of debt reckoning here and in Europe.
We cannot kick the can down the road. We cannot throw stones at others until politicians realize that most are fed up with government for the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us, our currency, and the future.

The US is currently at a ratio of 97% debt to GDP!

Go to http://www.usdebtclock.org/

$128,000 per taxpayer of debt!

Go to bottom of screen for unfunded liabilities - Social Security, Medicare, etc.
Over $1 million per taxpayer!

Click on the time machine link in the upper right corner for 2015 projections -
Gross debt to GDP ratio of 132%!!!!! $22 TRILLION DEBT!

This has to stop now! We need a balanced budget ammendment!

Much of the hand wringing by those who are over focused on federal debt (and I'm referring here to those who are honestly concerned and not those using it for personal political gain)is based on analogies that simply don't hold up under closer inspection. The most common is comparing the federal budget to a household budget. Another popular one is assuming that a national economy should be run like a corporation. There are many reasons that these analogies fail, but the single biggest one is almost always overlooked. A family or corporation must bring already existing money into its budget, a sovereign central government (except for European ones that gave up this right) itself creates the money into its budget. And when that money you create also happens to be the global currency, you are in a very special position indeed.

Unfortunately, in the anti-debt crusade, some well meaning people can get caught up in some quite nasty ideas. Consider the notion that "unfunded obligations" for SS adds to the current deficit. This is akin to saying that next year I'm going to buy a new car and that means that today my indebtedness is greater.

So while addressing our debt is clearly important, a little honesty and less hyperbole will go a long way.

What year will you retire? Do you think that SS will pay you anything then?
The more money created, every dollar is worth less....

In 1982 Social Security was on the brink of collapse. Much of the same hyperbole that is used now was used then. And yet somehow it was "fixed" through the 1983 amendments and we get through the better part of two and half decades before the alarm bells went off again.

Are there concerns about social security for the future? Of course there are. But the sort of bombastic end of the world arguments being made are simply nonsense. The simple fact is that Social Security is not insolvent today, and will continue to bring more money into federal coffers than it pays out (note that 2010 receipts were slightly lower than expenditures, largely due to the economy). Depending on which study you want to cite, expenditures won't regularly exceed receipts for another decade or so. And while the so called "SS trust fund" doesn't really exist, it wouldn't theoreticall be exhausted for 30 years.

And that's all without any changes. Merely altering the social security "cap," currently about $106000, to reflect inflation would extend both those dates by years. Other simple changes are also possible that would not require changes to the current retirement ages.

So, to answer your questions. My currently schedule SS retirement year is 2027. By the best numbers the gov't bureaucrats can come up with, yes, it SS will still being paying then. And given that my life expectancy is only 11 years past that, I would expect it to still be paying when I die.

That said - there are some very significant other "issues" that could lead to the collapse of the US gov't and thus the loss of SS, or the collapse of the economy such that retirement, social security and even life expectancy would become non-concerns. They are worth far more attention than fear-mongering about social security.

The debts force the Government to distort inflation in the money supply and commodities. Retirees already face serious depreciation in their SS benefits as daily costs of living ratchet up. The dollar is not going to be the world's reserve currency for long. We live at the mercy of our creditors. The current account at $500 billion a year deficit plus significant deficits for 30 years complicates the debt situation even more. $1 trillion deficits for the future is what the GAO says is set in cement.
We are presently in a "beggar thy neighbor" strategy that will encourage protectionism in the world.
As resources become finite, and other countries become more powerful, it does not inspire confidence to be in this financial condition. If that is alarmist, so be it.
A can can be kicked down the road for a while, oil prices can be manipulated for a while, as can inflation, interest rates, stocks and bonds, unemployment, and a host of other lurking issues. But eventually a reckoning will occur just like the Internet bubble, the real estate bubble and the credit bubble. Eventually the Government debt bubble will end also.

1) The debts force the Government to distort inflation in the money supply and commodities.
The gov't is forced to distort inflation? did you mean that excessive debt levels impact inflation? But even at that, I'm not sure there is a connection. Perhaps you mean that increasing the money supply leads to inflation? Well, yeah, that's how our economic system works, but as for it "distorting" something - I guess I'd need to see the pure thing first.

2) Retirees already face serious depreciation in their SS benefits as daily costs of living ratchet up.
yup - so I'm not sure how this gets translated into reducing benefits as a cure for the fact that we'll have reduced benefits due to inflation. Seems like you'd be arguing the other way - to increase benefits to cover the impact of inflation.

3) The dollar is not going to be the world's reserve currency for long.
Probably true, but doesn't really have much to do with the SS debate. Will likely reduce our ability to float bonds at such low rates in the future.

4) We live at the mercy of our creditors.
Perhaps true for you and I, but hardly for a government that raises money through the floating of bonds. Bond buyers are not creditors in the sense that your bank is when you buy a car. The difference is important.

5) The current account at $500 billion a year deficit plus significant deficits for 30 years complicates the debt situation even more.
I'm sure it is all very complicated. Indeed, so complicated that to make estimates of debt levels 30 years out when tomorrow we could decide to raise taxes, or that we no longer need a military (or any number of smaller changes) kind of silly. These are fear mongering emotional plays only.

6) $1 trillion deficits for the future is what the GAO says is set in cement.
Not sure what GAO study you're thinking off, but our debt is already far beyond $1 trillion dollars. Indeed, we will spend far more than $1 trillion on "national defense" this year alone. Perspective is everything.

7) We are presently in a "beggar thy neighbor" strategy that will encourage protectionism in the world.
Hyperbole with no substance.

8) As resources become finite, and other countries become more powerful, it does not inspire confidence to be in this financial condition. If that is alarmist, so be it.
You could have stopped after the word confidence and it still would have been a true statement. (That is if you are one pre-disposed to be afraid of resource shortages and other countries). Adding the "financial condition" does nothing to add to the fear, the resources are still short and other countries are still powerful.

9) A can can be kicked down the road for a while, oil prices can be manipulated for a while, as can inflation, interest rates, stocks and bonds, unemployment, and a host of other lurking issues. But eventually a reckoning will occur just like the Internet bubble, the real estate bubble and the credit bubble.
Hyperbole with no substance.

10) Eventually the Government debt bubble will end also.
I suppose, if you believe we have a debt bubble that it might end. But you have not demonstrated that. Indeed, its hard to see any bubble like aspects as bubbles are generally defined by rising asset values. US Treasuries are and have been pretty stable in their cost for quite some time, even through the "great recession."

1} Because the Government pays interest on its debt and payments to retirees, it is in the Government's interest to keep interest rates low and not to have cost of living increases to retirees or workers. Therefore inflation numbers are under reported.
2} I didn't say that so no response is necessary.
3} No response needed.
4} In a finite resource world, rules will change. If the FED wasn't buying Treasuries now, interest rates would probably be higher. Countries will protect their interests as well as anybody. Your answer here was pretty condescending, as I have a lot of experience in currencies and foreign bonds.
5} With a 30 year record of current account deficits, projections are not that speculative.
6} $1 trillion a year for 10 years going forward or a National debt of $25 trillion in 2021 is the analysis by the Government.
7-10} 7} It's what it's called when the central bank intentionally depreciates its currency to help domestic employment. 8 You are really clutching at straws here and probably should have said nothing. 9}We do have well documented evidence of a Internet stock bubble, real estate bubble and credit bubble. Have you been asleep for a while? 10} FED rates are by all accounts at sub normal rates and have been for some time. The first time led to the real estate and credit bubble, now it's the Government's debt bubble turn to be dealt with.

I think you have answered any question I have about your position on these issues.

And I want to thank you for proceeding with logic from evidence.

Cool one writes: The more money created, every dollar is worth less....

As in the issue of the significance of deficits and debt, historical context is all important. It is simply not true that creating new dollars devalues those already existing, except in particular circumstances. Circumstances not in evidence at the moment.

Printing more money always devalues the money currently in circulation. It just doesn't necessarily result in it being actually worth less than it was before, just worth less than it would have been without the devaluation.

If there is more real wealth kicking around, for instance, printing more money is needed if one wants to maintain the equavalent value of the money already in circulation instead of letting its value increase.

You're wrong, r4dndom. Inflation does not always devalue the money in current circulation.

You appear to be overlooking the velocity of circulation, the frequency of money turning over. In depressions/recessions the velocity of circulation tends to fall and money must be 'printed' in order to avoid deflation.

The recent credit crunch has been very much about a falling velocity of circulation and printing money has been very good policy. Yeah, yeah, it gives the goldbugs conniptions, and people who have trouble with complex, dynamic systems are left crying for the safety of their mother's womb at the sight of the fiat money system. But Milton Friedman would have approved. And I think that people who understand how, for example, a bridge is engineered, generally get the system and approve of the policy.

And to repeat from elsewhere: there is no debt problem at the moment, there is a possible long term problem related to health care costs, but there are other problems including the quantity and quality of investment as the pool of unemployed and underemployed retained earnings grows.

You're wrong, r4dndom. Inflation does not always devalue the money in current circulation.

Strange, I thought that was the very definition of inflation. The price of goods and services increases meaning that the value of money is less. In other words the value of money in circulation has declined.

And I think you are wrong about the debt. Simply because you do not see the damage the debt is doing right now does not mean it is causing great harm, and that harm will be evident down the road when inflation skyrockets.

The share of the national debt per taxpaying household, (not per capita), is around 1.2 million dollars. That will never be repaid in current dollars. The debt must be inflated away.

It is all explained right here: Bailout Big Lies & Your Savings

Ron P.

Ron, almost everyone, almost all the time, means by "inflation" that on the whole, the same number of currency units is purchasing less and less. It follows logically that many folks will find it ludicrous that Bernanke & Co. claim that inflation is well under control when fuel and food are skyrocketing, rents and similar costs are going up, and nothing of great significance is coming down.

However, the so-called "Austrian school" insists on defining inflation their own way. I don't for the life of me understand why they insist on using the same word for a different phenomenon instead of simply using a different word, but there it is. Maybe the preening of self-appointed ideologues, I just dunno. But as you're experiencing right now, trying to use the same word to describe two different phenomena (both of them real) seems only to lead people to argue uselessly past each other.

According to those who pass for 'conservatives', the US is obliged to spend around one trillion annually so that Americans can sleep safely in their beds, safe from international and domestic enemies.

This unfunded obligation extends out to eternity making the multiplication difficult, but let's just say it's re-e-e-eeally big.

Can anyone imagine a household or a business assuming an obligation this size

No sir, the household would responsibly cut its pistol purchase to one a year and the business would tell the retirees to get a job so that they could purchase their own protheses.

Consider the notion that "unfunded obligations" for SS adds to the current deficit. This is akin to saying that next year I'm going to buy a new car and that means that today my indebtedness is greater.

I don't buy this for a minute. You're equating an obligation to a desire to have something. To me, unfunded SS obligations = future projected receipts & investment income - projected obligations (payouts) & admin. expenses.

don't buy it - no skin off my nose.

The reality is that any discussion of "unfunded obligations" has to do with straight line projections of conditions in the future. To say that some future shortfall impacts the size of your current financial condition is just so much smoke.

Ex-Iraq PM backs out of chairing key body

BAGHDAD — Iyad Allawi, leader of the bloc that won the most seats in Iraq's 2010 elections, said on Wednesday that he will not chair a supervisory body that he was to have headed as part of a power-sharing deal.

...Allawi attributed his decision to "the lack of implementation of the national partnership agreement."

I wrote a week ago that as a result of the demonstrations in Baghdad, the Allawi block (Sunni backed group) will walk out from the government in order not to share the blame for its failure in executing its duties; today we got the first development in this direction by Allawi withdrawing from his proposed post, while Allawi kept the door open for someone else from his group to take the position; it is unlikely that anyone in his bloc can fill this key role; accordingly I see the Allawi block eventually walking away from the political process or acting as an opposition group; this development will further alienate the Sunnis in Iraq as the government gets fully dominated by the ruling Shia parties. It is worth noting that a new round of protest is scheduled in Iraq for this coming Friday; if participation increase or if the protests turn more violent, the situation in Iraq can take a turn for the worst very quickly; especially in light of the deadlock in the political process as evident by today decision by Allawi.


Wow. It is bad enough with Libya in chaos and its 1.6Mbpd mostly off-line.

But if Iraq were to start becoming chaotic and have its exports plummet then well, TSHTF. We could easily hit $150/barrel or higher.

GM better start cranking out those Volts and Nissan better crank out Leafs . . . both of them are are really producing those vehicles at a snail's pace.

Nawar, your updates on Iraq are brilliant. You clearly hold more informed views than most Western 'experts'. Do you have a blog? I'd enjoy reading it to get your take on the ME situation.

If not, then at least keep us as updated as you can in the various TOD posts.


Thanks Leiten; unfortunately I don't have a blog, however I will certainly keep positing my updates on ME and especially Iraq.


Edited to cut back on excessive quoting.

I'm really glad you're posting about what's going on in Iraq, etc., but please don't post such large quotes. Copyright issues and all. Post a brief excerpt or paraphrase it, with a link.

Here is the link for your article.

Saudi Khurais pumps around 1 mbpd

Aramco's giant Ghawar was producing at 6 million bpd, Furaidan said.

Khurais producing 1 mbpd and Ghawar another 6 mbpd?? That would mean that all the other Saudi fields, including Shaybah, are producing a combined of only around 1.5 mbpd.

Please Frugal, those were the words of Yousef al-Furaidan, manager of the ARAMCO production department, so it must be the truth. Saudis always tell only the truth and they never exaggerate. I guess all their other old giants have about petered out. ;-)

Ron P.

And to be fair to the man, he never actually said that was all oil. It could quite easily be total liquids produced including the oil-stained-brine.

Best place to hide the truth is inside a lie.

Aramco's giant Ghawar was producing at 6 million bpd, Furaidan said.

It produced 5 for decades. My theory: now it produces 4, but because that cannot be admitted by Aramco, they report a similar change but in the other direction.

FOR ALL - I couldn't find the original link re: improper disposal of produced frac fluids that someone asked for yesterday but here's an even better one: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/energy/stories/gas-drillers-plead-guilt...

Again, it's not the actually frac'ng process that's a danger to polluting ground water but the improper disposal of produced frac fluids as well as other contaminants especially salt water. In particular such nasties are being dumped into municipal water treatment plants ("the DEP fined the borough of Jersey Shore $75,000 after its wastewater treatment plant accepted more drilling wastewater than the state allowed. As a result, the plant discharged contaminants, including fecal matter, into the Susquehanna River between September 2008 and May 2009").

Generally the oil companies don't handle the disposal directly. They pay independent disposal companies to do the work. The oil companies aren't responsible for their actions but it's also easy to imagine companies not looking too closely at those operations. Some disposal company offers them to get rid of some nasties at half the going price... some oil companies tend to not ask why so cheap. From the link it sounds like some of the municipal plants are also in on the scam. As we all know: just about everyone has their price.

Again, the frac'ng process itself poses little potential damage. Improper disposal of produced fluids from frac'd wells (in addition to all other sources of industrial pollution) is the real problem. And always will be IMHO.

And, yesterday I read that they are blaming the disposal injections for the latest earthquakes near Little Rock, Arkansas.

Yup. Just as we suspected, Rockman.
You may remember one of our past exchanges where I spoke about my Sportsman's club, Western Clinton Sportsman's Assoc. and our failed lawsuit against Anadarko?
This is exactly the kind of thing we're worried about. Jersey Shore is right up there in our neck of the woods.

You have to realize. Pennsylvania is an old state. We've seen ALL of this before; been here, done that......twice! WCSA is over 80 years old.
We went through this crap with the logging companies that stripped PA woodlands of ALL original old growth timber. We went through it AGAIN with the mining companies that dumped acidic tailings into ALL the trout streams.

This is Pa's unfortunate history. Slash and burn by commercial interests. Get as much money as possible, make a huge mess, then get outta' town and leave the local conservation and sportsman's organizations with the clean up. Of course, the clean up programs take GENERATIONS because local organizations cannot begin to throw the kind of money at restoration work that the commercial interests throw at the destruction process.

And it's SO easy to paint organizations like WCSA as "obstructionist". We're not. But we know the deal. It's a rotten one and we're here to point that out and that makes us unpopular with everybody else.

jabby - Was also like that in Texas in the bad ole days. But land owners have as much or more stroke with the politicians today then the oil companies. Most oil operators in Texas can't spell lobyest let alone hire one.

I suspect there are some folks in PA who have been abusing the environment who wish the frac controversy hadn't put more eyes on what's going on in their backyard. As you say, it's an old game.

Gasbuddy.com is down. I smell a gov. conspiracy :)

The last time people were thinking like this, the gov. said: "the only thing you have to fear, is fear itself".
Edit: back up now. "nothing to see here, move along".

IIRC, back in 2008 the volatility was higher than it has been this year, with wider swings up and down on daily and weekly bases. If SA protests start I think we'll be back there next month, otherwise it'll take a little longer.

Stock market is still less volatile too, with 100 point swings instead of 250 on wild days.

In 2008 the curiosity point was where the US economy would keel over. This time, I'm curious to see where China's will.

Gas prices top $4 in Chicago (Uptown).


My local station is at $3.79 (cash). They also offer price "breaks" if you take the car wash.

My local (UK) station is at $8.49 (cash). And no breaks on the car wash :(

Does anybody else feel like they are in the twilight zone?

Income Optimism Keeps U.S. Comfort Index Near High

The comfort reading for week ended Feb. 20 was the highest since April 2008.


Jobless Claims At 2-1/2 Year Low; Productivity Rises

Claims have now held below the 400,000 threshold for a second straight week. Claims below that level are widely viewed as signalling strong jobs growth and economists believe it is only a matter of time before this is reflected in the payrolls numbers.

But, how many people have dropped out of the work force? And what kinds of jobs are the unemployed taking compared to what they had in the past? Counting new unemployment claims isn't capturing what's really going on.

I'm not a mathematician, but I read the unemployment situation as a basic "S-curve function", right? It's like the AIDS curve. The curve starts out gradually, then rises more and more steeply until the population which is at risk is saturated with the infection, at which point the curve levels off.

Isn't this largely what is happening with unemployment? The expendable, surplus workforce is eliminated until there are no more "expendables" left. At which point, the curve levels off.

So, it won't be until the next economic downturn that a new category of "expendables" is created, to be in turn, eliminated from the workforce.

There have been two changes happening to the workforce.

One is that some types of jobs no longer exist in the same numbers. At the height of the housing boom, the production rate was around 2 million dwelling units per year. It is now well below 500 thousand per year. So 75% of the former jobs no longer exist.

The other change is that fewer employees are needed to do the same work. In a recession, you don't need to hire new workers, so there are fewer newbies needing to be trained or working inefficiently while they get up to speed. Also, most organizations that are growing make hiring mistakes, and these can be weeded out. Undisciplined and less effective employees can be let go. The overall result is that productivity goes up fairly dramatically.

I've noticed that retail staff seem more friendly, knowledgeable and competent these days. It's probably because retailers can hire better people, the ones they hire are more motivated to do well and keep their jobs, and with longer service they know where the stock is, how to run the cash register, do complex transactions, understand store policies, etc. As a result, I believe that retailers need fewer staff.

Another, less pleasant reason that productivity improves and service gets friendlier is that everyone is scared shtless that they will lose their job and never get another one again.

Right, Merrill.
I'm focused mostly on that first category; jobs that no longer exist in the same number. Because this represents a contraction in the absolute size of the economy. Starbucks has closed stores, Borders has closed stores, GM and Chrysler have eliminated dealerships. These people who have been laid off are not finding jobs in either their previous fields or in new fields.

The discretionary economy has contracted in real terms and I expect this to continue in steps until the money needed to support the unemployed exerts sufficient leverage to help collapse the whole rotten structure of our "growth" economy.

This is an oversimplification, of course, just a snapshot of one facet at work. There are many other "levers" acting in concert over time.

A couple of weeks ago I was at one of the Borders stores that is closing. Big store, lots of inventory, high lighting and HVAC bills, few customers, few staff.

On the other hand, the Apple store at the same location was small, packed with customers, and there were probably more staff than at the Borders store. The Apple store, the video game store, etc., didn't exist 15 years ago. So new industries or businesses come along to create new job opportunities.

Loss of GM and Chrysler dealerships is partly offset by more Hyundai and other dealerships. However, most dealers can move more cars through each store, which limits employment. Also, service revenues are probably down, resulting in leaner times for mechanics, although this has probably impacted "service stations" more than dealerships. The old "service station" is now a "gas station" with a convenience store.

On the housing front, some of the unemployed carpenters, electricans, and plumbers, etc., are doing home improvement work. Some of this is off the books and wouldn't show up in official stats.

So I don't see any reason for an implosion in employment. It is more rotation from dwindling job categories to growing categories. The old manufacturing economy notion that laid-off employees would be hired back by the same employer is pretty much gone.

Your observation regarding employment "off the books" is right on.
I don't seriously believe that all of the people (the "99ers") who have fallen off the back of the bus and are no longer counted in the official unemployment numbers are actually out begging on the sidewalks. Lots of these people are doing something. I don't know what; small general contracting, growing dope, whatever. The key thing here is that whatever they're doing they're doing it for cash. This is off the books and non-taxed. It represents a further erosion of the tax base. This erosion of the tax base is another "big lever" I've identified at work undermining the economy as a whole.

You may appreciate the entrepreneurship demonstrated in this article :-

Police: Pot found growing in West Loop home

Cannabiz. http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/Doc_Zone/1242299559/ID=1444401938

In the rural neighbourhood of the RCMP officer featured in this documentary about the marijuana business in Grand Forks, BC, is a new building for farm equipment which I built. At least I was told it was for tractors and other machinery. (Just kidding, it is definitely only for farm machinery! I only brought up a single 15amp line for lighting from the house.)

I get a chuckle every time I see the scene with the officer driving down the highway and laughing when some local Cheech and Chongers drive by in the other direction, smoke wafting from their window. And no, the guy is not on the take. Just very sensible.

At $20 Billion (CAD) marijuana is big business in Canada. Apparently, more valuable than wheat and fish.

O Cannabis, We stand on guard for thee.

Guns, though, are presenting a bit of a nasty hiccup for law enforcement in the peaceable kingdom.

$20 Billion reasons why governments want to decriminalise.


On the other hand...

Home prices: The double-dip is near

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- That big sucking sound you heard last week? That was the air being taken out of the housing market by a slew of bad reports followed by some dire predictions by an industry bubble-spotter.


Traditionally, empires have been defined narrowly, in terms of a strong nation-state that successfully expands its sphere of influence and power to other territories. Empire’s aim is to make those territories dependent, and then either exploit their resources in the case of poorly developed countries, or, with more developed countries, turn them into new markets for its surplus goods. It is in this latter sense that the American empire has often been able to claim that it is a force for global good, helping to spread freedom and the benefits of consumer culture.

Empire achieves its aims in different ways: through force, such as conquest, when dealing with populations resistant to the theft of their resources; and more subtly through political and economic interference, persuasion and mind-control when it wants to create new markets. However it works, the aim is to create a sense in the dependent territories that their interests and fates are bound to those of empire.

In our globalised world, the question of who is at the centre of empire is much less clear than it once was. The US government is today less the heart of empire than its enabler. What were until recently the arms of empire, especially the financial and military industries, have become a transnational imperial elite whose interests are not bound by borders and whose powers largely evade legislative and moral controls.


The imperial elites’ success depends to a large extent on a shared belief among the western public both that “we” need them to secure our livelihoods and security and that at the same time we are really their masters. Some of the necessary illusions perpetuated by the transnational elites include:

– That we elect governments whose job is to restrain the corporations;

– That we, in particular, and the global workforce, in general, are the chief beneficiaries of the corporations’ wealth creation;

– That the corporations and the ideology that underpins them, global capitalism, are the only hope for freedom;

– That consumption is not only an expression of our freedom but also a major source of our happiness;

– That economic growth can be maintained indefinitely and at no long-term cost to the health of the planet; and,

– That there are groups, called terrorists, who want to destroy this benevolent system of wealth creation and personal improvement.

These assumptions, however fanciful they may appear when subjected to scrutiny, are the ideological bedrock on which the narratives of our societies in the West are constructed ...(...)

The job of sanctifying these assumptions — and ensuring they are not scrutinised — falls to our mainstream media. Western corporations own the media, and their advertising makes the industry profitable. In this sense, the media cannot fulfil the function of watchdog of power because, in fact, it is power. It is the power of the globalised elite to control and limit the ideological and imaginative horizons of the media’s readers and viewers. It does so to ensure that imperial interests, which are synonymous with those of the corporations, are not threatened.


Jonathan Cook, the author and a journalist living in Israel, does hold out some hope that new media can upset this applecart.

Very interesting article on Counterpunch.org.

Title: The Fall of the Old Oil Order
Oilquake in the Middle East

Thanks for the heads up, crowdog. Michael Klare is almost always insightful, especially on international oil issues.

From his first paragraph:

"Consider everything that's now happening as just the first tremor of an oilquake that will shake our world to its core."

No beating around the bush there!

So is $100 now the new floor?

Speaking of cost, it strikes me that this years revolts and last years gusher highlight the non-financial costs of our oil addiction (beyond the obvious-to-anyone-with-a-brain costs of GW and eternal war):

--the local pollution that often, and sometimes dramatically, immediately results from oil extraction, transportation, and refining.

--the human and civil rights that are sacrificed by those living in regimes propped up by oil funds.

If it is not directly contrary to new rules of the site, it would seem to me to be quite relevant to have a series of main posts on these topics, perhaps starting with synopses of chapters from Peter Maass's recent book.

February Arctic ice extent ties 2005 for record low

February 2011 tied February 2005 for the lowest ice extent for the month in the satellite record. Including 2011, the February trend is now at -3.0 percent per decade.

While ice extent grew at average rates for February, the overall extent remained anomalously low. Air temperatures over most of the Arctic Ocean were between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius (4 and 7 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than normal. Over the East Greenland Sea and north towards the Pole, air temperatures were 5 to 7 degrees Celsius (9 to 13 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than normal.

Not only ice extent but ice thickness is very low for this time year. Multi-year ice is a small fraction of what is once was.

So far it appears the 2001-2011 time period is in a range of lower ice extent, similar to the higher ice extent range that occurred between 1979-2000, meaning, they both represent ice extent expectations within a certain range. The question then becomes, when will the next lower ice extent range become the norm?

Ofcourse they have ice problems in the arctic. It is unusually cold down here just south of the place. We got its cold, they got our heat. You can't build ice when it is warm.


This guy predicts an ice-free North Pole september THIS YEAR. He was right on his 2010-prediction, but I think this is a little to much. But, ice-loss for this years melt season may be the worst ever.


According to this graph, this winters freeze period had the lowest ice build ever.

Actually, I have been thinking the same. Either this year or next year. Hanson's analysis suggests a very warm 2012. While many have been making much of the ice extent, the greater issue is ice mass. A year or two ago it was determined 2/3 of melt was from the bottom up, which meant air temps were secondary to OHC, also that air temps are very much influenced by the physics of ice formation and melt.

There is virtually no long-lived ASI remaining. What is there is akin to the thin ice that forms on a puddle each night and melts each day. I will be very surprised if we don't have a near or total melt out except, perhaps, along the Canadian archipelago and a few other minor bits. If we have anything like 2007 conditions, it's a virtual certainty. Hope and pray for a cold summer in the Arctic with favorable winds, or this year's weather may make last year a cake walk by comparison.

Mapping food deserts

Maps are great for showing where things are. They're also good for showing where things aren't.

Two Michigan State University professors have developed interactive maps that offer a visual perspective of urban food deserts. By using GIS (geographic information systems) technology, they are showing, rather than simply telling, how urban residents are losing access to fresh produce and balanced nutrition.

"The change in food environments is recurring all over the nation," said Howard, whose research is supported by MSU's AgBioResearch. "The best selection of produce and the lowest prices have moved to the suburbs. So if you want lettuce in Lansing, or in most U.S. cities, you're going to have to drive to get it."

One aspect on which the study focused was store locations. It showed that less than 4 percent of the population lived within a 10-minute walk of a supermarket.

Not surprising, but it would be nice if the tool were actually available to play with.

Here, suburbs have the better stores because there is better margin for pricing and lower crime than the downtown area, though the blighted areas have no grocery stores either. They all used to -- all are boarded up and empty. A combination of weekly robberies plus employee-assisted theft killed the last one. The security necessary to keep it open cost more than the shoppers would tolerate, so now everybody gets to drive to the suburbs. I have four grocery stores within 3 miles (one is a mile away). Some areas have twice the population density but would have to drive 5 miles.

Around here I think the city would have to "gentrify" before the center could rebuild to be a truly liveable area. Currently there is a business center with little residential living, a dense ring of blighted residential with no shopping, then midtown with shopping, then suburbs with everything but large office buildings.

Somehow the notion of vibrant walkable/public transit downtown with housing-only dying suburbs doesn't seem to compute here. I could see midtown being the vibrant area, with transit to work downtown though. A vocal political base of old money is pushing that way already.

City centers cannot be redeveloped because:
- they have high tax rates on businesses, business property and income,
- tax revenues are largely allocated to transfer payments to poor people instead of being invested in infrastructure and productive assets, and
- renovation of sewer, water, transportation etc., in city centers is more expensive than new builds farther out in less congested areas.

So I would not expect the city centers to revive. Instead, I'd expect the edge cities consisting of well developed, older suburbs to be linked by light rail and bus systems.

Remote suburbs will also fare badly due to high transportation costs. Their populations will migrate back into the "doughnut".

S - Kinda interesting. OTOH I suspect less than 4% of Houston's population walks to the supermarket. Even the inner city folks w/o cars do most of their traveling by public transit. Even in the inner city you don't see a great deal of foot traffic..especially during the summer. For balance I live within a 10 minute CAR TRIP from 4 different supermarkets with enough veggies to choke a herd of horses. Maybe life is different in Houston than other urban areas but there is little of anything within a 10 minute walk from the house. And forget the countryside in Texas: often a 10 minute walk to the mail box and a 45 minute drive to Walmart.

Perhaps I'm trying to read between the lines too much: is there some implication that if every subdivision in the country doesn't have its own produce stand there's something wrong? Come to think of it we have some pretty big subdivision here where it's more than a 10 minute walk to the community pool. Wow...what deprevation.

OTOH the story has me fondly remembering my childhood in New Orleans. Clear memories of mule drawn wagons coming through my intercity neighborhood peddling fruit and veggies. Maybe that's a solution if, in fact, this is a real problem.

The nearest grocery is about a 15 minute walk. There are two more within 2 miles.

What is magic about 10 minutes?

IIRC, in the upper midwest, the standard for rural schools was to have them located within 2 miles of the most distant farm. I had a 1.75 mile walk, which is quite a ways when you are 6 years old. (And yes -- it was up hill both ways!)

From kindergarten through high school I walked to school, about 1.5 miles (1960-1973). Yes, it surely was uphill both ways. And boy did it snow back then! :-)

But seriousy, I used to pity the kids that had to take the bus. What freedom we "walkers" had in comparison. What adventures we had on our way to school, which involved passing by a train station (where the conductor on the 8:17 used to let us blow the whistle) and traversing a good stretch of salt marsh (where we got wet feet playing in the tidal creek).

"Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it." Well, a few of us remember it... it really wasn't that long ago.

Hence the following Charts of America.


This is for the children only

The South interestingly is more obese than the rest of the US, but they have better weather to exercise in and bike to work or school.

Well I guess that will change.

My dad (born 1899) and his seven siblings walked to school in Randlett, Oklahoma, from the family farm five miles away. That is, they did so after the crops were in and their father would let them go. The curriculum included two years of German. I was interested to learn that Dad's twin sister taught school for two years after she graduated from high school. High school then was like junior college now.

A 10 minute walk TO the store is easy.

A 10 minute walk carrying 30 lb of groceries FROM the store is another matter.

Use a backpack, or better yet, a 2-wheeled cart or wagon if on a paved road or sidewalk.

Not buying bottled water, soft drinks, and other liquids will save some weight, money, and waistline.

It makes a big difference. I used to walk 30 minutes to the store and my arms would be very tired when I really had to stock up. I now appreciate my 3 and a half block walk.

10 minutes is a generally accepted rule-of-thumb for how long most people are willing to walk to a store or bus stop. However, they have been found willing to walk 20 minutes to a rail transit station.

10 minutes walking translates into about half a mile. If you build a community around a cluster of stores and a bus stop, you will have about 500 acres within a 10 minute walk of of the stores, and shoppers can easily ride the bus to neighboring communities to comparison shop. Commuters can step off the bus, pick up a few groceries, and take the 10 minute walk home with them.

If you build out the community at about 8 units per acre, which is about the minimum to support good public transit, and there are an average of 3 people per dwelling unit, you will have 12,000 people within walking distance of the central cluster of stores - which is lots of people to support them. If you cluster 4 of these communities around a rail transit station, you will have nearly 50,000 people within a 20 minute walk of the station, which is lots to support rail transit.

Of course these are European standards. American communities are built nothing like this, hence hardly anybody can walk to the store and public transit doesn't work.

In places where you walk 10 minutes to store nobody buys 30lb of groceries. 30lb is ..driving mentality..

At my (carfree for the past 2 1/2 years) house, a trip to the store involves my bicycle pulling my smaller trailer. And this includes buckets of kitty litter, cases of wine ... etc. The BIG trailer hauls lumber, couches, sacks of compost, and so on. Sometimes, one of my wife's daughters offers to drive. I am horrified at the thought. I admit to feeling smug while loading up at the nursery and pulling up behind hybrid cars (with "Tread Lightly" stickers on them,) and seeing that the drivers are getting less of a load than I. All smugness aside: it's VERY possible for a lot of folks to physically do this - heck, I am 54. The harder part is for folks to be willing to change this "driving mentality".

Agreed. If the store isn't crowded I can usually make a round trip in about 15 minutes. So I usually don't have to carry much, since I go pretty frequently.

I much prefer the flexibility to think of something for dinner and then make a 15 minute run to pick up the ingredients, to times when I had to buy a week or two's worth at a time. Then you're just stuck with what you have and things aren't as fresh.

I walked groceries for 5 years in Chicago ~1 mile.

You can bike 100 lbs of groceries, and it is trivial to do. You do not go super fast but the bike provides massive mechanical advantage to do such work.

Not saying we all need to start doing that, but these things are not huge problems.

However, from the looks of the average American's waistl, they can use the exercise imho.

The trouble to me stems from the fact that the groceries and food require oil to make them and deliver them to the right stores.

3 Litres of Milk
1.5 Kilos of Meat
1 Kilo of Bread
4 Kilos of Fruit and Veggies
1.5 kilos odds and ends

So about 25 pounds...The walk to the store takes 12 minutes, the walk back takes 20 minutes (scorching sun slows me down). And I now have mini calluses that can only be from the grocery bags. One of these days I will get one of those grocery carts that looks like a mini golf bag on wheels that all the little old ladies around here use.

The good thing is that I now instinctively shy away from over packaged stuff. Who wants to trudge along like a beast of burden, shopping bags full of styrofoam, cardboard and plastic only to throw it out (and have to haul it to the curb!)

Here I have, probably, half a dozen general stores within a 2 minute walk. Supermarkets are a 10-15 minute bike ride (not a fast ride either). 2 panniers, 5 Kg per pannier, that's about 22 lb in gringo, could take a few more in a backpack so 30 isn't too far out. Carry back 19 Kg, 40 lb, water bottles from the refiller on my shoulder. Ok, I admit I get help for the kitty litter. I walk to Costco, fill up with the heavyside and bulk then get a taxi home. Probably doesn't cost much more than it used to cost me to drive there and back. Local store should be able to supply me with the catfood at a good price so eliminate transport as it is only a 2 minute walk with a 20 Kg sack - could use wheel barrow.


Estonia plans nationwide electric car charging network

Estonia announced Thursday that it would sell 10 million carbon credits to Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation and use the proceeds to set up a nationwide network of charge-points for electric cars.

"We hope that around 1,000 electric cars will be on our streets by the end of 2012," Ansip added. That figure includes the 500 allocated to local authorities.

The plan involves setting up some 250 points able to charge an electric vehicle's battery to up to 80 percent capacity within 30 minutes. They are to be located in major cities and along main highways.

You don't want to know how they're getting that electricity.

Something to do with getting energy out of a baked potato?

Oil shale:

Unfortunately I think that means that shale will eventually be mined in the US

Yes. And even worse; they burn it. Long before I got the PO message I considered this to be the most dirty source of electricity possibly in the world. Even burning coal is far better.

In Sweden we got oil out of those shales back until the 60'ies. They mined it and boild it, the oils liquified and could be collected. It went out of buissiness out competed by conventional oil sources.


Epiphany... yes, that's the word.

We are all hopeful, even the gloomiest, doomiest and most realistic. We want so badly to have that hope... we can still make it. We can still have a transition to sustainable life. All 7 + Billion of us will survive with our progeny, farming rooftops and doing intensive agriculture close in to towns (not cities, we all recognize) where we will trade with leather and woolen dealers, and the like. It will be more difficult, more human labor intensive, but it can be done.

Then we see this: The M3 money supply reports from December 2010:


And we hear about this:

Nearly all the major organizations dealing with peak oil and climate change have gone through recent difficulties. Some experience intellectual challenges of their basic premises, or reduced ability to raised funds, or a public perception that it just isn't on the agenda anymore. Individuals working on solutions find themselves caught up with lost work and high prices and are struggling with the fact that the organizations they work with are often concentrating on repairing a world that will emerge sometime in the future - with nothing to offer the present victims of the circumstances they are preparing for.


The 'epiphany' comes when you add two and two, coming up with the usual four! There are all sorts of good ideas. There will be less and less money available to implement them... we fail for lack of capital in the capitalist capitol of the world!

Indeed, our crises are converging. Have in fact come together. Today two thirds of us believe that the American Dream has become difficult or impossible to attain.


The chart from the first site above shows us that, even as the Fed pumps dollars into the economy, the economy is destroying them as fast as they are created... and for a good part of the past two years at an even faster pace. For those who believe that the QE 1 & 2 spell hyperinflation (aangel, please educate me here), I ask, “how can there be inflation when debt is being written off as fast as money is being created? And, isn't this debt write off and baking bail out simply transferring the wealth of the nation from the workers and taxpayers to the bankers who undertook the risk of all of that debt, and now are being bailed out. And, doesn't that in fact increase the gap between rich and poor??? Just as we are running out of 'gas?'

Someone help me out... talk my out of this funk!


re inflation...probably inflation/deflation are false in the sense we could have other scenarios. stoneleigh makes the assumption the Gov. will not ever push the money out to us commoners. i disagree. i think at some point...of serious crisis they will give out money like saudi arabia just did...& maybe there was another ME country that did.
but no velocity of money would make possible both inflation/deflation, or the same effects.
the dollar losing reserve status will be huge & i still haven't got my thoughts together re such. i agree with stoneleigh that we can't hyperinflate w/ our currency as the world reserve currency...but that could change quickly i believe, but would be a very very serious world crisis.
i wonder if this crisis[oil] now won't be the driver rather than financial...at least for this round[worse]...it would be easier to understand, & us less to blame; but they will get to reinforcing each other in some ways...[bad, bad thought...for a funk]
i hope for deflation money wise, but don't think it will primarily go that way.... ultimately.

sorry about your funk...


still-lingering effects of the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster: Birds born in the radiated region have brains 5% smaller than normal. "Even exposure to relatively low levels" of radiation 25 years after the accident "can have profound effects on the species that live in this area," said University of South Carolina researcher Timothy Mousseau.


As Libya descends into full-on civil war and protests spread across the rest of the Middle East, all eyes are focused on Saudi Arabia, which produces more than 10% of the world's oil.

So far, protests in Saudi Arabia have been limited. But our guest, Fadel Gheit, a managing director at Oppenheimer & Co., thinks that may soon change.

Oddly, the very same guy (Fadel Gheit) says that any talk of $200 Oil Is a "Totally Exaggerated". He claims there is 5mbpd of spare OPEC capacity (yeah, sure). He even trots out the old favorites like technology and 'the stone age didn't end from a lack of stones'.

Not sure how he can reconcile a Saudi rebellion without a massive price hike. Even if supplies were not disrupted, the speculators would shoot the prices way up. But he seems to think that even a Saudi Arabia uprising would only merit a speculation of up to $120/barrel. That seems nonsensical considering that we hit $147/barrel 3 years ago with virtually no mid-east chaos.

His main thesis seems to be "Don't worry about $150 or $200 oil . . . you'll have an economic recession instead!" Uh . . . hooray?

In Price of Farmland, an Echo of Last Boom

The 80 acres of rich farmland that Jeff Freking and his brother Randy bought near Le Mars, Iowa, on Monday for $10,000 an acre would seem to have nothing in common with a condo in Miami or a house in Las Vegas.

But as prices for agricultural land surge across America’s grain belt, regulators are warning that a new real estate bubble may be forming — echoing the frothy boom in home prices that saw values in Miami and Las Vegas skyrocket and then plummet.

“It just seems to be going up in leaps and bounds here,” said Jeff Freking, who bought a similar farm, also in northwestern Iowa, for $6,000 an acre just two years ago. “Everybody thinks it’s crazy.”

Of course, IMO equating productive farmland to non-productive residential housing is a mistake.

Of course comparing things that are different like farmland and Las Vegas McMansions is wrong. But there are still elements of a bubble in what is going on.

It all looks so justified not so much because land prices keep going up just as house prices kept going up before the crash, but because the money coming in justifies the land price at current interest rates.

Low interest rates necessary to stimulate the economy that is in recession are pouring gasoline on the fire of farm land values.

Because of crop failures around the world, rising oil prices which push up ethanol and consequently corn prices, land prices far higher that anything seen in the past can be justified at interest rates near zero.

When interest rates rise as inflation takes hold and the economy enters another dip due to high oil prices, I expect the farmland price bubble to burst.

Those who went out on a limb to buy high priced land will regret it.

It has happened many, many times in the past. I myself bought at the high in the late seventies and had to struggle through the eighties crash.

In the long run it paid off. But now I'm getting old.

And it's true: Youth is wasted on the young and money is wasted on the old.


Curing Maine's Addiction to Heating Oil

Maine, USA -- Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have a unique and overwhelming dependence on home heating oil for heat. Dependence on heating oil drains money and jobs and tax revenues from Maine and its sister states. Their dependence on heating oil has already eroded their economies; and that dependence has the potential to destroy the foundations for growth and prosperity as they export more and more of their disposable income to places that are far away.

Recent data from the U.S. Census shows that 75.61% of Maine’s homes use #2 heating oil. This is by far the highest proportion of heating oil dependency of any state. The table below shows this fact and also shows that Maine has very limited access to natural gas (3.68% of homes).


Maine “exports” about $720,000,000 per year in what I call our “oil tax” because Maine homes use about 300 million gallons per year of heating oil and, according to the EIA’s Home Heating Oil Report for 2010, 78% of every dollar spent on heating oil leaves the Maine economy. If that money were to stay in the Maine economy it would produce about 41,000 new jobs that do not currently exist.

See: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2011/03/curing-main...

With the cost of fuel oil in Maine creeping ever closer to $4.00 a gallon, now is a good time to explore the alternatives. [Yesterday I audited a service garage that burns waste motor oil. The boiler and 8,000 litre storage tank cost $46,000, but it saves the owner $12,000 to $14,000.00 a year on his heating costs.]


Hey Halifax

How are you feeling these days?


Hi Paleo,

I'm feeling much better, thanks. My blood sugar levels which at one point were as high as 40 mmol/L are now running in the range of 7 to 10.

Flipping back to the first few entries in my log book after I had started on Metformin and adjusted my diet, they were 28.6, 27.4, 29.9, 22.6, 19.5, 22.5 and so on. So far this week, they're 9.8, 7.8, 11.2, 9.0, 8.2, 10.8, 7.2 and 7.5. I need to get back under 7.0 and, ideally, closer to 5.0 (I was 5.6 in August before this flare-up).

I visited the local Diabetic Management Centre last Wednesday and they checked my feet and gave them a clean bill of health, thankfully. The nurse said my doctor may need to prescribe either Aticlaaide (sorry, I can't read her writing) or Diamicam which I'm told stimulate the production of insulin. I see my physician on the 9th and we'll discuss it with him then.

I'm greatly relieved that my distance vision has returned, but my near vision is still quite poor. I can't read anything on screen unless I increase the font dramatically or without the aid of a magnifying glass. The nurse said my vision should return to normal roughly six weeks after my blood sugars stabilize.

As I had suspected, this episode was triggered by stress (although a prime candidate for diabetes due to family history, I had my blood sugars tested twice and year and prior to this they had always been between 5 and 6). A bit of a back story: one of my brothers was embezzling funds from our family business which subsequently went under and my personal losses are in the seven figures. When we discovered the problem he was relieved of his duties. He then turned around and sued my other brother and I for wrongful dismissal and just before Christmas filed a complaint with the RCMP who have now launched a criminal investigation. There was no criminal wrongdoing on our part and now I'm on the hook for more legal fees because of his petty vindictiveness. The stress is not so much due to what this has done to me as it has done to my step mother, as well as our clients, creditors, suppliers and employees. This would have killed my dad if he were still alive. My dad was a man of tremendous integrity and I always though the three of us were cut from the same cloth, but I was wrong.


Chin up, Paul. You're the best.

Thanks, Toil. I confess there are moments when I feel somewhat bitter and angry (more so about the betrayal of trust than anything else), but for the most part I've moved on. I've also paid off our creditors in full and at 100-cents on the dollar even though I could have easily worked out a deal to pay much less, but I did what I felt was the proper thing to do.

If you're curious, I've posted a couple pictures of our retail store here: http://s362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/CHF/?albumview=sli...

For thirty-five years this was a successful and profitable business, that is, until my brother drove it into the ground.


Hi Paul:

Good to see you back more frequently, but sorry to hear about your woes.

If you have the time, could you drop me an email (address in profile)?

I have a number of questions that are right up your alley, and I'm looking for some advice.

Look forward to hearing from you.



Glad we connected, Bob.


Curing Maine's Addiction to Heating Oil

At this exact point in time, Brent crude oil (which is the market they are exposed to because they can't get WTI) is trading at $116 per barrel. Natural gas is trading at $3.80 per MMBTU. On an energy equivalence basis, that's about $23 per barrel of oil equivalent.

In other words, oil is now about five times as expensive as natural gas per unit of heat.

They really need to start trenching in gas pipelines all over the landscape. It's not that hard to do, but it does take time. Since they don't have any oil or gas of their own, I suppose they just automatically assumed that someone would always sell oil to them cheap, and that switching to natural gas was just too much of a bother.

Yeah, anyone who doesn't have natural gas for heat really should try to get it. Electricity is a terribly inefficient and expensive system. Heating Oil is efficient but it is very expensive.

Even if you can't get natural gas, there are other options such as pellet stoves, propane, etc.

I'm tryin, Paul. I'm tryin!

Two 1850's Maine houses on #2 Oil.. (one a 3 unit rental) and this last fillup was tough. But the insulation and other work has been improving it every year..

A house down the street blew up with Natural Gas a couple years back.. they dragged the smoking remains right down onto our Community Garden plot.. nice. NG also drives a lot of our Electric and has had some close calls with winter supply in recent years. I'm not the most eager to spend the bucks in that direction.

Both buildings are on a SE sloping hillside in a sunny town.. so Wood and Solar, Geo and a LOT of insulation are high on my list.. but I'm due to research ASHP's as well, thanks to your advocacy..


Hi Bob,

You're one of the most creative and resourceful individuals I know; you must have received a double dose of that Yankee Ingenuity!

I'm convinced air source heat pumps are one of the better options going forward. As mentioned in another thread, some of my neighbours are spending $5,000.00 to $6,000.00 a year to heat their homes with oil whilst I spend perhaps $700.00. It has certainly worked out well for me.


Thanks Paul;
Hadn't tuned in about your health, we're recalibrating the Main-Mojo-dish to focus an intense beam of Cure-Vibe at a heading of about 80, it seems (wow, you're farther east than I remembered) Hope it's not turned up too strong, you might feel a little light-headed.. try to enjoy it, and don't operate any heavy machinery!

PS, I did a 'Here in Halifax' operation on my father in law's place in Glendale arizona, and took some 1340w in assorted Tungsten lights that were clinging onto the ceiling fans of his trailer, and replaced them with 285 watts of CFL's (The one LED I bought, a bathroom nightlight, was underperforming for his old eyes, and the Candelabra 4w was left in service.) We're eager to see how his lighting and A/C bill is changed as summer arrives.

I've also offered to put a 'Dummy' Solar Array on his roof, simply to put the place into shade, but we haven't quite sold him on that one yet..

Be Well!


Good stuff, Bob. That's a sizeable drop in load and the air conditioning savings sweeten the deal.

I'll be trying out some 7-watt GU10 LED lamps from Philips on one of our jobs next week (7-watts LED = 50-watts halogen). These GU10 lamps are a frigg'n PITA and until now we lacked a suitable replacement. Keeping my fingers crossed.



Advocates of trail to Fryeburg say rail project throws plans off-track

Although the contract for the $4 million job has been signed and rails have been delivered, trail committees and snowmobilers are asking state transportation officials to put the project on hold.

The issue pits rail proponents against the trail's advocates and threatens to fracture a long-term effort by both groups to create alternatives to highway transportation between the coast and western Maine.

Trail supporters have dubbed the project the "railroad to nowhere," while rail proponents say the controversy threatens a major economic spur for the region.

..can't we all just get along?

NASA rocket fails to reach orbit

The mission was designed to collect data that scientists plan to use to better understand how the sun and tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols affect the Earth's climate.

Word is that this is a big blow to climate science.

"Taurus XL also carried the first of NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellite missions. This auxiliary payload contains three small satellites called CubeSats, which were designed and created by university and college students." [The Hindu]

Wiki on Glory