Drumbeat: March 4, 2011

Future oil supply: The changing stance of the International Energy Agency (paper)

The IEA was established in 1974 with a mandate to promote energy security amongst its members, namely the states of the OECD, and to advise those members on sound energy policy. Its recent forecasts of the medium and long term prospects for oil supply, however, have wavered, alternating from optimistic to pessimistic and back again. For policy-makers, such inconsistency is difficult to deal with. Firstly we examine whether the changing outlooks seen in IEA forecasts made between 2007 and 2010 truly reflect a demonstrable, underlying change in the known facts, and we can find no such factual changes reported by the IEA. Secondly we examine whether the serious criticisms of the IEA's (2008) forecast made by other analysts have yet been addressed, and we conclude that they have not. Thirdly we consider the possible effects of the current economic downturn upon the IEA's assumptions and upon future oil supply. We conclude that all the forecasts made by the IEA appear to be too optimistic throughout this period.
(The paper is behind a paywall here.)

Oil price surge: Up 7% this week

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Oil prices rose more than 2% Friday, climbing above $104 a barrel, as the turmoil in Libya showed no sign of abating.

The benchmark U.S. oil contract, West Texas Intermediate, jumped $2.51, or 2.5%, to settle at $104.42 a barrel for April delivery. Oil prices are currently trading at the highest levels since September 2008, having jumped 6.7% just this week.

Dow tumbles as oil fears re-emerge

Traders said that as long as oil remains at elevated levels and the Middle East unrest remains unresolved, stock performance will continue to closely track the price of oil.

"Oil above $100 a barrel will remain a persistent headwind to the equity markets, but the bigger question is how long does oil remain at these levels," said Michael James, senior equity trader with Wedbush Morgan Securities.

Oil prices may be up, but U.S. drivers aren’t cutting

(Reuters) - As gasoline prices soared in February, Americans bought big pick-up trucks.

For all the talk about $100-a-barrel oil snuffing out the economic recovery like similar spikes did in decades past, it has so far inspired only modest changes in U.S. consumer behavior and attitudes.

Part of that reflects psychology. Although gasoline prices in late February recorded their biggest weekly gain since Hurricane Katrina disrupted petroleum supplies in 2005, they are still well below the $4-a-gallon levels hit during a 2008 price spike.

"We've been at $4 before -- it wasn't for very long, but we have hit that number," said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist with IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. "Round numbers do still matter, $4 does still have shock value. Does it have the same shock value this time around as it did in 2008? It probably doesn't."

US natgas rig count at lowest in year-Baker Hughes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States fell this week to the lowest level in more than a year, dropping seven to 899, oil services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday.

Dozens of civilians killed in Libya battle, witnesses say

At least 30 civilians were killed on Friday when security forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi tried to retake a town near the capital that has for days been defying his rule, two residents told Reuters.

Middle East revolutions and the fate of the petrodollar

As revolution fans across the Middle East, there are reams of commentary on the reasons behind the spectacular conflagration. Some are sage, such as Shahid Alam’s insightful analysis of the “dignity deficit” that the Muslim world suffers from. Others verge on doomsday comic, pinning the blame on unruly natural causes than self-evident political ones, such as Paul Krugman’s warnings of natural disasters and their impact on world food supply. Even Hillary Clinton, who is usually so serenely autocratic, struck a somber note in a recent Munich visit, declaring that “the status quo is not sustainable.”

Shell chief Peter Voser warns oil demand could outstrip supply

Peter Voser, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, believes the $116 oil price caused by the Middle East crisis will soon ease back, but warned of a longer-term shock where "supply cannot meet demand".

Mexico's Pemex: 2010 Net Loss $3.8 Bln vs $3.4 Bln 2009

MEXICO CITY (MNI) - State oil company Pemex reported Tuesday it posted a net loss of $3.8 billion last year, compared to $3.4 billion in 2009, while production fell just 1% after plunging in the prior two years.

During 2010 as a whole, Pemex produced an average of 2.58 million barrels per day, down from 2.6 million a year earlier, which is much better than the declines of 6.8% and 9.2% in 2009 and 2008, respectively.

Two Mexico oil workers murdered in drug war hot zone

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Two employees of Mexico's state oil monopoly Pemex were killed and their bodies dumped near a major natural gas field this week by suspected drug gang hitmen, industry sources and authorities said on Thursday.

The slayings represent an escalation of violence against Pemex, which has become a target for extortionists and kidnappers in the north of the country.

Greater Investment in Electricity Could Spark African Economic Growth, say Analysts

Economic growth in many sub-Saharan countries has been stunted by an energy crisis that many say will continue without more government and private investment.

Many economists agree that increasing the region’s energy supply is essential for economic growth and poverty reduction. Improved investments would also help African governments meet the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, which encourage drastic reductions in poverty and illness by 2015.

Gazprom Considers Sakhalin Oil Refinery

Gazprom is looking to build a refinery in Sakhalin where international consortiums have been producing crude for export in multibillion-dollar projects, company chief Alexei Miller said.

Petrobras not planning fuel price hike - minister

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras is not planning to raise fuel prices for domestic consumers, the country's energy minister said on Friday, contradicting a newspaper report.

Petrobras has not changed the sale price for fuels in Brazil since 2009, when it cut prices for gasoline and diesel in response to the tumble in oil prices sparked by the global economic downturn.

Mozambique: Nacala Port Denies Malawian Claims

Maputo — The director of the northern Mozambican port of Nacala, Agostinho Langa, on Wednesday categorically denied recent claims by Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika that fuel shortages in Malawi are caused by congestion in the ports of Nacala and Beira.

Enbridge to shut crude Line 6B for maintenance

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc said on Friday it will shut down its 290,000 barrel per day Line 6B crude oil pipeline next week to make repairs.

The shutdown will be the second in a month, as per the company's plan to perform a two-phase maintenance work on the line.

SBM Sees Oil Majors Trying to Push Risks to Sub-Contractors

Major oil companies are increasingly trying to push liabilities of offshore oil projects onto sub-contractors as risk awareness has grown in the wake of the BP Macondo incident last year, according to oil services group SBM Offshore's chief executive.

Government says BP's Atlantis platform is safe

(Reuters) - A government probe of BP Plc's Atlantis production platform in the Gulf of Mexico found no evidence of significant safety breaches, the Interior Department said on Friday.

A former BP contractor, Kenneth Abbott, filed a lawsuit in 2009 charging that the Atlantis oil and natural gas platform lacked key final engineering documents.

Is The Oil Industry on The Verge of Major Restructuring?

The reserve results of ExxonMobil, Shell's gas production statement and the rash of major oil company purchases of gas shale assets in the U.S. and Canada are signaling a sea change in the petroleum industry.

Study Reveals Gaps in Produced Water Impact on Arctic Environs

With its extreme, cold environment, fragile biota and slow recovery rate from oil spills, the Arctic poses unique challenges for managing produced water from oil and gas operations, and further study is needed into the long term impact of produced water treatment in the region, according to researchers at the ABS Harsh Environment Technology Center (HETC) based at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN).

Petrol trade group sues over bears

An Alaskan petroleum industry trade group has sued the US government over its designation of 484,700 square kilometres as polar bear critical habitat, claiming it covers too much territory and could cost tens of millions of dollars or more in economic effects.

Profit from the scramble for alternatives to oil

Amid the turmoil in the Middle East, only one thing has been able to keep any sort of lid on the oil price: the promise that Saudi Arabia can step in to fill any gap in production left by a revolution in Libya, or elsewhere. Saudi is seen as the 'central banker' of oil, as Fatih Birol of the International Energy Agency (IEA) puts it. Of course, investors are frightened of what could happen if Saudi Arabia faces similar turmoil (which isn't out of the question, see below).

But there's a more worrying possibility. What if Saudi Arabia simply doesn't have the capacity to produce as much oil as it says it does? "

Oil and Debt and Never the Twain Shall Meet

Oil prices and loan servicing will hollow out the United States economy like a bloated corpse in a tank full of piranhas, and there is no one in a significant position of power who has the temperament or ability to fix either problem.

The best way to profit from the oil shock

So here's an interesting fact that may have escaped your attention. US oil output in 2010 rose to its highest level since 2002. In fact, reports the FT, analysts believe that the US was "the largest contributor to the increase in global oil supplies last year over 2009 – and is on track to increase domestic production by 25% by the second half of the decade".

Grains and Revolution: Key Ingredient in Your Trading Recipe?

The noteworthy part is that it wasn’t the longstanding, oppressive nature of the ruling regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, (insert next country here) that actually drove the people into a revolutionary spiral. These regions have been under the same power structures for many generations now. Some outlets have reported that the internet (social networking sites), with its increased reach, was a major contributing factor in toppling several regimes thus far, stirring unrest in others. However, the internet was simply a forum that enabled coordination of the masses; it wasn’t THE actual tipping point event that knocked over the first proverbial domino in the Middle East.

The tipping point was a factor that is not new in inspiring revolutions throughout history: HUNGER. Yes, the people in these countries did build a pent up anger, as they do not live in conditions as free as we in more democratic regions of the world are fortunate to enjoy. However, their anger did not boil over until recent dramatic increases in food prices set the stage for a desperate revolt, leading to what is playing out today, with the latest major unrest happening in Libya.

Republicans see rising gas prices as political weapon to weaken Obama

Reporting from Washington — As Republicans continue to cast about for ways to weaken President Obama in advance of next year's elections, it appears they believe they have found one solid line of attack: rising gas prices.

Analysis: $5 a gallon gas? Listen up, Obama!

The current mess presents U.S. President Barack Obama with a critical opportunity to forge change, to grab the steering wheel and lead in a way that drivers — both Republican and Democratic — can stand behind.

Steve Forbes Blasts Obama's 'Anti-Energy Policies'

With gas prices spiraling ever higher, former GOP presidential candidate and Forbes Magazine Publisher Steve Forbes slammed the Obama administration’s reluctance to drill for oil on Wednesday, accusing the administration of having “anti-energy policies.”

Forbes said Congress should rake administration officials “over the coals” on the oil-exploration issue.

GM CEO: Carmakers Didn’t Learn Nuthin’ From Last Gas Crunch

You might reasonably assume that after the gas spike of 2008, which decimated the U.S. auto industry, carmakers would have prepared extensively for Gas Crisis 2.0. But according to General Motors (GM) CEO Dan Akerson, you’d be wrong! He says the industry needs at least two gas crises to get its act together.

Oil hits $100 a barrel

So is Nixon's goal of U.S. energy independence a mere dream? Daniel Yergin is author of "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power." He says energy independence has always been an elusive goal, given our lifestyle and the breadth of the American economy. Until we all start driving cars fueled by some economical alternative to oil, Yergin argues we should set more practical goals.

THE PRIZE: The Acclaimed TV Series About the Rise of the Oil Industry; and Our Enslavement

AUTO CENTRAL - Nearly 20 years ago, a young Daniel Yergin wrote "THE PRIZE: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power." It's the true story of how the petroleum oil industry was founded and how it has become the chain that keeps us in bondage to gasoline. In 1993, Yergin's book became the basis for a dynamic multi-part television series of the same name.

As part of The Auto Channel's coverage of alternative fuels and energy sources we proudly make this video series available to our you in the hope that you will join us in our determination to end the oil industry's control of world politics and the economy.

More jobs means worse traffic congestion

Workers spent 4.8 billion hours slowed or stuck in traffic due to congestion during 2009, according to a recently released report from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M. That was an improvement over 2006, when a record 5.25 billion hours were wasted. But it still equates to an average of 34 extra hours per year on the road.

And the good days are about to end.

Nepal's first wind energy centre turns into ruins

GORKHA: The country's first wind energy centre became a picture of neglect for more than two decades. Worst, it has turned into ruins now, thanks to utter indifference shown by authorities concerned.

Local residents say nobody bothered to repair the 20-KW energy centre constructed in 2046 BS even it remained closed even since two months after its establishment. The centre that produced electricity only for two months was shut down after its two fans were destroyed by high wind blowing from the north, said Dhara Gurung, a tourism entrepreneur in Kagbeni.

The Real El Dorado

One of the great pieces of scientific research undertaken in recent years was the economic analysis of big and global versus small and local in the production and use of biochar. The results were surprising to many, not the least the university researchers who are mainly funded by Big Ag. What they found by doing sensitivity analysis of the bottom line is something permaculturists have known for a long time. We call it "stacked function." If a large central facility hauls biomass in from a great distance, using big trucks, big grinders, a drying and curing stage, and then a multi-story pyrolysis kiln, it can produce massive amounts of biochar, which then has to be packaged and transported to distant farms and gardens. All of that is extraordinarily capital, energy and fuels intensive, and the process heat is usually just wasted in the manufacturing, adding to global warming.

Alternatively, a small- to medium-sized farmer (a good example is Thomas Harttung in Denmark) might produce biochar from farm wastes like chicken manure, straw, corn stover, etc. in a kiln inside a greenhouse. None of the heat is wasted. It warms the areas being used to produce vegetables in winter, or to heat the animal barns. In summer it might run a Stirling engine and make electricity, or a heat engine to pump water. All of these energy services represent profits to the farmer that are in addition to the production of biochar. Because it is produced on site, the distances traveled to bring feedstocks and send soil amendments is very short and can even be done with human and animal labor.

SLRD receives Peak Oil Task Force report

The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District received a final report from its Energy Resilience (Peak Oil) Task Force at a monthly board meeting on Monday.

The task force, struck by the regional district in March of 2010 to help its communities deal with a presumed drop in global oil supply, delivered a report with a spate of recommendations in areas such as administration, building, planning and emergency services.

US eco-extravagance not an option for China

It's very well to be rich. It would be even better if we were as rich as Americans, the envy of the rest of the world.

But how many of us have given serious thought to the problem: What if we were really as wealthy as Americans?

WKU Students in Sustainability Course Prepare for Challenges

Led by Adjunct Professor Dr. Cari Bourette, eight Western Kentucky University students studying sustainability are engaged this semester in a community practicum that addresses the challenge of transitioning to a more sustainable environment.

We are living in a materials world

Contractors find themselves between a rock and a hard place - the rock is the relentless rise of raw materials; the hard place is feeble demand and low margins. But is there anything they can do about it?

Day of reckoning looms when fossil fuels run out

A COLLEAGUE of mine, a car owner himself, yearns for the day when oil is depleted.

By that time, he believes, we will be living in a world free of noise and pollution.

Although there is still much controversy over the exact date that will happen, that date is nearing.

Leading the charge away from fossil fuels

A barrel of oil is equivalent to about 159 litres. That's a 200 litre fuel drum minus 18 cm cut off the top. So what does a day's worth of oil energy look like, measured in this approximation of an oil barrel?

Stand 89.3 million of these drums side-by-side, and they would stretch 52,240 kilometres—about 1.3 times around the Earth.

That's a powerful thirst for oil. Because it is for something that is finite, it is a thirst can't be maintained.

John Michael Greer: The distant sound of hoofbeats

There are moments when the things nobody wants to talk about brush the surface, like deepwater fish rising briefly to catch the sun on their backs before plunging again into the underwater shadows. Two of those moments happened in the last few days, and I’d like to discuss them briefly before we get back into the practicalities of life in an age of declining energy availability.

ABC North Coast to launch Local Larder

ABC North Coast's Local larder is an initiative designed to support the Northern Rivers Food Links Project in their aim to secure a sustainable food future for the North Coast region.

Can we get smart fast in an oil crunch?

As political turmoil continues to rage across oil-producing regions in the Middle East and Northern Africa and the price of Brent crude climbs past $115 a barrel, now might be a good time to look at how we could speed up the transition to a smarter, more energy efficient society.

Fleeing Vesuvius: Overcoming the Risks of Economic and Environmental Collapse

With a depth of analysis that borders on the academic, Fleeing Vesuvius leaves almost no stone unturned and no aspect of living untouched in its sweeping treatise on how to avoid what it regards as the impeding collapse of civilisation and how to deal with the current crisis we have found ourselves in. Compiled by contributors specialising in a range of sectors including finance, business, food, media, politics, community organisation, energy, architecture, psychology and all the nooks in between, it is as pervasive as it is drastic.
("Fleeing Vesuvius is a collection of twenty-seven essays by well-known international authors, all leading thinkers in their fields. Luminaries such as David Korowicz, Richard Douthwaite, Nate Hagen, Dmitry Orlov, and Dan Sullivan weave together the threads of peak oil, resource depletion, economic instability, and climate change and offer far-reaching solutions.")

China Reportedly Plans Strict Goals to Save Energy

HONG KONG — With oil prices at their highest level in more than two years because of unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, the Chinese government plans to announce strict five-year goals for energy conservation in the next two weeks, China energy specialists said Friday.

Bejing’s emphasis on saving energy reflects concerns about national security and the effects of high fuel costs on inflation, China’s export competitiveness and the country’s pollution problems.

Any energy policy moves by Beijing hold global implications, given that China is the world’s biggest consumer of energy and largest emitter of greenhouse gases. And even the new efficiency goals assume that China’s overall energy consumption will grow, to meet the needs of the nation’s 1.3 billion people and its rapidly expanding economy.

Libya Oil Facility At Zueitina Reported Damaged, Ablaze -Reuters

An oil facility in the eastern Libyan port of Zueitina has been damaged and is on fire, Reuters reported Friday, citing news channel Al Jazeera, which aired video said to be of the facility, with black smoke rising from it.

Elsewhere in Libya, Reuters reported rebels advancing toward the key Ras Lanuf oil terminal, 600 kilometers (400 miles) east of the capital, Tripoli. They called for foreign governments to set up a no-fly zone after three days of attacks by government jets.

Russia protects EU from most Arab gas cuts

(Reuters) - Europe has barely noticed the loss of Libyan gas since violence flared and workers fled in late February, thanks largely to Russia, but fears remain of wider unrest in the Arab world hitting bigger suppliers.

Russia has eagerly made up for the loss of about 2 percent of Europe's gas since Libyan exports stopped in late February.

Russia's Putin reiterates call for end to oil dependence

Despite the high prices for oil and other primary commodities, Russia should work to overcome its dependence on oil revenues, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

"Whatever the situation on global markets, it is obvious that Russia should move away from its dependence on raw materials," he told a regional conference of the ruling United Russia party that he heads.

San Bruno blast an 'anomaly,' industry exec says

The pipe defect implicated in the deadly explosion of a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. natural gas transmission line in San Bruno was an "anomaly" that does not necessarily signal a broader danger for gas companies or their customers, an industry executive testified Thursday.

Extreme Wind Farming Gets $102 Million Blast

Wind farms suffer from a problem: They're built to harness wind, but are still vulnerable to wear-and-tear caused by severely windy conditions. Enter the Record Hill Wind project, a Yale University Endowment-funded 50.6 megawatt wind power plant set to start construction this year in rural Maine. The project, which just scored a $102 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, will tackle the wind wear-and-tear conundrum, and produce enough energy to power over 50,000 homes, to boot.

The key to keeping Record Hill's wind farm in pristine condition is Turbine Load Control technology, a system of software and sensors that allows the turbines to generate electricity during rough weather instead of being shut down. In addition to cutting down on turbine wear-and-tear, the technology is also expected to cut down on management and operation costs and extend the lifetime of turbine components.

Rising Gas Prices Hit Home

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — This Miami exurb flourished in the housing boom but has fallen hard during the bust, with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation for the past two years. Rising gasoline prices are making a bad situation even worse.

...Higher gas prices are now hitting hard around Homestead, where many residents drive some 30 miles to work in Miami, adding to homeowners' strain. So while the foreclosure problem is starting to abate in many cities, the problem in places like Homestead could grow.

"The people who bought in Homestead were generally people who were on the margin to begin with. It's not a good sign when gas prices go up and become an added cost factor for these struggling homeowners," said Ned Murray, associate director of the Metropolitan Center at Florida International University, a Miami-based applied-research institute.

Oil rises to near $103 as Libya conflict escalates

Oil prices rose to near $103 a barrel Friday as Libyan government and rebel forces dug in amid fierce fighting while protests restarted in the capital Tripoli, raising investor fears of protracted oil output cuts.

Russian oil production levels close to record

Russian oil production is near the post-Soviet record set last October, and could soon overtake it.

Output of 10.23 million barrels per day (bpd) last month was 0.2 per cent higher than in January and 1.5 per cent higher than in February last year, according to the latest government data.

That approaches the 10.27 million bpd pumped in October, a month in which Russian production is less prone to weather-related disruptions.

Norway Oil Drillers Hit Record Dry Spell as Reserves Wane

Statoil ASA and Eni SpA are among companies with plans to drill a record number of wells in Norway’s far north this year to help the world’s second-largest gas exporter to sustain output. So far, they’ve struck out.

Richards Bay Coal Terminal Shipments Declined 7.4% in February

RBCT, whose owners include BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Anglo American Plc (AAL), said in January that first-quarter exports will be affected by train derailments following heavy rains. The reduced rail service forced coal suppliers to tap stockpiles, which shrank to 1.7 million tons at the end of 2010 from 2.98 million tons on Nov. 30.

Hydropower ‘Stealing’ Share From Natural Gas

U.S. natural gas prices are poised to extend their longest-ever decline as heavier-than-normal rainfall boosts hydropower generation from plants in the Pacific Northwest, cutting demand for gas-fired electricity.

Oil shock could push world food prices higher

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Food prices worldwide continued to rise in February, and the recent spike in oil prices could push food costs even higher in the months ahead, according to a report from the United Nations.

Should the United States tap its oil reserves as crude rises?

As it released its monthly consumer outlook index today, Royal Bank of Canada said that one in every three consumers in the United States has already cut back on discretionary spending because of the increase in prices at the gas pump.

Gas prices are going lower. Really

So long as oil supplies from the Persian Gulf remain relatively undisrupted -- and most analysts think they will -- there's a strong case that gas prices could fall 25 to 75 cents a gallon from their current perch of $3.43.

"I'm not buying into this," Addison Armstrong, director of market research at the brokerage Tradition Energy, said of the domino theory in the Middle East.

Oil price surge not a recovery killer

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — The sudden surge in oil prices in response to turmoil in Northern Africa and the Middle East has shocked the stock market out of its winter carnival, but a new, oil-led bear market is not on the horizon.

Thailand Raises Retail Diesel Subsidy While Considering Increasing Prices

Thailand’s government increased its diesel subsidy to oil companies by 0.5 baht (2 cents) per liter, which will deplete the state oil fund soon, Energy Minister Wannarat Charnnukul said.

The government will need to seek other measures, including raising pump prices or decreasing excise taxes, Wannarat told reporters in Bangkok today.

Black days

Political uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have sent crude oil prices soaring. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Higher oil prices, if not cushioned, pose the biggest threat to South Africa’s economic growth

MSPs demand action to curb rising price of petrol

MSPs last night took a stand against rising petrol prices, backing an SNP motion calling on Chancellor George Osborne to scrap next month’s fuel duty increase.

The debate came as a petition was handed into Downing Street and the pressure builds on the Coalition not to increase VAT on fuel next month.

Costs of revolution paid for at the bowser

Early signs were missed and by the time a second opinion confirmed long incubating unease, the prognosis was the revolt that unseated dictators in Tunisia and Egypt and is embroiling Libya's Muammar Gaddafi in a violent last stand.

So far, an energy-dependent world has comforted itself with the perception - perhaps delusion - that Saudi Arabia is the most benign of Middle East autocracies, partly because disruption there does not bear contemplating. The Saudis control one-fifth of known oil reserves and supply one-tenth of the nearly 87 million barrels the world consumes daily.

Oil crunch inevitable as Arab world revolt intensifies

SAUDI ARABIA'S Tadawul stock index has tumbled 11 per cent in wild trading over the past two days, led by banks and insurers. Dubai's bourse has hit a seven-year low.

The sell-off was triggered by the arrest of a Shiite cleric in the kingdom's Eastern Province after he called for democratic reforms and a constitutional monarchy. The province is home to Saudi Arabia's aggrieved Shiite minority and also holds the vast Ghawar oilfield.

BP-Reliance deal may encourage others

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – BP's $7.2-billion deal to jump into India's oil and gas sector with Reliance Industries is the first sign of new investment that could attract more players, helping to boost output and meet surging demand.

Total signs $4bn Russian gas deal

The French oil group Total plans to acquire almost a fifth of Russia's biggest independent gas producer and will join a large project to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from western Siberia.

Afghan oil and gas sector opens

Afghanistan is seeking bidders for oil and gas exploration and production concessions in its Amu Darya Basin, the country's first move in four decades to open its hydrocarbon sector to international investment.

Philippines sends warplanes near disputed islands

The Philippine military deployed two warplanes near a disputed area in the South China Sea after a ship searching for oil complained it was harassed by two Chinese patrol boats, officials said Thursday.

The Chinese vessels later left without confrontation, said Philippine military commander Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban.

Saudi Arabia Must Keep Pumping Oil for Stability

It’s been more than a week since youthful Saudi Arabian demonstrators bucked the regional trend and cheered their ruler, celebrating his return to the kingdom from medical treatment abroad. Saudi Arabia remains relatively calm in a Middle East burning with revolutionary fervor.

All is not well in the desert kingdom, however, despite the respect many Saudis feel toward the frail 86-year-old they call the Custodian of the Two Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud.

Baker Hughes to take 1Q hit from Libya unrest

Oilfield-services provider Baker Hughes Inc. said Thursday that unrest in oil-producing countries and cold weather in North America disrupted operations and will reduce first-quarter earnings.

London ship insurers add Libya to high-risk list

LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) - London's marine insurance market has added Libya to a list of areas deemed high risk as violence escalates in Africa's third-largest oil producer, a senior market official said on Friday.

Qaddafi Strikes Rebels in West Libya; Battles Rage in Oil Ports

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi sent troops to recapture towns in western Libya and prepared to quash protests in the capital, Tripoli, as rebels fought for control of oil ports on the country’s central and eastern coastal strip.

Clashes in Misrata, a town about 90 miles (150 kilometers) east of Tripoli that was under opposition control, left at least 33 people dead and 120 injured, Al Arabiya television said, citing a witness. Government troops attacked Zawiyah, west of Tripoli and the nearest rebel-held town, and in the capital security forces set up checkpoints and searched cars before Friday prayers, the Associated Press reported.

'Comrade' Chavez proffers mediation role

LONDON: Muammar Gaddafi and Hugo Chavez are old comrades in the struggle against imperialism and American hegemony, but the Libyan leader has probably never before been in such dire need of solidarity and help from his Venezuelan friend.

Witnesses: Security forces kill 2 in Yemen protests

Harf Sofyan, Yemen (CNN) -- Security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters in northern Yemen on Friday morning, killing two people and injuring nine others, witnesses said.

The forces fired into the protesters in Harf Sufyan city to try and disperse them, witnesses said. Three army planes flying over the crowd also attacked the protesters, witnesses said.

More than 100 killed in disputed Sudan region

JUBA, Sudan (AP) — Southern Sudanese officials have blamed the north's military for attacks that killed more than 100 people this week around a disputed town between north and south Sudan.

Iraqi forces use water cannon to disperse protests

BASRA, Iraq -Iraqi security forces used water cannon and batons to disperse protesters in the southern oil hub of Basra on Friday as thousands of Iraqis rallied around the nation against corrupt officials and poor basic services.

Demonstrations against a shortage of jobs, electricity, water and other basic services have been rising as Iraqis demand reforms.

Cash can be key to quelling dissent

As unrest roils in the Middle East, some regional leaders have turned to what has worked in the past to quiet the masses: payoffs.

Rulers of countries such as Bahrain, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have pledged incentives such as lower food prices and increased wages or offered cash payments to help insulate their ruling families from the protests sweeping through the region.

Chinese activists disappear amid calls for protests

BEIJING — Chinese human rights activists have been disappearing ever since a mysterious call went out on the Internet for a "Jasmine Revolution" similar to the uprisings against authoritarian regimes in the Middle East — a call that was made again this week.

China Turns to Turkmen Natural Gas as Gazprom Seeks Price, Pipeline Deal

China is turning to Turkmenistan for more gas as Russia’s OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest producer, has yet to agree on prices and pipeline routes with Asia’s fastest-growing market.

TNK will meet with BP to discuss Rosneft Arctic deal

British Petroleum confirmed to the BBC that it will be attending a board meeting with the Anglo-Russian oil firm TNK-BP in Berlin on Friday. This was rescheduled after BP failed to attend a week ago.

Top of the agenda are plans for TNK-BP to join BP's Arctic exploration pact with Rosneft, the state-controlled oil firm.

The Inuit prepare to defend their rights

WHEN in the Arctic, you should at least treat your host well. Royal Dutch Shell, an oil giant, had to learn this the hard way when planning to drill exploration wells in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska a couple of years ago. The firm had spent $84m on offshore leases and had satisfied regulators. But it failed to win over the Inupiat, an Inuit group. They worried that icebreakers and drill ships would hurt the bowhead whales on which they depend. Their leaders and environmental groups sued American regulators for not following a 1970 law on environmental impacts. This allowed them to wrest a number of concessions from Shell, including a commitment to stop all offshore operations during the bowhead migration and hunt, should drilling ever proceed.

Shell seeks to soothe S.African fears on shale gas plans

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said Thursday a controversial plan to exploit natural gas in South Africa will only start in 2013 as it sought to soothe fears over the environmental impact.

"Our approach (is) based on the philosophy of no harm to people and no harm to the environment," Shell's general manager for new venture execution, Graham Tiley, told journalists in Johannesburg.

Pressure Limits Efforts to Police Drilling for Gas

When Congress considered whether to regulate more closely the handling of wastes from oil and gas drilling in the 1980s, it turned to the Environmental Protection Agency to research the matter. E.P.A. researchers concluded that some of the drillers’ waste was hazardous and should be tightly controlled.

But that is not what Congress heard. Some of the recommendations concerning oil and gas waste were eliminated in the final report handed to lawmakers in 1987.

“It was like the science didn’t matter,” Carla Greathouse, the author of the study, said in a recent interview. “The industry was going to get what it wanted, and we were not supposed to stand in the way.”

Federal Officials Say They’ll Examine Fracking Practices

Testifying before Congress on Thursday, Obama administration officials said they planned to scrutinize the waste disposal practices of natural gas producers after reports that drilling wastewater containing radioactive material was being dumped in public waters without proper monitoring or treatment.

Panelists talk pros, cons of Marcellus shale drilling

FROSTBURG — The conversation almost stayed civil Wednesday night.

About 150 people gathered at the Palace Theatre to hear two panelists discuss the pros and cons of drilling for natural gas in Western Maryland’s portion of the Marcellus shale.

‘Major victories for pipeline safety’

New solutions are needed to improve safety of natural gas pipelines beneath neighborhoods, federal investigators said at the end of a three-day hearing on the Sept. 9 fatal blast in San Bruno.

BP won't give bonuses to Gulf managers

LONDON (AP) — Oil giant BP says it isn't paying bonuses for 2010 to company executives who had responsibility for operations in the Gulf of Mexico, including former Chief Executive Tony Hayward and former head of exploration and production Andy Inglis.

Airfares likely to keep rising with price of oil

NEW YORK — After a slump caused by the recession the travel industry is booming again, but any rebound could be threatened by a fuel-price rise, travel experts said.

AAA praises fuel-efficient tech and inflatable seat belts

"It's seamless," says John Nielsen, AAA's director of auto repair and buying. "Nobody will know it's there. The engine turns off when the vehicle stops, but the air conditioner and power steering are still run by electric motors. It takes nothing away from driving the car." He says the technology provides a 3% to 8% increase in fuel economy, with the greatest savings coming in stop-and-go city driving.

Emissions Trading Contributes to the Spread of Electric Vehicles in Estonia

(JCN Newswire) - Mitsubishi Corporation has concluded an agreement with the Estonian Government to purchase 10 million tons of emissions rights. Under the terms of this contract, MC will also be providing 507 electric vehicles, manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors, as well as support with regard to quick charging technology, a field in which Japan is a leading player. These activities will support the Estonian Government's goal of realizing an electric vehicle society.

Chinese solar producers bid for African business

Chinese solar power producers are trying to attract more clients in Africa, where nearly two-thirds of the population lives off the electric grid.

UK facing 1970s-style oil shock which could cost economy £45bn – Huhne

Britain is facing a 1970s-style oil price shock that could cost the UK economy £45bn over two years, the climate and energy secretary, Chris Huhne, is expected to warn in his first intervention on the issue since the start of Middle East political crisis.

Chris Huhne sets out his plan to get UK off 'oil hook'

Getting the UK off the "oil hook" will make the country's economy more secure and stable, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has said.

In a speech setting out plans for the move away from a dependence on fossil fuels, he said "it would be crazy" not to prepare for a low-carbon future.

U.S. Security Depends on Energy Innovation

WASHINGTON — Future U.S. security may depend upon energy innovations that reduce dependence upon foreign oil. But the former Silicon Valley entrepreneur who heads the U.S. government's advanced-energy initiative said clean-energy technologies also will represent the biggest business opportunity in the coming decades.

Libya's Revolution Offers a Second Chance for Clean Energy

The oil price spike of 2008 was quickly forgotten in the haze of economic recession, but Libya's revolution could put innovation back on track.

Can nuclear power save Japan from peak oil?

If the recent proclamations from various bodies, including the International Energy Agency, about our close proximity to the peak in world oil production are true, then Japan may be sitting on the equivalent of an energy security time bomb.

Maybe selling off government-owned fossil-fuel infrastructure isn’t such a bad idea

Walker's not alone in his inclination to sell off public infrastructure; for the past several years, budget-strapped governors and mayors all around the country have been trying to unload their roads, ports, and even parking meters for a temporary budget fix.

The time machine of the 1960s

So, one of Forrester's students took up the task of making a big model of the whole world for the Club of Rome. His name was Dennis Meadows. At that time he wasn't a student any more, he was 28 years old, but he was young anyway. And so the research called "The Limits to Growth" was started. Dennis Meadows collected a group of young people and they started modeling the whole world for a future that spanned more than 100 years, up to the end of the 21st century. I am sure that they were absolutely thrilled by the challenge. I am sure that all of you would be thrilled. It was an incredible chance: use the computer as if it were a time machine and explore the future of the world! In the past few years, I have had the chance of meeting some of the people who worked on that project in person. Now, of course, they are in their 60s or 70s; but they maintain a lot of enthusiasm for these studies. The had the chance to see how their scenarios have fared over almost 40 years of comparison with the real world. As I said, we are all time travelers.

So, what did they find with their virtual time machine? The results are described in a book titled "The Limits of Growth" which was published in 1972, almost 40 years ago. Today, if you heard about that study, you probably heard that it was all wrong. That it was a flawed study based on wrong data and that it had predicted that the world should have ended - maybe - in the 1990s and that, of course, didn't happen. Or, if you never heard about it, you may wonder why - if it was so new and important.

From toilets to tap: How we get tap water from sewage

SINGAPORE — This island nation is aggressively promoting a solution to the water scarcity that vexes countries worldwide: recycling toilet water to drink.

It's an idea that many people find revolting. But, in Singapore at least, the nearly 5 million residents largely seem to have accepted it as necessary.

Federal Jury in Utah Convicts Environmentalist

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man who infiltrated a sale of federal energy leases in December 2008 to protest United States policies about climate change was found guilty by a jury on Thursday of disrupting a government auction and faces up to 10 years in prison.

NASA: Rocket probably in ocean after failed launch

Glory was launched on a three-year mission to analyze how airborne particles affect Earth's climate. Besides monitoring particles in the atmosphere, it will also track solar radiation to determine the sun's effect on climate change.

Emerging economies urged to tackle emissions responsibly

Japan on Wednesday urged emerging economies whose emissions of greenhouse gases have been on the rise to "play a responsible role" in the global fight against climate change, stressing the need to establish "a truly fair and effective international framework" to curb global warming.

Carbon tax no climate cure-all: Lomborg

CARBON taxes can do little to change global warming, controversial Danish political scientist Bjørn Lomborg said in Australia this week, but it could fund a genuine solution.

In Dr Lomborg's view, that solution lies in the ubiquitous availability of cheap green energy.

Norway says to widen carbon capture technology hunt

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway will consider a wider range of technologies for a long-delayed flagship carbon capture project to avoid health worries from chemicals in the original plan, the government said on Friday. Environmentalists have strongly criticised Oslo for delays in the project designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the Mongstad oil refinery on the west coast, and have accused its operator Statoil of reluctance to invest.

Here's how the Arctic will look by the end of this century

According to the study, by the end of the century, the annual average surface temperature in Arctic regions is projected to increase by 5.6 to 9.5 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the greenhouse gas emission scenarios.

The projected redistributions of climate types differ regionally; in northern Europe and Alaska, the warming may cause more rapid expansion of temperate climate types than in other places, suggested the study.

Climate change 'will bring drought, not rain, to East Africa'

[NAIROBI] East African environmental specialists have questioned new research that concludes that that climate change will bring increased drought, rather than more rain, to the region.

Thom Hartmann: Corporations Are Fueling Our Peak Oil Crisis

In this ninth video in the series “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate” from The Nation and On The Earth Productions, radio and television host and author of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight Thom Hartmann talks about ways we can all help combat global warming. Speaking from the grounds of Wisconsin's 2010 Fight Bob Fest, Hartmann insists that Americans need to change the way we live if we are going to save the planet, and the first step has to be getting active in the political process.

He believes the weather's "global weirding" will be the thing most people notice first about our changing climate: tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and vanishing freshwater glaciers are extreme enough that they should eventually force people to adapt and take action.

But for Hartmann, who also wrote Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became People—And How You Can Fight Back, the most critical fact we must face is that "the unholy alliance of corporation and government is every bit as destructive as the alliance of church and state was perceived to be two hundred years ago." We have to to fight back against the corporate capture of government, Hartmann says, because the companies profiting off our addiction to oil are doing everything in their power to keep us on our destructive course.

Good morning, Starshines! Oh, how I missed you yesterday!

First things first: a huge shout out to Leanan for all the hard work you put into these. It truly is appreciated! And of course Gail, Euan, Chris Vernon, Nate Hagens, and all the others. Keep doing what you do.

Second, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out (for those who missed it the first time around, or rather, who missed it when it became flooded in the deluge) that there’s a HUGE debate going on right now between yours truly and one Michael C. Lynch, re: Peak Oil. If you’ve got two cents, now would be a good time to toss it in.

If you don’t, well, whatever you can spare, even if it’s just a positive thought or two you can send this way on a gorgeous day like this one. It’s happening right here:


Oh yeah, he also put down an ad hominem against TOD, so it’s personal this time. Well, what can I say, I didn’t start it! But we’re about to finish it…westexas, ROCKMAN, Heading Out, I’m looking in your direction!

Say, whatever happened to Alan Drake anyway? I’m sorry I didn’t make the best first impression on him, he seems like a really great guy. A pity he doesn’t post here much anymore. Ah well, he’s still lurking around here somewhere, I’m sure. Alan, this one’s for you:


Peace and Love,


p.s. Tell him to pick on someone his own size! Well, you know what they say. It ain’t the size of the dog…

It's quite interesting that Lynch refers to the theory of gravity, because what he is arguing is equivalent to saying that one day gravity will be reversed and apples will fall upward.

As for the theory of evolution, it reminds me of the classic day when, as an inquiring young and highly annoying kid, I brought a dinosaur bone to Sunday School and asked the teachers how it got there. It wasn't covered in the Sunday School literature, which I had read end-to-end, so I wanted to know how it happened.

This was the advantage of living close to the future location of what would become the largest museum of paleontology in world, mainly because there were dinosaur bones lying all over the landscape. The teachers told me to shut up and not ask any questions like that again, from which I deduced they didn't have any answers.

In any case, like my Sunday School teachers, Lynch is denying the obvious.

Well, what more can I say, really. Some people just never were very good at the whole reality thing.

Thanks, always good to know you folks over here got my back if I need it.

The teachers told me to shut up and not ask any questions like that again, from which I deduced they didn't have any answers.

Rocky, that reminds me of an incident that happened when I was about 17 or so. (I have told this story here before but I am sure most here today have not heard it, so I will tell it again.)

My dad was sitting in his favorite easy chair reading a detective magazine. I sidled up to him, very hesitantly and asked in the southern drawl I spoke back then, "Dad, how did them thar kangroos git from Australia to over thar where Noah's Ark wuz, and how did they git back?" Dad jumped to his feet, stuck his finger right in my face and said: "Son, that is the word of God and that is not for you to question."

Needless to say I did not ask my Dad any more religious questions.

Ron P.

I think discussions with the likes of Mike Lynch are Wasted Breathe

As Step Back said of "official sources" like the EIA, CERA etc - "they are talking past us." Now that these clown brigades are becoming less and less attached to reality, they will become less and less relevent.

So maybe it is time We talk past Them.

Like the financial world, the "official sources" (IEA, EIA,CERA, etc) in the energy world used models and pRoJectIons based on assumptions that did not exist, do not exist, and will not exist in the real world.

And like the financial world, the "official sources" for the energy industry will be screaming, "No body saw this coming."

We should just keep talking past them on sites like TOD, EB, The Nation, etc. It looks like the insurance industry is already talking past them, we should too.

Half of me agrees, although the other half says people like this guy are still getting published in places like the New York Times, and I still see very little coverage of the real issue in serious papers (not meant as a dig at TOD, but it would be great to get more into the papers of record so people start taking serious issues seriously). Perhaps that will change, or is changing. But I don't really see where we get by just insulating and "talking amongst ourselves" - it seems that's been the strategy for years, and it hasn't really worked out the way it needs to be working.

Well, that, and the fact that his arguments are absurdly easy to answer. Especially when you have teachers like Heading Out, ROCKMAN, westexas, Nate Hagens, Gail the Actuary, and the like. As long as I don't spend more than 15-20 minutes on each response, I don't feel like that much energy is wasted on it. You all go ahead and do the heavy lifting; I'll just deliver the message home to the lightweights :)

Hi Wasted, I like your website. Good luck delivering the message.

Thanks, Extract. By the by, I want to get his little friend, colleague, and fellow ostrich Danny Yergin involved in this discussion.

I left a message on their website, but I want to know how to get in touch with him directly. If anyone has his cell phone number or anything like that, please do pass it along to me at:

jeremy dot abramowitz at gmail dot com.

I largely agree with Aardvark on this one.

Not unlike the WTO and other such international meetings that so many of us have stood outside of, yelling to get our points through the barricades and walls, it seems that we should go to ASPO, go to the World Social Forum or whatever group we prefer, and let it become THEM who are 'not at the table'.

We have to discredit their table.. show that it's not one that's even worth talking at.

I don't disparage your taking him on, however.. we do have to have answers to their ludicrous positions, and it's no flaw to keep the claws sharp. Just don't let it take up your life, trying to do that debate, I'd say.


Just don't let it take up your life, trying to do that debate, I'd say.


I have been accused of being a concern troll before, but that line takes the cake.

You don't realize how defeating those kinds of statements are to people that actually put a decent effort into their work.

Webby, the decent efforts you put into your work were well worth it for many of us - and will be well worth it for those waking late, who look to disprove Lynch-myths for themselves.

But, as T.H. Huxley said of creationism, "Life is too short to occupy oneself with the slaying of the slain more than once."

"To demolish once more the legend of the Flood, or the literal truth of the Creation myth, in which a multitude of scholars and critics and educated people generally had ceased to believe, was not an otiose slaying of the slain. It made people think of the wider question involved." -- Leonard Huxley

This will make you look up the word 'otiose'

It's tricky drawing the line right on that balancing act.. I tried to put both sides of the coin into the statement, but I guess it still came out poorly.

There is surely a vital need to challenge the ignorance with patient and persistent lessons, and to pound against the self-assured obfuscitators with open and well-built challenges.

I guess I'm really just trying to say that we also have to put some other parts of the battle at places of OUR choosing, and these back/forths with guys like Lynch seems to be playing on their fields. There are big parts of this that don't have to be about them and their misinformation and their scenery. If the scenery is due for a change anyway, why are we still getting Nametags to play this scene on Stage Four?

But there are jobs for many different Battalions here. We won't all be fighting in the same field.

This is an interesting quote from Lynch posted to WastedEnergy's site:

And I will pose a question to you that I posed to Matt Simmons: peak oil would be the biggest economic development in decades, and probably the most important thing affecting the oil industry since oil was found in Bahrain in the 1930s. And yet, it is largely ignored: industry conferences, professional meetings, geologists, reservoir engineers, etc., and paying almost no attention to this issue. Why is that?

That point is definitely true. Not one of the professional or academic disciplines treats the peak oil topic seriously. I have looked myself and can't find much.
Why do they ignore the issue?

1. Do they not understand it? (doubtful)
2. Do they not have the insight to quantify it? (possibly)
3. Are they instructed to avoid the topic? (possibly)

I think it is a matter of 2 and 3, and that gives me a rationalization for writing extensively on the topic. If no one is writing about it and it is possible that they have no idea on how to attack the problem, that is a good opening for me.

I think this subject is a vacuum, completely void of ideas, and we all know how much nature abhors a vacuum.

4. paraphrasing Upton Sinclair:" It's hard to get someone to believe something when he is paid to not believe it"

A decrease in energy supplies violates underlying assumptions of our entire culture. People simply can't imagine that "science" won't solve a problem that has been solved so many times in the past. e.g."The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones". an similar such blather.

Yes, and this is just another reason for someone to clean up on a deep analysis. Apparently, no one is willing to delve into topics that could result in unpleasant outcomes.

Yet, this does not explain why the climate science field is filled with researchers willing to explore that territory. That has never made sense to me. They aren't paid to believe it or disbelieve it; they apparently just do the research. What is so complicated about that and why doesn't anyone do oil depletion research to the comprehensive depth that climate scientists tackle their subject? No answer to that one, unless they all say it is blindingly obvious.

But if we simply rely on assertions, then we give Michael Lynch a hole that he can drive a train through. All he has to say is that making assertions isn't science, and he wins the argument by default. You just have to watch how the climate skeptics pay the game of gotcha to see how this works.

Most investigate climate because there is money to do such studies. In oil, the money is in finding it and producing it, not studying the patterns of its existence.

Most investigate climate because there is money to do such studies. In oil, the money is in finding it and producing it, not studying the patterns of its existence.

RIGHT! And that is what drives me crazy. I don't think the money for climate science is coming from a huge, shadowy renewable energy industry. It is mainly governmental funds and usually no strings get attached to the research outcome.

It's a chicken-and-egg problem. Once the money is there, the scientists will start looking at it. The US government has never funded this effort to my knowledge, apart from some USGS things and perhaps the Hirsch report.

And for myself, I don't need any funding. The research discipline of oil depletion is such a vast expanse of vacuum, I can spend lots of spare time looking at this without ever worrying about someone covering the same territory. A very bizarre situation IMO.

I find it bitterly ironic that those who don't believe in science - evolution is a fraud, peak oil is an unsupported theory, anthropomorphic climate change isn't happening, global warming is probably a good thing, water shortages around the globe are not a serious problem, capitalism and technology can provide food production for a rapidly growing population, etc. - believe that science will save us "if" there are problems.

Not one of the professional or academic disciplines treats the peak oil topic seriously

1st off you have to determine "who is a professional" Is it anyone who's paid? Someone with a string of letters or a pile of papers that says "s/he is a pro"?

Most 'professionals' get to where they are by staying withing due bounds and not rocking the boat.

Peak Oil rocks the boat of the living model of $5 and $10 barrels brought man. Peak Oil means the input of energy which has allowed a debt based money system to grow will stop and that will mean an end to "growth" via the input of energy model humans have had.

You forget 4. Is my "profession" no longer viable with an end to the cheap energy model? Most professions won't do well at the end of cheap energy. And really, look at most professions. How many of the people making a living at 'em are REALLY good or talented at their job? How many are just marking time or actually bad? If every firm hired only the best, why do large firms keep screwing things up?

Industry conferences, professional meetings, geologists, reservoir engineers, ..... etc., and [none] paying attention to this issue. Why is that?

Funny he should mention that.

I personally have been to a number of conferences, professional meetings, gatherings, ... etc.

OK. So they weren't oil industry meetings. Just regular people kind of meetings.
And at almost none of those meeting did somebody mention this topic:


Why is that?

Granted that some people may have heard of this so called theory. But surely it can't be true that we all die because, if indeed it was true, then why heck; everybody would be talking about it all the time and all over the place. It stands to reason.

Therefore the deafening silence about this topic is proof positive and logical that it can't be true. Death doesn't happen. Ha.


(It's pathetic that I have to expressly tell some here that this is sarcasm. But then again, if you think on it, "Peak Oil" is the death of the oil business. And probably that is the number one reason that no one wants to spoil a party by bringing that unpleasant topic to the dinner table.)

I agree no one brings up taboo topics like that.

For some reason, scientists have decided that oil depletion is a matter for economists, not scientists. Ken Deffeyes is a notable exception.

Which is why econophysics does a yeoman's job in explaining economics; it applies ideas from science to economics.

I agree with you that Lynch has some clout, but I disagree that all his arguments are easy to answer.

Number one, you can't argue some challenge by bringing up a heuristic to rest your case against. A heuristic is only describing what is happening from the current data and has no real predictive value. That is Lynch's point and it is actually quite a clever one from a both rhetorical and dialectic perspective. Not one of the old guard of peak oil analysts have more than heuristics to build a case around.

So what you do is actually put some real thought behind the argument and you rely on something more than heuristics. Lynch's entire argument supporting reserve growth is based on no one having a conceptual explanation of reserve growth and specifically that a simple model of reserve growth can even be made. Once this model (with clear asymptotic limits to growth) is made available then he doesn't have his argument anymore.

Believe me, climate skeptics will rip apart climate scientists on slimmer errors than peak oil people have gotten away with over the years. And it is just going to get worse as our situation deepens. It is playing out very predictably, IMO.

Good point. WHT, I may need to spend a little time today doing my homework properly to deliver the death blow. So far, we are just kitty cats playing with their prey. You've got the numbers. They are out there elsewhere too. We can have back and forth until the cows walk down stairs, but sooner or later you gotta play that ace in the hole. Mathematical proof is irrefutable.

I want to thank you for the post and the terrific interchange between you and Lynch. It is a credit to your writing that he even bothered to respond. After all, he writes this stuff for big money and responding to you hardly paid. That says that he is truly challanged by your writing, so Congratulations!

That said I thought he was a pretty good debater. I was glad to see his reasoning and respected the points he made (pretty effectively refuted by you )

Keep up the good work.


Congratulations in luring Lynch from his lair. I have this notion that Lynch only engages with those who haven't put in place any of the concepts of theory that a mention of "peak oil theory" would require.

So he brings out the idea that nothing stands behind peak oil theory.

Then he launches into the lack of reserve growth considerations.

These are all very predictable responses from Lynch and is why I included an entire chapter on arguing with Lynch (specifically) and other cornucopians in The Oil ConunDrum. I have both these counter-arguments (lack of theory and reserve growth considerations) laid out.

I doubt very much that Lynch will challenge anything I have written, primarily because he will not want to call attention to it -- my arguments are all based on fundamental principles, i.e. real theory if you will -- and then he will also realize that I have all the ground covered that he has problems with.

BTW, I have battled Lynch over at peakoil.com a few years ago, and now that I have all the arguments written down, I would challenge him again. Alas, I don't think he will. As you can see, he is very predictable.

Thanks, WHT. Coming from you, I take that as quite the compliment. And thank you for the link as well.

I received an e-mail from him this morning and he has promised me another response. I have also asked him for The Yergin's contact information - might as well kill two little birds with one claw while we're at it.

Re: Rising Gas Prices Hit Home (uptop)

Didn't some folks a few years ago warn us about the impact of rising oil prices on the 'burbs? (The 2004 video, "End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream")

Incidentally, the entire video is now available on Youtube and elsewhere:


I've never understood why there isn't a lucritive market for bus companies to come in and ferry commuters en-mass. They could offer perks like internet connectivity, USB charge points etc...so people can now work as they travel - lots of huge benefits as I see it including saving $K's a year on fuel.

How many people can you get in a big double decker coach these days? Image that many less vehicles on the road. It would be a dream for everyone.

I'm not advocating saving the Burbs for the sake of it but this seems the obvious next step.

Perhaps those of outside the US don't understand the psyche of the people wanting to use their own cars.


Way back when, I lived and worked in Frankfurt, Germany which had a fantastic public transportation system including the U Bahn which stopped about 25 steps from our office. I was one of the few Americans who rode the bus and U Bahn to work, including giving up my car for a bicycle. Almost all the other Americans drove to work even though it was a total hassle compared to public trans. I even had a boss who had never been downtown even though the U Bahn took ten minutes from the office to get there. She was afraid of mingling with the people even though the vast majority of the people on public trans were middle class and upscale people.

Yes, a major problem is that most U.S. cities don't have very good public trans systems but I am not sure if it would make much difference if they had great systems.

I am not sure that even ten dollar gas would be enough to get the fat asses out of the private vehicles.

And notice how SUV sales have zoomed up lately as if we never had an oil shock a couple of years ago. Seems like hardly anyone is concerned about 4 dollar gas, the new normal.

Is the rise in oil prices due to speculation or fundamental supply & demand?

That is the debate now. One of the TOD contributors, Charles Mackay, has argued that if you look at tanker movements(something which OPEC themselves use in their stats) then
the Saudis have not, I repeat, have not increased exports.
See his comment here: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7589#comment-772354

One small update from Reuters(via the Guardian liveblog) shows that this is true. This is what they had to say:

The news agency reports that the offices of Harouge Oil Operations in Ras Lanuf were looted after being abandoned on Saturday

Oil sources told Reuters that Harrouge and another Ras Lanuf exporter have not been exporting for several days. The fall in production has led to spiralling oil prices.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/mar/05/libya-protests-gaddafi-...

Taken together, the failure of the Saudis to increase exports, and the oil insider's claim that the rise in oil prices is directly due to the loss of oil production and not speculation or what-have-you, then that means we will face much higher oil prices very soon.

Now, some might object and say "well of course Libya affects the oil price, nobody has claimed otherwise". Well, if you actually look at the mainstream message being put out in the MSM then you will read that the Saudi's have essentially taken care of it. But they haven't. So the loss in Libyan production is a direct hit that is unlikely to be mitigated soon.

And it also, once again, casts shadows on the claim that the Saudis have 5 mb/d or so in excess capacity.

And add to this the attacked refinery in Iraq, the planned takedown of 400,000 bpd in Angola in April and increased demand(last year IEA revised their stats three times on their demand predictions) and they've already revised it upwards once this year, and it's likely to continue.

The question is not if it happens this year but how soon and how serious. And will we climb out, albeit temporarily, or is this it?

Thanks. As you may know, since about February 21, I've been posting that KSA has not increased exports and has, in fact, reduced or plans to reduce exports from about mid-February to mid-March. However there will be some pick up in exports about March 15, but at best, it will only be a fraction of what is being lost from Libya. Actually KSA claimed, at best, they would only make up 700,000 bpd - while losses in Libya are probably now exceeding 1,000,000 bpd.

Iran has now reduced its floating storage from about 10,000,000 barrels to 4,000,000 barrels over the last month or two, so they have filled in the Libya gap some - but can only do so until they run out.

In addition to possible upcoming problems from Algeria, it doesn't look like the upcoming split of north and south Sudan is going to go smoothly.

Get it going and make a bundle

Was surprised to see a city bus stop by my neighborhood and disgorge a nicely dressed late-middle-aged passenger who promptly headed in. Once before I'd seen somebody jump out of the bus and into a waiting car, but this was the first walk-then-bus I'd seen here.

This is somewhat unusual given that (a) it's a quintessential suburb and (b) there is no bus route on this street.

I knew there was a single bus route through this suburb, with connections to a couple of other city routes. After a bit of checking, I learned that the bus will deviate to pick up and drop off on request, but only with one day notice. For the scurry of life with kids, this might be difficult, but for seniors with more time than money it could be a very good thing. I believe seniors can ride free.

Every bus does include a bike rack, and there is a loaner bike program. The standard route covers two Walmarts, Target, and passes all grocery stores except one. Both medical center areas are accessible -- one on the route, the other via a connection. About half the educational facilities are covered. Routes run about 7-5. All in all, not great, but not too shabby.

One would hope that as gas gets more expensive, such public transit would grow. Alas, city funding is down, and routes have been cut since 2008.

One would hope that as gas gets more expensive, such public transit would grow. Alas, city funding is down, and routes have been cut since 2008.

Considering its size, the smallish Midwestern city where I live has a very good bus system (actually two systems, one operated by the city and another by the local university). Back in 2008, high gas prices led to increased ridership, but they actually had to cut back bus service because the increased revenues were more than offset by higher fuel costs.

At that time, the city bus system reported getting 29 passenger miles per gallon of diesel. My car has an EPA rating of 26 MPG city, so when I drive alone, I'm doing almost as well as the city buses. Actually, I'm probably doing at least as well, considering that when I drive my routes are fairly direct, whereas if I rode the bus I might end up going miles out of my way, depending on the routes, so my useful passenger miles per gallon are higher than they would be on the bus. If I drive with at least one passenger, my passenger miles per gallon beat the city buses by a wide margin.

Of course if I rode the bus I could help our transit system raise its PMG by a smidgen, but for now I'm hanging onto my car keys.

From wiki:

A diesel bus commuter service in Santa Barbara, CA, USA found average diesel bus efficiency of 6.0 mpg-US (39 L/100 km; 7.2 mpg-imp) (using MCI 102DL3 buses). With all 55 seats filled this equates to 330 passenger-mpg, with 70% filled the efficiency would be 231 passenger-mpg.[38] At the typical average passenger load of 9 people, the efficiency is only 54 passenger-mpg and could be half of this figure when many stops are made in urban routes.

Now lets assume that average ridership is now much higher due to TSHTF and far more people taking the bus then clearly you have the potential to achieve 300+ passenger MPG.

This is probably why society doesn't desreve to be saved. Becasue the answers are so simple and staring at us right in the face, but we'll just hang onto our keys thanks!!


Now lets assume that average ridership is now much higher due to TSHTF and far more people taking the bus then clearly you have the potential to achieve 300+ passenger MPG.

That assumes a near 100% load factor on every trip, though. I could equally well argue that my car, rated at 26 MPG city, has the potential to achieve 130 passenger MPG, as all it would require is that I take four passengers with me everywhere I go. However, that ain't gonna happen.

I'm guessing that a transit system approaches rush hour saturation at overall load factors way under 100%, because the buses (or trains) run full at rush hour but with far fewer passengers at off-peak times. One of my eccentric hobbies is to peer into the windows of our local buses as they go by to see how full or empty they are. Well, sometimes they're full, but a lot of the time they're nearly empty.

To get back to the case of Homestead FL, I wonder if a slightly more feasible answer to the personal problem of a costly 30-mile commute is not to hope that somebody is able to make a fabulous profit by putting in a transit system (because I don't think that's gonna happen either), but to ditch the Ford F-150's in favor of something a bit more economical. That this has not happened already suggests a diffferent possible reason why society doesn't deserve to be saved.

but to ditch the Ford F-150's in favor of something a bit more economical.

The new Ford F150 pickup with the ecoboost V6 engine of 345 HP is rated at 25 miles per gallon. There are a LOT of production cars from all makers today that get a lot worse gas mileage than that!

Your big problem is getting our elected Federal Gov + their hired bureaucrats to learn a little basic math so that they will quit banning things like the European Ford Fiesta that gets 60+ miles per gallon and mandating we in the USA can only buy the USA version that gets 38 MPG. It seems that everyone in government (correctly?) understands that burning 2 gallons of fuel will produce less pollution (esp CO2) than burning only 1 gallon. (Tongue in cheek!)

So, NO you can not import the European version of the Ford Fiesta yourself because it doesn't burn enough fuel to reduce pollution?

I am HOPING that VW will decide to sell the new "UP" vehicle that will be low cost and high mileage in the USA. Look what the low cost high mileage VW Beetle did in the 50's and 60's.

Believe that is 16/22. Where did you get your 25mpg figure?

What is the European one missing that it must have, according to the regulators? Is it diesel vs. gasoline? "Safety"?

Because of course, when it comes to modern Vehicle Traffic, "Safety" is really just an overblown theory.. something to keep the Nanny State busy.

And yet the strange thing is that it wouldn't be the first time that cars, foods, or other stuff from Nanny State Europe were prevented from entering the US. French cheeses come immediately to mind. There's no absolute zero of risk attainable; if it's "safe" enough for the French, it's probably "safe" enough for me.

So, NO you can not import the European version of the Ford Fiesta yourself because it doesn't burn enough fuel to reduce pollution?

That's an interesting claim. Do you have any factual evidence to support it? Could it be that few in the US public are going to buy a car with a 1300 cc engine (or whatever), even though it's turbocharged? Besides, they just started making them in Europe, so there aren't going to be any to import for a while. I thought they were going to bring in the 1600 EcoBoost Focus and Escort next year...

E. Swanson

The new Ford F150 pickup with the ecoboost V6 engine of 345 HP is rated at 25 miles per gallon. There are a LOT of production cars from all makers today that get a lot worse gas mileage than that!

The US DOE rates the 6 cylinder Ford F150 at 16 city, 22 highway, 18 mpg combined.

Even the Ford Ranger with 4 cylinder engine only gets 16/24, 21 mpg combined. I don't know of ANY pickup trucks for sale in the US that get 25 mpg. You might have to go to Europe or Japan to find one.

OTOH, the Toyota Prius gets 51 city, 48 highway, 50 mpg combined. It's kind of the obvious car you want to be driving in the post-peak-oil era.

Anyway, it would be interesting to know what percentage of time the typical pickup owned by the urban or suburban commuter is actually used for a task that requires a pickup. I see so many pickups on urban interstates that look like they have never been used as they are so clean and shiny. Everyone is free to waste money and/or gas, I guess, but what is the point?

Now lets assume that average ridership is now much higher due to TSHTF...

If the price of fuel rises, but is still widely available, then that might be a realistic option.


If both the price of fuel rises and it becomes scarce, neither the buses nor the cars will be driving much, I suspect.

Shouldn't the comparison be against the marginal increase in gasoline usage your trip would take on the bus. Seems like that would be pretty minimal? The average bus mpg does not seem like the relevant metric.

I would guess that the marginal increase in diesel fuel usage the bus would require to carry me would be close enough to zero that it probably doesn't matter. I would also guess that the marginal gain in our transit system's PMG resulting from me personally becoming a regular bus rider would be close enough to zero that it probably doesn't matter either. It's clearly going to take large numbers of new riders, not just one new rider, to make a difference, either financially or in terms of PMG, to the transit system (and I will note that ridership has sextupled over the past 25 years or so, so it's not like they're not doing something right).

There are lots of different things that might be considered a "relevant metric." Here's my own relevant metric: As I said, my car gets 26 MPG city according to the EPA. I live about two and half miles from work -- call it 2.6 for the sake of making the simple calculation that I burn 0.1 gallons of gas to get to work. Gas where I live has spiked to $3.55 a gallon, so it now takes me $0.355 worth of fuel to drive to work. The one-way bus fare is $1.00. Now I'm no mathematical genius, but it seems fairly clear to me that, as long as I own a car and have to eat the depreciation cost anyway, I can save money by driving the car to work instead of taking the bus (to say nothing of the not inconsiderable gain in convenience).

True, my decision to drive to work rather than ride the bus results in a net increase in global gasoline consumption by 0.2 gallons per day, but I figure that if I rode the bus, those 0.2 gallons would probably go to someone in some honkin' huge SUV (or Ford F-150) who, I am sure, needs it worse than I do -- maybe even someone with a huge honkin' SUV who lives in Shanghai or Beijing.

Because it's not like I could bank those 0.2 gallons somewhere for future use by me and my family.

Just to pick a nit - ICEs don't get their average fuel economy during the first few miles of any trip. The colder the weather, the worse the penalty, but it's true year round. The engine has to warm up first. So the shorter your commute, the worse your fuel economy is over the whole trip, all else being equal. So you're burning somewhat more than .1 gal each way. As I said, just a nit...

Point well taken. I generally find that my engine temperature gauge starts to come up by the time I'm halfway to work (if not before) except in exceptionally cold weather, and that the engine is fully warmed up by the time I'm still a few blocks from my destination.

2.6 miles!? Bike on nice days. You will save gas, be "moral", enjoy the outdoors and be healthier!

Some other things to consider. That $1.00 bus ticket has about $4.00 subsidy from the tax payer that is not being counted. According to the Department of Transportation the average transit bus gets 32 passenger miles per gallon, so driving to work in a Prius saves about 35% in fuel over the bus, $8.00 a day in taxes, and gets you to work or home much faster.

Well, the old style Red London Bus (Routemasters) could seat around 60-70 people, and allow another dozen more standing on the bottom deck. This in a bus around 9 metres in length (2 cars). With an approx 10 litre engine, kicking out about 115 horsepower.

I imagine the new ones are more or less the same passenger capacity but with more power. Here in my London suburb, these buses run 24/7, albeit only running evey 30 minutes through the small hours otherwise about every 10 minutes during the main 18 hours of the day.

One way OC Transpo plans to cut costs is to spend $81.8 million on 75 new double-decker buses, which would include $24 million in infrastructure spending, such as new tools and washing facilities.

Because they’re economical to operate and carry more riders than even extra-long articulated buses, OC Transpo general manager Alain Mercier said the double-deckers will lead to net savings of $2.5 million for the city in 2012, increasing to annual savings of $10 million a year by 2016.

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Transpo+plans+spend+double+decker+prog...

Double deckers are not the only way to improve the fuel efficiency of buses:

Summary: In June 2007, Ottawa City Council approved the acquisition of 202 diesel-electric hybrid buses.

In June 2007, Ottawa City Council approved the acquisition of 202 diesel-electric hybrid buses.
The Orion VII (Next Generation) diesel-electric hybrid buses will be used on routes where stop frequency is high and average speed is low to obtain maximum benefit from the hybrid technology, including energy recovery during braking. (...)

Benefits to the environment of converting the City’s transit fleet from conventional diesel to hybrid diesel-electric buses:

The City’s transit fleet includes 1,016 diesel-fuelled buses. City transit vehicles
produce over 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), which accounts for about 80 per cent of the total amount of CO2 and greenhouse gases (GHG) produced by all City-owned vehicles.
The 202 hybrid buses, of which 120 are replacement vehicles, will allow for an annual CO2 reduction of over 5,000 tonnes or more when used consistently on high frequency stop routes.

The HybriDrive propulsion system technology reduces emissions and increases fuel economy while meeting the durability requirements of urban transit operations. The system consists of a generator, an electric motor and an engine storage system managed by computerized controls. The buses also feature roof-mounted lithium-ion battery packs, which increase battery life and reduce vehicle weight, improving fuel economy and reducing emissions.

This environmentally friendly 40-foot diesel-electric hybrid bus is expected to reduce fuel consumption by 17 to 36 per cent compared to conventional diesel buses. The Orion VII features seating for 38 passengers. The bus is also a low-floor, fully accessible vehicle that can regularly accommodate two mobility aids such as wheelchairs, scooters or walkers.

Other features:
Air conditioned for comfort
Lithium-ion battery technology – lighter while more efficient
Increased bus reliability
Lower drive-by and interior noise levels
Fresh new styling inside with LED lighting and enhanced exterior design
Large windows for unobstructed views


In Ottawa, we're shooting for a 30% modal share for public transit within a decade. Some people thought the goal too lofty, but I think we'll sail on by before then, thanks to peak oil.

Thank-you, peak oil.

Why doesn't Ottawa build electrified rail instead of buying hybrid buses? Lack of funds?

Maybe because they can send the buses anywhere they're needed, using pre-existing capital (streets and roads), so the considerable expense of duplicating the roadbed system as rails is avoided? (The downsides being that the buses get mired in traffic, and they stop laboriously at every corner just because they can.)

It's not lack of funds, because as the Canadian capital it gets large amounts of federal largess. It's really lack of ... no, I won't say it.

Ottawa spent enough on its busway to build a light rail transit system - almost as much as Calgary spent on its LRT - and they ended up with a bus system. Transit ridership dropped 15% after they built the system, although it has since recovered.

The hypothetical savings in a bus system evaporated when they actually built the thing and discovered a high-capacity busway system using dedicated guideways and stations is just as expensive as light rail.

The Ottawa busway is out of capacity and they have no way to expand it. They are talking about building a light rail transit system, which is they could have built in the first place.

Ottawa is running 100 buses per hour in each direction through its downtown core. That is very unpopular. People downtown are naturally very annoyed about all the noise and diesel fumes from 100 buses per hour.

Let's do a little math: 100 buses per hour with 40 people per bus works out to 4000 people per hour. If you put them in light rail vehicles with 160 people per vehicle, you only need 25 LRVs. If you connect the LRVs into 3-car trains, it's only nine trains per hour. That's how Calgary runs its LRT downtown.

Nine trains versus 100 buses makes a big difference, particularly since the LRVs are electric, and emit very little noise and no diesel fumes.

It's not lack of funds, because as the Canadian capital it gets large amounts of federal largess.

Do you have any evidence for this? The federal government employs a lot of people here and there are many indirect jobs. But there have been no grants to GM or Honda to build a plant here and I can't think of any local industries that received multi-decade federal largess in the way that the Athabaska Tar Pits did, though I expect a few swivel servants serviced that effort.

Ottawa has a significant population of poor people, moving I should point out to Merrill increasingly into the donut around the core as the centre renovates and prices them out.

I was for many years connected to and sometimes involved in the battle between the 'buslobby' and the prorail camp, and very much pro-rail. I have to say that I very much appreciate your informed advocacy on this subject.

One of the main reasons we got stuck with the bus transitway instead of a rail system was due to the transit funding formula the province had in place at the time which provided large grants to offset operating costs and considerably less for capital expenditures.

Critical chunks of the transitway will be converted to rail under the current longterm transportation plan.

Federal largess is usually conditional on agreement between other stakeholders - that is a favourite fed gov. buzzword - for LRT it is city and province. But city can't decide - for who knows how many years, including cancelled contracts and new plans taking years to develop. Province says, we give money if you actually decide. Feds say, we will give money if you decide and province gives money. Because of bickering pretty much nothing has been done over last 20 years.

Tons of federal jobs do not change an iota in transportation situation which for a city of that size (800,000) is pretty bad. Actually make it worse, because of more people commuting downtown.

I've never understood why there isn't a lucritive market for bus companies to come in and ferry commuters en-mass.

I've been trying to collect reasons for this over the years. My own conclusions are that it's largely a matter of the irregularities that white-collar workers face in their daily schedule. Examples:

  • Day care calls and tells you your kid is puking their guts out. Pick the kid up within 60 minutes, or find a new day care provider. Oops, it's the middle of the day and the next bus doesn't leave for 90 minutes. Can't call the spouse, they're on a three-day sales trip to Cleveland.
  • Project deadline requires staying in the lab until 8:00 or so each evening for the next three weeks, but the last bus for home leaves at 6:30.
  • Committee meeting starts at 7:00, but the first bus in the morning doesn't get you to work before 7:30.

Depending on the frequency of such things, how often they occur randomly and at the last minute, and the costs associated with not having personal transportation available when they do occur, such episodes become very expensive. At least in my personal experience, an eight-to-five job is much more irregular than that. "Unscheduled" work hours don't mesh well with scheduled transportation service.

Particularly in western states, urban areas tend to have multiple job "centers". In Denver, for example, tech workers commuting from an exurb/suburb may be headed for any of downtown, or the Federal Center, or the Tech Center, or Interlocken, or Boulder. Changing jobs often means changing which "center" you work in. This greatly complicates the task of running a bus ferry: there may not be enough customers from a particular exurb headed for any one center to make the business practical, and the centers are sufficiently far apart that having a single bus hit two of them can't be done in a reasonable amount of time.

I'm interested in hearing alternate explanations.

You raise good points, but I think that a lot of it has to do with that word "commuter." Bus systems can't be sized with some hypothetical "average" load in mind. They have to be sized with rush hour loads in mind. That leads to equipment and labor under-utilization the rest of the time, with significantly higher capital and operating costs.

If only a person were like a ton of coal, not caring when it left or when it arrived....

Using a modern light rail vehicle, such as the Siemens SD-160, you can have 60 passengers seated and add up to 190 standing for a total of 250 under rush hour conditions conditions. You can also couple up to 4 cars together, so your capacity ranges from 60 passengers seated per train during off-peak hours, up to nearly 1000 sitting and standing at rush hour.

The City of Calgary is actually going run them in four-car trains once they get their downtown platforms extended, and they probably will carry up to 1000 passengers per train at rush hour. The system now carries over 270,000 passengers per day and they are adding another line.

The miles per gallon are infinite because the Calgary system uses electricity generated by wind farms.

Here's some videos of the Calgary and Edmonton SD-160s in operation.

The ability to be independent of fossil fuel energy is certainly a plus for the Calgary system.

I see that the capital cost of that system averaged about $24 million per mile. I can't see my small city ever being able to pony up anywhere near kind of money. Our local transit system's capital budget for 2009 (the latest year I could find) was $3 million, most of which was for a new central hub building.

I see that the capital cost of that system averaged about $24 million per mile.

The cost of suburban freeways averages about $12 million per lane-mile, while urban freeways range from $24 million per lane-mile to $100 million per lane-mile and up. So the cost of the Calgary LRT system was about the same as two lanes of suburban freeway or one lane of urban freeway. Meanwhile the system capacity is about the same as 16 lanes of freeway.

However light rail is not a solution for small cities. Any US city with a metropolitan area population smaller than 1 million should probably stick to buses. In Europe rail transit makes sense in much smaller cities because transit ridership is higher, as are fuel costs.

While I'm a great fan of the C-Train and use it daily in the winter, to say it's infinite MPG is a bit silly. They do purchase the kWh equivalent from down by Pincher Creek, the Alberta grid baseload is still primarily coal from Keephills/Genesee/Sundance, though the share of gas-fired baseload is increasing (Enmax has somewhere near 1 GW of generating equipment sitting in a field near Sheppard east of Calgary).

Then again, I'm a fan of the coal plants, simply due to the energy security they offer because of the coal potential of Alberta. I'm a bit wary of the long-term viability of natural gas.

Well, it is true that the wind does not blow all the time, so the wind generators are offset by natural gas peaking units. The coal fired units are strictly base load.

However, on average all the power to the C-Trains is supplied by the wind farms, it's just that when the wind blows the wind generators put extra power into the grid, and when it doesn't the NG generators come on-line.

Lately, when driving near Calgary, I've noticed that all the old gas plants in the area seem to have brand-new NG power plants sitting next to them. They all appear to be peaking units.

There would be more flexibility if one considers a combination of bus, taxi/limo, and rental cars, with the latter giving the commuter options for off-hour, off-route, multi-point travel. It is clearly more expensive than bus-only travel, but it is what practical people that have no car actually do. It is not necessarily more expensive than owning an automobile, especially when city insurance, city parking, tolls, and the fixed costs of ownership are all accounted for.

Note that the inflexible routing problem is even worse for light rail than for busses. Busses require less up front investment, since they use existing roadways. Bus routes can be readily changed, and busses can be easily shifted to routes where there is growing demand. Busses also can use multiple fuels, including trolley wires and batteries.

Most likely, we'll see a lot more bus usage in our futures.

Intercity busses are also enjoying somewhat of a rebirth.

Unlike diesel buses, electric trains are insensitive to fuel costs, so rising oil prices make no difference to transit fares. This is probably their main advantage in the future world of continuously rising oil prices.

The trouble with diesel buses is that the cost of diesel fuel is a major factor in their operation, and a rise in oil prices means a rise in transit fares just at the time when the riders can afford it least.

Diesel buses also wear out fairly fast. A typical diesel bus lasts about 12-15 years before it has to be replaced.

Electric trains go on almost forever. The original light rail vehicles on the Calgary C-Train, which I first rode back in 1981, are still in operation 30 years and millions of miles later. They still work fine and they will probably last another 20 years before they have to be replaced, for a total of 50 years of service.

Buses can run on natural gas or electricity or diesel. So their energy costs are a function of the price of those forms of energy, while the energy costs of electrified rail are a function of the costs of electricity.

When the price of fossil fuel goes up, the advantage of buses over cars and light trucks widens in favor of the buses, due to their greater passenger miles per gallon efficiency.

Furthermore, they don't require a long planning cycle, environmental studies, procurement of right of way, station construction, power substation construction, car shop construction, railway construction, catenary construction, etc., nor do they require purchasing large fleets of identical rolling stock typically customized to the commuter rail adminstration's specifications.

Instead, buses can be ordered and put in service more quickly, and they can be put in service where needed. Their higher fuel costs may make them more expensive than rail ultimately, but that is many years down the line. Buses are the best alternative in a constrained capital environment.

If you don't have the infrastructure in place already then, yes, rail systems involve a lot of capital costs. However, their operating costs are lower, particularly at high load factors.

The Calgary system first started operating 30 years ago, and was built instead of urban freeways, so it was simply a choice in the allocation of capital resources, rather than an additional expenditure. In the downtown core it saved time and money by just laying tracks down an existing bus-only street. Once out of the inner city area it saved a lot of money by using existing infrastructure such as freight railway ROW's and freeway medians. It also bought off-the-shelf light rail vehicles from Germany rather than ordering customized vehicles. The result was quick implementation and low costs.

Buses are the default solution that cities get if they don't do any forward planning. They can always run buses on the existing roads, but it's not very efficient. The vast majority of existing buses are diesel powered - there are not very many natural gas or electric buses on the roads, and ordering new ones will be expensive for cash-strapped transit systems.

When fuel prices spike, most likely cities will not have the money to replace their existing diesel buses with NG or EV buses, and the result will simply be a collapse in service in many cities.

The buses around here (Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority) lose something like $5-$9 every time a passenger boards a bus.

I'm not sure where all the money goes, but it probably has something to do with these considerations:

  • A bus probably has an absolute maximum average load of 50% of capacity, because traffic is usually predominantly in one direction: in the morning, everyone wants to go downtown; in the evening everyone wants to leave downtown. A bus typically makes at least two trips in each direction in the morning and evening rush hours. One direction is almost or completely empty.
  • A bus leaves its starting point in the suburbs perhaps a third full, and does not fill up until it is half way to downtown. In the evening it is completely packed when it leaves downtown, but nearly empty when it reaches the end of the route in the suburbs.
  • Because the bus has a small average number of passengers, the cost of the driver is spread among few passengers: at ten miles per hour (which is a good speed in Houston rush hours), the bus uses less than two gallons of diesel (around $7 at today's prices) but the driver probably costs at least $30 per hour in pay and benefits. I couldn't find exact figures, but national pay rates are $20-$28/hour.
  • Maintaining a bus is not cheap.
  • There is also overhead: Metro even has its own police force.

I don't take the bus to work myself, because the seven mile journey would involve at least two changes and walking at least one and a half miles (which would probably be good for me). That would take an average of 1.5 to two hours, depending on connections and traffic, and cost (I think -- I've never actually done it) about $2 each way. If I drive by myself it takes twenty minutes to an hour, depending on traffic, and (with a car that averages 28 miles per gallon) costs $1.65 at todays fuel price ($3.30 per gallon).

At $10 / gallon there will be fewer cars on the road, so the bus will be able to make more trips at a faster speed. Also, the cost of the driver will be a smaller percentage of operating costs. With more buses on the road, you will have more choice of routes and transfer points.

You are comparing a $1.65 cost of gas for a 14 mile round trip with a $2 one-way bus trip. Likely you are not actually getting 28 mpg if you are sitting in Houston traffic at 10 mph, especially if the air conditioner is running. Furthermore, your fully allocated costs are probably more like $.40 / mile consideral all vehicle costs. So a 7 mile one-way trip is costing more like $2.80 today.

I also expect to see a lot more car pools, jitneys, gypsy cabs and limos, and other informal multi-passenger arrangements. There are a lot of under and unemployed people who can make a buck doing this.

At $10 / gallon there will be fewer cars on the road, so the bus will be able to make more trips at a faster speed.

I don't doubt that. However, at $10/gallon I wonder if the transit system in my community would be able to survive if it continued to run diesel buses. They could switch to gas, although that would involve a major capital expense, and if the gas is of the "natural" variety, the question is howlong that will last before it starts getting expensive too. So then maybe we're looking at local biogas production to keep the buses running. Setting that up would be another major capital expense; at the moment, we don't even have a local landfill, as our trash is currently trucked miles away for disposal.

A transition to a biogas-fueled bus fleet might be possible for us if the economy doesn't implode -- but I'm not betting on that.

I think I'm beginning to sound a bit like Gail....

Maybe not much faster at all. One problem with buses is that for political and, nowadays disability-law, reasons, they tend to stop at nearly every corner. For the major commuter trip where I grew up, it was 20 minutes for the train and 50 minutes or so (with a lot of variability) for the bus. Of course, traffic didn't help, but even when it was moving fairly freely (most of the time) the bus simply could never get moving. This will only get worse if there is more crowding, which tends to stretch out loading and unloading times, which accumulate like crazy when you stop at nearly every corner.

All true, but you have to remember that sitting on the bus does not have to be wasted time.

I was a daily bus rider for a few years and I read a lot of books and even read work-related materials on the bus. I saw people knitting or working on their laptops.

You can't do that if you're behind the wheel.

Or, god forbid, you could actually interact with fellow riders.

So many stuff noisemakers in their ears, and stare into infinity with vapid expressions.

Ah, but the newcomers, the immigrants, they love to talk about their native country, their food and their culture.

How do I pick out the immigrants? They are the ones with a spark in their eyes and an easy smile, because they are on an adventure.

Or, god forbid, you could actually interact with fellow riders.

I've met my fellow man, and they are the ones who've gotten us into this mess.

Wow Eric, you sound about as cheery and productive as PaulS today.

In fact, if you're meeting your fellow men on the bus, aren't they the ones actually trying, (like you presumably) to get us out of this mess?

My guess is that many people don't ride the bus because they are afraid or they consider riding the bus beneath them. They don't want to associate with the old and the poor.

I'm usually on a bicycle as they are faster than the bus.

That and I get some exercise.

The buses around here (Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority) lose something like $5-$9 every time a passenger boards a bus.

I always liked to compare Calgary against Houston, because Calgary had about as many buses as Houston did, despite the fact Houston has five times as many people in its metropolitan area. Working in the oil industry, I made numerous trips from Calgary to Houston.

Anyway, at this point in time, Calgary bus fares are $2.75, and since the city has a policy of subsidizing 50% of the fare, I presume the city probably also pays $2.75.

However, that's only part of the picture, because Calgary also has its light rail transit system, the busiest in North America. According to Calgary transit documents, the average cost of a trip on the LRT is 29 cents. Yes, that's right, 29 cents. I think they use the rest of the $2.75 fare to subsidize the feeder bus system which delivers passengers to the stations.

Unlike Houston buses,

  • The trains are full both directions on one line because there is a university, a technical college, and an arts college on that line, and the city gives students a discount to fill up the seats on the counterflow trains. There are also a significant number of people commuting out to jobs in the suburbs.
  • Because the trains have a large number of passengers, the costs are spread among a large number of people. Even during the wee hours of the morning there are a considerable of people riding the trains compared to a bus. They run the trains about 20 hours per day because the operating costs are so low.
  • It only takes one driver per train and two people in the control center to run the whole system. The trains can carry up to 600 people (they're going to increase to 1000), so the drivers wages are spread over a lot of people.
  • The vehicles are considerably more reliable than buses. None has worn out after 30 years and millions of miles of service. They figure it will be another 10-20 years and millions more miles before they replace the oldest ones.

Unlike a bus, there's no traffic to slow the trains down. Outside of the downtown core, the driver pushes the throttle forward as far as it will go and holds it there until he reaches the next station. It takes 26 minutes to get from the farthest-flung suburb to downtown, and you can't beat them in a car. There's little waiting for a train because they run 4 minutes apart during rush hour.

And there are no fuel costs because the trains are powered by electricity from wind generators.

The biggest problem is that during rush hour the trains are crammed full of people to the point that the doors won't close. They're working on that, but it takes time for the manufacturer to build all the new LRV's they need.

As I've said before, Japan and tourist-Europe (i.e. the big famous cities everybody thinks of at any mention of Europe) are mercilessly crammed wall-to-wall and ground-to-sky with people, nice to visit if you're on the relatively lavish daily budget of a typical tourist; maybe rather less nice if you have to scrape by in a hot stuffy garret on a normal income - or rather, in Europe anyway, on the meager allowance you get back after the government has seized your salary (as a temporary-expat friend of mine once put it.) The Frankfurt video posted by X illustrates the issue - the train is quite obviously heading, or rather creeping, into a banhof adjacent to a district crammed to bursting with skyscrapers.

In the USA, even the biggest, most overcrowded city, New York, is typically unprepared to run decent service except to and from suffocating Manhattan. Any other trip likely takes forever, and may be impossible on Sunday. So outside Manhattan, even many New Yorkers drive cars, insane as that may be in some respects. They simply want to get to their destinations before they pass on from old age.

In other words, in order to function effectively, mass transit requires enormous masses of people to go in the same direction at the same time. That condition was met a bit more easily decades and decades ago when employment in gargantuan factories with rigidly defined shift times was more prevalent. But despite all the pseudo-nostalgic hankering for the dead past, the early twentieth century is long gone (and most serious people would say "good riddance".) It's never been clear to me why handwavers and outsiders continually have so much trouble grasping such simple points.

[Oh. I was forgetting. Price controls are another reason there's no money to be made. In most places that might possibly support a bus making local stops, the city (i.e. the Taxi and Limousine Commission in NY) or the county will tell you whether you can operate at all and if so what fare you can charge. Guaranteed, you won't make any money at it, except, in some places, if you can cultivate good Mafia connections. Somebody did actually try it in my patch a couple of decades back; it didn't last very long at all.]

Rising Gas Prices Hit Home

I turned on the boob-toob this AM, always to CNBC for a quick update on the markets and the price of oil. They had a large panel of commentators and guests talking about the possibility of higher oil prices derailing the recovery. I caught the tail end of it so can't report back on various opinions, but did find it interesting the amount of talk I've seen lately from CNBC and other stations on the topic. I wonder if speculation rather than fundamentals will get the blame by MSM for rising oil prices again.

I think the recovery, such as it is, will be derailed regardless, which means there will be a lot of noise to argue about. Yes, I think that large decreases in government spending in the midst of a recession is not a good idea. As usual, however, the arguments will be centered around whatever ideology one subscribes to. Rest assured that you will not be hearing from CNBC that this was a bad time to cut back on government spending.

If you are listening to CNBC, speculation will be considered a major factor.

We already have 4 dollar a gallon in California.
The average U.S. price is at 3.81 dollars a gallon according to bloomberg.
In the U.K it's over 8. But it's a bit different since in Europe we have a lot of public transport. It's harder for the folks in California, and especially in LA, as oil moves up considerably.


I just filled up for $3.39/gallon. Up 15 cents in the last week. This is rural central New Hampshire.

But it's a bit different since in Europe we have a lot of public transport. It's harder for the folks in California, and especially in LA, as oil moves up considerably.

It's hard to imagine now, but Southern California once had the largest electric interurban railroad system in the world. However, it was all abandoned and the current freeway system built in its place. In retrospect, that was probably a very bad idea.

See: California Interurbans and Street Railroads for details.

Actually, it's claimed that GM bought the trolley systems to convert to cars and buses...

E. Swanson

Yes, and as we've discussed before, hardly anyone would want to reinstate the many corrupt shenanigans that made it possible at all at the very low population densities back in the day. To put it mildly, Henry Huntington was not a widely well-liked fellow; indeed I've always been a little taken aback at the widespread residual hatred for railroads from about the longitude of Kansas and Nebraska on westwards. The history seems to have been very ugly indeed.

To do it in the here and now, they'll need to match the population densities that make the very good Paris Metro service possible, by cramming and jamming Los Angeles County down to maybe a thirtieth of its current acreage. Or, to match Tokyo's excellent service, they'll need to cram and jam California's entire population into maybe half of the county.

Unlike Canada and many other countries, we don't have a residency-permit system in the US, so those who want to live in Manhattan need not apply for permission and very possibly already live there. So I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the rest, who don't, to make Los Angeles or any other county into another Manhattan.

Unlike Canada and many other countries, we don't have a residency-permit system in the US, so those who want to live in Manhattan need not apply for permission and very possibly already live there. So I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the rest, who don't, to make Los Angeles or any other county into another Manhattan.

Excuse me Pauls, but where on earth did you get the notion that Canada has a residency permit system?

Up here, we come and go, and move to where ever we want, whenever we want, and we almost never have to produce our papers.

It's almost as if Canada was a democracy.;-)


On reflection - I got the notion from someone I used to know who grew up in Alberta but immigrated to the States later on, as an adult. Maybe I misunderstood, as it was a small and passing point at the time. However, I'm absolutely clear that he often marveled at the "great freedom" people had in the States as opposed to Alberta. With respect to other countries, I'm just as clear about being told, after half-jokingly inquiring about the possibility of a temporary job, that one needed a residency permit to live in Amsterdam, but whether that applied only to foreigners or to everyone, I don't know.

High oil prices rock my ghetto soul. Signs of the times. The times, they are a changing.

Re: NASA: Rocket probably in ocean after failed launch

This is a great loss. That satellite was to study particulates in the atmosphere, which may be more of a problem these days as China and India don't use the scrubbers to remove sulfates as do many of the Western countries. It's plausible that these emissions have slightly cooled the Earth lately, offsetting the warming effects of the emissions of greenhouse gases. Without the measurements, it's going to be more difficult to assess these impacts. Worse, with the Rethugs now in control of the House and vowing to kill any concerns about Global Warming, it will be difficult to find the funds to replace this satellite...

E. Swanson

Seems awfully convenient for the BAU and denier crowd. When interests converge, it makes me suspicious.
Of course, this just may be my cynicism these days.

Comments are all over the place, like this one:

So you tards spent $424 million TWICE on what is pretty much nothing now. Thanks you smart men and women at nasa. I always thought smart people don't repeat their same mistakes, especially when the price tag is $424 million. My guess it's a lie and that money is being spent elsewhere.

AGW deniers are already jumping on this as well:

Bummer about the mission. But what's the deal about studying global warming/climate change? That fairy tale has been exposed as phony for some time now.

Three steps back :-(

The satellite payload was valued at around $424 million, while the launch vehicle and expenses were around $55 million. This was the second launch of an expensive payload with the same failure of the fairing to separate.

You'd think that Orbital Sciences Corporation would launch a dummy payload first in order to determine whether they have diagnosed and solved their problem.

That rocket seems to have a pretty poor reliability record. I wouldn't want to use it.


NASA suffered a similar mishap two years ago when a satellite that would have studied global warming crashed into the ocean near Antarctica after launching from the same kind of rocket that carried Glory. Officials said Friday that Glory likely wound up landing near where the previous satellite did.


They don't call them 'Rocket Scientists' for nothing!

It's not rocket surgery.

From the Wall Street Journal (google title)

Transfer of Jobs to Asian Workers Feeds Discontent

Arab manpower once comprised the bulk of this imported work force. Now, some 11 million of the GCC's guest workers hail from countries east of the Persian Gulf, mainly India and Pakistan. Some countries have contingents from China. The remaining four million migrants arrive from places like Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, Syria and Egypt.

Demonstrations that have gripped countries across the Middle East have been fueled, in part, by resentment over the lack of opportunity in countries across the region. But even as unemployment grows across the Arab world, jobs are increasingly going to Asian guest workers.

The rest of the article is interesting too. It tells how Asian workers are willing to work more cheaply, and don't bring their families along. They are also easier to lay off, if there is a change in need for workers.

With rising prices of food, and lack of Arab jobs, this is a very bad mix.

I lived in Saudi Arabia for five years. Had someone told me of the blatant discrimination and favoritism before I went there I would not have believed them. Saudi has massive poverty and unemployment.

Mufti warns of revolution in Saudi Arabia
...around 22 percent of the people live below the poverty line.

Saudi Arabia's official figures put the country's unemployment rate at 10.5 percent, while according to the unofficial figures, joblessness stands around 20 percent.

There were lots of beggers there, a large majority of them are old women. If a husband dies his wife is left destitute. Life insurance is illegal in Saudi because it is considered placing a wager against the will of God.

Businesses there don't like to hire Saudis because most of them refuse to do manual labor and once they are on the payroll it is almost impossible to fire them. And they can hire an Indian or Filipino much cheaper and can fire them whenever they desire.

Most Saudis that are employed either own their own business, work in a family business, or work for the government. The Saudis that work for ARAMCO really have it made, they are on about the same pay scale as Americans there. They make big money. Europeans who work for Aramco make about 1/3rd less and most cannot have their families with them. All others, mostly third world nationalities working for Aramco make much less, only a few dollars per day.

All the Saudis who work Aramco management are Sunni. Some Shia work for Aramco but do not have jobs in management. All Shia working for Aramco have Wasta Only Eastern Province Shia have any wasta. Outside the Eastern Province few if any Shia have wasta. And of course all Sunni management in Aramco have wasta. That is the only way to get there. Those without wasta, whether Sunni or Shia, just stay in the same job forever regardless of how good they are. In Saudi Arabia everything goes through wasta.

But I never got the sense that anyone was displeased with the government. I would have thought, when I was there 1980-1985, that revolution was not possible. I still don't think it is probable. But that does not mean that everything will continue going smooth as it has for the last 70 years or so. Unrest could upset things but I don't think there is any way that the Royal Family can be overthrown. But I have been wrong before...

Ron P.

That's interesting, Ron, about the Wasta.
Organized crime has pretty much the same concept, at least as I understand it. A mafia Don would possess much wasta, and also be "owed" much in return from many people because of it.

The scale of migrant (cheap) labour in the Gulf countries and Libya is quite staggering. Travelling back and forth betwen the Emirate States and the Indian sub-continent (Bangladesh, India etc), I see gangs of these workers in transit sometimes maiking up 70% plus of the passengers).

I assume the lack of an enforced minimum wage exacerbates the situation where it is a) cheaper to ship in guest workers and b) locals refuse to work the conditions expected. Without addressing this imbalance - and of course the high birth rate - these states have created a population bulge of unemployed, disgruntled, facebook-aware society - willing to challenge the status quo.

Mind you, we have migrant workers in the UK, filling jobs that locals don't want to take, and I figure that cheap labour in many of US states is no different.


I'm noting the spread of new insulation techniques in both new construction and renovation of multi-dwelling and commercial buildings.

For example, the traditional air space of about one inch behind a brick veneer is now being filled by semi-rigid rockwool (Roxul), which I believe was originally developed as an insulating drainboard to be applied around the upper perimeter of foundation walls. (novelty through combination, as per G-Roegen). Because of the porosity of the rockwool, the bricks can continue to breath on both sides.

This inch of semi-rigid offers about the same insulating value as a 3.5 inch batt, and of course is in addition to the insulation 'in' the wall. It is outside the waterproofing membrane and thus offers the additional benefit of shielding that membrane from temperature fluctuations. The brick will generally keep moisture away from the rockwool, but it doesn't really matter, since the rockwool sheds water and retains its insulating value while wet. Of course the membrane protects the building structure from moisture penetration.

Techniques like this are extremely valuable, as heat loss from thermal bridging is effectively eliminated.

In a variation of this technique, a nearby construction project is using a bracket system to hold a different Roxul product, batts that are less rigid than drainboard, but stiffer than the batts used in wall cavities, in place on the wall outside of the membrane placed over the wall sheathing. A kind of steel stud is then attached to the brackets and cement board attached to the steel. The cement board meets the weather head on.

Re: Carbon tax no climate cure-all: Lomborg

"Global warming is real, it's a man-made problem, it's something we need to fix," he said on Tuesday...

...he thinks the world should be innovating "to make green energy so cheap that everyone will want it".

"This is not about subsidies to green energy, it's about innovation."

Lomborg's analysis is based on what some economists have said, not on engineering and science. His economists discount the future, which basically ignores the cost estimates of the impacts over the long term. As we all know, if there were less expensive energy alternatives, we would already be using them. The world's scientists and engineers have been trying very hard for more than 40 years to find those lower cost alternatives and, while we have found alternatives that are lower cost, such as low temperature solar thermal, these do not replace oil...

E. Swanson

A carbon tax is like water in the desert, not enough to keep you alive, but without which you are either dead, or reduced to drinking the condensation from your evaporated pee, for long as that can go on...

Every generation suffers some middling intellects risen to great fame: Lomberg is one of ours.

Edit: I should add that I do agree that carbon taxes should be used to accumulate capital for investments in alternate energy, including of course alternate energy conversion technologies, such as public transportation.

Signs of spring are popping up. I had a group of blackbirds in the back yard, last week, and just saw the first trail of geese returning from their winter habitats.

If I kept better records, I would know, for sure, if they are early, but this article from Kansas City supports my feeling that it is early.

Early sign of spring comes on beating wings

From a climate point of view, Spring starts 1 March. I noticed that the geese arrived late last week, a flock of them hanging out down by the river. Must be getting to be too warm further to the south...

E. Swanson

The Canada Geese have become permanent residents here over the last few years; many don't seem to migrate at all. I'm not sure what that means.

Spring seems about 2 weeks early this year; a local meteorologist says the NAO went positive earlier than usual, helping to block colder air from reaching the Southeast. Whatever, I'm starting some crops early this year; got some coldframes handy, jic.

Rain coming tonight; off to the garden.

I took a walk down by the river yesterday. The Johnson grass was up and my neighbor's flowers were several inches tall. I also saw a few dandelions and the moss is green as well. I'm at 3,000 ft elevation where the mornings are still near freezing...

E. Swanson

Daffodils are just ready to flower and should be open in a few days. Looks like we're going to get the usual cycle of rapid early warming followed by cooling as the rapid warming hits the Arctic. I've noticed the same cycle happening every year for the last 4 or 5 years making Europe seem cooler than the prior years.

If you were so inclined you can pull the blackbird data from eBird for your location.


The all-time arrival for Kansas of a Red-Winged Blackbird is Jan 1, 2009 (I just pulled it from eBird). Looks like 99% of the Arrival records have been set since 2000 for different species in Kansas (period 1900-2011). Whoops, that isn't a very good indication, I just remembered that some probably don't migrate because they are bonkers. You would have to grab the total counts...

Interesting site. I should point out I am in the city of Chicago, so what I see here is probably nothing like what folks see in the forest preserves, ex-urbs or surrounding locations.

Whoops, thought you were in Kansas. In eBird, you could look at historical records for birding hotspots in Chicago. Before you know it, you'll be walking around Grant Park with binoculars and putting the counts in eBird (then again, maybe you won't).

There's quite a cool bird sanctuary at Montrose Beach - I often go down there as it's closer to home.

I do a lot of nature observation as a hobby and my wife and I vacation in Maine each year to watch peregrine falcons and harbor seals. We like to watch the falcon chicks fledge and the harbor seals give birth and interact with their pups. 10 years ago we would do this the week before the July 4 holiday; now to see the nature show we have to take our vacation during the 3rd week of June. The week leading up to July 4 is too late, the juvenile falcons are already flying and the seal pups are mostly weaned by then. We can't believe the magnitude of the time change in only 10 years.

One of the more dramatic sights we see when observing animals is when mama seal turns her back and denies the pup from suckling for the first time. The sad pup persistently goes for the teat and may even try to find a surrogate milk source among other nearby seals. A more pitiful creature is seldom seen, but it's really not so sad because the pup will quickly learn to catch fish (or perish).

It will be so much more dramatic and pitiful as mother earth gradually weans her human children off oil. At least it probably won't happen overnight as with the seals. I don't see that we will be any better prepared though; I suspect humans will do what we do best to sate our oil appetite, the strong will take from the weak until there is nothing left to take. Already happening IMO, hence the dramatic times we are living in.

As I understand it, geese migrate in order to take advantage of the dearth of predators and the very rich food supply available in their traditional northern nesting grounds. There was never any real reason, other than predation, lack of food in winter, and possibly thier winter waters freezing up, to stop them from overwintering and living here in the upper south permanently.

Evidently the early adapters got thier foothold in places where they were protected by us from predation , and were encouraged to stay by people feeding them to boot.

I once worked at a highly secured nuclear power plant down south where it was impossible to walk anyplace near any grass without getting your shoes covered with goosesxxx.

Political considerations made any effective solution other tham more pavement or gravel impractical, and as I understand it, they eventually got rid of the grass to get rid of the geese.

In times gone by, there were evidently plenty of predators in this area capable of capturing young geese or robbing nests.

Nowadays, with suburbia and farms having just about wiped out the original landscape,and the predators, geese have it made here.Winter food is no problem at all for adults-they glean farm fields for miles around their home waters.

It's just too bad they aren't tastier-but wild dicks and geese are not fit to eat in my opinion-they taste like very cheap, near rotten fish to me.

Jeez, Mac, that has to be the best typo I've ever seen. I luv you, man ;-/

Ghung - Thanks for pointing that out. I obviously skip over stuff -I only noticed after I re-read Mac's post.

Still laughing,


IIRC non-migratory Canada geese descend from captives kept on hunting preserves 80 or 90 years ago. There are still migratory populations.

Where do you live? I'm in the Sierra foothills (Sonora area), and I've noticed the same thing -- Canada geese year round.

I'm just waiting till I can grow blue agave at 38 deg. N. :-)

Canada geese have been year-round on the CT shore for many years.

Here in Vancouver, BC, much of the spring phenological response this year has been considerably later than in 2010. For example, the cherry trees across the street began to open blossoms almost exactly one full month later this year compared to last. Red alder (Alnus rubra) catkins are developing at a slower rate, too. Some sharp cold snaps in February seem to have slowed the plant response. However, a few species did get a start similar to last year, such as the western beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta). January had a substantial warm spell that seems to have encouraged some plants to develop, only to be hit later by the following month's freeze. Temperatures have undergone some rather large swings (for this location) over the past few months.


on yahoo news


Saudi Arabia's Regime Will Fall, Says Analyst

surprises me how 'a managing director at Oppenheimer & Co.' is given freedom to predict this publicly, even pointing out the day of planned demonstrations.

Holy moly.

Someone posted a link to the video yesterday.

I listened to the video on your page, Saudi Arabia's Regime Will Fall, Says Analyst. It reminded me of an article I read a few years ago.

The Coming Anarchy. How scarcity, crime, overpopulation, tribalism, and disease are rapidly destroying the social fabric of our planet.

Ron P.

Robert D Kaplan, the journalist who authored the piece to which you link is a good writer, if style is your metric.

But I mostly stopped reading him after his relentless advocacy for the US invasion of Iraq.

I have a questions for you and Robert D: when in history has anarchy prevailed for any length of time? What portion of the population and what portion of political space has ever been gripped by anarchy in any one century?

Of course, I know the answer to the questions already, which are: not for any significant period of time, not for any significant population and not for any extensive political space.

It is, Darwinian, not in the nature of our species to endure anarchy. Order always prevails. The gods return from their occasional absences and we get on with it.

So don't worry, your genes in all likelihood will be carried forth in the progeny of your progeny, some of whom will look at life optimistically and others pessimistically, depending, it seems, on the usual gene-culture interaction.

I believe you have confused chaos and anarchy. Anarchy very much has an "order" - it just doesn't have a center.

Well No! Dictionary.com


1. a state of society without government or law.

2. political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control: The death of the king was followed by a year of anarchy.

3. a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society.

4. confusion; chaos; disorder: Intellectual and moral anarchy followed his loss of faith.

Definition #3 is the one you seem to think is the only definition. No, the other three are far more common and is how the word is generally used.

Ron P.

And what either chaos or anarchy usually seems to lead to is warlordism of one sort or another...

For the vast majority of human history, this was not the case. "Warlordism" only arises with advent of agricultural societies.

So whar? The population is two or three orders of magnitude too large for anything but agriculture anyhow.

This is probably true, but so what? It doesn't change that control of others through the threat of violence is a rather late comer into the human equation (this is not the same as saying there was no violence).

The timing, whether late or early, is far too ancient to be of the slightest practical importance. So while the claim that warlordism came in with agriculture may be an interesting academic curiosity (although it carries a whiff of the Noble Savage myth), it is utterly devoid of relevance whatsoever to of these discussions. It tells no one anything at all about how to proceed into the future, since agriculture has become a given. So I'm still lost - what could possibly have been the point of raising it in the first place?

It's when they started locking up the food

Ron - my statement was a political one, not a semantic one.

Remember, the meaning of a statement is not always on the surface.

Hmmm. Point taken. Still, Kaplan appeared, when he wrote the article seventeen years ago, to be using anarchy in the sense of chaos, runaway crime, unpunished violence, blah blah blah.

For some reason, I've gotten into the habit of using anarchy as a synonym for chaos and anarchism to describe 'order without a centre'. This habit may have originated with George Woodcock, who penned Anarchy or Chaos way back when. Can't remember for sure.


To be sure, I'm all for anarchism in the Woodcockian vein, in the long run.

This has nothing to do with libertarianism, it should be said, since this latter conception is based on a deeply flawed understanding of what an individual is and of the relationship of individual and society. It's shallow thinking perpetuated by self-interested ideoloques like the Kochs and rests on a foundation of oppression and ignorance.

Well I know several people who advocated the invasion of Iraq, and several who did not. I do not consider their position on Iraq when I am evaluating their opinions on totally unrelated subjects however.

I have a questions for you and Robert D: when in history has anarchy prevailed for any length of time?

I would suggest you write to Mr. Kaplan and pose that question to him because I doubt seriously that he follows Drumbeat very closely. But if you are asking me I might suggest Somalia.

Living in Somalia's anarchy

In Somalia, Those Who Feed Off Anarchy Fuel It

Somalia: 20 years of anarchy

I realize some would say that what Somalia has is not anarchy, it is really organized crime. But I would beg to differ. Though their main source of income is crime, or piracy, that is a very small and elite group of Somalians. The vast majority of Somalians exist in anarchy, and have for about two decades now. I know, it sounds humorous that the pirates are the elite of Somalia, but I would wager that they far better off than the average resident of Somalia.

But all this is beside the point Eric. It matters not how long anarchy lasts, the fact that nations collapse into anarchy is the point. If they get their crap together and organize six months later or 20 years later, does not change the fact that what they had immediately after the collapse was anarchy. And I might add, what is replaced after the anarchy is seldom any better than the situation that existed before.

Ron P.

Somalia is in the hands of warlords because of US foreign policy. My italics:

Somalia's Islamists Attempt to Rein in Pirates

August 23, 2006

Months after gaining control of Mogadishu, the main seaports and most of the southern parts of the country, Somalia's Islamic Courts Union (ICU) has begun to rein in sea piracy. Somalia's 3,300 kilometer coastline has been classified by the International Maritime Bureau as one of the world's worst affected areas for piracy. Media reports, however, say that incidents of piracy have declined since the ICU began to consolidate power throughout the country. While advancing within Somalia's mainland, the ICU has also advanced along the coastline, taking control of cities that had traditionally been used as pirate bases.

On August 15, hundreds of ICU fighters traveled in pickups mounted with guns (known locally as technicals) to Hobyo, a port city near the autonomous region of Puntland. In the town, the ICU failed to meet any resistance and took over the port. On August 12, the ICU captured the coastal town of Harardheere, a pirate base 400 kilometers north of Mogadishu, before taking over Eldher a day later (Hirran Online, August 13).

An unidentified Islamist militia commander was quoted in the media as saying that the ICU had to secure Harardheere and its surroundings since the area was rife with pirates and that piracy was a crime that needed to be stopped (Hirran Online, August 13).


The same people who lied about Iraq's WMD and ties to Al-Quaeda have been lying to you about the Islamic Courts Union. Sadly, the result is not just pirated oil tankers as the US supported warlords bank millions for their piece of the action.

It is really difficult to find another country that spends so much on 'intelligence and security' as ineffectively and counterproductively as the US.

And yet some people want this same gov't to provide for their transportation, aviation security, personal protection, retirement, and health care as well.

And well it should.

It should also be involved internationally, but not under the influence of the neocons.

And everyone wants a pony too?

What would be a reliable long-term means of keeping it away from that malign-in-your-eyes influence? Put it in the hands of an all-powerful committee of saints? Who appoints them? Who ensures that they stay saintly? How? The only known solution that has ever kinda sorta worked somewhat is to keep it on a very tight leash - certainly tighter than the ridiculously loose leash customary in Europe. That has created disaster time and time again, from which Europeans never seem to learn anything but to clamor ineffectually, as if they were a bunch of wide-eyed five-year-olds, for "more of the same, better."

Well sure. That's the only way to get "someone else" to pay for it.

It is really difficult to find another country that spends so much on 'intelligence and security' as ineffectively and counterproductively as the US.

Ineffectively and counterproductively? Seems there is an enormous and growing governmental and private apparatus(which happens to be run by ex-intelligence) with justifications for ever-increasing amounts $$. It's positive GDP, so it can't be that counterproductive.

" Countries with the highest probability of acquiring hard regimes, according to Homer-Dixon, are those that are threatened by a declining resource base yet also have "a history of state [read 'military'] strength." Candidates include Indonesia, Brazil, and, of course, Nigeria. Though each of these nations has exhibited democratizing tendencies of late, Homer-Dixon argues that such tendencies are likely to be superficial "epiphenomena" having nothing to do with long-term processes that include soaring populations and shrinking raw materials. Democracy is problematic; scarcity is more certain.

a very interesting quote from the anarchy article Ron, for such a 'dated' article '96, & the current turmoil in the ME.

I don't think we have to descend into some text book definition of anarchy. There have indeed been protracted periods where the human race has come close enough for all practical purposes.
Exhibit A would be the Thirty Years War. This is the kind of scenario that frightens me. We could definitely, IMO, degenerate into a situation where we experience civil violence across multiple fault lines; ethnic, religious, political, racial, plus experience famine and plague all at the same time. It's very hard for me to imagine how people have survived that sort of thing, but some of them do manage it somehow. Good brains, good genes and a heck of a lot of LUCK are surely all involved.

The Thirty Years War was the slow destruction of the institution of the Holy Roman Empire, a lose confederation of German Princes that sprang from Charlemagne in 900 AD.
The spark was elevation of a fanatical catholic Ferdinand II to become Holy Roman Emperor and the King of Hussite Bohemia.
The rule for 100 years had been that the people should follow the religion of their monarch--for example protestant Henry IV became a catholic to become King of France saying 'Paris is worth a Mass'.
This was additional complicated by the fact that previous treaties only applied to Lutherans and Catholics, not Calvanists or Hussites.
The Hussites threw out Ferdinand's representatives (of a window) and most of Ferdinand's whole kingdom was torn by religious civil war.
At the same time, a religious civil war(Hugenout-Calvanists) broke out in France.

At this point a letter from the Hussites offering their country's throne to the Calvanist Elector of the Palatinate(Rhineland).
Simultaneously, Austria was invaded by the Ottoman Turks.
The Imperialists annihilated the Hussites lead by the Elector at the Battle of White Mountain and his protestant lands were divided by the imperialist nobles.

The battle of White Mountain weakened the balance of power in the Holy Roman Empire so the protestant Danish king ChristianIV invaded Germany in support of North German protestant princes.
He was defeated by the Imperial general Tilly and driven out of Germany.
At this point, the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus invaded to support protestant rights. He defeated Tilly(1631) but was himself killed at the battle of Lutzen(1632). In 1634, the Imperial chief general, Wallenstein was suspected of negotiating with the protestants and was assasinated. The Swedes were defeated in 1635 at Nordlingen and the Imperialists were on top once more requiring that no German prince should have independent army or contract treaties outside the Empire.

Now France decided to enter the war(1636) to restore the balance and in fact declared war on Spain as well allying with the Dutch
against Spanish forces in Belgium.
The Swedish-French double team stymied the Imperialists for 6 years eventually driving the imperialists out of Germany.

Of course to keep Swedish power in balance the Danes (1643) now entered the war on the side of the Imperialists but were soon routed by the Swedes.
The Treaty of Westfalia marks the end of the war in 1648.

All the time Germany was which served as the larder and battlefield of the war simultaneously was literally depopulated 30-50% and the war ran out of gas.

Politically, the Holy Roman Empire was destroyed as an quasi-republic and individual princelings became absolutist rulers.

So here we have politicians all defending their prerogatives, protecting their lofty privileges while 30-50% of the world is destroyed.

If a peak oil world is like the Thirty Years War expect a world of extreme poverty ruled by petty tyrants.

The article is a bit dim. Crime, tribalism and ethnocentrism has always been with us.
Mr. Kaplan himself is a good example of ethnocentrism and tribalism, as he pushes policies in the U.S. which are good for Israel and not America.

The only thing that makes the coming age different is energy scarcity, the rest is just natural phenomena which has always been with us and used to be much more pronounced when energy was scarcer.

The only thing that makes the coming age different is energy scarcity, the rest is just natural phenomena which has always been with us and used to be much more pronounced when energy was scarcer.

No, you are simply mistaken. The places Kaplan writes about are dramatically different Than they were a century ago and even more so two centuries ago. They are vastly more populated. They are deep, deep into overshoot. Two centuries ago they were not into overshoot at all and a century ago they were only slightly so. They are now running out of food! True, a massive input of energy and imported food has exacerbated the situation but overshoot is the problem.

Ron P.

Food is energy, Ron. It's energy for our bodies.

I'm not wrong. It's all about energy, the rest is human nature.

Now you are changing the argument. Of course our body converts food into energy but food in any other sense is not regarded as energy. And you are wrong in the fact that nothing but energy has changed. As I said two centuries ago these countries were not in overshoot. Today they are.

Do you understand what the term "overshoot" means? And do you claim that the overshoot situation has not changed in the last two hundred years?

What I believe Leiten is that you are just trying to put Kaplan down and are attempting to do so by saying that nothing has really changed, that the energy change exist everywhere and therefore that his argument is irrelevant. If that is the case then virtually everything about his story is irrelevant except a change in the available energy over the entire world. You are attempting to vastly over simplify things Leiten.

Ron P.

Population increases according to the limits of energy. Energy to run our societies, such as fossil fuel energy, as well as food, energy for our bodies.

If we have a lot of fossil fuels for our socities but very little energy(e.g. food) for our bodies, overshoot will not happen.

Both need to increase, and they tend to do just that, in sync.

And finally, the argument that someone disagrees means they did not understand is on the same level as the people who argued before the Iraq war that only 'patriots' support the war and somehow people opposed to neo-imperialism are 'unamerican' or 'unpatriotic'.

A sign of a demagogue is a person who attributes malicious attributes or intentions to his opponents, rather than engaging with them.

I don't disagree with Kaplan's analysis for the future, but I did say, and I stand by that claim, that he casts his net far too wide. Tribalism, ethnocentrism etc is not new and has nothing to do with his analysis. The basic premise is energy.

And I don't even know where you get your slightly confused statement from when you claim that "And do you claim that the overshoot situation has not changed in the last two hundred years?". Uh, no. If I thought that I wouldn't be on a Peak Oil-website, kind of self-explanatory, is it not, Ron?

I don't see why are you are so emotionally invested in somebody else's fallable analysis.

The point is it was a very good article and expressed very clearly what is happening in many third world countries. What you attempted to do, but failed miserably, was to trash talk a very good article. Whenever you can write as good as Kaplan you should give it another try.

And I still think you haven't a clue as to what overshoot is all about.

Ron P.

I just disagreed and will continue to do so. I don't see how disagreeing is trash talking.

Again, I fail to see why you get so worked up emotionally.

High Speed Rail Dead in Florida

The Florida Supreme Court this morning unanimously turned down the request of two state senators to force Gov. Rick Scott to accept $2.4 billion in federal money to build the train between Tampa and Orlando.

We've gotten what we deserved when we elected this buffoon to offce. Funny thing is his fall from grace was so quick that he doesn't even seem to have registered that he couldn't get elected dog-catcher in his home town at this point.

And elsewhere on high speed:

Another suprise buried in Walker's undemocratic, unbalanced and potentially unconstitutional budget adjustment bill is the return of a $23 million federal grant for installation of high speed internet in 380 communities areas across Wisconsin. The reason given for returning the money: the requirements of the federal grant were too "burdensome."

I don't know about the specifics there, but money from the gov't always seems to come with strings attached. Usually the matching obligations and tracking paperwork are significant impediments, and sometimes the gov't money is a multi-year grant which seems to run out just when the public is well used to the program, and often when the state budget already hurts.

Interesting (at least to a state budget wonk like me) that in most states, governors have unappealable veto authority over accepting special-purpose federal dollars. The governor may not be able to spend the money without legislative approval, particularly if state matching dollars are required, but s/he can generally turn down the money without consulting the legislature. There are a handful of exceptions where Congress made the money "subject to appropriation" which gives the decision to the legislature, but for the most part, the feds seem to prefer to deal with state executive branches.

Not that I blame them. Dealing with the legislature is a lot like herding cats.

The Wisconsin governor (as well as some others) has even more power than that: the "xtreme" partial veto of budget bills. Over the years, the D's have been known to make great creative sport of vetoing individual punctuation marks and words to actually create additional spending items out of random phrase-fragments. I'm not sure whether the power extends to vetoing individual letters out of words.

Then again, the appointed role of liberals is to grab for and expand power, and the role of conservatives is to conserve and hold onto said power once it has been grabbed. So now the R happens to be in office, the shoe is on the other foot, and the grabbers are unhappy. May as well break out some popcorn and watch the show. Probably it will provide intermittent entertainment for the next four years. The next fun episode will play shortly when the self-exiled D's either have to come back from out-of-state and face the music, or else let the state more or less shut down from lack of legal spending authority, i.e. an approved budget. The next episode after that will play in January 2012, since a recall election becomes permissible after one year.

Military Cuts Down on Exercises Due to Soaring Oil Prices

The military is trying to save 5 percent or 280,000 barrels of oil for training and 8 percent or 440,000 barrels on operations out of the 5.53 million barrels it is authorized to use annually. It will keep room temperatures in barracks under 18 degrees Celsius, reduce baths for officers and servicemen from two to one per week, and permit servicemen no more than five hot showers per week.

Soaring oil prices have also dealt a direct blow to drills of the Army's mechanized units. It decided to mobilize only two-thirds of equipment for all field mobile drills

What comes to mind is an engine slowly sputtering to a stop.

What comes to mind is an engine slowly sputtering to a stop.

It's about time. It's a crappy machine anyway. I'm surprised it's lasted this long, another ten years would be a disaster

I see this is the South Korean military from reading the link. It's not obvious from your post.

Has anyone ever heard Gerald Celente (of Trends Journal fame) talk about Peak Oil?

Just wondering as it would certainly feature as a 'Trend' to me.

Gerald Celente is fully aware of peak oil and has discussed it's effects in the past. Can't put my finger on a link right now.

On life in the city without a car.

There was some discussion yesterday, I believe, about shopping on foot. The difficulty of returning home with 30lbs of groceries in one's arms was mentioned. And as I'm about to go shopping for groceries, I thought I'd pass on how my family manages. We've never owned a car, though we do rent from time to time, and occasionally use taxis.

I buy as much as I can in the neighbourhood, but from time to time, I walk, cycle or take a bus to a big box grocery store (with the usual pharmacy and general merchandise sections that in themselves occupy more floor space than the biggest grocery stores of a generation ago). The store has some products that I can't find nearby and has other stuff at prices that are difficult to resist.

I always take a small backpack, which of course is insufficient for the multiple boxes of supplies I purchase. I use the backpack for eggs, real eggs, not the corn-based manufactured look-alikes, and a couple of other items. And then, depending on the day, walk, cycle, or take the bus home (usually on the same transfer as I've gotten the shopping routine mastered).

Oh, and the boxes. Usually 3 or 4, about 30 lbs each, as we consume a lot of soy milk (Canadian only - the Chinese stuff is available nearby, but no thanks), almond milk, no-sugar-added juices, lots of veggies and fruit. This load comes by pick-up, or van, and the guy or guys trying to make payments on the vehicle kindly carry all of them up the stairs to the house. The cost is $5 for seniors and $8 for others.

"I always take a small backpack, which of course is insufficient for the multiple boxes of supplies I purchase."

You could always 'borrow' a shopping cart ;-) Someone took an electric/handicapped cart from our local supermart recently. Perhaps they wanted the batteries and motor. Law enforcement here says it constitutes 'Grand Theft', and are on the lookout.

"Grand Theft Shopping Cart"; sounds like it would make a good movie.

If TSHTF and I need to start walking to the local big box grocery store instead of driving, I would be looking at buying a folding shopping cart. I could currently get one from Walmart for eighteen bucks.

I don't think current designs are necessarily optimized for grocery shopping, though. What you want to be able to do is to use them while you are in the store instead of a store carts (you don't want to have to park your own cart somewhere while you shop, if for no other reason than someone else might walk off with it).

I suppose that one reason why supermarket carts have such tiny wheels is that this makes them a lot less worth "borrowing."

What about life in the city without food?

You better have walkable groceries in several different directions from your home, just in case there is the "unexpected riot" near your favorite store. And a little hording wouldn't hurt. :)

I can assure you of one thing, any riot in this town will be unexpected. And more likely related to hockey than food.

We live in a functional in-city neighborhood in Seattle and the nearest COOP grocery store is about 10 blocks away. We tried out several different approaches to getting groceries home on foot before we hit upon the secret to success: repurposing our Baby Jogger Performance stroller.

We ended up making just a few minor modifications to turn our old baby jogger into a high-performance grocery vehicle. With careful packing and the right straps we can get about 5 bags worth (~60-80 lbs) of groceries into it. It is very stable and a dream to push on the flat part of our walk home. The only hard part comes at the end when I have to lean in to it to get it up our steep Seattle hill.

However, walking through the neighborhood, talking to folks as I go, is always enjoyable, especially on Sundays when we have a farmers market. Also, cars are much more likely to stop and let you cross the street when you're pushing a baby stroller.

Best Hopes for improved technology for pedestrians!


Sounds like a small battery powered assist is needed for the last hill. Great idea though!

Guess I'm in nit-picking mode today. Sounds to me like a battery assist is not "needed". Jonathan is currently managing without, so there is no 'need'. Would it be nice, convenient, easier, etc...? Sure, but it's the constant mistaking of wants for needs that got us in this mess in the first place...

Well, I guess my personal experience influenced my better judgment. I am/was in pretty good shape, until last year when my lower back got bad. If I had a bad week, I would not be bringing home the bacon (or bread, sugar, etc.).

I fully load up my bicycle (front and back baskets) with groceries. I don't have to walk the bicycle (the sidewalks are not crowded here) but I could walk it and it can carry A LOT. Sometimes I have seen other people without cars here walking bicycles with all sorts of heavy stuff strapped on top: a small mattress, pet cages, suitcases, chairs, etc.

So my point is that a bicycle can be a rolling carrier: you don't need to ride it for it to be useful.

So my point is that a bicycle can be a rolling carrier

I believe the VietCong used such methods. I'm betting the US Military has documents on the topic.

I've got this bike:


75 Kg load capacity. Yeah, you'll have to push it up the hills!

Interesting, we do have a ute bike or rather trike here that is the back half of a bike and the front is a frame of about a 1 metre cube and the front open, wheels either side. They get used for a lot of different things including taxis. Another alternative is to just use a wheelbarrow. Diablos and loading trolleys also spring to mind, some can be used as diablos or trolleys.


There is a site called WalkScore which rates walkability of any place on the map (US). It covers distance to grocery stores as one of it's metrics.


FYI -- The guys that built the WalkScore site live about 3 miles from me. Seattleites are fiercely dedicated to their little urban neighborhoods.

"Be the change you want to see." - Ghandi

There was some discussion yesterday, I believe, about shopping on foot. The difficulty of returning home with 30lbs of groceries in one's arms was mentioned.

Seems a non-issue.

When I was young, you would always be able to see 'a little old lady' or two using the wheeled wire collapsible grocery cart. ( http://www.solutions-for-seniors.info/products/dailyLiving/foldingCarts.... )

They may just come back into vogue, or not.

Everyone in NYC had one of those carts, when I lived there in the nineties. My wife and I would go to the big supermarket 5 blocks from our house once a week and load up.

real eggs, not the corn-based manufactured look-alikes

I really do hope you are kidding. My local shop (83m by Google Earth) is cheaper than the supermarkets so I just wander over and pick up 1/2 dozen when I need. I do walk to Costco for the heavy stuff then get a taxi back, $4-$5 US.


Bill Ford doesn't think much of electric cars:


And Germans don't think much of ethanol:


Peak Oil. No problem. We like living in the past and hate change.

I don't know anything about batteries,specifically, but history very strongly suggests that if the market for them continues to expand, ways will be found to reduce the cost of manufacture untill the costs consist mostly of the cost of the raw materials and the energy needed for processing.Both these will certainly rise, but most likely advanced batteries will still be a great all around deal , as the materials can be recycled and they can be manufactured and recharged with coal, nuclear, wind or even pv juice, all of which, eccepting possibly pv, will be cheaper than ff within the lifetimes of us old fogeys hanging out here.

The real question mark is whether the capital for building the manufacturing plants will be available, and if the production levels will be high enough that the capex per battery will shrink over the long term. Most analysts seem to be optimistic to dead certain that capex per battery will shrink fast over the next decade at least.

People who insist that the public will not accept slower, smaller, short range electric cars simplky don't GET IT.

The eventual choice is not between an electric and an ice vehicle;it's between an electric and walking. Electrics will do just fine, assuming the economy doesn't collapse so fast they don't get up to critical volume of manufacturing.

If evs are available in good numbers at reasonable prices, and gasoline is rationed by decree rather than price , as I expect it will be within five years, they will sell like hotcakes-and so will small scale pv systems capable of charging them up for a couple of trips per week.

Even very basic plain jane stripped subcompact models will find a red hot market if that is all most buyers can afford-people aren't going to give up paid for suburbia and country homes for nonexistent housing downtown expecting to ride so far mostly non existent subways and buses.

Those otlying houses that aren't paid for will sell so cheap, eventually, after foreclosure, that they can be rented for a pittance if not bought outright. Landlords, large or small, cannot make a dime on permanently empty housing.

Of course I have personally set aside a full size old ford 4x4 with a granny gear and a "big six" with a carbuerator;when things get really bad, I can run it on wood by building a gasifier and haul all my buddies to town once a week on a hay wagon burning only a wheelbarrow or two of firewood.

It oughta be a lot of fun.

I plan to make the ones who laughed loudest at me for predicting peak oil supply most of the firewood.

A factor that needs to be mentioned is the roads.

How will they be paid for and what conditions will they be in?


I think of this all the time. The roads here in Wisconsin are beyond bad. Even roads that are not that old look/feel like crap in just a few years. One of our roads has been closed on and off over the past 5 years because the bluff keeps collapsing from heavy rains/freeze/thaw (just last week a boulder took out part of someones house). What weather doesn't destroy, the snowplows take care of... I can't see how we'll be able to maintain all these roads.

Now the bike path that was paved probably close to 20 years ago still looks very good.

The roads will go down to a certain point and after that they will be maintained by hand if necessary with broken stome and old construction materials such as masonry rubble.

You will notice that I picked out a high ground clearance , real truck, not a suv, with a granny gear and a double low reduction 4wd system, and a hay wagon as the primary components of my jitney bus system.

The wood gasifier will take up most of the cargo box.

I'm guessing that ten to fifteen mph will be a comfortable average rural cruising speed once we are back to roads like the ones familiar to my great grand parents, who hauked thier produce to town in horse drawn wagons.

Run of the mill passenger cars will not be able to run on a lot of roads withing a decade or two-the ruts and potholes will be too deep.

There will be some compromise worked out on major routes that will keep them in drivable condition-probably truck wieghts will be decreased while truck fuel taxes and/or liscense fees are raised substantially.

Since we used up the easy stuff early on in our industrial journey, material costs have gone up. Gravel and stone was sourced from gravel beds and rivers. Most gravel these days is crushed quarry stone; alot of embedded energy. I expect we'll see alot of stretching and recycling of materials. They patched our road after last year's snowplowing damaged it, then this years snowplowing detroyed the patches. They hadn't even repainted the lines. They aren't using regular asphalt, just tar-down (layers of gravel and tar). Seeing a lot of that lately.

I made a light weight aluminum trailer for my Honda trail 110. It hauls 200 lbs and is big enough for a hay bale. I use it to flip around on our property. It is also great for embarrassing the son...... when tanked up on wine, loaded wife into the back on a lawn chair and attached streamers and flags and pulled into his driveway beeping my horn. He was mortified as his cool buddy looked on...kicking tires on their hot rod jeeps, but they both cracked up when we couldn't stop laughing. I tell my wife we will use it go to town just like Ma and Pa Kettle.


OFM, there was a program on the History Channel called "Apocalypse PA" where a family converted their old farm pick-em-up with a gasifier. Dad told his son that he could use the truck to take his girlfriend out on a date that Saturday night if he could get the thing to run on horse manure. Sure enough, they got the thing running. The only little problem is that as the truck drove down the road it left behind the distinct sent trail of burning horse-you-know-what.
But the lad's girlfriend was a really good sport. She was the one who helped him collect up the manure and spread it out in the sun to dry out so it would burn!
Pretty hilarious, really.
Not too many young women out there (or older ones for that matter) who would view the old pick up running on horse manure as the ideal ride for a night on the town;-)

...people aren't going to give up paid for suburbia and country homes for nonexistent housing downtown...

And for nonexistent jobs downtown.

One of the patterns I've been trying to research is that of multi-centered cities, particularly in the western states of the US. Beginning in WWII, and particularly in the West, the federal government established large facilities well away from the established downtowns. Many of these continue to function as concentrated job centers today, and the suburbs have grown to enclose them. Firms are unlikely to be willing to abandon large investments in order to try to move into the urban core.

Assuming that the urban core is willing to have them, as well. Consider the case of an integrated circuit fab. Not only is the fab expensive (a completely new state-of-the-art fab runs about $8B today), but production involves the use of appreciable amounts of toxic chemicals. Zoning commissions are not cooperative with firms that propose putting a new building downtown that takes regular deliveries of large amounts of toxic flammable arsine (AsH3) gas.

Excellent points and commonly overlooked in our usual glib indictments of sprawl.
People have simply followed the jobs to a certain extent. All that vast acreage of 'business parks' and 'industrial parks' which have sprung up in the past 30 years or so house what remains of our private sector middle class employment base.

Sure, people may wish to live in Jonathan Callahan's urban oasis of walkable neighborhoods, who wouldn't? For some time the 'reverse commute' of people living in the urban core and commuting to jobs in the suburbs has eclipsed the former pattern.

Jobs in fabrication, design and distribution are based in the "'burbs" for the most part nowadays.

All that vast acreage of 'business parks' and 'industrial parks' which have sprung up in the past 30 years or so house what remains of our private sector middle class employment base.

But, the fundamental question is, "What if people can't afford to drive to work?"

If people can't afford to drive to the site, they won't work there, so the business and industrial parks will cease to operate and will be abandoned. Nothing but weeds.

And then what remains of your private sector middle class employment base? Nothing. Welcome to the 21st century.

Don't say it can't happen until you've seen some of the old industrial cities of Britain.

Yes, I've never been to Britain but i did get to travel through the Rust Belt in the late '70's so I think I get your point- macroeconomic shifts can result in dramatic changes in land use that would be inconceivable to a previous generation.

Kinda brings up a more near-term, stop-gap adaptation to the back side of Hubbert's peak that I've been wondering about...
It would seem to make sense for some people to park their RV, motor-home or even a simple Westphalia type van in their employee parking lot for the duration of their work-week and just go home for the weekends.
Maybe have a bicycle for simple trips to the store or whatever...
I have heard anectdotes of such things at my former employers, but mostly from men going through divorce. It's not allowed at present of course, but you can see where a tolerance policy would develop, if the economics became compelling.

As poor Americans decamp to their automobiles, the lucky few with jobs might get to spend their work week in an RV eating beans from a can in their employers parking lot...

Many years ago, the first time I was a graduate student, I knew a guy who had a delivery van, roughly the size of the ones that UPS and FedEx run around residential neighborhoods today, that he had bought very cheap. He had outfitted the interior so that he could fold down the appropriate things and have a dining table, a bed, a sofa, or a large desk at which he could study. Little permanent built-in stove and sink. Nifty bookshelves with bars that kept the books from going flying when he drove it. Plus stereo and other amenities. He had made a long-term deal with the local campground where he parked and connected to an electric outlet. The campground had a nice toilet and shower. It was a heck of a lot cheaper than renting a studio apartment in one of the student ghetto areas. Bicycle to campus or the stores.

I have a friend who's done something like that. He's modified a van to run off biodiesel, and lives in it. Last I heard, he was adding a composting toilet.

Check out www.abandoned-places.com, Henk van Rensbergen's haunting and very artistic photo site.

His incredible photography provides a fantastic a vision of the industrial past. His abandoned hospital and mental institution photos are gut-wrenching. I really feel as if I am a post-apocalyptic wanderer when I browse his site. His choice of old blueprints in sepia-tone as backgrounds for his navigation pages sets the mood before you enter his world, and his commentary is appropriate to the subject.

I can visualize our contemporary malls and industrial/business parks as being like this decades from now.


Speaking of gassifiers for cars, in the ethanol debates I've always wondered about the cost of running a car on gassified corn cobs vs. the cost of running a car on corn ethanol. I bet the cobs would be cheaper.

I remember the auto editor of Mechanix Illustrated, Tom McCahill, talking about his WWII experience with auto gassifiers claiming that he once got 27 miles from a dead cat.

Supercritical carbon dioxide Brayton Cycle turbines promise giant leap in thermal-to-electric conversion efficiency

Research focuses on supercritical carbon dioxide (S-CO2) Brayton-cycle turbines, which typically would be used for bulk thermal and nuclear generation of electricity, including next-generation power reactors. The goal is eventually to replace steam-driven Rankine cycle turbines, which have lower efficiency, are corrosive at high temperature and occupy 30 times as much space because of the need for very large turbines and condensers to dispose of excess steam. The Brayton cycle could yield 20 megawatts of electricity from a package with a volume as small as four cubic meters.

In other words, as compared with other gas turbines the S-CO2 Brayton system could increase the electrical power produced per unit of fuel by 40 percent or more. The combination of low temperatures, high efficiency and high power density allows for the development of very compact, transportable systems that are more affordable because only standard engineering materials (stainless steel) are required, less material is needed, and the small size allows for advanced-modular manufacturing processes.

The article clearly overstates the advantages of supercritical CO2. For example, those large steam turbine plants don't release steam, they recycle it. What one sees outside the plant are the waste heat systems, especially the large hyperbolic cone towers which appear to be releasing steam, but which are actually there to induce an updraft to move ambient air thru the heat exchangers. It's true that nuclear power plants exhibit lower efficiency, which results in larger heat loads from the heat exchangers, but to then claim such a small size ignores the fact that there will be waste heat and that will require heat exchangers of some size. Nuclear power plants are usually built in 1,000 megawatt (or larger) sizes, which is 50 times the size of the 20 megawatt system mentioned.

Then, there's the claim that these could increase the amount of energy (they say power) from the fuel ignores the fact that combined cycle systems are already about 60% efficient and thermodynamics makes it very difficult to push beyond this level in conversion efficiency. The author claims these systems will produce high efficiency at lower temperatures (300 C), ignoring the Carnot limit for such devices. For example, with perfect head exchangers and turbines operating at 30C ambient, the maximum efficiency would be about:

Efficiency = (delta T)/ maximum T, in Kelvin
           = (300 C - 30 C) / (273 + 300) = 47%

I think this is rather poor writing from the Sandia National Laboratories...

E. Swanson

Thanks for doing the math. I thought the same thing when the article had similar performance for widely varying peak temperatures. If the supercritical exchanger offers modestly better efficiency at similar temperatures to existing heat engines, then it would still have value and there is no reason for breathless hyperbole. If not, well, then why pitch it at all?

As you say, the question is, why Sandia might "pitch" the idea. Perhaps the actual research is directed at small scale nukes of the sort being proposed these days, where the operating temperatures might be lower than those in a coal burning plant. In that situation, the result might be greater efficiency and thus smaller waste heat exchangers. Alternatively, there are other applications where lower temperatures would mean low efficiency with a steam cycle, such as solar thermal. Also, these might work in areas with limited water availability. But, without reading the literature, I have no clue...

E. Swanson

That's pretty interesting for large and small scale nuclear power, but also be useful for CSP

A small triumph in the media. National Radio here in New Zealand no longer parrot the WTI price in their financial summaries - instead they now use the Brent price when quoting the oil price.

I'd love to see the pair of them shown on the graph at the right here on TOD.

..someone in this crowd could set up such a chart, no?

http://www.oil-price.net/ has little dashboards for most commodities. Needs javascript enabled:

To get the BRENT oil price, please enable Javascript.

Codes here


Looks like my local gas station guy will have to go out to the sign again tomorrow. WTI(unexpectedly) = $104

Here in France petrol (gas) has hit $8.00/gallon (€1.51/ltr).

I also seem to be getting less MPG. Perhaps they've now raised the ethanol content to 10%. I think we're already in an oil price shock which is derailing the economy.

I'm sorry. I don't mean to pick on you personally, but the price of petrol in Europe is not the same as the price in the USA.

Much of the price difference is higher taxes in Europe. Meaning you pay more at the pump, yes, but that money helps fund the government and you get much of that back (healthcare, public transportation, etc).

In the USA, most of the price paid goes to private companies/corporations. Nothing comes back.

Governments' are cutting back wherever they can, so we'll see less benefits than when we where paying €1.00/ltr. All we're seeing now is money being sucked out of peoples' wallets at a faster rate than they're being filled. Looking about locally people are really beginning to suffer. I think the economy is going to be hit abruptly, probably taking the economist by surprise (although that would be no surprise).

No argument there.

It's my contention that one thing that Bernanke and the banksters don't understand is speed. Which is no surprise: people who have no understanding of history will have no sense of time.

Namely, they went all in printing a ton of money very quickly. It's now collapsing and they've played their last card.

If they understood history, they would have been more subtle about their theft, spread it over 20 years or so (as was done from 1980 onward, as it were) rather than compact it all into 3 years. The speed at which things are happening gives no room for the farmers or innovators to come up with solutions to food/energy.

Which means the solutions, which would of course perpetuate the banksters' fraud, are not there!

Too bad, so sad.

I'm telling you, we should all be thanking the heavens that food and energy costs are rising uncontrollably. It's the one and only thing that exposes the lie that you can print your way to prosperity. People do suffer, but that seems to be the very terrible price we have to pay to uncover fraud.

If they understood history, they would have been more subtle about their theft, spread it over 20 years or so (as was done from 1980 onward, as it were) rather than compact it all into 3 years. The speed at which things are happening gives no room for the farmers or innovators to come up with solutions to food/energy.

Perhaps it was not history they were studying, but the future. If one thinks that TSHTF soon, and you have a limited window to loot the remaining spoils, then subtlety or subterfuge is no longer on the table.

Just a theory.

It's now collapsing and they've played their last card.

There are other cards that can be played. A few have force at the barrel of a gun. Even more money printing.

I disagree with you slightly.
Fatih Birol himself has labeled Europe as the 'weak link in the world economy'.

Besides, a lot of those taxes are reducing consumer spending in a very fragile Continent as well as making it much more expensive for companies to import various goods and transport them to European shores.

Nontheless, people should be careful when talking about Europe. I live in Sweden, where the national debt has actually fallen in the current crisis and it's below 40 % now.

We have a 7-8 % GDP growth in the fourth quarter and we're the best performing economy in the European market(although we're not part of the failed Euro project).

Scandinavia as a whole is doing great, as well as Germany and to some degree the Netherlands.

It's mostly the Southern regions plus the British Isles which are in deep trouble. France is doing neither doing crap nor especially well.

Louisiana Sweet $120.97 / barrel according to http://www.upstreamonline.com/marketdata/markets_crude.htm

Brent Blend $115.77

The Great Shell Game – Update
[Original post – The Great Shell Game – here: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7569/771056 ]

Despite the very widely reported statement by Saudi Arabia that they will offer to increase oil exports to make up for losses in Libya, they have not increased exports since their February 28 statement. In fact, they may actually have decreased exports since then. Even ‘Oil Movements’, the tanker tracking firm which even OPEC itself relies upon for shipment information, says OPEC exports are expected to fall in the first part of March [ http://www.automatedtrader.net/real-time-dow-jones/50548/opec-sailings-s... ]. Note that Oil Movements is not, repeat NOT, estimating losses from Libya.

KSA now has all but abandoned its plan to move oil internally through a cross-desert pipeline from its east coast (Persian Gulf side) to the west coast port of Yanbu (Red Sea side). The delays from the transit time in sending oil through the pipeline resulted in oil not reaching the west coast while the east coast shipments were already cut off. Red Sea shippers, using smaller sized tankers, are rushing to the Red Sea for the expected arrival of the internally shipped oil.

Iran has also jumped in to take advantage of the chaos in oil shipments. In my previous posts, I mentioned that Iran had about the only significant ‘floating storage’ left in the world. That now is mostly disappeared. Iran has sent much of its stored oil to Egypt, where it will be mostly re-shipped to the Mediterranean. Suddenly, European oil buyers are less concerned about where the oil started out from. To quote the movie, Three Days of the Condor: Ask 'em when they're running out. Ask 'em when there's no heat in their homes and they're cold. Ask 'em when their engines stop. You wanna know something? They won't want us to ask 'em. They'll just want us to get it for 'em!

KSA is expected to resume Persian Gulf shipments about March 15. Italian and US buyers have snapped up whatever oil supplies the East (China, Korea, Japan) do not get to first.

Do you think that the market is starting to "get it", that much of this oil will be off line for a long time? I mean, when these riots first broke out, the idea was that there was a temporary risk premium on the oil market. But, as time advances, this idea must get abandoned, no?

The market is sometimes smarter than the its participants, for example Italian refiners wanted to buy what little extra light oil KSA had on Thursday and Friday (see below), they had to pay more than anyone was paying - that is they were forced to pay whatever price that would discourage others from buying it.

Being that the US also is looking to replace a small amount of supplies from Libya, Gulf of Mexico US refiners also want to buy, creating a bit of a bidding war.

So while the media, and even speculators, may not "get it", the market is still functioning and does "get it".

I really don't buy the "risk premium" story, just "how badly do buyers want to lock up supply" story.

Charles, I hear you and I believe you. However before I can go out on a limb myself and say flatly that Saudi has not increased production I must wait for the data. The OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report comes out next Friday. But that will just have the February production. We will have to wait until April 12th for the March data. Of course Platts and others will put out their data a week or more earlier. But we will still have to wait until early April to get confirming data.

So I am just laying low, not making any definite statements until then. But keep posting, I love reading your posts.

Ron P.

Thanks, but please note that I am mainly tracking oil movements by tanker, and I am not arguing that KSA has reduced 'production'.

They may have increased output but just not shipped it yet, even possibly increased it earlier, but just stored it - as some other posters implied. Shipping sources are planning for increased shipments starting about March 15 - which probably will be higher than what we have seen from about mid-February to mid-March. However I don't expect KSA's exports will exceed the levels that we saw from about mid-November 2010 to mid-December 2010, but will possibly be about the same.

That increase will be, at best, about half the 700,000 bpd increase KSA said they 'offered' to make.

I believe the quote below relates to Italian refiners buying some of the March 15 shipments:

Mar 5, 2011 11:46 AM ET

Aramco this week offered European refiners additional cargoes of Arab Light crude for loading this month, two officials involved in the negotiations said. The official prices for light grades to Northwest Europe and the Mediterranean Sea gained as oil prices rose and as lighter Libyan crudes were taken out of the market.


Michael Klare: The Collapse of the Old Oil Order

The world economy requires an increasing supply of affordable petroleum. The Middle East alone can provide that supply. That’s why Western governments have long supported “stable” authoritarian regimes throughout the region, regularly supplying and training their security forces. Now, this stultifying, petrified order, whose greatest success was producing oil for the world economy, is disintegrating. Don’t count on any new order (or disorder) to deliver enough cheap oil to preserve the Petroleum Age.

...Even if rebellion doesn’t reach Saudi Arabia, the old Middle Eastern oil order cannot be reconstructed. The result is sure to be a long-term decline in the future availability of exportable petroleum.

Pumping Oil with Sunshine

How do you make mirror-concentrated sunlight cheaper than burning natural gas? Put it in a greenhouse, argues new solar start-up GlassPoint, which unveiled its first such solar hot water greenhouse on February 24—in a dusty, old oil field in California's Central Valley. Why? Because cheap steam means more oil.

Ensconced amidst the derricks of Berry Petroleum Company's oil field in McKittrick, Calif., the 650-square-meter demonstration of a greenhouse-based solar thermal steam plant will help pre-heat water to 88 degrees Celsius. That hot water will then be boiled to steam with natural gas and used to heat the rock in old oil fields to pump out more petroleum.

How National Security Depends on Better Lithium Batteries

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—Lithium spontaneously combusts in air, yet the battery in your computer—and any of the stacks in the new breed of electric vehicles—is made from it. Lithium even burns in water, which is too bad because a lithium-water battery could be both cheap and powerful. Now battery-maker PolyPlus claims to have created such a battery by encasing the lithium in a special membrane that allows it to pass charge without melting down.

"Lithium is explosive in water," Arun Majumdar, director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, or ARPA–e, which is funding PolyPlus's development effort, noted at the agency's second annual conference March 1. By ensconcing the lithium inside the membrane's seal, the PolyPlus battery reacts safely with the oxygen dissolved in the water and delivers as much as 1,300 watt-hours per kilogram of electricity. "This is like a fish, but it's a battery."

PolyPlus is just one of several better battery-makers that ARPA–e is funding, all attempting to improve on a standard lithium ion battery's roughly 400 watt-hours per kilogram—the reason why all-electric cars don't have the long-distance range of a traditional automobile. The program—dubbed BEEST, for Batteries for Electrical Energy Storage in Transportation—has funded 10 projects in all, ranging from rechargeable batteries composed entirely of solid materials to high-energy density capacitors. "Just like 'Intel inside', I hope you have BEEST inside your electric cars in the future," Majumdar said.

Maybe a little bit of these:


Let's hope they pass the Robert Rapier test.

Because the exploitable area is based on two dimensions but is stored inside a body built in three dimensions, there is no theoretical limit to the amount of charge that can be stored in a cell of a given volume; the only limit is a practical one, related to how much accessible surface area we can create using the materials available to us and the amount of energy available to be stored in this way.

WRONG (At least if the device is made of ordinary matter )

LOL. First there was vaporware; now, by golly, there's infinitely foldable two dimensional vaporware. Can anybody say "EEStor"?

IMF Rates Up Dictatorships Just Before Revolutions

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) made an embarrassing error just two days before the start of the Libyan people's revolution on February 17. This quote from an IMF country study appeared in a previous article: "The outlook for Libya’s economy remains favorable." IMF Feb 15 This advice was 180 degrees off target. The Libyan economy has ceased functioning as protests and popular demands imploded the Gaddafi regime.

Further investigation unearthed a specific pattern of positive IMF endorsements for each of the nations experiencing popular uprisings that are sweeping the region. When the IMF blesses a nation's progress for conforming to the economic policies underlying globalism, watch out! There is a popular rebellion in the wings.

Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, Yemen, Oman all received the IMF seal of approval.

The scarcity of sugar products in Brazil, the top producer, has led the country to turn to the US for corn-based ethanol to replenish depleted supplies of its own cane-based alternative, Agrimoney.com has learned.

Brazil's North East region has, in an unusual if not unprecedented move, begun importing US ethanol to replenish supplies lost as soaring sugar prices encouraged mills to turn cane into sweeteners rather than biofuels.

The move defies typical industry dynamics which, as sugar ethanol is less energy-intensive to manufacture than America's corn-based biofuel, typically makes Brazil's version significantly more competitive.


Rumaila faces output challenges

Production at Iraq's supergiant Rumaila oilfield, developed by BP and China's CNPC, has fallen from peaks hit in December and early January, official figures showed, in what could be a sign of challenges ahead.

It has dropped as much as 280,000 barrels in a single day – or more than 10% of Iraq's total daily average output – from the 1.29 million bpd reached on 11 January, according to state-run South Oil Company documents obtained by Reuters.

The BP-led consortium is drilling new wells, overhauling and connecting existing ones and installing electric submersible pumps to boost production and overcome the natural decline of the Rumaila field, estimated at around 15% per year.

"They have to race against time and use as much as they could of the electric submersible pumps to hold output steady," the official said.

Major Reports Under Way at Energy Department

Last fall, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology called for a comprehensive, governmentwide report on national energy policy modeled on the quadrennial review of military policy conducted by the Department of Defense. The Department of Energy (DOE) has dubbed its contribution a Quadrennial Technology Review, which it hopes to submit to the White House by August

Draft 2011 DOE Strategic Plan

Summary Presentation for World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse

At the Earth Policy Institute, we watch a number of indicators, including global food prices, hunger rates, and the number of failing states around the world, to get a sense of how close to the edge our civilization might be. This slideshow presentation, based on Lester Brown’s latest book, World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse, explains the threats facing our civilization and how we got to this point.

From MediaMatters Right-Wing Media Reliably Promote GOP Global Cooling Video

Today, the Daily Caller, Fox Nation, Hot Air, and climate change skeptic website Climate Depot promoted a video created by Senator Jim Inhofe's (R-OK) press office which consists of clips from yesterday's Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing. In the video, Senators Inhofe (R-OK) and Barrasso (R-WY) suggest that we shouldn't trust the scientific consensus on global warming because in the 1970's, scientists predicted global cooling.

Climate Gambit: How Rightwing Hypocrisy Endangers US

The defeat of climate legislation in the 111th Congress fits into the GOP's circumscribed conception of national security, which places military threats and "foreign enemies" above all dangers including, and perhaps most unbelievably, global warming. Tragically, this narrow focus, informed by a range of factors--not least the "Military Industrial Complex"--assures a perpetual state of war, and undermines the very survival of the planet.

Conservative media clearly prefer distractions like this to facing the fact that for decades, climate scientists have been amassing more and more evidence that the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to that trend.

So, Sen Inhofe is still spreading that old disinformation claiming that scientists called for cooling in the 1970's. They keep going back to the paper in SCIENCE by Rasool and Schneider, among others. But, that paper ("Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols: Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate", July 1971) didn't predict an Ice Age, only that cooling from aerosols was possible, as well as warming from CO2. Notice the word Large in the title. Of course, there was the book "The Cooling" by Lowell Ponte, which was based on the notion that an Ice Age was going to happen (which is still in the predictions for long term changes, BTW), but Ponte wasn't a climate scientist. I think he was the science writer for Reader's Digest when he wrote his book...

E. Swanson

Explorers drilled 16 dry wells off Norway last year, part of the reason the Petroleum Directorate cut its estimate for undiscovered gas by 31 percent, or by 570 billion cubic meters. That’s equal to almost six years of production for Norway.

Why is that regions with honest reporting like Norway and Alaska consistently reduce their reserve estimates, while regions with dishonest reporting like Saudi and Iran consistently increase their reserve estimates?

Speaking of Inhofe who is a loon and anyone following his lead is a bafoon, Kudlow was on this evening. Just caught him for a moment, but what a moment it was. He said, "With the price of oil what it is, and knowing we now have over a thousand years of NG available in this country, we should convert all of our (US) vehicles to run on NG and stop all this nonsense of buying foreign oil. Then Bernanke should know the dollar needs to be king. Thank you and good evening."

That's ignoring the cost and time needed for conversion of ICE's to run on NG, the cost of NG to the consumer once demand is raging through all available supply, damage to aquifers from massive drilling operations to access NG in shale, and cost of infrastructure needed to get all that NG to market.

And how does saying the dollar needs to be king make it so?

For as long as I've been a member of TOD, a little over a year now, I've consistently said that we should pay no attention whatsoever to the fools who make up 90% of the television media and almost all of what you'll find on cable.

My views have mostly fallen on deaf ears. Various reasons are given..."the national debate matters," "we need to get the word out on peak oil." etc.

I'm telling you, nothing Kudlow says matters or makes sense. You might as well try to interpret the rantings going on inside an insane asylum.

It's not hard to understand, yet so few people seem willing to make this change. Stop watching cable and stop turning to their programs, and they will go away!

In a post-peak world, the biggest single waste of time is paying attention to idiots. I avoid them like the plague.

Not liking Inhofe doesn't change the fact that CNG vehicles make a LOT of sense. I would bet nat gas is more a 100 year or less supply, but even then it's more than oil has left. Not shipping 100M per day to the East would be one way to keep the dollar stronger, but small compared to the loose money factor.

Robert Fisk reports in The Inmdependent, on the coming "day of rage" organised by the Shia of Ad Dammam...... right on the doorstep of Ras Tanura, home of the Saudi offshore and bulk-shipping businesses. Gulp.

If it all kicks off there, the worlds oil-importing countries are staring into the abyss.

Regards Chris

Saudi Arabia is Saudi Arabia. They have a very strong military and generally can afford to buy off the population.

Libya did not have a strong military but it had no debt and could also buy off the population. So you never know. But I'm still more concerned about Iraq than I am about the Saudis.

They are too powerful. If things get ugly the Obama administration will intervene.

On the other hand, since we are facing an immidiate supply shortage this year, and as Charles Mackay has pointed out, the oil shipments out of the gulf(excluding Libya) has actually fallen(so no, the Saudis are not exporting more oil).

This means that any rumor now is enough to send the prices wayward up into the sky.
The ex-chief of Libyas biggest oil company recently warned of prices of 130 in the next coming weeks.

By March 11th, I expect a boost to oil prices just on the sole reason of herd mentality.

I would be very surprised if we did not have somekind of crash this year. We still have almost 9 months to go on the year and demand will spike during the summer. Not to mention the brewing food unrest which will unravel.

The question is if we will crawl out of the next 'recession' at all. How many more bailout money can the West afford? Maybe the U.S. can do something but countries like Greece and Spain would probably default, sending parts of Europe down the drain and thus triggering a financial crisis as the debtbubble explodes across the world.

China has a property bubble too.

As I've stated before, I think that what will ultimately decide the peak will not be geology but geopolitics or something else not directly related to oil(be it food, extreme financial stress etc).

Still, don't underestimate the illusionists. They've been telling people all is fine for a long time now. I'm sure 'speculators' can be blamed or why not IOCs(even though they have less than 7 % of the world oil trade)?

Libya's military was not terrible, though. I think there is still a chance for Gadhafi to stretch his reach again, now that momentum has shifted to stale-mate. With a little time to regroup, work out logistics, and spy, there could yet be some quite successful military forays.

It is hard from here to see what assets are solidly on either side, but so far the rebels seem to be lightly armored and winning by force of numbers and enthusiasm. Their greatest chance of success in Libya lies in defection of the main guard, or a well-timed bullet in Gadhafi. The worst case for oil would appear to be a roving battle over assets spanning years, with the rebels unable to keep ports and refineries or take Tripoli, and Gadhafi unable to keep the outlying areas either. With an ongoing civil war, there will be few foreign workers, and little maintenance and new drilling as well.

Given all the fighting going on around key oil and gas distribution points, I'm surprised power is still on across the country. In an interview with Sky News Gaddafi's son seemed to warn the rebels directly "Brega is safe for now (in rebel hands) but do something stupid there and one million people will march on you."

Since that statement, Ras Lanuf has also fallen to the rebels...

Yeah. The Western powers are ready to intervene, but Gaddafi is smart enough not to overdo it. He's fightning in a way which will tire the rebels out but isn't bloody enough to cause major outrage in Western countries on how the power can 'just sit and watch' at the massacre. As long as the rebels seem to be on equal, or at least decent, footing, it will look aggressive if they intervene. Gaddafi knows this, and he's playing his hand deftly.

But I see somekind of foreign intervention as inevitable, but they will be careful to portray it as a defensive act. The Brits have already prepared various kinds of platoons that can be deployed within 24 hours.

But, the MoD has stressed, it's mainly for 'humanitarian purposes'.

If the rebels fail to do something significant, the marines will be sent in mainly behind enemy lines to make sure that the rebels are surrounding Tripoli. If the rebels still can't finish it off, expect a no-fly zone. If nothing still moves then you'll see Western troops in Tripoli although I doubt we'll get to that.

PR is important and the more innocuous the Western troops and/or jets inside Libya will look, against all reason, the better.

It may be significant that pro Gaddafi forces withdrew from Ras Lanuf and Brega rather than being defeated. A full scale battle inside major installations would be a disaster for the future. I think Gaddafi knows this but I think some of the well meaning rebels have no idea of the disaster they can bring upon their country if the power grids go down. If supplies get cut to government held areas the Gaddafi forces will likely take out power to the rebel areas in retaliation.

t isn't bloody enough to cause major outrage in Western countries

Being bloody doesn't get the major powers to give a gosh darn.

Think of the oil-less places where people go at each other with machetes. It got some clicking tounges.

The Carter Doctrine is about oil - not a bit of human blood.

I would expect numerous foreign advisers -- special forces -- will be in place before long, if not already. It is an easy cover for them to be extracting oilfield workers and such. I personally do not expect a significant US military operation, given the harsh times in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Obama's apparent dislike of unilateral action. Drones, cruise missiles, a shoot-down here or there, and a few bombs or missiles there or there might be forthcoming. Maybe a blockage would be considered as well. Right now time may well play to Gadhafi's advantage, and without outside help the rebellion may turn into a Bay of Pigs or Iranian uprising. If Gadhafi can get food and supplies for his troops and the city, he could hold out for a long time.

Note that I assume there is a major political issue with KSA in play, given that not along ago Mubarek was a friend and Khadafi was tolerated. Now both are being thrown under the bus by the west. I hear little from China, other than they keep filling ships and paying cash. There is a good chance that China will end up being the only winner in these conflicts.

And for the Iron Triangle followers:

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admits that American media outlets do not offer real news despite being the “most technologically advanced.”

Look, I'm not naive about the bias in Western media but quoting a murderous theorcracy's official state propaganda(Iran's press) on the state on Western media is just ridicolous.

Neither is good.

Take it up with Hilary. Even ABC News reported her saying the same thing. See my other reply.

quoting a murderous theorcracy's official state propaganda

I see. Is the "badness" being a theorcracy? Being murderous?

And how is "official"ness determined?

Because I'm thinking of 2 world population groups who'd find 2 States 'murderous theorcracys' with 'official state propaganda'. And I'm betting that most members of the 2 States would consider "their" States being labeled 'murderous theorcracys' with 'official state propaganda' somehow offensive.

One should check for a mote in thine own eye.

Your comment comes as across as slightly, curiously strange.

That PressTV is owned by the Iranian theocracy is not a secret and state-owned media is state-owned media. How else can, in your words, '"official"ness' be determined?
If the state owns it, it's official per definition.

And when you derail into a bizarre rant about the '2 world population groups' things just get weird.

Are you feeling well?

For the record, I doubt you will get alot of affirmation for your charming, affectionate and passionate support of a regime which is slaughtering it's own people and has vowed to 'wipe Israel off the map', as well as senior officials claiming that if they could bomb Israel's 6 million population if the cost is 8 million dead in Tehran 'it would be worth it'.

That you support the official media of a clinically insane regime bent on a Nuclear Holocaust probably says a lot more about you than your critics, not to mention the impression one gets of a deeply troubled individual and your rambling rants on various '2 world populations' and their '"official"ness'.

I am no friend of American imperialism or Western hypocrisy but the solution is not to fiercely embrace religious facism.

Quotes for your claims above? Preferably not the typical mistranslations pedaled by Fox News and others. For a country hell-bent on a nuclear apocalypse it seems bizarre that it is taking steps to attempt to secure its status as a major oil and and gas producer well into the next decade.

And no of course I don't support the Tehran regime but neither do I believe it is suicidal.

That Iran wants to 'wipe Israel off the map' is not exactly a Fox News conspiracy.
As for the 8 million dead quote, I read it in the liberal press, I think it was the NYT, as well as in the Swedish press(famously socialist). That's why I remember it, it came across twice in a short timespan a few years ago.

Unless you believe in an all-encompassing Jewish conspiracy, I would maintain that the quote is reasonably accurate considering the sources I read it in.

Do I have the shorthand URL saved in my bookmarks?
I don't even have bookmarks. And I won't spend hours on the web looking for a single quote but if you google on the topic you might find it. Mind you, I remember the gist of the story. How exactly he said it is another deal.

As for Iran, I think they are probably quite divided. There's definitely a very strong religious messanic dash in the highest echelons but there are also realists.

How the camps are divided is anybody's guess, but the very fact that there is such a divide and that the religious fanatics do have a presence is alarming enough.
And mind you, being a fanatic does not need to translate into someone with erratic behaviour. Hitler and Stalin were fanatics, but both were quite often, albeit not always, coolly-headed people and definitely capable of rational thought. A fanatic comes in many shapes.

And even without the religious fanaticism, I fail to see how a mentally sane individual would rush to the defence of a deeply violent and oppressive Theocracy like Iran.
That person should not be let out on the streets with other people.

Lost in translation

Experts confirm that Iran's president did not call for Israel to be 'wiped off the map'. Reports that he did serve to strengthen western hawks.


Shiraz Dossa, a professor of Political Science at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada, also believes the text is a mistranslation.[18]

Ahmadinejad was quoting the Ayatollah Khomeini in the specific speech under discussion: what he said was that "the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time." No state action is envisaged in this lament; it denotes a spiritual wish, whereas the erroneous translation—"wipe Israel off the map"—suggests a military threat. There is a huge chasm between the correct and the incorrect translations. The notion that Iran can "wipe out" U.S.-backed, nuclear-armed Israel is ludicrous.[19][20][21]

That's an interesting find.

Considering how widely this quote has been circulated, in basically all the media, foreign and deomstic, up to this day, this puts that quote into an interesting light.

Either your sources/info is deliberately misleading or there is some sort of agenda for war by various vested interests/lobby groups as the repetition of this quote is far too frequent and widespread to be a coincidence.

Because these two statements are far too contradictory to be mutually acceptable.
And considering the relentless quotation of this term, up to this very day, if it is known and verifiably correct, then that is indeed fascinating.

But either way, quote or no quote, Iran is still a murderous dictatorship.
That won't change and support for Iran, at least it's current regime, is more than worthy of scorn and will continue to be so for the overseeing future.

But I do have to say that your find was quite unique. How did you come across it, have you verified it in some way?

I'm not going to accept it at face-value but it certainly will prompt some researching and background checking.

Considering how widely this quote has been circulated, in basically all the media, foreign and deomstic, up to this day, this puts that quote into an interesting light.

So if something is widely quoted that makes it "truth"?

But either way, quote or no quote, Iran is still a murderous dictatorship.

Dictatorship? Didn't you express concern about the Government type being a Theocracy?

The CIA factbook says Iran is a Theocratic Republic.

Is the word 'Republic' a code-word for Dictatorship?

The lack of authenticity of the "wipe off the map" translation comes up from time to time on TOD and certainly I would say in the UK it's widely known to be an inaccurate translation - at least by people who read real newspapers and political shows.

But either way, quote or no quote, Iran is still a murderous dictatorship.



Misha'al bint Fahd al Saud (1958 – 1977) (Arabic: الأميرة مشاعل بنت فهد بن محمد آل سعود‎) was a Saudi Arabian Princess, who was executed for alleged adultery, although it is said that she was illegally killed[1], in 1977, at the age of 19. She was a granddaughter of Prince Muhammad bin Abdul Aziz, who was an older brother of the then-King of Saudi Arabia, Khalid bin Abdul Aziz.

I take your slight dig with ease, I certainly read 'real' newspapers but I disagree that this is 'widely known'.

I still to this day read, including articles from the Guardian, articles on the Iran/Israel issue with these references to this quote.

Often in terms of a quote from an Israeli official but no rebuke or challenge to the claim by the journalist.

And I'm not going to comment on the Wiki link, your decision to link it oozes orientalism ;)

Undertow is right. It is widely known, at least among the middle-to-left political spectrum. That was a bad translation that took on a life of its own.

not exactly a Fox News conspiracy.
As for the 8 million dead quote, I read it in the liberal press, I think it was the NYT

Isn't Fox News and the New York Times both owned by the same parent corporation - News Corporation?

If Fox News is not acceptable - why is the NYT when they have the same ownership?

No. You are confusing the NY Times & NY Post.
NY Times = "The gray lady" = "All the news that's fit to print" = respectable
NY Post = Murdoch tabloid

Times & Post switch roles in Washington:
Washington Post = Broke Watergate = the main stream quality news
Washington Times = Far-right Tabloid subsidized by the Moonies.

No. You are confusing the NY Times & NY Post.

Mis-remembering that the New York Times was up for sale and News Corp bought it - what they bought was The Wall Street Journal

Are you feeling well?

Rather than actually answer the questions
Is the "badness" being a theorcracy? Being murderous?

you go with "Are you feeling well".

I doubt you will get alot of support for wholehearted support of a regime which is slaughtering it's own people

Support should be given instead to "regimes" which slaughter others?

That you support the official media of a clinically insane regime bent on a Nuclear Holocaust probably says a lot more about you than your critics,

Wow. What a reach.

Using a web site for its quote is now "support" for "the official media"?

And you have provided a psychological diagnosis of "clinically insane regime"? How did you get this?

I am no friend of American imperialism or Western hypocrisy

Then you won't be offended by my pointing out the Palestinians or the people of Afghanistan (Hey look! 2 population groups of the world!). The case that the State of Israel has been known to kill Palestinians and the State of Israel is a State founded about a religion. All that needs to be established is who "are the State media" so you can complain about them next time someone quotes from them.

The other population from Afghanistan have data points that the US of A of:
Claims they are a Christian Nation by elected officials
The bit where rifle scopes were tied to violent quotes from the Bible.
Claims of CIA ties to various media.
A little harder to get to the "state propaganda" (VS propaganda which benefits the State) and harder to get to "theocracy" - but the 'violent death' part....rather sure that is able to be agreed on.

the solution is not to fiercely embrace religious facism.

If you actually READ the presstv link is said the information they cited came from the Huffington Post.


"Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it's real news," Clinton said. "You may not agree with it, but you feel like you're getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners."

It looks like your issue isn't the news, but you want to "shoot the messenger".

Once again, are you sure you want to condemn sources of a message just because you do not like the messenger? And for what the messenger does that other messengers also do?

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton: Al Jazeera is 'Real News', U.S. Losing 'Information War'

“Al Jazeera has been the leader in that are literally changing people’s minds and attitudes. And like it or hate it, it is really effective,” she said.

“In fact viewership of al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it’s real news. You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners,” she added.

Fair enough but even Al-Jazeera is biased in some ways.
See here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/05/wikileaks-cables-al-jazeera-...

But then again, I think all news outlets are biased to some extent.
On the other hand I very much doubt the U.S. can win the information war.
It requires intelligence and patience, as well as humility. The intelligence part is not the problem, but the U.S. is saturated with lobbies.

Just take the Iraq war, it was just like a propaganda effort in the MSM on the eve of the war. Even if you reject the notion of an Israel Lobby, you don't have to look much further to see the offshoots of the neocons.

Anybody who is essentially not an imperialist(culturally, militarily etc) is denounced as an 'isolationist' in the U.S.

The state dept had a great array of deeply knowledgeable arabists up to about 1960's when they were purged incrementally and replaced by various zionists(christan and jews primarily, but also some atheists).

The U.S. foreign policy is very dogmatic and quite frankly not very balanced in it's own interests. But even if you look at home, take energy as a good example, the story remains the same. Or take the last decades of relentless neoliberalism at the expense of just about everyone else but the ultrarich.

In area after area the media has it's own agenda regardless of what people think. Sure, there's some scrutiny but it skirts around the edges of what matters.

When it came down to it, no major news outlet took a stand on Iraq. No major U.S. news outlet has taken a clear stance on Peak Oil.

And so on.

As long as the U.S. media is so beholden to special and vested interests and deeply-entrenched lobbies, not only is it increasingly irrelevant to americans but also to anybody else abroad.

She (Hillary) gave a big plug to Al Jazeera, as well. I agree with Hillary on that one. I recently watched a FOX news clip with O'Reilly and Beck discussing events in the Middle East, what a waste of bandwidth.

I recently watched a FOX news clip with O'Reilly and Beck discussing events in the Middle East, what a waste of bandwidth.

No, it is much worse that that. Listening to Beck conspiracy theories actually makes you less informed as you are fed nonsense. The Egypt revolution was started by disaffected & unemployed youth. It was then supported by tacitly supported by the Muslim brotherhood. They all wanted the fake-elected dictator gone so they could have some self-control. But if you listen to Beck, it is some grand socialist, Islamist, Marxist, Union, Leftist plot. What? Does he even realize that the Egyptian government was socialist since the government subsidized food & energy staples? Beck is really the new McCarthyism. A conspiracy behind every rock.

Oh, he realizes it.

Beck is a showman. He doesn't believe a word he says. He's just providing entertainment.

Unfortunately, not all his viewers realize this.

I understand your point Leanan, but I can in no way regard this as entertainment. It doesn't even qualify as theatre of the absurd. The opening act should be a root canal.

The fact that he exists doesn't bother me any where near as much as the fact that there is a significant market for him. That tells me that we are in serious trouble.

Does his making 32 million a year bother you in any way?

Not really, if the market will bear his price, so be it.

That said, if I had to be Glenn Beck to get that kind of coin, I wouldn't touch one thin dime.

What does bother me is that Fox has done the math, and decided that his ramblings are worth it.
Alas, what was once fringe, is now mainstream.

Sic transit gloria mundi

But if you listen to Beck, it is some grand socialist, Islamist, Marxist, Union, Leftist plot.

He sells axe-grinding to those topics - kinda like how listening to Rush - The Clinton's suck and they are the cause of whatever will get your your Clinton suck fix. Beck's audience is there to hear those topics and how your ills are because of 'them'. The people who go 'hey, wait a second - that analysis is wrong' eventually move on once the error rate gets too high for 'em - so the audience self selects and seems to want the reinforcement.

Webster Tarpley doesn't have any love for the CIA and as far as he's concerned - the various 'revolutions' are the work of the CIA. I'd bet Webster would blame what's going on in Wisconsin on the CIA...if I bothered to track down Mr. Tarpley's rants these days. But if you want to have the history of the CIA dragged out and flogged some more, Tarpley does that.

Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software

When five television studios became entangled in a Justice Department antitrust lawsuit against CBS, the cost was immense. As part of the obscure task of “discovery” — providing documents relevant to a lawsuit — the studios examined six million documents at a cost of more than $2.2 million, much of it to pay for a platoon of lawyers and paralegals who worked for months at high hourly rates.

But that was in 1978. Now, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, “e-discovery” software can analyze documents in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost. In January, for example, Blackstone Discovery of Palo Alto, Calif., helped analyze 1.5 million documents for less than $100,000.