Drumbeat: March 21, 2011

China's oil demand not a burden on global supply

China's rising oil needs will not bear on the global supply, instead it will help to promote essential investments in the oil sector to boost efficiency and capacity, Saudi Aramco president said Monday.

Khalid A. Al-Falih, president of Saudi Arabia's state-run oil giant, was speaking at the China Development Forum 2011 held in Beijing. He said it's unfair to single out the impact of China's demand on world oil markets.

U.S. official: Gadhafi's momentum stopped

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's momentum has stopped and rebels have been able to hold onto areas that government forces had been poised to capture just a few days ago, a U.S. official said Monday.

Gadhafi has declared a cease-fire, the official said, and the coalition is watching carefully to see if that declaration "is a pledge or just words."

Libyan no-fly zone extending to Tripoli

U.S. and allied warplanes attacked Libyan targets for a third day Monday, but on a smaller scale than weekend bombing that set the stage for wide enforcement of a no-fly zone, Pentagon officials said.

Monbiot: We won't trouble Saudi's tyrants with calls to reform while we crave their oil

Did we miss it, or do they believe that change is less necessary in Saudi Arabia than it is in Libya? If so, on what grounds? The democracy index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit places Libya 158th out of 167, and Saudi Arabia 160th. At least in Libya, for all the cruelties of that regime, women are not officially treated as lepers were in medieval Europe.

The Double Whammy Of Libya And Japan Bullish For Oil Prices

Further escalation of the Libyan conflict is “a much greater threat to the global financial markets than the radiation leaks in Japan,” writes CLSA’s Christopher Wood this morning. Add in further interest rate tightening in China and the World Bank prediction that it will take 5 years to rebuild Japanese infrastructure– and you’ve got the recipe for a slower global economy.

Nuclear Plant's Fuel Rods Damaged, Leaking Into Sea

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said fuel rods at its Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant have been damaged, releasing five kinds of radioactive material and contaminating seawater nearby.

The acknowledgements from the utility indicate poisons emanating from the plant may be spreading through the air and sea, raising concern over the safety of seafood from the coast of northeastern Japan and agriculture in the region.

U.S. military considering mandatory evacuations in Yokosuka

Washington (CNN) -- The U.S. military is considering the mandatory evacuation of thousands of American troops and their families in Japan out of concern over rising radiation levels, a senior defense official tells CNN.

Scientists: Radiation in Japan food poses low risk

Health risks to Japanese from eating foods contaminated with elevated levels of radiation are fairly low, scientists say.

Californians weigh nuclear safety after Japan's quake

In the wake of Japan's damaged nuclear reactors, California lawmakers are reviewing whether nuclear power plants and gas pipelines in their state are safe from earthquakes.

Kurt Cobb: Calculating calamity: Japan's nuclear accident and the "antifragile" alternative

Famed student of risk and probability and author of The Black Swan Nassim Nicholas Taleb tells us that in 2003 Japan's nuclear safety agency set as a goal that fatalities resulting from radiation exposure to civilians living near any nuclear installation in Japan should be no more than one every million years. Eight years after that goal was adopted, it looks like it will be exceeded and perhaps by quite a bit, especially now that radiation is showing up in food and water near the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. (Keep in mind that "fatalities" refers not just to immediate deaths but also to excess cancer deaths due to radiation exposure which can take years and even decades to show up.)

Thomas Homer-Dixon: Our Fukushima moment

Fukushima. For most Westerners, the word doesn’t roll off the tongue easily. Soon it will. It will become part of our shared lexicon – a label for one of those shocking events that punctuate human affairs so regularly now.

Amory Lovins: With Nuclear Power, "No Acts of God Can Be Permitted"

A durable myth claims Three Mile Island halted U.S. nuclear orders. Actually they stopped over a year before--dead of an incurable attack of market forces.

Interior Approves Shell's GOM Deepwater Exploration Plan

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich announced that the bureau has approved an Exploration Plan, submitted by Shell Offshore Inc., following the completion of a site-specific Environmental Assessment (SEA) for deepwater oil and gas exploration.

Falklands eyed as oil region after new find

LONDON: British oil and gas explorer Rockhopper said Monday its crude discovery in the Falkland Islands is likely to prove commercially viable, boosting expectations that the politically-sensitive territory could become a new oil province.

City's design, transit system can ease gas costs

Some cities in the USA are better positioned to deal with rising gas prices than others because of their design and transit systems, according to a national non-profit group that works to build stronger cities.

"Hydro-diplomacy" needed to avert Arab water wars

(Reuters) - The United Nations should promote "hydro-diplomacy" to defuse any tensions over water in regions like the Middle East and North Africa where scarce supplies have the potential to spark future conflicts, experts said Sunday.

Mauritania, Kuwait, Jordan water said least secure

OSLO (Reuters) - Mauritania, Kuwait and Jordan have the least secure water supplies, according to a ranking on Tuesday that says shortages in the Middle East and North Africa might cause political tensions and even higher oil prices.

The list, by British risk analysis group Maplecroft, said businesses needed to take more account of water security in investment decisions due to rising demand from a growing population and other impacts such as climate change.

Yemeni army commanders defect to protesters

SANAA, Yemen — Three Yemeni army commanders, including a top general, defected Monday to the opposition calling for an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule, as army tanks and armored vehicles deployed in support of thousands protesting in the capital.

With the defection, it appeared Saleh's support was eroding from every power base in the nation — his own tribe called on him to step down, he fired his entire Cabinet ahead of what one government official said was a planned mass resignation, and his ambassador to the U.N. and human rights minister quit.

Oil Rises as Allied Forces Strike Libya, Turmoil Escalates in Middle East

Oil climbed as allied air strikes in Libya threatened to prolong a supply outage in Africa’s third-biggest producer and renewed concern that escalating turmoil may disrupt Middle East exports.

Action in Libya could last 'awhile,' official says

ZEITOUNIYA, Libya – The international military intervention in Libya is likely to last "awhile," a top French official said Monday, echoing Moammar Gadhafi's warning of a long war ahead as rebels said they were fighting to reclaim a city under the Libyan leader's control.

Allies’ Lack of Exit Plan Risks Dividing Libya With Qaddafi Keeping Power

Allied military leaders said the attack on Libya may end without dislodging Muammar Qaddafi, highlighting the risk of splitting the country and the absence of a clear exit strategy.

Libyan Oil Chief Says Production Falls, ‘Could Reach a Halt’

Libya’s oil production fell to less than 400,000 barrels a day after foreign companies pulled out their staff, the chairman of the country’s state-run National Oil Corp., Shokri Ghanem, said in a televised media conference from Tripoli.

Libya Strikes Raise Risks of Longer Oilfield Halts, Reprisals

The international military intervention in Libya risks prolonging the shutdown of North Africa’s most productive oil fields as well as reprisals by Muammar Qaddafi’s regime against foreign energy assets.

Bahrain foiled foreign conspiracy, king says

MANAMA, Bahrain — Bahrain's king said Monday that a foreign plot to "subvert security and stability" in the Gulf island kingdom has been foiled, and praised the Saudi-led force he invited to help quell the unprecedented unrest in this majority Shiite nation.

Any reference to a foreign conspiracy against Bahrain's Sunni dynasty can be interpreted as jab at the region's Shiite powerhouse Iran. Gulf Sunni kings and sheiks are concerned Iran will gain more influence in the oil-rich region by helping Bahrain's Shiites in their revolt for greater political freedoms.

What happens if we run out of oil?

While you and I may complain that gasoline costs too much and it’s not back down to the .19 cents a gallon that I paid as a high school kid, what will happen when gasoline reaches $10.00 per gallon and higher? (Source: Chris Steiner’s book—$20 Per Gallon) After that, what happens when it runs out?

Cruise missile strikes Gadhafi compound

WASHINGTON — A cruise missile blasted Moammar Gadhafi's residential compound in an attack that carried as much symbolism as military effect.

Fighter jets also destroyed a line of tanks moving on the rebel capital. The U.S. said the international assault would hit any government forces attacking the opposition.

Jubilant rebels said they expected to bring him down in a matter of days.

Japan Makes Progress at Nuclear Reactors, but Contamination Spreads

TOKYO — Japan appeared to make moderate progress in stabilizing some of the nuclear reactors at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant on Sunday, but at the same time it disclosed new signs of radioactive contamination in agricultural produce and livestock.

Radiation in Japan's food 'more serious than anybody thought in the early days'

FUKUSHIMA, Japan — The World Health Organization said on Monday that radiation in food after an earthquake damaged a Japanese nuclear plant was a "serious situation," eclipsing the first clear signs of progress in a battle to avert a catastrophic meltdown in the reactors.

Stricken Japan nuke plant skipped inspections

TOKYO — The operator of Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant told safety regulators less than two weeks before disaster struck that it had failed to carry out some scheduled inspections at the facility.

Regulator Says Fuel Pools at U.S. Reactors Are Ready for Emergencies

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Sunday morning that the spent fuel pools at American nuclear reactors are less vulnerable than the ones in Japan because of steps ordered by his agency after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, including having utilities prepare to use fire hoses to pump in extra water in the event ordinary cooling systems are knocked out.

EU ministers to tackle nuclear question

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU energy ministers will meet for an emergency meeting in Brussels on Monday (21 March), with German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling over the weekend for the implementation of common safety standards at Europe's nuclear power plants.

The energy ministers will discuss potential oil and gas supply disruptions arising from ongoing turmoil in northern Africa and the Middle East, although much of the debate will centre on defining suitable criteria for a series of nuclear 'stress tests' throughout Europe.

Nuclear Power Crisis May Be ‘Landmark’ for LNG Tankers, Mirae Asset Says

Renewed concerns about atomic power triggered by an earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan may spur orders for $202 million liquefied-natural gas tankers already in short supply, according to Mirae Asset Securities Co.

“The earthquake is a landmark event for the shipbuilding industry,” Lee Sokje, a Seoul-based Mirae analyst, said today. “Demand for LNG is going to grow as a source of alternative energy, which could lead to a shortage of vessels. There’s already not a lot available.”

Sudan: Neglected Energy Sources Vital for Developing Nations

Juba — Developing nations are not fully utilising biomass fuels which could enable them to fight poverty, create jobs, gain energy independence and help to both limit and adapt to climate change, a recent report has revealed. The London-based research organization, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) published the report on 10 March 2011.

U.K. Consumers Want Mandatory Corporate Carbon Reports, Survey Shows

Seven in 10 U.K. consumers polled say businesses should be required to report carbon emissions, a survey commissioned by the government-funded Carbon Trust found.

Extreme weather motivates greener behaviour

People who live through extreme weather catastrophes are more concerned about climate change and are more willing to adopt greener habits to help tackle it, say environmental behaviour scientists.

Surely Saleh must go now?


Top Yemeni tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahmar calls for the departure from power of president Saleh, in a phone call with Al Jazeera.

"I announce in the name of all the members of my tribe that I am joining the revolution," Ahmar said, calling for the president "to exempt Yemen from the bloodshed and make a quiet exit."

He added he was ready to lead a mediation "for an honourable exit" for Saleh. Ahmar heads the Hashid tribal confederation, the largest in Yemen. Tribal support is key to Saleh's continued ability to rule.

A second Yemeni general says that he and dozens of other officers have pledged their support for the opposition seeking to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

General Nasser Ali Shuaybi told AFP that 60 army officers from Hadramawt province, himself included, had joined the "youth revolution," and that 50 interior ministry officers had done so as well.

Saleh is backed with massive US military aid. He is the strong man holding down Al Quida (sp). Yemen is the original home of the Bin Laden family. The country is likely to split between North and South into civil war. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly attacked rebels in the north of the country.

Yemen is not Egypt. It is closer to Libya. We can only deal with one Libya at a time.

If the rebels get the upper hand it will be without Western backing.

We are living in interesting times, of our own making,

Saleh is backed with massive US military aid.

That's what we call a real Bahrain-teaser.

Libya, on the other hand, is a no-Bahrain-er.

Yemen to that!

The greatest twists to the suggestions yesterday of 'Doing unto Bahrain as we've done unto Libya', is that it seems we'd be using US built arms to destroy more US built arms, with all of this fire fueled (to no small degree, anyhow) by the countries being fired upon.

"Can we get a quick fill-up before we bomb you again? By the way, do you need to order some more planes? (*our credit is good. The US Taxpayers still seem to have a bit of a pulse)"

Ancient Poison Bears New Fruit: Western Frenzy Grows in Libya. We have not yet reached peak blood or peak misery. How many times will people believe that weapons can do good?

The article you cite begins:

The American war against Libya grew in intensity on Sunday, raining death in all directions -- including on civilian vehicles and Libyan forces in full retreat.

In fact, Qaddafi's forces were preparing a slaughter in Benghazi.

Battle debris on the road out of Benghazi showed Gaddafi's forces had nearly breached the inner parts of the city. Near Tarria village about 20 km south of Benghazi on the highway to Ajdabiyah, locals said they had advanced up the road early on Saturday and were only beaten back by the first foreign air strikes after fighting reached the suburbs.

...Mohamed Joma, who said he was a pharmacist, said the planes had struck about 4 am that morning. "Look, the tanks were pointing to Benghazi. They wanted to go to Benghazi. They did not escape," he said.


Listen to an eyewitness here:

Well, after all he was only quoting the NY Times, so maybe it is BS.

...he was only quoting the NY Times, so maybe it is BS.

He selectively quoted two different articles from the Times, guaranteeing BS. Here are some snippets from the articles that he chose not to quote:

The warplanes concentrated their fire on a field filled with daisies and military hardware about 30 miles south of Benghazi. It appeared to be a government staging area, possibly for an attack on Benghazi.
Closer to Benghazi, the tanks and missile carriers were blown to pieces as they faced the city. Farther south along the road, many of the tanks seemed to have been retreating, or at least facing the other way.
Earlier Sunday, Colonel Qaddafi delivered a fresh and defiant tirade against the allied military action, pledging retaliation and saying his forces would fight a long war to victory.

He was speaking in a telephone call to state television... “We will fight you if you continue your attacks on us,” Mr. Qaddafi said.

“Those who are on the land will win the battle,” he declared, warning without explanation that “oil will not be left to the United States, France and Britain.”

And then of course there's this quote by Ghaddafi from March 17, on the eve of his planned push into Benghazi:

...[Ghaddafi] denounced the revolutionaries and said: "We will show no mercy and no pity to them."


Video purportedly showing an attack by Ghaddafi on civilians in the beseiged city of Misurata.

Congratulations, you've demonstrated Gadhafi is a monster - he has been all along. Who said otherwise? Did you think that being against the invasion meant supporting Gadhafi?

Who said otherwise?

You asserted (via patchwork misquotation) that Ghaddafi was in retreat when attacked by the coalition. I can only assume you believe he was sincere in his pledges of ceasefire.

Is he a monster, or a changed man? He's a monster who was about to slaughter Benghazi, and the coalition stopped him.

No, Gadhafi would say and do anything to hold on to power, and protecting the people of Benghazi is only a pretense for the Western attack. Nobody has changed at all. By the way, is the rebel "leader", Gadhafi's former Minister Justice a changed man too?

...the rebel "leader"...

Abdul-Jalil is the Chairman of the National Transitional Council, which was formed after the rebellion began. Jalil himself was still Ghaddafi's Justice Minister when the rebellion began.

According to a tweet from the Libyan Youth Movement:

"Tripoli is and will be the capital of Libya, any talk of a 'Libyan' government is on hold until Tripoli is liberated."

So I would call Jalil "a rebel leader," not "the rebel leader" (I notice you did put scare quotes around the word 'leader').

I don't know much about him. Of course it's possible for any uprising to be hijacked. Let's hope that's not the case here.

Still, it would be hard to do worse than another 42 years of the Ghaddafi clan, kicked off by a massacre in Benghazi.

According to Al Jazeera:

...the Libyan Transitional Council has taken the step of calling themselves an "interim government".

...Heading up the new government is Mahmoud Jibril...

Some info on Mahmoud Jibril: BBC, Wall Street Journal, Telegraph/Wikileaks.

Batterload, save your breath. Twilight is critical of any action.

As Churchill said: "I never worry about action, but only inaction."

He also said, "If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons."

Most of us will at least make a favourable reference to the coalition efforts. Let's hope some good will come out of it all.

Did you think that being against the invasion meant supporting Gadhafi?

There is no invasion. But, being against the operation means you would give operational control over the lives of the Benghazians to Qaddafi. There are no easy answers here. But, wringing our hands and letting it happen just like in Ruwanda, doesnot absolve one of responsibility. Just because there are the stains of the imperialist past on the only tools available, does not mean we shouldn't use them.

Exactly, well put. I'd say those that just blindly protest against any kind of action without looking at the context makes me want to puke - you'd rather just abandon these people to their inevitably terrible fate?? Saying you're against any kind of intervention ever is grossly irresponsible in my eyes - after all, we didn't start the tsunami in Japan, perhaps we shouldn't meddle over there either? Gadaffi's tanks were just about to raze Benghazi to the ground for goodness sake!

This isn't the same thing as Iraq or Afghan - the only reason the US, UK and France went in first is because they're the only ones that have the military capability to react so quickly!

Holy moly!

On the subject of military capability - of note:

0955: Journalist Rob Crilly from The Telegraph currently in Libya tweets: "just found a crashed US warplane in a field. believe a mechanical failure brought it down #libya" a tweet a few minutes later added: crew believed safe #libya

1035: Mr Fidler also confirms that the warplane - F-15E Strike Eagle - crashed overnight. It was not immediately clear where the jet went down.


OK, so when are you going to take action to save the people of Ivory Coast? Why no action was taken by France or other western countries when half a million Tutsis were slaughtered by Hutus in Rwanda in 1994? At that time the reaction of the French president was: "In Africa, genocide is normal".
Do you only care about victims of dictators under the following conditions:

1. The dictator opposes US or western policies
2. The dictator runs a country that has oil
3. His country is weak and incapable of fighting back

Is it not a fact that the US has often supported genocidal dictators as long as they were pro American? Or sometimes even encouraged them to commit acts of genocide?
1. The Ford administration gave a lot of arms to dictator Suharto of Indonesia and urged him to invade E Timor. Suharto's army slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholics in E Timor. Their crime? The leaders of the freedom struggle against the Portuguese in E Timor were sociallists! The horror! Obviously the E Timorians deserved the death penalty.
2. During the seventies and eighties the US was in bed with Saddam. He made chemical weapons with ingredients sold to him by American and German companies. Can you name the country that supported him and looked the other way when he used these chemical weapons against the Kurds and Iranians? Which country supported him when he carried out genocide against the "marsh Arabs" in southern Iraq?
3. On 9/11/1973 the democratically elected government of Chile was overthrown in a US backed coup and President Allende was assassinated. He was replaced by a pro American monster named Augusto Pinochet. Between 1973 - 1989 Augusto Pinochet let loose a Nazi style reign of terror. Hundreds of thousands of people disappeared never to be seen again.
4. In 1971 Gen Yahya Khan of Pakistan carried out genocide in E Pakistan (now Bangladesh) because he didn't want to accept the results of elections that were won by a Bengali speaking man from E Pakistan. Up to 3 million people were slaughtered, hundreds of thousands of women were raped and India was flooded with 10 million refugees. He had full support of the Nixon/Kissinger criminal enterprise which rewarded him with Sabre jets and Patton tanks.

Do you want more examples?

Everyone knows that the west doesn't give a sh%t about the people of Benghazi. Saving the people of Benghazi is a pretext to grab Libya's oil. If tomorrow Gaddafi is replaced by a pro western dictator who allows BP/Exxon/Shell to drill for oil in Libya, the desire for democracy will be forgotten.

Apologies I don't have time to respond to all of your points - but the one about Rwanda is not so helpful in my opinion. Like William Hague declared in the UK House of Commons last night (paraphrasing mine) -

"Yes, mistakes have been made in the past but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't do what's right now!"

Plus, like one Libyan resident said - "Even if it is about oil, if it stops a madman slaughtering his own people and the common people of this country subsequently get to see some of the oil profits, that's fine by me."


Plainly what compliance with SCR1973 would require now is a period of pause, during which the no fly zone is enforced, and whether any further ground attacks are in fact needed to enforce the very limited aims of SCR 1973 can be assessed. If instead we continue to see further intense attacks upon Libya, plainly the coalition is moving into illegality.

Actually, having seen the man in the flesh, I don’t object to the “Mad Dog” descriptions of Gadaffi. Britian has its own “Mad Dog” in Liam Fox, shooting his mouth off about assassinating Gadaffi and doing his best to alienate international support. I remenber Fox as a rumbustious bigot from the beer bar of Glasgow University Union. He was a leading light in the successful campaign to ban the Gay Society. He struck me then as a talentless zealot of deeply unpleasant views. It is deeply worrying that somebody like him can achieve high office.

Al Jazeera have excellent coverage today of the terror being visited upon the people of Bahrain now their democracy movement has been temporarily crushed. The US were complicit in this, and Qatar and the UAE – neither of them democracies, both of them involved in the brutality in Bahrain – are now providing the Arab military forces supposed to give political cover to the coalition.

The endgame may be the division of Libya into two parts – diesel and unleaded.

I can personally attest to the truth that some of the former members of the Monday Club/Federation of Conservative Students now in power at various levels are really nasty pieces of work - having once been physically attacked for criticising in the media such things as their destructive vandalism at "conferences" and "Hang Nelson Mandela" badges and posters proudly displayed by leading members. And at that time I was what was then described as a Tory "wet" (not right wing enough for them).

Btw, I also know the author of the above article, former ambassador Craig Murray, although I have not met him for many years.


Very good article by Craig Murray.

Yes, there are "mad-dogs" in the Tory Party and "mad-dogs" in England but there are laws and conventions(hopefully enforced) in place to restrain the worst offenders.

Gaddafi is a "Mad-dog" who is known to lash out at his self-styled enemies. Notoriously, he even wanted to "outlaw" Switzerland for having the audacity to enforce laws that prevented his son from abusing those around him. His track record with supporting violence against people of other countries is pretty straight-forward. Leaving him unrestrained would constitute a security risk for the West.

Barring a regime change, it is in everyone's interest to keep this Mad-dog as isolated and powerless as possible. How best to do this is probably what is being discussed among those in command - including an assessment of the effectiveness of the no-fly zone.

The events are highly fluid, as they are in any conflict situation, and tomorrow may bring other factors into play. However, I don't think anybody will be in favour of allowing Gaddafi full reign again. Even as a dictator, he's ability to act will be very much curtailed.

Unfortunately I believe we are being softened up for the ongoing military action we will see become widespread. Of course this won't do any good but by the time the well-meaning folk (including those of them in power) realise what they have been cornered into it will be too late. I genuinely believe that nuclear war/and/or Biblical Armageddon is not feared and is even hoped for by some mainly old men and their cronies with too much influence. It will take a "long dark night of the soul" for the world to stand a chance of changing things. The one bit of hope I have is that this somehow happens but hate to think of what will come first.

I am holding back my urge to rant. Yes, the oil wars will continue. At least they will so long as there is oil to export, and wealth to be created for the ultra rich.

We are learning, and will continue to learn, that greed is not good. It will be a hard lesson. It will be administered by natural forces.

The Nobel Commission should rescind all awards made in the field of economics!


Some of their Peace prizes are drawing wry smiles as well, eh?
As the Brotha said though, 'Forgive them, they know not what they do..'

It's time for me to put some of my own energy towards Kucinich and the 'Department of Peace'
If not me, then who? If not now, when?

I check and check, and keep coming up with The Hippies were right.. ok, the drugs were just BAU, but about Peace, Love and Energy, they hit true..

Sharon knows that..

If the person is an Aging Hippie:

What to say: "You were right about everything. Absolutely everything. Growing your own food. Renewable energy. The economy. Drugs. How sexy greying ponytails are. Not trusting old people ... oh wait ..." Well, almost everything.

What to suggest: Stop looking so smug.

I'm sitting here trying to come up with my version of what Sharon was saying to everyone..

but ultimately, I have to ask (since folks in Every group tend to 'think they were right, and to look smug'..).. WHO was actually right? That at least offers a starting point.

What to suggest: Why am I giving you (hippies) suggestions? Tell me how you figured out what you did? (eg, "I'll have what she's having..")

A young boy was walking the beach with his dad. It was a following a storm and the waves had washed up thousands of star fish who were now dying in the sunshine. The little boy started to pick up the star fish and throw them into the sea. His dad said, "What does it matter? You can't save them all." To which the boy picked the next one he found and said, "It matters to this one."

You're right we can't save the world. But this does not mean we do nothing.

Suyog, one further point. We may not know anyone in Benghazi but we sure know who they're up against. And we don't like him. He's brought down one airplane, blown up one pub, and is an unstable and feral beast when riled. We put down dangerous wildlife when they are a risk to life and limb. Same principle is at work.


You seem to be drinking the cool-aid here and that's surprising me. This is purely about oil. We won't care if a replacement for Gaddafi is even worse as long as he keeps the population down and the oil flowing. Trust me some of our UK politicians would probably make Gaddafi look like Santa Claus if they were ever the dictator of a country.

That said I am not saying we shouldn't act but the trigger is the oil situation - not humanitarian ideals. We repeatedly turn a blind eye to even more deadly tyrants killing far more people and Foreign Office whistle-blowers will be destroyed.


Craig Murray was the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Uzbekistan until he was removed from his post in October 2004 after exposing appalling human rights abuses by the US-funded regime of President Islam Karimov. In this candid and at times shocking memoir, he lays bare the dark and dirty underside of the War on Terror. In Uzbekistan, the land of Alexander the Great and Tamburlaine, lurks one of the most hideous tyrannies on earth – one founded on cotton slavery and brutal torture. As neighbouring ‘liberated’ Afghanistan produces record levels of heroin, the Uzbek rulers cash in on massive trafficking. They are even involved in trafficking their own women to prostitution in the West. But this did not prevent Karimov being viewed as a key US ally in the War on Terror. When Craig Murray arrived in Uzbekistan, he was a young Ambassador with a brilliant career and a taste for whisky and women. But after hearing accounts of dissident prisoners being boiled to death and innocent people being raped and murdered by agents of the state, he started to question both his role and that of his country in so-called ‘democratising’ states. When Murray decided to go public with his shocking findings, Washington and 10 Downing Street reached the conclusion that he had to go. But Uzbekistan had changed the high-living diplomat and there was no way he was going to go quietly.

Well seeing as we're on a peak oil website I think we might have a hard time arguing counterwise, but for what it's worth I'm with Zadok here.

I don't think the main motivation is oil. I think it's more political pressure to be seen to be doing the right thing. The other brutal regimes that you mention aren't in the mainstream media's spotlight. Most of the Western governments are under increasing internal pressure for all sorts of angles - Sarkozy is trying to win back favour after a disastrous recent poll. Cameron is trying to show his mettle to the doubters that think he's spineless and to prove that the UK coalition can act decisively.

And anyway, when all's said and done, who's to say that the oil will go to the West anyway? What's to stop China outbidding them? And China haven't been particularly vocal about the whole affair..

The other brutal regimes that you mention aren't in the mainstream media's spotlight.

You say that as if this "spotlight" is somehow independent of the real power elite in the west. What's in the spotlight and what is kept dark is pretty much determined by a limited group of, mainly obscenely rich, people. They have shone a light in one direction for now and even fanned the flames for their own dark aims.

Are you serious? Do you really think the reporters for the likes of BBC and Al Jazeera would put up with crap like that?

They fervently want to get to the bottom of things and to expose the world for how it really is. Why else would they put their lives on the line to this end??

The truth is the story of the uprisings in the Middle East is the biggest since the Berlin Wall - every reporter worth his or her salt has turned their attention to it.

Plus it's not just the professional media that's giving an insight now - the rules of reporting have changed dramatically in the last 5 years. Nowadays people can see amateur 'eyewitness' footage and make up their own minds. I personally think the world will become more and more transparent.

But, I don't have any more insider knowledge than you about how this will turn out. I'm merely pontificating. We'll just have to wait and see.

The BBC is cowed and does what it is told these days. Al Jazeera regularly broadcasts news of atrocities that don't make the western media or, if they do, in only a sanitised format. Especially in a certain part of the world.

People can tweet as much as they like but if it is not picked up and amplified by the media it will just die down. Press reports about twitter revolutions not withstanding.

They fervently want to get to the bottom of things and to expose the world for how it really is. Why else would they put their lives on the line to this end??

I suggest you have a read of the BBC's John Simpson's excellent books. He's even been with the BBC long enough to remember when "spiking" a story literally meant taking his proposed scripts and placing them pierced on a sharp metal "spike". along with the other spiked news. More sophisticated these days.

Yes, I've always like John Simpson. Kate Adie's autobiog is worth a read too.

Undertow, I don't think it is entirely about the oil. I think it's more about oil and security.

You can't do business with a unstable and hostile tyrant who keeps lashing out against subjectively defined enemies. The West wants to do business without the risk of having its planes and nightclubs bombed. A dog is entitled to one bite. We gave him that one bite.

What the West wants most in the region is stability. Stability is good for the supply chain. It keeps our people happy. And a lack of armed conflict is generally more beneficial to the people on the ground (for no other reason than there is less risk of being killed!).

Once the regime became unstable due to popular protests, however, he became more ruthless and even less predictable. He started to blame it on drugs and outside elements. A decision was made he had to be reigned in.

That takes courage, even among power-brokers. And there are risks, serious risks. Some kind of blow back is not entirely impossible.

If, in the process, we can bring some restoration of decency to the lives of people in Libya, well that's an extra bonus - although I won't hold my breath for that.

I would class you (and most everyone here) though as one of the "good" people who just can't fathom you are being played here. That's the way sociopaths work. Putin seems to understand the game perfectly with his well-timed "Crusader Army" comment.

Anyway that's enough doom and gloom from me. Let's just hope we don't find a few years down the line "well nobody could have predicted what would happen". Well yes they could have...

But if Gaddafi hangs on and settles down and the oil flows again I'm sure he will be rehabilitated once again.

As Rockman often points out why does nobody mention Equatorial Guinea where he saw at first hand what goes on - well as long as the stuff keeps flowing, who cares?


It’s all about stability. Whether that stability is achieved through democracy or through dictatorship is a secondary issue. From an outsiders point of view a dictatorship is probably easier to deal with because the person(s) you deal with don’t change that often over time.
A stable country can produce oil and does not require a constant investment in terms if military intervention so it is by far the most profitable state.


Nicely said, WeekendPeak. Sums up the geo-politcal equation in a nutshell.

tow - Intersting: when I was in EG they just started up the big LNG plant and most was going to the EU at that time. Looks like the Asian market got their nose under the tent big time. There is one big difference between EG and many other exporters: they don't have a national oil company dictating who gets too buy what. At least not when I was there...the operators shipped the oil out to whoever bought it. Often the oil never set foot onshore...just went straight from from the FSOP ships to the buyer. All th EG govt ever saw was a check.

What the West wants most in the region is stability. Stability is good for the supply chain. It keeps our people happy.

That said, the US will support anyone who will control the people there. And, the PTB are top-down corporatists. Given their preference, they would have a Pinochet type dictator in Lybia, 'disappearing' hundreds of thousands of his people in order to terrorize them, install Neo Liberal policies and transfer more wealth to the ultra wealthy.

George H.W. Bush called Reaganomics, "voodoo." In reality they are vampire economics.

The only people about whom the leaders of the UK and the US give a good rats arse are their ultra rich supporters. And they will spin the word, "decency," to make sure it happens according to the Creed and the Cult of Milton Friedman.


This is purely about oil. We won't care if a replacement for Gaddafi is even worse as long as he keeps the population down and the oil flowing.

That is illogical. If we won't care about the tyranny and death, we would've simply waited for Gadaffi to reassert himself and "keep the population down and the oil flowing" as he has done perfectly well until recently. That would've been the fastest and easiest route to stability and low oil prices.

So, the trigger is not oil - this has been done in spite of oil. The trigger is the media attention (which depends on humanitarian ideals, timing and the reputation of Gadaffi) and the non-oil-related geostrategical issues. Gadaffi is a long-time and big-time sponsor of terrorism and a very negative meddler in the affairs of the rest of Africa. His big regret is that he rules a country with too little people to really dominate the region. To get rid of him and to try to keep up the North-African democratic dominoe effect, is an opportunity that can't be passed over - IN SPITE of the insecure oil supplies and other risks that will result from the attempt.

Very good points! Gadaffi was just about to completely crush Benghazi - it would have been BAU again fairly soon after.

Err, no as there are now sanctions in place preventing "law-abiding" countries from using his oil even if they can get it (put in place when it was thought he wouldn't be around much longer). Yes, in time they could come up with something like "oil for food" as in Iraq but the oil is desperately needed now.

But if they had no concern for the well-being of the people in Libya why would they put sanctions in the first place?

Because he wasn't expected to be there in a few days and so it didn't matter but it would make western powers look good by doing so. There will be people in Whitehall saying now that "I told you we shouldn't have been so hasty."

I'm not saying people in government have "no concerns" for the Libyan people - just that this is not the driving force - merely a convenient fig-leaf.

I'd also suggest that if Saudi Arabia had anything like the spare capacity they claimed we'd have probably left him to it and mouthed words only and not real action.

Ok, let me get this straight: The governments put sanctions in place to appease the public, expecting to lift them again in a week or two, after Gadaffi had fallen? Then Gadaffi seemed to be able to reassert himself, and if governments could have, they would just have waited for another week and then drop sanctions, but the voters would get mad, so that wasn't an option? Instead they started a military campaign to get those 2 mbpd flowing again as soon as possible?

Ok, nice theory. How does the Norwegian and Quatari participation fit in? Do they also want to get Libyan oil flowing again? The French were the most eager since they need low oil prices the most?

Nothing to do with the voters getting mad. Everything to do with timescale. The Russians are laughing at the mess the west has got its way into. Russia doesn't veto but then Putin calls it a "Crusader War". That's devious for you. To be honest until the very last few days I don't think they thought they would get the vote through anyway but too late to back down at that stage.

And of course there is a genuine mission to help prevent more slaughter but I'm just saying that's not the prime driver but gets great press.

That is illogical. If we won't care about the tyranny and death, we would've simply waited for Gadaffi to reassert himself and "keep the population down and the oil flowing" as he has done perfectly well until recently. That would've been the fastest and easiest route to stability and low oil prices.

Had it not looked as if he was in the last few hours of his power at one point, we'd not have put in place sanctions preventing buying "his" oil. And yes, we'd have just done exactly what you suggest had the eastern rebellion been crushed at the outset.

You seem to be drinking the cool-aid here and that's surprising me. This is purely about oil. We won't care if a replacement for Gaddafi is even worse as long as he keeps the population down and the oil flowing.

I just don't agree with this at all. Gaddafi was quite happy to sell us the oil. He was cleaning up his act just so he could sell the oil and become really rich.

If oil was the only consideration, we would have let him slaughter people, take over Benghazi, consolidate power, and restart the oil flowing. That would have been the fastest path to getting the 1.6mbpd of Libya light sweet back on the market.

We chose not to follow that path . . . because it is not just about the oil.

And I fully believe that oil is *always* a serious consideration. It just isn't the only one.

The western powers got caught in a trap of their own making and imposed sanctions preventing anyone buying his oil when they thought he was on the way out by the ejector seat.

This is a great post.

I would like more examples if it's not too much effort? Anything that helps punch holes in the massive hypocrisy being displayed here is a good thing.

Standing up to a rampaging murderous dictator can be the right thing to do, but only if:
1 - You don't kill more civilians in the process, not to mention all the property and infrastructure damage you will be causing.
2 - Your actions don't send the country down a path whereby the dictator starts rampaging even harder causing even more deaths.
3 - You are not replacing one dictator for another who is as bad or worse (even if he does support western interests).
4 - If you are going to be the world police you go after the worst human rights violations first. Does Libya have the worst human rights violations on the planet at the moment?

There are probably plenty of other things that could be added to this above list.

Did I just hear Admiral Sam Locklear say "Our rebel forces" when referring to the anti-Gaddafi fighters?

The number four is not realistic. In democratic countries, the interventions are chosen by what is possible given media attention and public support, ability to project power (closeness), chances for success, particular events that give you momentum and so on. You can't expect politicians to ignore all these factors and just focus on humanitarian optimality.

from above:

4 - If you are going to be the world police you go after the worst human rights violations first. Does Libya have the worst human rights violations on the planet at the moment?

Your response:

The number four is not realistic. //snip// You can't expect politicians to ignore all these factors and just focus on humanitarian optimality.

Number 4 is right on point. To do otherwise is the difference between a selfless policeman doing his duty, without his own interests coming in play (admittedly a lofty ideal often missed in practice) and a bully enforcing his own interests and ignoring his duty. You are one or the other. The fact that it takes the loss of a Million BPD to get the attention of the west, and not 40 years of human rights abuse, suggests that this isn't a metaphoric constable taking an apple.

Just because #4 is, in your opinion, not realistic, doesn't magically change those who act in hypocritical ways from being hypocrites.

It merely makes them hypocrites who are still in power.

Just because #4 is, in your opinion, not realistic, doesn't magically change those who act in hypocritical ways from being hypocrites.

It merely makes them hypocrites who are still in power.

Conversely you can hardly call those currently in power hypocrites for not intervening at the start of Gadaffi's reign when most of them were still in high school.

It wasn't Obama that went into Iraq, it wasn't Cameron or Sarkozy that went into Afghan. That's not the most convincing argument.

No, but you can call them hypocrites for going into Libya now, before going into places with worse human rights abuses whilst also defending places through trade and aid with worse abuses.

But the other places aren't in a similar situation - they aren't in a midst of a civil uprising with a common goal that the majority of the country's people want and which looks likely to succeed. There doesn't appear such a quick and easy solution as it would be if Gadaffi was forced out by the rebels that they can present a) to gain approval from the UN / Arab League etc and b). to gain support from the public.

Libya, with a population of 6m on the Mediterranean coast is not the same kettle of fish as the DR Congo with a population of 70m spread across dense jungle deep in the heart of the African mainland.

Ignoring Saudi Arabia sending tanks to Bahrain to quell an uprising there? A mirror image of Libya, and one we are ignoring because we like (and need) the Saudis.

I thought the US fifth fleet was based in Bahrain? What would happen if the US used a military base of theirs to support an uprising against the host government?

Again, it wasn't the oil. Your similie with a policeman doesn't capture the essential components of the situation that I pointed to in my previous comment, and that you conveniently snipped. It isn't hypocritical to act when you are able to.

and that you conveniently snipped.

I snipped for brevity, considering the post was immediately above.

Your similie with a policeman doesn't capture the essential components of the situation that I pointed to in my previous comment

The policeman metaphor is central to this discussion and comes from AdTheNad's post. It is all that I am talking about. The constable/apple similie was in response to my own point that policeman don't always live up to their obligations, and was meant to show that even if one was to accept (which, of course, I don't) the argument that the US is the global policeman, with human weaknesses in a world of grey, I would view Libya as a serious lapse.

It isn't hypocritical to act when you are able to.

In this hypothetical discussion, we are discussing the actions of an un-named body ("If you are going to be the world police", from AdTheNad's post). It would indeed not be hypocritical for such a body to act when it is able to. It would be hypocritical for such a body to act only when it is in it's own interest, and only when it is convenient. Cost and political expedience are not issues if to act is one's duty and responsibility.

My central point here is that the US has no claim or moral entitlement to the title of global policeman. You haven't made the hard choices, paid the costs, or made the sacrifices (at least not in the last 50 years or so.) You occasionally enforce your interests, and ignore abuses when you choose. The Libyan action has to be viewed in the light of this history.

"media attention and public support"

And who controls where the media is focusing its attention? How much of our MSM is owned by how few large corporations?

Whatever else anyone here might think about the situation, much of the world will be wondering why we backed the Libyan rebels while leaving the Bahrain people in the lurch (not to mention the many other areas discussed above.)

The US is now fighting hot wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya. There are not many ME countries that are not now neighboring one of these war zones.

And who controls where the media is focusing its attention? How much of our MSM is owned by how few large corporations?

Media does what's profitable for them, i.e. tries to anticipate what the public wants to read/listen to/view. Sometimes, this is driven by timing and inertia - i.e. Libya was the next big thing after Egypt. Sometimes it is driven by fame - Gadaffi is famous and gets more so when he acts like his own Baghdad Bob. Often, as in this case, it is a combination. He almost got off the hook due to Japan - that was even more spectacular.

"But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."

John Quincy Adams
Warning Against the Search for "Monsters to Destroy," 1821


List of diplomatic Yemeni defections:

Abdel-Wahhab Tawaf, Ambassador to Syria
Mohammed Ali al-Ahwal, Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Ambassador to Jordan
Ambassador to Egypt
Ambassador to Kuwait
Ambassador to China
Ambassador to Algeria
Ambassador to Indonesia
Ambassador to Iraq
Ambassador to Qatar
Ambassador to Belgium
Ambassador to Pakistan
Ambassador to Czech Republic
Ambassador to Spain
Ambassador to Germany
Ambassador to Oman
Ambassador to the UN
Charge d’affairs to Tunisia
Representative to the Arab League
All embassy staff in Washington except the ambassador


Can any sane President claim legitimacy after that?

Can any sane President claim legitimacy after that?

Yes. Because it is the only straw he has to grasp.

This looks a lot like Eqypt (or Libya at an earlier phase). I fear Yemen is too divided for this to end well.

The Energy Export Databrowser is not complete for Yemen. What is their export stats?

Hmm, not sure. CIA says around 275,000 bpd - but that's as of 2007.


But EIA says they had a net export of 150,000 bpd in 2008 and 125,000 bpd in 2009.


Plus Bloomberg reports that they exported 24 million barrels in the first 9 months of 2010, which seems to put them at a rate of 88,000 bpd if my maths is any good...


Seems to roughly tally with what ASPO reckon anyhow:


They've been heading downhill pretty much full steam by the looks of things!

Looks like Westexas's ELM effect causes uprisings among the hungry masses.

Yes. In Oil Exports, Popular Unrest and Population Appeasement, originally written just before Libya suddenly flared up in rebellion, I did a quick comparison of the net oil export situation for two groups of countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Bahrain on the one hand earning an average of $48 per capita per annum from net oil exports, vs. Saudi, Kuwait and UAE on the other hand earning $13,500 per capita per annum (including the millions of immigrants). I propose that as a crude indicator of the link between net oil exports and either unrest or appeasement of the masses.

I propose that as a crude indicator of the link between net oil exports and either unrest or appeasement of the masses.

Yemen is still an oil-exporter and because oilprices are much higher than in 2001, their revenues now are not less. Egypt is not an oil-exporter anymore.

Whoever replaces Saleh will inherit a country on the brink of becoming a failed state. There is a secessionist movement in the south. Pirates roam its waters. A rebellion in the north has been a proxy fight between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Half of Yemen's citizens are illiterate. A third are unemployed. Drinking water is scarce, yet the population is growing at one of the fastest clips in the world, far outpacing the government's ability to provide even the most basic services. Half the country lacks toilets.


Sometimes I feel like screaming when I read such as this on the web, especially when it comes from such a prestigious publication as the Financial Times.

Saudi regains crown of biggest crude producer

Oil producers pump, to simplify matters somewhat, two main streams: crude oil proper and condensates and natural gas liquids, or NGLs. The former are a little-known corner of the market often called the “champagne” of oil or natural gasoline due to their high quality. NGLs and condensates are by-products of crude oil and natural gas extraction used to produce liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline and naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock. At atmospheric pressure, both condensates and NGLs are liquids.

Well, according to every definition I have ever read concerning natural gas liquids it reads like this one:

"Natural gas liquids include natural gas plant liquids (primarily ethane, propane, butane, and isobutane; see Natural Gas Plant Liquids) and lease condensate (primarily pentanes produced from natural gas at lease separators and field facilities; see Lease Condensate)."

Of course lease condensate is by definition a natural gas liquid. But the IEA and EIA and just about everyone else lists condensate and NGLs as different categories.

Ron Patterson

Oil producers pump, to simplify matters somewhat, two main streams: crude oil proper and condensates and natural gas liquids, or NGLs. The former are a little-known corner of the market often called the “champagne” of oil or natural gasoline due to their high quality. NGLs and condensates are by-products of crude oil and natural gas extraction used to produce liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline and naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock. At atmospheric pressure, both condensates and NGLs are liquids.

Well, what can I say. The whole thing is more or less completely wrong. Finding the true facts in it is like looking for small nuggets of gold in a mass of bull dung.

Rocky, the article requires registration but is available through google without registering. The author posts his email address for anyone who wishes to comment on the article. I posted to him that NGLs were not liquid at atmospheric pressure, that NGLs are propane, butane, ethane and isobutane, all gasses at atmospheric pressure. I doubt if I shall receive a reply though.

Google link to the article:
Saudi regains crown of biggest crude producer via google

Anyway his email address is javier.blas@ft.com if you, or anyone else, wishes to pass a little information on to him. I would think that the Financial Times would not have someone posting on the oil situation who knows so little about it.

Ron P.

I thought that ethane is really considered more like natural gas anyway -- most of it is turned into polyethylene plastics or polyethylene glycols or whatever -- chemicals -- not fuel. Certainly propane is used more to heat homes and grills than anything else -- perhaps plastics. Butane can only go into winter gasoline when it is cold and not at very high concentrations.

Look on the bright side, they cannot call methane a form of oil. So there are no other smaller hydrocarbon skeletons to hide behind ;-)

Ethane is normally considered a component of natural gas, but there is a thriving business in stripping it off the natural gas stream and converting it into polyethylene plastic.

Propane is a convenient substitute for natural gas for those who do not have a pipeline connection since it is relatively easy to liquefy under pressure, but it can also be converted into polypropylene.

Butane is also a NG substitute, but not where it gets very cold because it liquefies easily. It is used in gasoline in the winter because in vaporizes easily and allows cars to start when very cold. It is not a good thing to have in your fuel lines in summer because it causes fuel systems to vapor-lock. It is also used to make polybutylene.

The point at which oil refineries become interested is pentane, because it is the lightest simple hydrocarbon which is a liquid at room temperature. Anything from pentane on up (pentanes plus) is useful to put into gasoline, but I don't think that the author knew that.

Butane is used in lighters and seems to be a solvent for most things where one could use CO2 at the triple point to extract oils from plants.

(A pressure vessel of 1/16th AL vs 1/4+ steel for CO2 to do the extraction of essential oils from plants.)

Hello folks, I'm not new to the oildrum, but I just created an account. I e-mailed him and my exchange suggested he had not had a comment on the article before, I don't know if I should take him at his word, but here was the exchange, for the record (emails are from newest to oldest):

please, do not apologise. I appreciate you pointed the mistake. It means it will be corrected in the next five minutes and I don't look like an idiot to any more readers! I did not realised the mistake when i read the final version after the copy editor played with the story. the feedback from the readers is critical for me and the newspaper


Javier Blas
Commodities Editor
Financial Times

Me: Ok. My apologies for assuming bad faith.

-- Tim

On Mar 22, 2011, at 1:10 PM, Javier.Blas@FT.com wrote:

Dear Tim,
Thank you for your email.
Due to an editing error, the piece refers to crude oil as the little-known corner, when my intention was to point to condensates and NGL as the little-known corner. The sentence was altered.
My fault on atmospheric pressure. Condensates are liquids at atmospheric pressure, NGL are not.
I will correct the mistakes online immediately.
thanks for your interest

How we engineered the food crisis

Can the flawed public policy that prevails in most of the world be rationalised? Nina Fedoroff, professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University, former state department senior adviser and currently visiting professor at King Abdullah University in Saudi Arabia, is not optimistic:

"The continuing distaste for [genetically engineered plants] and their consequent absurd over-regulation means that the most up-to-date, environmentally benign crop protection strategies are used almost exclusively for the mega-crops that are profitable for biotech companies. The public agricultural research sector remains largely excluded from using modern molecular technology. Will this change soon? I don't think so."

Fedoroff continues:

"The screams of pain will come first from the poorest countries that already import way beyond their ability to pay and [are] too poor (or perhaps unwise) to make the requisite investments in developing new high-tech approaches to agriculture in hot places. And now we we're pouring our ag [agriculture] bucks into biofuels, of all the imaginable absurdities."

In fact, the United States and Europe are diverting vast and increasing amounts of land and agricultural production into making ethanol. The United States is approaching the diversion of 40% of the corn harvest for fuel and the EU has a goal of 10% biofuel use by 2020. The implications are worrisome. On 9 February, the US department of agriculture reported that the ethanol industry's projected orders for 2011 rose 8.4%, to 13.01bn bushels, leaving the United States with about 675m bushels of corn left at the end of the year. That is the lowest surplus level since 1996.

Fedoroff goes on: "If only the ingenuity of genetic engineers were unleashed"......

Jeez.... [walks to the garden to check on his heirloom tomatos ..]

"Unleashed" might just be the concern, but somehow I think the good Dr. Federoff has never once in her life made a mistake, or misread someone's intention.

Anyone for a reread of Oryx and Crake?


"Cry Havoc, and let slip the Dogs of Corn!"

Is this Canine Ingenuity hidden in holes of rich soil, or somewhere in their Golden Labs?

Tsk, tsk,

Don't you know its "Cry Havoc, and let slip the Corn Dogs of War".

Never be a newspaper headline writer at this rate...

How we engineered the food crisis

Fedoroff goes on: "If only the ingenuity of genetic engineers were unleashed"......

Jeez.... [walks to the garden to check on his heirloom tomatos ..]

Doesn't it just remind you of that classic candidate for "Worst Film of All Time", ATTACK of the KILLER TOMATOES!

A group of scientists band together to save the world from mutated tomatoes that KILL!

It's not really that funny unless you are drunk or stoned, which of course most people are when they watch it.

There was a lot more sense in the comments on that piece than in the thing itself.

MariMass 20 March 2011 2:56PM

Henry Miller [author of the piece] is an employee of the right-wing Hoover Institute, which is funded by (among others) Archer Daniels Midland, a company which has a huge vested interest in the development of GM foods and its promise of helping companies such as ADM and Monsanto gain total control over the (GM) food supply - and the unlimited profits arising from that. His articles on GM foods must be read with this background in mind.

BeautifulBurnout 20 March 2011 3:01PM

Rubbish. Utter rubbish.

Food insecurity is almost always as a result of either:

a) economic factors, such as the financial markets' recent trend in speculation on food futures, which has been artificially inflating prices;
b) the politics of food distribution in war-torn or disaster-stricken areas, where those who control the food use it to wield power;
c) less-developed nations producing cash-crops for the benefit of transnational corporations rather than using the land to grow food crops; or
d) World Bank- imposed Structural Adjustment Policies which force third world countries to adopt first world free-market capitalism.


So please, do not piss on my leg then try to tell me it is raining.

There are a great many solutions to the global problem of food insecurity. GMOs are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

How, exactly, are GMOs a problem at all? There has only ever been green hysteria over the things, which is funny given how many such organisms are either in use and totally ignored, or have proven benefits but are being kept back by the same rampant idiocy being displayed against nuclear right now.

There are many problems with GMOs, beginning with development of "super weeds" resistant to Roundup. Also studies showing health problems from mice fed GMO soy. Also contamination of neighboring fields. Also no demonstrated improvements in productivity.

If you think there is nothing but "green hysteria" over GMO's, you're simply ignorant.

And concerns about nuclear are not "rampant idiocy", either.

Your post is nothing but a rampant troll.

The "Terminator Seeds" issue is huge, as a massive steal from the basic functions of biology to corner the profits in Big Ag. It's a great profit potential, but is basically an economy destroyer. (Two sides of same coin)

What it does to the field genome is as yet unknown, but messing with the plant world's basic reproduction systems and its relationship to toxins and the animals that would feed on these plants is randomly throwing ball bearings into gearsets that we barely understand.

As with Nuclear and 'modifying' the levels and proportions of highly concentrated radioactive compounds across the thin surface of our irreplaceable biosphere, it is like peeing in the fridge because your friend paid you to, but defending it because everything ('mostly') in there is in plastic packages.

Childishness and Rampant Irresponsibility, all fancy in such nice, Tailored suits!

GMOs are in existence for the purpose of controlling the agricultural market for seeds. The inability to harvest seeds has and will destroy the small farmer. It is all about the money, not feeding the world. Plus, how convenient that the same company that markets the seeds profits from the herbicides to kill the weeds. Even if there were no harmful effects, this would be reason alone to ban GMOs. Terminator seeds should be a crime.

Thanks, all. That article was so blandly fact free it made my hair stand on end. He complains over and over about the "unreasonable restrictions on GMO"... but he never actually named them. I spit on Monsanto, their terminator seeds, their Roundup ready crops at extortionary prices, the flood of Roundup pesticide they unleash on fields, and the roundup resistant superweeds that follow within 5 to 10 years of this madness beginning.


When I was in Bohol in January (small island near the center of the Philippine archipelago), there were murals that depicted native hands crushing a tiny, malevolent alien creature labeled "GMO". So I'm not the only one who feels this way.

There are many problems with GMOs, beginning with development of "super weeds" resistant to Roundup. Also studies showing health problems from mice fed GMO soy. Also contamination of neighboring fields. Also no demonstrated improvements in productivity.

Source? No such weeds have been produced in any country that currently produces and grows such crops, like the UK, US or Canada. There are even Greenpeace activists changing their minds on this (a recent documentary on radical environmentalism on Channel 4 last year regarding energy, food and so forth). Additionally, you seem to think this kind of thing can't happen from standard breeding practices. I suggest looking up the literature on the differences (protip: there aren't any).

Also, the concerns may not be "rampant idiocy". But I wasn't addressing them, I was talking about the "ZOMG!!11! RADIATION!" crap that has been spewed since Fukushima, despite there being NO deaths, NO major illnesses or any major radioactive contamination that would pose a risk. This is very much like those bitching about pesticides, without realising that to have any pesticide effects impact a human being relating to oranges, for instance, you would OD on Vitamin C long before said chemicals caused any harm. But no, kneejerk banning DDT/nuc-u-ler/GMO is far better, despite the risk/benefit analysis showing the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Thanks for otherwise proving my point, though.

GMOs are in existence for the purpose of controlling the agricultural market for seeds. The inability to harvest seeds has and will destroy the small farmer. It is all about the money, not feeding the world. Plus, how convenient that the same company that markets the seeds profits from the herbicides to kill the weeds. Even if there were no harmful effects, this would be reason alone to ban GMOs. Terminator seeds should be a crime.

We'll ignore that standardised seed acquisition for annual crops already exists for the likes of corn, since it can't readily breed well anyway (many farmers local to me do this with more crops, desite them being organic).

But no, the GMO producing companies should spend billions in research and then just give away their products like a charity. Why on Earth are you attacking Monsanto, when ANY company safeguarding it's intellectual property does the exact same thing? What, because it's for food? Hate to break it to you, but Big Pharma are a business, and even life saving drugs can't just be given away, else people like me who actually research the things don't get paid. You want to have crops that don't die in the rapidly changing climates or tomorrow, or drugs for combating those tropical diseases that will emerge? Then you have to pay the piper.

Selling seeds that grew crops that bore seeds that could be reseeded worked fine for centuries. But then Monsanto found a way to stop this and reap high profits while contaminating those fields run by farmers who preferred to use the traditional seeds. To add insult to injury, Monsanto then sued those farmers who were inadvertently growing crops from their seeds which had blown on to their land. Having the right to sell sterile seeds should not include the right to, in essence, force people to use your product. If the GMO seeds could be meaningfully segregated from non GMO and organic seeds, then that might be acceptable. However, cross contamination is extremely difficult to avoid.

One major issue is that people should have the right to eat non GMO foods and farmers should have the right to use seeds that can be reseeded. We can't even have a law which requires labeling of foods so that the consumer knows what he/she is buying.

While, at the end of the day, it may be concluded that nuclear power should proceed despite Fukushima, it is premature to say there weren't any deaths, especially concerning long term effects and the workers who are directly exposed to the higher levels of radiation in the plant.

There may be some benefits to GMO but would like to see the documentation that they will be able to combat the effects of global warming. In the mean time, however, people should have the choice of not being monopolized and controlled by Monsanto.

Oh God! You must work for Monsanto!

Use this search:


A small sample:

Roundup resistant weeds pose environmental threat

Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds

Roundup-resistant weeds are cropping up

After Years of Herbicide Use, Roundup-Resistant Superweeds Are Evolving to Invade U.S. Fields

Facts About Glyphosate Resistant Weeds

Chris Boerboom, University of Wisconsin
Micheal Owen, Iowa State University
(PDF Warning)

"Source? No such weeds have been produced in any country that currently produces and grows such crops, like the UK, US or Canada."

Patently false, Valdimar. Let me introduce you to one such abomination that showed up on our farm a couple of years ago: "Super Pigweed"

Herbicide resistant Palmer amaranth becoming known as super weed

Since University of Georgia researchers first documented true glyphosate resistance in south central Georgia, the explosion in reporting of weeds resistant to several families of herbicides has rocked farming communities from North Florida to Virginia. The biggest newsmaker continues to be Palmer amaranth, commonly known as big-seeded pigweed, and rapidly becoming known as ‘super weed’....

... Herbicides that target the enzyme acetolactate synthase (ALS) are among the most widely used in the world. Unfortunately, these herbicides are also notorious for their ability to select resistant weed populations. Now, there are more weed species that are resistant to ALS-inhibiting herbicides than to any other herbicide group.

Actually, my reason for posting on the original article was the assertion that genetically engineered organisms are the solution to the liquid fuels predicament; that we can 'grow our way' out of this situation.

There are many pros and many cons to be considered before one can say he is reasonably well informed in reszpect to gmo , paeticularly gmo foodstuffs.

The discussion should be undertaken one aspect or type of aspect at a time.

I will begin with the intentions and practices of the companies involved in a big way by saying that I am opposed to any industry becoming so concentrated that only a very tiny handful of copmanies or corporations are essentially in control of the market for any product.

We without a doubt need a Roosevelt with a big trust busting stick to bust a few near monopoly noggins in the seed and fetklilizer and pesticides businesses, without a doubt; but this is also true of all or nearly all large essential industries in my modest opinion.

But considering what the bankers,educators, public employees,medical profession across the board, etc, are getting away with, in terms of monopoly or near monolopy control, well....Monsanto and company, etc, are just doing what everybody else is doing.

Eventually any weed can be expected to develop resistance to any herbicide- this does not mean , however, that said weed will be any more resistant than before to conventional control practices such as plowing, cultivating, rotation, early planting of the crop to shade the weed, etc.

it does mean that the farmer will have to revert to conventional tillage, etc, to control the weed- unless a new herbicide becomes available.

Asa a general thing, all agricultural solutions based on pesticides are in the long run doomed to failure- just as fiat money systems and pay as you go pension systems are doomed -the lifetime of a pesticide is generally measured in years or decades, then a new one is needed;many chemicals that would kill an insect in a heartbeat fifty years ago only seem to serve as vitamins to the same species today.

It is an open question as to how long and how fast we can continue to develop new herbicides and insecticides, etc.; but there is no question whatsoever that they are extremely useful and very very profitable for both the manufacturer and the farmer so long as they are sold under patent( for the manufacturer) and continue to get the job done (for the farmer).

No till corn and other grains for instance, grown by the use of thses chemicals, produce just as well but require far less fuel and machine time in the fields; there is generally far less siol eroision, probably on average less pesticide and ferlilizer runoff, and there are fewer problems with moisture, especially in dry yuears and flood years-the roots and stubble left undisturbed are very good for holding water and soil in place.

Now back to the busines practices of gmo crop seed companies- they are sharks, and are going to act like sharks, just like bankers, lawyers, insurance companies, etc.

As far as selling deaths built in seed, and other gm crop seeds, and building up a monopoly, that business model is based a regulatory framework that has not kept up with the times-in particular in respect to patents-the law in relation to patents of biologicals is so bad for the public, and so good for biotech companies, it would take a book to even begin to describe it.

But as screwed up as the overall situation is, we NEED GMO foodstuffs.

The potential for increased yields, greater disease, drought, flood , frost, insect, resistance is very real; and as fuels and pesticides become more expensive, such gm crops can cushion the blow.

We aren't any more going to feed the world for the next few decades from csa and organic one horse farms than we are going to maintain bau with renewables.

We aren't going to grow enough food, period, given climate change, desertification, water depletion, soil erosion, phosphorus depletion, ff depletion, continueing sprawl, etc.

But gmos can and will help cushion the crash.

Whether they will be considered a net plus, or a loss, a hundred years from now , is entirely debatable;but my gut feeling is that they will be considered a plus.

The overshoot sxxt is in the fan , folks, and as bad as nuclear power is and as potentially bad as gmo crops are, the alternatives are WORSE- by one hell of a long shot.

So we are sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place, or the devil and the deep blue sea- however you want to express it.

Little or nothing associated with modern industrial civilization can be described as sustainable or ecologically benign.

An insane solution in an insane stituation.

An insane solution in an insane stituation.

Yep, I think we will see this fairly clearly once we are off this roughly 40 year added bump to consumption/population enabled by all these things we need... to maintain that added consumption / population.

1970 was the real warning year, green revolution, industrial ag replacing sustainable stuff all over the world, enabled more population growth, same with power, enabled more power consumption, now we think this is going to last so we argue to maintain what's keeping it going, not seeing that is just going to make the walls steeper, and harder to climb out of.

1970 to 2010, roughly midway, 2010 to ?, we'll see how long it takes to return to somewhat sane levels again, should be quite the ride, but those walls keep getting higher every year, takes more work to get out. Maybe that's for the best though.

I'm glad I've gotten to live in places where I saw that nothing we think we need adds to the quality of life (quite the contrary in fact), that's not hard to get back to once things settle down from this blip we are now, seems like we're right in the middle of it, first thing that has to return is nature supporting what she can support. Longer we wait the harder that will be, but it won't be held off, not with oil dropping soon, you can see it in Pakistan already, but cars, they are so... silly.

While I don't doubt that we'll figure this stuff out over time, doesn't seem hopeful shorter term, but I guess that's how it goes when you enter into non-sustainable overshoots, the logics are always the same, oh, we need to do what's creating the problem so we can maintain current levels... gmo isn't going to help much when we need grain that can actually be reseeded, but most organic farmers who are serious know this and are working hard to not fall into these mistakes. That's why I try to support only them as much as possible.

There's no longer any need to ask what the Easter Islanders were thinking, they were thinking exactly what we are thinking.

Greed is NOT good.

//wrote long rant, deleted rant//

//more rant deleted//




Hey Beeblebrox,
My post didn't come across as PRO GMO did it? I must have zigged when I meant to zag.. but no, I'm very much against them. Maybe I should have put Profitable into quotes or summat..

My writing has been so curvy lately, I think it's coming all the way round and hitting me upside my own head!

Keep ragin' .. check out Dennis' rant on http://kucinich.us/ .. good lather on the boy!


Dennis and Bernie Sanders... we need more like both of them!

And, no. Your post did NOT come across as pro-GMO.

My deleted rant involved the evil done by the "Chicago School" and Saint. Ronnie the Wrong.

//further long rant deleted//

Short fuse tonight. Sorry. I've been reading Naomi Klein, "Shock Doctrine." A difficult read. I need to do a chapter, then take a day or two off... otherwise I will short circuit.

Things were never so improbable on the HOG as they have become on Earth.


I read the Shock Doctrine when it first came out. I had to find out if it made any reference to the oil shock model. :)

How about a reference to The Beast in the New Testament - how that to buy/sell anything requires the mark of the beast. In this scenario, the GMO is the only, sterile source of food except in the rogue enclaves who have managed to maintain fertile seed stock. Works out great until the Tsunami hits the GMO factory, I suppose.

Hello All
From a 2.5 year lurker from Vancouver Island BC.

Madax (Crazy for axes)

Hello, Madax. I'm still crazy about my Grandpa's double-bladed Plumb; circa 1950. Still has the original handle :-)

Nice! You get more work out of those before you gotta tune it up. these are the tools I will keep till its time to give them to my son: my favorite shovel, single bladed ax, hatchet,8lb sledge,pry bar- an old axle,and my Klein pliers! Heh. Heh.

Hello, Gung. I one of the axes I use almost daily is a sweet 3.5 lb. double. Dad still has scout hatchet scabard logo et all. Had it all my life (1951).
Kliens, a fencers friend, have 3 pair of 8", $88.00 new, $5.00 with one nick, free new, gift from lineman friend with 2 pair.
Axles make great pry/digging bars usually too short for tall people's backs. drill steel of the cal./ legnth of choice.
Mostly here to learn and keep a finger on the pulse of world affairs. I to talk but type verrrrry slowly. Better with an axe, chainsaw or sledge.
I have some knowledge of west coast wood,fencing,smithing,gardening,farming,logbuilding, bridge building.

Well, just dont combine the keyboard with the axes, OK?

Welcome to the madhouse Madax :)

I'm sorry you had to find this site. You might have been happier in the dark. Of course, we could be wrong.

Saudi exports steady with 9m bpd output

Two sources, however, said on Monday the European refiners, who are most exposed to the disruption of Libyan crude, were not receiving more from Saudi Arabia,...

'Saudi is now producing around 8.9 million barrels per day and not all of it is going out for exports,..

'Saudi exports for March globally are within the 12-month average around 6.5-6.8 million bpd,' one of the sources said.

I really don't know what Saudi Arabia is doing but the world doesn't seem to be getting any more oil than usual from them.

Ron P.

I really don't know what Saudi Arabia is doing but the world doesn't seem to be getting any more oil than usual from them.

So here's the $500 question. With WTI at an attractive price of around $100 barrel and Brent even higher, are they producing all out now?

Can I get back to you at the end of the year on that one?

If we don't have the next step-down this summer, then it will be easier to review their potential. But, if we hit recession 2, then they can say, "We had extra coming online, but nobody bought it". "The market was we supplied". "We are comfortable with the new price target of $38 - $189".

As I pointed out before, saying you have more you'll supply doesn't say what the price is for that. Not many takers for $120 oil until the price rises sufficiently.

If I were putting 2Mb onto the market, I'd price it in 0.5Mb chunks at price points from $110 to $150.

dunno - 1.6mbd of Lybian removed off the market and KSA still not producing more - but theres no demand for that 300Kbpd they said they were going to produce.

head hurts!


Ps: if oil prices at circa $116 removes the demand for 1.6mbpd of oil then $132 means we'll be swimming in the stuff ??

and broke no doubt...

Japan is importing at least 1mpd less than 2 weeks ago.

That goes a long way towards balancing supply and demand... at $115.

That will not last forever. I'm sure some of the business can be diverted to other global production sites, which will consume the energy left idle in Japan. Then there is the reconstruction of Japan. We better install a new dictator in Libya fast, because we're going to need that light sweet substance by July.

Ps: if oil prices at circa $116 removes the demand for 1.6mbpd of oil then $132 means we'll be swimming in the stuff ??

and broke no doubt...

Good way to put it.

As a sideline note of interest. I've been chipping away at my wife's cornucopian perspective for some time now and thought she had finally gotten the situation pretty clearly, especially with the rise in oil price now over a 100 for whatever grade desired.

Then last evening she says she was driving home and listening to an interview with two guests. One was saying by 2015 we would have real problems with supply and very high prices, but the other guy was saying we have enough oil for the next 20 years and not to worry about it. I asked her for their names, but she couldn't remember. So she took comfort in the 2nd guy's opinion and now is back to thinking there is no looming problem. Gees, you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

Guess most of society will fit into the same mold and act real surprised when all hell breaks lose.

earl - Try this on her. Rockman. a petroleum geologist with 36 years experience, agrees: we have enough oil for 20 years. In fact "we" will have enough oil for the next 60+ years. Of course, it's important to know who "we" is. "We" will be the folks who can afford it. "We" might be only half the folks in the US. "We" might also be a few hundred million Chinese. So the trick is to be sure she's a member of the "We Club". Folks debate about how much longer the great Saudi Ghawar Field will last. I can guarentee it will still be producing commercial oil a hundred years from today. It will only be a small percentage of current out put. But I can honestly say we're not running out of oil. We just won't have as much as we use to.

See...it's an easy story to weave if you're careful in your choice of words and avoid the numbers.

Yes, and RockyMtnGuy, a retired petroleum business analyst with approximately the same 36 years of experience as Rockman, agrees that "we" will have enough oil to last us for the rest of our lives. However, you have to realize that "we" may not include "you".

Personally, I'm heavily invested in oil sands, gold mines, and railroads, not to mention liquor stores, so I think I'm covered. But that's just me. I live within walking distance of all the stores and facilities I need (including 150 MW of hydro plants and a forest full of firewood). If all else fails I'll just sit here in my airy abode in the Canadian Rockies and go out to collect firewood from time to time.

However, for people who are not prepared for the consequences of peak oil, it may not be so easy. A friend of mine was complaining today on Facebook how much it cost him to fill up his Subaru, and he's a cardiac surgeon! Another friend, who used to be an oil company VP, sold his Subaru and bought a bottom-of-the-line BMW because it got better fuel economy. When the cardiac surgeons and oil company VP's are complaining about how much it costs to fill up a four-cylinder Subaru, you know that Joe Sixpack, driving the Ford 150 4x4 pickup with the extra-large V8, is starting to hurt real bad.

How many Oildrumers can fit in your place, Rocky. I will learn to watch hockey (real local hockey - LOL), and I can cut wood. I have not field dressed an Elk yet but you never know?


On your other point, I told my wife, Don't drive once she told me about the price of gas. She told me she had to drive. Then I said well plan out your trips.

LOL. Doom.

I told my wife, Don't drive once she told me about the price of gas. She told me she had to drive. Then I said well plan out your trips.

You might ask her, "Well, what are you going to do if you can't afford to buy gas at all?" You might want to phrase it diplomatically because it might imply that you can't afford to buy gas for her.

My own wife just called me. She is just back from a 4-day traverse across a major icefield, and I'm all excited about meeting her for an elk burger and beer. She, of course, would never consider driving anywhere she could walk, and her idea of what is a reasonable walking distance is about 6 miles. She's probably way lot tougher than your wife, as are the women's kick-butt mountain assault team she travels with.

Heck, I can't keep up with her. I tried but I kept going anaerobic and hypoglycemic, and then eventually several of my joints failed. Until I get some new titanium parts put in I'm stuck at home talking to you guys. Well, except for the occasional helicopter trip to a remote lodge.

Sorry to hear about your need for body parts Rocky. I through my back out last year. Actually, it's a typical case of lower lumbar disc herniation. I was all set to get the surgery as fast as possible, because I am afraid to need something like that after the plateau starts to look like the good old days. Then I had dinner with a friend who happens to be a radiologist. He said let it go, the disc will heal by itself, unless you want to pay the surgeon. Darn if he wasn't right. I am great now. The experience made me think though, all my preparations for post peak life will fall apart, the first time I need a real doctor. Good luck with your bionic body parts, Rocky.

Rocky - I understand your situation all too well. My 3rd knee operation doesn't seem to be working so next time we'll likely go with the full titanium replacement. Beside seeing a moose my wife also wanted to hear a whistling marmot. From what I learned of their habitat I knew I couldn't handle that hike either.

Hopefully when I get my new knee I won't be such a spectacle on the well site. Hobbling around an onshore job is one thing. At least I reached the point long ago where I sleep better sitting up in a car than in a bed. Last barge job I had to use the basket to get to the barge with the logging truck. Jumping barges is tricky enough with young legs. LOL. Get some odd looks from the hands when they see an old man on crutches hauling himself off a crew boat.


sure hope you have better luck with the full replacement than I did. (had it done a little over a year ago) Before you decide which one to get, check all the different types and read as much up on them as you can, and then get back to me. I'll give you the rundown on the one I got.

Yes, I explained that there is a lot of oil, and certainly enough for the next 20 years, but at what price? Too high a price and the economy tanks, etc. The ping pong game goes on...

...or you could just accept her the way she is. My wife: "That's why I have you baby; you worry about these things so I don't have to". As long as her hair dryer works and we don't have a power bill, it's all good ;-)

...or you could just accept her the way she is.

How Zen, how loving...why didn't I think of that? Actually its an occasional fun sideline discussion we engage in like differing on viewpoints about anything else. The fun of being married is you don't necessarily agree on everything and that's the spice of life. Not agreeing makes for interesing interaction.

It's a conservation of energy thing...

Thanks guys - I needed that exchange. Don't know if either of you checks back on old Drumbeats, but what you too said hit at home.

Last night, I got the old "aren't you optimistic about anything" response when I tried to bring some enlightenment surrounding projections for $4.00 gas.

It's just very hard for me to understand after all the discussions we've had, how my wife can continue to wish for cheap gas as a solution to her own personal concerns.

I guess the "cheap gas is the least optimistic future I can imagine" approach isn't connecting.

"dunno - 1.6mbd of Lybian removed off the market and KSA still not producing more - but theres no demand for that 300Kbpd they said they were going to produce.

head hurts!"

Does the smell of cooking books offend you ;-)

You are correct, the numbers do not add up. The geopolitics does; the Brits are in another war with someone who was not bothering them who just happens to have a whole lot of oil.

And even the French have stuck their noses into someone else's business for the first time since Algeria. If they are willing to take the risk of repeating that mess it must be important.

Nah. This time it was done right, although it looks like the rebels are going to have to hack their way into Tripoli, against dispersed Kadafi forces, until it becomes obvious that he's the losing side. Kudos to Obama and Clinton.

A week ago, I was waiting for the rebels to be crushed as the West dithered. Now, not so sure. I wonder if Kadafi will try to sabotage the oil production. As soon as the war is over, a vast mass of oilfield workers will return. Too much oil to ignore it.

And yet, for the MSM, that the Saudi's are producing more is an unquestioned assumption. Now, I'm not suggesting that we should expect the MSM to be any more than what it is (and we certainly wouldn't want to ask them to fact check), but it strikes me as interesting that the world can loose about 2% of its daily oil production and nobody outside the oil wonk circles seems the least bit phased.

As of today, most of that demand destruction comes courtesy of Richter 9.0

There but for the grace of God...

Who will be next?

KSA needs to raise cash to pay for the new promises they've just made to their people. They can't get that cash by using their own oil -- they can only get it by selling it to the rest of the world. On the other hand, they need to keep the oil to generate the cheap electricity and refine the cheap auto fuel that their people expect. Is there another way? Yes, they could dig into the accumulated savings that the royals have socked away, but will that happen? I just don't see how KSA will be able to meet the expectations of their growing population. They have bought themselves a little time, but I think it is just a little time.

Roughly 200,000 b/d of extra Saudi loadings are going west this month compared with January, according to consultancy Oil Movements. Price signals quickly encouraged Mediterranean refiners to cut runs or bring forward maintenance to limit demand.

3/18/11 PR Newswire 23:54:00

Ever since the Financial Times in late January said that KSA was making a stealth increase in oil exports, available shipping information tells us otherwise. Basically, as best as I can determine, KSA exports appear to have fallen slightly from mid-January to mid-March, but did increase by about roughly 300,000 bpd on March 15, and a combination of various Persian Gulf States (possibly including KSA) and West African states will further increase exports by about 300,000 bpd about March 30.

Even now, exports out of KSA are maybe only slightly higher than two months ago. There are three likely reasons for this why exports have not kept up with increases in output: 1) they are storing more 2) they were shipping more oil east to west internally through a desert pipeline, which delays exports and 3) they embarked on mixing various oils for some type of new type of hybrid oil program, but those refineries were not totally prepared. In regards to point 2, they appeared to have stopped that about two weeks ago, and in regards to point 3, refineries are now coming out of some turnarounds. Possibly the storage, point 1, was to accommodate other goals, points 2 & 3.

So to repeat, there will be some increase in exports from KSA, but only after a considerable delay – and at a rate only a fraction of their so called excess capacity.

Well, according to this article OPEC production is down 850,000 bp/d in March.
CGES: Oil Prices To Remain Above $100 Without OPEC Action

Only weaker oil demand, driven down by slower global economic growth due to the Japan earthquake, could bring oil prices down, it said...

"Production in February was estimated at 29.85 million bpd and is now down at around 29 million bpd," the report said.

So about one million barrels per day of Libyan oil is off line and OPEC production is down by 850,000 barrels per day. That means someone, Saudi perhaps, has increased production by 150,000 bp/d.

Ron P.

That 29 million sounds like its in the ballpark, as well as the net monthly change for KSA.

But it's not clear if output changes equal export changes; exports may have fallen slightly more than output.

Phil Verlager was on Bloomberg TV with Tom Keene today. I have found Verlager is generally out to lunch with his comments but he made one comment that I needed to check with the experts here.

He said that part of the reason for the price spike in 2008 was that Europe increased its environmental regulations for gasoline to remove sulpher. He added that China has passed the same regulations to take effect in 2012 and his point was that enough light crude to make this kind of gasoline for China wasn't available. He did say that there is excess crude available but it cannot be used to make the kind of gasoline that the markets need. His point was that new refineries are needed to make the low sulpher gas.

He also added that ships have changed their regs to also burn lower sulpher fuel.

By what I understand, he is close but not quite right. He seems to want to blame regulations (as many often do). I don't think it was the regulations so much as that there were not enough refineries that can process the sour oil at all. That requires a more expensive facility and plenty of sweet oil was generally available.

So even if the low sulfur regulation did not exist, there were not enough refineries that can process the sour oil.

My understanding is that Saudi Arabia and China are working closely to optimize oil from KSA to the needs of China. However I don't know if they specifically have reached that goal, but KSA in general seems to be under going a great effort to expand refinery capacity specifically for the type of oil it has available.

In general, worldwide, there is a growing mismatch between the available grades of oil and refinery capacity to handle the grades of oil - although as I mentioned above in general there is an ongoing effort to match the needs of consumer countries. There is a real possibility however of short term mismatches that may cause some havoc.


I haven't seen much written about a growing mismatch between oil type and what refineries can handle. This seems to me to be a potentially huge issue since retrofitting a refinery must be very expensive and take time as well. Any more info from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

Refineries generally don't want to spend the money to make the expensive modifications needed to process heavy, sour crude oil into ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel. The refining margins are not high enough to make it worth their while, and they don't expect their sales volumes to increase in the foreseeable future.

The major exceptions are US refineries in the mid-continent area which have access to cheap Canadian heavy oil and bitumen, and ones on the Gulf Coast which process heavy Mexican and extra-heavy Venezuelan oil. The latter refineries have a problem in that exports from both Mexico and Venezuela are falling, and pipelines to carry Canadian oil all the way to the Gulf of Mexico are running into NIMBY opposition.

The mid-continent US refineries are doing extremely well, though. Most of them have been modified at great expense to handle sour, heavy oil, since they were well aware that their supply of sweet, light oil was going to disappear. The guys in Refining and Marketing only had to talk to the guys in Exploration and Development to know what was going to happen to their oil supply, and there wasn't much scope for the unjustified optimism they might have if they were buying from Saudi Arabia.

They are now buying steadily increasing volumes of heavy Canadian oil at well below world prices, and selling their products at the higher world prices. The price differential goes straight into refinery profit margins (except in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado where consumers get a bit of a break - it's expensive to ship products to California from there).

It is interesting how close the Libyan export and Japanese import reductions match each other in both time and volume.

Darwinian, if you haven't read it yet, take a look at Oil: Money, Politics, and Power in the 21st Century
By Tom Bower

This book goes a long way towards explaining some of the more technical intracies of how and why oil speculation can work, and about specifics of refinery tunings towards various oil grades and sources, which often help us understand that is not how much raw oil, but how much per refinery per type there is, and that's sometimes why more per day is not used, it can't be used. I didn't realize the stuff was so specific, it made me stop thinking of oil as one thing, just as you correctly note that the liquids are also not properly assigned to that one thing, oil (plus liquids).

Warning: this book is written by a guy who clearly used Western Oil company insiders as a primary source, so the general peak oil thing is of course slanted towards the words they used, and the message they internalize as officers of such corporations.

Also covers quite in depth the Brown years at BP, how Oil PR works, and what they have targeted. Any doubts about BP entrenched culpability will probably be removed after you read those chapters on his aggressive share boost via expense cuts, safety first, of course.

Except for the fact the author appears to have had virtually no ins to NOCs, and depends too much on sources that are biased,, this is a valuable book in my opinion to read. In better bookstores and libraries in your area today.

I think many of you will find the refinery/speculation parts especially educational, since they show ways that in fact prices really can be manipulated. Well worth the read, despite its varied flaws.

Thanks for the heads up on the book. Looks worth a read.

We are fighting an uphill battle: Why would anybody believe in "Peak Oil"?

Who of you believes in “Peak Oil” i.e. specifically the notion that almost certainly in this decade the all-time oil production peak will occur and thereafter we will be in continuous decline?

A couple of questions:

1. Of all the oil that has been discovered in the world, roughly what % has been produced? The answer is ~10%!
2. What is the global average recovery factor for fields currently in production? Some would have it as low as around 22%!

On question number 1, I believe that cumulative world oil production to date is around 1.1 to 1.2 trillion barrels. That would mean we, the world that is, has discovered, to date, over 11 trillion barrels of oil. For some reason I have doubts about that figure.

Ron P.

I think with people having to pay $3.50 - $4.00 to fill up their car, so they can drive around looking for work, they might read such news articles with squinted eye. The problem is, that we are probably nearing the other side of the undulating plateau. Even if they get it now, so what. I imagine them with the same look on their face as someone who rides a roller coaster for the first time (at the top of the first hill).

It reflects the usual confusion in the media between Oil In Place and Recoverable Oil. Oil is not much use to you if you can't get it out of the ground, and you can only recover a fraction of the oil-in-place at rapidly escalating costs and energy consumption. These armchair critics don't seem to realize the implications of that.

They also don't realize that enhanced oil recover is technologically very difficult and very expensive, and that in places like the North Sea, they've already pushed the technology to its economic limits. Norway and the UK are not exactly technologically unsophisticated countries and they are already getting some of the highest recover rates in the world.

Sure a CO2 flood would be wonderful in the North Sea, but they need a source of CO2 and they don't have one. The oil industry is keen on the concept of carbon sequestration because it would give them a free source of CO2, but the economics don't work unless the taxpayer pays for it.

In Texas they do some of the world's biggest CO2 floods, but the key factor there is that Texas has huge natural CO2 fields adjacent to the oil fields, and a huge network of empty oil and pipelines already in place to move the CO2 from the CO2 fields to the oil fields. Without those, the economics would not work in Texas, either.

I think most of the natural CO2 for Texas comes from underground caves in Colorado and New Mexico about 400 miles away(Bravo, Kinder Morgan) which is hardly next door.


CO2-EOR has extended the life of oil fields by 25 years or more. This is why it is important, not economics.

Europe is quite poor in fossil fuels and the fact that cheaper fuel might exist in Russia or the PG is of little comfort.

They have to develop some degree of independence from imports.

The economics are really not so awful.
Suppose CO2 capture costs $150 per ton of CO2 and they buy coal at $50 per ton for a total of $175 per ton of CO2 and they are able to extract 1 barrel for $100 for 4 tons of CO2;
$150 + $50/2 -$100/4 = $150
In other words the oil extracted would cover the cost of coal to make CO2.
The net cost would be $150 per ton or ~$.18 per kwh versus ~$.03 per kwh for power from unregulated pulversized coal. European natural gas are ~$11 per mmbtu translates to $.11 per kwh. In the future, I expect they will increase greatly--they were as high as $16 per mmbtu in 2008.


think most of the natural CO2 for Texas comes from underground caves in Colorado and New Mexico about 400 miles away(Bravo, Kinder Morgan) which is hardly next door.

Okay, the Permian Basin extends from West Texas into New Mexico. Texas has most of the oil, New Mexico has most of the CO2. 400 miles is not a long distance to pipeline gas. The CO2 is not contained in caverns, it is in conventional gas fields, but the gas is mostly CO2.

CO2-EOR has extended the life of oil fields by 25 years or more. This is why it is important, not economics.

Economics is always important, particularly if people can't afford to buy the oil you produce at the price it costs you to produce it.

I'm not going to get into the economics of any particular carbon sequestration scheme, other than to say the oil companies are not willing to pay the full price. There are a lot of schemes hanging fire now, waiting for some government to come up with the cash to make it worthwhile. If governments don't subsidize it, the oil companies certainly won't pay for it. You can disagree but they can always pack up their oil rigs and go somewhere else.

You can disagree but they can always pack up their oil rigs and go somewhere else.

Most of the wells have already been dug in CO2 EOR.
You have a drillers mentality, which is fine if you can discover more oil.
Oil's Age of Discovery is over, RMG.
This is about reserve growth of existing fields.

No, it's not about reserve growth of existing fields, because they can only grow so far and then they're done.

It's about the growth of non-conventional oil, and people having to get used to the fact that oil is going to cost them a lot more than it did in the past, for the few people who can afford it.

@majorian "$150 per ton" got me thinking. After some quick back of the envelope doodling (which may be wrong, my envelope already had some numbers on it), it appears that if we figure how many BTU's in a pound of gas (20,551), then look at the wholesale price of natural gas, we likewise come up almost precisely to $150/ton. Why not just inject natural gas into the wells?

Because supercritical, 'liquified'CO2 scrubs the oil out of the reservior.
At Cantarell where they don't have a CO2 source they inject nitrogen gas into the reservior for enhanced oil recovery.
From the DOE literature CO2 is a more efficient medium for EOR than nitrogen as it lowers oil viscosity by about 30%.


Why not just inject natural gas into the wells?

Exactly. If you don't have CO2 (which most places don't) inject natural gas or natural gas liquids. It's all about reservoir engineering and economics. A simplistic solution like, "inject CO2 into all the oil fields" doesn't work because all the fields don't have a convenient supply of CO2.

Can the gas then be recovered later to use as fuel or does it end up trapped?


Yes the natural gas can be recovered later, once the oil field has been depleted.

They often go through a process called "blowing down" the oil field. Once all the oil is gone, they produce all the gas, very fast, before the water which normally underlies the oil column can come flooding in and strand the remaining gas. This can happen in a year or less. Then when all the wells start producing 100% water, they plug and abandon them. Of course, that's the end of the oil production in that field, but if it was properly managed they would have recovered all the oil they could get, anyway.

Injecting natural gas and/or water into an oil field to improve production is more or less routine these days. Injecting CO2 would produce much better results than natural gas, but you can only use it if you have a source of CO2 available, which is generally not the case. If you have oil, you almost always have natural gas available as well.

Injecting nitrogen, as the Mexicans did at Cantarell, is also feasible, but it doesn't improve recovery in the same way that CO2 would. All the Mexicans did was recover the same amount of oil much faster than they otherwise would have been able to. In retrospect, it was a dumb thing to do. They should have left it in the ground and now be producing it slowly at today's higher prices.

Thanks, shame they can't suck the CO2 out of the atmosphere:) I have trouble understanding why the US wants to do like the Cantarell field, suck all the oil out NOW. I would have thought buying in while prices are relatively low then move to domestic when market availability bombs and prices soar would be a better strategy.


Typical oilman tunnel vision.
The opportunity exists to sequester CO2 and get more oil and you
just look getting the oil only.
If you want that tertiary oil, Big
Oil is going to have to work with coal power plants and bury that CO2.
So how do we make Big Oil cooperate with the common welfare of the whole world?
Oil refineries dump 4 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere per year. Make them pipe that CO2 into oil fields for EOR.
Soon they'll be piping CO2 from power plants to their oil fields.
Then they'll realize that they can make money by doing the right thing.
Or they could continue funneling their money to GW denialists, lobbyists and Teapublican clowns.

Calm down. The first thing you need to realize that 80% of the CO2 emissions from automobile fuel occur when you burn it in your car, so the first thing they need to do is get your car off the road. You will know they are getting serious about greenhouse gas emissions when the Carbon Police show up at your house with a tow truck and haul your car off to the dump. Feel free to buy one of the widely available Electric Vehicles to replace it. Or maybe buy a bicycle.

Big oil is perfectly willing to work with coal-burning power plants to sequester CO2 only if the coal power plants are willing to capture the CO2 and sell it to them for market value, e.g. $1/Mcf. After that, they are willing to dispose of it for free by injecting it into their oil fields. However, you have to realize that it will cost the coal power plants a fortune to capture that CO2, and their customers may not be thrilled about what it will do to their power bills. They're already not thrilled about their power bills.

The biggest CO2 emitters are coal-burning power plants. I don't know about the US, but I do know that the five biggest corporate producers of CO2 in Canada are electrical utilities, followed by the oil sands producers Suncor and Syncrude. Certainly, you could demand that Suncor and Syncrude sequester their CO2, but of course they will ask, "Well sure we can, but what about the BIGGEST producers of CO2?" The biggest producer of all is Ontario Power, and their response will be, "Oh sure we're going to shut it down just as soon as we can get our nuclear plants working again or maybe get some wind generators installed." We're all waiting for that with bated breath.

75% of Canadian power generation is hydro or nuclear, so I can only assume the US situation is worse (almost half of US power generation is coal-fired.)

I am only slightly overheated.
(You've probably seen me unhinged.)
You're correct that most of the CO2 emissions are from cars and light trucks(60% of transport which is 30%=~18%) and you're correct that 40% of US emissions come from electricity generation
of which 83% come from coal(83% x 40%=33.2%).
But it is utter nonsense to blame the consumer for industry supplying them with dirty fuel and power. They don't want dirty fuel, ask them if they want China's air pollution problem?
Gee, imagine if tobacco companies had to pay for the cancers they caused.
Oh, horror!

The US oil companies form the richest oligarchy in the country. US electric utilities which until recently were heavily regulated since the 1930s. Then with the Reagan Reaction, they tore down regulation with the promises of jobs (yeah, jobs in China--suckas!)and trickle down prosperity. We've reaped the whirlwind of consumer bankruptcy and debt and they are far richer than anytime since the 1920s. And you want 'fairness' for them but to stick the consumer with buying an electric car or putting a windmill on his house which violates phoney zoning ordinances, etc.

Corporations are richer than ever and they aren't going to take
anymore government abuse!

Fact is, they are proven to be lousy 'citizens' who are used to getting free rides from the politicians, the media and the clueless public.

But it is utter nonsense to blame the consumer for industry supplying them with dirty fuel and power. They don't want dirty fuel, ask them if they want China's air pollution problem?

It's no use asking "the consumer" anything at all. Any conceivable question answers itself - "the consumer" wants to have everything both ways, period.

In that spirit, you apparently remain overheated enough to have utterly missed the point that people aren't thrilled about their power bills. In case anyone else missed it too, note that a number of states have "citizens' utility boards" whose main function is to bang on incessantly about prices being too high, ever too high, always too high. The trouble is, power companies (like tobacco companies) are basically organized systems for aggregating the benefits and costs of goods and services that are not readily produced by medieval artisans. They may overpay their executives, but on the whole they don't pay bills, they merely parcel out aggregated costs and benefits and pass them along.

So when a pollster, or an addled ideologue from the college humanities department, eggs the "consumer" on, said "consumer" may well claim with great affected piousness not to "want" "dirty" power from an evil, wicked "corporation". But by definition, said "consumer" is a creature with no duties or responsibilities, so his or her yammering naturally ceases just short of the actual point of paying for "clean" power or putting up with its erratic availability.

As your own post makes so abundantly clear, it has little to do with cleanliness or dirt. (All life produces a bit of dirt - the second law makes it inevitable - so what?) Instead, it's about abstract anti-business ideology rooted in fantasies of merging a wholly imaginary arcadian past with a wholly fantasized utopian future. Presumably, energy would be beamed in from some other universe while physical products would be built from fairy dust, in order that there should never be even the slightest risk to, say, sea worms (never mind people.)

It should be no surprise that the instant the fussing ceases to be a cost-free way to dump on one's evil wicked boss, and instead starts incurring expense in time or money, or even gives the appearance of potentially doing so, the public loses interest. (Hence all sorts of weirdness like the sudden strident backlash against bike lanes; I'd wager that some of those folks in Brooklyn figure that Mayor Bloomberg, who famously aspires to install himself as everybody's worst nagging, overbearing nightmare of a mommy and daddy, will next be forcing them to use the lanes.) But I digress; the public's loss of interest is hardly evidence that they're clueless. Quite the contrary. They're managing the fuss and whingeing fairly successfully and optimally to obtain exactly as much catharsis from dumping on "the rich" as they can get at zero cost to themselves, and not one iota more.

Oh, and by the way, that whole class-warfare meme doesn't even rise to the level of being right or wrong. It's simply futile, as almost no one cares. Simply watch what folks do, instead of heeding empty words they might mouth to pollsters or addled humanities professors. Consider that when they incessantly dump on, let's say, the obscenely overpaid rich, steroidally bloated and remanufactured and stupefied beast-men commonly called ballplayers, they're not incessantly dumping anger or brickbats - not at all. They're incessantly dumping endless boatloads of their own money. And nobody, but nobody, is forcing them.

Maybe they want it both ways but it is a proven fact that the public will pay for clean power--the Germans are paying 30 cents per kwh.
It is true that corrupt politicians are willing to do anything to protect business profits and prerogatives but it was arch-cynic Richard Nixon who signed the Clean Air Act, right?

Your cynicism is unwarranted and pointless.

I agree with you Ron, however, most everyday people that I talk to simply think that Alaska has plenty of oil, but then I tell them how long it would last and they get a look of disbelief. They seem to think oil companies are hiding large reserves of oil to keep the prices up high. People think the oil comapanies should lower their price. Too many people equate crude oil to all the new non-conventional oil too. Crude oil is much lower cost than the new shale, sands, etc......What will be the breaking point on cost of oil? $200/barrel?

Yes, my wife (Who gets PO) and I just had to respond to one of her cousins who had received one of those "Drill more in ANWR, area 1002 has more oil than all the rest of the world and it alone can supply US oil consumption at current rates for 200 years!" fraud emails. Hard figures from government web sites finally showed him that the email was a fraud, but his reply still? "Well, we should use what we have!" Our answer back to him, "Don't you care at all for your children's future? You just want to use it all up now and let your descendants deal with it? Compassionate Conservatism, indeed."

Conspiracy is an easy way to view the world. It's "everything happens for a reason", the modern version of the gods of the winds, seasons, and trees. The economics of world markets in finite natural resources is difficult to understand, even for intelligent folks. It's much easier to blame good people and bad people for outcomes. It fits complex, largely impersonal processes into tidy moral narratives we all understand.

Conspiracy is an easy way to view the world. It's "everything happens for a reason", the modern version of the gods of the winds, seasons, and trees.

This is EXACTLY the problem. And like religion, it is supported by various psychological predispositions we have. We WANT to believe certain things so if someone somewhat reputable says what we want to believe, we believe it even if we have no evidence to back it up. People WANT TO BELIEVE that Alaska has all the oil we would ever need . . . so they do believe it. That is no different than the fact that people WANT TO BELIEVE that they will live forever so they easily believe in an after-life with ever-lasting life. No hard evidence needed for either . . . just a will to believe in what you want to be true.

I agree with you Ron, however, most everyday people that I talk to simply think that Alaska has plenty of oil, but then I tell them how long it would last and they get a look of disbelief.

Alaska's proven crude oil reserves peaked in 1978 at 9.4 billion barrels of oil. By 2008 they had declined to 3.5 billion barrels of oil, or slightly more than 1/3 of what they were three decades before. Oil is a non-renewable resource, and if you use it, the reserves decline. How hard is this to understand?

The US uses about 7 billion barrels per year, so Alaska's proven oil reserves could supply the country for about 6 months, assuming you could produce it that fast, which you can't.

Oil is a non-renewable resource, and if you use it, the reserves decline. How hard is this to understand?

But, it was fine for my grandfather. It should be fine for me. And for my grandkids! I think this is the steady state theory of resources.

But, it was fine for my grandfather. It should be fine for me. And for my grandkids! I think this is the steady state theory of resources.

Funny you should mention that. Both my grandfathers were born before the gasoline-powered car was invented. However, they both had their own private coal mines on their farms, and all their equipment was powered by steam engines (except for the horses). They used coal and straw for fuel. The railroads, which they helped build before they homesteaded the land (good source of startup money), used coal-fired steam engines. Farmers used horse-draw wagons to take their grain and cattle to the nearest railroad station, the railroads took them to the cities and ports, and coal-powered steamships took them to other countries. They pumped water for the cattle with windmills, and used coal-oil lanterns, backed up by the occasional wind charger, to keep the lights on in the house. It all worked pretty well.

This is why I tend to snort with amusement when people say, "We're all going to starve because farmers can't get diesel fuel!" The smart farmers will figure out a way to produce food regardless. The dumb farmers will sell their land to the smart farmers and move to the city, just like they always have.

My father's attitude to oil was, "Let's use it all up before it becomes obsolete." I did a pretty good job of using it up, or rather producing it for other people to use up, but I also did some oil sands research, and I believe we've got the next two generations covered - in Canada. People elsewhere will have to find their own solutions.

If all else fails, the third generation down might have to get out the picks and shovels and starting digging their own coal mines again, but I doubt that will be necessary. My father's big fear that the oil would become obsolete before we could use it all up may have come true by that time.

I should have stayed in Calgary where I was born. I miss the corn dogs and the C-Train...now that I know about the tar sands, one more reason to have stayed. But I worry, with all those resources I keep wondering if China and/or the USA won't unleash their fury to get at them. China I can see buying their way in, and the USA pushing their way in.

Well, the Chinese and Americans are already unleashing their fury at Canada by throwing tons of money at Canada's resource producers. The Chinese have bought up tens of billions of dollars of resource assets in the past year or two, and don't really seem to be slacking off in their enthusiasm for acquiring more.

The Chinese seem to be pushing the Americans out. It's all those hundreds of billions of American dollars they have sitting around that make it possible. I get the impression that they would prefer to unload American dollars in favor of physical assets as quickly as possible.

When the time comes, large portions of Canada will become part of the U.S.

'Crisis is still going on' at Japan nuclear plant

Workers flee after smoke billows from two units; radiation taints vegetables, some water

FUKUSHIMA, Japan — Gray smoke rose from two reactor units Monday, temporarily stalling critical work to reconnect power lines and restore cooling systems to stabilize Japan's radiation-leaking nuclear complex.

Workers are racing to bring the nuclear plant under control, but the process is proceeding in fits and starts, stalled by incidents like the smoke and by the need to work methodically to make sure wiring, pumps and other machinery can be safely switched on.

"Our crisis is still going on. Our crisis is with the nuclear plants. We are doing everything we can to bring this to an end," Gov. Yuhei Sato of Fukushima prefecture, where the plant is located, told the more than 1,000 people moved away from the plant into a gymnasium. "Don't give up. We know you are suffering."

"Please get us out of here," yelled Harunobu Suzuki, a 63-year-old truck driver.

People well outside the evacuation zone are breathing in air highly contaminated with radioactive fission products.

The tsunami height that hit the plant keeps getting revised upwards.

Work to restore power halted as smoke seen at No. 3 reactor

TEPCO and the nuclear agency said the height of a tsunami that submerged key functions at the Fukushima plant is believed to have reached 14 meters, much higher than the 5.7 meters that the utility had factored in before the disaster struck the power station.

I seriously doubt it was 14 meters. That would be ~46 feet! I think the damage would have been much worse with that kind of Tsunami.

spec- They might actually be able to document that height AT THE PLANT. I haven't seen a detailed layout out of the area but a much smaller wave might have been funneled into a narrow area and reached that height. There was a wave that measured over 1,000' high along the US Pacific coast. But the trick: it was confined to a very narrow valley so the wave couldn't spread out along a normal coast line. So they might actually be able to show high water marks that prove that height. But that might also show a lack of planning on their part if they didn't take a potential funneling effect into account.

Just my WAG that might support their conclusion.

Rock, that was I believe this wave:

The "movement in the fault", of course, is called an earthquake. The magnitude of the quake was about 8.3, although some sources say it was a 7.9, on the Richter Scale (a scale for measuring the magnitude, or amount of energy released, from an earthquake). Pretty awesome shaker. Well, shaker it was...it "shook" loose an estimated 40 million cubic yards of dirt and glacier from a mountainside at the head of the Bay, about where you're standing in the above picture. When the stuff went "kersploosh" into the water it created a massive wave that washed 500m high over the headland in the right side of the above picture. The tsunami inundated approximately 5 square miles of land along the shores of Lityua Bay, sending water as far as 3,600 feet inland, and clearing millions of trees. (extremescience.com)

In other words, it started in the bay, and washed out to the Pacific, and when constricted, height increased as it made its way out the bays mouth. Just read a book on big waves, and that one was featured prominently.

h2 - I'm pretty sure that's the one. A rather unique circumstance and not your typical tsunami by any means. But it did give me the idea about manmade constrictions possibly forcing an increase in wave height at the plant site..

Oh, yes, I'm sure we got to see a lot of failed tests of theorized wave / tsunami activity and intensity in Japan now. In other words, are we sure nature is going to act the way we want her to act. And a lot of good data that can probably help future scenarios I'd imagine.

The theory isn't easy. But, I believe the codes are probably getting pretty decent. But you have a detailed desciption of the bottom topography and current, and of the incoming wave. I suspect second and later waves could be especially hard to calculate, as you have the back flows from previous haves to contend with. Of course if the topography is too detailed, you probably won't have enough computer memeory or power to do the computation.

You are probably thinking of Lituya Bay, Alaska. See Miller, D.J., 1960, Giant waves in Lituya Bay, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 354-C for more details.

How close are you to Seaside, OR? One 80-100 ft is overdue by nearly 75 years....

I seriously doubt it was 14 meters. That would be ~46 feet! I think the damage would have been much worse with that kind of Tsunami.

You know, based on the objective evidence, it appears that the tsunami was over 14 metres. This was over twice as high as the reactor designers assumed, so naturally it resulted in a complete disaster.

Those persons having beachfront property on the West Coast between Southern British Columbia and Northern California might want to take note. The Cascadia Subduction Zone sits just offshore, and it is capable of generating earthquakes and tsunamis of the same size as the recent Japanese one. The last time it did so was 1700, but there were no Europeans around to be inundated by it. We know when it happened because the tsunami hit Japan several hours later.

Just so people in California who are not on the ocean get complacent, when the Cascadia Subduction Fault lets go with a magnitude 9 quake, it usually triggers a similar-sized earthquake in the related San Andreas fault which runs through the suburbs of San Francisco and east of Los Angeles. This is based on geological evidence because there were no Europeans around the last time the system let go. But I'm sure it was a bad experience for the Indians.

I read a few days ago that in some area the tsunami waves were 23 meters based on GPS and pictures. For example see http://flightsimulatornet.com/?p=17676
Apparently the highest tsunami in Japan was 38 meters.... So you would need a 40 meters high sea wall to protect a nuclear power plant.

So you would need a 40 meters high sea wall to protect a nuclear power plant.

If that is real, it is probably the result of local focusing based upon unusual bottom topography. There is a reason certain places, like Cresent City California get clobbered when nearby places do not. So if you can understand how it works, you can avoid the places likely to get especially high waves. For regular ocean swells, there is a reason Maveriks has huge breakers, when half a mile a way the waves are only of ordinary size.

Crescent City, California has the Cascadia Subduction Fault sitting directly offshore, and that lets go with a magnitude 9 earthquake every few centuries, accompanied by a tsunami of biblical proportions. Not only that, but when the Cascadia Fault lets go, it usually takes the San Andreas Fault with it, and the San Francisco and Los Angeles regions get hammered as well.

This is all based on geological evidence, because the last big quake was in 1700. However, we know exactly when it happened because the tsunami destroyed coastal villages in Japan several hours later, and the Japanese kept accurate records of it.

The M9 Cascadia Megathrust Earthquake of January 26, 1700

At 9PM on January 26, 1700 one of the world's largest earthquakes occurred along the west coast of North America. The undersea Cascadia thrust fault ruptured along a 1000 km length, from mid Vancouver Island to northern California in a great earthquake, producing tremendous shaking and a huge tsunami that swept across the Pacific.

The shaking was so violent that people could not stand and so prolonged that it made them sick. On the west coast of Vancouver Island, the tsunami completely destroyed the winter village of the Pachena Bay people with no survivors. These events are recorded in the oral traditions of the First Nations people on Vancouver Island.

The earthquake also left unmistakeable signatures in the geological record as the outer coastal regions subsided and drowned coastal marshlands and forests that were subsequently covered with younger sediments. The recognition of definitive signatures in the geological record tells us the January 26, 1700 event was not a unique event, but has repeated many times at irregular intervals of hundreds of years.

Bottom line - don't build anything less than 40 metres above sea level in that region, and make sure it can withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake. All those beachfront houses and towns will just be gone, with about 500,000 people at risk.

I thought the crisis generally stops when the BBC, NBC, and Nytimes stop due diligence.

I just read an article that mentioned the cost to rebuild will be over $200 billion. Japan owns nearly a trillion of US debt. I wonder if they'll be cashing in?

This is a funny fact. The Japanese just dumped 2 trillion yen onto their economy in one week. Where did that money come from?

Seems like they already got their free money from various printing presses around the world.

The engine of finance keeps on turning. No debt is too great I guess. I am befuddled by it.

The Bank comes after me fast when I bounce a check at Kmart.

The 2 trillion yen was just one days input. The money is basically created by the Bank of Japan out of thin air, it just comes into being. Simple accounting, BOJ essentially gives the financial system credit for 2 trillion yen and balances its books by adding 2 trillion yen to the debit side of the ledger (thus expanding its balance sheet).

As real wealth is destroyed throughout the World via disasters and crises, the void is being filled by the creation of ever increasing amounts of fiat currency. Real wealth is morphing into illusionary wealth creating the surreal effect that the more the real economy is destroyed the wealthier the World becomes as counted in fiat money terms. Obviously the system is broken.

I think to have any sense of reality one has to stop looking at things in monetary terms. As you say we become befuddled by it, our cognitive dissonance increases as we try and square what we see happening in reality against what the system is telling us.

I agree.

And yet I have a question. I have friends who make thousands per year working their system on the market. I use the word 'system' loosely. They have one, but is it just ride along? Anyway, they make the money and put wealth into the bank and take neat vacations. All the while I sock my salary onto our property and work to build up a small farm. We do grow most of our own food and will have it all paid for in a year. My aching dilemma is that I keep telling myself we have real wealth, and we like what we are doing, however, methinks I would have been farther ahead to have invested in illusionary wealth and then to have bought what I wanted. The vacations would have been a bonus.

I keep joking it is the ant and the grasshopper at work.

It hasn't crashed yet. I believe it is a strange house of cards, and yet the phony world seems to keep chugging along. The countries keep chugging along. When the pundits cry they are broke...that they will go down...are they not simply setting the stage for more rip off siphoning of wealth for the elites? (Isn't the criticism, itself, a scam that will enrich a few?)


Your friends may have gotten the vacations as a bonus, but what did you get as a bonus?

Spiritual growth?
Satisfaction of doing it yourself?

should I go on?

They enriched themselves financially - you enriched yourself in many ways. (Many ways far more important than financially, imho).

Paulo, your friends are part of the financial system and therefore benefiting from the Central Banks reflation operation. The financial system is accruing the World's wealth in terms of fiat currency. But every dollar they have is worth less and less in terms of other currencies and against real money, gold. The reason they can convert their money into a vacation is due to deflation, although the quality of those vacations is probably deteriorating too.

Eventually the Central Banks will overcome deflation, but in doing so they will have created too much money, too many calls on the real wealth that is left. Hyperinflation will likely follow.

The financial system is destroying the food producers, eventually your friends will have difficulty buying food with their depreciating piles of paper. Their lives can literally be destroyed overnight, better to reduce risk by reducing dependency on the System.

The Bank comes after me fast when I bounce a check at Kmart.

You've hit the nail on the head. The financial world is currently in the business of selling/buying people, or "souls" if you will. Essentially a form of enslavement. Allowing the falsehood that plenty of Oil is available, the debt-based economy in which we reside depends on the ever-growing population to accommodate the ever-growing debt.

Generally speaking, if you live paycheck-to-paycheck, you belong to the Wall Street Devil.

The Bank comes after me fast when I bounce a check at Kmart.

There's an old saying, "If you owe the bank $1000 and can't pay, you have a problem. If you owe the bank $1 billion and can't pay, the BANK has a problem."

I once worked for a company that took over another company that owed $5 billion to the banks. I sure hope the banks appreciated it because it exceeded their net worth. It sure was a stupid thing to do from our perspective (20/20 hindsight).

And I would add a corollary to that: "If you owe the banks $1 trillion and can't pay, it's the GOVERNMENT that has a problem." It has to come up with $1 trillion in bailout money or the bottom is going to drop out of the economy.

Fortunately the government can easily come up with $1 trillion just by printing it, or more accurately making an accounting entry in their computer systems, although that is a solution with consequences elsewhere in the financial system.

Putin's such a cretin, he really is.

Vladimir Putin, Russian prime minister, said on Monday a UN resolution authorizing military action in Libya resembled "mediaeval calls for crusades" after Western forces launched a second wave of air strikes.


Putin is many things but he is not stupid.

Medvedev rejects Putin 'crusade' remark over Libya

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's description of the UN resolution on Libya is "unacceptable".

The rare rebuke came hours after Mr Putin criticised the resolution, which authorised military action to protect Libyan civilians.

A real split? Good Cop/Bad Cop routine?

That's very interesting indeed..

Yes, wrong choice of words by me - I really meant to say creep.

> Good Cop/Bad Cop routine?

Could be playing the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hegel playbook. Three moments called "thesis" (in the French historical example, the revolution), "antithesis" (the terror which followed), and "synthesis" (the constitutional state of free citizens)

I'm curious why they abstained. There's some maneuvering going on, but what it is ain't exactly clear.

Yeah, I can't quite figure it out. I can understand China's abstention . . . they are at the mercy of oil markets too so they don't want an unstable dictator in power there.

But why did Russia abstain? Anyone with a good knowledge of Russia & Libya relations?

” But why did Russia abstain?” IMO Here is why: So that the West can attack Libya, thus pushing the oil prices up and Russia- the largest exporter- can make more badly needed money. Now that the attack is on and oil prices are moving up, he wants to make sure that when the things calm down and Ghadafi survives (and he most probably will survive) Russia gets the first choice to get the lucrative oil contracts as well as arms sale, construction… And, if by any chance Ghadafi does not survive, this Russian tactic would not change the “New” Libyan government’s attitude towards Russia anyway. Make sense?

I'm curious why they abstained.

If they had vetoed, then the blood of Benghazi would have been on Russian hands.

If they had approved, they would be on the side of the "crusaders".

Putin has no morals but he is smart. He's KGB trained and knows well the art of misinformation.

Btw, it will be all over if we can finish off the regime quickly. The French, British and Canadians, already engaged, should go for the juggler.

Before anyone gets too sentimental over Gaddafi, please note the following factoids:

In 2009 the United Kingdom and Libya signed a prisoner-exchange agreement and then Libya requested the transfer of the convicted Lockerbie bomber, who finally returned home in August 2009.

Canadian visa requests were being denied and Canadian travelers were told they were not welcome in Libya, in an apparent reprisal for Canada's near tongue-lashing [vague] of Gaddafi. Specifically, Harper's government was planning to publicly criticize Gadhafi for praising the convicted Lockerbie bomber.

Libyan-Swiss relations strongly suffered after the arrest of Hannibal Gadhafi for beating up his domestic servants in Geneva in 2008. In response, Gaddafi removed all his money held in Swiss banks and asked the United Nations to vote to abolish Switzerland as a sovereign nation.

Libya still provides bounties for heads of refugees who have criticized Gaddafi, including 1 million dollars for Ashur Shamis, a Libyan-British journalist.

c/o Wikipedia: Libya

Incidentally, Freedom House in 2005 rated both political rights and civil liberties in Libya as "7" (1 representing the most free and 7 the least free rating), and gave it the freedom rating of "Not Free".

The only way to bring down such a violent regime is to take them out violently. He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.

Putin is merely pushing for advantage in the twisted and sordid welter of international opinion.

He is the pot calling the kettle black: ask any Chechen.

I'd never be sentimental over Gaddafi, but your cheerleading for blood and violence makes me want to puke. It's quite possible to despise both a cruel dictator and the imperial lust for conquest. Neither Putin or any other world leader gives one small hoot about the blood of Benghazi.

On the contrary, as people they may care a great deal.

Being the leader of an entire country does not frequently allow one to act both responsibly and compassionately, however.

Being the leader of an entire country does not frequently allow one to act both responsibly and compassionately, however.

As a critique of the modern political world, I think you just about nailed it's greatest failure.

It is unfortunate, and I don't believe it is the only way, but I cannot see a clear path to change it.

And its not just "the modern political world" that has this problem. Its pretty much endemic to human nature.

Oh? and you know what this "human nature" is?

It changes all the time, though perhaps not on the time scale that we would like to see.

Crisis also has a tendency to leave some pretty indelible changes, and they can happen rather more quickly than during non-crisis times.

So, my philosophy is not to attempt to invoke a change, but to be a good boy scout and "Be Prepared." For the opportunity to influence change will come, but only those who are ready for that moment will be able to take advantage of it.

That would be a distinction without much of a difference.

You and I will just have to respectfully disagree. I'm not an isolationist and you are not an imperialist.

You call it bloodthirsty. I call it justice. Sorry for making you puke.

And I agree. Putin doesn't give a fig-newton about Benghazi, but he does give a hoot about courting diplomatic channels with so-called "non-aligned" countries. Watching Benghazi being butchered would not have been conducive to that aim.

And although you may not like it, until we figure out how to move beyond the system of international anarchy that we have in place now, it is, and will remain, the big boys keeping the smaller boys in line. B/c of globalized trade and world communications, what happens in one place does effect everywhere else.

I disagree with you that all countries are the same. I, for one, am grateful that a few of the big boys on the block do court public opinion at home, have an account to make to representative institutions, and abide by the rule of law.

Libyan intervention is the subject of debates in both London's and Ottawa's House of Commons today. Too bad you don't see more of that elsewhere in the world.

Libyan intervention is the subject of debates in both London's and Ottawa's House of Commons today. Too bad you don't see more of that elsewhere in the world.

Meaningless posturing is actually pretty common.


Debating intervention after the act is indeed meaningless.

Maybe reporting to the boss after starting a job is meaningless, too.

Debate allows a government a way to gauge & seek consent and the opposition a means to voice dissent. It may be messy and imperfect but it honours the principle of accountability.

"Accountability"? Don't make me laugh. How many have gone to jail for the destruction of other peoples countries, economies and citizens in countless illegal wars (eg. Tony Blair, Bush and cronies)? How many of the elite are in jail for destroying the economies of their own countries? How many in jail for the destruction and pollution of the environment? I could go on and on, but you should be getting the idea. There is no accountability except for the occasional scapegoat.

In things that really matter, no one is held accountable. In fact the perpetrators are often promoted, rewarded and held in high esteem.

If only there was some kind of way to price in externalities. Like some kind of laws, or rules and regulations that make the responsible parties pay the price of their actions. Next time someone argues for less red tape and regulations give them a slap from me (verbally), then let them know they need better guided regulations, not less, and to do away with regulatory capture.

In things that really matter, no one is held accountable. In fact the perpetrators are often promoted, rewarded and held in high esteem.

If only our government leaders were as perfect as we the little people. If only....

There are reasons why our leaders act the way they do and part of it is that we benefit from the current economic and political arrangements. And I, along with most people who frequent this blog, enjoy the lifestyle that fossil fuels has given us and the material well-being that the promotion of trade and stability has fostered.

Now while I am concerned that "peak oil" is a looming and pressing problem - for reasons well documented on this site for a long time - I am not sorry that we have been able to live longer, devote more of our resources away from mere subsistence living, and abide with a fairly comfortable and affluent lifestyle. We are all complicit in this, no matter how much we liken ourselves pure and above the fray.

Power is always a two way street: one asserts and the other surrenders. No government operates without the consent of the governed, whether that consent is tacit or explicit, or is secured by terror, deference, ballot, indifference, or bribery.

Likewise, one question that begs to be answered by everyone is how do we give our consent? Barring that, if we are inclined to withhold it, how do we bring about change?

If criminal malfeasance has taken place, how does one press for prosecution? If the markets are unregulated or the watchdog agencies lack teeth, how does one give back the bite?

Cynicism is not conducive to good citizenry and active citizens take participation seriously. If you don't like what your leaders are doing, get involved. It's all too easy to be an armchair critic. It's quite another to figure out how you would run the world differently and convince others to join you.

Politics is the art of the possible. It is always wise to have realistic aims and expectations about both the players and the results.

Meanwhile, if the world is so rotten as to be beyond redemption, then I would suggest, 'grin and bear it'. Or go smoke weed and relax. All sneering does is give us wrinkles.

"Cynicism is not conducive to good citizenry and active citizens take participation seriously."

Au contraire! Cynicism is our only protection from the pervasive propaganda of the State and the scum that inhabits its halls of power. Participation in the thoroughly rigged system is how the citizenry is turned into sheep. The rebels in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt are good citizens, enforcing accountability, the sheep in the Western democracies are not.

Look at the financial crisis that is blighting the lives of millions in the West. Lambs to the slaughter with barely a peep, participants in the system every one. Today in Britain is Budget Day and the citizens are looking to the Government for some crumbs off the table to make their miserable servitude less onerous. I think I'll stay a free man, be cynical, have my own thoughts and not participate in a corrupt system.

Participation in the thoroughly rigged system is how the citizenry is turned into sheep.

Everyday I meet fathers and mothers, school teachers, brothers and sisters, tradesmen, accountants, local member of parliament, farmers, pharmacists, people who have fallen on hard times, people who are enjoying good times, and I can tell you, I don't see any of them as sheep.

The overall system is big and complex and we can be dwarfed by that. But the economy of scale has also produced benefits that none of us today would want to do without. There is also safety in numbers. The size of our countries and populations means we can specialize and defend ourselves without having to resort to family and community. You take the good with the bad.

Once large size systems are in place, it is better to have institutions and conventions that allow consultation on matters that affect all. That's what responsible and representative government is all about.

Those in power may be remote and seemingly arbitrary but at the end of the day, they are as human and vulnerable as you and I. They put on one pant leg on at a time. Even financiers and bankers need a place to rest their heads at night and so they'll choose those places - like in the O.E.D.C. - that provide the best services and conveniences. It's hardly likely the CEO of IBM is going to pick up stakes and move to Beijing or Tripoli or Kampala. London and New York and Sydney are much nicer localities. If they soil the nest, they soil it for themselves too.

Thankfully, there are laws and customs that restrain the more vehement and nasty elements from getting out of control. Where this is absent, it is up to us to demand remedy for it.

...think I'll stay a free man...

Good on ya. I just happen to think that is not as uncommon or unique as you imagine it to be.

I don't see any of them as sheep.

We are all sheep -and that includes me.
I am not one stepping stone higher in standing than any of my brothers.

Anyone who thinks we are not socially interdependent creatures who tend to stay with the flock has got to be kidding himself. It is inbred into each of us through millions of years of evolution.

I am not one stepping stone higher in standing than any of my brothers.

Anyone who thinks we are not socially interdependent creatures who tend to stay with the flock has got to be kidding himself.

Btw, that's biblical!!

step back, have you ever thought about a vocation? ;-) You give good karma, too. Cheers!

Power is always a two way street

Well sir, that certainly sounds like sound logic except that it is anything but.

When a human infant is born, it has no power.
It is completely at the mercy of TPTB and how they mold the developing infant.

What language will the infant speak?
--not a free choice option

What religious tenants will the infant be taught?
--not a free choice option

What other ways of viewing the world will the infant be taught?
--not a free choice option

It is only perhaps when the infant is on the other side of 30 and over that it might perhaps start questioning some of the dogma that has been spoon shoved down its throat. Perhaps.

Speaking of free will, there was this interesting piece in the NYT recently:

Do You Have Free Will? Yes, It’s the Only Choice

step back, did you ever listen to your mother or Sunday School teacher? If not, that's too bad, b/c I learned a lot from mine.

Personally, I don't perceive 'power' as problematic. It is what it is. For as long as there is differences and relationships among people you are going to have power at work. It is neither good, bad, or indifferent. It is about what we make of it and how we work with it.

No one is an island unto themselves, no matter how much we fancy ourselves to be. And I don't buy into the argument that everything is arbitrary and set in stone: we choose everyday how we get along with others. Now that where it's a matter of good, bad, or indifference.

step back, I will continue to pray and wish the best for you. Why? B/c you're worth it even if I'm a pompous & hypocritical charlatan who is misleading the sheeple and naively looking to gain brownie points to get to heaven. I figure I need all the help I can get ;-)


Thank you for sending out good karma

Right back at you :-)

Funny thing, I was just thinking about the Libya situation in terms of yakuza last night, and I think here is good analogy:

A certain shopping area (many shopping areas are patrolled and pay "protection money" to yakuza in Japan) is controlled by a particularly vicious group, group G. Next door, over a river, the biggest and strongest group holds sway - group NATO. They didn't think much of group G, and occaisionally group G would step on their territory and cause a bit of trouble, then group NATO would remind them of their place and things would return to normal. Finally, the shopowners in this mall couldn't take it anymore and pushed back, inviting retaliation from group G. Things got out of hand, and the shopowners appealed to group NATO at their conveniently located office (yakuza groups have offices in Japan). Group NATO could not overlook it any longer, and sent their toughs to go sort things out. Of group NATO, the subgroups group FR and group GB were the most worked up, but because subgroup US is the leader, they sent a representative too.

That's Libya, the simple version. Group G is not going to be allowed to play anymore. They were on thin ice before, but with the shopkeppers begging for help, group NATO isn't going to sit around. The shopkeppers may end up paying group NATO protection money in some way or other, but they know it's better than dealing with group G.

World politics would be much more entertaining as a yakuza flic, just my opinion.

Yeah, what a Jackhole. He could have vetoed the resolution if he really felt it was wrong. But instead he let it go forward and is now playing the opposition sympathies.

Does he really feel the Arab League & the people of Benghazi were calling for "crusades"?

Putin is Prime Minister, not President these days.

He is not currently top Honcho. He clearly wants to be again one day. This may be part of his election campaign.


I've always been under the impression that Putin still runs the show in Russia.

We've been played. Obama was baited and he swallowed the hook. We do the bidding of Arab rebels and remain the villain they can hate at the same time. Putin gets to look like the champion of the downtrodden as we bomb more people to save them. I have no expectation we'll ever really learn. The only President who seemed to understand this was Washington.

Yes, and Washington has already served two terms, and is not eligible to run again.

Putin is one of the most brilliant, conniving, successful, secretive, devious geniuses operating in the political arena today. He makes our leaders look like drooling buffoons. I watch him with fascination and dread.

Hi confederate,

re: Putin.

Does he understand peak oil?

O hell yes. I don't believe there are any world leaders that did not "get" Peak Oil. But Putin understands everything in light of how it impacts Mother Russia. I have long talks with a Professor(Phd) of Russian who has done several published studies of Putin and the Russian Psyche. She has turned me onto several books on Putin. What an intriguing character who should never be underestimated.
I meant Putin, but the Dr. as well!! ha

Is the Pope Catholic?

HI Undertow,

Perhaps Putin could inform the Pope.

I watch him with fascination and dread.

Yes. He is a bit scary. But as long as he is concerned with relatively narrowminded goals, he can be lived with. Its when we get someone who thinks they have been apointed by god (or Marx) to remake the world, that things get really scary.

Looking at the events in Libya, I get the feeling that the West has somehow fallen into a trap. Putin's remarks being the sound of the trap slamming shut.

Putin's strategy is to create a multi-polar world, which means sapping the West's strength and weakening it until on a par with the BRIC's. I'd imagine the West's hypocrisy in its treatment of Libya against that of Saudi Arabia is going to be used to destroy the West's credibility in MENA to the BRIC's advantage.

This morning (UTC+2) Assistant Director of the Finnish Nuclear And Safety Authority (STUK) made a statement concerning the situation in the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

"Using seawater for cooling isn't a long term solution. When you boil [sea]water in a kettle, it leaved behind salt." The Japanese were told about an experiment conducted a few decades ago. Using seawater for cooling creates new problems, if you cannot remove the salt. "In the worst case a saline brine is formed which then crystallizes. Then you cannot cool the reactor no matter what you do" [no emphasis added]

Note that these people, as well as being the worlds authority in nuclear nonproliferation, also have a vested interest in future of nuclear power (regulatory capture) - Finland being a safe haven for nuclear expansion: currently building the largest nuclear plant in the world, untested type, with new leases for two more.

For the past few days all their statements about the Fukushima have been very critical and pessimistic. They are especially concerned about the waste pools because there has been no effective pumping for them - just intermittent spraying - they are concerned about the water level - if there is any...

Anyone want to hazard a guess on the amount of seawater that has boiled off from the reactors? Does it amount to all that has been pumped there? Or has there been some circulation which would've slowed the concentration of salinity? Otherwise for every ton of water = 35kg of salt deposited. How many days has it been? Those fuel rods could look like stalagmites by now...

Let's SWAG, shall we?

Say a MW or two of power, for a kg per second or so water vaporization (I'd have to go back and do the calcs again, but I think that's not too far off). Say 4000kg per hour, or maybe about 150kg of salt and such per hour. That's about 4 tons per day, or say 25 tons a week, rounding widely.

So, you have a dump-truck load of salt in there by now?

Obviously this isn't a long-term solution, but then, you could just flood it with extra water and go to flow-through and reverse the process.

If the pumper trucks could shift to fresh water, there wouldn't be an issue. If the reactors are doing flow-through cooling, then it's not much of an issue either.

Assuming that 5 and 6 are safely circulating, and that 1 and 2 are close, this might be an issue for 3 and 4. Pool 3 has more plutonium and 4 has newer fuel, IIRC, so those have special concerns.

There is currently no circulation.

The webcam has been interesting today as it has been raining heavily at the site. Some of the stuff hitting the camera doesn't look like just rain-water to me.

1pm Japan time Monday - what's in front of lens?

4pm Japan time Monday - smoke billows from reactor 2 and/or 3 - heading inland

I've been thinking about this in relation to news that pressure has stabilised in the reactor vessels. How to hell can pressure stabilise in a pressure vessel full of water with a big heat source. They seem to have stopped venting steam. So either this has reached some steady state with heat loss from pressure vessel to water in containment system equalling that being produced (?) or the water in the pressure vessel has turned to salt (?) - which is not a very good conductor of heat.

As far as I can see they have stopped active venting as the reactors vent themselves. In the flyover video you can clearly see two sources of steam/smoke from 3 for example. One from the pool. The other from the top of the reactor. Both reactors 2 and 3 seem to be "stable" at close to atmospheric pressure.

I saw that blob on the lens too. I thought it was a form of accidental "censorship." I mean how hard is it to clean the lens?

That depends on how high the radiation is at the camera. You do it. :)

Let Ann Coulter do it.

(Or any of the TOD posters who've over the years argued that Radiation is good for you)

I'll do it for 10x the odds in lotto tickets and a case of local beer. How's that for hedging bets?

You'd have to be fully suited up with a self-contained air system before you went anywhere near that camera.

Here's a close-up of reactor 3 building burning on Monday. Smoke/steam can also be seen from reactor 2 building and reactor 4 building

Japan Nuclear Crisis: What About The Plutonium MOX?

The media tells us that things are looking much better now in regard to the Japan nuclear crisis and we should all relax about the damaged nuclear reactors in Fukushima.

Yet, there is something bothering us in London which makes it difficult for us to relax completely:

1. What does the smoke and vapour being emitted from the various nuclear reactors at the plant actually contain?

2. What if one of the elements being discharged is plutonium -- the deadliest substance known to man -- which is extremely difficult to detect?

Plutonium is extremely difficult to detect because it emits limited gamma rays -- unlike radioactive iodine, caesium and uranium -- and it is deadly;

Plutonium release would not show up as a radiation spike;

Plutonium comes from Pluto: god of wealth and power and also the god of hell and death.

...If the smoke billowing from the Fukushima reactor 3, amongst other reactors, does indeed contain plutonium, then this nuclear crisis has exposed Japan and the world to a much more extreme danger than the one originally envisaged. If so, we all ought to know about it. There should be some more specific investigations in regard to the contents.

Also just saw the first video of the "white smoke" that followed from reactor 2. Reactor 2 has previously continually belched something from the hole facing the sea. This time it appeared to be coming from the roof through what was described as a "crack". I wonder if they are worried that Reactor 2 building could blow up in a hydrogen explosion at any moment. Not exactly an ideal situation to supply electrical power to the area...

As of now NHK saying that workers have not yet restarted work after evacuating yesterday.

And reactor #2 was one of the reactors that didn't have an explosion, yet its cooling pumps are too damaged to use. So what about the condition of the pumps in the other reactors where the damage is far more extensive due to the explosions?

Things seem to be going from bad to worse.

Nice photo! I wonder what TEPCO has been doing with the crane and the orange cement mixer in the lower RH corner...

E. Swanson

Initially they said they were going to fill Number 4 reactor pool with cement. Then they back tracked and said they would just use industrial high rise concrete pouring equipment to feed water into number 4 pool.

Can someone explain what those towers are for at the Fukushima nuke plant?

LOL. I thought that blob was glowing green.

Is there anything to this posting on Counterpunch?

. . . government and industry officials reported the "venting of hydrogen gas", but that there was "no threat to health." This reassurance of health safety was echoed when hydrogen gas explosions occurred at the power plant.

In fact, the hydrogen released is tritium water vapor, a low-level emitter that can be absorbed in a human body through simply breathing, or by drinking contaminated water. Tritium decays by beta emission and has a radioactive half-life of about 12.3 years. As it undergoes radioactive decay, this isotope emits a very low-energy beta particle and transforms to stable, nonradioactive helium. Once tritium enters the body, it disperses quickly, is uniformly distributed, and is excreted through urine within a month or so after ingestion. It produces a low-level exposure and may result in toxic effects to the kidney. As with all ionizing radiation, exposure to tritium increases the risk of developing cancer.

So, then, why no mention of tritium in the government or industry statements? Relatively speaking, the health effects of a low-level emitter like tritium are minor when compared to the other radiogenic and toxic hazards in this nuclear catastrophe. Such omission is a standard industry practice, designed to reassure the public that the normal operating procedures of a nuclear power plant represent no significant threat to human health.

The article was originally published in The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.


Steinn Sigurðsson has a good post on his blog as to what might have happened

Fuk-D: what happened to the reactors?


From your link

So: it seems likely, to me as physicist working from incomplete and mildly incoherent information that one or two of the reactor vessels have breached and released fuel and ash.

Is there ongoing fission in molten bits of the core.
I had thought not, until I read the handy-dandy press release from NISA on TEPCO measurment of radionuclides at the plant.
They find I-132 and I-133 on March 19th.
Those isotopes are short lived - hours, not days - and they are fissile products.
If there is any significant amount of them at the plant a week+ after shutdown, then I start thinking there must be an ongoing source of these isotopes.
Finding other, shorter lived fission products, would be the smoking gun.

Of course, these may come from the spent fuel ponds, not breached reactors.
I'd love to know if they are seeing 16N around either reactor.
It comes from an (n,p) reaction on 16O and has halflife of seconds, so is only there is there is active neutron flux and a current leak...

He is correct that any nontrivial amounts of short lived fission products diagnose recent fission. Although numbers do matter. There is a nonzero rate of spontaneous fission. And fission neutrons causing other fissions is a positive feedback. If on average one fission causes F new fissions, then the total fission rate should be the spontaneous rate times 1/(1-f). F-1 is criticality. A reactor typically works with f<1 (subcritical). So as F approaches one you get an increasing amount of it.

Japan site still leaks radiation, source unclear: IAEA

Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:29pm EDT

(Reuters) - Radiation is continuing to be emitted from Japan's disaster-hit nuclear site but it is unclear exactly what the source of it is, a senior U.N. atomic agency official said on Tuesday.

"We continue to see radiation coming from the site ... and the question is where exactly is that coming from?" James Lyons, a senior official of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told a news conference.

Don't mention the breeched reactors.

As to subcritical reactors, Wikipedia puts it this way "Most nuclear reactors are hence operated in a prompt subcritical, delayed critical condition: the prompt neutrons alone are not sufficient to sustain a chain reaction, but the delayed neutrons make up the small difference required to keep the reaction going"

Interesting debate going on in the UK's House of Commons right now.

The opposition leader Ed Miliband just addressed the question about 'Why Libya and not Yemen, Ivory Coast etc.?'

He effectively says that it's a case of it being better to start somewhere than to throw up your hands and say 'Well, there's too many places that need intervention and we can't tackle them all so we might as well do nothing!'

Someone else reiterated about how to decide which situations to intervene in and how can they decide to intervene in Libya when 45 people were killed in Yemen so recently - why not there too?

His response to that was that the magnitude of Gadaffi's crackdown dwarfs that of Yemen's.

Another MP has just stood up and said that nothing highlights more the difference between the Iraq invasion and this Libyan situation than the fact that both sides of the bench are unanimously in agreement with the necessity for intervention.

Japan an example of fast crash?

After years spent reporting from desperate and war-torn corners of the world, the scenes I've witnessed here are unsettlingly familiar.

It's the setting that's not.

Here, in one of the richest and most advanced nations on earth, I've found one of most challenging assignments of my career.

Economic aftershocks all over Asia

Automakers in Thailand are slowing production. South Korean electronics manufacturers face shortages of critical parts. Thousands of Japanese have canceled trips to Taiwan. Panic buying has driven up prices of Japanese cameras in China, while Indian policymakers brace for higher oil prices.

Geez, could it be that the last few weeks have brought on a flock of black swans?

More like Alfred Hitchcock's Birds.


Panic buying has driven up prices of Japanese cameras in China

Panic buying of cameras? Something's not quite right here...

The most pathetic response to Japan's crisis ever . . . Quick, buy up those good Japanese cameras . . . they may be in short supply soon!

Its the invisible hand of the market bayyyybeee!

(I liked the factoid about how one of the resins used for making chips in Japan is^H^H^Hwas the preferred supplier because of the low radiation in their products. Another way radiation effects the high tech world - old railroad tunnels were coal was used need special handling when you run your fiber optic cable. Seems the radioactive U from the coal causes the glass to fog)


NEWS ADVISORY: Radioactive cesium 24.8 times higher detected in seawater near nuke plant
NEWS ADVISORY: Radioactive iodine 126.7 times higher detected in seawater near nuke plant
Work to restore power delayed as smoke seen at Fukushima reactors
NEWS ADVISORY: too early to assess contaminated seawater's impact on fishery product: TEPCO

Yeah, there is something that I just have not been understanding. We call keep hearing about them pumping water into the reactors . . . where does that water go?
There are two obvious paths, neither of them really good.
1) It turns into steam which floats away . . . and often with some radioactive particles with it.
2) It seeps into the ground (and thus mostly back into the ocean). So it really should be expected to get radioactive ocean water.

In normal operating conditions, these nuclear reactors and their spent fuel pools operate as closed loop systems wherein the same water is recirculated (after cooling using heat exchangers). The compromised systems now are clearly not fully closed loops (to put it mildly).

Well Japan will be eating nuked seaweed and fish in their local economy. That stuff will not travel as far as people think before it is taken up by plants and animal.

Ah, but how far will that seaweed and those fish travel (post harvest)?

Not many fishing boats left around there.


where does that water go

Where all water goes....to the sea!

Gov't orders 4 prefectures to suspend some food shipments

The government ordered Fukushima and three other prefectures Monday to suspend shipments of spinach and another leaf vegetable following the detection of radioactive substances in the produce at levels beyond legal limits, while trace amounts of radioactive substances were detected in tap water samples collected Sunday and Monday in nine prefectures.

High levels of radioactive substances were also detected in seawater near a troubled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, according to the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. The company said it is too early to assess the impact on fishery products.

While issuing the orders to Fukushima and its surrounding prefectures -- Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma -- in accordance with a nuclear disaster law, the government's nuclear disaster countermeasure headquarters also asked Fukushima to refrain from shipping raw milk.

Top government spokesman Yukio Edano said the readings for radioactive substances found in the farm produce were at levels exceeding provisional limits set under the Food Sanitation Law but ''aren't readings that would affect humans.''

Not much extra harm from eating it I suppose as they are inhaling it anyway. Although they are doing their best to avoid mentioning this uncomfortable fact.

Yes, I haven't seen one story that mentions HOW the radioactive substances got on the food. If that was said then the idea that it also got on everything else, including people, would have to be mentioned. It didn't just magically teleport from the nuke plant to the vegetable plant, skipping everything in between.

I would not be surprised if the Japanese government resigns at some point. They have obviously decided that it would cause mass panic if they told the truth right now. Once the truth comes out though...

Vegetables are usually not a problem as it can be washed off. I love mussels but there is no way I would buy any if I knew they came out of the Irish sea. Windscale has been pumping out millions of gallons of slightly radioactive water into the Irish sea for the last 60 years and all those loverly mussels have been pumping it through there bodies and filtering out all those delightful radioactive isotopes.

Vegetables are usually not a problem as it can be washed off.

Only for short lived isotopes of elements which do not have biological affinity.

While PNK has uptake in plants (With K having enough "natural" radioactivity such that bananas will cause a reaction with a good giger counter) there are other elements needed for good plant health and some of 'em would be possible output from the reactor.

Plants will have the longer lived radio-isotopes...its how some fraud-vintage-wines have been detected - the isotopes only exist in post open-air nuke bomb testing. Near the failed reactors in Japan - I'd be worried. Lower Madagascar spinach...complain about how fission power is a demonstrated failure and eat the greens

loverly mussels filtering

filter feeders or filter organs like liver - why would a sane person want to eat 'em?

As Undertow and others have pointed out, whatever is landing on the leafy greens, people are breathing continuously. How this does not register with the media, I haven't a clue.

whatever is landing on the leafy greens, people are breathing continuously.

Probably coming in with the rain (or maybe dew). Didn't a Japanese weathermen, say, if you go out in the rain, be sure not to get wet!

People living between 20km and 30km from the plant are instructed to stay indoors at all times. The IAEA just yesterday measured radiation levels 1,600 times background just outside the evacuation zone (20km northwest) where people are still living. Nobody is giving us air sampling results. Apparently there is just something called sieverts which are not dangerous floating about - must be a new element because I can't find it in the periodic table :-(

And yes, if you have to go out in the rain " try not to get wet" was said on NHK. I half expected them to add "and try not to breathe".

Note the way TEPCO/government is avoiding releasing any images which show the people working at the site. I think that's because they don't want to scare people by showing them all suited up like something from a disaster movie.

Those people are getting rained on by rad waste. Are we going to hear how many X-rays they got today? So tired of the lies.

Good one about not showing the workers. I wondered about that but did not come up with an answer. I thought that they really were not working since they do not have any images of progress on the ground. The industry is so smart about it. I give them credit. Of course, out tax dollars are paying for their vision here.

It looks like a DMZ from WWII to me, but I am not a nuclear energy executive.Maybe that is how they like these plants to look. (Being cynical, but the horor of this thing being dusted under a rug is causing me to doubt our governments and the nuclear industry).

So sad.

Note the way TEPCO/government is avoiding releasing any images which show the people working at the site. I think that's because they don't want to scare people by showing them all suited up like something from a disaster movie.

Here's a link with a video showing your disaster suited workers toiling away. The camera's a bit shaky, I suspect the cameraman was a bit scared, perhaps he forgot his nuke proof zoot suit?

Strange video that as we jump from a point at an unspecified distance from the plant where the people we see are not 100% protected. Then we jump to at the plant but never see how anyone is dressed at that point.

Then we have this photo which has now appeared

Which looks almost staged to me with no chance of seeing the front of these workers who just seem to be standing around getting their photo taken next to a nice car.

Should be closer to this


Protective, firefighting suits
Combination photo shows the protective suits (L) being worn by Tokyo firefighters spraying water on reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which has been crippled since a massive quake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. The firefighting suit (R) is worn on top of the hazmat suit. (Kyodo)

They appear to be up wind of the smoking reactor, but even so it looks very odd.

Zerohedge is reporting that reactor #3 is over 500°c and reactor #1 at 380°c. If they are correct, then things are getting considerably worse. It's looking like the risks are being downplayed in the media with the main theme being that things are improving.

Seems the IAEA thinks TEPCO isn't telling them everything


Unit 3 experienced an explosion on 14 March that destroyed the outer shell of the building's upper floors. The blast may have damaged the primary containment vessel and the spent fuel pool.

...We have not received validated information for some time related to the containment integrity of Unit 1 so we are concerned that we do not know its exact status. Grey smoke was observed from Unit 3 which led to the evacuation of plant personnel for several hours yesterday due to elevated dose rates. In addition, white smoke or vapour was observed from Unit 2.

Maybe the evidence of spreading contamination is finally becoming strong enough that the MSM science illiterates can't miss it any more.


[7:36 a.m. Tuesday ET, 8:36 p.m. Tuesday in Tokyo] Soil 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had radiation 430 times normal levels when tested Monday, Japan's Science Ministry reported, according to broadcaster NHK.


Kyodo news agency quoted plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) as saying levels of radioactive iodine-131 in sea-water samples near the plant on Monday were 126.7 times higher than the limit.

Levels of cesium-134 were 24.8 times higher and those of cesium-137 16.5 times higher while a trace amount of cobalt 58 was detected, it said.

I think that by the time this is over, we will see that the scope of the nuclear disaster has been repeatedly ignored, mis-stated, lied about, excused, etc. and it's far worse than reported.

"filter feeders or filter organs like liver - why would a sane person want to eat 'em?"

Well, call me crazy, but they're delicious. DELICIOUS. Also, very nutritious in a world where human created toxic garbage doesn't poison everything - the world humans evolved in.

Dealers snap up high-mpg used cars

Automotive News -- March 14, 2011 - 12:01 am ET
Rising gasoline prices are creating fierce competition among dealers for fuel-efficient used vehicles at auctions, some dealers report. But analysts who monitor used-vehicle prices across the industry say neither prices of large trucks nor forecast residual values are tumbling -- yet.

Todd Caputo, owner of Sun Chevrolet and three used-car stores near Syracuse, N.Y., describes the jockeying to snap up hybrids and four-cylinder vehicles at an auction last week as "almost like a panic."

The "gas guzzler bubble" I have been talking about for a while now is finally starting to pop?

Naw. This is just an early warning sign. People will tolerate $3.50 gas. Wait until gas hits $4.50 or $5/gallon. The USA will begin to start acting more like our responsible neighbors in Europe . . . smaller cars. More use of public transport. Etc.

And sadly, the Japanese quake has apparently slowed production of both the Nissan Leaf AND the GM Volt.

A solution from Carnegie Mellon Univ.

Convert your Honda from gas to electric at Carnegie Mellon University

The price of gas continues to climb, but the price of an electric car is a little out of reach for anyone who is not in genuine need of a new car. It kind of puts you into a classic catch-22 situation. You are paying a lot of money if you do not go electric and you are paying a lot if you do go electric.

Or, you could convert your car.

If that notion gives you the willies, it is probably because you picture yourself sitting for hours in your garage, swearing at a kit that you bought off of the Internet. Have no fear. If you own a Honda, you do not have to do it yourself. Carnegie Mellon is running a conversion project for Honda car's that will make the gas-powered versions in to all-electric powered cars. No swearing required.

also at http://chargecar.org/conversions

$17,000, LOL.

I have an old Honda Accord (1999), that I use to drive to town, 5 miles. I think it cost me about $18,000, new. I drive it less than 10000 a year.

10,000 miles / 25 mpg = 400 gallons purchased per year.
400 gallons * $4.00 per gallon = $1,600 on gas per year
$1,600 * 10 years = $16,000 STILL CHEAPER!

I will drive the gas engine and put that $17,000 in the band earning a whopping 1.3% an still come out ahead.

Yeah, conversions are basically for the hardcore environmentalist or the hobbyist. Perhaps when the price of oil goes up, some standardized kits will be created to make it easier but it is just not an efficient path.

Mass manufactured electric cars are needed. Thus cars like the Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus Electric, and the GM Volt are very important for the future even though they are starting as niche vehicles today.

Why are they "very important for the future"?

I have a 1996 Civic. Paid for it in 2000. LOL. Was ~17,000 and I put about 1-2k miles per year. LOL.
I think I will drive her into the ground until she cannot drive anymore. Very reliable car. Not a single problem with it. My faithful steed.

I only use it in emergencies or when people visit me or when the other car is at the shop. My wife drives; I do not essentially unless forced.

But an electric bicycle kit for like $300 is a good deal to climb hills or haul larger loads.

That is a good deal. And the recharge is just a wall socket. But for now I will use leg power until my joints and muscles give out ;-)

Electric bikes are the first move to see significant play worldwide. Not huge unnecessary electric cars. It is about scale and economics.

Let's see, 10 yrs ago, gas was, what, a buck and a half? So it more than doubled in those ten years of increasing and then flat oil extraction. Over the next ten years of flat then declining oil extraction, is it likely to increase more or less? Just asking. That would impact the analysis...

I have a book in my car of the price of gas on each fillup. The lowest gasoline price was 89 cents per gallon in the late nineties. LMAO

The USA will begin to start acting more like our responsible neighbors in Europe

Like spoiled children and throw a temper tantrum?

Calls for tax cuts, bail outs and investigations into the speculators is the reactions I'd expect.

After The President uses the political capital he gains to have the Saudi's turn on the tap of course.

I'm in the UK. Two weeks ago I decided to trade my moderately gas guzzling car for the most efficient diesel car I could fit the family in - rated at 83mpg (imperial). I had the choice to order a new one and wait 5 months, or buy a 5 month old one at the same price as new. I chose the latter, because I feared that in 5 months a lot could go wrong. I completed the trade the day of Japan's quake. The car is stuffed full of Japanese electronics.

(Real world I get betweem 55mpg and 80mpg, depending on traffic).

I guess this comes as no surprise...

Japan's coal demand to soar in face of nuclear turn-offs

AUSTRALIA should experience significantly increased demand for coal from nuclear-challenged Japan in the next couple of years and longer-term, demand for liquefied natural gas could soar.

That's the view of Fitch Ratings which said on Monday electricity capacity shortfalls at Japan's nuclear plants would be met in the short term by coal and fuel oil-fired generation.

But in the medium term, Fitch said "additional gas-fired power generation capacity is the natural substitute for (Japan's) nuclear power."

See: http://www.couriermail.com.au/business/japans-coal-need-to-soar/story-e6...


H - I've seen that thought put forward before. But no one's offered the amount of excess coal-fired or LNG-fired electrical generation capabilities Japan has today. They talk of coal imports ramping up "in the next couple of years" so they can't be talking about new plant construction that would take several years to build out. I think they may have a little unused LNG burning capabilities but not a great deal.

IOW they can import all the coal or LNG they want over the next couple of years. But if they can't convert it to electricity without building new plants while trying to rebuild a big chunk of their country then I don't see an import bump coming along anytime soom. At least not for electrical generation. Maybe they'll be slipping back to the 19th century and burning a lot of coal to keep their homes warm. Maybe we're next in 15 or 20 years.

Hi Rock,

It appears some 7,200 MW of coal-fired generation was taken off-line by the earthquake and accompanying tsunami; this is reportedly 10 per cent of the nation's coal-fired capacity (source: http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/Coal/8665327). As to how long these plants will remain out of commission is perhaps anyone's guess, but I expect every effort will be made to restore them to service as quickly as is humanly possible, and presumably these other plants will be pressed hard to help compensate for their loss and for that of the affected nuclear stations, to the greatest extent possible.

The following article appeared in the March 19th edition of the Wall St. Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870402150457621017424815102...

In it, we're told that Citibank believes Japan will need an additional seven million tons of thermal coal this year whereas Barclays Capital has pegged the increase at two million tons.


H - Thanks...didn't realize Japan had that much coal-fired generation left. Thought it would have been abandoned as they switched to nuclear.

So, the oil price seems to be stabilizing just over $100 (WTI). Middle East revolutions, regime changes, earthquake, tsunami, little nuke problem. I think the investors don't know how to handicap it. There may be a big correction when we get some firm numbers in a month or so.

100 is such a nice round number :-)

100-dollar oil is just WTI. Other oils are about 110-117 dollars.

It just keeps getting better:
How do you fix falling water tables.....
('scuse me if this is already posted)

Daraa is primarily an agricultural community, and its economy has been hurt by falling water levels in recent years.

The region also houses thousands of people who left their homes in eastern Syria because of an ongoing water crisis.

Seekingalpha.com contributor accuses TOD and Gail of feeding nonsense to the masses.

But before we move on, and to give a taste of what is being written and the nonsense analysis being fed to the masses — and I usually don’t do this — here’s one of the latest excerpts from a theoildrum.com post only two weeks ago, when trying to rationalize a decrease in U.S. imports:

I thought I was kind of special and not one of the "masses". Would Gail Tverberg do such a thing? But it's nice to know that the masses are reading TOD.


He completely ignores that peak oil per capita was reached about 30 years ago and the exact date and amount of peak oil don't matter. We are living in a post peak oil per capita world and that is why oil is $100 per barrel and wars are being fought over it.

Anyone who points to a bump in the bumpy plateau which was predicted quite accurately by Colin Campbell as evidence that the bumpy plateau, aka: peak oil production levels reached globally, does not exist, is clearly completely confused on the concept.

The corollary to that is that anyone who mistakes one bump for an absolute final peak is making the same error, which is the basic takeaway lesson for everyone. Only when the overall bumpy trendline has been downward for 3 to 5 years can we talk about the actual true peak of total production globally. And this has also been repeatedly noted by all serious peak oil researchers. Ie, only in rear-view can we say when the true begin/end dates of the global production maximum were, and then, within that larger trend, what the final total peak number was, and what year it occurred in. One thing is clearly obvious, we are now on it, nobody can bring on enough more to bring down current price trends around 80-110 a barrel.

seekingalpha has a widely varying level of quality, and as an investment focused web site, must always be considered as fundamentally biased towards financial speculation and profiteering.

Any message they sell or try to sell is bound to profit some position or set of positions taken in the current markets.

seekingalpha has a widely varying level of quality, and as an investment focused web site, must always be considered as fundamentally biased towards financial speculation and profiteering.

SeekingAlpha is a 'free-content' site where ANYONE can create an account and become a writer there. The site is filled with amateur finance people and professional hucksters that are trying "pump & dump". There are people there will well-researched and thoughtful views. But the place is also filled with a lot of pure garbage . . . some of intentionally misleading.

I always assumed it was primarily finance driven because every article I come across aimed at that market. Interesting, I didn't realize that was the case. Good to know. So it accepts pump and dump, that's very good to know, I think I'll remove it from my list of semi-interesting sources then. I assumed it had some type of editorial policy or group.

I assume they would rather not have pump & dump but I've read plenty of articles with dubious facts & analysis that clearly were nothing but gussied up pump & dump.

But it is all in the eye of the beholder. What about all those analyst buy/sell ratings from Wall Street firms . . . you think they are really in the business of giving out free advice? I think those ratings are worth what you pay for them . . . their private clients probably may get advice to do the opposite. And, just by coincidence I'm sure, they so often seem to match up with what their 'sell-side' happens to peddling.

Analyst ratings come from "sell side" analysts, so they match what the sell side is selling because they are the same thing, not because of coincidence.

The advice is certainly not free, it is paid for by clients, who in most cases, who in most cases are funds. The clients are the "buy side". If you looked at the fine print in the reports, you would see the distribution of these reports is supposed to be limited to clients.

If a firm gave themselves or private clients advice that contradicted their published reports, it would be a serious crime. I am not saying it isn't done. However, any large broker who consistently provided conflicting advise to different parties would be shut down and the analyst would lose their license and perhaps

However, any large broker who consistently provided conflicting advise to different parties would be shut down and the analyst would lose their license and perhaps

Perhaps what?

Get off scott-free and start somewhere else, perhaps?


I read Liar's Poker in the early 90s. It described precisely the activities that the poster above said won't happen for fear of major repercussions. Given that it happened again with the Securitized junk mortgages, and all those other financial abstractions designed specifically to siphon off more of the capital stream passing through finance's hands, I'd say this is an ideal that is not met on Wall Street today, in fact, I'd suspect anyone actually trying to act ethically like that in a big firm would find their career cut quite short, and they'd be off the fast track to success.

I believe the act of providing conflicting advice to clients so the firm and oneself can profit massively while dumping garbage on the suckers would define the essence of the arrogance of Wall Street traders over the last few decades, and would also define the norm in terms of their practices.

Liar's Poker is a great book and Michael Lewis one of the best commenters on the banking business. However, the book talks about bond traders 25 years ago and says nothing at all about providing conflicting advice to clients. In fact, I don't think researach or analysts even appear in it.

Wall Street has a lot to atone for. I am not defending them.

I am however stating facts. Ever since Elliot Spitzer, research has been walled off from other departments, all phone calls are recorded, regulators and compliance departments can access emails and other records without notifying anyone.

Believe what you want. I'm sure the facts won't change your mind.

There are crimes committed on Wall Street. Some are punished some not. But as I noted in my comment above, regulators have powerful tools and use them where crimes were committed. They are under resources and can do everything. But the reason why they are prosecuting insider trading instead of large scale defrauding of clients though inaccurate advisory is that the latter did not happen.

I'm not 'believing', I'm 'seeing'.

The Big Short outlines how the behaviors of 25 years ago are exactly the same today. Minus the removal of those pesky regulations, you know, the ones Wall street lobbied successfully to get removed, via their huge financial injections into our political system. Those used to be called 'bribes' in the old days, when we had honesty in discourse.

It's the facts that changed my mind. I assume you work in the industry, I doubt anyone else actually believes what you are saying as an internalized system of thinking.

The reason you hear the term 'banksters' now is precisely because the people understand the level of corruption and criminality that has become the norm in finance, up to and including the now even bigger too big to fail banks.

Real facts would change my mind, that's why I read the Big Short, which wasn't even that great, but I can find as many as I want, I read the real guys all the time, Bill Black, etc. They don't agree with you, sad to say. Or not sad, fortunate I'd say, we need outsiders who understand crime when they see it and don't pretend and play word games to excuse criminal ongoing activities. The entire securitized debt thing, and it's abstracted forms, is crime, and a ponzi scheme, allowed only because of lobbying to remove regulations. Typical to not take responsibility, that's the norm, sad to say.

If you want ethical work I think you need to look outside of finance at this point in history, otherwise you have to internalize the bad things to make it seem ok.

I don't work in the banking industry and am not defending banks or bankers. I am informing you that your information is incorrect. I have also pointed out a number of gaping errors in your logic.

But keep relying on Michael Lewis books and believing what you want. Seems to be working for you.

If you said that George Bush ate babies, I would say you are wrong. It does not imply that I like or support George Bush.

I have said that bankers are guilty of crimes, just not the ones you are trying to pin on them. But maybe you should try Moneyball for your next source of data.


I meant to say perhaps go to jail.

In the case of the Galleon Group, I understand that 23 out of 26 charged have plead guilty. All will be banned from the industry for life and most will go to prison.


Raj the rat is also likely to do time, even though he is a billionaire.

So you find a new profitable dodge that isn't covered by the rules yet.

It doesn't have to be illegal to be immoral.

The Oil Drum gets quoted on Seeking Alpha in Peak Oil Putdown.

Peak Oil Theory Misses 2010's New Peak

But before we move on, and to give a taste of what is being written and the nonsense analysis being fed to the masses — and I usually don’t do this — here’s one of the latest excerpts from a theoildrum.com post only two weeks ago, when trying to rationalize a decrease in U.S. imports:

He then quotes Gail from this thread: Is "shale oil" the answer to "peak oil"? This really pisses me off. A decrease in U.S. oil imports does not need to be rationalized, they are down and down rather dramatically. U.S. oil imports have peaked, so far anyway, in 2005 according to none other than the EIA. Net Imports were 12,549,000 bp/d in 2005 and were 9,453,000 bp/d in 2010, down a whopping 3.096 million barrels a day in five years.

I will go out on a limb and say that net oil imports to the U.S. have peaked for good. Even last year when crude oil production, worldwide, was up by 1.363 mb/d, U.S. imports were down 214,000 barrels per day. And that ain't rationalizing.

Ron P.

Edit: Sorry X but we both must have been typing at the same time. Had I saw your article I would have posted this as a reply.

So US oil imports decreased about 3 mbpd, but consumption only decreased about 1 mbpd. What accounts for the difference? More domestic "production"? Not that much I don't think. More imports of refined product (and/or NGL)?

Yes, more domestic production. Deepwater Gulf and crude oil extracted from the Bakken formation have increased in the past couple years.

US Crude + Condensate

2005 5.2mb/day
2010 5.5mb/day

That's an increase of only 300k barrels per day. 2005 was hit by hurricanes Katrina. Production was 5.4 in 2004.

US domestic consumption was down 1.633 mb/d and US production, all liquids, was up .613 mb/d so that takes care of 2.246 of the drop in imports. I don't know where the other 850,000 bp/d came from.

Ron P.

Ethanol ramp up is likely most of it I believe.

Edit: Yearly production (EIA) in thousands of barrels per day.

2005: 255
2010: 862

Increase of 607,000 bpd

Keep in mind a barrel of ethanol has only 2/3 the energy content of gasoline (or oil), so assuming the same % efficiency, that increase of 607kbd would displace 404kbd of oil.

For comparison, the largest Cdn oilsands operation (Syncrude) produces 350,000 bpd from one location - using a lot less land water and energy than all those corn farms.


Some people still take the short bus to school.

Many talking heads and pundits seem to use bullying tactics instead of statistical analysis to refute peak oil. Now who is likely in the wrong. The statistical datasets or the bullying tactic?


Mother Nature may not be through with Japan just yet

Japan quake loaded stress on fault closer to Tokyo

The recent monster quake that hit northeastern Japan altered the earth's surface, geologists say, loading stress onto a different segment of the fault line much closer to Tokyo.

and Tokyo at risk: Can megacities cope with disaster?

USDA funds research on crops and climate change

Shifting weather patterns already have had a big effect on U.S. agriculture, and the country needs to prepare for even greater changes, said Roger Beachy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And since the changes are expected to vary from region to region, he said different areas will need different solutions. Some areas may gain longer growing seasons or suffer more frequent floods, while others may experience more droughts or shorter growing seasons.

"What the climatologists have predicted is that the areas that were at one time wet will in fact be dry and hot, not wet and cool," Beachy said as an example. "If that's correct, then we need to have varieties of crops that will grow in those areas and are adaptable to the changes in the climate. So really it comes down to if we don't do this, we may have some food shortages in certain kinds of foods."

I've noticed that parking lot utilization rates seem to have dropped recently, although probably not by an amount that would be considered statistically significant.

All the same, if this is an indication that high gasoline prices are starting to bite then it's not unreasonable to expect bad economic news to pile up in the weeks and months ahead.


(sorry I don't know how to make a link)

Leaf of faith: Is Nissan's new car stranding owners?

Now that electric-powered Nissan Leafs have been driven by the first owners for several weeks, Nissan's claimed 100-mile range is being tested in reality. The result? Reports of Leafs running out of juice and stranding drivers with little warning.

Although the details in the complaints on the MyNissanLeaf forum differ, the common thread in each is the Leaf suddenly paring back the estimates of its range in the middle of a trip, ending in a brief "turtle" mode — marked by an orange turtle icon on the Leaf's dash — followed by the car shutting down to prevent battery damage.

(interviewee): "they are risking severe backlash once buyers realize that they have paid 40K for a car that goes 50 miles, instead of 100. ... My wife has a 50 mile commute that is too risky to do on an 80 percent charge. Again, real range estimates from Nissan would have made me think twice."

1) The official EPA range estimate is 73 miles. And you won't get that if you get on a freeway and drive 60mph. I agree that Nissan's "100 mile range" (based on the LA-4 circuit which averages like 20 mph) was a bit irresponsible. Doing a 50 mile drive on 80% power would be quite risky. Do the math, people.

2) The car is $32.5K cash, not $40K. (After tax-credit, that is only like $25K.) If you want really long range, but Tesla.

This is typical shrill. Probably the author is given an expense account from one of the major oil companies. The folks that run out of gasoline every day are never mentioned in the news. The folks pushing their electric car to the utter extreme will be hammered from Rush Limbaugh to various other Wingnut media outlets.

This is why my hope in electric is fading fast. The American consumer is loves gasoline, cheap, and massive in their cars. The anti-electric-car Spin machine is going to demolish these cars and replace them with 5 MPG Hummers faster than you can wink your eye. Electric is going to face the most severe propagandized attacks we have witnessed concerning cars. Electric cars makers need to wake up -- they are facing very vested interests and billions of dollars in headwind, propaganda, and smear tactics. They are going to crush you unless you deliver the goods. The user interface. The warning systems need to be spot on. Wake up Nissan. LOL. You guys are playing with serious angry white men.

I think they will lose. Horse and buggy is more likely the replacement of the car imho. LOL. I am feeling negative today.

Oh and Average Joe supporter of the anti-electric tirade, you better learn how to walk or ride a bike. The elite will not share their fuel with you, regardless of your voting record, LOL.

Looking uglier by the day from my perspective. I used to have a little hope about 5 years ago. LOL

Like the proponents of peak oil, the proponents of EVs will ultimately win in the end. Oil will peak someday (if it hasn't already) and electric cars will replace gasoline cars someday.

EVs have already lost several times. They were once the winners but gasoline wiped them out when the electric starter came along. Cheap oil allowed gasoline to dominate for a century. EV attempts in the 70's & 80's failed because lead-acid is crappy technology and the '73 & '79 oil crunches ended. The late 90's California EV come-back again failed due weak battery technology and cheap oil. But the gap is relatively narrow now and it will close in the next 3 to 10 years. With nice Li-Ion batteries and triple digit oil prices, EVs can finally make a come-back.

I think EVs will start out slow . . . the technology is still expensive, these cars are new, and gasoline is still relatively cheap. But the cars will get better, battery prices will drop, and oil prices will continue going up. It is just a matter of time before we hit a crossing point. And when that happens, look-out. You'll soon start seeing people who bashed EVs driving an EV. They won't be happy about it . . . range will still be limited and the cars will be smaller. But it will be better than walking.

Look I am a big fan of electric. I just have been around the politics ever since I was a kid, and electric has been dealt many near fatal blows. Look at the street car culture's demise, then the lead acid battery car, the EV1 (heck they took the cars away from faithful owners and crushed them into nothingness -- talk about loss of embodied energy -- lol).

Rush Limbaugh is going to hammer them bi-weekly for months to get his base angrier and angrier. Even when gasoline is $7 a gallon, he will be pounding his fist on the mike and swearing and sweating and yelling greens and commies. LOL. So much passion against EV, how can it survive?

The price is too high still by about a factor of two for them to take off. Don't know. Maybe some people will adopt earlier when we get our predictable oil superspikes.

Rush Limbaugh yelling greens and commies.

You forgot how it's also the fault of the Clintons.

Say, isn't Chelsea married to the speculator class - an investment banker?

The folks pushing their electric car to the utter extreme will be hammered from Rush Limbaugh to various other Wingnut media outlets.

We just know that this will happen so may as well point it out early. Some wingnut radio tool this morning was laughing hysterically while pointing out that heaters and air conditioners don't work well with electric cars.

Some wingnut radio tool this morning was laughing hysterically while pointing out that heaters and air conditioners don't work well with electric cars.

It is a shame that wingnut cannot seem to understand that he is laughing at his own terrible predicament. The USA imports 2/3's of its oil. Much of the oil is exported by dictators and other unsavory regimes. So is he happy that he is shackled into sending them his money? Is he happy to be addicted to a finite resource that will continue going up, up, up? The joke is on you, fool.

(I know . . . he doesn't worry about that because he has another delusion about just being able to get limitless supply of oil if only tree-huggers stopped blocking access to ANWR. Like any good delusion, you have to have layers of support to cover all the holes.)

dictators and other unsavory regimes. So is he happy that he is shackled into sending them his money? Is he happy to be addicted to a finite resource that will continue going up, up, up?

Yes, he's happy. It passes the smelltest. It makes liberals heads explode!

Well this is why I don't give much slack to the studies that come around showing 'Who is the happiest'.. happy is a very ambiguous measure. For all I know Charlie Manson is "happy".

Electric works especially well when the vehicle has a (pretty much) predetermined range, like delivery services etc.


Suddenly I have a hard time comprehending what a "non-predetermined range" would entail (besides a long trip). Would that be like kids out aimlessly cruising on a Friday night?

Only a handful of days a year do I need mega 100+ mile range for my job. My wife is the same way.

Of course, GM did the research on this already. The average person drives ~40 miles per day. Hence the design of the GM Volt. So why then are people so worried about range. Furthermore, the Volt can fuel up on gasoline.

Nissan Leaf well is cheaper than Volt. So you get the more limited product. People get that I hope. Trying to drive 50 miles a day -- well you are gonna cut it close. Bring an extension cord and plug it into your boss' power outlet ;-)

A lot of anti-EV rhetoric though forgets that most trips in a car are short in length.

Hoping the EV is less of a lightening rod. I shouldnt have made it so political. LOL. But it just is.

Seriously? Not sure to what extent and in what manner you might be pulling our legs.

Maybe there's a reason why battery-powered buses, delivery trucks, and passenger railcars had some limited uses during the first half of the 20th century, while battery-powered cars got, well, nowhere at all.

Unlike a city bus or streetcar plying the same route day after day, a family car might be driven to work, to the store, to Grandma's - or, nowadays, and on short notice depending on tournament outcomes, to randomly placed soccer meets ranging from a couple of miles away to the other side of a good-sized state (i.e. snark about Rhode Island doesn't count.) Something with a sharply limited range that takes forever to charge probably isn't suited to such use. (Naturally, one size doesn't fit all: for those affluent enough to afford an extra car solely for a specific commute - with never a long diversion to the store or wherever - it may be a different story.)


But the demographic data and mileage data say we drive 40 miles per day. That is not much.
Do the math 40 *360 = ~14,000 miles. I drive much less than that - a trivial amount ~2-3k. My wife is about 10,000 miles.
I agree EV is not perfect but 50-70 mile range is enough for many people BUT not ALL people.

No, the data do not say that "we" drive 40 miles a day. They do not even say that any car is driven 40 miles a day, though with somewhere around 125 million cars in the US, there are bound to be some.

They do say that 40 miles a day is the average - and that figure is apparently only just below the real-world range (as opposed to the hyped range) of the EVs being discussed. Just as, evidently, not all tsunamis are of average height, not all trips are of average length. Just as in the great white north, we need heavy winter clothing and light summer clothing because we enjoy nice, slightly chilly year-round-average temperatures on hardly any particular day at all, most folks will be needing a car that can take them further than their average daily miles on many days (and that might not be needed to take them anywhere at all on other days.)

So I'd still judge those EVs as being best suited for highly affluent folks who can afford to reserve a vehicle for a known, fixed commute, a use similar to the battery-operated tram or dairy-delivery truck plying the same route day after day. Other people may apply, but many if not most won't have the very considerable time and money they'd need in order to futz around with a car rental every time there's a minor change in their routine that adds some miles to their day.

In a technological and economic sense, of course, it's nice that we have affluent early adopters who can afford such things. But it's probably unwise to oversell others on them just yet, as that would beg for an actually-serious version of the backlash that we're already seeing.

My wife's brother launched into a tirade about "normal" versus "average" as he shoveled four feet of snow off his driveway. He was mad at the weather forecaster for confusing the difference between the two. As he said, "This is not an AVERAGE snowfall, but it is a NORMAL snowfall, and I wish the weather forecasters would realize that!" And then he went out and bought a snow blower since this was clearly not an average year. But very normal.

Since he recently retired as a safety expert at Dow Chemical and now teaches industrial safety courses at a community college, he is passionate on the subject of normal versus average.

So, when you are buying an EV, you want it to be capable of handling a normal trip. If it has lots of range to handle an average trip, but the specific trip is longer than average but still normal, it doesn't help if it runs out of electricity 1 mile from home.

Similarly, if you are designing nuclear reactors in Japan, you want to design them for a "normal" disaster, not an "average" disaster. Some accidents are much worse than average. There is an entire field built around this called "normal accident theory".

This is a bit of an arcane subject, but we had a nice chat about it.

The "field" you mention is probably the result of the book "Normal Accidents", which appeared after TMI. We were using it to study such events just before the Challenger accident. The author's thesis was that apparently avoidable accidents occur because of the human tendency to build mental models of reality which fail to include all possibilities. "Normal" and "average" have specific meanings in statistics, as seen in the Normal Distribution, but the usage here is not the same as the statistical meaning which does apply regarding weather. The weather is almost never normal, that is, average, but the statistics of weather have characteristics of a normal distribution, which is the basis of what scientists call "climate". Out on the street, the meaning of the terms "normal" and "significant" have evolved away from the strict mathematical meaning...

E. Swanson

Nicely stated. One of those pet peeves of mine.

If you read the book, Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies, you probably noticed that it focused to a large extent on nuclear power. Certainly, the two space shuttle disasters were "Normal Accidents", but the current problems with the Japanese reactors could also be considered, "Normal Accidents".

They were caused by design errors that, taken by themselves, were minor, but that in combination snowballed to a catastrophe when conditions exceeded the design specifications. That is basically the definition of a "Normal Accident".

If you were designing for a "normal" big tsunami rather than an "average" big tsunami, you would go to the geologists and ask them, "What is the biggest tsunami that has ever hit this coast during its geological history?" And, they would say, "OMYGOD! It was HUGE! It must have been 50 METRES high!" and then you would build your reactor 100 metres above sea level. Apparently, in this case they designed for a 100-year tsunami, and it was a 150-year tsunami.

The difference between fat-tail statistics and normal statistics is the key in the discussion.

Seasonal temperatures fit into Normal distributions, as do people's height where you won't find someone 10x as tall as an "average" person.

Earthquakes do not fit Normal distributions; they fit fat-tail distributions as you can easily get the rare earthquake that is 10x, 100x, 1000x the magnitude of an earthquake that one would consider "average".

Some people prefer the use of the term LogNormal to fat-tail.

fat-tail statistics and normal statistics

In his book, The Black Swan, the first point that Nassim Taleb tried to make is that there was no probability function (P(x)) regarding whether the black swan exists. It exists 100%. Just not in view of clueless Europeans. It was unknown to them that the black swan lived and prospered in Australia.

But the issue had nothing to do with probability and everything to do with simply not knowing.

Earthquakes develop in a place we cannot see, underground.

Hence we simply don't know.
Earthquakes are inevitable. That we do know.
They happen because of tectonic motion.
We are sometimes surprised by the power of earthquakes.
But in truth we shouldn't be because the power is that coming from the moving of whole continents.

Peak Oil is another thing that develops in a place we cannot see, underground.

Hence some people argue that we simply don't know and ignorance warrants a state of mindless bliss and a toss of responsibility over to the probabilistic dice.

The thing about Peak Oil is that we can see underground, using seismic, gravity, and magnetic surveys, and the cores and wireline logs from the millions of wells that have been drilled over the last century. These give you a pretty good picture of what is down there.

The problems arise when this data is secret, as in Saudi Arabia, or simply not available because the area has not been drilled, as in the high Arctic.

You can make assumptions about what is there, but in many cases people are making assumptions that are far too optimistic on the basis of insufficient information. There is a strong suspicion that the Saudis are deliberately being overoptimistic for their own political reasons, and that the US Geological Survey is being downright delusional, again probably for political reasons.

And then there are the promoters, who are often overoptimistic about whatever prospect they are selling to the point of fraud. Unfortunately, these guys often get quoted in the mainstream media, who accept their hyperbole as facts.

That is the difference between Black Swans and Gray Swans.

Gray Swans are the fat-tail statistics. Black Swans are the unknowable.

Oil prediction is all Gray Swan statistics, IMO.

I think the Rumsfelding fellar would call PO a "unwanting-to-know knownable".

If one applies simple science and math, then the inescapable conclusion is that oil is finite and that continued depletion of such a finite at ever increasing rates leads to basic exhaustion of that finite.

Of course, we can always play turtle games, like what if the turtle moves only halfway each time to the finish line. Does he ever completely finish the race?

Yeah, see Oct's comment just below - he has plenty of company, a lot of people just don't get it.

Have you any understanding of "normal distributions"?

Or a Gaussian distribution?

There is a mean and a standard deviation.

like 66% fit into the first standard deviation from the mean so that is a lot of peeps.

The 2nd standard deviation can drive a car an ICE. They are less than 16% of the market then.

Simple statistics say Normal is a defined quantity and yes it is covered well especially by the Volt which has plenty of backup gasoline. The Leaf is close enough.

Wow, I can hardly believe my eyes: let's please not wallow in foolish arrant nonsense. The gaussian distribution applies to large statistical ensembles. An individual car is simply not driven by a large ensemble, it is driven (mostly) by members of just one family. Nor is it normally driven on a large ensemble of trips on any one particular day.

Since a family is not a large statistical ensemble, so the gaussian distribution teaches us nothing whatsoever about the length distribution of their day-to-day trips, which is what it is. Nor do they get to add up a year's trips, divide by 365, and drive that number of miles uniformly each and every day!

Most folks often make trips that exceed the 50 mile or so safe range of, especially, the Leaf. Now if, when the battery ran flat, they could simply have Scotty beam in the car of their neighbor who didn't need to go anywhere that day, then the gaussian distribution, or "law of averages", might apply, since you could use Scotty to, in effect, aggregate and average the trips. But if Scotty could do that, no one would need to care about cars.

Please see RockyMtnGuy just above - the arrant misapplication of the gaussian distribution, or "law of averages", is a big deal with safety issues. It's also a big deal in finance; see Taleb.

Look Paul,

Your sarcasm is dripping forth. ;-) I guess you are mad or something about this. LOL

First you say very generalized things: the gaussian distribution teaches us nothing whatsoever

Long trips are low probability events. So give that a rest. Read the datasets instead of making them up. Everyone cannot be driving long and short trips with equal probability. That is not possible for everyone to be doing. Please re-read that statement until you understand it.

Now onto statistics.

I said that the aggregate curve is a predictable curve. Check out Web's data. Is it not a smooth curve?

Indeed each person is a little blimp underneath the aggregate curve and their personal driving will be a miniature version of that plot with variations due to personal constraints and patterns. However, you will not have a flat distributions for the average person as you are dreaming of. The short trips to the drug store are going to dominate far and away else Web's data would not exist. You are in a fantasy world, my friend, if you think you are any different than that. If everyone had a flat distance distribution then the curve in aggregate could and should not exist.

An engineer is not going to design Plan A for everyone. He is going to design the car for most people. Face it either you are or you are not most people. Country folks are not. Deep far-out burbs are not. They are not most people.

In the future, they can customize the batt pack size to conform to deeper burb folks if needed.

Now onto your nonsense about making bizarre statements about me not understanding stats. This is some kind of joke right. You honestly think that I do not understand the difference between many observations and singular events. Good grief. Maybe you feel better when you act as though I do not. I am not sure. My kindergarten son realizes this difference. Most everyone does.

But after observing a single individual for many months or a year, they will statistically possess a more or less a characteristic probability distribution of driving distances. I never said everyone has the same driving behavior exactly. You said I said that.

Do you honestly think the engineers and designers of EVs did not examine many 1000s of individual driving patterns? You are crazy man if you think they did not do that basic research. It is the most obvious thing to do. And they did it in LA, NY, OH, MO, FL etc etc. It is basic driving research data. The industry has tons of it.

So please give it a rest. You have no argument here. People are not wildly different with flat distributions of driving distances that deviate from the major curve--it is improbable and impossible to happen on a mass scale. Many millions are more or less are driving well within the sub 40 mile range day-in-day-out, putting on average ~10 k miles on their car. Caveats of country folks, ultra-burbs aside (a small portion of the US population).

The cars are not designed for EVERYONE. They do not need to be.

That is all I have to say. I think you are arguing with someone else or something. LOL

"The cars are not designed for EVERYONE. They do not need to be."

Well, this is the main point, isn't it.

It really doesn't matter what a curve says the average driver drives.

It matter what the average owner of an EV drives.

This is likely to be a much smaller distance.

Furthermore, since most US families have more than one car, probably one of these would not be needed to do longer-distance driving.

I own an EV (Zenn) and have never gotten 'stuck.'

But I am actually not a big EV promoter--I agree with Twilight that we need to move away from the car culture generally.

The biggest drawback for me, living in Minnesota, has been the reduction in winter performance. All cars, of course, show some reduction in efficiency in winter, but with EV's that can be substantial. Fortunately, I can walk and bus to most places I need to go to daily in the winter. But this could catch some people by surprise.

Doubtless, some kind of battery warmer would help.

I love it, man do you have a flair for this stuff.

I think that PS has romantic, libertarian notions of the rugged individualist where it is unpatriotic and maybe socialistic to speak of the "average" citizen.

So please give it a rest. You have no argument here. People are not wildly different with flat distributions of driving distances that deviate from the major curve--it is improbable and impossible to happen on a mass scale. Many millions are more or less are driving well within the sub 40 mile range day-in-day-out, putting on average ~10 k miles on their car. Caveats of country folks, ultra-burbs aside (a small portion of the US population).

Now, wait a minute. You are assuming people's driving habits follow a Gaussian curve, and I'm not sure that's true. Take the example of a driver that drives 10 miles to work every workday, and then on Saturday drives 100 miles to the beach, and on Sunday drives 100 miles to the next city to visit Grandma. An EV with a guaranteed 50 mile range like the Leaf is not going to work for them, even though their "average" trip is only 36 miles.

Or as an extreme example, take me. Most of my trips are under 3 miles. The only reason I don't walk is because I am typically bringing back a load of groceries, and the trail is so steep it has a series of long staircases on it. On the other hand, every so often, I drive out to the coast to visit my boat and/or go kayaking, and the coast is 1000 kilometres (600 miles) from here. So, while an EV might work for my "average" trip, it certainly wouldn't work for a lot of my "normal" trips.

For that matter, I couldn't even get a Nissan Leaf back home from the dealership - the distance exceeds the "average" range of the car. And a "normal" trip might be uphill into a gale-force headwind with the heater going full blast. That would be "normal" conditions around here. It is the Rocky Mountains, after all.

Extreme examples like me aside, a lot of people would find that some of their everyday trips would exceed the range of an EV.


Your situation is likely not one that the designers can accomodate. I totally agree. But a lot of people can get a ton of use out an well-priced EV for most of their 3-5 mile journeys each day which are going to take up about 90% of their trips.

I do go to several retreats a year. Each one is ~50-100 miles away. And I realize that the Leaf would be stretched to its limits for the latter 100 miler (no doubt), but for the 50 miler (who knows maybe I can pay the retreat lodge $10 and refill. IDK.

But by and large many many trips fit into the section of the curve near the low mileage trips, since they live in tight with the city.

My 2 cents.

Exceptions apply, but stats are useful in coming up with the design -- especially individual driving stats (which are no doubt critical to have from different parts of the country). Future designs would simply add a battery module for longer distance folks who need the extra 10-20 miles -- just like a bigger laptop battery.

Two cars per family, one is pure EV, one is hybrid or gasoline. Problem solved. EVs and hybrids will start filling a few niche markets and then expand from there, depending on local gas prices and the maturity of the EV drive train and associated technology. They won't be perfect for everybody from day one. Also, expect the mass market to take off first in Europe and Japan.

The thing is that prices in Europe and Japan are double what they are in the US, and people there still are not buying EV's. They are buying small, very fuel efficient vehicles which work for all their needs, not very expensive all-electric vehicles which only have a range of 70 miles or so.

And, keep in mind, the distances people have to drive in Europe and Japan are much shorter than people have to drive in the US.

And, keep in mind, the distances people have to drive in Europe and Japan are much shorter than people have to drive in the US.

But even in a small country like Holland many people drive 20-30 miles to work. And the back window defroster uses a lot of electricity.

I would quibble with what you call "serious backlash" in that there are far more grave consequences in life than having a car immobilized. LOL. My wife locked her keys in the car two days ago. In an ICE. OMG. Horror. My ICE had a dead something or rather - a minor electrical problem, which turned out to be a battery cable; I had it towed, not having the time to trace the issue while my parents were n town. Shock. Terror. LOL. Life is kind of that way. I did not swear at my wife or Honda. It is life.

So as they say, "Sh-t happens."

And there are lots of human problems out there.

I will reserve "serious" for things that matter in life, like oil shortages, financial meltdowns, or natural disasters. LOL

My wife locked her keys in the car two days ago. In an ICE. OMG. Horror. My ICE had a dead something or rather - a minor electrical problem, which turned out to be a battery cable; I had it towed,

That's why I keep a key in a magnetic case concealed under the car, and a set of jumper cables in the trunk.

These are infrequent events, but they can be counted on to occur every once in a while, and it's so much easier to reach under the car and get your key, or get someone in the parking lot to boost your car, than have to stand around waiting for a locksmith or a tow truck. I can remember one cold winter's day when I had to boost four of my neighbors before I finally got out of the back alley.

For 35 years I also have had an automobile association card that entitles me to free towing, but the only time I've ever used it was after I hit a deer on the highway and totaled the car. That's not an unlikely event either. At the wrecking yard, they parked it next to another car that had exactly the same smashed-in grille, shattered windshield, and deer blood and fur on the roof pillar. It must have been my deer's brother.

I walked home from the wreckers, got my backup vehicle, and was approximately 2 hours late for work that day. Life is so much easier when you are prepared for rare events.

The essential problem is that we have very little by way of shared experiences.

“non pre-determined trips”
What I mean (and I should be a bit more precise next time) is that UPS/FedEx etc know the length and characteristics of a trip with a great degree of certainty BEFORE the trip starts. My guess is that the difference between planned trip length and number of stops/starts and the actual trip length, stops and starts is not very large.
In a regular household one may intend to only go to work and back (a knowable distance) but all off a sudden one’s spouse calls and asks if you can pick up the kids/laundry/go to grandma before you come home. As the difference between expected and actual can be large you require a larger margin of safety in order not to get stranded.
Even if a UPS truck gets stranded they probably have a predetermined procedure on how to handle that whereas your typical household doesn’t.
Additionally in a household is is quite likely that on occasion one forgets to (fully) charge the car whereas at UPS/Fedex they probably have people with clipboards walking around and checking every truck not just to see if they are actually are plugged in and charging but probably keep track of other metrics as well and incorporate them in their routing model for the next run.


Watch a UPS/FedEx truck next time you see one. It will almost certainly either go straight or make a right turn, not a left turn.....
A lot of brainpower goes into routing them.

We didn't get UPS for a long time since we're in the boondocks. UPS packages used to be dropped off at the auto parts in town. You'd stop in and sort through them when you went to town for the mail.

However, UPS started to make home deliveries. One time a driver got here who was low on diesel, really, really low, because he had forgotten to fill up some place. Being a nice guy I got a 5 gallon can of diesel out and topped him off so he could get back to town. I saved his bacon and he was my fiend forever. And, no, I didn't charge him. Country people take care of others.


PS At over $4/gallon today I might have asked him for a little change.

Watch a UPS/FedEx truck next time you see one. It will almost certainly either go straight or make a right turn, not a left turn.....
A lot of brainpower goes into routing them.

If I'm not mistaken that's partly because their risk assessors have taken into account that it is more normal to have accidents when turning left as opposed to having them when turning right and you never know how long you will be sitting there with your engine idling while waiting for a chance to make a safe left turn... I have actually applied this to my own driving and while my experience is anecdotal I've found that I arrive at my destination less stressed if I don't have to make left hand turns into oncoming traffic. It also often seems that going around the block takes less time than waiting to turn left.

I've heard this recommendation made for older drivers. You lose your depth perception as you age, so older drivers have trouble misjudging whether they can safely turn in front of an oncoming car. (And I've seen some horrible examples of this, at an intersection near my home.)

With UPS, though, it's part of their fuel efficiency program. They have an elaborate system to conserve fuel, and that includes planning their routes so that the drivers don't have to make left turns.

older drivers have trouble misjudging whether they can safely turn in front of an oncoming car.

I dunno bout dat, I rarely have any trouble misjudging... it's the judging correctly that I seem to be getting less and less proficient at >;^)

With UPS, though, it's part of their fuel efficiency program.

Yes, I was aware of that and have found that I actually save time if I go around the block instead of waiting to make a left turn, counter intuitive though, that may be.


UPS is also a in different situation than most of us. They aren't just trying to get from point A to point B. They have packages all around the block to deliver, so turning right instead of left could be an even bigger savings for them. Since the "extra" ground is ground they may have to cover anyway.

Mythbusters had a go at this one, and they found a 3% decrease in fuel use with the right hand turn only driving.

BUt UPS, and presumably Fedex, take it very seriously, and it has had serious results for them.


Their software optimises the route, so there will still be certain times when the LH turn is better, but clearly, the majority of times, it is not.

Their software optimises the route, so there will still be certain times when the LH turn is better, but clearly, the majority of times, it is not.

Yes, I imagine that both FedEx and UPS have probably collected a lot of data on millions of intersections in cities all over the world and have been able to do some in depth analysis so they can best optimize their routes. At the end of the day, a 3% decrease in fuel use for them has to equate to a significant savings, especially as the costs of fuel continue to rise.

FM - What a Eureka moment for me. Now I understand why the oil patch uses the term "turning to the right" to describe drilling ahead. When drilling the pipe is rotated clockwise (to the right). Obviously this is much safer (bet BP was turning to the left when it went to hell out there). Initially I thought it had to do with the way the threads were cut on the drill pipe connections. They are right hand threads (thus turn right to tighten...left to undo).

It also explains why much of the oil patch is to the 'right" of the political fence: much safer. After all, we must stay safe (and to the right) for the children. Now I have proof that I'm always "right". EUREKA!!!

That's why England is in particular trouble.. and their package deliveries are ALWAYS later than ours!

Rock, you know that comment you made about a petroleum geologist with 36 years experience being sure about 'we' having oil for a long long time to come... well I forwarded that to a lot of people. I'm going send this one along as well, though it might come back to bite me >;^)

FM - I'm sure I irritate some folks with my silly jokes but the realty of the situation is so damn depressing I just need the release. Beside, poking that snake with a stick can be fun...as long as it doesn't bite you.

It's not clear at all what "shared experiences" have to do with this, except possibly that as a magical incantation the term may seem warm and fuzzy to some folks for whatever reason. The only apparent, relevant "shared experience" might be a considerable variability in the number of miles one needs to drive from one day to the next, ranging from, say, zero to 200 with a few outliers. It would take quite an incredible lot of forcible regimentation to cram everyone in close to the average every day.

You would think by my saying that we don't have a shared experience, it would occur to you that was an informed opinion on my part.

Actually, I have a complete breakdown of human travel times and travel distances in my book The Oil ConunDrum. This is the most incredible set of stats that you will find.
Example of probabilities of human travel in 1 week:

All future policy decisions will be made based on this kind of data, regardless of your opinion.

I think we must be talking past each other. I'm mystified about what this graph has to do with "not having shared experience". The very act of displaying it and stating that "future policy decisions will be made based on this kind of data" suggests precisely the opposite, that this graph represents a characteristic that functions very much as if it were a shared experience. So do we or don't we, which is it?

And actually, the graph seems to beg the same mistake RockyMtnGuy was citing. The distribution for large aggregates of people is not experienced by any one person. Which is one reason government policy makers are so often and so well-deservedly hated - they decide for a statistical model of a gaussian tailed average instead of for real world variability, so, among other things, they routinely fail (or refuse) to build in enough margin to handle fairly common outliers that are experienced by individual persons (and/or at actual particular schooks, plants, facilities, road intersections, etc. that for one reason or another are poorly modeled by the average.)


The battery pack can be modular to assist in other folks driving distance constraints.

It is not rocket science after all. These are 1st generation mass production models.

I think you are not focused on the real problems with EV -- the price.

You really don't get it do you?

I have spent the last 30 years commuting by bike to work and school. Only one year did I have to go more than 7 miles one way. I find golf cart transportation cool, enjoyed using my electric boat motor, and would use an electric bike if I had to. I hyperventilate over carbon-fiber gear of any kind, whether it be bikes, skis, and fishing rods. In my regular job I actually get paid to work on-and-off with hybrid and battery research.

So I don't think we have much by way of shared experience. Based on my profile, I would be a perfect fit for an electric car, if I had the least bit of interest in purchasing one.

You also seem to be very clueless by the data pertaining to human travel statistics that I referenced. That distribution is not gaussian by any stretch of the imagination, and it is actually quite devastating to any argument that you would like to make. I consider it quite contrary to conventional notions on how we perceive the extent of human travel.

You just haven't done the research necessary to keep up with me. LOL and mnftiu.

Paul you are speaking as if you know the statistical datasets for driving.
Is there a great big dataset that you have access to where people go 0.1 miles to 250 miles (which can only be call a road trip) at high frequency. The dataset mostly likely follows a normal distribution with a few rare events of long driving distance (mini trips) imho.

Those data are going to largely statistically fall onto a Gaussian distribution with a mean number of miles and a standard deviation.

When people need the 0.003 probability 3rd standard deviation then they are not going to use an EV at all.

But why again is this a major downfall? I use my wife's car for long trips and space. Everyone does the same I bet. You have a long hauler and a short tripper already at your own home. You could be different of course.

Now the designers know too what they are building towards -- the normal distribution. They are not designing for 5 standard deviations from the mean. This is just the beginning of the EV. Time will tell, but give it a rest.

There is no other more optimal way to design than examining the mean and std deviation of average driving behavior, when electric storage is limiting the system.

The engineering and design are quite smart.

It is actually a skewed distribution, with more short trips. Take a look at my comment right above.

So now integrate that curve to get the p-value for say 20, 40 and 80 km of driving.

What are beta, DR0, and Kappa ;-)

It seems to me that 40-50 miles covers the most probable driving distances to me.

Less than 1% of trips are more than 10 km. Very telling indeed. (although you would need to integrate for a more precise version)

The probability of traveling 1/2 of the battery range for an EV car is very low.

I am shocked in fact.

This shows all the more why the fuss is way out of place.

Car travel is like 2D diffusion then? LOL

It sure does, and it points out that what PS is saying is basically BS.

It is in fact very similar to diffusion, actually more like a disordered drift. All sorts of natural and man-made phenomena follow this distribution, that of Maximum Entropy constrained only by mean values.

Less than 1% of trips are more than 10 km.

LOL. And is this conclusion drawn by changing the subject from electric vehicles in the USA to a global trip distribution including people walking in the poorest countries of Africa? Or is it from counting stuff like walking next door in the city to deliver an errant letter, as "trips"? </snark> That sort of thing is of no relevance to selecting a vehicle for driving in North America.

Now, the term "probabilities of human travel in 1 week" doesn't say what's plotted in the graph. Could be probability of traveling a total distance in a week. In that case, we can read off p(200km) as 10-4 for a whole week, which in North America is simply absurd on its face. Must be something else (?) Could be a probability distribution of individual "trips" made during a week, with the total number of "trips" unstated, i.e. normalized away somehow and with a cutoff at an unstated lower bound (maybe the 1km one might infer from the axis labels, but it just doesn't say.) In that case it tells us nothing useful at all, because the number of "trips", as well as the length distribution, is needed to assess what EV range one would need to avoid being stranded more than, say, twice a year.

In this context, concluding that "less than 1% of trips are more than 10 km" is absurd on its face for another reason. The median commute in the US is about 16km. That alone makes it mathematically impossible for only 1% of "trips" to exceed 10km - unless, of course, one is using a definition of "trip" that is not relevant to selecting a car, such as including "trips" from the living room to the fridge, or those "trips" to one's next door neighbor in the city to drop off errant packages or letters.

And to top it off, the fundamental error remains. We don't need a doctoral thesis or a refereed paper to know that many of our neighbors frequently make round trips longer than the mere 80km or so that appears to be safe with, say, the Leaf. Maybe not as the daily commute, but very possibly as the weekly court-ordered trips to pick and drop off the 10yo at the "other mother's", or some of the trips to the soccer matches, or the monthly trips to Grandma's or Uncle John's. At any rate, too often to futz with an expensive, time-consuming rental every time - regardless of what the graph tells us about the mythical statistical-average composite person's ensemble of trips.

This gets to the issue that also causes no end of trouble with safety and finance, namely what's normal, as opposed to what's average. Just like here, the banksters made sweeping assumptions about gaussians, standard deviations, and power laws. As did, perhaps, some designers at Fukushima. Oops. Until the batteries improve or everyone melds into the mythical statistical composite, the pure-battery EVs will remain mainly specialty vehicles for affluent multi-car households, and not so much vehicles ready for general use. Not that there's anything wrong with that, we need our early adopters - the only thing wrong is the strident overselling.

I don't see you acknowledging the laws of entropy. Humans will fill up the state space according to simple statistical models. That's what you are seeing when you look at the data.

Over one week, the median excursion from home base is about 3 km. With the formula, you can plug in numbers to see what the probability is of traveling a certain distance.

I agree that we can solve the 'problem' by changing the subject to a multi-car household affluent enough to keep up a specialty, short-distance car. And given how expensive the current EVs are, a shrewd marketing department might well target such households.

Why does it have to be an all electric or a 5mpg hummer? How about a 1200cc direct injection 4 with variable valve timing, a 6spd manual, 4 seats and 2000lbs or less? Regarding running out of juice, you are clearly intentionally ignoring the fact that you cannot refill an electric very fast. Electric vehicles will have a future, but not as a one-for-one replacement of the present personal automobile. A 30mph electric utility vehicle used for a trip to town a couple of times a week would be very useful. For those in town, trains make much more sense.

Edit: To be clear, I think the personal automobile has no future, regardless of the fuel.

It is not I that would promote the 5 MPG Hummer, but there are enough propaganda sites out there that say the embodied energy of a EV is greater than a Hummer including all the fuel to run the Hummer.

So it is not a stretch at all. The effort is underway to slam the EV by saying it is worse than a Hummer. Go figure.

It is a massive scale campaign. LOL.


Look at the analysis of the pseudo-science above (I know it is for a Prius, but the argument is extended to EV all the time.)

Wait a minute - you brought up the Hummer. You intentionally used the most ridiculous extreme. The Leaf is an EV with a typical pathetic range, barely an advance from the 70's, and it has been hyped as some kind of major new technological marvel. It suffers from the same problems that have plagued EVs for the last hundred years. For those who simply cannot imagine life without the automobile it allows them to pretend that we'll be able to keep it up after oil, but that is nonsense - the personal automobile as we use them now is only possible when fueled with oil, and will fail when/if we try to scale up EVs. They will have their uses in other ways, but not as a replacement for the ICE automobile. In the meantime if the general size and performance of the Leaf is OK, then we could do that with an ICE drivetrain that gets very, very good mileage. And has a very long range. And can be refueled in minutes.

It is not an either/or proposition. EVs and gas cars can coexist. Each has strengths & weaknesses. Clearly, if you absolutely need long range and/or fast fill-up time then a gas car is the way to go. But if you just need a 'get me to work and back home every week day', the EV has advantages of much cheaper fuel costs, very quiet, no need to go to a fuel station, lower maintenance costs, etc. And if you want the advantages (and some disadvantages) of both, you can get the GM Volt.

Again, I fully agree that the EV is a tough sell against a gas car right now . . . but that will change as batteries get cheaper and oil becomes more expensive.

And the Leaf *is* a big advance from the 70's. Lead-acid batteries are super-heavy (lead!) and have very limited lifespans.

Lead acid batteries are also readily recycled and fairly inexpensive - and regardless the functional performance gain has not been much. Keep in mind that EV's have been around as long as the ICe automobile, they are not new.

Also, in order for significant replacement of ICE vehicles with EVs there will need to be a large investment in upgrading the grid. Money that would be better spent on rail.

Li+ion is an improved storage medium. Computers and cell phones do not run on Lead acid batteries, for example. Electric cars are not what they were in 1972. They are an improved product. Not sure what your benchmarks are on these comparisons.

There will be all kinds of cars and the electric grid will only suffer, because the industry failed to maintain it. It is not the electric car's fault. How can we blame the EV if no one wants one?

These are the contrary arguments I often hear. Some say the range issue. Some cite the cost. Some cite the grid strain. Some cite taxes for the roads.

But on the other hand the problems with ICE cars and trucks are never mentioned. For example, pollution (tail pipe particulates, aromatics, CO2). Trucks do much more damage to the roads than cars but do not pay appropriate taxes to fund road improvements. Large trucks and cars are straining the LIQUID FUELS infrastructure (liquid grid if you will). ICE cars have myriad repairs, liquids, maintenance, worn parts, etc. (not so cheap relative to an electric motor vehicle).

So yes there are goods and bads about each type of car. No doubt. But the issues are not presented so evenly always.

Lead-Acid were not readily recycled for many years . . . it was only hard work at getting legislation passed such that they are all recycled now. And they really NEEDed to be recycled since they are so toxic. Most automotive Li-Ions are largely non-toxic. But recycling facilities will come.

And the grid is not really a problem at all. Electric utilities WANT more EVs since they can handle millions of EVs as is since they largely charge at night. Just offer Time-of-Use metering and every EV owner will program their EVs to charge when the cheap power is available. Any changes needed for the grid can be done faster than the cars are manufactured & sold.
Here is a DoE report saying the grid can handle many millions of EVs right now:


I did not bring up Hummer. The crazy anti-EV groups do. Read the PDF file up there refuting these nuts. It is a joke, right.

I do think fuel efficiency is more important, and I think people that do a lot of 5-10 mile trips should go EV when the price drops. Then they use zero gasoline. Or ride your bike. I don't know.

I do not think Hummers are the future. I think all large cars are going bye-bye unless they are required for a business.

Why do the rapid, anti-EV crew think Hummers are superior in resource utilization per mile? I have no idea. They certainly are not. But their claims are out there.

I don't like Hummers, and the brand may very well disappear.

But large cars aren't going away, not as long as the rich can afford oil at any price.

When we are talking about people driving small cars or EVs, or bicycling, or walking, or taking the subway/bus/train, or heck just being stuck in place, we are talking about you, me, and 90%, maybe 95% of the American population.

The 5% to 10% will continue driving and flying and wondering what all the fuss is about. They will have control over the printing presses, which they will use to print money for themselves to buy oil, housing, farmland, essential goods, and, of course, workers.

And the people without oil will internalize the message that if they try harder they too can make megabucks, or somewhere out there there are commies or sheikhs or greens preventing them from drilling for more oil.

And so it will go, on and on, without end, deflation/depression/poverty for most while the moneyed classes morph into lords in a developing feudal system.

And so it should be: humans are too stupid to realize that adding billions of people to the planet every decade or so perhaps isn't the smartest move; they are too stupid to realize if that if money can be printed endlessly or digitally created, it is worthless.

That's the endgame of industrial civilization, fast approaching, though at a snail's pace from our limited perspective: stupidity, idiocracy, neufeudal aristocracy.

I agree. I am a serf.

The automakers may collapse again, leaving only luxuries in their place I guess. They need volume to survive.

At some point the economy teeters too far and that is bad for a lot of upper middle class. They need an economy after all. I think we are at that point really. One more 10-15% step down and a lot of folks are going down with the ship. You cannot own a business that no one can afford to use.

That is a problem. So the drain on the economy must be slower. Too quick of a collapse and the rich fall into chaos imho.

But gasp, the electric car is a distraction from our ultimate fate. True dat.

Atittudes must change. I saw a large late model Caddi maneuvering amongst the minivans in the full parking lot, Parksville BC, teusday.

I think you are talking about ca 1990 Ford Festiva. I had one ca 20 years ago and do not recall putting fuel in it. Was good enough to 85mph, though

Before electric revolution happens (or not..) we should switch to diesels, most new (US-only) designs should be stiff enough to withstand a modern diesel and all world-wide platforms have diesels in Europe anyway (e.g. Focus).

New generation Toyota Prius finally beat 2001 VW Golf 1.9TDi in fuel economy. I'd choose Fahrvergnugen over low rolling resistance tires. Mercedes put a new modern eco-something diesel in old 190 body and got forty-something mpg and 6 seconds 0-60. The temporary asnswer is common rail 4 cylinder diesel.

You are absolutely correct in that the US *should* adopt diesel, but miss the reason why it hasn't. That is because the US carmakers are way behind in that game - changing the rules to allow all the Euro/Japanese diesels in, will, well, allow all these Euro and Japanese cars in!

Even the Euro and Japanese owned factories in the US won't be building these vehicles, they'll all be fully imported.

Hiding behind the diesel emissions rules is hurting the US big time. It means we have people driving diesel F-350's and not diesel Fiesta. not only that, there would be more of a market for biodiesel (or even straight vegetable oil) if there were more diesels on the road. This, of course, does not help either the oil co's or corn farmers, so will never get adopted.

personally, it ticks me off because we are missing out on what is probably the best road going diesel engine ever made - the Subaru boxer diesel. I have read accounts from people in UK, Sweden, and Australia who are trading their VW's for these as fast as they can. The diesel Outback/Forester/Impreza would be perfect for Canada, but if they can't sell it in the US, they won;t bring it here. *sigh*

Ford and GM can bring diesels without much trouble, as they already have cars running on the same platforms. The 50% rules forces all makers to have major factories in North America: The cars are assembled and major components are made here, electronics and some fancy stuff gets imported. Most japanese cars on the road are built in North America. So the playing field would be more or less level.

Well, there will be a business decision to be made there, whether to re-tool a Cdn/American factory to make diesel cars, or just bring them in from another factory that already is. Certainly the engines themselves will be imported, but I think the cars would be too, at least, to start with. That would seem to be a lower risk strategy than re-tooling here from the start.

In any case, it is not going to happen for some time, if ever.

Written by CuriousCanuck:
Before electric revolution happens (or not..) we should switch to diesels....

Since 1 barrel of crude oil can not be converted into 1 barrel of diesel, there would not be enough crude oil to make the diesel. The conversion would place greater upward pressure on the price of diesel while gasoline would become cheap creating an economic disincentive to convert. The retail price of diesel #2 in the U.S. became higher than gasoline in 2004 coincident with world crude oil production entering a plateau. Maybe diesel is not as plentiful as gasoline, and further increasing the demand for it would be a bad idea. In the graph diesel is more expensive than gasoline when the curves are above 1.00.

Bingo - you cannot make just diesel, and since the rest of the world runs on diesel the US gets the extra gasoline they make at a discount. Also, my understanding is that they make low sulfur diesel using hydrogen derived from NG, so I wonder how much total FF a diesel uses per mile compared to gasoline. Finally, the new direct injection gasoline engines are a major improvement.

Faulty logic. You completely missed his point that diesel prices overtook gas prices in 2004. Net imports of refined products to the USA have dropped to nearly zero according to EIA.

Bingo - you cannot make just diesel, and since the rest of the world runs on diesel the US gets the extra gasoline they make at a discount.

I don;t think the US gets it at a discount any more, if they get it at all (as WHT pointed out) The rest of the world (read China +india) has fast rising consumption of ALL oil products, there is no cheap gasoline to export.

While it is true that you can't convert a barrel of oil to a barrel of diesel, you can tweak the refining to favour diesel over gasoline. Just how much, I am not sure - I expect Rocky Mtn Guy has an answer on that one.

Also, the "cost" needs to be looked at in terms of energy content - a gallon of diesel has 13% more energy than a gallon of gasoline.
More importantly, you get 25-35% more work out of each GJ of diesel than of gasoline, as the engines are more efficient.

And, diesel engines are the original, and still best, flex fuel engine there is. You can run them on diesel, vegetable oil, (or animal oil!), woodgas,coal gas, propane, butane, methane (CNG/LNG), methanol, ethanol and dimethyl ether (DME). Use the diesel/vegetable oil/biodiesel for pilot injection, and then you can co-fuel using any or all of the above, in any proportion, at any time, and get your 40% thermal efficiency.

And, of course, diesel engines typically have operating lives 2-5x gasoline ones.

Some of these fuels can be used in gasoline engines of course, but you get 25-35% less work out of them.

So, which engine seems a better bet for a future where oil is less plentiful, more expensive, and we are forced to turn to a variety of alternate fuels?

Not sure if anyone is interested, but ... I live in Sweden, have a nice diesel Citroën C3, and have a 28 mile (45 kilometer) one-way commute. If I go slow, 43 mph (70 km/h), I get around 60 MPG (3.8 litres per 100 kilometers). However, I generally follow the speed limit, 56 or 68 mph (90/110 km/h), so I average 47 MPG (5 litres per 100 kilometers). I pay around 14 SEK/litre for the diesel, which is about $8.40/gallon.


As long as those stations stay in business..

I want to know my town has at least a handful of vehicles that can move under other power, just for resiliency sake.

I always thought that 90kmh (56Mph) was the optimum speed for maxumum efficiency in petrol cars, faster and wind resistance increased consumption and slower the extra time the engine had to run and generate heat reduced the ultimate mpg! Maybe diesels are different.
Is there a list of optimum speeds for maximum efficiency anywhere.

I always thought that 90kmh (56Mph) was the optimum speed for maxumum efficiency in petrol cars, faster and wind resistance increased consumption and slower the extra time the engine had to run and generate heat reduced the ultimate mpg! Maybe diesels are different.

It depends very much on the car -some have been optimised for fuel economy - mostly Japanese and European cars, and others - mostly American- have not - they will have a speed where they are "least inefficient"

here are some curves from http://www.hypermileclub.com/How_To_Hypermile.html:

Clearly quite some differences there. Even though these are constant speed ratings, you can see the Geo and the Legacy are optimised for city speeds, and the Cutlass for hwy. Bearing in mind these are constant speed ratings you would expect a heavy car like the Cutlass to do even worse in stop-start city driving. Given that the legacy is a bigger and more powerful car than the Geo, I am quite surprised how close the fuel economy curves are.

Here is one for a more modern car, the 2007 toyota Yaris;

You can see a clear "inefficiency curve" up to 30mph, and then rolling and air resistance takes over.

The Prius would be at zero up to a certain speed, as it drives on the battery only, but beyond that, for constant speed, the hybrid system is just dead weight.

You can imagine a similar curve for a Porsche would have its optimum at 60+mph, as the high performance engine is quite inefficient at low revs for city driving. here is the engine efficiency curve for a Porsche 911 - lines are the engine efficiency map, and the shaded area is where iot operates in a city driving test cycle - you can see it never gets close to an efficient operating point as it is way overpowered for city driving!

You can also see clearly the area where regen braking would be working on a hybrid (which Porsche is about to release!)

Finally, an interesting graph showing mileage degradation with car age;

The average for the first 5 years is 103% of rated, and for 10-15 is 95%. using the DOT mileages, a 25mog car would average 25.75 for its first 100k miles, using 3883 gal, and 23.75mpg for the 2nd 100k, using 4210gal, or 327gal more for the same mileage, an 8.4% increase in fuel consumption.

I think the Yaris type graph should be included on the window sticker for with the fuel economy ratings for all new cars!

No the Prius would not be at zero at any speed. Even if you were only to drive 10mph, some of the time the ICE would be running, to recharge the battery, and also to keep the catalytic converter warm. It too would have a most efficient speed. I don't know where it is, but it is probably somewhere between 20-35.

Yes, my experience was that peak efficiency was at about 25-30 mph.


And why does it have to be a four cylinder engine. Three cylinder engines are more efficient (for the same engine size) and are smoother in operation, with much less vibration. I'd be happy with a 1992 Geo Metro in like new condition. I could probably get thirty mpg even for short trips, and probably 50 to 60 mpg on longer trips.

And why does it have to be a four cylinder engine. Three cylinder engines are more efficient (for the same engine size) and are smoother in operation, with much less vibration.

Three cylinder engines are smoother IF they have a balancing shaft. Otherwise they suffer from a primary dynamic imbalance, an end-to-end rocking motion. This is because two pistons are always moving up while one moves down, or vice-versa. OTOH, four cylinder engines are in primary balance (two pistons are always moving up while the other two are moving down).

However, four cylinder engines suffer from a secondary dynamic imbalance that results from the fact that the two pistons on the top half of the crankshaft rotation move faster than the two pistons on the bottom half, and as a result the engine bounces up and down at twice crankshaft speed.

The vibration of the four cylinder engine is much less serious than that of the three cylinder engine, so manufacturers usually just put in softer engine mounts rather than balancing shafts to compensate.

If they decide to compensate for it, though, it takes two balancing shafts rotating in opposite directions at twice crankshaft speed to eliminate the four cylinder vibration, whereas it only takes one balancing shaft rotating at crankshaft speed to eliminate the three cylinder vibration.

Or you could just use flat four boxer configuration, like Subaru does with their new diesel.

The car shown here does not come with the co-pilot - you have to supply that yourself:


Check out the Triumph Rocket III. This puppy has (3) pistons, they say, as big as a Viper car's. It will outperform most "crotch-rocket" motorcycles in the 1/4 mile. And do it smoothly, too.

Four cylinder engines also have a strong rotational vibration because all four pistons stop at the same time, every 180 degrees of crankshaft rotation. For a three cylinder engine, only one piston stops at a time, every 60 degrees of rotation.

Four cylinder engines also have a strong rotational vibration because all four pistons stop at the same time, every 180 degrees of crankshaft rotation. For a three cylinder engine, only one piston stops at a time, every 60 degrees of rotation.

Well, that's not really an improvement. The four-cylinder has a torsional vibration because all four cylinders stop at the same time, but the three-cylinder one also has one because there is a distinct gap between power strokes.

The six cylinder engine is much better because the power strokes partially overlap, in addition to the fact that the inline six (e.g. BMW) and flat six (e.g. Porsche) are in perfect primary and secondary dynamic balance. The V8 has fully overlapping power strokes and (with crossplane crankshaft) is also in primary and secondary balance.

These days carmakers prefer the V6 for larger engines because, although it has secondary vibrations, it is about the most compact engine design. They can reduce the vibrations to a level acceptable to anybody except BMW and Porsche buyers, who will never accept anything less than turbine-like smoothness at ridiculously high rpms.

Americans have always preferred V8's, but even they can't afford the fuel costs any more.
The V12 is the ideal because it has triple overlap (at any given time, one piston is starting its power stroke, one is in the middle, and one is ending its power stroke) and again is in perfect dynamic balance. The V12 was the preferred configuration for WW2 fighters because with 2000 hp in a light airframe, any vibration would have shaken the airplane apart. It's an awfully expensive engine to build in small sizes, though, and its fuel economy is worse than the V8.

The V12 was the preferred configuration for WW2 fighters because with 2000 hp in a light airframe, any vibration would have shaken the airplane apart. It's an awfully expensive engine to build in small sizes, though

Yes, but in small sizes it is a thing to behold;


and the worlds smallest (runs on CO2);


I remember a bumper sticker from 3o years ago: I gave up hope, now I feel much better.

There IS something to that!

they are risking severe backlash once buyers realize that they have paid 40K for a car that goes 50 miles, instead of 100.

This confirms my worst suspicions of overestimating range and it will only get worse with age of batteries and number of charges.

Talk about taken to the cleaners.

Meh. At this stage, most of the buyers are early-adopters that know the risks & downsides. They probably know more about the cars than the salesmen do. They are pioneers that are helping fund the R & D for the next generation of EVs that you may buy into, so be thankful for them.

And yes, the range will reduce over time but it shouldn't be too bad. The battery chemistries they are selecting and generally those that can do 1000s of cycles with only moderate loss of capacity. The batteries are warrantied and if the range drops significantly, they can replace them.

I suspect that in 5 to 10 years when the batteries start showing their age, the cost to replace them will have dropped a bit. (Hopefully prices will drop a lot but I conservatively estimate only relatively modest price decreases.) But the replacement batteries will certainly be better quality since battery chemistry is still evolving.

LOL. This is what the Wingnut anti-electric car movement is made of. These people are freaking insanely against it:

bs detector
Its just another "hippie" car. It makes you feel good but doesnt actually accomplish anything.

1 vote
#11.4 - Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:44 PM EDT
A car made for the tree huggers. Maybe they should carry a windmill and a small tripod to get back on the road again.

Or they could deploy folding solar panels and wait for the sun to come out. LOL

#11.5 - Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:14 PM EDT

On that note, one time I was driving across Utah and I swear, if I had a sail on my car...

You mean like this?


German Team Sets Record, Crossing Australia in a Wind-Powered Car
By Clay Dillow Posted 02.18.2011 at 11:00 am

Cruising along in a car of their own design--part kite surfer, part wind power turbine, part EV--a German duo has driven across the vast majority of southern Australia on about $15 worth of electricity. According to their own account they’ve set several records for their particular class of vehicle in doing so, and we’re inclined to believe them if only for the fact that we’ve never seen anything else quite like the “Wind Explorer.”

Like many eco-minded innovators before them, Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer wanted to create an emissions-free source of personal transit, one free of both direct carbon emissions and secondary emissions from consuming fossil-fuel derived electricity. So they built the Wind Explorer, a 441-pound auto that transports its own wind turbine--a 20-foot bamboo mast that can be fitted with a 9-foot-diameter rotor--for charging the 8 kWh batteries during the night.

They are pioneers that are helping fund the R & D for the next generation of EVs that you may buy into, so be thankful for them.

Nah, I feel sorry for them. People should expect more for 40k, much more.

Please stop repeating their falsehood! The Leaf is only $32.5K. (effectively $25K after the tax-credit)

They know what they signed up for. And who knows . . . maybe some black swan superspike will hit oil (KSA revolution, Iraq civil war, etc.) and they will be feeling sorry for you.

They know what they signed up for. And who knows . . . maybe some black swan superspike will hit oil (KSA revolution, Iraq civil war, etc.) and they will be feeling sorry for you.

No, that's the point they didn't know what they were signing up for because they are getting much less mileage than the manuf. suggested. Are you even following the thread? They will be feeling sorry for me? Ha, that's a laugh. I get 300 miles on a fill up and out where we live I'd be stranded if it only got 50 miles. Usually go through 3/4 of a tank when taking trips to the SF Bay Area on business. Let's do some simple math. .75 x 300 = 225 miles. Goodbye Nissan Leafs at the side of the road - see ya!

People may well feel entitled to expect that.. but today, they also all expect there to be operating Gas Stations nearby. Good luck with that.

Frankly, the essentials to make an E-car go are very simple, and there should be cheaper options that will be showing up 'when it's important enough'. These early models will simply cost more, like Early PC's, Early Calculators, Early TVs.. Even if there have been EV's for a long time, they're now trying to restart from another stall-out, against a still deeply entrenched competition.

The Pedal/Electric Velo-Bike is my preference, which will be easier to keep charged with a Cheap Wind or Solar source, and can still roll along when depleted..

The electric car requires economic growth and BAU to make sense. As the next step down bites, I can't see migrating populations in search of work driving electric cars.
Your last sentence seems about right to me.

I think crashing will be localized and often individual. There will be those driving V12s on gas and others driving EVs and high-mileage CNG buggies while others starve. While a hard crash may knock down every economy, the range of relative individual wealth will likely expand -- there will still be the rich, only fewer and probably relatively richer, among a great many poorer.

Rarely is catastrophe an equal-opportunity destroyer, but I suppose we can hope.

Surely most buyers are not idiots who believe optimal claims without even looking at a review or learning a bit themselves? After all, every gas car I've had has an optimistic view of mileage as well, and the "miles to empty" is usually quite optimistic especially with AC and hard driving.

But to be fair, Nissan should have said "up to 100, with 50 miles expected" or such. I have similar complaints with LED bulb vendors that say "60W replacement" when most are suitable for 25W replacement, or maybe 40W in a few applications.

Maybe some perspective would be good. In the end, the EV owners will have the last laugh. And the end is not THAT far away. I don't own one, yet.

As a soon-to-be Leaf owner (about a month until delivery) and one who frequents mynissanleaf.com, let me say that this story is a bunch of crap. Virtually all buyers know the limitations of the car. A couple have gotten into trouble going by the remaining range estimate (which apparently isn't that good) instead of watching how many bars of charge they have left. We are going into the purchase with eyes wide open.

I plan to commute about 45 miles per day at no more than 55 MPH, largely on freeway. I should be able to charge to just 80% each night, which is supposed to be a little better for long battery life. Even as the range drops over 8-10 years, it will still be more than adequate for my commute. I am keeping my ICE car for a few long trips per year with a lot of luggage. Over 10 years, I will save about $8,000 in gasoline costs (at $4.00 per gallon) compared to my current 28 MPG car. The purchase is a hedge against oil prices going up and cuts down on feeding petrodollars to middle east regimes. Helping out the EV movement is a side benefit.

Over 10 years, you will end up saving much more since there is no way that the average price of gasoline will only be $4/gallon. The way things are going these days, you'll be lucky if it is only $4/gallon by the time you get your Leaf.

The reason I found the Leaf article interesting is because it was quoting actual Leaf owners (not Rush Limbaugh, Oct).

The best little car I ever had was a 1993 Geo Metro. Three cylinder engine, about 1600 pounds. 52 mpg highway, around 430 miles on an 8 gallon tank of gas. But when my daughter was born, I discovered that the car seat literally could not be safely installed in the back seat, because the back seat was so tiny. So I sadly parted with it. How I wish I had it now- my daughter is big enough to safely sit in the back seat :D

My current car ain't bad though. A 99 Taurus wagon, gets 32mpg highway, surprising for such a big old six cylinder. I drive it only about 50 miles a month (yes, month) so the math works out for us.

Do still miss the Geo, though...

95 Ford Escort, with 5-speed stick. Hand crank windows. 10 gallon tank. 35 miles per gallon. I might get another one.

I agree high gas mileage is good, but why are elements out there coming down so hard on bleeding-edge electric cars.

They are not really hurting anyone but perhaps oil executives I guess. I don't know why they care. Electrics now lower the price of gasoline really.

Look I do not have the money myself. I ride my bike.

But in general the loudest anti-electric car voices are very political sects who are very actively seeking to undermine the EV guys.

I am not blaming you. Thanks for posting. I was just perhaps stating the obvious.

Why would "oil executives" be worried about electric cars?
Deep water drilling, arctic exploration, tar sands, fracking shale even coal to liquids, every barrel of oil produced is being sold. Electric cars are assisting the process not hindering it.

Bandits - I are an oil executive and fully support your position. I'm not at all concerned about e-cars or any other alt. The reality of PO makes those aspect irrelevant to my doing business. Not saying these are unnecessary developments but just that their slow entry into the market won't have a noticeable effect on the price of oil compared to all the other factors. Same goes for rail, nuclear plants, etc. Good ideas but just not enough time to have a meaningful impact in the next 10 to 20 years IMHO. Beyond that time frame maybe...depends on whether the system can absorb the expense at the same time PO begins to really hammer it. Again, to me it's not a question of needing alt development but rather if it can happen fast enough to offset the worst aspects of PO. I serious doubt they can.


I am not hammering Oil Execs (like you) lol. I was just wondering which group of peeps would be so darn angry at honest attempts to do something about peak energy.

I cannot really understand the rhetoric. Maybe it is about Obama. But what should he be doing instead? He has few options. He could open ANWR, but still the rhetoric would be square against him regarding any development of electric cars.

I agree also that they cannot make dent in Peak Oil, but alas they could serve an important role in the economy, as we all transition from driving to hitchhiking with rich people who own electric cars;-)


BTW, what are you oil speculators doing to oil today? It is moving straight upward right now. Lay off the gas on Oil prices would ya!

Oct - If you can't handle the rhetoric you need to find a cave to hide in. LOL. As bad as the BS is from so many of the corners I can't imagine it won't get much worse down the road. To make a very broad statement it seems so many are pushed to over promise what can really be expected. From the "drill, baby, drill" fools to folks who think $40,000 ev vehicles will allow us to free ourselves of imported oil. Even the well thought out and supported logic of rail expansion by Allan from Nawlins suffers from the reality of what the public can afford/support.

Wait till gasoline hits $5/gallon or unemployment bumps up another couple of %. The absurd rhetoric will probably be completely unbearable. And equally unavoidable.

As far as speculators we're esentially passive observers. We get carried up or down as the market demands. If anything high oil prices are hampering us more than helping. We don't have much oil to sell (lots of NG we're selling at somewhat low prices). But the high oil prices are running up drillling costs and making it difficult to get services. The Eagle Ford is turning into a Black Hole sucking in services from everywhere. Last week I needed a load of cement. Instead of getting a truck from 30 miles away I had to have one come 250 miles from La. I've needed a frac truck since last Oct to improve one of my completions. Halliburton won't even put me on a wait list...we don't represent much of a market share to them.

From the "drill, baby, drill" fools to folks who think $40,000 ev vehicles will allow us to free ourselves of imported oil.

Yeah, $40K EVs are not going to save us. But if they can get the price down below $30K, that will be pretty big. The average car sold in the US is around $29K so the average buyer can afford one. Granted, it will not be at all equal to the $29K car they are buying but it will be a hell of a lot cheaper to drive than a gas car when gas hits $5/gallon. An EV below $30K should be do-able . . . they are pretty close already.

(And yes, we still really need more public transport but we still are stuck with the current suburbia layout.)

Anybody who can afford a brand-new truck every few years can afford an EV once a decade. As long as jobs stick around, there will cars for commuters and suburbanites, IMHO.

As for jobs, that's another question entirely. Each cut-back on eating out, buying clothes and toys, reducing travel, and wasting less will cost some jobs. A healthy economy would expand in other directions, but with high oil and probably inflation, that will be very difficult. I fully expect a dichotomy to develop, where there is world much like ours today for those with decent jobs, and another for those struggling to survive on odd-jobs and a subsistence dole. The question will be how quickly people move from world A to world B.

We have such worlds today. Homeless people living out of dumpsters and food kitchens have a distant view of those walking in the front door of those same neighborhoods and establishments to work, reside, dine, and shop. Welfare life is a multi-decadal and multi-generational life for some, with its own rules and existence. Gang life and immigrant life has separation as well, as does military and prison life. We all know that superstars, athletes, and the wealthy have a different world as well.

Of course all of these worlds overlap -- such is the nature of complexity. It is unrealistic to expect that all of this will crash into one homogeneous world where all are poor and equal. Like Rock and Rocky say, "they" won't have an issue, but the problem is that most of "us" won't be "them".

spec- all true but my pessimism isn't based on whether the ev's will benefit us individually but can they be integrated fast enough to offset PO. Even under the most optimistic models I don't think a decline in demand from ev expansion will offset the decline in global oil production. I think the same can be said for most if not all the alts. The ev/solar/wind owner will be thrilled as we go down the PO path but it won't be of much help to the supply side which will be slipping even faster than the alts can reduce demand. Just my WAG, of course.

Rock, just out of curiosity, given the recent US military study on peak oil, which I think concluded something like 10 or 15 million barrels a day shortfall by 2015 (that's getting close), what do you actually expect to see the shortfall at? and when?

In other words, once the production plateau begins to drop, how fast do you think it will drop given current states of advanced extraction already being used pretty much everywhere on most fields?

Do you have a feel for this?

I tend to agree re your comments re EVs etc, but seems like they might as well give it a shot. I see jitneys in our future, 2nd world style, cheap, great mileage. Can't remember how many people they crammed in those expanded toyota pickup beds, 4 cylinder, must have been about 20 I think max, that's pretty good per person mileage.

h2 - I don't try to predict volumes or timing as a rule. The track record of my stock market investments proves my inabilities in such matters. But qualitatively I don't see us hitting a cliff as the plateau runs it's course. That just hasn't been the nature of oil/NG decline since the beginning of the industry. Much of US current production comes from decades old field. This is due to the efforts of small independents and their sweat equity efforts. This might not be quit the same with the global curve to the same extent. I don't expect NOC's to be as good keeping marginal fields producing. Consider the fractured shale plays that are so hot today: they have a drastic decline rate in the initial few years. But down the road production shows a swing to very low decline rates. Granted at this point the absolute individual well volumes are low but that's from a lot of wells. Such wells are the basis of our current apparent plateau IMHO. I see a slow grind down with continued small peaks/troughs along the way. I think the giant tanker ship turning is a good analogy: It can't turn very quickly and thus it's course can only be modified so much in any direction. A basic study in momentum. A moderating force will have to be much larger than the static force. I see no physical reality of oil/NG extraction that has that level of impact. OTOH, political/military forces can reach that level IMHO.

That may be true for onshore oil fields. But offshore is another animal. When the daily utput drops below X barrels, they make less money than the operation costs, and the rig is moved to another location. No fat tails there... If they start going out of production all at once we get a steep drop.

Have any studies been made on long term offshore production, taking this in account?

spec- all true but my pessimism isn't based on whether the ev's will benefit us individually but can they be integrated fast enough to offset PO. Even under the most optimistic models I don't think a decline in demand from ev expansion will offset the decline in global oil production.

Oh, I fully agree that they won't offset the supply decline . . . that is exactly why EVs will eventually start selling. They won't sell more than token quantities right now to environmentalists, gadget-freaks, peak-oilers, etc. But as the oil supply growth slows (and declines?) and demand over-takes supply then the price will go up to ratio out the oil to the highest bidders. Thus, gas prices will go up. And with high gas prices, EVs will suddenly start looking very attractive with their extremely low fuel costs.

So yeah . . . EVs are no cure for the pains of peak oil. But when peak oil hits hard, EVs will be a way to make the suffering a little less painful. Instead of whining about $6/gallon gasoline, people will whine about their small short-range EVs. But it will be much better than walking.

And who knows . . . maybe they will provide a silver-lining. Maybe they will actually become a growth business that provides some economy recovery. (Hope springs eternal!)

(And as you know . . . every drop of oil you extract will still be bought . . . and at higher prices too.)

European gas prices are already $8/gallon and we don't see any rush to hybrids or EVs.

Interesting point.

I suspect Americans are more vulnerable to oil prices, because we drive a lot more.

But long distance driving is precisely what EVs aren't good for. At least so far.

I don't drive much, and I bought a Corolla. Just wasn't worth the extra expense of a Prius, given how little I drive. Let alone an EV.

No, the Europeans prefer to buy diesels. They have the advantage of better fuel economy than the gasoline cars, without the range problems of the EVs.

spec - I think that's where a good bit of the hostile debate starts. Folks don't make the distinction regarding how ev's can help on the individual level vs. the system level. If I lived in town and had only occasional long haul trips I would probably be looking seriously at an ev. But am I worried about ev's crashing the oil market in the next 10-15 years? Obviously not. And that's where folks start arguing because they typically don't clarify who an ev would help. Someone who makes frequent innercity trips would see great benefits. The hundreds of US drivers of ICE's....no help whats so ever. Thus dependening on the context an ev's are absolutely of no value or are of great value. Folks are constantly talking about ev's but many aren't listening close enough IMHO.

Saying that the average buyer pays 29 K does not mean that the average buyer can afford 29K.

Figure that he is a teacher in Florida, paid about 3600/mo. House payment is 1200 for a $150K home, piti. A 29K auto, with a 10K trade runs about 500/mo payment, plus gas, oil and maint (maint is almost as important to EVs as no gas). Total for one vehicle about $900, gomi. Total taxes about $500, Food is going up, so figure our teach with 1.7 kids spends $740. Then there are medical expenses, clothing, etc. Now he takes a hit from the local Republicans, who think he is overpaid (after all, their taxes could be reduced by cutting back on education costs) and cut his pay to $3K/mo. Bottom line, this guy cannot afford $29K for an automobile. His family, living in suburbia, needs 2 cars! He is lucky to afford 2 used beaters, with minimum liability only insurance.

The PTB will not allow true mass transit. It would have to be subsidized, which means a tax increase. Anathma to the super rich! What they want is cut public school funding, and send everyone vouchers to go to the private school of their choice. That way their private religious schools would be tax supported, and poor people would have no schools available. Sorry, I guess reading and writing aren't that important.

Our corporate overlords are in the process of actively privatizing areas of the commons that should not be owned by corporations! They are spinning it like mad on Faux News, and on all the other MSM outlets as well, since they own them already. Meanwhile we are all mushrooms, kept in the dark. And, watch what happens to anyone who lets his head poke up.


That's why used cars are big sellers. For some old and retired people, they like their electric golf carts :)

Those golf carts are great. Here in Texas they all have a roof, and you can get a nice enclosure - canvass with plastic windows. It gets cold during a two mile trip to market, but with two in it it is cozy and fun.

But then, I am old and retired.


Saying that the average buyer pays 29 K does not mean that the average buyer can afford 29K.

Figure that he is a teacher in Florida, paid about 3600/mo. House payment is 1200 for a $150K home, piti. A 29K auto, with a 10K trade runs about 500/mo payment, plus gas, oil and maint (maint is almost as important to EVs as no gas). Total for one vehicle about $900, gomi.

Well . . . as you point out, a $29K gas car is actually much more expensive than a $29K electric car due to the gas, oil, and maintenance costs.

$29K will be more than many people will want to pay. But it can be financed as long as you are lucky enough to still have decent credit. And since you pay much less for gas, oil, and maintenance; you can afford to pay a little more for the EV.

If oil prices shoot up, I think the financing of EVs may become a big business.

It's why we are "retiring" to a part of the country (Gold Coast, Australia) where you can live absolutely and wonderfully without a car. Plus - I should mention - the beach is perfect, and it's about 25C all year round (give or take 5C). Why would you go anywhere else?

but why are elements out there coming down so hard on bleeding-edge electric cars.

For the same reason the pro EV folks are pushing them so hard - because they are stuck on the power of the whole automobile paradigm. All that power under the control of your foot is addictive, as is the perceived freedom to go where you want at any time, and the idea of losing that makes people afraid. Some are unwilling to compromise at all and act with typical anger and derision, and some hope to keep it going by switching fuels.

My personal objection to the whole EV marketing push is that it is selling people a fantasy and playing on their fears and desires, thus preventing more useful efforts like building up our light rail system.

This will be my last comment for some time as I'll be going back into lurker mode and trying to spend much less time reading, and more time doing.

My personal objection to the whole EV marketing push is that it is selling people a fantasy and playing on their fears and desires, thus preventing more useful efforts like building up our light rail system.

This will be my last comment for some time as I'll be going back into lurker mode and trying to spend much less time reading, and more time doing.

If that is the caliber of logic that will go into pushing for light rail, you will need lots of luck to get anywhere.

If that is the caliber of logic that will go into pushing for light rail, you will need lots of luck to get anywhere.

The thing about light rail technology is that it really does work, and works well in countries around the world (less so in the US because of its total car-orientation). It doesn't require any oil at all to make a light rail system run, and you can buy an state-of-the-art LRV any time by just picking up the phone, calling the Siemens LRV factory in California, and telling them which model you want. Have your checkbook handy.

The thing about peak oil is that if you don't plan for it, and build a totally car-dependent society on the assumption that technology will get you out of the corner you painted yourself into, you may become a victim of peak oil, stranded in the suburbs with no way to get anywhere.

EV's are pie-in-the-sky. If wishes were horses, we could put wings on this pig and teach it to fly.

Henry Ford killed off the electric car 100 years when he introduced the Model T. It had three times the range, three times the speed, and one-third the price of competing EV's. They haven't changed much in the last 100 years. The specs on a 100-year-old electric car don't look much different from the modern ones, except in price. The improvements in changing from lead-acid batteries to lithium-ion batteries have been completely eaten up by the fact that people now insist on heaters and air conditioners, power windows instead of side-curtains, and want a top speed of more than 20 MPH. If you buy a modern EV, you may find yourself stranded on the freeway miles from the nearest plug-in. Most people don't like being there.

EV's are pie-in-the-sky. If wishes were horses, we could put wings on this pig and teach it to fly.

Henry Ford killed off the electric car 100 years when he introduced the Model T. It had three times the range, three times the speed, and one-third the price of competing EV's. They haven't changed much in the last 100 years. The specs on a 100-year-old electric car don't look much different from the modern ones, except in price. The improvements in changing from lead-acid batteries to lithium-ion batteries have been completely eaten up by the fact that people now insist on heaters and air conditioners, power windows instead of side-curtains, and want a top speed of more than 20 MPH.

Yes, the Model T replaced the EVs because it had better range, speed, price . . . but it is all completely dependent on an endless supply of cheap oil. But the cheap oil is starting to go away and is replaced by expensive oil. The fuel costs of an EV are now 1/3rd to 1/5th the fuel costs for a gas car. And as gas keeps going up, that disparity widens. Right now, over the lifetime of the vehicle, the total operating costs for the two vehicles is close to even. All things considered, that means the gas car is still much better due to range and refuel time. But as gas prices go up, the play-field will continue tilting more and more toward EVs. It is just a matter of time before the play-field is tilted enough and people just slide down to the EV end.

Top Speed more than 20MPH? I think your views of EVs are waaaay out of date.

My radio-controlled EV model car goes 20 MPH. The payload is small -- like 200 grams though.
Rocky you are being mean to EVs. They are trying Rocky.
I would critique range more than top speed though.

I think some people are a bit afraid of a new car with low gas mileage and others might just be fed up with prices. The math will get interesting as the batt pack drops 30-50% in price if you ask me.

Probably in rugged Canada to dodge elk and things you'd better stick with your pick-up. I would!

RMG's point was that the old ones went 20MPH, and the new ones would have a lot longer range if we were happy to drive them at that speed - which is about the upper limit for the most widely used EV's - golf carts.

he is spot an about how all the modern "must haves" , from speed to electric windows, have used up any possible range improvements we could get from Li-ion batteries. These have 5x the energy density of the lead-acids used on thew 1910 electric cars, but we aren;t getting any longer range.

A good write-up about that here;

I similar story for air travel too, in terms of fuel efficiency - the latest planes have only just gotten down to the fuel economy of the lockheed Constellations of the 1950's .


Meanwhile, electric trains are getting less energy efficient, as we run them ever faster;

If we were not in such a rush to get everywhere, we could save a *lot* of energy.

Indeed low tech and low speed are less energy intensive but require more blood sweat and tears.

I guess bicycles are still the greatest form of low tech we have. Nothing uses less energy than a bike, including walking lol. Well you could cheat and use a sailboat or something like that. How about this: the bicycle is the most efficient human powered form of transportation.

I think lower tech electric would come back if they lowered the safety specs and reduced the speed on the highways. I guess that is a matter of time when we get the big crunch soon.

It used to be that Air conditioning was optional. Power windows - optional. Etc Etc. Funny that none of that is very useful when you run out of cheap oil. LOL

I've said it before quite a few times.
If you want to gain a realistic perception of what ICE vehicles do go stand on a freeway overpass for an hour.
Look at the diversity of vehicles buses and trucks. There are service vehicles pickups and vans, commuters shopping, working and travelling to and from work. There are police, ambulance, fire trucks tow trucks and all sorts of work vehicles.
Most of all they travel fast.
There is no substitute for that in the world of today.

We had somewhat of a chance in the early fifties to replace a good deal of ICE vehicles with alternative transport but since then the speed along with congestion has risen steadily. Accelerating from one set of lights to another and stop start peak hour driving, the ICE does both well.

That is why there is absolutely no chance that electric vehicles will solve any sort of transport crisis. If the times comes that we have to use electric transport, the world will be completely different and it will not have reached that new state in an economically orderly manner.
Electric vehicles require just as much supporting infrastructure as ICE vehicles. They were/are both born and betrothed to the modern world.

he is spot an about how all the modern "must haves" , from speed to electric windows, have used up any possible range improvements we could get from Li-ion batteries. These have 5x the energy density of the lead-acids used on thew 1910 electric cars, but we aren;t getting any longer range.

We certain can get longer range with Li-Ions . . . we just don't want to because batteries are expensive and unused capacity is just wasted money. The Tesla will go 200+ miles . . . of course you need ~$100K to buy it. The Nissan Leaf cut things pretty close with a car that big/heavy and only a 24KWH battery. A 30KWH battery would be much better but it would raise the price too much.

Battery size is a huge design issue. In a gas car, the tank is just big empty steel container. The size of it makes almost no difference in cost. But in an EV, the battery is a big collection of fancy chemical cells and sophisticated battery management electronics. The price is proportional to size . . . and it is very expensive.

Electric locks, electric windows, lights, radio . . . all that doesn't consume much. Heat & AC do suck power and thus using the pre-heat/pre-cool systems is very important.

If batteries drop by 50% that would be real big deal. Unfortunately, I think most of the narrowing of the gap between EVs and gas cars will be on the gas side where gas prices will continue going up faster than battery prices come down. :-/

We certain can get longer range with Li-Ions . . . we just don't want to because batteries are expensive and unused capacity is just wasted money.

This is true, but I think the another reason we don;t want to is because we don;t want to give up anything else that othercars have, or at least the carmakers think we don't. Unused capacity is certainly wasted money, and having extra capacity just to haul around extra weight falls into that category.

The Nissan Leaf cut things pretty close with a car that big/heavy and only a 24KWH battery. A 30KWH battery would be much better but it would raise the price too much.

I think a smaller, lighter car that can get the same range on 16kWh would be better still (and cheaper), or get 50% more range on 24kWh.

Electric locks, electric windows, lights, radio . . . all that doesn't consume much.>Electric locks, electric windows, lights, radio . . . all that doesn't consume much.

No, they don;t consume much, but they all add cost and complexity. Look at the cost difference between and "base model" and "fully loaded" car - often $10k - that will buy 20kWh of battery.

Agreed that the battery cost is unlikely to drop much, unless there is some breakthrough (which has been the caveat for 100 years). But compared to lead acids, lithium is a breakthrough, in performance terms, but the cars are giving away that advantage from too much size and weight.

I liken it to to a boater that wants to trade their powerboat for a sailboat. If they want power boat type speed, they have to go for a catamaran (or a trimaran) - very light, and not a lot of space (for the same length). if they want power boat type space and creature comforts, they go for a deep keel monohull - slow, steady and comfortable.

The Leaf is the equivalent of the keelboat.

I think, that since many potential EV buyers are wanting to not just save gas, but reduce their footprint and complexity in general, that there is market niche for the catamaran equivalent - a stripped down, bare bones car that has an electric drivetrain, and very little else. The original Mini was an ICE version of that, and was a huge seller - a simple, affordable car for hard times (post war Britain). All the biggest selling cars in history (model T, Mini, Citroen 2CV, VW bug, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, were, at their outset, cheap, simple and austere. We are in hard times now, but the Leaf is far from simple or affordable - if we really want to make a dent in oil use with EV's we need an EV equivalent of the Mini, model T etc - the leaf is certainly not that.

Given the single biggest selling feature of an EV, is that it is electric, everything else is optional. If the Leaf was offered in bare bones model, no power windows, a/c, webbing seats, lexan windows, etc etc, and with a lower power motor (do you really need to go up to 90mph?) and a 20kWh battery, there would be a substantial drop in price. For a two car family where the Leaf is the daily commuter and the other is the trip car, this would be just fine. Turn it into a two seater and the battery becomes a 16kWh, or even less.

The carmakers are trying to tell everyone you can have electric, and have it all - but if you do, you have give up any hope of good range, and/or an affordable vehicle.

Any boat designer/buyer knows you have to decide what is most important, and design/choose accordingly. Wanting to have it all leads to big, heavy and inefficient - which would be the Leaf - we can (and need to) do so much better.

I came up with this idea decades ago, while grumbling in a traffic jam. Cities could easily implement this instead of or in addition to light rail. Load your cars, ride to a designated jump off point and go on your way, alleviating traffic and using no fuel. Of course the train would run on electric power. Kind of a train-ferry.

Motorail! As used in France, Germany and other European countries do exactly as you've described, but only for long journeys such as Paric to Nice for example. The UK abandoned their motorail service a couple of decades ago.

The UK abandoned their motorail service a couple of decades ago.

To build roads that are now choked.


EDIT: spelling

Motorail, sounds catchier than train-ferry, or does it auto-ferry? (Maybe the 'phobes won't like anything that rhymes with fairy).

To implement in a major city is quite easy:

First, change the flatcar design to allow for easy ingress, egress of the autos and disallow the idiots driving off while the thing is running (flip up side bumpers?).

Second, design a system that has multiple sidings (say 5 or so with queue columns associated with exits) those who need to get off first are disconnected from the end at the first stop (ie the entire rear chain of flatcars is disconnected), next chunk disconnected at the next stop and so on.

By the end, the train is empty and cars going the other way load on the sidings where the chains were disconnected.

Finally have punitive tolls on the freeway for those uninterested in riding the motorail.

Interesting that I never once noticed them in multiple trips to Europe last decade. Went to Paris alone at least a couple dozen times. At $8 / gal would be very attractive assuming the motorail price is reasonable.

BTW, as Houston's hurricane exodus taught us, cars sitting in traffic jams consume massive amounts of fuel. The traffic jams in our cities play havoc with the best "normal" mileage numbers. This could really work. Alanfrombigeasy (sp?), where are you on this?

Except for the Chunnel, which it shares with France.

I think they've given up building. At least, that's the only thing I can conclude about all the potholes left over from 2 winters ago..

20mph, would get held up in traffic much of the time and never reach that speed. Most frustrating thing I have found since going back to cycling.


02 Camry loaded automatic ...34mpg

2011 Prius loaded, air, automatic - 50 mpg.

I keep thinking this is THE car for the post-peak-oil era. Of course, they could make it a plug-in hybrid, put in a small turbo-diesel, and get much better mileage. Maybe they will in the next version, after peak oil REALLY starts to hurt.

So Prius managed to catch up to real German cars.

Volkswagen Golf:

However, of paramount interest to TDI buyers will be the Golf's 61.4mpg extra-urban fuel consumption. And with a 12.1 gallon tank that's a very acceptable touring range of 700 miles. The urban figure
of 42.2 is unlikely to compromise many budgets, while the combined figure of 53.3mpg — more than reasonable for a spacious family hatch — should be easily achievable for most drivers. While in our hands for
a week, we never saw a figure lower than 48.7mpg on the trip computer

Engine swap of modern diesel to old Mercedes body:

Zero to 60 mph: 6.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.7 sec
Top speed (governor limited): 149 mph
European urban cycle: 48 mpg

Problem is the fuel situation. America gets the dregs of refined products and not the premium diesel.
We are the bottom feeders and gasoline is a lower energy fuel. Ethanol is even lower in energy density.
So why not talk about miles per BTU or something that is more appropriate in such comparisons.
I may sound pedantic, but it would be a better comparison.

Difference per BTU would be related to thermal efficiency of diesel vs gas - so diesel wins. BTU Per litre they break even - gas has lower density but higher caloric value per unit of mass compared to diesel. Diesel's advantage is also that it has more torque and flatter torque curve, thus better dynamic properties at low rpm which is both during acceleration and cruise.

Actually, they don;t break even. here are the numbers from the ORNL (http://bioenergy.ornl.gov/papers/misc/energy_conv.html)

Gasoline - 47.3MJ/kg, and 0.73kg/L = 34.53 MJ/L
Diesel - 44.8MJ/kg and 0.84 kg/L = 37.63MJ/L

That is a 9% greater volumetric energy density for diesel. It will vary with different grades of diesel and gasoline (especially E10!), but 10% is a reasonable approximation (though I had once calculated 13 for a specific case)

Diesel also has the advantage of governing by fuel, not air (gasoline engine), so during low load and idle it is using only as little fuel as it needs, whereas a gasoline engine needs the mixture to stay within combustion limits. During engine braking, a diesel uses no fuel at all, while the gasoline engine is still using fuel.

Rudolf Diesel called it the "rational heat engine", and compared to gasoline, you can see why. It wins in every area of efficiency except power to weight

I had a Chevy Sprint which is a clone of the Geo Metro. Don't remember the year, but it was around a 1993. Mine was totaled when someone ran into it while it was parked along a street. With the increasing gas prices, I've been amazed that Chevy does not come out with a new car based on a lot of the features (3-cyclinder, 50+ mpg) of the Sprint/Metro.

Scaring the poor people into a $5000 car, that gets good gas mileage, is not nearly as profitable as scaring rich people into a $40,000 Volt.

Are you still driving this car?

The range seems a bit dissapointing, but I suspect that is due to the nature of the lead acid batteries.

A good write up here, about the improvement for a similar vehicle (2dr version) when they changed their 96V, 90 Ah (8.6kWh) lead acid battery system to a Li-ion one of the same capacity.


They get 40-60km, which is about 25-40miles.
Most interesting thing us the power consumption of 40amps at 50-60km/h (35-40mph) - that is all of 3.8kW, or 5horsepower - about that of a push lawnmower!

If that was a small diesel engine supplying that power, at that speed, it could be a 400cc model and would get about 98mpg! Which is surprisingly close to what the TDI drivers were getting at 30mph...


Radiation 1,600 times higher than normal levels has been detected in an area about 20 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, International Atomic Energy Agency officials said Monday.

Data collected by an IAEA team show that radiation levels of 161 microsievert per hour have been detected in the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, the officials said.


NEWS ADVISORY: Work to restore power at No. 1, 2, 3, 4 reactors at nuke plant resumed

@ to Wikipedia, that amount of radiation over the course of a day would make a person quite ill. No wonder they want people to stay indoors.

That's 3.86 millsieverts (or 38.6 millirems) cumulative dose in a 24 hour day. Not a pretty picture if it stays up there for a large number of days, but no one's going to feel an acute effect in just a day, not even close. Now if it had been 161 millisieverts a day, a thousand times as much, then someone, somewhere might indeed feel ill in a day, and many would in less than a week.