Drumbeat: July 16, 2011

Analysis: Japan power sector oil demand may triple

(Reuters) - Japan's demand for crude and oil products to fuel power plants could triple if the country shuts all its nuclear reactors due to growing public safety concerns after the March earthquake and tsunami.

The country's energy policy was left in tatters after the quake caused by the worst nuclear accident in 25 years. Japan had planned to increase nuclear power supply to meet 50 percent of demand, from 30 percent before the quake. Now, Prime Minister Naoto Kan is talking about a nuclear-free future.

The world's third-largest oil consumer may need to import an additional 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude and fuels to make up for the loss, according to Morgan Stanley. That would be 8 percent of Japan's total oil consumption, straining a market already struggling to compensate for the loss of production from Libya and trading over $100 a barrel. It may need an extra 20 million tonnes of LNG, equivalent to a third of annual demand.

Mexico's Pemex closes 80 oil wells due to heavy rain

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's state oil monopoly Pemex on Friday closed 80 oil wells in the north eastern state of Tamaulipas as a precautionary measure in an area that has received heavy rain.

Pemex did not say how long it expects the closures to remain in place, or to what extent production would be affected.

Iraq key oil player 'for next 20 years': Shahristani

Iraq will be the key player in international oil politics over the next two decades, the country's top government official for the energy sector said on Saturday.

"If we continue along the path we are on, Iraq will over the next two decades be the country that sets oil policy in the world in terms of price, supply and demand," Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said at a conference of Iraqi diplomats in Baghdad.

Iraq May Increase Proven Crude Reserves by 21% With Kurdish Oil

Iraq may raise its proven oil reserves by 21 percent after adding those from the semi- autonomous Kurdish region, Hussain al-Shahristani, deputy prime minister for energy affairs, said today.

Iraq’s oil reserves may increase to 173 barrels by adding 30 billion barrels of Kurdish oil, al-Shahristani said in a speech to ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad. The country’s crude production capacity will rise to 12 million barrels a day by 2017, he said.

Energy crisis threatens to derail Pakistan's growth

Pakistan has a serious electricity problem. Ask Mohammed Yasin, who sells sugarcane juice from a small, rented shop in Karachi's Neelum Colony.

For months, his business has been suffering because of unplanned power outages, often lasting eight to ten hours.

"I got fed up and finally had to buy this run-down diesel generator," he says pointing to the noisy equipment that is helping turn the wheel of his cane-crushing machine.

Karachi violence brings business wheel to halt

KARACHI: Business life in Karachi, parts of Hyderabad and other cities of Sindh came to a standstill on Thursday amidst sporadic violence, protests and mounting tension between the two former allies ñ the Pakistan Peoples’ Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), industrialists and business leaders said.

All the major markets remained closed in the commercial hub of Karachi where many industries and businesses were also shuttered as staff stayed away from work due to poor law and order situation.

Has Obama Pushed Pakistan Toward Iran?

The Iranian government did not wait long.

Two days after the announcement that the U.S. will be withholding more than one third of its annual $2 billion in aid to Pakistan's military, the state-controlled Tehran Times reported that Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar will be visiting Pakistan. The newly announced visit is scheduled to take place at the end of next week.

Chinese mega projects in Pakistan

China has played a significant role in the economic progress of Pakistan ever since the establishment of diplomatic ties between them. The first major initiative in this regard was the setting up of Heavy Mechanical Complex at Taxila; a project of immense importance that nudged the process of industrial development in Pakistan and continues to contribute to the overall progress of the country in a big way. The construction of KKH Highway, termed as the eighth wonder of the world not only laid the foundation for an infallible and eternal friendship between the two neighbours but also generated tremendous economic activity in Gilgit-Baltistan besides boosting trade between the two countries.

Utilization Rebounding In GOM

While on the mend, Gulf of Mexico offshore drilling activities, are below levels experienced prior to last year's blowout. Specifically, combined utilization for drillships, semisubs, and jackups is approximately 300 basis points off pace, averaging 57% in 2Q11 versus 60% for the region during 1Q10.

Saci Lloyd: 'It's not squids in outer space'

"I never want to be a preacher-writer," says teen author Saci Lloyd. It's not hard to see why the accusation might crop up. Her current novel, Momentum, is a fast-paced thriller set in a post-oil age of energy crises and police crackdowns on freedom. It follows two novels, The Carbon Diaries 2015 and 2017, which tackle carbon rationing and environmental meltdown through the eyes of a teenage girl and her family.

Watching the clock

Each July, World Population Day is celebrated. This year, the day brings more significance. According to the United Nations, the world's population will hit 7 billion this year. In fact, the U. S. Census world population clock estimated the world population to be 6,948,702,619 as I wrote this column. Even though the growth rate is declining, the population continues to rise.

'Ice Wars' heating up the Arctic

The recession of the sea ice and the reduction in permafrost -- combined with advances in technology -- have allowed access to oil, mineral and natural gas deposits that were previously trapped in the ice.

The abundance of these valuable resources and the opportunity to exploit them has created a gold rush-like scramble in the high north, with fierce competition to determine which countries have the right to access the riches of the Arctic.

This competition has brought in its wake a host of naval and military activities that the Arctic hasn't seen since the end of the Cold War.

Oil climbing on expectations of tighter supply

NEW YORK – There are a few certainties when it comes to predicting oil prices. One of them is that the world will use more oil in coming years.

The question, analysts say, is whether major oil producers like Saudi Arabia, Canada, Venezuela and others, will be able to meet the demand.

Speculators raise US oil, product net longs-CFTC

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hedge funds and other large speculators raised their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions slightly in the week to July 12, the Commodity Futures Trading Commision said on Friday.

The speculator group upped its net long futures and options position in New York by 3,342 to 168,833 during the period, an increase of 2 percent when NYMEX front-month crude prices CLc1 rose from $96.89 a barrel to $97.43.

Vietnam: Gasoline prices a one-way street for local consumers

When the government decided in March that local petroleum prices will be adjusted in line with movements in world markets, consumers expected to pay more when global prices rose and pay less when they fell.

Now, it seems as though the pricing policy is a one-way street for end users.

$1 gas price rise cuts SUV value 13%, ups 'econobox' 10%

You don't realize it until it's time to trade or sell your used car, but depreciation is your single biggest auto expense. A lot of things affect how much your new vehicle's value drops, but its mileage rating is becoming a much bigger factor for some vehicle categories.

Opposition fighters are losing battles – but winning the war

While foreign countries were hailing Libya's rebel administration as the country's legitimate government, rebel fighters were showing their usual failings in combat as another much-heralded offensive in the east failed to capture the oil town of Brega.

Four months into Nato's campaign, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi controls about 22 per cent more territory than in the aftermath of the revolution in February. French and Italian ministers have said the time has come to stop bombing and begin talking. Britain insists that military pressure must continue.

Syrian activists discuss ways to oust Assad

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian opposition figures said President Bashar Assad's autocratic regime has lost its legitimacy and urged him to step down at simultaneous meetings Saturday in Damascus and Turkey to discuss ways for a peaceful transition to democracy.

Oil Companies Fail to Bolster Peace in Nigeria, Presidential Adviser Says

Peace in Nigeria’s main oil- producing area is threatened by the failure of companies to invest in improving residents’ living standards, a special adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan said.

U.K. Offshore Drilling Falls to Nine-Year Low, Deloitte Says

Oil companies operating in the U.K. North Sea drilled 43 percent fewer wells in the first half, in part because of a tax increase, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu said.

Operators drilled 20 exploration and appraisal wells in the period, down from 35 a year earlier, Deloitte said today in its North West Europe Review compiled by the consultant’s Petroleum Services Group. That’s the lowest rate since 2002.

Chevron to pay $900K fine levied by Maine DEP

Chevron Corp. will pay a $900,000 fine to the state of Maine to settle claims that an estimated 140,000 gallons of oil leaked from an oil tank farm it owned into the Penobscot River decades ago, officials said Friday.

"In God We Trust; All Other, Bring Data!"

When crucial information is misleading or absent, what is the meaning of democracy? Key indicators are now being hidden or massaged, for example, in the areas of fighter levels abroad, money supply, unemployment, and oil reserves. In this situation, how can we reach intelligent decisions about war, economic recovery, or energy use?

PetroChina shuts refinery unit after fire -source

(Reuters) - A PetroChina refinery in the northeast Chinese city of Dalian has shut down a unit that processes 8 million tonnes of crude per year after a fire broke out on Saturday afternoon, an industry source said.

Exxon: Ruptured pipeline carried tar sands crude

(Reuters) - Exxon Mobil said on Friday that a pipeline that failed two weeks ago, leaking oil into the Yellowstone River, routinely transported a heavier and more toxic form of crude than the company and federal regulators initially acknowledged.

A dash for gas could lock in damaging mistakes

The multi-party climate change committee's Clean Energy Future package has good bits and bad bits and improves somewhat on the old carbon pollution reduction scheme. We should get on with it. There's one big problem: will the carbon tax drive a big switch to coal seam gas for domestic electricity generation?

That's a big problem because (a) there is a high degree of uncertainty about the potential impacts of coal seam gas (CSG) mining on Australia's groundwater and food security, and (b) it is far from clear whether extraction of CSG and other unconventional sources such as shale gas offer much, if any, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over coal once leaks and other fugitive emissions, and the latest science on the warming potential of methane, are factored in.

Workers toil under intense heat at crippled nuclear plant

Workers are struggling under intense heat at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant with as many as 31 people having fallen sick complaining of apparent symptoms of heat stroke, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co. While the utility, which operates the plant, has taken steps to ease labor conditions such as shifting work hours, they are apparently not enough. Sweat begins to build up inside masks, for instance, within seconds of them being donned.

Glitch shuts Japan reactor, no radiation leak

(Reuters) - Japan's Kansai Electric Power Co said on Saturday it planned to manually shut down the No.1 reactor at its Ohi nuclear power plant in western Japan due to technical glitches, but that no radiation leakage had occurred.

Panasonic May Build Energy-Saving Homes on Ex-Factory Sites After Quakes

Panasonic Corp. (6752) may build homes in Japan with power-saving devices on sites of factories it closed as the appliance maker looks to tap demand for energy-efficient products after the March 11 earthquake.

Homes in so-called smart towns, where Panasonic plans to sell to consumers directly, may include solar panels, energy- efficient refrigerators and rechargeable batteries, Teruhisa Noro, a director for Panasonic’s systems and equipment business promotion division, said in an interview yesterday.

Eco-Money: China takes big risk with clean-car upgrades

The Chinese government's drive to adopt electric cars is the biggest gamble in the auto industry's history.

China is to pump US$1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn) into its electric-vehicle industry over the next 10 years to make the country a leading producer of clean cars.

Map: Countries' actions and commitments on climate change

The Smith School of at Oxford has rated each country's actions and commitments on climate change.

Link up top: Speculators raise US oil, product net longs-CFTC

The speculator group upped its net long futures and options position in New York by 3,342 to 168,833 during the period, an increase of 2 percent when NYMEX front-month crude prices CLc1 rose from $96.89 a barrel to $97.43.

I don't understand their mixing of futures and options. Futures and options are two entirely different things and they cannot be counted in the same basket. Anyway as far as futures go if you total the open interest of all crude oil futures now open interest here: Light Crude Oil you will find that there are 1,524,516 contracts currently open. 168,833 contracts would be 11 percent of all open contracts.

That is if all those contracts are futures contracts. But the article indicates that many of them are option contracts, which is a totally different thing.

Also the article only gives the number of net long positions of hedge funds and large speculators. Obviously many hedge funds and large speculators also hold short positions. What is the number of net short positions and how did that number change? Does anyone keep track of net short positions?

Ron P.

Perhaps futures and options are like physical energy. Different things can be added, subtracted, divided, multiplied and the answer is still valid.

I thought physical energy was the only area where it can be done. I was wrong.

Evidently oil futures and options can be treated the same as physical energy.

Evidently oil futures and options can be treated the same as physical energy.

No they cannot. A futures contract is a derivative. A derivative is a financial instrument whose value depends on the value of physical source it is derived from. An option is a derivative also but its value depends on the value of nothing physical but another derivative. In other words an option is a derivative of a derivative.

Options are strange things. While there are only two positions of a futures contract, long and short, there are multiple option positions. You can be long calls or short calls, and you can be long puts or short puts. But it does not stop there. There are multiple strike prices. You can buy or sell (write) calls at multiple strike prices and you can buy or sell (write) puts at various strike prices, from deep in the money to deep out of the money.

Also anyone can buy an option and have no fear of losing more money than the option cost them. Not so with a futures contract, or if they write a put or a call. Even different kinds of options cannot be put in the same basket.

Ron P.


Open Interest
Open interest is the total of all futures and/or option contracts entered into and not yet offset by a transaction, by delivery, by exercise, etc. The aggregate of all long open interest is equal to the aggregate of all short open interest.

Open interest held or controlled by a trader is referred to as that trader's position. For the COT Futures-and-Options-Combined report, option open interest and traders' option positions are computed on a futures-equivalent basis using delta factors supplied by the exchanges. Long-call and short-put open interest are converted to long futures-equivalent open interest. Likewise, short-call and long-put open interest are converted to short futures-equivalent open interest. For example, a trader holding a long put position of 500 contracts with a delta factor of 0.50 is considered to be holding a short futures-equivalent position of 250 contracts. A trader's long and short futures-equivalent positions are added to the trader's long and short futures positions to give "combined-long" and "combined-short" positions. Open interest, as reported to the Commission and as used in the COT report, does not include open futures contracts against which notices of deliveries have been stopped by a trader or issued by the clearing organization of an exchange.


Reuters: Germany, Italy may resist second IEA oil release

"Germany and Italy were not much in favor of the decision back in June," the French government source said. "While the decision was unanimous not all were committed."

Asked whether they would resist this time, the source said: "This is likely."

screwy weather comment.

On mid Vancouver island we have had just a few nice days from MAY. It has rained almost steady (off and on) from July 1. This morning,,,,rain and fog and the river is up. Our vegetable garden is too wet to walk in.

Down south you folks are dying of heat. We have Rupert or Anchorage weather and the mid and sw continent is like the Mojave Desert.

I guess if this is the harbinger of CC and more things to come, we will be eating a lot of potatoes in our house. My chickens look misreable. Actually the greenhouse is doing well but peppers and tomates are barely on the vine. I actually lit the fire this morning, mostly to hear it crackle and dry my shoes and shirts.

Anyone running out of water down south....you can have some of ours. It is too hot for rain gear so I just go out in shorts and get wet.

The last time we had a summer like this was when Mt. St Helens blew.

Hang in there.

Many fires still burning in NM.

A few widely scattered showers last week, very brief and spotty, didn't amount to appreciable moisture.

Not underwater like parts of North Dakota and the Midwest.

Build us a pipeline, we will sequester the water in the 10,000 feet if rift valley sandy fill under Albuquerque.

Like to hear about my favorite state (I do miss it). It looks like the summer monsoon has begun, but most of the moisture has gone through Arizona. So you at least have the monsoon, but it looks pretty weak.

Well, the progs build the heat wave in the center part of the country next week. I looked at the predicted dewpoints, they have a large multistate area with 80plus dewpoints lasting for several days, centered around Iowa. Out here this is good news, a center of US monster high, means the west coast trough will continue. Just had several days with highs only in the 70's (average is 94), and its supposed to take another week to make it back to normal. So I've got the best of it, tons of sunshine for the PV, and cool enough to not need AC, I'm actually spinning the meter backwards by roughly 5KWhours per day. At this time of year, I could easily be running it up 20 or more today, just trying to keep the house coolish (78-80). The little creek, next to the bike path,actually has running water in it. In July (this must be almost unheard of around here).....

Here in the high desert north of Reno we are 5 to 6 weeks behind normal for vegetables, it is hardly 85F with the average for this time of year at 92. There is still quite a bit of snow in higher elevations and some ski slopes were open on the 4th of July. Our early mornings have the feel of fall and so far we have only had a week of average temps. We lost our apple crop again this year due to frost. Unusual but not unheard of.


You have assessed our situation correctly...our Monsoon started on time ~ 1 July, but all we have gotten is some part-time partial cloudiness and a high enough level of humidity to make the swamp coolers useless.

It is currently 96F here, lows at night ~72F.

All of ABQ can clearly see the smoke rising from the Las Conchas Fire north of us (near Los Alamos originally, now spread to other areas). Some days it looks like a mushroom cloud...

All of ABQ can clearly see the smoke rising from the Las Conchas Fire north of us

Wow. I only see what I can see of the weather sattelite, and unless its really kicking that seems to be nothing. Plus even the popcorn cumulus clouds obscure it...

So it there any timber left in the Jemez? I woulda thunk this one wouldn't have had much fuel to work with. Over on the east side of the mountain (Sandia park), I didn't have any AC -as was quite common. We would usually hit 50's at night, and usually the T-storms if they get going at all would hit us, since it was only a couple of miles from where they would form...

The smoke rises to altitude of the bottom of the cumulus clouds (many more of those North of ABQ than over ABQ) , then fills in underneath that and heads North East.

Some days the smoke is very white, others it is hazy-gray.

Maybe hard to believe, but there is still plenty of un-burned timber north of ABQ. The Sandias are so far unaffected. I really like to day-hike the trails on the East side of Sandia mountain...that side is much more forested and cooler.

I used to mountain bike them, nearly every day. They were very rocky, but that was a large part of the attraction. Some of the trees around the 10,000 foot level are over 4 feet in diameter. Some of the wetter canyons had quite a large selection of trees, many of them quite large. Even in drought years, there would usually be one good 4foot wet snowstorm on the east slopes. I claimed the east side had several advantages over the west.
(1) Geology. Sedimentary, as opposed to the broken down preCambrian granite, water would just sink right through that stuff, but the sedimentary drived soil would hold water.
(2) Higher elevations equals lower temps.
(3) At least twice as much rain/snow as the west side.
(4) Much more often clouds to shade the vegetation from the sun.

There is concern about the corn crop :-


"Corn plants are putting out male tassels and female silks this week. Next week, pollination will create the kernels that are the heart of the corn crop, which could bring in a record $17 billion to Iowa this year.

Agronomists and meteorologists agree that 86 degrees is the best condition for corn reproduction. Instead, the tassels and kernels will get temperatures averaging 95 degrees or more."

Global food inflation to return after brief respite

My corn hasn't tasseled yet here in the Pacific Northwest, which is having a cold summer. My northern varieties of heritage of flour, dent, flint and sweet corn are up and strong. Unfortunately, birds love heritage corn. I'm growing on leased land on an organic vegetable farm. There are plenty of dairy farmers in the area growing crud/GMO crud corn for silage. The crows ignored acres of the stuff and seriously damaged my pocket-handkerchief sized cornfield.

I have the flint corn in my garden at home to avoid crossing, and the birds got that, too. Next year, row covers in the garden. I'm not sure what to do in the field.

I'm not expecting much from the tomatoes and peppers this year. The malting barley and potatoes look just fine.

Cold isn't the word for it. Here in Beaverton we've had exactly ONE DAY above 80°F this year (officially Portland's had two), and it's raining again today. Out of 23 tomato plants, the harvest so far has been a single (split) cherry tomato that was put out of its misery yesterday. The potatoes are probably going to rot, but amazingly the daikon don't seem to be bothered by the constant waterlogging. And the fava beans and bok choy did well, plus the fragile greens are still producing.

Last year was cold and wet too, but nothing like this - The sump pump is going to run all year 'round, I fear. Looking at these temp anomalies:
It seems that Cascadia is one of the only places over land where it's getting cooler.

The band of exceptional drought--the highest level measured--persists almost from coast to coast across the south. 14 states have some level of abnormally dry or drought conditions in all or nearly all counties.

Here in Minnesota we are looking at temperatures in the mid nineties for the next few days, with heat index up to 116 and in that range for much of the area--the highest in the country.


northern BC - heavy snowfall after the ski hill closed, Rain almost every day in a normally dry climate. " Wettest spring in thirty years"; it rains every time our hay farmer brings out a piece of machinery. Greenhouse tomatoes have few flowers & no fruit.

So how's that climate denial thing workin' out for ya, Sarah?


We're deep into a Pacific Decadal Oscillation with cold sea temperatures off of NorthWest North America plus La Nina/El Nino has gone neutral but atmospheric conditions remain in La Nina mode. It all adds up to a tendency to cool, moist air over our region.

Hoping for better weather soon!

Here in central France we're still in the grip of drought. Although next week we're forecast to have rain. Funny weather at the moment its been cloudy and below normal temperature for July, but without rain, feels more like August than July. I'm beginning to think we may see an early autumn/winter this year, it's like the weather has somehow advanced a month.

As my idea of doing rain fed agriculture has been dealt something of a blow, I'm now looking at getting some borehole wells done. Being in a valley (the river/stream has almost dried up) I'm looking at 8-10 meters to find sufficient water. Anyone any ideas for simple, cheap manual methods for making the boreholes. To get someone in to drill them is too expensive. Sandpoint wells look interesting and doable, but I can't source the materials necessary for them here in France (and I don't know if there are any rock layers deeper down). A manual drill is another option.

You wouldn't be able to drill a well where I live in the states without permitting and specific regulations involved, if you were even allowed to in the first place. I would think it's the same in France, no?

We're hosting two kids from Paris right now, BTW. I live in Southern California.

I live in a village in a lightly populated area and am a registered farmer, so no problem.

We're also overrun with kids from Paris too, the parents send them to their grandparents, here in the village, during the school holidays. In the Winter, the grandparents usually go and live with the grandchildren in Paris around Christmas for a few weeks. At least the children get to appreciate the countryside and a link to the prior rural French lifestyle. Paris is very densely urbanised, crowded, claustrophobic and everyone totally stressed out there.

BYU has developed an interesting human-powered well rig that they are introducing to Africa. Doubt you could get your hands on one at the moment but it is a very interesting approach to getting water to people who are short of money.


Here's a very low cost way, no idea if it would actually work for you.


This might be the most feasible. Someone I know used a rig like the HD77 to drill an 80' deep well. The rock around here is mostly sandstone, so this rig worked.


Thanks Bob. I also found this drilling rig, which seems very economical at about the same price as the HD77 : BoreMaster ZX-1000 Series High Powered Well Drilling Equipment

I can usually find what I want in the US, but shipping costs to Europe are the problem. Europe is poorly supplied with small scale farming equipment and its a constant problem sourcing it here (having so many languages doesn't help either). Once something is found the pricing is often ridiculous and the cost of services are astronomic. I sometimes think it would be easier setting up a small farm in Africa than in Europe, there they at least have access to small scale farming equipment (often made in Europe).

I must say I am really surprised to hear that. US government policy for many decades now has been to push farmers to "get big or get out." I would think things would be easier in Europe. Learn a new thing every day...

Down south you folks are dying of heat.

I live in the southern Mojave desert. For the second year in a row, we're having record cool summertime temperatures. Normally we routinely have temperatures well over 100F.

I live in the southern Mojave desert.



July 15th High 84°F Low 57°F

July 14th: High 78°F Low 60°F

July 13th: High 83°F Low 62°F

I had to look it up. Antelope valley (more or less between LA & Bakersfield. Your valley has been much in the news on Greentechmedia. Seems to be some friction between the locals, and those wishing to develop large scale wind/solar projects in the valley. Do you have any observations on whats going on?

Do you have any observations on whats going on?

I most certainly do. Not only very large projects that are being installed, but lots of relatively smaller ones that don't get as much press. I'm just a stones throw away from the largest PPA agreement with a school district. 10 schools with about 15 solar topped parking lot canopies in each schools parking lot. In all, over 50,000 panels with a nameplate of 9.6 MW. My observation with those: Installed very quickly. A mind boggling amount of materials. Immense amounts of wire and steel involved, and it looks like they tried to substitute a bit of the wire with aluminum to save on costs, but it was still mostly copper wire.

They got very very dirty very quickly, and I'm not sure they factored for that phenomenon out here. Imagine how awkward it must be to clean the 50,000+ panels atop 12 foot canopies at 10 schools widely spaced throughout the valley. I've yet to see how they're going to do it. A specialized rig would be best for a job that big. In spring, we have many mornings when dew forms on surfaces, which either helps cement what dust is already on the surface, or wind deposits dust on the dew before it dries out.

The same company has another agreement with another school district out here. I was thinking that PPAs with school districts must be favored, because they give power to schools in agreement to use the property. During the time when the panels are generating the most power, school isn't in session, so more to sell to the utility. Just conjecture on my part, because I'm not entirely familiar with the exact details of the PPA. Other observations is the canopies are a sweet perk for students and staff. Shaded parking for vehicles in a hot desert. I know from experience that wherever the asphalt is shaded, it will last a very long time. They're not water tight, though. there's a bit of space between the panels.

There are several other smaller solar topped canopy installations out here. Our local community college has the fanciest installation of solar topped canopies. Just seems like a high quality installation in every parameter. Kyocera panels - canopies are a bit higher so probably less prone to damage from high profile vehicles. All the canopy installations have car charging stations, but the college has more than the grade school installations.

I'm relatively close to SEGS, and 4 miles from Sierra Sun Towers. Those facilities wash with purified water once or twice every two weeks. The first Costco that had rooftop solar is the Lancaster branch, and a Sam's with a mini windfarm in their parking lot in neighboring Palmdale. They simply mounted little wind turbines atop existing parking lot light poles. They brake regularly, which seems counter productive. Even when it's windy, at any given time a few of the turbines are braked, so not spinning.

Awe inspiring to see up close, but the math in comparison to nuclear power is a bit humbling. It's hard to believe that much material being used for relatively small amounts of intermittent power. Of course the ground mounted solar uses far less material than the canopies. I'm going to guess that dust is a bit more of an issue with the ground mounted solar, and of course they have to be kept relatively vegetation free. I'm also going to guess that the ground mounted projects have higher real estate costs, since they're not in some sort of power sharing agreement like there is with the schools. Of course the ground mounted projects don't have any sort of duel use benefit like canopies do. It really is an awesome perk. We all know how hot a vehicle gets in the hot sun.

I'm guessing I exceeded some kind of text limit, because I had a long reply, but only my block quote from your comment showed up. That kind of pisses me off. I wrote you a book, and now it's gone without any warning from TOD.

The problem was that your HTML coding was wrong. Please be careful if you're going to use HTML here.

Use the preview function. How your post appears in preview is how it will appear when you post.

Also, you can edit your post as long as no one has replied to it. I bet if you had done that, you'd have seen your HTML error and been able to correct it. (I did it for you.)

Thanks. I'm spoiled by reddits comment system......not so much by the community, though.

If News Corp hacked the phones of 9/11 families, Fox News is finished
The FBI investigation into the News Corp 9/11 hacking allegations could endanger the company's broadcast licences in the US

I'm hoping they did and get totally busted for it.

Murdoch's bunch of thugs have done an incalculable amount of damage to public discourse on social, environmental and political subjects in the 'States and the U.K. for way too long. IMHO. All for the money.

That has been my hope too. However, Murdick has lots of slush/bribe money available and who knows what skeletons he has on file. Best of luck rescuing real free speech and thought.

It reminds me of the James Bond movie where the news tycoon creates the news. Actually, with so much control it isn't far off. Is the word prescient?

The Police and the News are one.

"Scotland Yard and Murdoch Empire intertwined in Hacking Case"


"LONDON — For nearly four years they lay piled in a Scotland Yard evidence room, six overstuffed plastic bags gathering dust and little else.

During that same time, senior Scotland Yard officials assured Parliament, judges, lawyers, potential hacking victims, the news media and the public that there was no evidence of widespread hacking by the tabloid."

Around here, the divorce lawyers and the police are also one. The police pull over and perform bogus DUI busts on targets pointed out to them by paying private parties. Also to bolster federal funds for DUIs. Also pimp underage girls. Sell drugs from evidence lockers. (Just clarification of the horizontal integration of the business.)

I'm hoping they did and get totally busted for it.

I sure wish that would happen. But I think it highly unlikely. Their real crime on this side of the pond, is lies and propaganda. But the country doesn't seem to be offended by such, particularly as one side of the political spectrum regards such lies as their sacred right. Plus there are plenty of well funded others to take up the slack. I don't expect the US to recover its sanity for a very long time.

Yes, I agree but hope springs eternal!
I was surprised they weren't able to weasel, bribe and blackmail their way immediately out of the 'phone tapping business in England.
I'm sure they'll just go to ground for a bit and wait for things to blow over some, the usual tactic.
Hopefully there will be some serious and long lasting consequences for Murdoch: not holding my breath though.

I think societies have different categories of social norms. And phone tapping of crime victims seems to be high on the list of ones that get the Brits dander up. get caught violating the right norm, and you are doomed. Violate another one that is tolerated, and you are fine. I wish we had one about truth telling. But it seems to matter not at all. Doesn't even ruin your reputation. Considered a form of weakness I presume.

This brilliant article from 6 years ago tells you all you need to know about contemporary "social norms" in the U.S.


Then why stay and contribute to this mess? A TOD contributor, Heisenberg, tells us often that the sort of idiocy described circulates within even rarefied establishments. This is no place for a young person to invest their lives in.

Murdoch just became too powerful, too dangerous and made too many enemies. Once the politicians, et al could take him down safely, they did like a pack of hyenas. The phone tapping and choreographed outrage was just the method used. Not unlike Dominique Strauss-Kahn's removal from the IMF, once a new head had been appointed to the IMF, the case against him suddenly collapsed. Social norms can be created and retired at will it would seem for propaganda purposes.

Bah, DSK made his own bed. If he had even the smallest amount of self-control, he could have restrained his lust and kept his job. At best, he is a complete fool, at worst, a rapist.

I think thats a bit strong of a dismissal. Certainly DSK has serious problems with selfcontrol, etc.. That doesn't prove he wan't taken down by political enemies. We will probably never know. Supposedly DSK was trying to move the IMF in a more populist direction (as wouldn't be unexpected from a member of the French Soialist party), so it is quite possible that certain forces hoped to trip him up. Of course if he'd been savy, and in control -and hadn't had that abusive track record he wouldn't have been vulnerable. But, the political/policy consequences of the incident are probably important to many people. If their champion has serious flaws, and is taken down by them at a crucial moment, that can be devastating to a lot of folks who have a stake (but no say in his personal behavior).

Their real crime on this side of the pond, is lies and propaganda.

No, actually, their real crime in the US is their activity in Britain. We have the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Americans and executives of American companies are forbidden by law from corrupting foreign officials. That includes the London Police.

I hope a lot of London Bobbies decide this summer is a nice time to visit New York. And have a cup of tea with some people.

Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson quits

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson has resigned following the phone hacking scandal.

Britain's most senior police officer said he had no knowledge of the extent of the practice and his integrity was "completely intact".

Sir Paul has faced criticism for hiring former News of the World executive Neil Wallis - who was questioned by police investigating hacking - as an adviser.

Profile: Sir Paul Stephenson

Then it was reported that Sir Paul received hospitality from a Champneys health spa while recovering from the removal of a pre-cancerous tumour in his leg.

It is claimed that Mr Wallis was working as the public relations man for Champneys at the time - as well as for the Met.

Another One Bites the Dust

A few bungs down police trousers and an extraordinary two way relationship that made New Scotland Yard an annex of the Murdoch empire, have done for Sir Paul Stephenson. A moment’s reflection that the callous killing of an innocent Brazilian man was not considered worth the resignation of anybody. And on the phone hacking scandal, while Stephenson was as enthusiastic an establishment schmoozer as any, it was his predecessor Blair with whom most of the guilt lies. Like Brooks, at the most charitable possible interpretation Blair was a lousy manager who had no idea what was happening.

I am however rather suspicious that Brooks’ arrest comes just in time to avoid any questions about her relationship with Cameron and others at the select committee – or indeed why she was a facebook friend of the committee chairman.

Britain's most senior police officer said he had no knowledge of the extent of the practice and his integrity was "completely intact".

HaHaaaa! Did he say that from behind a tiny lace hanky in the the high voice of a Southern Belle?

His "integrity" is about as intact as Ian Tomlinson's head was after it hit the pavement.

Really too funny, I almost soiled myself.

It was not his head that was the problem but his liver so that is a bad comparison. However, the behaviour of the British police makes some of our less reputable local police look good.


No, actually, their real crime in the US is their activity in Britain.

That may well be true in the formal, legal, and even cultural sense. But the real damage Ruppert did to the US concerns propaganda and falsehoods, for which he will probably not ne taken to account.

If he is taken down a few notches on this side of the pond, by international complications, it would be a bit like sending Al Capone to prison for tax evasion.

Radioactive cesium detected in Fukushima shiitake

Radioactive cesium exceeding the government standard has been detected in shiitake mushrooms grown indoors in 2 cities in Fukushima Prefecture, about 60 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. This is the first detection of radioactive cesium exceeding the standard in produce grown in greenhouses in the prefecture since the nuclear accident.

...At least 157 kilograms of shiitake mushrooms from the 2 cities were shipped from early July through Friday to Tokyo, a supermarket in Fukushima City, and a local farmers' market.

Fukushima officials are to ask the farmers to recall their produce and refrain from making new shipments while determining the cause.

That's interesting.

Mushrooms were used by Paul Stamets for radionucleotide concentration and sequestration (mycoremediation) at one of Battelle's nuclear sites. Cesium and Potassium share similar chemical properties.

And the mushrooms are why the Chernobyl radioactivity is being concentrated to the wild boars which are no longer edible.

Not safe to eat, perhaps, but definitely edible.

Sorry to boar you with my pedantry.

Buying those Omega3 fish oil pills may not be a good idea...



Are we on-track to actually create the conditions which fulfill the findings of the fictitious Soylent Corporation Oceanographic Report published in 2025...from the movie Soylent Green?

This is just more depressing news from the world of overshoot. We are killing off the oceans, the forest, the plains and just about everything else. And we will continue to do so until....

Ron P.

If we were more rational, we the people (in the form of the government) should examine the situation, and set and enforce rather conservative limits to the menhaden catch.

Kind of difficult in this political environment which some very loud folks repeat the mantra that regulation is strangling 'the economy', where many folks think that disbanding the EPA is a fundamental great step to recovering our country's greatness (I work with many folks who spout this every week)...

Somehow I do not think that the members of the 'Old Farts Club' (see article at link)and all the other like-minded folks would grok the dangers of over-fishing.


Many of them would likely assess this concern as a socialist liberal enviro-nazi plot..

My Mother said back in the 1970s that there 'were too many people in the World'. We can add to that: and there is too much per-person consumption by many folks.

What did we do before this ramp-up of the menhaden catch? What need does this fill that we were suffering from before?

I think we do relatively good in the States with regards to fisheries management. Major problems are we can't restore all the wetlands we geoengineered out of existence, and we can't manage outside of our territorial waters.

I am not as sure as you express about the sound management of our fisheries.

If the Menhaden is over-harvested....that fish is lower in the food chain...there will be an unwelcome domino effect.


Omega Protein...aptly named, no?

Using Menhaden as livestock feed, for fish-oil capsules...for cosmetics, and so much more.

All of this is unnecessary...Omega Protein's owners, families, and heirs will be filthy rich, while raping the ocean, and our duplicitous politicians will whistle past the graveyard.

Omega Protein =~ The Soylent Corporation.

Next thing we'll see are huge factory ships vacuuming up all the krill around the coasatl waters of Antarctica.

Omega Protein...aptly named, no?

I hoped someone else would notice the 'final protein' irony...

This is just more depressing news from the world of overshoot.


I think you would love this site (if you haven't found it already):


And yes, I use the term "love" in the broadest possible sense...


It looks like when you are playing Sim City, and youbuild all those new areas, but you can't get anyone to move in. China is doing it for real.

Yeah, thanks Jerry. I have been following for some time. I especially like the latest one:

"China built more of them," (ghost cities), Tulloch said. "China consumes more steel, iron ore and cement per capita than any industrial nation in history. It's all going to railways that will never make money, roads that no one drives on and cities that no one lives in."

Thanks, Ron

I worked on a land planning project for one of the chinese provinces and it was fairly sensible from the long term outlook. The main aims were to stop the largest city from sucking up all migrants by improving and growing the smaller towns, putting in a rail network so that people could actually get to the smaller towns more easily and improving the roads for "expected" future traffic.

The problem here is that in order to do this, you need a long term "build it and they will come" attitude which is going to probably look pretty pointless in the short term...

...and of course you always risk your long term plan getting scuppered by unforeseen changes.

I watched the remake of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" the other evening. Humanity is on the verge of being destroyed. It is saved, as usual, by love, which H.sapiens is supposed to demonstrate over and above all other creatures.
Having observed wildlife extensively, I can say there is plenty of love demonstrated by creatures large and small, without the propensity to destroy for personal gain.
I wonder if a truly disinterested third party would really give us thumbs up or thumbs down.

Yes, the Japanese demonstrate all that love every time they kill a whale. And the people of the world demonstrate that love every time another species goes extinct. Love, like philanthropy, is something that goes hand and hand with a full stomach. Hungry people demonstrate love only for themselves and their children.

Having observed wildlife extensively, I can say there is plenty of love demonstrated by creatures large and small, without the propensity to destroy for personal gain.

Oh, you mean it is out of love that the forest of Borneo is being destroyed along with all creatures that reside only there like the Orangutan, so that we may have Palm Oil as an alternative to crude oil? There is no personal gain there? The palm oil producers are doing it because of their love for their fellow creatures of the Borneo rain forest? They love them so much they wish to put them out of their misery by killing them all.

Of course I could give you a hundred more examples of such "love" but you get the picture.

I wonder if a truly disinterested third party would really give us thumbs up or thumbs down.

You mean like the proverbial "man from Mars" who steps off his spaceship and observes our behavior. You are not really serious as to which way he would point his thumb are you?

Ron P.

"You are not really serious as to which way he would point his thumb are you?"

No, not really.

It reminds me of another sci-fi story I read many years ago, where it is humans vs animals in another apocalyptic context. I don't recall many of the details.

The punchline was "The rabbit gave thumbs down".

I've been recording Falling Skies (I know, doomer porn), my current choice for mindless entertainment, and in the latest episode (4), the hero and his older son infiltrate the aliens' "prison camp" to rescue the hero's second son. The aliens capture teenage human's and use them for slave labor, controlling them by placing an organism on their spine which injects them with opiates, keeping them addicted. The older son poses as one of the slave teens, and lays down with the sleeping enslaved kids when the alien 'guard' shows up. In a brief scene, the guard strokes the kid's head and makes a sound, which seems to indicate some sort of love for his captives, whose people his species is trying to eradicate from earth.

An interesting touch from the writers, I thought. A bit like our "love" for our fellow earthlings, perhaps. The aliens want the water.

One of the more interesting, and rarely commented-on aspects of our current medical scene is the elevation of "pain" to a status called (in hospitals) "the fifth vital sign".

Absolutely enormous, simply staggering, amounts of "legal" opiates are prescribed to the American population (maybe this goes on elsewhere, I don't know) to relieve them of their "pain." Some of these opiates are delivered directly to the spinal cord via implantable pumps.

Maybe this is effort based in compassion and humanity -- but at some level it has become an insidious victimization and enslavement through addiction of some by others.

When opiates were first "discovered" by western civilization/medicine, they were considered to be a wonder drug. Relieves pain and suffering, and in some case energizes. Then because of the downsides we made their possesion and use highly illegal.

They are wonder drugs. Just like penicillin and all the rest of the modern wonders -- and so easily abused, and taken for granted.

Having passed numerous kidney stones, I can tell you that opiate painkillers are a godsend. Ibuprofen just isn't strong enough. In fact, doctors are often afraid to prescribe enough painkillers, because the DEA is always hovering around to enforce the draconian and vague drug laws.

True enough -- but at the same time, there are enormous pressures to prescribe huge amounts of painkillers. In Oregon, doctors have been sanctioned by the Board of Medical Examiners for not prescribing enough pain medicine, and in California there is a notorious lawsuit where a doctor lost a $1.6mil judgement for underprescribing pain meds.

It's pretty crazy making out here.

I've never passed a stone, but after reading Dr. Weiss's "Lessons in Mortality" (http://press.umsystem.edu/fall2006/weisse.htm), a book every person should read, I can honestly say that I have a great idea just how painful a kidney stone can be! I cannot recommend this book enough.

heh, in actual fact what that is referencing is the old roman gladiator fights. in truth the death gesture was a thumb pointed to the neck as the common death blow was to stab the fallen fighter from the neck/collar to the heart.

You mean like the proverbial "man from Mars" who steps off his spaceship and observes our behavior. You are not really serious as to which way he would point his thumb are you?

Well, I think it all depends on who the "reviewers" happen to make contact with. If they were to contact most of my local farmer neighbors, I suspect they would get a thumbs up. If they happen to contact or look at politicians, big business, etc... they would get a thumbs down.
The reality is there are more of the good people than the bad, but the good people seldom have the intestinal fortitude to do what is necessary to control the minority bad in the population.


In the bigger context, I don't think who they interview makes any difference. We all like to think we are somehow worthy of saving, however I don't think I know a single person who, when facing off against any lifeform perceived as a threat, wouldn't have the impulse to grab some handy weapon and try to kill it dead. Anything from a mosquito to a grizzly bear.

My personal theory about the extinction of H.neanderthalensis is that H. sapiens was just more aggressive.

Professor Stephen W. Hawking pointed out that the history of a more advanced civilization encountering a less advanced one always ended badly for the less advanced one, and they were of the same species. this was when asked what he would think happen if a alien race showed up. I agree with him on that and do kind of laugh a little when it's depicted how well the advanced civilization treats a lesser one despite the side we h.sapiens are on.

On the movie pointed out by the thread starter the original 'day the earth stood still' was made when the common scientific wisdom was still we were somehow different from the rest of life on the planet. Now we know better, that we are for example very similar to our nearest living relatives then a lot of people would feel comfortable admitting.. to the point that the exact same appeal to sex works on them as it does us.

When flying over the middle of the US at 30,000 feet, look down at the patchy surface below.

If your dog had skin that looked like that, you'd treat him for mange.

That wouldn't be nice to the mites.

I personally dont think the earth was a better place before the humans. It was definitely cleaner and better place for many animals other than humans. But I am human and I like a world suitable for humans.

However I would agree that we are overindulging in resource use and unnecessary pollution.

It was definitely cleaner and better place for many animals other than humans. But I am human and I like a world suitable for humans.

Good, then hopefully you will do something to stop AGW, because world is slowly becoming UNsuitable for humans.

It always puzzled me, how humans, considering themselves oooh-sooo-intelligent fail to understand that what's good for mites is good for humans, too. We need clean and good place for ANY animal, not just for humans, because we need all those [currently dying] ecosystems to support us. If we are incapable to understand that, then we are too stoopid to be around and we for sure won't be missed*.... :-/

* Answer to zaphod42's rhetorical question.

We don't have to leave our computer chairs to see what the US looks like from above. I've spent countless hours browsing caches of satellite imaging.

As bad as it is in the US, Europe is much much worse, and the forested areas of Canada look like some kind of patchwork quilt.....or mange. US forests, too, but wow at the extent of harvesting in Canada.

As he climbs aboard the alien spaceship, the professor's assistant runs up to the line with news of the broken alien code and yells: "But Professor, "To Serve Man", it's a cook book!"

RIP Rod Serling.

I watched the remake of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" the other evening.

I saw it about a month ago. I was expecting it to be crap, compared to the original. I thought it was actually quite good. I wouldn't say we were saved (in the movie), seems more like we just bought some time. Even an experience like that would probably be misunderstood, and we'd go back to our old planet-wrecking ways. Then the next time they visited, they wouldn't be so prone to forgive......

Wouldn't you all agree that if it wasn't for the discovery of oil, sci-fi would never have been invented? There wouldn't be any UFOs - just potential meals. Asimov wouldn't have dreamed up the three laws of robotics, if he'd ever have been born in the first place. Same for Poul Anderson, Frank Herbert, L. Ron Hubbard, Robert Heinlein, Alan Dean Foster, etc., etc.

I get my Omega-3 from flaxseed oil. No need to decimate the fishes. Squirt a bit into water and add powdered milk. Its delicious once you get used to it.

A reminder about one of the original fish oil makers.


Omega Protein, a company spawned by the Bush family founded Zapata oil drilling company

fictitious Soylent Corporation

How about Mr. Burns "Li'l Lisa's Patented Animal Slurry"?


You'll have to navigate your way past ads and click on the 2nd screen down the page, not the first.

Fairly priceless

There is a Simpsons episode for all occasions. Part of our cultural heritage.

How are menhaden being overfished when all of the states along the east coast of the U.S. have banned industrial menhaden fishing except for Virginia? Omega Protein is only overfishing Virginia's waters.

I have to wonder whether the Menhaden stay in each state's territorial water zones or if they move around, perhaps north and south along the coast?

If the Menhaden cross 'state water borders', it is conceivable that unrestricted taking off of Virginia would impact the numbers of Menhaden in waters outside of Virginia's ocean territory.

According to this web site, all but TX and Western Florida of the U.S. states regulate fishing out to 3 NM from the coast.


The Federal government regulates fishing from 3 NM to the 200 NM exclusive economic zone. Beyond 200 NM we are in the commons...perhaps some mealy-mouthed, largely unenforced 'regulation' by international treaties for certain fish, maybe...

I wonder how the current Congress feels about regulating fishing in U.S. federal waters...recall the mantra that all regulation of U.S. business interests is inherently bad...

From the link above:

Fish are Mostly Gone

Most fish stocks throughout the ocean are over fished despite fisheries regulations. Over fishing has reduced the populations of fish, turtles, sharks, and whales to 0.1 – 40 percent of their values 50 to 100 or more years ago. Some popular fish, such as blue-fin tuna, are approaching extinction.

Some other reading:



While I was looking for these links I came across some woman's right-wing blog where she railed against 'Hollywood actors' warnings about ocean over-fishing. She said that the idea that man can influence the oceans is just as absurd as the idea that man can influence the climate, and she closed with a hearty 'God Bless America'

The oceans are the ultimate 'Out of sight, out of mind' domain.

As BAU in the U.S. declines, expect to hear more of this debate about the costs of end-of-life health care/spending:


I doubt there will be much debate.

We are going to have a "universal health care system". It is uncertain right now whether it will be controlled by the government, or by United Health Care/Aetna/Blue Cross, or by universal unavailability -- but that will be sorted out in the next 5 years or so.

Costly end-of-life care will simply be denied as a non-covered benefit. End of story.

You will be found to be correct.

I signed a DNR for my father per his final lucid whispered words to me before he slipped back into a diabetic coma. That should have been done two years prior.

I am a realist...I get that benefits will be cut, but I also get that private insurance has much greater overhead than Medicare.

I will be curious to see how all the tea Party folks square the circle of 'Death Panels' with respect to cost cutting. You know, the know-nothing folks who shouted 'Get your government hands off my Medicare' who now are clamoring to gut Medicare....these folks are in the 40 and up demographic.

Some dayze I want to see a Bachman/Perry ticket ascend to the White House with solid R majorities in both the House and the Senate...grab some popcorn and watch the show! Survival plan: Joint the military, as a uniformed soldier, a GS civil servant, or a contractor!

Most people won't have any of the choices you offer.

Right now, many people are be couch surfing, taking in each other's wash, getting by somehow. They aren't seen (the media is not interested) and when they die, no one will know --outside of a small circle of friends who will be sad, but who will quickly forget. I'm not saying this is good or bad -- just that that is the reality for a lot of folks right now, and for many more of us in the future.

Most of the Tea Party folks I know don't have a clue about medicine, why it costs so much, or how it could cost nothing at all (just limit availability) -- but they take good health and private insurance as a given, not something that could be taken away (from them, that is.)

This is very sad. They've obviously cashed us in and walked away with the money. Where are the rich in the world moving to? I know Vancouver is attracting a lot of money. Here is a game someone posted here a while back:
Follow the money. If you are young and wish a good life, don't stay here. I lived in Mexico for a while. The disparity was profound. I remember seeing a stack of big concrete sewer pipe next to a fancy high-rise apartment building. Every pipe had a rug hung to cover the entrance. Some had smoke drifting out of them. I remember the compounds of the wealthy surrounded by tall cinder-block walls topped with broken glass. This was 40 years ago. I hear there is now economic growth. Look for a thriving middle class. None of this is ideal, but... Otherwise, there are just the rich and their victims. It is called "the concentration of wealth". If someone takes ALL the bananas and guards them in their hut, then there are none for anybody else.

The Tea Party folk I know are dittoheads: They simply parrot and embellish the talk-show propaganda.

The historical human experience it tilted towards societies of a few rich and many poor. The "middle class" is a periodic aberration. You are or can get rich, or you will be poor.

Yes. And I struggled to put that reference in, and took it out more than once. There are places with a middle class on the ascendant. One can join a middle class. There is a new Dot-Com bubble growing in The Silicon Valley, for example. The middle class can be seen as exploiting the poor in cooperation with the wealthy. The poor may hope to better their lot by migrating, but it is an odyssey. "The Seven Deadly Sins" (Das Mittelstandes) presents middle-class values as actually being evils. Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" is more accessible.


What Keeps Mankind Alive?
Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht
Tom Waits


Our current trajectory, is to allow the medical-pharma-industry to maximize profits. hard to see us getting a handle on that, given as out political system, and media system is almost wholly dependendent upon the big money corps. So we have care growing exponentially more expensive, at the same time that the societal appetite for redistribution (taxing the rich to help the poor and middle classes) is declining rapidly. So I do expect we are headed for a two-tiered system: those with plenty of money get all the care they can afford to buy. the rest of us will have to scrabble for what we can get. But, how does this maximize profits for the medical-pharma complex? If only five percent of the pop can afford more than rudimentart care, it will have to shrink. It will be interesting to see how that conflict is resolved.

In the meantime, those of us of moderate means will increasingly rely on medical tourism (going overseas to get lower priced medical proceedures done).

They may want to, but big pharma is hitting a wall this year and next. Numerous patents are expiring.


Won't they simply make a "designer" version with a new name, push the wonders of that name (just the name), and disclose the known side effects of the old name? Like Prilosec and Nexium?

“Me-too” drugs fuel rising costs:

"Nexium was created because AZ’s patent on Prilosec was finally running out, and they wanted to continue to making money from one of their flagship drugs so they released a new version that costs more and performed only partially better. This is the classic definition of a “me-too” drug."

Claritin (loratidine) and Clarinex (desloratidine)
Celexa (citalopram) and Lexapro (escitalopram)
Prilosec (omeprazole) and Nexium (esomeprazole)

"Nexium’s popular just because of the incredible marketing campaign surrounding it."

A favorite subject of mine, KD, as you know.

Cool blog:


"After prescribing SSRIs for twenty years, I, like most of my colleagues, have never found a differential response to different brands. My own clinical experience coincides very closely to recent meta-analyses of three decades of SSRI efficacy studies: about 35-40% of patients (only slightly higher than the placebo response) get a positive response to any SSRI, while 60% fail to improve or experience horrible side effects (http://www.oregoncounseling.org/ArticlesPapers/Documents/TherapyVsRx.htm)."

Same page of the same blog:

...in 2009, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) investigated and came up with the following findings:

* Drug companies spent approximately $20.5 billion on promotional activities (10.8% of total revenue) in 2008.
* In 2008, drug companies spent $38 billion on research and development (20%).
* Drug marketing costs, which grew at rapidly pace between 1988 and 2006 had slowed and had been steady for three years at 10-11%. The CBO felt this was directly related to decreased rate of new drugs coming to market.
* In 2008 drug companies spent only slightly more on promoting new drugs than they did marketing copycat drugs.

One weird artifact of all this is that while there may be some decent drugs with some limited applications -- Seroquel being an atypical antipsychotic that I think may actually have some limited clinical use, and that doesn't seem like a copycat -- at a certain point, one tends to distrust all new drugs because there's so much junk out there. I personally do not take any drug developed after about 1979 unless it's an antibiotic.

Don't get me started on a lot of the cancer drugs, either, or the bizarre endpoints of the studies used to prove their "efficacy."

SSRI's And Environment Strong Autism Contributing Factors Over Genes

Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not take SSRIs.

Lots of nasty games. Asthma had gone off patent. They were designed to run off of CFC propellants. The major drug companies re-engineered them to run off something else, then successfully lobbied the FDA to require the new formulation (we they have protected under patent). So now inhalers again have monopoly pricing. The usual suspects are making propaganda hay "its all the fault of the environmentalists". Whereas in fact it was pushed by big-money pharma lobbyists, seeking profits for their clients.

And we wonder why our health care costs so much more than other advanced countries (who all have better outcomes).

My advice to young people, who aren't part of the elite "leave the friggin country".

Sorry to burst your bubble on this one, but you have it exactly in reverse. CFC propellants were banned first, asthma inhalers were given extra time to continue marketing the CFC versions until replacement inhalers could be designed and introduced. The drug companies did not have them waiting in the wings, they had to design them from scratch and many companies weren't necesarily happy about having to redesign their products, and it took them quite awhile to do so. CFC inhalers stuck around a lot longer than almost any other CFC products. In fact, as of right now, over the counter Primatene Mist is STILL being sold as a CFC version. I believe they have until the end of this year to comply. The FDA required that all of the replacement inhalers be retested and considered them "new drugs", which is why generic albuterol inhalers went away. Primatene Mist MIGHT disappear all-together, as they have to get reapproved, and since it is basically a crap/dangerous product, it is somewhat likely that the FDA will only approve it for prescription use (where no Dr will write Rxs for it), or not approve it at all.

So, if you believe that getting rid of CFCs was a good cause, generic Albuterol was one of the casulties of the ban.

I only know what I read in Kevin Drums blog. I didn't try to link, as it was a couple weeks ago. Fortunately noone in my family needs inhalers, so I don't pay close attention to them.

Perhaps, but this issue is much more solvable than most recognize. Allow the Gov to use its buying power to obtain the lowest drug prices possible. Require new drugs to be substantial more effective than prior drugs or be sold at the same price. Half of the unfunded US obligations just went away

I am much more hopeful since Ryan's proposal on Medicare. Perhaps the elderly now see the choice they face. Obamacare or the tender mercy of corporate America.

We have two tier care and always will. The wealthy who seek out and can afford the best doctors and medicine available get vastly better care than those who use insurance plans.

Below is the link to the article by Brooks on life and death. A reasonable view point from a reasonable person.

Healthcare is like peak oil in one way. It is already at 16% of GDP, quite near the maximum fraction of national income it can possibly consume. How many of you think it will increase 6-fold?


The actor Patrick Swayze explained why he was only going for conventional therapy for his pancreatic cancer by saying that you can your remaining time spend time fighting to live, or spend it living. I hope to have the same courage when it's time for my "death panel."

Latin America holds one fifth of world's oil

Venezuela's reserves rise to 297 billion barrels with heavy oil in the Orinoco Belt and Brazil's capacity is growing.

Net Oil Exports from Canada & Venezuela, plus their combined net output, from 1998 to 2009:


Venezuela's net oil exports fell by about 1.3 mbpd from 1998 to 2009. Obviously, Chavez has not exactly had a positive impact, but the bottom line is that potential recoverable reserves can't be exported until they are turned into real oil production.

Brazil is a net oil importer (counting only petroleum liquids) and their net oil imports increased from 2009 to 2010. Although their production has increased from 2005 to 2010, their consumption to production ratio was unchanged. In other words, they haven't made any material progress toward the 100% C/P mark, where their domestic petroleum consumption would be equal to domestic petroleum production.

Qaddafi forces reported retreating from Brega, Libya

Libya TV reports that the revolutionaries have entered Brega and the forces of Gaddafi area retreating from the town.

15 minutes ago


The eastern most of the three fronts was attacked this morning by the revolutionaries after months of quiet.

Brega is where oil pipelines# from the interior reach the sea. A refinery and offshore oil loading port there.

# There are other oil pipelines from other oil fields that go to other ports.

Best Hopes for a Quick Liberation in Libya,


Yes...if the West is going to involve themselves (and we did), then we/the Europeans need to end this charade idea that the rebels will do the heavy lifting themselves, win the hearts and minds of the people, etc with just some support from us.

That is fiction.

Since we decided to be involved , we need to cut the head off the head snake, and a goodly portion of the lesser snakes which support him. No need for capture and trial, we don't have the time and money for that.

What everyone needs to understand is that there will quickly arise more snakes of a somewhat different stripe. Will we play Pax Americana indefinitely? The depressing answer is that we will try...just wait until we get our hooks into Venezuela.

How does political instability caused/magnified by excessive population in North Africa play into this idea of constructing large solar electricity generating plants in North Africa to serve Europe with trons?

Edit: From Al Jazeera: Why the U.S. won't ever leave Afghanistan: TAP (maybe TAPI someday?)...'Pipelineistan'.

All those nice folks driving their SUVs and pick up trucks with the 'support the troops' magnets need to trade them in for 'support our oil and gas' magnets. Oh, I'm sorry Fox Nation...how un-American of me! Go ahead and tap my phone lines!

need to end this charade idea that the rebels will do the heavy lifting themselves, win the hearts and minds of the people, etc with just some support from us.

That is fiction.

I disagree. NATO has tilted the table towards the popular rebellion, but it is not even acting like the tactical air force for the NLA. Despite the blood, there is value in a people "doing the heavy lifting" for themselves.

I am reminded of the absolutely essential assistance of the French in our own Revolution.


The press conference is over. What I understand from Ahmed Bani is that the bulk & majority of the NLA is still outside Brega. Reports say that Gaddafi forces fled from Brega towards Bishr under heavy FF bombardment & that an FF scout team found it empty. Brega seems to be mostly liberated but the NLA still has to de-mine & secure the area before this can be fully announced.

Best Hopes for Libyan Liberation,


My best hopes for stable, peaceful Libya at some point...a stability and peace which lasts more than a few years.

U.S. 'involvement' in the Horn of Africa "The Secret War in Somalia":


Next at bat: Syria? Iran? KSA? Nigeria? Pakistan? Venezuela?

The Euro Zone is wringing their hands over what do do about the finances of Greece, then next Portugal, Spain, Italy...

and the U.S. cannot wean itself off of deficit spending...but the military 'involvement' from both spheres continues...largely unquestioned, even ignored.

I don't think we have the heart/stomach to do anything about Syria. Iran. We still have quite a few hungering for that one, which would almost certainly end disastrously. Mostly its those who want to do the Israelis heavy lifting (with perhaps Saudi support). Anyone of those on your list would be hugely risky undertakings. The population of Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan is each several times that of Iraq or Afghanistan, and those pushovers are proving to be undigestable.

If oil the interests dropped all the posturing, they would just nuke it flat and pump the oil out from under the glass.


37,000 have died in Mexico fighting to maintain the price of American recreational drugs. Other than how it impacts oil production, there is little drumbeat here to invade and stop this outrage... nor to change the laws and remove the market.


"Police warn border senator known as "Z" off beloved initial"

"Laredo is directly across the Rio Grande river from Nuevo Laredo, a city of more than half a million people and a birthplace of the Zetas, formed in the late 1990s with members of the Mexican military."

Just part of the horizontal integration of the business.

I read, but I remain completely in the dark.

Alan -- can you please explain who "the rebels" are? Do you think that the the rebellion is an indigenous movement of "liberals" interested in "freedom" for the masses?

Seems to me that the American "rebels" in 1770 were hardly the poor farmers -- more likely rich merchants and manufacturers who allied with the French to change the market conditions for themselves. They weren't interested in "liberating" any one else, so far as I can tell.

Libya is another naked resource grab and it's far from over. It does not appear that the "rebels" (i.e. the usual motley collection of imperial stooges, opportunists, fanatics, special ops., etc.) have much popular support. I know I should not be surprised at how credulous the US population is for obvious propaganda, but it is a bit disconcerting.

I have read the Libya February 17 site for several months. Quite a range of journalists have profiled different groups of fighters. None match your description.

The fighters profiled are a younger cross section of Libyan society, with the educated being heavily over represented, except in the mountain front.


What became of the Egyptian revolution?

The folks in the vids seemed to be younger and better educated there as well.

I am not sure what can be done about their population pyramid though...50% more folks by 2050??? 120M?


Libya...not exactly a poster child of population control either...


"What became of the Egyptian revolution?"

I heard the royalists are secretly busy trying to get their prior titles reinstated and recognised. Which means getting their privileged positions reinstated and presumably a means to regain lost wealth and position. Probably just one of many groups trying to shoehorn themselves into the elite ruling class. The guys in the square, they'll be lied to until they get fed up and form themselves into disgruntled freedom fighters.

can you please explain who "the rebels" are? Do you think that the the rebellion is an indigenous movement of "liberals" interested in "freedom" for the masses?

I think that is largely true. As was the case in Eqypt. That doesn't mean they don't contain people who we would consider to be bad apples. Even with the best of intentions, revolution frequently goes sour. Eqypt is discovering that throwing out Mubarek, isn't bringing them an economic renaissance. I think Libya has more potential. At least the ratio of resources per capita is high enough. But, once the overthrow is complete, if results dissappoint, as is almost inevitable, then the potential for things to go south grows. We will just have to wait and see. And provide whatever little pushes we can, hoping that we can improve the odds that it will turn out decently. [I sure hope we have the humility to define decent, as the best outcome for the Libyan people, and not for oil hungry foreigners.]

The Libyan rebels are the eastern tribes attempting to retake control from the central and western tribes.

The Eastern tribes are only on the front @ Brega. There is also the Misrata front and the Western mountain front.

Three different fronts, three different ethnic mixes. And a failed uprising in Tripoli.

It looks like a pretty general revolt to me.


The depressing answer is that we will try...just wait until we get our hooks into Venezuela.

I suspect that there will be major unrest in Venezuela when Chavez (who is having major health problems) is no longer capable of being "In Charge".

Look at the number of people in their late 70's or 80's that are prominent in the news these days. Soros, Murdock, etc... I suspect there will be some major changine of the guard in the near future as these ultra wealthy dinosaurs all die off and/or become unable to continue to function due to aging.

It remains to be seen as what happens when Chavez exits . The revolution was very complete, with a majority of the population achieving a higher standard of living, so there will little chance of Venezuela returning to its client state status of its past.
It should be interesting. Lots of feedback possibilities, with the available resources.

I don't know about Soros, but Murdoch has a son who seems just as ambitious and unscrupulous as the old man. Generations come and go. Cupidity is forever.

In confess to having a softspot for Soros. I think his heart is in the right place. He is about the only big money donar we have for liberal causes. I don't expect the billionaires driving the rightwing propagandosphere in the Anglosphere (English speaking world), is going to slow much, even if Ruppert M, and David Koch pass on.

""Oh, I'm sorry Fox Nation...how un-American of me! Go ahead and tap my phone lines!""

Do not worry, they already have. It's called the Patriot Act.

""which stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.[1] The Act dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies' ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records; eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.""


The Martian.

End of times filled with seers and prophets ... and hedge fund managers - not peak oil analysts.

..running across a gold-buff site headlining with "An expert says U.S default is inevitable". Having the same gut-feeling i ventured further in search of substance. It was a reference to an article on an economist magazine quoting a cnbc story about some guy at an asset management company claiming all kinds of things about china taking over etc. Apparently the guy had published 'a book' where the answer lay (the actual target for the cnbc story and interview) http://www.cnbc.com/id/43721270

Well, having finally found the book with its own website (https://www.breakingthecodeofhistory.com/) I read the blurbs and clicked on the preview where you get to see the actual book...

Its just a pamphlet - 11 pages of text with two graphs - no references, no sources. Lots of pretty pictures though...

This is the kind of stuff that gets the publicity? Are we doomed or what?

On the same site...I found this!

Pull Into This Sunoco, And Fill Up on Beer


“Buffalo is good testing location because there is a critical mass of Sunoco retail locations,” says Thomas Golembeski, a Sunoco spokesman. “There’s also a large beer-loving community and a strong group of microbreweries in the area.”

The cost of the beer itself can range from $7.99 to as much as $16.99 depending on the type selected. Since open containers are not allowed in New York State, the store places a sticker on the cap to seal the jug shut.

Ethanol and gasoline are finding more and more ways to mix at the pump!

When I lived in Shreveport/Bossier, there was at least one place right across the S'Port/Bossier bridge which sold Margaritas...it was a drive-through...the open container law was dealt with by the study plastic film placed over the top of the cup!

H - And in New Orleans right after you left the rental car exit at the airport there was a drive thru daquiri shop just in case you couldn't wait half an hour till you got to the French Quarter.

Maybe when gasoline truly becomes dear then the idea of the neighborhood bar (first floors of someone's house who live above on the second floor)will be back in fashion in the formerly house (and churches)-only suburbs. Walk a block to the local pub, shoot some pool, play some darts...talks about how the garden is doin...

I once spent a summer in England managing an old style (actually 890 years old!) English pub, in a small, nondescript country town in Gloucestershire

It was *very* different from what an American/Canadian pub/sports bar is like, or even the Australian ones.
It had a tv in the corner, and it only once ever got turned on while I was there (for a sat afternoon soccer game). We didn't even have piped music - occasional live, or none at all - the owner's theory being that the place should have atmosphere without it - and he was right.

The best way I could describe it is that the pub was an "extension of people's houses", instead of sitting at watching tv after dinner, the locals would come to the pub after dinner, for a drink or two, play darts, talk about the garden, the kids at school, ask if the local carpenter could help them with their back shed, etc. It was an extended family. It is also legal to bring your family, even the dog!

If some of the older regulars (who lived on their own) didn't show, it was not unusual for a phone call to be placed to their home to make sure they were O.K. The Thursday ladies night was quite the institution too - almost got death threats when we suggested showing some rugby game on the tv one Thursday. The husbands knew not to mess with it too - or their own lives would suffer!

The pub was a very valued local institution in those small towns - up there with the school and the church.

This is "real" social networking, perfected centuries before Facebook, and much more genuine.

It also helped that with those dense towns, the entire population of the town was within a five minute walk, easy to drop in for a quick one, and no worries about drinking and driving. It was like a neighbours house where you are always welcome, even as a visitor.

Best hopes for more of the original "public houses" !

A sociologist, Dr. Oldenberg, has studies these types of places, what he calls 'third places'--not home, not work, serving some of the functions of each but having other functions not usually served by either. Anything like these are absent in most suburban housing developments--certainly anyplace most could walk to. In some areas in the US bars and cafes do serve a similar purpose, but they seem rather rare in most of the US.

The book is 'The Great Good Place.'


Yep, the "third place" is a good description of it.

One of the interesting things is that everyone is pretty much equal there - unlike work (and home)!
You are spot on that they are missing from suburbs, just another thing that makes them sterile. The worst attempt is where you then have a bar/tavern as part of a strip mall - ugh!

The cafe/coffee shop is not a bad substitute, though it is not the same, and you aren't likely to spend hours there. Still, for many American towns/suburbs, the local Starbucks is often a better/safer bet than whatever the local bar is.

But when it is placed such that you have to drive there, it has a very different feel, and is not nearly so well patronised.

The modern urban planners and developers sought to eliminate those things as they were not where nice middle class people went, they though of all pubs as being like the one Rockman describes below, so it would thus devalue their suburb. They wanted those things to be in someone else suburb, so their residents could have peace and quiet.

If you don;t have places where the people of the community can get together, for things other than work and home, all you end up with is a housing development, not a community.

Paul – Much that way in New Orleans during my younger days. The common term then was “holding court”. In some ways like TOD except on an obvious personal level. Each would spout off on their topic and the rest would listen. Not unlike a verbal Drumbeat. Anyone could pipe in but of course if it wasn’t interesting folks would tune you out. Most interesting experience: sitting in a French Quarter bar on a hot afternoon began chatting with a very interesting fellow. He had traveled the world as a merchant seaman. My dad was a MM engineer so I tended to migrate to such bars close to the river. Great story teller. Bought each other beers for a couple of hours. Finally another fellow came in and sat at the other end of the bar. My bar mate said this was the guy he’s been waiting for but said he hoped he would run into me again. Shook hands and he walked over the other guy, didn’t say a word, grabbed his arm and broke it over the edge of the bar. A sound so ugly I can’t describe it. Then he turned around, still without a word, and walked out. Apparently he was a “messenger”. Not sure what the message was but I’m sure the fellow with the broken arm understood.

The Quarter can be a very interesting place on several levels, eh Alan? Are you old enough to remember the Jungle Bar on Canal?

Seems this experiment would be better tried in Montana. There, you can drink and drive legally. Well, a few years ago, anyway.

New understanding of a carbon feedback loop that shows that loss of carbon from top soils can accelerate so rapidly it is referred to as the 'compost bomb.'


"Knowledge" and Information are not outside the Laws of Thermodynamics

(Attention OldFarmerMac: It appears that the moderators have deleted our conversation just as I was about to post some scientific evidence. Here's what I had planned to post:)

Whatever knowledge really is is, ...

My facetious tome upthread is double edged.

In making fun of Senator Inhofe and his flock of science flagellating foo foo birds, we ourselves become a flock of self flattering bird heads, feeling smug in our intellectual superiority and moral one-upsmanship over the obviously one-marble-shy others.

But the truth is that we (me, you and Inhofe) are pretty much the same, all cut of the same DNA cloth.

Those of us who have studied the subject, well "know" and understand that:

1) Information (raw data) is NOT knowledge.
2) Knowledge is something more, it requires the construction of a valid model of how the information operatively interacts (or not).
3) Knowledge is NOT wisdom.
4) Wisdom goes one step above knowledge because it allows one to critically assess the validity of one body of knowledge versus another and to come to a rational determination as to which is probably (but not absolutely) more correct than the other.

Computer scientists know ... (and in this I mean those who are real scientists who have studied physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, etc. and not the quacks who label themselves as economic and information technology "scientists"), they know that to merely flip one bit in a binary data system and have the bit stay in its new state (to remain as stored data, stored information) one must use an entropic process, where waste heat is given off.

The result comes simply from the conservation laws of mass and energy:

Old Data Bit (and its embedded energy) + Added Energy of Transformation
= ...((where equals means becomes here))
New/flipped Data Bit (and its embedded energy) + Left Behind Energy of Transformation

Computers run hot.
And one reason is that they must, must dissipate that "Left Behind Energy of Transformation" in order for a memory write operation to stick. Otherwise the reaction (think of it as a chemical reaction) can quickly reverse itself an indeterminant number of times:

Self-reversing information creation reaction:

New Data Bit (and its embedded energy) + Left Behind Energy of First Transformation
= ((becomes))
Old Data Bit (and its embedded energy) + Left Behind part of (Left Behind Energy of First Transformation)

Therefore the mere creation of "information" (raw data) must, must consume energy.

"Knowledge" is a quantum leap beyond "information" and requires yet more energy.

Now don't get me wrong.

Senator Inhofe has "knowledge". He knows sure as the grass grows in Oklahoma to the height of an elephant's eye that Al Gore and his Global Frog Cooking theories must be wrong.

Senator Inhofe gets "steaming" mad when he proselytizes to his politic base about the righteousness of their held-onto knowledge base. That hot headed ranting alone proves that "knowledge" is not free of the laws of thermodynamics.

Do Inhofe and his following flock of foo foo birds have "Wisdom"?

That, alas, is a topic open for debate.

Thanks for the comment step back, yeah, too bad the mods deleted our conversation just when it was about to get interesting. C'est la vie...

Here's a link containing lots of information, I especially like the "Exploit The Earth or Die", Banner.


And yes, these people too, are cut from the same DNA cloth. They are even capable of cognition... yet there is something about them that just doesn't seem quite right...

FMagyar, thanks for the link it's in my favorites.

deleted our conversation just when it was about to get interesting

FMagyar: (sorry for mistyping your name above)

I think the deletion was my fault, in having embedded an image in the post --that's probably why we got deleted by the moderator.

Anyway, the more important take away from our conversation is this:

Energy consumption is required for all Information Technologies (IT), even for the mere flipping of a computer bit.

The notion that "Liberals" have the science wrong about this is Neanderthal to say the least.

It appears to me that the right wing politicians of this country (USA --and maybe the same is happening in other places) are so desperate to maintain their world view (even as its facades crumble all about) that they try to label scientific principles as "liberal" or "conservative".

Science is neither left wing nor right wing.

It just is.

Mother Nature is unmoved by the fanatical "free market" noises made by our "left behind" brethren, namely, those who are so Neanderthal in their way of thinking that they reject all principles of science, even the "conservative" one about conservation of mass and energy.

Now of course, this throw back way of thinking is nothing new in history.
Even after the Age of Enlightenment, there were political movements that rejected science and wished to return to the age of sorcery and witch burning.

The Climate Change deniers,
The Peak Oil deniers,
The Malthus deniers,
... they are all part of a throw back era.

Desperate times, desperate people, these all fuel the fires of a Fahrenheit 451 future, when the anti-intellectuals take over and purge the world of rationality. We appear to be heading in that direction yet again.

Took a very quick look at The Objective Standard-- what a truly absurd name. A philosophical tangent if I may:

"We hold that reality is an absolute—that facts are facts, regardless of anyone’s hopes, fears, or desires."

Well, yes, that's fine as far as it goes. The turd in the punchbowl: All facts are known with variable degrees of certainty, and there is almost always some situation when they will not be true.

The most common classroom example of this is the Angle Addition Postulate: one may say that three angles of a triangle will always add up to 180 degrees. But, of course, this is only valid in a flat plane, and before you know it, we've got Mobius strips and Klein bottles, etc. And oh, wow, bummer, rates of atomic decay may even be variable...


So there are some facts knowable with 99.9999...(etc.)% certainty, and usually this won't matter... until suddenly, and quite unfortunately, you find yourself in a situation when it does.

For some reason, it seems that as a species, we are incapable of maintaining an enduring, fact-based but plastic belief system or philosophy-- like: "We are basing our conclusions on A, which we believe is true with 99% certainty, B, which we believe is true with 75% certainty, C, which we believe is true with 83% certainty." There are moments when it seems like we're on our way to creating something like this, but it always gets shot down by the book-burners, as you say, SB.

The reason for this, I think, has something to do with neural nets and the fight or flight system. As a species, we are biased to believe that something is all good or all bad. It must be binary; we have to make a decision or the predator will eat us. Melanie Klein called this "splitting." We have a compulsion to regard facts as absolute, to write QED at the end of a proof. Bach has to resolve the major triad, even though the mathematics of music don't quite work, either, and you have to temper the damn scale.

Living with ambiguity has probably been a very daunting task throughout the course of human history, but as we approach the bottleneck, it may become a really vital adaptive skill.

But, of course, I'm not certain of this. I am only 64.3% sure.

See Reversible Computing

Probably the largest motivation for the study of technologies aimed at actually implementing reversible computing is that they offer what is predicted to be the only potential way to improve the energy efficiency of computers beyond the fundamental von Neumann-Landauer limit of kT ln(2) energy dissipated per irreversible bit operation.

Hi Merrill,

I was aware of efforts at reversible computing when writing the above.

The problem, however, is that one wants "deterministic" computing as well.
In other words, when you flip a bit, the outcome stays rather than reversing an indeterminable number of times.
(Also you need good noise tolerance.)

In order to have that deterministic stickiness of outcome, and high noise toleance, you have to dissipate away waste energy in an entropic process.

That of course is the least of your worries when counting how much energy the "information" age consumes because in today's modern Internet world we have thousands of disk farm buildings being air-conditioned round the clock so they don't overheat. We have billions of packets being transmitted back and forth. All that consumes energy too.

Those who don't know any better (they lack "knowledge") believe for themselves and would have others believe that the "information" age is an energy-independent nirvana. They forget to keep an eye on the back hoe digging up the streets every other day to fix a broken fiber cable.

Although in practice no nonstationary physical process can be exactly physically reversible or isentropic

quote is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reversible_computing

Cellulosic Ethanol and Unicorns

The EPA punishes oil refiners for not buying a product no one makes.

The 2007 energy bill vastly increased the volume of corn ethanol that must be blended into gasoline, though it also included mandates for cellulosic ethanol. These are the second-generation fuels made from stocks like switch grass or the wood chips that George W. Bush invoked in his 2006 State of the Union. At the time, no such fuels were being produced on a commercial scale, but cellulosic producers and the green lobby assured Congress they were just about to turn the corner, and both the Bush and Obama Administration furnished handsome subsidies.

The EPA set the 2011 standard at six million gallons. Reality hasn't cooperated. Zero gallons have been produced in the last six months and the corner isn't visible over the next six months either. The EPA has only approved a single plant to sell the stuff, operated by Range Fuels near Soperton, Georgia. The company used to be a press corps favorite and has been lauded by the last two Presidents, but it shut down its cellulosic operations earlier this year to work through technical snafus.


Corn Ethanol Is Dead, Long Live Corn Ethanol


In the short run, to be sure, Brazil is not expected to be a major factor in the U.S. market: With domestic demand high and current production unexpectedly low, Brazilian ethanol prices are much higher than U.S. prices. That's yet another reason why U.S. Congress is almost sure to decide to save the Treasury $6 billion a year by ending subsidies and tariffs.

With the end of ethanol subsidies, we will be in a situation where oil is subsidized and the main renewable fuel is not. But it's okay. It's what the people want. Sigh.

Good!!! I hate ethanol made from food. Even worse, when I have to buy it at the gas station they sell it at the same price as regular gasoline even though it sucks up water and the BTU content is far less.

I agree with you...oil subsidies should end as well.

Residents of Minot, ND have an opportunity to rebuild their homes on the North and South Plateaus after the flood.




I have talked with friends up there about the idea of turning much of the valley into a greenway...undeveloped parkland, along with athletic fields, etc.

When the folks I was talking with said that they were disappointed in the amount of compensation that homeowners would receive from FEMA, I asked them about the state of ND pitching in, since it has a surplus and its own state bank, and unemployment was very low in the state.

They said that the state is worried that the Baaken oil boom will be over in ~ 10 years and was hesitant to spend much of its money.

I offered the idea that perhaps due to the nature of the formation that the oil would be extracted at relatively modest rates, but for a considerable amount of time, then they moved on to expressing fears of fracing and their water quality.

I tried to reprise Rockman's explanation of the dangers of fracing (focusing on disposing produced fluids). I said that perhaps ND should audit Texas's laws and emulate their strict enforcement, and they tied this thought into their complaint that the EPA 'wasn't doing its job' and that 'we should have uniform rules about this (fracing) (across the country).

I realized several ironies here:

1) Many folks I knew up there back when Katrina hit thought that people in New Orleans whined too much and expected too much out of FEMA.

2) They want more Federal monies than are being offered yet their own state is being stingy with its money, and ND is one of the most financially sound states in the Union!

3) Many of these folks were previously into the idea of profound austerity measures including eliminating the EPA.

4) Many of these folks were previously into the state's rights mantra and now they want the EPA to enforce 'uniform measures'.

I always encourage folks to do a lot of reading on topics that concern/interest them and to engage in critical thinking.

Best hopes for Minot turning its valley into a greenway and rebuilding homes and businesses on the high ground.

How about just take out all the Levy's , and let the river go on its natural course? Wildlife and fish will return, and we would be on our way to a partially recovering ecosystem.
Of course, economic growth will be curtailed, and people would need to live within the rhythms of the land they inhabit.

trekker - I understand your view. But I suggest you research the economic value of the Miss. River. If what you suggest would happen (and Mother could do it all by Herself one day) the economy of the entire country would be destoyed. It would make the Great Depression look like a boom time. It might not be obvious so think on it a bit. Mucho unintended consequences.

I do understand how artificial and engineered the Mississippi is, and how important river navigation is to our current paradigm, but it going to eventually happen anyway, why not have some intelligent input into the process? We can only kill ecosystems, destroy topsoil, and drain aquifers for so long, before the consequences catch up with our ability to discount the future.
Plus, that big dead zone down in the gulf will disappear, and make for easier drilling!
As a side bonus, our native perennial grasses may make a comeback, along with a few buffalo, we could sequester a huge amount of carbon.


perhaps we could at least start with the Souris River, eh?

It comes down from Canada, makes a U-turn at Minot, ND, and goes back to Canada.

Not navigable...no gigantic consequences such as would be found with knocking the levees down on the Mississip.

We could at least undo some of the damage on the smaller scales first...

I'm up for starting anywhere where we can start healing the planet.
Sounds great!
My first choice would be dam removal on the Snake.

I fish the snake, and use the dams' lock systems - one pushes a doorbell on one end in the off season but it's a pretty busy lock in the summer months. If it wasn't for the dams, much of the snake would be inaccessible to fishing (by boat especially), as it's the roads leading to the dams that make it possible to get close. That, together with shipping as far as Lewiston (including barging the Athabasca megaloads), would have a human toll.

All to save the Salmon ... good luck convincing everybody.

trekker - Unfortunately I think it's a problem with no solution. Like so many other situations (like alts or higher fuel taxes) we might have been able to do something constructive had we begun 30 or 40 years ago.

Here's one hint about letting the river run free: overnight the country would lose a huge amount oil and NG producton. That alone would destroy the national ecomony. Research "Atchafalaya Basin Pipelines" and "Miss. River refineries" if you want to dig into the details.

If you're an action fiction reader search for a Clive Cussler novel "Flood Tide". Deals with exactly this scenario. But not nearly realistic enough.

I am very interested in this issue. I know maintaining the Mississippi is a big (as in "very big") infrastructure project. One day funds will begin to decline. Cuts will be made to regular maintanace. I higly doubt this level of maintainance can go on in a post PO world. And I guess budget cuts are just around the corner. IT is gonna be an interesting watch.

jedi - Even maintanace might not save the day. Back in the early 70's the river came close to diverting down the basins as a result of very high spring run off. Had it breached the levee north of Baton Rouge no force on earth could have gotten it back into the main channel. And it might have taken a great many decades to stablize before it could be used. I'm not exagerating at all: if it had happened it would have destroyed the entire economy. And millions around the world would have also starved without our grain exports.

Two additional structures were added (one a hydroelectric plant) for additional diversions down the Atchafalaya. And 40 more years of regulated diversions (30% of Mississippi River flow) down the Atchafalaya have built up sediment.

This was noted when water diverted for the first time in decades down the tertiary diversion structure took TWO DAYS longer than expected to reach roads and communities in the Atchafalaya Basin.

Gov. Jindal and the Corps made a bad decision in the recent historic flooding. We could have rebuilt wetlands and damaged/destroyed oyster beds (damaged from BP spill). We saved the oyster beds.

Best Hopes for Ole Man River and New Orleans,


Gov. Jindal and the Corps made a bad decision in the recent historic flooding. We could have rebuilt wetlands and damaged/destroyed oyster beds (damaged from BP spill). We saved the oyster beds.

Let me guess. Oyster beds would be an immediate economic hit. Wetlands is a long term concern, for stuff like hurricane protection. So we can have visible damage within the political cycle, or theoretical damage at some unspecified time in the future. Saving one's political butt always comes first.

Rivers are very "holistic" systems. If you mess with it on point A, everything else downstream from there will be affected, all the way down to the delta. Geology, ecology, it all ties together. Look at a map of the mainland US and see how much of it is Mississippi runoff territory (I'd guess some 80%) and you get an idea of the scale of the problem. The Mississippi must be THE hardest river in the world to restore. Meaning problems await.

H – Some interesting points I’ll expand. I don’t know what the rules are in N Dakota. But some years ago I drilled a few wells in KY and was shocked to find the state did almost to monitor oil patch activities. Instead they turned the responsibility over to the EPA. I filed my paper work with their closest office…Atlanta, Georgia. From what I could tell the EPA had no personnel in KY…at least not permanent. For instance the EPA did not allow any of my ground discharge to contain any salt water. And how did they know I complied? Easy: every week I sent them a report that said I was in compliance. Did I case my well at a sufficient depth to protect the fresh water aquifer? Well…I sent them another report saying I did.

Apparently the states can opt out of much environmental monitoring by relegating it to the feds. Which is why you almost never hear of the EPA involved in any matters in Texas: we avoid fed involvement in Texas with a passion. A historical side note: in case you didn’t know Texas was never a territory. We were an independent country that voluntarily joined the Union. But there were rules. The feds are not allowed to own land in Texas. If you’ve never noticed there are no federal parks in Texas. All state parks and just the way we like them. While the western states are dominated by the BLM it’s virtually unknown in Texas. And you rarely hear of Corps of Engineers activity in the state. BTW: 93% of the surface of Nevada belongs to the feds. The other 7% belongs to individuals. The Texas State Monument (which I see every day while commuting) is a little bit taller than the Washington Monument…and not by accident. One last bit of trivia: all state flags are required to fly a bit lower than the Stars and Stripes when flown together. All states but Texas. Our state flag pole can be the same height as the US flag pole. And many are.

And back to FEMA. Yep lots of folks were critical of their response with Katrina and other incidents. But lots of folks didn’t understand what “FEMA” stood for: Federal Emergency Management Agency. And the key word is “MANAGEMENT”. There isn’t and never was a huge fleet of FEMA helicopters and trucks or huge stock piles of supplies and thousand of personnel just standing by waiting to come to rescue. Their primary task is to coordinate fed and STATE emergency efforts. They never were designed to put a meaningful number of boots on the ground. What was truly lacking in Katrina was the state’s response along with a rather timid response by the feds. Obviously can't coordinate whats not there. The primary response force was supposed to be the La. National Guard deployed by the local politicians. Granted no one involved in Katrina earned a gold star but the first responders were to be the locals…not the feds. And many apparently missed the bus. But more than few did put their butts on the line. As well as a few folks from Texas. I was part of a convoy (of oil patch company trucks) carrying many thousands of gallons of water to the area but were turned round by state police. I could understand them not wanting more folks, especially non-professionals, in the theater. But back to that lack of local coordination. So we just piled the cases up at a truck stop on the Intersate and told the state troppers.

And I think that misconception is even stronger today. And actively encouraged by many state politicians trying to deal with their own budgetary problems. And so far the feds seem to be content to foster more reliance on the “nanny state”: just keep electing “us” and we will always take care of you. Be interesting as we slide further down the PO trail how everyone, including the feds, try to maintain such expectations.

Federal aid was turned away from New Orleans and towards the Casino Coast. According to first responders in Gulfport and Biloxi I have personally talked to, on the second and third day, they had more food and water than they knew what to do with.

The clearest example was the USS Bataan, a helicopter carrier and USMC assault ship. 600 hospital beds (we could have supplied the personnel from our stranded hospitals), many tons of MREs and the ability to desalt 100,000 gallons of water/day. She was returning from exercises to protect the Panama Canal and only USN in the Gulf.

The captains plan was to follow behind Katrina and provide first relief to Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes# by sailing upriver, and then onto New Orleans to evacuate the hospitals, etc. She would have docked at either the US Navy base in the Upper 9th Ward or at the cruise ship terminal behind the Convention Center.

She was ordered to wait off the coast at the mouth of the river.

The captain, on his own authority, sent an LST upriver with 170 tons of supplies (rated capacity, perhaps overloaded due to smooth river waters) and a doctor. She got to within 40 miles of New Orleans, after stopping twice looking for people, when ordered by Washington to deploy to the Mississippi Coast. There both the captain and the Pentagon said she was "under utilized".

Many other examples of a deliberate policy to, as Michael Brown later admitted, "embarrass Democratic elected officials and make Republicans look good".

And the first Katrina/Rita relief/rebuild bill (R Senate & House back then) said that no one state would get more than 45% of relief funds. Louisiana had 80% of the damage, so *FIVE* times the relief/rebuild dollars for Republicans per dollar of damage than for Louisiana.

Best Hopes for the Truth !


# The first responders to reach St. Bernard & Plaquemines Parish were from British Columbia Search & Rescue. After DRIVING in from the Canadian Pacific coast, they did not check in with FEMA, but instead asked "who have you not heard from" ? Those two parishes failed to file the appropriate form with FEMA asking for help.

In the aftermath, Mississippi City & County invoices were paid promptly by FEMA, while Louisiana invoices were scrutinized more closely. St. Bernard got theirs quick paid when they threatened to shut down the Parish, dismiss all police & employees due to lack of cash. Step one would be to inform the two recently restated refineries that they had XX hours to safely shut down and evacuate. That threat to gasolien supplies got their invoices paid !

FEMA contractors (from Texas with R connections I heard) searched for dead bodies, but missed over 100 (typical for Texas contractors). NOFD, etc. repeated the search till the city ran out of money just before Christmas.

We had the first Mardi Gras in order to get enough money to search for dead bodies. FEMA refused to pay for the search, since they already had. Months later they did, because of the 100+ bodies overlooked by FEMA contractors.

FEMA deliberately screwed New Orleans for years afterwards.

No federal parks in Texas? Well, at least one big one:


(800,000 acres)


you beat me to it!

My family and I drove from Shreveport one year and spent a wonderful Thanksgiving week in Big Bend...very, very few people, one of the nicest National Park experiences we have ever had!

Camped by the Rio Grande, owls hooted at us at night, javelinas prowling around, it was great!

Terlingua has dome good eats, we had a blast! Didn't make to Marfa to catch the Marfa lights though!

I highly recommend this park for those who like some measure of solitude...it was very mild temps in November...

Rockman, check this out:


Guadalupe Mountains NP, Padre Island National Seashore...

We won't let these facts spoil the 'Texas, its like a whole 'nuther country' thing!

stclair - Opps.,,thanks. Forgot about the Big Bend. Tend to think of it as state run. Can't remember the details but it came about to some degree by negotiations between Mexico and the US govt since it sits right on the border. Very interesting area but so remote even the vast majority of Texans have never been there.

even the vast majority of Texans have never been there.

Rock, please let us not ruin the park...I go to some places to be away from people and closer to other creatures of nature...is it too late for us to ask the Moderator to remove all references to Big Bend from this list?


I remember reading that Texas had more US Army Corp of Engineers dams than any other state. Google "Corps of Engineers Texas dams".

And then there is the Houston Ship Channel. And Guadeloupe National Park.

But the Texas mythos dies very hard,


Damn right Alan! Heck...guess I've been in Texas too long. OMG...I'm one of them now!

Rock, Glad to hear as your reason for not knowing about all things national/federal in Tejas is because you are not from here... And no, you're not one of us or else you wouldn't have made that mistake. ;-)

It is hard to resist piling on some more, but here goes:

Fort Bliss is a United States Army post in the U.S. states of New Mexico and Texas. With an area of about 1,700 square miles (4,400 km2), it is the Army's second-largest installation behind the adjacent White Sands Missile Range.

List of (Federal) military installations in Texas:


Then I found these references...I am not sure what this is...



How about the NASA Manned Space Flight Center near Houston?

Also, the Padre Island National Seashore? http://www.nps.gov/applications/parksearch/state.cfm?st=tx for National Parks in Texas.

Texas has had a large Congressional delegation, with many very senior Representatives and Senators on powerful committees that have brought abundant Federal pork back to Texas. Not to mention a President or three.

Federal Court Houses?

Federal Prisons?


I am involved in projects to repair or build new aboveground storage tanks in West Texas. After the erection or repairs the tanks have to be hydrostatic tested for structural integrity. These are 30 to 120K BBL tanks. All repaired tanks are cleaned and washed before repairs to prevent BOOM! All new tanks are pressure washed before filling and after strapping the tanks.
The Texas Railroad Comission issues the permits to allow the water to be discharged on the ground. First the water has to be tested prior to filling the tank and the water must meet drinking water standards. Then before the water is discharged the water again has to be tested. The water has to be tested two more times during the discharge process. All these test reports must be submitted to Austin along with pictures of the discharge and erosion preventing measures which are part of the discharge permit.
Again this is fresh water.
Most people have the impression the oil and gas industry in Texas is a freewheeling , get away with anything business. I know what the penalties are if I do not follow the terms of my permit and they are draconian. All I have to do is follow them. They are not unreasonable and while there is a cost involved, it is modest. The company I work for has no issue what so ever with this cost.
The same when cleaning these tanks. The disposal of the material is tightly controled and monitored. And everyone I know in the business follows the rules. The cost not to do so is too high. I have been checkd by TRRC on several occasions. And as a contract employee, there is no reason not to follow the rules. I do not get a dollar more to cut or allow a cut corner. Maybe further up the food chain things are not followed, but what I do in the field they are.

Great insights into some very well-run state environmental policies...Kudos to Texas!

Yet I find it very interesting that if these same strictures were levied by the Feds, there would be howls of 'nanny state', idiocracy', and 'big government'.

If every state were as good as Texas seems to be according to these reports on TOD, then perhaps we would have less of a need for Federal agencies such as the EPA.

If every state were as good as Texas seems to be according to these reports on TOD, then perhaps we would have less of a need for Federal agencies such as the EPA.

Quite so - then the EPA would simply be the place that gathered all the State information.

One of the things I have never been able to understand about US government, is where the responsibility lies on things like environmental protection - is it a State responsibility, or not? That some states seem to "delegate" to the EPA and others do not just seems silly. If it is a State responsibility, then the Fed EPA should refuse to administer, as it is not their responsibility.

And having some states do their own regulations, and some not, is just another thing that makes the US a harder, not easier, place to do business.

In an ideal world, each state would be doing their own regulation and enforcement, as it is always done best at the local level, but there would be a level of consistency between the States - managed by the EPA - to ensure that State X does not allow business to pollute the air/water upstream of State Y, and so on.

From the business point of view, and Rockman and BigKahunna illustrate this, most business are happy to do whatever the rules require them to do, as long as it is clear what the rules are, and that everyone has to follow the same rules - there can be no selective enforcement.

Do this, and business will thrive. Have complex, changing rules, that you might be able to get waived if you lobby/bribe hard enough, or might get blocked by people lodging frivolous lawsuits, and then have to do ridiculous amounts of paperwork for compliance, which is how it is in California, and business will go elsewhere.

It does not matter so much what the rules are, but the clarity and consistency of them, and their enforcement is what counts. That is a lower risk environment for any business - except the lawyers.

States are too small and the borders are too irrationally drawn for states to be really useful as governing entities. Consider that it happens that people live in one state, commute across a second and work in a third.

Especially in the area of pollution controls and environmental protection differing standards in different state make no sense. Consider the Mississippi River, which is a border for MN, WI, IA, IL, MO, KY, TN, AK, MS, and LA at various points.

Merrill – Maybe it’s not so much where the control exists but how well mattes are administrated. My tendency is to prefer more local control which is more influenced by the folks directly affected. You know I have little concern about the actual frac’ng process causing any significant problems (unlike bad disposal). But if the majority of folks who live in NY insist their politicians ban it or the politicians don’t get re-elected then so be it. Doesn’t matter if I and the feds disagree IMHO. OTOH if activities in one state negatively and directly impact a neighboring state then there might be reason for federal intervention. If the people in WY want no speed limits that’s their business…not mine or yours. There may be any number of logical reasons why you and I might disagree. But that doesn’t give us the right to tell them how to live (or how not to kill themselves on their highways). LOL.

But the problem is the “matter of degrees”. Until two weeks ago it wasn’t illegal for municipal treatment facilities in NY to accept frac fluids. Should there have been a federal law banning it? Maybe there was for all I know. Seems at some point a greater authority should override local mandate if there is a clear threat to public well being. But what if a state feels a certain federal law is detrimental to their well being: should they have the authority to override that federal mandate? The feds told Boeing it couldn't move their plant to a different state. That state could certainly benefit from those new jobs just as much as the other state would be hurt with the loss. So how would you decide, King Solomon?

Who would you want setting the deed restrictions in your subdivision? Your neighbors? You city council? Your state legislature? A federal agency in D.C.? What about the history book your child uses in school…same choices. I suspect the honest answer from most folks would which ever authority agreed with their position.

Why wouldn't an exploration and production company want to have a single uniform set of requirements for drilling in the Marcellus shale instead of several state requirements?

Wouldn't this also make sense to protect environmental units like the Susquehenna River watershed that involves NY and PA and also MD and VA, since it flows into the Cheasapeake Bay? Note also that the shale extends to the Delaware River watershed and the Ohio River watershed, the last of which enters the Mississippi. As it is there is continual squabbling between the several state capitols.

Note that if labor laws were uniform nationally and if states weren't continually attempting to induce corporations to move from other states to theirs (a negative sum game), there wouldn't have been an issue with Boeing moving from one state to another.

Deed restrictions should be local. However, how deeds are recorded and how mortgages work and are recorded against the deeds should be standardized nationally. As it is, this all varies widely from state to state. In order to create a national market for mortgage backed securities, the Ginnie, Freddie, and the mortgage lenders worked to create MERS, an institution of dubious legality and efficiecy. Since mortgage lending is a key banking business, when interstate branch banks were permitted, the whole area of mortgage laws and real estate law should have been standardized as well. The failure to do so is partly responsible for the current mess.

Merrill -Valid point. As much as the oil patch might bitch about the regs for drilling offshore at least the rules and process are very clear and consistent. Time consuming and sometimes inefficient but very predictable. In fact it created a small cottage industry of companies that specialize in pushing the paper work through for the operators.

Back to states rights. Simply one size seldom fits all. I still fall back on the same position: if a state's environmental policies don't adversely affect another state they should set their own rules. But there should still be some external control in extreme cases. If State X wants to put poison into the air that's actually making folks sick or killing them then the feds should move in. But what if State Y wants to have junk food machines in their high school cafeterias? Not a healthy choice for the kids but should the feds overrule local opinion? Back to my earlier point: matters of degree. Who decides where the tipping point is? These days it seems as though the decision ends up in some court.

Rock, I thought Big Bend was part of the national park system. Does it have a special status? And Padre Island? What is its status?


Please read the page at this link:


We can see that all the places listed have the word 'National' in their names.

All the green areas on the map of Teas are National Parkland.

Big Bend National Park
Guadalupe National Park
Padre Island National Seashore

and the others listed...

Hello Rock! Our favorite place to take our horses & trail ride is LBJ Grasslands,
north of Decatur, TX. As far as I know, it is federal owned...about 75 miles of really nice trails.

You should have your friends contact some folks in Valmeyer, Illinois to ask about their experience moving a town out of the flood plain.

Thank you for the link...hopefully Minot, ND will learn from this...

Socialism is when other people get the money. If this debt ceiling doesn't get passed, shut down the red states.

UN Climate Body Struggling to Pinpoint Rising Sea Levels

The United Nations' forecast of how quickly global sea levels will rise this century is vital in determining how much money might be needed to combat the phenomenon. But predictions by researchers vary wildly, and the attempt to find consensus has become fractious.

I just read this article, and, based on the great uncertainties we currently have in our understanding of these issues, I hold little hope that any number (even if rather on the low side) issued by this body will be accorded much credibility by the vast majority of the folks in the World.

Regarding the Climate Action Map above: The only country in Europe rated green (very good) is also the only oil producer in Europe. That is interesting.

Start-up wants to burn nuclear waste to make electricity.


The debt 'crisis' theater in the U.S prattles on:


The White House and congressional aides labored Sunday for a way out of the impasse that threatens a default on U.S. debt payments and a potential global economic catastrophe, but neither President Barack Obama nor his Republican opponents were showing a willingness to compromise on the key issue of raising taxes.

This passage is typical of the nonsense that is spouted by news organization in their attempt to seem to be 'balanced'.

Excuse me, but a the President has already pissed off the more hard-line (and less rational) members of the left by offering cuts for Medicare, Social Security, etc. It is not correct that the President is 'not showing a willingness to compromise' by insisting on at least some paltry token tax revenue increases, vice zero, in consideration of his willingness to provide spending cuts.

The intransigence is squarely and solely on the R's for this impasse.

This is absolutely theater.

The government holds a gun to its own head
and offers to negotiate.

If the USA did default and walk away,
Its imperialist days would be over.
The grip of oil would be broken.
The banks would "take a haircut".


Total theater.

To what end?
Are you enjoying this show?
Would default set us free?

Sounds plausible and thus far, the market clearly subscribes to what you are saying. It is a sound theory unless the people who have recently been elected to congress are as truly crazy as they sound, and if people like Michelle Bachmann are truly as crazy as they sound. Which is possible. I still think it would be prudent to be mostly out of the market until this blows over. In the mean time, the economy is on its own and I think things will set up nicely for the Republicans by the next election. So, mission accomplished, if one happens to be a Republican.

So, mission accomplished, if one happens to be a Republican.

I think its not very predictable how its going to go down. Aren't pundits on both sides claiming it will do untold damage to the other side? A lot depends upon what happens, and who the media and lower informed voters blame more. I doubt there is much correlation of culpability nad blame.

What Happened to the $2.6 Trillion Social Security Trust Fund?


"If the budget crisis has done nothing else, it has exposed the decades-long lie about the solvency of the Social Security trust fund. The trust fund may be backed by the “full faith and credit of the federal government,” as defenders constantly remind us, but if it had real assets the president wouldn’t be talking about seniors missing their checks."

The money was borrowed by the government and spent on the Vietnam war and on oil. Then the lie has been told that there is the ability to pay based on the full jolly of the U.S. government. Now the lie is revealed, and in plain sight, but without fanfare. Actual default would add a lot of hard, hard reality to the crime the lie covers.

The "trust fund thingy" is (and could never be more than) a claim that future US citizens would make good on promises made decades earlier. If you think about it in real physical terms, it comes down to current workers doing labour to support senior citizens. If there was a pile of securities, it might be easier politically, but physically, it would still require a good bit of future labour be diverted to caring for old folks, as opposed to making stuff for younger people to enjoy.

I don't think anyone anticipated the strength on the Nyet mood sweeping the country (and indeed much of the developed world). So I wouldn't call it a lie, as those making it ten/twenty years ago coulda knowed.

But the trust fund existed.
It was emptied out and spent on adventures.
The cookie jar is empty.
The kids have been telling grandy that it is still full.
It was a lie.
And now there may be no food, or heat, or medicines.

Strictly speaking, the net value of the Trust Fund--from the Federal Government's point of view--was always zero, since it has always been, as far as I know, "invested" in special US Treasury instruments that can't be freely traded. The assets held by one branch of government are matched, dollar for dollar, by the liabilities held by another branch of government.

These special US Treasury instruments were put in the fund to replace the value extracted. They are the IOU.

That's my point. The net value of the Trust Fund has always been zero. Of course, until the Eighties the Trust Fund was relatively small, until Congress decided to "save" Social Security by increasing the Payroll Tax and "investing" the excess in the Trust Fund. The practical effect was to shift a good deal of the cost of running the government on to lower and middle class households.

Ah, well, this is a hot-button topic. There is a lot of revisionist history out there. This article starts after a long history it ignores:
It has these two offerings:
Scenario 1 (Trust Fund is an accounting fiction)
Scenario 2 (Trust Fund represents real economic savings)

I remember the raiding and the IOU.
The money was used to make the politicians more sparkley to the voters. The money was replaced by the IOUs. They are worthless. The money had worth and was used to offset the cost of the Vietnam War and other expenditures.

What are your actual recollections of the time? Remember when the AM radio band had new music all over it? The streets and buses and even the toilet seats in the hospital weren't all covered in gang tagging? When we made everything?


What Keeps Mankind Alive?
Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht
Tom Waits

Unless the trust fund has hard imperishable physical assets, say silos full of grain that could be used to feed old people, it is really just numbers on paper. If those numbers were something a third party would honour, say shares of XOM, then its doesn't depend upon the future faith of the US gov. But simply taking in more then the SS fund spends, otherwise becomes an accounting trick. When the recipients are old and want to collect, something will have to be exchanged that results in real goods and services being diverted from the economy at that time. If the government keeps its promise, even if by simply printing the money, then it kept its bargain with the recipients. If some sort of rebellion ocurs and the new powers that be say "screw the old people", then they are SOL even if they had a "lock box".

I think I'm reading "The earned money went into the government box. When the money is to be paid, it will come out of the government box. Inside the box, it is virtual."
I do not understand this sentence:
"But simply taking in more then the SS fund spends, otherwise becomes an accounting trick."
New"N"=Old"N"+"more"-"less" where more>>less, I understand: an accumulator accumulating more (in a time-sampled system (on the Z-plane: N=N(Z-1)+more-less)).
Yes, if they fail to convert on the output side, then the promised are SOL.

I think they can print money to make good, but not borrow (given the debt ceiling).

Since the gov't apparently does not count money owed to SSN as debt, then external borrowing to repay earlier borrowing would necessarily be new debt.

Am I wrong?

The "trust fund thingy" is (and could never be more than) a claim that future US citizens would make good on promises made decades earlier. If you think about it in real physical terms, it comes down to current workers doing labour to support senior citizens. If there was a pile of securities, it might be easier politically, but physically, it would still require a good bit of future labour be diverted to caring for old folks, as opposed to making stuff for younger people to enjoy.

My 2c worth on the SS trust fund.
In an ideal economic system, a savings of wealth like the SS trust fund would be 'offset' by the rest of the economic system in such a way that the resources necessary to 'pay off' the fund would not get used until the people retiring would need them. In other words, the saving of that amount of wealth would exert a slowing down effect on the general economy. If I'm not mistaken, this is a general economic principle; that is that more savings by either citizens or government entities has a slowing effect on the economy (lower velocity of money, among other things), but this is not a bad thing (in theory) because resources would be held in reserve until the society 'cashes in' on these savings.

Unfortunately, it seems this principle has, in effect, been violated and as KD says, "the cookie jar is empty."

It also makes sense that a growing population makes it increasingly difficult to defer using resources until later. In fact, there is major pressure to extract and use resources as fast as possible. I suspect the notion of savings on such a massive scale and in terms of real resources is not possible in our present world.

I can't catch up to the idea that all those trillions being paid out of people's wages for social security was never put into an account for safe keeping and to collect interest, but rather used to pay day to day govt. bills. And that was done with the idea there was no need to save it, because future generations of workers' social security payments would cover retired workers SS checks. And that idea went kerplunk when it was realised the baby boom generation would start retiring in massive numbers and GDP has dropped from historical norms.

Why does everything have to be a joke? Why can't anything simply be what you would think it should be?

Now that's taxation without representation.

I had a chance to talk many times with a Georgian microenamelist about the fall of Russia. The people, they knew everything on TV was mostly lies. When Russia fell, it was revealed that it was all lies. All lies. "Everything you know is wrong" is fairly correct. Plymouth Rock wasn't the first colony, Jamestown was, and they held slaves. Even Thanksgiving is a lie. It celebrated the slaughter of 700 Indians for its first 100 anniversaries.
This all-pervasiveness makes rational discourse impossible. On top of this groundless foundation, we have the modern corporate media of pure emptiness, "news-talk" programs, and the Murdock machine. They all allude that the social security account is intact. They all allude that social security is the biggest problem facing America right now. These two things can not be true at the same time. Nobody points this out to their audience. And there is no history -total amnesia- in the media world.

Nice insights, KalimankuDenku .

I have come to think quite some time ago that systems of money and finance are all accounting gimmicks...they are all confidence games.

Especially when it comes to numbers in the Trillions...which are all bits in computers...its is hard for me to wrap my cranium around!

Money...a convenient way to 'keep score' (of ,..resource scarcity)...it is worth what we think it is worth...

Thanks as well to Spring Tides below for the link to Mutual Credit...it is mind-expanding to think of alternative paradigms...

I never liked money.
It really bothered me that all the ads from childhood about saving money in a bank were lies. The interest rates did not keep up with the inflation... the money would have evaporated. Or one was invited to open a "Christmas Account" at an even lower interest rate... Christmas for whom? Any money I ever got went into books and equipment, materials, parts, and tools. The money came out of those things and work. It was a great distraction. That was its value. I would ask for very little so that I had freedom and could work on interesting things.

As a child on the SS France, I remember watching the crew clean up the vomit in the corridors at three in the morning. Whatever the money did for the rich, it did not make them happy. They drank themselves sick.

How will QE3 affect oil prices?

Or will high oil prices trigger QE3, et al?

Or will higher oil prices, that trigger QEIII, reduce US currency valuation effectively equalizing oil price increases, but at the risk of eventual hyper-inflation?

Loved it, loved it, loved it. Thanks X, I know we have had our differences on ethanol but today we can agree, this video was the best thing I have seen in a long, long time.

Thanks, and thanks again. I am going to send this link to everyone I know. There are probably a thousand or more video that are placed on the net each day, most of them are garbage and nonsense. But when someone alerts one that is actually worth watching, or like this one, one that is absolutely fantastic, we need someone to alert us of the fact. Else we would never know it was there.

Thanks again.

Ron P.


Here is a video you posted on Gail's thread:

x on July 15, 2011
Located at: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8135#comment-820517

Well worth watching. On the economic shenanigans.

That was pretty good! Minor quibble, we are great apes, not monkeys but that doesn't change anything, so don't go all ape sh!t on me, Ok?

Side note about the plight of all non human, species of great apes in the wild:


The total number of great apes in the world is now probably no more than 400,000, where only 50 years ago it was at least two million."

Interesting slide show with bleeps and voice over. Thanks.

We should point out that the show is self contradicting.

On the one hand (with opposing thumbs), it declares that we monkeys/apes are just "animals" like other animals.
[ i.mage.+]

On the other paw, it implies that the human animal is imbued with "exceptionalism", that we, and only we, have consciousness and can "think".
[ i.mage.+]

The author claims to know what goes on in the brains of antelopes, namely, that they don't "worry", they don't obsess over fitting in with the rest of the herd. According to the slide show, it is only we homo erectus (shave-us ourselves, funny) who "worry" about such things and who concoct delusions for ourselves so that we can keep going, so that we can keep mindlessly reproducing and raping and pillaging the Earth for all the energy resources it might have; as if the Reindeer of St. Matthews Island don't do the same exact thing; as if the Yeast in the Petri dish don't do the same exact thing --to the maximum extent of their abilities.


Meh, the fur heads around here are currently out smarting me while showing their capability of thinking and planning ahead.


Let me add my thanks as well...worth watching!

Interesting documentary on money systems and community currencies :-


Describes some ideas such as Mutual Credit and money systems based on ecological thinking.


From the article:

The Iron Heel is a dystopian[1] novel by American writer Jack London, first published in 1907.

Generally considered to be "the earliest of the modern Dystopian,"[2] it chronicles the rise of an oligarchic tyranny in the United States.

The Oligarchy are the largest monopoly trusts (or robber barons) who manage to squeeze out the middle class by bankrupting most small to mid-sized business

London predicting that the middle class would shrink as monopolistic trusts crushed labor and small to mid-sized businesses.

Plane carrying President's staff to Iran escapes disaster

A Pakistan military C-130 aircraft, carrying staff members of President Asif Ali Zardari to Iran, on Saturday escaped a disaster and returned to Islamabad safely, local media reported.

I wonder who?

From Wikipedia


Shows that Lead-Acid has higher density/kg, am I missing something, I thought Li was supposed to be more efficient. Or is it that since Li is solid it packs more energy in less space with a higher weight.

I read it as Li-Ion had two numbers (probably differnt Li techns) of 1300kiloJoules of 722 kioljoules per kilogram). They had lead acid as 100, so the Lithium was either 13times or 7,2times as much stored energy for the same weight. The table at the bottom compared batteries of different sizes, a car battery being much much larger and heavier than a AA battery.

In any case I would take efficiency to be something else, energy-out divided by energy in, you don't get all the energy expended charging it back. That is not necessarily related to energy density. Energy density is not well defined, do they mean energy per unit weight, or energy per unit volume?

Yea sorry about that...I realized it later, I guess speed reading is taking it's toll.

Anyways what would be the ball park ratio for energy/kg to energy/kg for gasoline vs Lithium taking efficiency into account. I guess the power train losses for both electric and gasoline cars are similar so we can discount that. Without efficiency the ratio is around 35, so a kilo of Diesel would require 35 kilos of Lithium. I guess it would come down a lot lower if we compare a Diesel Engine and a DC motor, possibly 15-20 ?

Or maybe a better figure would be km/kg moved for both technologies.

60 pounds of gasoline is worth 900 pounds of batteries.
Not for any exact situation
Just an old number

On the wall of his cubicle at Hughes G.M. Delco, one guy had a sign "It's the Infrastructure".

I liked the battery trailer swap idea that someone presented here. That's about right. And they could then be of various sizes and come with a little generator, too. Just not much of a chick-magnet.

From the chart:

Material Energy Storage Energy per kg Application Electrochemical 720 kilojoules Laptop computers, mobile devices, some modern automotive engines
Lead-acid battery Electrochemical 100 kilojoules Automotive engine igniton

So the rechargeable Li-Ion battery stores 7.2 times as much energy than the Lead-acid battery per kilogram. Thus, the Li-Ion has 7.2 times the energy density . . . that is very impressive. (The Lithium battery with 1300 KJ/kg energy density is a non-rechargeable battery.)

It is not in the ball-park of gasoline but with a large battery and the very high efficiency of the electric motor, we can build EVs with acceptable ranges. However, the range is generally kept as low as possible in order to keep the vehicles affordable. Around 100 miles has been chosen as the sweet spot for pure EVs. Going lower than that makes the car a bit impractical. Going higher makes the car very very expensive.

I think the "useable" ratio of storage for Li compared to lead-acid is closer to 10:1. The current Li batteries can handle greater depth of discharge for a many more cycles - some up to 5000 cycles.

With the lead acids, if you go below 50% DoD, the cycle life really starts to head south, so the economically useable storage is actually lower.

With batteries and range, you end up reaching a point where adding more batteries doesn't make much difference, as the energy used in carrying that battery for 200 miles is as much as the battery holds. This chart, by David Mackay, uses the theoretical energy densities, which are higher than the useable density, but you get the idea;

The Tesla showed that you can have long range - for a price.

It is a case of lowering peoples expectations for range, and upping them for price, to get them to buy EV's - quite a challenge!

I do think the generator trailer is the simplest solution to the range problem - U-Haul and the like would be all over that.
I can see highway gas stations doing the odd fast charging station, but what I can't see is the Better Place style battery swap taking off. I just can;t see the EV makers agreeing to standardise battery types and sizes for a long time yet. As soon as they do - it removes the ability for them to have a better battery than their competitors.