Drumbeat: July 18, 2011

The New Austerity and the EROI Squeeze

Though not a single politician or mainstream economic analyst has ever made the connection, the new worldwide austerity in public spending traces to a physical cause, as measured by change in EROI — energy return on energy invested. This is the ratio between the energy that comes into the global economy and the energy it takes to produce that energy. Worldwide, the average EROI of oil is down to 20:1 from its original value of 100:1 eighty years ago. This means that our oil-fueled economy simply has less capacity to generate wealth than it did back then, because an increasing share of the energy that used to be dedicated to producing goods and services is being plowed back into securing energy.

Gas glut produces record U.S. exports to Mexico

U.S. natural gas is flowing to Mexico at a record pace as demand for the fuel south of the border provides an outlet for surging supplies that have battered prices.

Exports by pipeline to Mexico, which can’t pump enough gas to meet local needs, reached 42.9 billion cubic feet in April as yields from shale formations drove U.S. output to an all-time high. Producers are shipping the fuel as prices at the Waha hub in west Texas, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) from Mexico, have dropped 65 percent from pre-recession levels in 2008.

Rising shipments to Mexico signal that U.S. gas exports may keep expanding as onshore production climbs, said Biliana Pehlivanova, an analyst at Barclays Capital in New York. U.S. regulators are weighing three proposals to build terminals to liquefy gas and send it to overseas buyers.

Police foil attempt to smuggle diesel

Al Ain: An attempt to smuggle 45 trucks of diesel to the northern emirates was foiled by Al Ain authorities, said an Al Ain Police official.

The official said the authorities in Al Ain have seized 45 trucks driven by Arab and Asian drivers as they tried to smuggle diesel from Al Ain to the northern emirates, in order to take advantage of a recent fuel shortage.

Gas staggering plan for power plants during Ramadan

Aimed at meeting increased demand for gas for the power plants during Ramadan, Petrobangla is planning to start gas staggering from the beginning of the holy month, reports BSS.

Energy crisis: Rather than reduce subsidies, govt increases power outages

ISLAMABAD: In order to reduce the absolute rupee amount it spends on power subsidies, the government is planning on generating and supplying less electricity through the state-owned Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), a move that is likely to result in even longer power outages throughout the country.

Shell, Chevron to hike oil prices anew

MANILA, Philippines - Oil firms Shell Philippines and Chevron Philippines (formerly Caltex) have announced a fuel price hike to be implemented Tuesday.

...With the rising fuel prices, transport group Pasang Masda wants the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to raise the minimum fare for jeepneys to P8.50

Greek Cypriot foreign minister to ‘quit’ over munitions blast

Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou plans to resign, state media reported on Monday,worsening the political crisis resulting from a deadly munitions blast which caused an energy crisis and led to street protests.

No more oil to spill from Montana pipeline: EPA

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The danger of more oil leaking from Exxon Mobil Corp's ruptured pipeline in Montana has ended, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

Chairman comes to defense of oil and gas drillers

The Railroad Commission has long been Texas' buffer against tougher federal regulation of oil and gas. Its alliances with independent producers and key lawmakers helped repel challenges to its authority during the Great Depression and the energy crisis of the 1970s.

Now Washington is investigating how operators have unlocked natural gas from deep shale formations in North Texas and other areas. At issue: hydraulic fracturing, a process that uses huge amounts of water, sand and chemicals to fissure the rock and release the gas.

Failure and Heroism at the IEA

On June 23rd, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the US government announced the intention to tap strategic petroleum reserves (SPRs) of the US and other countries, with an eye to reducing oil prices. The US was to provide 30 million barrels (mb) and other countries a similar amount, for a total draw of 60 million barrels.

The market responded sharply, with oil prices falling nearly $6 / barrel within a day or two; the intervention appeared effective. But it was not too be. Within a week, oil prices had recovered the pre-announcement price. They are even higher now. The market simply absorbed and discounted the news.

The 'Malaise' Speech That Wasn't

The reason the speech is remembered as a failure is because of what followed. “He blew the opportunity that the speech opened up for him,” Mattson explains. “Carter fired his Cabinet, signifying a governmental meltdown. The president’s poll numbers sank again as confusion and disarray took over. Carter could give a great speech, but there were two things he couldn’t manage: to govern well enough to make his language buoy him or to find a way to yoke the energy crisis with concrete civic re-engagement initiative.”

Kurt Cobb: Less energy is better - really

I now make it a staple of my public talks on energy to ask who in the audience has been to Europe. Usually many hands rise. I then explain that Americans seem to love to get on a jet plane, cross the Atlantic, and spend time in a theme park called Europe where good meals abound; interesting and usually friendly people reside; and beautiful, historic cities and breathtaking countryside are everywhere. What they may not know is that by American standards Europeans live in an energy-starved society where the per capita energy consumption is only half that of the United States.

Venezuela Oil Reserves Surpassed Saudi Arabia In 2010-OPEC

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Venezuela's crude oil proven reserves surpassed those of Saudi Arabia in 2010, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its annual statistical bulletin.

In an annual statistical report recently posted on its website, OPEC said Venezuela's proven crude oil reserves had reached 296.5 billion barrels in 2010, up 40.4% year-on-year and higher than Saudi Arabia's 264.5 billion barrels.

Brent Crude Oil Falls on Concern Europe Debt Crisis Will Slow Fuel Demand

Brent crude declined for a third day in London as investors bet that Europe’s worsening debt crisis may slow the economy and crimp fuel demand.

Brent dropped as much as 1 percent before European leaders hold a special summit this week after eight of the region’s banks failed stress tests. Concern that the crisis is spreading pushed the euro lower against the dollar, limiting the appeal of commodities priced in the U.S. currency. Tropical Storm Bret formed north of the Bahamas as the second cyclone of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Somali pirates hijack Emirates oil tanker in Indian Ocean

Addis Ababa - Somali pirates have hijacked a United Arab Emirates-flagged oil tanker in the northern Indian Ocean, the European Union's anti-piracy mission off Somalia said Monday.

Pemex Says 80 Oil Wells Shut Down Yesterday Due to Heavy Rain Re-Starting

Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s largest oil producer, said 80 oil wells it shut down yesterday in the states of Veracruz and Tamaulipas are re-opening today, according to the company’s press office.

Aramco ramps up Karan output

Saudi Arabian state-run energy giant Saudi Aramco has started producing gas from its first non-associated gas field, Karan, in the Persian Gulf.

Hayward unlikely to buy Russian oil assets-sources

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Sistema holding is unlikely to sell its profitable oil assets to former BP chief Tony Hayward, sources at Sistema said on Monday.

Sky News reported over the weekend that Hayward is considering a bid for major Russian oil firms Bashneft and Russneft, part-owned by a Kremlin-friendly billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov's holding company AFK Sistema to create an industry powerhouse.

Halliburton Profit Rises on Oil Spending Growth

Halliburton Co. (HAL), the world’s second- largest oilfield-services provider, said second-quarter profit increased as higher crude prices led to more spending on exploration and production in North America.

Libya rebels claim victory in Brega oil town

(Reuters) - Rebel forces have routed most of Muammar Gaddafi's troops in the Libyan oil town of Brega in the biggest boost for the insurgents' military campaign in eastern Libya in weeks, a rebel spokesman said on Monday.

Russia offers Germany help on rare earths

(Reuters) - Russia is offering Germany closer cooperation on rare earths as well as gas and oil supplies, a Russian official said on Monday ahead of an annual bilateral summit in Germany.

Berlin has been trying to improve German industry's access to the prized metals, which are used to manufacture a range of high-tech products and whose supply has been hit by export curbs by dominant producer China, among other factors.

Nuclear phaseout to hand Kremlin a win in Germany

(Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev goes to Germany to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel with a stronger hand than ever to win a long-held aim: closer access to consumers in the biggest market for Russian gas.

Iran says India owes it $5 bln for oil imports

(Reuters) - Iran said on Monday India's latest payment balance on crude oil imports from the Islamic state stands at $5 billion, the official IRNA news agency quoted the governor of the Central Bank of Iran as saying.

"Payment on oil transactions are (usually) received one or two months after their completion, and consequently there is always a balance of payment standing in favour of Iran," said Mahmoud Bahmani.

BP pipeline leaks oily mixture onto Alaskan tundra

LONDON/ANCHORAGE (Reuters) - BP reported yet another pipeline leak at its Alaskan oilfields, frustrating the oil giant's attempts to rebuild its reputation after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP said on Monday that a pipeline at its 30,000 barrel per day Lisburne field, which is currently closed for maintenance, ruptured during testing and spilled a mixture of methanol and oily water onto the tundra.

The London-based company has a long history of oil spills at its Alaskan pipelines - accidents which have hurt its public image in the U.S., where around 40 percent of its assets are based.

No Vacancies, but Some Reservations

Since the spill last year, messages from the coast have been somewhat mixed, with some businesses arguing that it is continuing to hurt the coast and that more assistance is needed, and others, often led by tourism officials, emphasizing the positive to entice visitors and consumers.

This is not necessarily contradictory, as the effects of the spill were infuriatingly uneven, and a business does not have to be empty to be hurting. But the summer of 2011, a strong one by a variety of measures, has made this balance harder to strike.

Oil, gas industry defends 'fracking'

CHARLTON TWP. - Michigan environmental regulators and the oil and gas industry hope to fend off a political brawl over a method of extracting natural gas that has stirred furious debate around the nation.

Wind of discontent

An environmentalist observing the steady rotation of the hundreds offshore wind turbines at the coast of Germany's North Sea, stretching from the Dutch border all the way up to the islands of Fohr and Sylt, gets a sense of a peaceful tranquility and hopeful enthusiasm: This could be the future of green energy, one possible way to help fight climate change.

Meanwhile, the troubles under the surface of the water usually go unnoticed.

Challenge ahead for solar power in the Gulf

The region's only solar panel factory has to go as far as Australia and Germany to find customers.

Boosting oil production with bacteria

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- In the days of rising oil prices and fears of dwindling supplies, it makes sense to get as much crude as possible out of any given well.

After a well is drilled its natural pressure gradually subsides, eventually making it too costly to pump out the remaining crude. Although a well may seem dry, up to two-thirds of its oil remains underground.

Enter Glori Energy and the bacteria.

Will green initiatives mean oil demand peaks before supply?

A new study into ‘peak oil’ will question whether the theory should really be about ‘peak oil demand’ rather than supply. As concerns about climate change, energy security and oil price volatility coupled with advances in low carbon technology could mean that demand for oil peaks before the world’s capacity to supply it does.

In a landmark multi-client research study, Ricardo Strategic Consulting and Kevin J. Lindemer LLC aim to assess the impact of these factors on the future trajectory of oil demand, to identify the likely tipping point when demand will start to turn down, and address the implications for energy producers, users, regulators and governments as the world starts beating its addiction to oil.

Bermuda: Minister Roban Tables Energy White Paper

The Minister said, “This White Paper provides a nine year plan that will guide Bermuda to take an increasingly sustainable approach toward the production and consumption of energy.”

“If we do not act, sooner or later the cost of electricity, gasoline and diesel will exceed what we can afford. We simply must find more cost-effective and secure ways of meeting our energy needs.”

Builders Push ‘Green’ to Stand Out in Foreclosure-Filled Market

In the 20 years Ron Betenbough’s company has been building homes in west Texas, he’s always been willing to compete on price. Now, in a market crowded with cheap properties, he’s also touting environmentally friendly construction and energy-saving features.

Betenbough Homes has been promoting all its houses as “green” since November, after winning certification under an industry-run program, Betenbough said in a telephone interview. The company didn’t raise prices, absorbing added costs of less than $500 on each of its units, which list for as low as $110,000 in some subdivisions.

Meat Eater's Guide ranks foods by environmental, health effects

Lamb, beef and cheese generate the most greenhouse gases of 20 popular meat, fish, dairy and vegetable proteins, according to a new study from the Environmental Working Group. The Meat Eater's Guide, released by the Washington-based environmental research firm, used a cradle-to-grave life-cycle assessment to determine each food's rank, including the amount of fertilizer used to grow animal feed, as well as data on each food's processing, transportation and disposal.

China plans carbon-trading pilot scheme

China will introduce a pilot scheme for carbon emissions trading and gradually develop a national market as the world's largest polluter seeks to reduce emissions and save energy, state media said.

China will promote the market's development through "punitive" electricity tariffs on power-intensive industries and other new policies, Xie Zhenhua, a top climate official, was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying on Sunday.

Re: Venezuela Oil Reserves Surpassed Saudi Arabia In 2010-OPEC (uptop)

Combined net oil exports from Venezuela & Saudi Arabia (BP):

2005: 11.4 mbpd
2010: 8.9 mbpd*

*Annual combined net export decline rate of 5%/year

Combined Consumption to Production (C/P) Ratios:

2005: 18%
2010: 29%**

**At the 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in the C/P ratio, their combined C/P ratio would approach 100% (and thus zero net oil exports) some time around 2023.

As a "What If" scenario, if Venezuela & Saudi Arabia approached combined zero net oil exports around 2023, their projected post-2010 combined CNE (Cumulative Net Exports) would total about 21 Gb. If nothing else, this demonstrates the "slight" gap between the implication of the article that Venezuela and Saudi Arabia have over 500 Gb of oil available for future use and what a worse case "Net Export Math" analysis shows. But the bottom line is that the 2005 to 2010 data show a combined rate of increase in their C/P ratio of almost 10%/year.

Incidentally, as we all know, Chavez has not had a particularly beneficial impact on Venezuelan oil production, and Venezuela has large unconventional bitumen resources, but Canada is a case history of virtually unrestricted exploitation of bitumen resources, by private companies. Canada's average volumetric increase in annual net oil exports from 2005 to 2010 was about 50,000 bpd per year (BP). In contrast, the combined average annual volumetric decline in combined net oil exports from Venezuela & Saudi Arabia from 2005 to 2010 was about 500,000 bpd per year. So, we would have needed 10 (Ten) Canadas to offset the recent five year decline in combined net oil exports from Venezuela & Saudi Arabia.

Chavez is back in Cuba for chemotherapy.

Bowel cancer survival rates depend heavily on how soon the condition is diagnosed. If chemotherapy is needed in addition to initial surgery, does this indicate a more advanced stage of cancer? Long term survival rates fall sharply.

Production graphs for Venezuela are on my website


Here are the JODI numbers for Venezuela. Remember JODI just takes Venezuela's word for what they produce. The Jodi numbers are out for May. Joint Oil Data Initiative

They have, basically, World oil production down 658,000 barrels per day in May. OPEC was up 64,000 bp/d while non-OPEC was down 722,000 bp/d in May. I say basically because some nations did not report so their April numbers were just carried forward. And there are four countries that do not report so I must use EIA data for those nations. For those four nations the last EIA data, March, was carried forward to May.

Venezuela Oil Production in Thousands of Barrels Per Day, Jan 2002 thru May 2011

The sharp drop downward beginning in December of 2002 went to 737,000 bp/d in January of 2002. That was the strike.

Ron P.

Venezuela did have a peak long ago. But I wonder if they'll turn around eventually as conventional stocks around the world run low and everyone makes a big move heavy oil.

Canada's oil production wasn't so hot until higher prices made oil sands viable.
USA oil production was on terminal decline until deepwater Gulf oil became viable.
Venezuela could also experience such a turnaround. However, it will require lots of investment which they don't seem very good at. But it will happen eventually. Maybe Chavez will figure it out. Maybe he'll die or be voted out and his successor will. Maybe a coup. Maybe an invasion if things get crazy. But one thing is for sure, that oil will be extracted.

This doesn't really answer anything. If Venezuela has more oil than Saudi. And Brazil has another North Sea. And Russia is already pumping more than Saudi -- Where is this peak oil we've been repeatedly warned about?

Sounds to me like we just have a peak of non investment. The major oil companies aren't replacing reserves as fast as they pump them. Sounds like a smart plan. Create false scarcity so prices rise. Meanwhile profits surge because you aren't spending as much on infrastructure investment. The execs look like geniuses and take home huge bonuses. When prices are much higher they can spend $100s of billions and get a much higher return.

Yeah, I know about ROI. It's just another argument for slowing investment until scarcity raises prices. I'm just saying we don't have enough information to call a peak. There's demand destruction and there's game theory. It's all just a wild ass guess.

As I have occasionally opined, what counts is the volume of net oil exports. As noted above, even under the best of circumstances, Canada has shown only a pretty modest increase in net oil exports, by exploiting bitumen deposits.

Brazil is a net importer of petroleum liquids, and their net imports increased last year.

In any case, the data show that global net oil exports probably peaked in 2005, with Chindia so far taking an ever greater share of what is net exported.

A ballpark estimate is that by 2020, 10 years hence, globally we will have already burned through about half of post-2005 CNE (Cumulative Net Exports).

Here is a high tech graph showing Global Net Exports* (GNE) and Available Net Exports (ANE, i.e., GNE less Chindia's net imports), along with annual US oil prices. I plan to title this graph "Peak, what peak?"


*Top 33 net oil exporters in 2005, which comprise 99%+ of total net exports

ANE fell at an average volumetric rate of one mbpd per year from 2005 to 2010. I suspect ANE will be down to the 27 to 30 mbpd range in 2015, versus 40 mbpd in 2005.

Do you plan to update this graph using some plotting software, and do you have links to sources? This is the single most damning piece of evidence I have ever seen for the reality we face. Just the other day I was talking with a financial analyst from the Lower Colorado River Authority (operates in Texas), and he concluded that oil prices were due to speculation and the SPR release was purely political. I pointed out that global CNE have been dropping steadily since 2006, and he acknowledged the fact but downplayed its significance.

Use this site.

I'm (slowly) working in an updated paper, using a computer generated version of this graph. We principally used the BP data base, with the EIA used for some smaller countries, to calculate GNE. Here are the 2002 to 2010 numbers:

Global Net Oil Exports* Less Chindia’s Combined Net Oil Imports = ANE
(BP + Minor EIA data, mbpd):

2002: 39.1 - 3.5 = 35.6
2003: 41.6 - 4.0 = 37.6

2004: 44.8 - 5.1 = 39.7

2005: 45.5 - 5.1 = 40.4 

2006: 45.5 - 5.5 = 40.0

2007: 44.6 - 6.1 = 38.5

2008: 44.5 - 6.4 = 38.1

2009: 42.3 - 6.9 = 35.4
2010: 42.6 – 7.5 = 35.1

*Top 33 net oil exporters in 2005

Thanks a bunch! Using your data and the EIA to download historical weekly data, I made two plots of American spot price versus ANE/GNE/Chindia imports, one is with absolute mbpd numbers and the other is a percentage basis.

The numbers are a bit small in the absolute graph, I did the percentage-based one better. And boy does it look intense! Chindia has doubled its imports in less than a decade - I know it's been mentioned before, but the graph is intense. This suggests that China and India are headed for major trouble if they assume that they will be able to grow oil-based energy consumption for the indefinite future, given the proposed decline in available GNE as producers ramp up consumption.



Also, I'd like to use your data in a post on a political site I sometimes frequent. Let me know if this is ok, I'd be using some variant of the graphs I posted. I understand if you'd prefer I don't, your data is valuable to you.

Sure go ahead and post. All we did was sift through the BP and EIA data bases. The numbers are there for anyone willing to look (and willing to accept reality), but cognitive dissonance is pretty powerful when it comes infinite growth beliefs.

The only change I would make would be to use average annual oil prices, which I think better reflect fundamental supply & demand factors.


Any reason why you are getting pairs of numbers in the total - eg stays the same for two years, then changes dramatically. Maybe its just chance, but it seems strange to me, maybe a function of something in the economy/investment cycle?

It's a common feature for any observable peak given the inherent limit in resolution of the data - the very definition of a peak (or maximum) is that the rate of change is zero. Depending on the interaction of the y-axis resolution with the x-axis resolution, having repeated data followed by sharper changes is to be expected. With higher resolution you'd be able to more closely observe the first derivative as it goes from positive to negative, and the actual numbers wouldn't be exactly the same.

Cynically, it is linked to Congressional terms which are 2 years.

But is Chinese production increasing since the workers are paid so little that they will be unable to purchase oil to the degree that American workers formerly did. You know those evil American sloth workers -- as portrayed by the News Corp folks.

Maybe this is the great solution to the decline in EROI. Make stuff in china where the workers cannot afford to buy much oily stuff.

The system is basically eating itself.

Certaintly, Venezuela has the oil, but it is of approximately the same quality and cost as the Canadian oil sands, and Venezuela does not have the technological expertise and access to capital markets that Canada does. It is doubtful that Venezuela will even be able to arrest the decline in production that has been going on for the last decade or so.

A Canadian oil sands plant capable of producing 100,000 barrels per day costs between $10 and $20 billion dollars to build today. Assuming similar economics for Venezuela, they would need to invest between $500 billion and $1 trillion dollars to bring their production up to Saudi Arabia's levels. I don't think there's much chance of oil companies investing that much money in Venezuela given its political and economic instability.

Does Venezuela have anything like the water and methane resources that Canada has used develop the Athabasca resources, much less access to capital?

Venezuela has an excess of water (Orinoco River) and lots of hydropower, much currently used in power intensive industries, like aluminum smelting.

Trinidad, a few miles offshore has lots of natural gas.


There is lots of both water and natural gas available in Venezuela. The real constraints are a lack of capital and technology (plus, of course, the lack of a stable political environment which would encourage the investments to take place).

Forget Brazil as a game changer. No matter the technology, Brazilhas the plan to become a developed country. And for that they need energy. They will export bio-ethanol but keep petrolem reserves for domstic use. They will never export a barrel of oil. They don't want to.

Peak oil now More About Demand Than Supply

The headline of this story tells us the outcome of a study that has not yet taken place.

The multi-client study will be conducted by Kevin J Lindemer and Ricardo Strategic Consulting. It will assess the impact of alternative energy sources on the demand for oil and how it will influence users, energy producers and governments if the world could cure its oil addiction...

Those who support the peak oil demand theory will probably not agree.

I was not aware that there was a peak oil demand theory? I thought peak oil was all about a peak in production. Anyway how could we know whether or not we agree with a study that has not yet taken place?

Anyway I am sure we are all glad to find out that "alternative energy sources" will kick in and kill demand for that slimy crude stuff long before we hit peak production. And if you don't believe that... just wait! This study will prove it. ;-)

The link up top: Will green initiatives mean oil demand peaks before supply? points to another take on this story, one that only speculates on the outcome of the study. I guess some folks already know the answer however.

Ron P.

CERA love the idea. We all know the tune: Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, electric car: Nissan Leaf far outselling Chevrolet Volt - Los Angeles Times

Nissan Motor Co. has sold 4,134 of the battery-powered electric cars this year. General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet, by comparison, has sold 2,745 of its Volt car, which is technically a plug-in hybrid because it runs on electricity for about 40 miles before a gasoline-fueled generator kicks in to extend the vehicle's range.

Pretty exciting. Granted it's only 0.0027516% of 250 million autos, but try telling that to some people. It helps that about 10% of VMT is from new cars, so these EVs have a disproportionate effect on gasoline demand relative to their number, i.e., tiny vs undetectable; but China will have a vehicle fleet equivalent in size to that of the US in just a handful of years; and that's just China. Someone cooked up a chart showing what China would have to have for PHEV sales to curb its fuel demand, it couldn't have been more pie-in-the-sky.

Checking EIA for 2010 product supplied on various streams you see rebounds across the board. Seems like the economy runs on oil or something.

You call that exciting? LOL -- wait until those car owners find out their batteries start losing capacity after just 3 years of deep discharges. Wait until they see the bill for replacing said batteries. Will it be more than the value of the used car???

Oh yeah... wait until those owners try driving their electric in cold weather or using the heater or a/c. That 100 mile range quickly goes down to 40-60. On delivery in perfect conditions it's only 80 for the leaf.

I love the idea of electrics. Unfortunately the technology is at least 20 years from being practical for anyone who cares about the value of money. Sorry that physics wrecks the pipe dream :)

I love the idea of ICEs. Unfortunately, net exports are about 20 years from being practically zero. Sorry that geology wrecks the pipe dream :-(

Oil production seems to be having trouble keeping up nonetheless. Something has got to give. Either less drive or more use electric cars. There is no other solution. LOL. But some people are just angry I think about the facts.

Sorry that physics wrecks the pipe dream :)

Ain't nuthin wrong with the physics bro, but you gotta wake up from that pipe dream, cuz it's really a nightmare...
Reality can be a whole lot better than that!

Testing a Sinner Mango+ velomobile with electric assist



You can even charge that battery with inexpensive (yeah, you read that right) PV!

He may be dreaming that the oil pipe will be flowing for years to come. I think that was what he was arguing. I guess China is going to stop consuming and the MIddle East will stop consuming and leave the rest of the oil for people with Corvettes and Mustangs to hustle around in like it was 1965 all over again. LOL

Thank you Fred,

that is around Assen and the land round there is flatter than the skin on a snakes belly. I live in the south of the Netherlands on the German boarder and I can assure you that the terrain is distinctly hilly not only hilly but steep, That tend to put a different complexion on things, especially when you are approaching you sell by date 70, if you get my meaning.

Sure, and the glorified bicycle will only set you back $6500 before shipping, turninglights ($165), a breaklight ($120), and the upgraded chain ($240 or $339). If you upgrade the hub gears as well, tack on another $261 or $1684! If you live in Europe, you also get to add on the $19% VAT on top of all this. Better hope you have a good lock as well, or someone will toss that $8000+ bike (before the cost of electric assist, btw) in the back of their pickup.

Velomobiles are cool, and I certainly would love having one, but with the out of this world pricing on them, they hardly qualify as transportation for the masses. I have a hard time understanding how a bike should cost about the same as a ICE vehicle. Find me a Velomobile with a price less than $1,000 and maybe I'll be a bit more impressed.

Oh Gosh. You are exaggerating here. A hub motor costs like $300-$400 bucks with battery pack and everything else. The retrofit is trivial.

But you can use your legs and get exercise too. People that spend $6000-$8000 are far and few between. I know about 5 people that have electric bikes and none of them spent that. They either did an upgrade for a few hundred bucks or they bought a new bike. A brand new electric bicycle for the average Joe is ~$1000.

No sense in making the electric bike seem that expensive, right, unless you have an axe to grind. Smallish 5-10 mile commutes in nice weather are trivial on one, and they do work.

From a hasty search - link:

The Mango+ costs €5490 (incl 19% VAT) picked up at the factory in Groningen.

So where is the exaggeration in "the glorified bicycle will only set you back $6500 before shipping..."??? That was the one specifically mentioned, and it does seem rather steep for what you'd be getting.

You do not need a BMW of bicycles to do the work of a basic electric bike is my point. It is like comparing a luxury car to a normal one. But suit yourselves if you honestly believe an electric bike is really that expensive on average.

These are still essentially boutique items so of course they cost more so far. But the physical requirements for materials, watthours and muscle needed to make and move them are clearly a very promising way forward.

Hills are quite workable with Electric motors, Yorkshire, and as they are going towards more and more regenerative braking, the downhills help you out with the uphills..

Velomobiles are cool, and I certainly would love having one, but with the out of this world pricing on them, they hardly qualify as transportation for the masses. I have a hard time understanding how a bike should cost about the same as a ICE vehicle. Find me a Velomobile with a price less than $1,000 and maybe I'll be a bit more impressed.

Well to be fair if you are going to gripe about the price of these particular velomobiles then that would be akin to griping that a top of the line Ferrari is too expensive for the masses. See Oct's response below.

But even if you compare these velomobiles to the cheapest ICE vehicles on the market I think you'll be rather hard pressed to find a new car, at least in the US, for $6500. Anyways you'd be comparing apples to oranges, perhaps when we start producing millions of these vehicles every year you'll start to see a significant drop in prices for the lower end velos.

Also if you think about the embedded costs in the entire supply chain for the manufacture of a typical ICE vehicle and the environmental damage caused by that plus the damage caused by millions of such vehicles being used world wide I still think you come out ahead with one of these.

If you start thinking of this as your primary mode of transport in a world where private ICE powered automobiles can not even run then perhaps something like this will not seem so expensive. To me this is similar to investing in solar energy, sure there is an up front cost, which is more than offset if the price of electricity becomes prohibitive and we have to stop burning fossil fuel because it is running out and it also causes CO2 build up in the atmosphere.

Now go to the blackboard and write 200 times, 'BAU IS DEAD!"

You have the right response. The cost of the materials and the technology itself is significantly less costly than a cheap car. The only thing holding back these cars is manufacturing scale.

Ha Ha I can see Bart Simpson working the chalk now: "BAU IS DEAD. BAU IS DEAD. BAU IS DEAD. ... "

Today I was at a 4-way stop. There were 3 bikes and one car. LOL. Maybe there is hope.

I am not griping about the price of "these particular" velomobiles, but rather the cost of EVERY velomobile that I've come across. I have nothing against people wanting to make some money, but $6500 is a bit steep for a recumbant bike surrounded by a shell to keep out the weather, wouldn't you agree? I didn't choose the highlighted model, and as far as I can tell, this price is not atypical for any velomobile.

Sure, I can't find a car, in the US for $6500, but then again, every car sold in the US also seats more than 1 person. They also have radios, airbags, turn signals, break lights, windshield glass, computers, and a heck of a lot of electronics, complicated machined parts etc, as well as the larger amount of mundane stuff (metal, plastic, fabric, rubber etc.) that they are composed of. A car is obviously significantly heavier and has many more components than any velomobile out there.

If the particular model that someone else decided to highlight is the "Ferrari" of Velomobiles, then so be it, but can you show me the Hyundai Accent of Velomobiles? I'd love to have a bike that gives some protection from foul weather but I really can't see paying "Ferrari" prices for the privledge.

Well then build your own.

You sound like a customer. Maybe you would see other perspectives if you wore a different hat.

The specialty bike industry does have a level of preciousness to their prices, apart from the fact that Velos are not being mass-built and priced in a very competitive marketplace; but the point is really that we know we can easily create a vehicle which requires very little power to move a single person (and this can be done for multiple people, but look at the occupants in rush-hour vehicles for a moment.) .. as much as you are asking for typical Auto features, it's necessary to mention that this is about challenging our current assumptions, not fitting a new picture into an old frame. It's not lost on me, either, that I'm allowing for the 'individual transport' assumption that has mired commuter culture.. and yet I believe the low material requirements and low road-wear of these Velo-style vehicles is more than adequate to counter the wastefulness of Sole-occupants in Cars..

Of course they're priced like Ferraris.. your challenge is pretty churlish, insisting that you should be able to get a radically different and nearly custom product as if it were already a mainstream and accepted item. That's what this whole conversation is about, that these are still essentially NEW ideas. The question is about identifying the GOOD ideas and not being distracted by short-term factors.

You can even charge that battery with inexpensive (yeah, you read that right) PV!

For a semi tractor trailer, and using optimistic PV on the trailer roof...


Width 102" [8.5ft wide]
Trailer length either 48' or 53" (most are now 53')

8.5ft x 53ft = (approx) 450 sq ft


210 peak Watts/panel
$/Watt US$1.99
Dimensions of 1 panel approx 4.9ft * 3.25ft = 15.9 sq ft

450/15.9 = 28.3 panels * 210 watts/panel = 5900watts

One electric motor horsepower is 746watts.

5900watts/746 watts per hp = approx 8 horsepower
Optimistic cost would be US$118,000 (yeow)

So under direct sun best conditions, a semi truck trailer covered in PV could generate about 8 hp. Might be enough to run the cab's air conditioner, or run the apu to keep food cold in the trailer, or provide a few percent of the power to move the truck if a traction motor is part of the drivetrain.

Doesn't seem like very much.

*sigh* Keeps me hoping for things to somehow get better, but sure looks like a doomer end result.


Now, for a 100 car freight train, assuming each freight car could have PV on the roof with as much generating power, 800hp of total electrical energy to the traction motors seems to be a bigger contribution, but the cost? Still "yeow."

With your freight train, you'd put the PV and Wind along the trackside before you worry about roofing the boxcars with it. (That's for the flatlands, anyhow..)

For the Semi Tractor/Trailer, those 6kw up top would be just plenty to power the '18-wheeler Museum' that's inside the box.. and it wouldn't really need to roll anymore.. just roll the videotape!

210Watts/panel X $2/Watt =
$440/panel X 30Panels = $13,200

Charging the electric bike would be a stationary panel. It would cost a lot less than the bike. I helped a fellow at Burning Man with a solar-charged electric car.


5900watts/746 watts per hp = approx 8 horsepower
Optimistic cost would be US$118,000 (yeow)

First, I don't know of anyone who is proposing running semis on PV.

Second, I have no idea where you are getting your numbers from but a 6 KW PV system even without any subsidies can be had for a lot less than US$118,000. Here's one for about $16,000. Yes, you still need to add the batteries figure another $10,000 so you are up to around $26,000 and then you have about $92,000 left over... that buys a lot of toys!

6300 W SUN-A-210-FA2
6 strings of 5 modules in series
$ 2.57 PER WATT

43 1 Foot Battery Cable - BC-1, 2/0 AWG $350.88
40 Battery - USP-U-225C U.S. Power 225 Amp Hour 6V

30 SUN Solar Panel 210 Watts 18.70 Vmp $1.69 /Watt $10,647.00
6 Breaker - MNEPV20 $62.40
6 Solar Panel Cable - MC4 Connectors 30ft $226.44
4 OBB-80-150VDC120VAC-PNL $102.00
2 Delta Lightning Arrestor LA302DC 300VDC $80.00
2 5 Foot Inverter Cable - BC-5, 2/0 AWG $81.60
2 Xantrex Solar Charge Controller 60A MPPT-60 $1,017.96
1 Xantrex System Control Panel - XW Remote $230.00
1 Midnight Solar Combiner Box MNPV6 $93.84
1 MNDC250 $188.00
1 Xantrex Grid-Tie/Off-Grid Inverter/Charger 6000 Watts 48 Volts XW6048 $3,138.00

( Total System Price Does Not Include Batteries ) Total $16,218.12

Eh yep: Bad multiplication on calculating the cost. Was rushing. My bad.

Nice parts list!
Good idea to separately fuse the battery bank sections.

Friend of mine had an installer that screwed the inverters to a plywood sheet bolted to a bedroom wall. These things squeal, gibber, and buzz to themselves all day and all night. Drove him to have the panel moved.

Thanks again!

First, I don't know of anyone who is proposing running semis on PV.

Actually, I think that is one of the better places to put them - certainly on refridgerated trailers. Set up the panels on the roof with an air gap, and you actually reduce solar gain, so there is a load saving.

some of the new reefer trailers incorporate an electric motor into the unit, to allow operation on shore power, so the engine can be turned off when the trailer is parked. All that is needed is to add panels and the appropriate inverter and controls, and you are in business.

These specs from Thermo king, show the electric motor at 9.3kW rating (p22).

if we can get 5900W, then we 2/3 the energy needed to run the system, ad the diesel engine would then see only 1/3 the load, and use about 1/3 the fuel - we have a "hybrid" refridgeration unit!

Assuming the trailer is in operation for five days a week in, say Texas (carrying vital goods like Blue Bell Ice Cream), with an average sunshine of 5hrs a day, you have 250*5*5.9kW=7375kWh/yr. A gallon of diesel, at 35%engine efficiency, will produce about 12kWh, so this unit could save 615 gallons of diesel a year - at todays price of $3.50/gal, that is $2100/yr.
Assuming the system cost stays roughly the same (need an on/off grid inverter, that is an 8yr payback - not bad, and as fuel prices go up, so does the value delivered by this system. Plug the trailer into shore power when not being used on the weekends and pocket some more cash.

Lets assume there are 100,000 reefer trucks running around southern US that we can refit with PV. That would save 61.5million gal of diesel/yr, or in terms of crude oil, about 4200 bpd.

In fact, I will argue that these panels will displace much more oil per panel per year, than if they are set up on a carport to charge an EV.

Set up the panels on the roof with an air gap, and you actually reduce solar gain, so there is a load saving.

Cool the cells with the airflow on a moving wagon, better cell efficiency. Have to be careful not to mess up the aerodynamics though.


Perhaps some Leaf owners will run into the problems you describe, but having thoroughly researched the Leaf and purchased one, I think there are easy ways around those potential problems:

--charge to 80% and discharge to 20%. Combined with driving a bit slower, this gets you 50 miles, which is enough for my commute, and probably for the bulk of the driving public.

--those of us who live in California (the state where a large number of the Leafs have been sold) often don't have to worry about heating, and perhaps not A/C. It is the middle of summer, and I have found that for the times I drive in Los Angeles, rolling down the windows and turning the fan on is usually sufficient.

I expect my Leaf to give me sufficient commute range for at least 10 years. Calculated savings over 100,000 miles compared to $4.00 gas and a 28 MPG car is about $11,500. That doesn't include the fact that virtually no routine maintenance is required--no smog checks, no tune-ups, no oil changes, don't have to worry about the fuel injectors, etc. Time will tell, but I made the purchase because I think it will end up saving me a significant amount on fuel/maintenance costs, decrease my use of oil, help our balance of payments, etc.

Glad you made this comment. Focusing too heavily on EROI gains can obscure the personal economic benefit and that is what will sell electric vehicles.

Just for fun calculate your savings at $6/gallon. How about $8/gallon?

Radiators, water pumps, brakes, mufflers, fluids, oil, spark plugs, filters, smog et al. That stuff adds up to a large fixed cost for a car. Of course it may offset the cost of battery pack replacement but that remains to be seen. I think the batteries will last longer than the critics maintain because the critics have about zero experience with the actual performance of the cars.

I have a lot of trouble seeing oil costs going down significantly for an extended period of time so the car is likely going to save money.

wait until those owners try driving their electric in cold weather or using the heater or a/c. That 100 mile range quickly goes down to 40-60.

What do you figure the odds of disruption of the gasoline supply over the next five to ten years are? Even a degraded Leaf will be mighty desirable if the alternative is hours sitting in 70s style gas lines, or being unable to fill up due to formal government run rationing.

I'm expecting trouble. I suspect that the car makers are anticipating oil trouble also; it's the best explanation for Nissan and Ford gearing up for fairly high volume production of electrics. I would like to buy one; I hope the manufacturers get the volumes up and the initial kinks out soon, before oil gets too much worse.

As always, too many variables are left in the equation for a good view of supply vs demand, namely "price". I say we set the price at a constant, say $50 per barrel, and then see how the supply demand game plays out. But, let me go get some of those 5 gallon gas cans first. :)

Well, if I get to define "peak demand" the way CERA keeps defining peak oil as "running out" then yes, I do believe in peak demand theory:

Peak Demand Theory is the hypothesis that the fall in net energy of fossil fuels will prevent large quantities of them from being extracted and used. These quantities are effectively "stranded" because the energy to liberate or transport them does not contain enough surplus energy to justify the investment in extraction.

Of course, when most people say peak demand theory they believe that "the stone age did not end for lack of stones" and a green high energy consuming world lay ahead.

I demand to fill my tank with $2 a gallon gas. My demand is not being met. I'm sure enough other people would demand lots of $2 gas too, if they thought there was any chance of getting it. Therefore demand is clearly not being met right now.

I keep saying that the world cannot afford high priced oil. (This is pretty close to equivalent to saying that the world cannot afford low EROI oil, since it is expensive to extract low EROI oil.) If "demand for oil" is defined as what people can afford, then yes, indeed, we do reach a point where there is low demand because the cost of goods made with such high priced oil is recessionary.

Unless the folks touting green energy can find a way to make the green energy a lot cheaper than the overly expensive oil, it is hard to seen how the green energy is all that helpful.

Nations that use 1/3rd as much oil, and non-renewable electricity, as the USA does, with comparable GDP/capita *CAN* afford higher priced oil.

Denmark has cut it's oil use in half since 1973 and has made steady progress since then.

In Copenhagen,
- 39% of urban trips by bicycle, 2015 goal of 50%
- New subway "Y" opened a few years ago (2006 ?)
- Subway circle under construction, open 2018
- Further subway extensions under discussion
- New electric train connection with Sweden, 400 trains/day
- To be built, new, direct electric train connection to Germany

How badly will Copenhagen, and Denmark as a whole be hurt by higher oil prices ?

Most trips in Copenhagen can be made by walking, bicycle or subway, or some combination, by 2018.

Best Hopes for Oil Free Transportation,


An excellent point, of course, And you did not show how green energy would help but you did show how steps to not use as much energy do help. That is the point. It is like when you install solar on a house. The first thing you do is everything you can to reasonably reduce your demand. Then you install the panels. The greenest energy is no energy.

The capital/money we spend now on things like solar is kind of like an R&D effort. It is not so much the green energy we have now that is important, it is the cheaper green energy we have later than will be useful after we have done everything we can do minimize the need for oil and other energy.

Unfortunately, the things that are happening in Copenhagen and, in general, Europe, are possible because of a very different cultural perspective. And this is not a recent perspective but one that has been developing over several decades. Sure, there are also geographical and structural differences but there is not the same attitude that the auto is king and must be served first everywhere.

The perspective in the U.S. is that we continue our transportation system as always but we just make it more efficient. With this attitude, not very much is going to change. There is a system of free shuttle buses in the nearest town to me. The vast majority of the people would rather sit in traffic than take one of these buses. We go out of our way to use these buses just to keep the numbers up.

Build it and they will come? That has a little bit of truth to it but that must be combined with making things miserable for car drivers which will lead to calls to throw the bums out. Besides, it is remarkable how much misery people will put up with before they get out of their cars.

Case in point,


Best Hopes for Oil Free Priority,


PS: I found the tone of the reporter amusing

Hehe! Thanks Alan, but the reporter isn't half as amusing as Zurich's chief traffic planner...

As he stood watching a few cars inch through a mass of bicycles and pedestrians, the city’s chief traffic planner, Andy Fellmann, smiled. “Driving is a stop-and-go experience,” he said. “That’s what we like! Our goal is to reconquer public space for pedestrians, not to make it easy for drivers.”

Meanwhile, here in the good old US of A, our lifestyles continue to be non negotiable as we try to raise our debt ceiling so we can continue to borrow money to feed our cars. Are we stupid or what?!

How about this, raise gas prices enough and they will come. And the necessary price is not $8/gallon as it is in Europe.

While I understand why one can say Europe is not impacted as much by oil price rises, I think this obscures a truth. Once one quits being an idiot, having the ability to decrease oil use 50% without giving up much of anything, is a bit of a boon. Half as much oil consumed makes the US self sufficient (if we regard Canada as the 51st state).

P.S. and I am sorry for the idiots who cling to the illusion, but there is such a thing as personal responsibility.

Good for Copenhagen. However, it's useless to know unless you're suggesting that it be replicated somehow in North America. To make that practicable, do you have a way to fix up North America so that:

1. As in Copenhagen, the all-time record high temperature shall be only about 86F, and the midsummer average shall be only 71F, so that dangerously hot weather (such as throughout most of the eastern two-thirds of the country today and likely the rest of this whole week) will be absolutely unheard of. Today's strenuously and continually repeated instructions in much of the USA have been to avoid any exertion - such as riding a bicycle - outdoors. Indeed, here in the Berkeley of the Midwest, you could have had the bike paths and lanes almost to yourself today. (Standing for a long time in the roasting sun and steaming dew point waiting for a bus or tram seems like an incredibly bad idea too.)

2. As in Copenhagen, the average high temperature shall be well above freezing all year round, and the all-time record low shall be above 0F, so that snow will not linger, and buildups of rutted ice will be very rare, in order that walking to and from a bus or tram stop, or riding a bicycle, shall be safe nearly all the time. (Once again, doctors around here often advise their patients to leave when they retire, lest they fall on the winter ice and break something badly enough that they spend their remaining days in a wheelchair. But to avoid falling on winter ice, people must either accept dangerous summers or else migrate seasonally as "snowbirds". The migration, of course, eventually becomes infeasible.)

3. As in Copenhagen, nearly all of the landscape shall be practically dead flat, in order to facilitate walking and cycling. (E-bikes do go well with hills, but they're too expensive and conspicuous to leave in a public rack. And there's no effective way to secure the costly batteries, and many venues will not permit you to bring them indoors with you. So for many trips e-bikes will simply be out of the question, even if they work sometimes for some trips for some people.)

No? Can't fix our hideous weather and terrain? I thought not. The USA isn't Copenhagen, and can never be.

Today's strenuously and continually repeated instructions in much of the USA have been to avoid any exertion - such as riding a bicycle - outdoors.

Hmm, I'm 58 years old and live in South Florida, heat index was well over 100 degrees the past couple of days, guess what, I rode my regular, non electric, bicycle for about 10 miles every day. Oh, I guess it doesn't count because the terrain is pretty flat where I live...

And there's no effective way to secure the costly batteries, and many venues will not permit you to bring them indoors with you.

Wow, you are starting to get pretty desperate in your attempts to find reasons why riding bicycles can't be done in the US, aren't you?

OMG, the no bicycle riding sirens, are wailing away as I write this, and the anti bicycle riding police are at my door with a warrant for my arrest! Oh why, oh why, didn't I heed those strenuously and continually repeated instructions, not to go out and ride my bicycle...

Deep down I knew I should have just fired up the old ICE and put the AC on high and gone cruising up and down the beach with my radio blasting!


I was about to respond with bicycling in New Orleans, but you did a MUCH better job :-)

Best Hopes for Evading the Anti-Bicycling Police,


I look forward to the white painted cars that will appear whenever someone has died in a car-on-car crash. Although one year later, you probably wouldn't be able to move for parked white vehicles.

Around here they put crosses beside the road. I know a few places where there are a LOT of crosses.


An interesting statistic about bicycling fatalities.

When bicycling increases, say doubles or quadruples, the absolute # of fatalities stays constant - or drops. Which drops the fatality rate by 1/2 or 3/4ths, or more.

There are now enough cases to accept this as a truism.

Best Hopes for the Pioneering Bicyclists, May they grow in number !


In a country with 306,000,000 inhabitants, 700 bicycling deaths a year is pretty much statistical noise (though you would never know it from all the fear-mongering). Every year about 1,000,000 US inhabitants die from cardiovascular disease, largely caused by physical inactivity, which is a real, not fear-mongered, risk.

Given that bicycle miles are probably only around 1% of car/light-truck miles, 700 deaths is not really insignificant. And there are plenty of cardiovascular deaths even in places where bicycles are used extensively, so they're not a cure-all. In the end, nobody gets out of life alive.

I looked into bicycle fatalities when I seriously started riding. It turns out that the stats include a lot of children, who are not so good about understanding traffic laws and watching out for cars.

The fatality index is greatly reduced with age. Not sure of the exact source of that info. But ~40% are from minors basically.

Fatal Bike Accidents in 1992
Age Number
1-9 109
10-19 219
20-29 98
30-39 117
40-49 83
50-59 58
60-up 93

Other data expressed per hour of activity

Fatalities per Million Exposure Hours
Skydiving 128.71
General Flying 15.58
Motorcycling 8.80
Scuba Diving 1.98
Living 1.53
Swimming 1.07
Snowmobiling .88
Motoring .47
Water skiing .28
Bicycling .26
Airline Flying .15
Hunting .08

Data compiled by Failure Analysis Associates, Inc.

All kinds of data here: http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/health/risks.htm

Bottom line. Never ride on sidewalks. Very dangerous.

It is a wash if you ask me. Cars and Bikes are dangerous about the same, but contact sports and motor sports are much more dangerous it seems.

Bottom line. Never ride on sidewalks. Very dangerous.

Agreed, absolutely. Intractable visibility issues for one thing - e.g. can't see a cyclist (or pedestrian) behind a row of parked cars or thick-trunked street trees; no safe way to enter an intersection moving on the sidewalk in the counterflow direction; and all those driveways. Intractable psychological issues for another - anything on the sidewalk is often invisible to drivers even if it can be seen. A fundamental problem is that unless you get rid of motor vehicles altogether, or (on the example of suburban and rural Pennsylvania) get rid of pedestrians and cyclists, they must inevitably interact at intersections. But the sidewalk provides a politically attractive illusion of "safety" by non-interaction.

So how do you get municipalities to stop installing dangerous bike "paths" that are nothing but asphalt sidewalks with all the attendant hazards, when city councilors, politicians all, intuit from thin air that it's the only way to go, and may possibly even enforce their blind intuition with fines?

This definitely hits home.

Not long ago, while pulling out of a drive way, I almost ran over a wrong-way on-the-sidewalk cyclist.

It is hard enough paying attention to right-way going cars so that you can find a traffic opening to jump into.

But who is the heck is constantly on the look-out for wrong-way and fast oncoming cyclists! #$%$##!!

Like the Straw Man of Oz, if only, if only they had a brain.

We have a saying here 'You have eyes, use them' :)


Common sense is, yes, common; but also all too often wrong.

Those who are educated in the area of the human visual system know that
that we see only what our brain tells us to see. If OUR BRAIN fails to
to instruct OUR EYES to look in a specific direction and see what they
are supposed to see, then we miss seeing it entirely.

No doubt you already spotted the double "that" and the duplicity of "to"
too in the above. and because you are an efficient multi-tasker, you always spot
spot the gorilla in our midst:


Very true, that is the point of 'use them'. Having ridden a motorcycle for many years I have experienced many motorists that look directly at the big black thing with reflective, wide, yellow stripes, rider in red jacket, glow belt and white helmet, headlight on but still say 'I didn't see you', even though I can plainly see their eyeballs. Today I just missed 2 pedestrians who just stepped out into the road but I was keeping an eye on them and 1 motorcyclist who I spotted on the 'lifesaver'. People need to learn that they have to look after themselves and use their eyes. Yes, there are times when 'I didn't see' is justified but usually it is trotted out as a poor excuse for not using your eyes for the purpose they were given.


Even worse for children that fail to understand cars but their parents only let them ride on the sidewalks. Very bad combo and it shows in the stats for bicycle fatalities.

That scuba figure may be too high. scuba stats often include figures for accidents and deaths not directly related to scuba activity. Tripping over and breaking your leg on the key during a scuba trip tends to get reported as a scuba 'accident' and an overweight, unfit individual having a heart attack on the boat as a scuba 'death'. Reporting varies by authority.


Before AC, men did not roam on this earth. They just stayed in their cool caves, doncha know. OMG, we have become a weak and spindly race with obesity out of control. The fact is, hardly anyone wants to bike or walk with perfect weather either.

I've been riding bikes for over 50 years now and I've never found hot and humid weather to be much of a problem, because I create my own breeze while I'm riding. The only real challenge is to find cool shaded places for rest stops on longer trips, which usually means ten miles or more, which I don't do often anymore.

Hot weather might be a problem if I was commuting to an office regularly, but mornings are usually cool, and I could change clothes before heading home in the afternoon.

Most of my local travel for the past few years (about eight months of the year) has been by bike, so that I can save my gas money for longer trips that are not feasible by bike, due to the time that would be eaten up by longer bike trips.

I ride my bike in quite hot weather---Japanese summers (80s and 90s)---too. Here are a few things I always do to make it manageable. I cover up in a loose cotton long sleeved shirt. I have a cotton hat and a big thin scarf around my neck, sometimes around my head, almost like a "Saudi" kind of fashion look. I have thin cotton gloves. I bring a drink. Actually I can go quite far in such garb if I don't go too fast. I take advantage of shady places, buildings, trees, etc. I choose green spaces to bike near if possible because cement heat islands are the worst. Nevertheless, it is true that children cannot bike in quite hot weather. So if I go somewhere with my son we walk.

Another good thing for hot weather (walking in it) a sun parasol!---so fashionable. get one in organic cotton or dyed in indigo, extremely cool.

Another thing about biking---if you always do it, it is not a big deal, even in hot weather, rain,wind etc. Your body can adjust to heat as long as you have a drink and your head is covered with a hat. But my friends who have cars cannot bike in hot weather because they are not used to it. I can see a real difference in body condition between the people who take their cars everywhere and the people who don't have cars. When you don't have a car, you are really forced to use your body, there is totally no choice! You get kind of a resiliance and a firmer pair of legs and lungs. So don't fear biking in hot weather! I have had no car for 15 years and I'm in my 40s. Just get rid of the car and take it from there. But I would recommend first choosing a place to live where a car isn't really necessary.

Indeed, that's all well and good for you, as it was all well and good for the few people riding bikes yesterday here in the Berkeley of the Midwest. However, it's essentially irrelevant to the discussions at hand to point out (or snark) that a handful of people did so. To make even a measurable difference, much less a major one, it would have to be scaled enormously. The necessary scale would probably even need to include some of the very folks you just alluded to: "Deep down I knew I should have just fired up the old ICE and put the AC on high and gone cruising up and down the beach with my radio blasting!" Good luck including them, LOL.

It's the scaling that will stubbornly remain far easier in Copenhagen, where conditions are about as close to ideal year-round as they ever get anywhere on planet Earth, than in North America, with plentiful hazardous weather and repetitious warnings about going outside for several months each year. You couldn't access any media yesterday with respect to local news or weather, without being lectured strenuously to stay inside (or in the car.) Most people apparently did, so car traffic was normal, while you could have had those lanes and paths almost to yourself.

And perhaps the philosopher-king, the energy czar, the hydraulic-emperor of joules, once enthroned, will need to address the elf'n'safety culture along with myriad other things. With the "consumer" movement having brilliantly succeeded over almost sixty years at getting people to avoid even the most minuscule risk at any and all cost, the king will have no shortage of work to do before bicycle-riding and even walking (think for example of all those parents who drive their kids to and from school every day; there was far less of that when we were kids, but times change) scale up enough to matter.

But it would still help if the king could fix the weather. If you don't live in Copenhagen, you may well need the car for several months a year to travel safely. If so, then you're bearing the fixed costs already, and the marginal cost of going ahead and using it the rest of the year becomes rather insignificant. No use preaching about "excuses" or otherwise tilting against that - it just is.

If the Safety Czars had won as you say, then no one would be driving a car or truck. It is the most hazardous thing you do during the day. It is more hazardous to your health to sit on the couch and eat potato chips and Big Macs all day long too! Plenty more will ride their bikes. Lets see how long they drive 3-5 mile trips when gasoline is $6 a gallon!

Actually, I thought the riskiest thing one could do for transportation, by an enormous factor, is to drive a motorcycle or moped/scooter. And that traditional non-motorized bicycling was two or two-and-a-half times as risky as driving, per mile, with an exercise benefit that might offset part or all of that depending on who you ask.

And I'd guess that outside of university towns, we might see plenty more not riding bicycles, but instead riding scooters, with some perhaps driving e-bikes like scooters and assuming a scooter-like risk profile with little if any offsetting health benefit. That seems to be what often happens in east Asia, where the climate may be miserably steamy (as in North America) for a significant part of the year. After all, people not only tend to ignore or defy preaching; they tend to want to maximize comfort and minimize physical exertion (hence those couch potatoes with the munchies.)

Agreed. My mother was in insurance. Some of the first questions they ask. Do you ever use a snow mobile, motorcycle, do extreme sports ... ? The actuaries of course know the risks.

Of course, I bike in the Berkeley of the West Coast, which is kind of a University town, but the city has blocked several roads to through traffic for bikes to make it safer. Thus the safety comparison is hard to judge. Biking in extreme conditions is like snow mobil-ing, but doing a casual ride on bike lanes and paths is probably not so bad.

Indeed Asian folks are going heavy into electric biking. Wonder how that works out for them. I thought about a hub motor and so forth but prefer to grind it out until my legs tell me otherwise ;-)

I should think the electric biking probably works out similarly to a scooter, with respect to both utility and risk profile. Maybe someone from east Asia can comment.

The West coast of the United States has a better temperature most of the year than Denmark. Further, it appears that Copenhagen is pretty miserable for at least 6 months of the year for biking compared to the West Coast of the United States. Yeh, Wisconsin probably sucks most of the time. But a lot of progress could be made in other parts of the country like the West Coast where the temperatures are much more pleasant most of the time.

No doubt, however, that the status quo will be pretty stable for the foreseeable future regardless of weather conditions or terrain. But progress has been made in different pockets of the U.S. and so we build from that.

In the mean time, there is no law which states that the King has to encourage auto use all of the time everywhere. Not that long ago, even Copenhagen was not the mecca that it is now. It took people with vision and the ability to make things change to transform it to the way it is today. And the temperature is not ideal the year round. Maybe it just seems ideal compared to where you live.

Agreed about Copenhagen and the surrounding region including, say, The Netherlands, vs. the western US coastal margin. I was considering mainly safety, as in summer heatstroke (which should be essentially nonexistent in Copenhagen), or falling on winter ice (which should be unusual since one normally expects slush that's not well-adhered to surfaces and melts off quickly.) From the point of view of safety, yes, Copenhagen is nearly ideal almost all year round.

OTOH, across most of North America, adhered ice, dangerous heat, or both are a problem sometime during the year. People who want to hold jobs and participate in social life in most locales must have a car available for the relevant parts of the year, with some exceptions in big-city astronomical-rent districts served by subways or the like. Once they have it, it costs little to use it the rest of the year; much of the cost is fixed.

I wouldn't say Wisconsin "sucks most of the time". However, from early December through sometime in March (longer the further north you go), it is prone to ice adhered to roads, paths, and walkways, which is why doctors often advise retirees to move away. From about November through April, nighttime patches of black ice can also be a hazard. From late June until late August, dangerous combinations of heat and high dew point (worse the further south you go) may occur, as happened yesterday.

The dew point issue gets ever worse, of course, if you leave the state and go further south and east; on the coastal plain or even the Piedmont, you can often cut the humidity with a knife while feeling faint from the heat even in May. (BTW that doesn't stop North Carolina from posting "share the road with bicycles" signs on busy shoulderless two-lane mountain highways with narrow substandard lanes, but then there's no explaining the absurdities of government.) So yes, indeed, I expect change to be limited to pockets for the time being.

Around here, 90s with high humidity. Bicycling no problem, the breeze keeps you cool ;)


Note that even after the buildout, that Copenhagen subway will only be within walking distance of a very small fraction of the metro-area population. And most of those will need to be rich enough to pay astronomical central-city rents on top of confiscatory Scandinavian taxes.

Also observe that "A single-ride two-zone ticket costs 24 DKK while a two-zone multi-ride ticket with ten clips (rides) costs 140 DKK." 14DKK is about $2.65, and two zones will only get you about two or three miles. So that's a lot more than the marginal cost of driving a car, even in Denmark.

Maybe we shouldn't be surprised that stuff like that doesn't get built (much) in the USA. Its utility is vastly inferior to driving anywhere you need to go, any time you need to go, in a modern place that's set up for driving (vide Glaeser's observation that cities tend to be oriented to whatever transportation technology was current when they were built out), rather than going only where and when some bureaucrat deigns to allow you. It costs considerably more per mile than even solo driving. And to boot, it best serves the most affluent.

It just seems a rather hard sell in the USA, where cities built out in medieval times to highly cramped medieval standards are decidedly rare. There's no usable cost-benefit argument to be had from inferior utility and higher price, so one seems to be left to resort to arguing based on projections of the future. Alas, people will be rather jaded about fearful projections since fantasy disaster movies and failed predictions of doom are both a dime a dozen. So there may be something of an impasse. Philosopher-kings, anyone?

P.S. European rail is often passenger-oriented, with freight rail woefully underdeveloped. Almost a mirror image of the USA. And people must eat. So what are they doing with respect to carrying freight (e.g. food) using less oil?

The Copenhagen Metro was built for, and paid by, land sales from a closed Army base.


The Danes built one leg of the "Y" down the middle of the former Army base (elevated on embankment - cheap) and this increased the value of the land on the former Army base. The second largest mall in Scandinavia (by far the largest in Denmark) was built at one station, with limited parking (remember, expensive land).

A fair amount of affordable housing was built, and some yet to be built, on the former Army base, as well as office buildings and shopping.

Land sales were supposed to pay for the capital cost of the Metro plus interest. I followed for a couple of years, but never saw the closing of the books of Orestad (?) Development Corp. They were closed last time I looked.

Another leg of the "Y" terminates at the airport, which is also a station for the Swedish rail link.

Daily ridership is 137,000 with just the "Y" and expected to more than double, perhaps triple, when the circle subway is completed. This for an urban population of 1.2 million. The circle subway will have much better connections to the older commuter rail system in Copenhagen and create more of a system.

Map and description

The Danes, in their modest Scandinavian way, are pretty proud of how clever they were in disposing of an old military base and getting a basic subway system in the bargain.

Austin Texas, had exactly the same opportunity with a closed USAF base, but screwed it up badly.

In Denmark, coastal shipping displaces a lot of trucking. Freight is a major part of the Swedish rail link and will also be part of the future link to Germany. As with several other EU nations (and Switzerland with their 32 billion Swiss franc program), shifting freight from truck to rail is a priority. I have not noticed recent statistics.

Best Hopes for Oil Free Transportation,


Copenhagen has just started redeveloping a largely abandoned heavy industrial area, built largely on fill out into the harbor (lots of slips on map). 200 hectares (~500 acres) and a 40 year plan.

They are investigating whether to extend the Metro on a new, two station spur off the circle subway, terminating in this new development/old industrial area. One idea is keep the same TBMs (tunnel boring machines) that are building the circle subway and redirect them to this spur.

Again, the increased value of the land once served by the Metro is a deciding factor.


The Blue line on the exploded view in the link above is the Circle subway - Osterport and Trianglen are planned Circle subway stations.

Curiouser and curiouser. If they built it on the cheap in that way, why is it so bloody expensive to ride, on the order of $US0.80/mile?

Unless the folks touting green energy can find a way to make the green energy a lot cheaper than the overly expensive oil, it is hard to seen how the green energy is all that helpful.

Who says the green energy is so expensive?

A car such as the Nissan Leaf gets about 4 miles per KWH, so driving 40 miles per day requires 10 KWH, which can be generated by 2 KW of PV solar panels costing about $10K installed.

So, $10K worth of solar panels will power your transportation in this car for the rest of your life.

By comparison, driving a 20 mpg car a similar distance at $4 per gallon will cost $10K in about 4 years.

I hate, hate, HATE this stupid 'peak demand' meme. "Peak demand" is an inherent part of peak oil! Yes, if we had magical infinite money we could just throw more and more resources at drilling for oil even though it gets harder and harder to access. But we don't have magical infinite money. As oil gets harder and harder to access, the price goes up and that kills demand such that production peaks.

The only reason oil peaked in the USA back in the 70's is because people were not willing to pay $300/barrel for pure domestic oil. Instead, they (quite rationally) preferred $20/barrel imported oil. So should we say 'peak demand' caused the USA to hit peak oil.

"Peak demand" is merely sophistry used by people that can't admit they got the peak oil story wrong and thus are trying to say uh . . . see . . . peak oil didn't happen because we hit peak demand first. BUT THEY ARE THE SAME THING!

"Peak demand" reminds of when I used to beat my friend at tennis. He usually beat me. Whenever I would beat him, he would say in a snarky way he was not trying.

"Peak demand" is happing cause folks just are not trying to buy oil. LMAO. It is not that they cannot produce it. They could if hey tried. Ah hem.

It has seemed obvious to me that they're the same thing ever since I first visited TOD.

If the market will bear higher prices for oil, it will be extracted at those prices, but only in the quantity that the market is prepared to pay for ... peak demand in barrels per day is not at all the same thing as peak demand in dollars per day. High cost of extraction, recession due to high prices, conservation, more efficient technology, more efficient societies, and conversion to other energy sources ALL play a part in making demand peak.

It makes perfect sense to say that supply peaks only as a result of demand peaking ... so long as the high cost of extraction is considered as a contributing cause to peak demand.

Anyway I am sure we are all glad to find out that "alternative energy sources" will kick in and kill demand for that slimy crude stuff long before we hit peak production. And if you don't believe that... just wait! This study will prove it. ;-)

Just like the Texas Railroad Commission took off production caps to bring down oil prices back in the 1970's.

Them thar prices just keep'n dropp'n.....yee ha!

Ron, of course, Greens are always the boogymen, that is why the world is so messed up. Makes sense if you have a political axe to grind. I guess if they ran numbers to show that oil/gas/coal are cheaper to implement than green tech then they would be subjected to using numbers to make an argument which would expose them to that painful peak-oil math. LOL. The poor cornucopiacs are stuck between the greens and reality. I guess they need to demonize the greens to make reality seem wrong. Two birds with one stone.

I wonder if they can defeat the "Greens" and lie about peak oil successfully. Can they defeat reality?

"Boosting oil production with bacteria".

With our propensity for short-term thinking, I guess no-one is visualizing the bacteria developing a taste for the oil itself. Perhaps a strain will arise that just consumes whatever is left in the wells before it can come to the surface.

s-t: Actually bacterial remediation has been done downhole for over 30 years. Never very effective from what I could tell. Typically the bugs they use can't survive in an oxygenated environment. But, as you imply, Mother Earth is known to play tricks on us and change what we think are fixed rules. So instead of a killer tomato attacking Philadelphia it might be a giant amoeba eating Houston.

I watch those documentaries about critters surviving near steam-vents on the deep ocean floor, in pretty inhospitable conditions. It only takes one mutation...

t-s: Yep...as we know Mother abhors a vacuum. As the man said in "Jurassic Park": nature finds a way.

My favorite part was when the Jeff Goldblum character mumbled "Then comes the running and the screaming"................

"Life will find a way".

Great movie by the way.

Interesting thought; once runnaway climate change have killed all life on earth, the only remaining for of life for evolution tostart working on again is a strand of bacterias deep in an old oil field. Hmm...

Who knows where this all ends up.

Yates quits Met amid hacking row

Met Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates has resigned as the phone-hacking scandal fall-out continues.

He checked the credentials of Neil Wallis before the Met employed the ex-News of the World executive, arrested last week over hacking allegations.

Mr Yates indicated his intention to resign to the chairman of the Met Police Authority, which was accepted.

Mr Yates's decison to quit comes after Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson resigned on Sunday.

I am bloody f*********king fuming, The police have gone and arrested the one who knows the most the Editor Rebekah Brooks and released her on bail 12 hours later. This is just before she is to appear before a parliamentary committee. I suppose that what she has to say will now be sub judice and wont be able to give evidence. If that is so then I suspect that this scandal is just the tip of a hell of a lot more corruption. I has the smell of the of the slowly unravelling of the Profumo affair nearly 50 years ago apart from the feeding frenzy of our most corrupt politician trying to put the boot in, who have never forgiven the MSM for exposing there expenses scams.

There should be enough folks digging, now. I don't think it will be kept quiet.


Bush the 1st and the Franklin sex scandal.


Sept 10th, 2001 - Pentagon sez they can't find 2 trillion or so.

Some things just get mostly buried - With a party "in charge" that they think will benefit from a Fox hunt, you may be right.

Buy here on TOD - the discussion about the end of oil and the reaction of others who benefit by keeping the status quo goes to show how wide and deep the river of De Nile runs.

An interesting side bar in WSJ today discusses differences in criminal law and procedure between USA and UK. You seem to be thinking USA law applies. Of course, it does not. In UK there is nothing corresponding to open discussion of a plea bargain, particularly a plea bargain in return for giving evidence against another suspect. I don't know if the sidebar is accurate, but I suspect it is. They are a different country, you know. Law is also different in KSA, and FSU. But that is commonly put down to their being benighted hell holes. rather than simple differences in legal tradition.

Every one of these acts committed in Britain is also a violation of America's Corrupt Foreign Practices Act. I am writing my congressmen to keep the pressure up on prosecutions on this side of the pond.

Hey York, don't let your blood pressure get out of control there. Rupert's armor may finally have developed a few chinks in it. I think the piranha have smelt some blood in the water and there may be a feeding frenzy yet. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping Faux News might get taken down along with him. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people. Gotta wonder if the old mogul may even have a few skeletons hidden over at the ever so respectable, WSJ, eh?

Might be that unlucky #13, Rupert Murdoch is supposed to be the 13th most powerful person on the planet.

Maybe he'll slip a bit in the rankings...

Fred it is not so much my blood pressure I worry about it is shame. I am disgusted and angry at the way the ruling clique get away with things. There is no moral compass left in my country. Let me try and give you an example After the war Churchill was almost broke. During the war he didn't have time to write articles and books which was his bread and butter. I think it was in 1948 he was talking too some friends at diner that he might have to sell his house Chartwell to make ends meet. He was writing his epic history of World War II at the time that eventually won him the Nobel prize for Literature. Agreed he did like his brandy and cigars and they didn't come cheap in post war Britain but that was no way to treat one of our greatest Prime Minister. His friends got together and made him an offer he couldn't refuse. They would buy the house from him on condition that he could live in it for a small rent with his family until he died and the house would then be given too the coutry. The sum was 50,000 pounds, Churchill is reputed to have said for that money he would throw in the corpse as well.

Different times you might say, but I have watched St. Tony B.liar leave his job as Prime Minister and get a job shortly afterwards with I think Goldman Sach as a consultant for 2 million pounds a year. Whose opinion is worth 2 million pounds a year? That to me stinks of corruption and was nothing more than a means of paying him off for services rendered. A bit more sophisticated than bunging him a roll of notes under the table in a pub but just as corrupt.

There is no moral compass left in my country.

Or any other country for that matter. Which is why I would like to see some of these creeps taken down a notch or two for a change. One can dream can't one

Edit: Heh, and look what the cat just dragged in!

Wall Street Journal comes under fire for defiant phone-hack op-ed


News of the World phone-hacking whistleblower found dead

Sean Hoare, the former News of the World showbiz reporter who was the first named journalist to allege Andy Coulson was aware of phone hacking by his staff, has been found dead, the Guardian has learned.

Hoare, who worked on the Sun and the News of the World with Coulson before being dismissed for drink and drugs problems, is said to have been found dead at his Watford home.

Hertfordshire police would not confirm his identity, but the force said in a statement: "At 10.40am today [Monday 18 July] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.

"The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing."

Polonium 210 again? MI-5 at work?

Moral of the story. Dont mess with Billionaires and expect to live to tell about it.

Oh, you guys!!!
The Police are Investigating.
I'm sure their report will be Fair and Balanced.

Sad thing is that people who care and try to make things better don't tend to have happy, prosperous lives. As cynical as you wish to be, odds on bet, his life simply sucked so bad he decided to end his misery.

P.S. what RalphW said below.

His neighbors noticed he wasn't busy and about chatting from his balcony or cleaning the bin shed, as usual. One of the most gregarious people around, they say. Sounds like a bright point in anyone's day!

here is the strange thing of the story. the police show up, and then completely pack up and leave when family members show up at 3pm. they don't return to do a actual forensic sweep of the crime scene till 9pm that night.
Remember this scandal does involve bribing police to get them to use police equipment and time to locate targets for the paper.

Yeah like many things, I fail to believe the media on this one. The police are complicit in the whole fiasco. Wow. The Conservatives are already looking politically weak in GB.

The criminals get first crack at the crime scene. That's the beauty thing about police corruption. Playing out right now, all over the world. Especially lovely in India.


The guy lived for his work. His work was getting scoops on Rock stars taking coke and rum. His docter said his liver was already dead. It was only the prospect of nailing his former bosses that kept him alaive until today.

This should lift the lid off of the cess pit. July and August are usually the quiet period for scandal everybody being on Holiday so I don't expect that there will be anything else to keep it off the front pages.

LulzSec Hacks Murdoch-Owned ‘The Sun,’ Redirects Homepage To Fake Murdoch Death Story

Looks like hacker group LulzSec is back in action, this time redirecting the homepage of the Murdoch-owned The Sun (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/) to a fake story about Murdoch’s death located on the UK Time’s URL http://www.new-times.co.uk/sun.

From what I can see the story is meant to mirror an actual The Sun story about the latest development in the Murdoch mess, “Ex News of the World journalist found dead.” After about 10 minutes of being up (and I swear the real Sun homepage was redirecting) the fake story has been pulled from the UK Times site. The redirect, I’m assuming because of volume of requests, is now being spotty.

Image Link

As of time of posting The Sun website is redirecting to the lulzec twitter feed.

Edit: Sky News UK presenter just said that The Sun had been hacked by "Louise Boat" of "anonymous" - I think they meant The Lulz Boat...

"The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious..."

Bwhahahahahaha! Ehem, excuuuse me!

CERN 'gags' physicists in cosmic ray climate experiment

The chief of the world's leading physics lab at CERN in Geneva has prohibited scientists from drawing conclusions from a major experiment. The CLOUD ("Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets") experiment examines the role that energetic particles from deep space play in cloud formation. CLOUD uses CERN's proton synchrotron to examine nucleation.

CERN Director General Rolf-Dieter Heuer told Welt Online that the scientists should refrain from drawing conclusions from the latest experiment.

"I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them," reports veteran science editor Nigel Calder on his blog. Why?

Because, Heuer says, "That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate. One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters."

The Director General of CERN is a member of the political establishment in Europe. He speaks as a member of the establishment, not as a scientist. He makes that clear in second quotation.

I think we have a small fire in a crowded theater, and the wrong* people are shouting fire.

* people who are not members of the establishment are often referred to as 'wrong people'.

But he has a point; if it has any possible conection to the climate change debate, scientific progress on the matter is closed down for political reasons. If it had any bearing on the climate, you could not get the answear to weather a nail is stright or not.

While the MSM has been focused on WTI futures, heating oil futures have bounced up 35 cents per gallon over the past few weeks. Good thing nobody in America uses heating oil or Diesel fuel.

This morning, WTI down over $2, while Brent (much better indication of global oil prices) is up $1.40. I just wonder how long it will be before we see convoys of independent producers driving tanker trucks of oil to coastal markets, from the mid-continent:


TAPIS chart here:


Important for Asian countries and Australia

Isn't there a pipeline (I think two) that ships oil from the Gulf to Cushing. Maybe we at the Drum can form a corporation and buy it.

Wonder if we get a cold snap like last winter? Could be nasty if we get into a rationing situation. Then the big oil folks (et al.) would have to double speak a lot about Drill baby drill and yada yada yada -- invade Libya -- kill Osama (whoops he's dead). Pick a new scapegoat.

So...gold at $1600 today. At every new high, I think it must be the top of the bubble, and at the same time I kick myself for not buying in. But hell, now I can't even afford a whole coin. Anybody here want to go in halfs with me?

Speaking of coins, I remember seeing a German billion mark coin from the early Twenties, in the Witte Museum in San Antonio.

That experience, which is only now pretty much passed from living memory, is why there is such a disconnect between Germany, where many people don't want to repeat it, and a number of other countries, where too many people seem to think they can 'print' their way out of economic problems...

"But hell, now I can't even afford a whole coin."

You can still buy these, and silver has been doing well; the 'poor man's gold'.

I have been buying since the spring of '06.
EVERY time I have bought, I have been "sure" I was paying too much.......and EVERY time I have been wrong. I'm glad I bought anyway, in spite of my doubts.

There is no bubble in gold.
Not yet.
Not for the foreseeable.

But don't buy today. The current hysteria over the European banks, the european sovereign debt and the U.S. debt situation will simmer down (I think!). The price will return to the mean; follow the moving averages, THEN buy:-)

I would echo Ghung.

The problem with buying the dips is timing, which is difficult in a game manipulated by the big banks. This is true in spite of the instant, up to date information provided by the internet. The boys at Goldman and Morgan are ahead of you, politically as well.

Stay on a regular accumulation program, and get the physical in your hands. Keep it safe. There are other options out there - funds, mining stocks, etc. Just make sure it's out of the banking system. A safe at a smaller, community bank or credit union may be an option, but just always be aware that they will turn on you at a moment's notice if they have to. I've already converted 60% or so of my financial assets into gold/silver, and a smaller amount of platinum, in various forms. I may push 75% depending on how much fiat I have and need.

If they send me a letter asking me to turn them in, I'll rip it apart and hide the metals. If they come for them, they'll have to tear the whole house down to find them. And by that time, some of it will be buried out in the wilderness. If they still don't take no for an answer, I'll get on a boat and toss the metals out at sea. If they kill me, I'll see them in hell.

Do you copy, Mr. Bernanke?

You could, of course, buy a half-, quarter- or one-tenth-ounce coin...

Or, buy a whole coin and cut it up into eight pieces.

That's my two-bits worth.

Speaking of coins, I have to share a laugh - maybe outrage would be more appropriate - for a cable TV ad for a $50.00 Gold Buffalo Tribute Proof. You can Google it. Anyway, you have to be astute to see that it is "clad in 14mg of .9999 of pure 24KT Gold".

Now, they sell each coin normally for $50.00 but if you act quickly you can but a limited number for $9.95 each plus S&H, yadda, yadda, yadda

If my math - and Google calc - has not failed me, 14mg is .000493oz and at $1,600 per ounce all of about 80 cents of gold.


Maybe this was just a test to see how many people can still do math.

We had a similar situation at the local Burger King for several months. The four piece order of chicken tenders cost one dollar, but the eight piece order was three dollars! So I often wondered how many people still bought the eight piece order, instead of buying two of the four piece orders.

Same silly experience: at a school fair - 25 cents a try or 3 for a dollar. And not one teacher caught it. And these are the folks who'll make a good salary and contribute to my SS check? Or if want to ramp it up and start an argument try telling a serious lottery play that 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 is just as likely to win as any other set of numbers they might pick. Be prepared for some blank/angry looks.

At my local grocery, three 4 lb. bags of store brand sugar costs $0.12 less than one 10 lb. bag. Been that way for a couple of years now, yet many folks still buy the 10 lb. bags; one woman did after I tried to explain it to her. She said that she always buys the 10 lb. bags "because it saves her money".

I don't mean to sound elitist, but I also don't expect these folks to understand "finite resources" or exponential functions.

I always take my calculator to the store because the folks setting prices seem to understand the consumer pretty well. Fool me once, shame on me....

...and this 'stealth inflation' thing,,, when did a 5 lb. bag of sugar become a 4 lb. bag; a 6 oz. can of tuna now 5 oz.?

"New! Smaller size: Same low price...." This was an actual add :-0

I love it when they show cents/oz for one brand and $/pound for another. Always trying to hide the price. Got to calculate for yourself all the time!

Not sure if it's a Massachusetts law or not but most stores I can think of display a cost per unit breakdown, oz's, pounds,etc. Pretty handy.

Edit: And they stick to the same units for comparison. Advantage of living in a Communist state I s'pose!

That's all fine and dandy, but they ring it up wrong!
Shaws can be off by as much as $50 on a $250 shopping basket.

Well, I didn't accuse them of being honest! Trust but verify, is the phrase I think.

Trust but verify, is the phrase I think.

Whatever the form in which the Government functions, anyone entering into an arrangement with the Government takes the risk of having accurately ascertained that he who purports to act for the Government stays within the bounds of his authority.

Indeed. Last week, King Stupids charged my wife $40 for a head of lettuce. Seems its bar code was misread as a drug from the pharmacy. Lucky she caught it, and was able to prove their mistake by the fact the pharmacy had no record of us getting anything that day.

She had to return to the store and argue with the manager, who told the story that the lettuce's bar code had been repeatedly misread as from the pharmacy. So he had seen the problem before. No apology, gift certificate or anything, she just got the $40 credited back for her wasted time. Guess we maybe got the head of lettuce for free.

I bet they were mostly bummed that she caught their mistake. Wonder how may times they got away with it?

Yeah, wonder if it were reported to the police, whether they would investigate the $40 mischarge as a potential act of fraud. Chances are the police would be too busy.

The age of the huckster is here -- or did we ever have an honest era? LOL.

I remember reading some stats about department stores mistakes in ringing up bills. Seems the mistakes are almost always in the stores favor. Usually its just that someone forgot to enter the sales price into the computer. You really got to watch very carefully as your stuff is wrung up. The only question is is it some greedy local manager, or companywide policy?

In NH, I very commonly see similar products with the price/unit given in different units.

Ghung - That reminds me of a 30 year old incident: a guy was bitching about the price of gasoline during the embargo. Said he was tired of oil companies saying they were going to drill more oil wells. He said that was stupid: "We didn't need more oil wells...we needed more gasoline wells." And to think his vote counted just as much as yours or mine. Not terribly surprising to see where we are today if such "understanding" has been common with the public, eh?

Gosh, Rock, and if we switched from gallons to liters the price would drop to around a buck; make everyone happy....

...and get busy drilling me up some gasoline ;-)

Ghung - And that reminds me of another story we "elitists" need the bear in mind. Back in the late 70's I chatted with a very educated guy (doctor of some sort) who saw a potential problem with the SPR plan: if we did put millions of barrels of oil underground eventually they would rust and leak. So who's dumber...him or those of us that forget to the vast majority of the country a barrel is a container and not a volume?

Most technology is absolute black magic to the general public.
"60Hz 120VAC RMS", the inverter claims for it's output...
What does RMS mean, to the average consumer?
If you want to bring the technician to puzzle, ask them what the name of the quite common "BNC connector" means: "What does BNC stand for?".

Bayonet Neill-Concelman - Named after the guys that invented it.

Paul Neill and Carl Concelman


We have a winner!


Lots of C connectors were used at Los Alamos.

Years ago a fellow Engineer told Me it was Bennett Neil Connector.

What did We do before wikipedia?

I just did a treasure hunt, but I always wondered why BNC was named so. Tomorrow I can forget their names. LOL

I heard long ago that it stood for "Baby 'N' Connector".

Haha , i heared , and used the term "British Naval Connector"

That is a cultivar of orange, no? ;-)

What does RMS mean to the non electrical engineer or technician? Same problem for amplifier power output ratings - RMS or Peak. Cheap stuff always quotes Peak and the quality gear quotes RMS.

Root Mean Square because the average of uniform sine wave is zero. Positive half plus the negative half equals zero. However, if you take the square root of the square addition of the positive and negative, then one gets a number that actually reflects an average magnitude equivalent to a DC voltage.

Or, stick your finger in an electrical socket and was that an averaged zero shock or an RMS shock? Don't try this at home, we are professionals!

Yah, but watch those numbers. Even RMS stats can be inflated by rating at an amp at a higher total harmonic distortion. I'm not sure if this is still done, but it was a problem with some solid-state stereo guitar amps sold in 70s.

"In its 1974 Amplifier Rule meant to combat the unrealistic power claims made by many hi-fi amplifier manufacturers, the FTC prescribed continuous power measurements performed with sine wave signals on advertising and specification citations for amplifiers sold in the US. Typically, an amplifier's power specifications are calculated by measuring its RMS output voltage, with a continuous sine wave signal, at the onset of clipping—defined arbitrarily as a stated percentage of total harmonic distortion (THD)—into specified load resistances. Typical loads used are 8 and 4 ohms per channel; many amplifiers used in professional audio are also specified at 2 ohms.

"Most amplifiers are capable of higher power if driven further into clipping, with corresponding increases in harmonic distortion, so the continuous power output rating cited for an amplifier should be understood to be the maximum power (at or below a particular acceptable amount of harmonic distortion) in the frequency band of interest. For audio equipment, this is nearly always the nominal frequency range of human hearing, 20Hz to 20 kHz."


Note that lots of rock musicians are really dubious about 20-20-- we think that we can hear WAY, way more than that, even with all the hearing damage we got before we all started wearing earplugs, but that's a separate issue.

You sound like you are at a level of technical competence where you probably already know this, don't mean to be pedantic. It's late, can't remember what the hell I'm even talking about... except I go totally batsh*t trying to reconcile all the metrics on this blog, and I get really excited when I stumble across some numbers that are expressed in a way I almost understand.

eventually they would rust and leak.

Now probably he was thinking of steel oil barrels. But a real geologic reservoir is going to leak some. You won't get back as much as you put in. And the pipe leading to it can probably rust as well. So I'd say he was right, but for the wrong reason.

Hard to know if that guy with the gasoline wells comment was just ignorant, or being funny. Without a snark tag (and from decades ago), we can't really say.

EOS - Yep...the smart guy was thinking we would bury steel drum. And the idiot did mean gasoline wells. Some 30+ years ago a lot of folks knew nothing about refining.

Some 30+ years ago a lot of folks knew nothing about refining.

Apparently not much has changed since then either, well, maybe they've gotten a tad worse. My kid takes AP science courses at his public high school and he took organic chemistry last year, unfortunately I don't think this course is taken by your average non college bound high school student nowadays. Neither are trig, calculus or physics, let alone are students encouraged to become critical thinkers...


My feeling is that the plastic and paper molds to make the 80% smaller packaging were already in the works waiting for the next oil spike.

This was the master plan to just shrink the size of everything down. The masters need to spread the pain around to all sectors. They cannot hit housing up again. Now the supermarket will get shelled.

You must have been making jelly with all that sugar. I just did the math the other day for sugar and one store 10 lb was more expensive and another store the 10 lb was cheaper than the 4 lbs. LOL. I have no idea why. But prices can swing as much as 50 cents or so for 10 lbs from store to store for a very basic thing like sugar.

Why do you think I carry a calculator when shopping ;)


I try to get by, with the wetware biocomputer. Its good practice.

LOL. I always tell my students to use their head to make rough calculations. Make sure the numbers make sense. It is also good for preventing neuro-degeneration.

Yup, for the 1st pass but the stores like to obfuscate the numbers. Mind you I prefer to save the brain cells for thinking rather than number crunching.


I remember standard 7 oz. cans of tuna.

I notice the pitchman always speeds up when he says "gold-clad". Sadly they wouldn't be doing it if they weren't selling some of them. And probably some of them will be re-sold to other people as the real thing.

That's a possibility that has crossed my mind. One would hope that people would have the common sense to weigh the darn things. It's a really bad idea to make plated repros of bullion coins.

In the old days, what happened to people that peddled fake coins to a guy with a gun and got caught?

Our local gold dealer gets people coming in trying to sell these things. Good for a chuckle, at least.


At what price could the USA sell its gold holdings in Ft. Knox (and elsewhere, in any) and pay off its entire debt?

Would fear of USA default help or hinder gold reaching that price?

Some politicians may think that is a bad plan, since they personally have a vested interest in gold prices (hidden around their property somewhere).

I'm hoping for some actual answers to my question as asked.
Come on people with the numbers. Help me.

High point of gold at Fort Knox was supposedly 1941 at 701 million ounces.
Current inventory = ?
Officially, I believe it is 147.3 million ounces; not enough to retire the debt at current gold prices, I don't believe.

The U.S. Department of Treasury claims that the Fort Knox gold vault contains 147.3 million troy ounces of gold.

147.3 million * $1600 = $235.68 Billion

I don't think that is enough.

OK...let's play some more. Throw in the value of all USA "assets": Capitol, White House, Pentagon, Aircraft Carriers, boomers, fast attacks, fighter planes, used space shuttles, etc.

One has to wonder if the USA has enough assets of all kinds to pay off the debt.


Aircraft Carriers, boomers, fast attacks, fighter planes, used space shuttles, etc.

No one would pay anywhere near book value for that stuff.

Ya, but they might pay us to not use it on them.
"This is a nice store you've got here. It would be a shame to see it get messed up, if you know what I mean."

Just sitting around, weaponry represents a huge misallocation of capital investment. When we actually try to use it (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan) the operating costs get completely out of hand.

You still get a lot of bang for your buck with nuclear. It is all paid for and push-button ready.

One game is for a corporation to buy a company and sell off all of its assets. Anything of value is turned for money. So far, all the loose cash and land has disappeared into the banks. Even more cash was directed to them through Quantitative Easing. The sell-off of the SPR has been tested: no response from the herd. There is desperate grasping for the Social Security system and for the medical care industry. After Russia fell, everything of value was absconded with, even Cheburashka (Чебурашка).

The Indians were marginalized and the resources exploited. It looks like the current residents are being marginalized and their lands and rights taken away. There is a great yearning for a return to the past.

See you at the ghost dance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3GEmK0MJtI song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sICgWJ46_4E English

In Wyoming, when my elected Representative (Republican of course) talks about forcing the US Government to dispose of assets before raising taxes, she is talking code for forcing the US Gov to sell off the public lands (to herself and other rich individuals and corporations). Just sayin....

some days i wonder if this debt ceiling thing is just a way to force default so the national resources can be sold for penny's on the dollar to companies. anwar and the ocs to the oil companies. national part to the strip miners and logging etc.

Its pure disaster capitalism (shock doctrine). Create a crisis, then use it to stampede the sheeple into giving up their stuff. Works every time.

Pure theater
They have a big WWF throw-down fight
In-front of the cameras
Good-cop/bad-cop while the kid trembles
Then, there's a "compromise"

Mark Fiore is pretty funny
But I think there is only one party

"Mourning in America" and "Trickle Down Tales"
are pretty good, as is my still favorite
"Pretty Please"

Citizen Kang
At 12:46
But you'll have to watch it in Russian...
Now the language of freedom!
Or, you can try to find it in English...
But now it's gone

well, i think either the goal is default or to make it look like signing over the social safety net(unemployment, healthcare, social security etc) is more desirable then default.

I always claimed that the only successful weapons were the ones that were retired without being used. After all, we claim to believe in deterrence. Under that theory, the best weapon, is the one that is never used.

And we "gave away" a cash cow asset worth MUCH more than book value - the Panama Canal.

Best Hopes for "doing the right thing",


China would prolly pay around $70B for the SPR.

Only a 1/4 of a trillion.
Anyway, if they started to unload it wouldn't that flood the market and sink the price?
Chris Mortenson's visual of how large a sum of money a trillion dollars is always sticks with me:-
A pile of $1,000 bills (a pile not end to end) some 69 miles and a bit high.

I like the counting method...

If you incrementally count to 1 million at a rate of one count per second, 24/7, it will take you about 10 days. Not so bad.

If you wish to count to 1 billion, it will take you...ready?...32 years. Quite a jump.

If you want to count to 1 trillion it will take you...320 years, right?...No, 32,000 years!

Humans don't process large numbers well, often to our detriment.

Yeah, that's nice. Puts million, billion and trillion into perspective very clearly.

I might say they process numbers too well and conceptually understand math too poorly. The absolute numbers are not particularly relevant, it is the relationship to current per capita income and GDP that matters.

And Merril, from a traditional economic perspective the problem is we did not waste our money on ordinance, but on houses that will muck up the building industry for a decade. No demand increase there.

Consider a cubic millimeter of gold to be the monetary unit, the (GM3 for Gold Millimeter Cubed).

- a thousand GM3s = 1 cc of gold,
- a million GM3s = 1 liter of gold,
- a billion GM3s = 1 cubic meter of gold (weighing 19.3 metric tons), and
- a trillion GM3s = a cube of gold 10 meters (32.81 feet) on a side.

The 261,498,899.316 troy ounces of gold owned by treasury works out to 421,426,163,212 GM3s.

Daniel - I agree that we over invested in housing. To some extent housing has residual value even when the price goes down. Lots of weaponry costs huge sums to develop, goes through its life without actually being used (if we are lucky) and then has zero value at the end.

Of course, there are even greater idiocies -- a friend described to me an RV he saw on the lot which had granite counter tops in the kitchen. A $585 K price tag too.

So Two Trillion Dollars, roughly what we spend to keep our highway based transportation system going each year, would be a stack nearly 149 miles high, or long if we lay it down on the ground. Heck, a Nissan Leaf won't even go that far on one charge, or two, or three charges, for that matter.

Maybe we should switch to $5,000 bills and lay the stack down sideways, so that we could drive the roughly 30 miles from one end to the other on one charge in that Nissan Leaf. Otherwise,people will never get a good idea of how much money that is.

Well, in my little efforts to enlighten the unenlightened, I find words like billion, trillion, etc, have no penetrating capability whatsoever. They are literally meaningless to ordinary folk who have never laid their hands on a billion or a trillion of anything they can see. What I find DOES work is percentages of GDP, or better yet, multiples of things that people know about, like how much they pay for hair oil, or soft drinks, or cars in excess of a honda civic in flash, and so on.

So you can say, "your government has paid x (for something they like, like grammar school funding) and we have paid 4 times that for y ( something we all know is utterly frivolous, even evil, and we do ourselves, like the above mentioned soft drinks)

Lapsing serious for a moment, I do indeed believe we do a lot of damage by NOT getting rid of trillion in favor of something people can actually relate to personally. "Trillion" allows them to say "Ah, what the hell, a lotta money" and then go about doing their not thinking about it at all.

Maybe we should use BBC terminology and call it two million millions?

Either that or the Fed could come up with a new 10 Trillion dollar bank note, then we could have a debate as to how many of them should be printed and put into circulation.

I remember when a million million was a billion in England before we adopted the American standard. Which was strange because that extra stretch would probably have made things a little easier on the terminology considering the sheer size of the money amounts being discussed these days.

You wacky americans you.

But, a large part of the population is flummoxed by percenatges and rations as well. I think your best hope is drawing pictures, with the area of things proportional to cost. Otherwise an illion, is an illion, is an illion (whats the difference?).


Someone here pointed this out:
Watership Down

*Rabbits can count up to four. Any number above four is 'harair'--- "A lot" or "A Thousand"

I've taken to writing numbers out. It avoids international confusions, too:


Pictures are definitely good-- bar charts, and hunks of things they can pick up and feel the relative weight of. Any kind of number alone is bad, whether 14 with 12 zeros, or 14E12, or whatever illion you want to pick. What I find is the best shocker is "OK, so that thing you think the government is spending too much on, is not even 1/4 what you and I spend on too many Mcburgers (or whatever useless thing he and I are at the moment spending too much on).

But, truth to tell, what we need and most definitely do not have is a real leader who can state the problem in ways that can stir people up, and then give directions to get our ass in gear and go ahead and do what we know needs doing and what we really can do.

People forget that history is full of examples of big groups of people getting together to do really big things, fast, when they are of the right mind to do it. And feel good about it in the process, too.

Real leadership would give hope. Democracy only talks about selection. Capitalism only talks about money. Bloodshed was avoided in the selection process. Democracy works. Corporations are making record profits, awarding record bonuses. Capitalism works. There is great hope for the further reduction of government interference in the operation of capitalism. There is great hope for the further transfer of wealth and markets to the corporations. Hope is very much alive. Of the people. By the people. And for the people. Corporations are people, too. And free money is free speech. Hopeful, freedom-loving people... this is paradise.

All kidding aside- Real leadership would be great.

261,498,899.316 troy ounces held by US Treasury according to http://www.fms.treas.gov/gold/current.html

Close to $14.3 trillion in debt according to http://www.usdebtclock.org/

So when gold gets to $54,684.51 / ounce we can pay off the current debt (of course the debt will still be rising from there since the government is in deficit).

A gold standard is hugely deflationary since the supply of gold doesn't increase nearly as fast as the economy, except when you conquer Mexico, Peru, India, Orange Free State, or strike it rich in California, Alaska and the Yukon.

Of course, if the Govt. could find buyers for all of that gold, dumping it on the market would crash the price. Tainter provides some good history lessons, using Rome as an example. When the Roman's conquered gold rich regions, the price of gold dropped quickly in Rome; instant inflation.

He also discusses how they dealt with inflation by makeing the coins smaller, reducing the amount of precious metals in the currency, and eventually minting coins of non-precious metals. Sound familiar?

It seems to be an unavoidable theme as complex societies reach their peak(s).

Maybe they could start printing money with expiration dates on it. That would get those pesky savers to get this consumer economy going again. I was thinking of a checking account with credits similar to those cell phone minutes that expire at the end of the month.

That's how Zimbabwe dealt with their economy

They also printed only one side

This is Terry Prattchet typeof humor, in reality. Pricless. Or five for trillion dollar! If I went there, I wouldhave bought them in packs and handed them out to my friends when I came home.

"That would get those pesky savers to get this consumer economy going again."

Few people have any savings. If there were expiration dates on money, the few savers that exist, would go by precious metals. I suspect a significant number of savers have already purchase at least some PMs since 2008.

"I was thinking of a checking account with credits similar to those cell phone minutes that expire at the end of the month."
Most states already have that in effect. If you don't make any transactions on a bank account (checking, savings, etc) with in a period (usually a year or two) The state will file a motion to confiscate it.

Not a new idea. Not a bad one, either. Look up the Free-money experiments that Silvio Gesell pioneered early last century. The idea is that everything in the economy decays over time-- except money, when hoarded. By stamping money with a date and making it die like everything else, the natural flows of the economy would be accelerated and the sluggishness due to hoarding would be nearly eliminated.

I'm aware that those who would really want to hoard something would find some nonperishable but consistently valuable good-- say a precious metal, or something-- and just hoard it instead. I'm not sure how Gesell thought of this or worked around it, but as I recall his experiments with this type of currency were a success. I wish I had the time to find better sources, but anyone interested could probably follow their nose to the right places. This is the age of google after all.



- Resid the Undergrad

He also discusses how they dealt withcreated inflation by makeing the coins smaller, reducing the amount of precious metals in the currency, and eventually minting coins of non-precious metals. Sound familiar?

There we go.

Maybe a gold standard could lead to an invasion of South Africa?

Maybe a gold standard could lead to an invasion of South Africa?

It did it was called the Boar war 1899 too 1902 or there abouts. We Brits didn't really invade the Transvall or the Orange Freestate which had gold and diamond mines we goaded the Boars until they invaded British South Africa and then in a bloody war incorporated them into British South Africa. The gold from the mines then went into the Bank of England to expand the money supply, There are consequences if you have money based on the gold standard. Would never have happened now

Yes, it was when the British invented the Concentration Camp

The camps had originally been set up by the British army as "refugee camps" to provide refuge for civilian families who had been forced to abandon their homes for one or other reason related to the war. However, when Kitchener succeeded Roberts as commander-in-chief in South Africa on 29 November 1900, the British army introduced new tactics in an attempt to break the guerrilla campaign and the influx of civilians grew dramatically as a result. Kitchener initiated plans to

flush out guerrillas in a series of systematic drives, organized like a sporting shoot, with success defined in a weekly 'bag' of killed, captured and wounded, and to sweep the country bare of everything that could give sustenance to the guerrillas, including women and children.... It was the clearance of civilians—uprooting a whole nation—that would come to dominate the last phase of the war.[45]

As Boer farms were destroyed by the British under their "Scorched Earth" policy—including the systematic destruction of crops and slaughtering of livestock, the burning down of homesteads and farms, and the poisoning of wells and salting of fields—to prevent the Boers from resupplying from a home base many tens of thousands of women and children were forcibly moved into the concentration camps. This was not the first appearance of internment camps. The Spanish had used internment in the Ten Years' War that led to the Spanish-American War, and the United States had used them to devastate guerrilla forces during the Philippine-American War. But the Boer War concentration camp system was the first time that a whole nation had been systematically targeted, and the first in which some whole regions had been depopulated.

Nope. Sorry. We Americans have primary authorship there: Deer Island, off Boston, Massachusetts, used to imprison the Praying Indians of Natick during Metacomet's War.

Come on guys, Slavery is as old as cities. They did not have it before then because they lacked the resources to punish, not because they had good souls.

Not about slavery.

Didn't the Brits lose that one? Its never been taught in American history. It was certainly a shock to the Brits how tough a few (foreign) colonists could get when their backs were to the wall.

Gee, what a great idea; invade a country whose gold production is plummeting into the toilet.

On the other hand, I guess we're getting pretty good at that; taking over dry holes;-)

I can't find the source, but read a while back that in the 30s when the Gold was actually collected/confiscated that it was signed over to the Federal Reserve as collateral for the government debt. If so, it could mean that the US government does not actually own that gold.


But in 1934, control of the Fed was handed back to the Treasury with the "gold reserve act of 1934" The Fed is allegedly independent in the public eye. Behind the curtain, the Treasury pulls all the strings. The US gov't has been using the gold reserves to fund oversea covert operations and to run the "Exchange Stabilization Fund" since the end of WW2.

An explanation of the 'Gold Standard' and the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 can be found at:

Brief History of the Gold Standard in the United States

I find many CRS reports to be enlightening.

I wonder how long it will take the Rs to shut down that service, and the GAO to boot, following in the footsteps of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA).

Of course there are many folks out there who pray to see the EPA go the way of the dinosaurs.

FDA, NIH, CDC, I bet we can save a few bucks there as well and outsource to the 'free market'!

I'm in the same dilemma, even worse so because I managed to sell off my house and now I got some cash and not sure what to do with it (I already have a farm but I'm not sure I want to put all my money in one basket).

1. Gold - I second your thoughts. I believe its a bubble waiting to burst and I'm not sure if I should wait or if I should get some gold coins anyway.
2. Solar panels - I believe these might be useful in the short term as tokens of value, say, in the next 5 years or less.
3. Shoes, clothes, scissors, etc., non-perishable day-to-day commodities

Any brighter ideas?

Whiskey or wine, in a good cellar, where they can improve with age?

Whiskey stops "aging" as soon as it is bottled:-)

Big barrels of it.

Now, THAT'S what I'm talkin' about;-)

In pre-industrial times, owning the salt monopoly was a very good thing. In pre-Revolution France, for example, it was a royal monopoly.

Buy Potash.Read comment below somewhere.Chinese have cornered the market and very little left for the rest of the world.Price bound to sky rocket.

Land in a different situation than the farm. With the possibility of income would be best? In case things do not go well where the farm is located. Otherwise, one is playing the timing game. Energy independence is a good thing. It can be a lot of fun, too. But don't invest beyond a level of reasonable comfort: The equipment all ages. An electric car to run off of the reasonable means of energy independence would allow you another degree of freedom.

It is not to late yet. Take a bank loan and sell the gold when you have made a 200% profit. I make the following prediction, and I have already printed "I told you so" stickers for them:

1: We are in the begining of a speculation bubble in gold, not even near the top.

2: The top of this bubble will be the biggest speculation bubble in the history of speculation bubbles, past and future. This is the Big One.

3: The bubble will burst when prices are 20 to 100 times above pre-bubble prices.

This is the investment oppurtunity of the history of the human species. But for those who fail to sell in time, thery much pain awaits.

I'm not sure its such a wise idea to take a 'bank loan' in order to buy gold or whatever. If, as you claim, we're just at the 'beginning' of a bubble, then it is entirely possible to budget and save towards the budget and then buy at an appropriate time.

Can you throw more light on why you think we're "at the beginning" of a gold bubble?

The first assumption is Peak Oil.

The next is this will lead to loss in value of paper currency (or digital, I don't own more phisical cash than to buy a loaf of bread).

The 3:rd asumption is this will lead to people running for safe investments. Gold and land is the best bets.

4: When everyone buy, prices will rush. The word "investment oppurtunity" will be printed on everyones forheads, and demand and prices will surge. The scale of this process in relative to the scale of the uppcoming economic caos. Since this will be big, the bubble will be big.

Since gold have no intristic value, but land has, gold will at some point collapse. But we are not even close to that yet.

Oh Joy!

What a population of 7 billion people means for the planet
With global population expected to surpass 7 billion people this year, the staggering impact on the environment is hard to ignore

Why should we be afraid? As long as there are plenty of resources around, we will all be fine.

Does anybody have a good idea about how long it will take to get Libya back to full production, after they install (have elections for) a new president?

I imagine that all this down time is not good for the system. And, the contractors that were working there before the fighting started might not want to return. This would tend to increase the recovery time. These events seem to be flattening out the tail on the word production curve.

Oil production restarting in Libya? Not yet.

Only once Qaddafi’s forces are permanently defeated will oil production resume in Libya.

Ron P.

This will go good with declining oil: Terrafugia Flying Car Cleared for Landing in US

eastie - But is it a flying car or an airplane capable of driving down the street? Seems I recall seeing one of those in a Three Stooges movie made 60 years ago.

It wont be doing either (driving or flying), if that gas pump quits taking his credit card.

Hey but that flying car/driving plane beats the boat in the neighbors yard that never goes in the water and is always sitting in his yard ;-)

Attach some hot air balloons to it and away you go.

It's the later. I remember reading a while ago that one real advantage is that you could take your plane home instead of having to rent space at the airport to store it. Everything else looked like marketing hyperbole.

The July/August issue of "The Atlantic" has a series of short articles titled: "14 Biggest Ideas of the Year". Number 14 is titled: "The Green Revolution is Neither." A few of lines from that article:

But while these green alternatives may now appear ubiquitous, they're not actually as commos as we think. Take electriciry. In 2010, one tenth of our electricity came from renewable sources. But most of that was hydroelectric power, not wind or solar—and hydroelectric output has actually dropped by almost a third since 1997. That fall has more than offset the rise of wind power, meaning we now generate less electricity from renewables than we did in 1997.
Unfortunately, although we have better and better technologies that enable us to use less fossil fuel, we have no scalable way to use none, or anywhere close to none. Even rapidly maturing technologies like wind power require carbon-intensive backup-generation capacity for those times when the wind doesn't blow.

Bold mine. I guess the title means that the Green Revolution is neither green or a revolution.

Ron P.

But Ron, the bottom of your quote is talking about efficiency and usually people call efficiency part of the green movement. Reduce, reuse, recycle, where "reduce" is efficiency more or less when it comes to energy. Funny juxtaposition if you ask me.

Note the "better technologies" phrase. That is the panacea for everything, right. Better technology will cure all that troubles us, and many need to continually read those words to assure themselves that everything is A-OKAY.

The statement in bold is accurate but misleading.

1997 was a record year for hydroelectric production in the U.S. Northwest, well above normal levels. Due to meteorological factors, the 1997-1999 period was quite high, before reverting to a more normal level in 2000 and really tanking in 2001. This in part caused the California electricity crisis during that time, or put another way, the unusual surpluses of the late 90s delayed the onset of California's electricity problems.

Just looking at EIA's tables for electricity production, the first year in the series is 1997. So I don't know if the author was relying on these series or if he/she deliberately cherry picked. Using a more reasonable baseline for hydro production would lead to a more measured conclusion about renewables growth, however.

Whenever someone makes a bold statement like that it's worth actually looking at the data.

From the Energy Export databrowser:

It is clear that picking 1997 as the starting year is deliberately misleading. Why not pick 2001 and say that hydro has increased by 25%?

Here are a couple more charts from an upcoming databrowser that use EIA data that show what has been going on with renewables:

Obviously, the EIA has some accounting issues to work out with biomass in 1988-1999 but the last decade shows a clear and dramatic increase in wind power.

And a look at the overall situation shows that renewables, including hydro, account for a mere 11% of our electricity generation, just as the article said.

Overall, I have to agree with the general theme of the article. The Green Revolution doesn't look like it will be able to replace the energy we currently get from fossil fuels. But I simply cannot abide the deliberate misuse of data that Ron pointed out.

Tortured analysis that makes a more dramatic statement may sell more copy but it is a terrible disservice to those in our society who are actually trying to make information-based decisions.

Best Hopes for Data Honesty.


The Green Revolution doesn't look like it will be able to replace the energy we currently get from fossil fuels.

Did anyone ever dream that it would?

Thanks Jon. That chart seems to make one point very well: wind is winning the footrace amongst renewables in a big way. Number always get fuzzy with me after a while. But that grapic will be easy to remember.

Great chart. Hydro has been constant in average terms for 40 years. The other chart would be installed capacity. If we increased capacity and production went down then that would be a bad sign. Probably there was no new hydro since 1970.

Actually there has been some new hydro, but no big stuff. Quite a few smaller systems, and upgrades to existing ones to increase capacity.

And, according to the National Hydropower Association, existing capacity (80GW) could be doubled by 2025 - of the 80,000 registered dams in the US, less than 2500 have hydro systems - that is definitely an opportunity for lots of smaller scale systems.

The DoE thinks that about 5700 of them are worth developing, for about 30GW of capacity.

Being a (very) small hydro developer myself, I naturally see opportunities everywhere. A major problem for developing small systems has been the regulatory/permitting process, that was written for very large systems, is overkill for small ones. It is hard to prove that the steep mountain stream that runs all of 100gpm (but has 1000' of head) has no salmon/trout in it, and if you have to hire a consultant to do so, you project instantly became uneconomical.

Here in BC, once you get much over 50kW, you really need to go to 2MW to be worthwhile, as the environmental impact and permitting process is the same for both.

Fortunately, these rules are changing, but slowly and painfully.

In addition, existing dams can be made more efficient (Hoover claims a 5% uptick# from the same water) and more turbines added to take advantage of peak water flows (and provide more peak and less baseload power).

# Part of this is machined gates to replace cast 1930s gates that will leak less when closed, and part is better hydrodynamics of the turbines, extracting more power.

Best Hopes for more Hydropower,


Seminar I attended @ hydro conference said that hydro, in general, varied by 30% annually (wet to dry year, no confidence interval) and wind by 15%.

Dry years are a problem with high % hydro dependence.


Is there a way to look at a countries consumption and imports of all energy sources at the same time? You have often made the point that those economies able to grow at current oil prices often have much smaller imports. And I wondered if it would be possible to make that point with your Databrowser.

Thanks for keeping it up, btw. It is very helpful.


The Energy databrowser is undergoing a major rewrite this summer and your suggestion is one that should eventually make it into the new version. Here's what I've been telling those who inquire about my sloth in updating to the latest BP data:

Unfortunately, the Energy Export databrowser update has taken a back seat to client work which came to a head in June. I have also decided to bite the bullet and do a major upgrade of the underlying software which has been through several iterations since the databrowser was first introduced.

So the bad news is that an updated version won't be available to the public until late July or early August.

The good news will be the addition of the following features:

  • full international country set by using BP data, EIA data or BP supplemented with EIA where BP data are missing
  • additional charting capabilities including single year rankings and pie charts
  • addition of rewewables from the BP Statistical Review
  • addition of the EIA electricity datasets
  • per capita units option
  • full integration with the Energy Trends blog
  • a companion iPhone app version of the databrowser for those important elevator conversations

These features will not come out all at once but I need to get the framework in place to make it possible.

I'm confident it will be worth the wait.

I appreciate all the feedback I've gotten over the past several years and hope to use it to create something even more useful.



Good news! And I can't wait to try out the iPhone app...

Best Hopes for Data Honesty.

I fear we spend more money/resources trying to figure out how to bamboozle market wrong or misleading information to people than we do trying to figure out how to get an honest answer. Its the incentives from free enterprise that are driving this. Lots of money in marketing for commercial purposes. And lots of money promoting whatever agenda those with lots of money want propagated.

Loved the post, thanks. Hydro is solid and wind rising. Misses one truth, hydro is perfect complement to wind - when the wind blows hold the water. Just moved to Seattle, this area has been gifted. Just left the SE, what are they going to do if they can't burn coal. Its hot there.


"Best Hopes for Data Honesty."

Now if we could put those graphs against total energy use for the US of ~26,600 Twh (includes all oil, gas, coal, nuclear), on the same scale we could see where we are really at.

By installing ~250,000 MW of wind capacity each year over the next 20-25 years the US would be able to be totally reliant on renewable energy, assuming solar keeps going, geothermal ramps up, better hydro,etc. This rate, something like 10 times current installed capacity (25,170 MW, 2008) added per year, will still only provide a little more than half current total energy use.

Given constraints of debt to government and the banking system, just where would the funds come from? This also leaves out the resources,steel, concrete, roads, copper wiring, etc that would be needed on a massive scale. How long will it take for the capacity factor of wind turbines to deteriorate given installation of ~83,000 3 MW turbines per year?
Renewable energy is just tinkering at the edge of the problem, there are too many constraints on it being a realistic solution to anything close to BAU in the time frame needed.

First reduce US electrical, and overall energy consumption to German levels, i.e. by half.

Then cut some more.

The freed up capital from not using as much energy (less coal mining & transporting etc.) helps pay for the rest.

Best Hopes,



"First reduce US electrical, and overall energy consumption to German levels, i.e. by half.

Then cut some more."

It is very easy to say, but how is it going to be done? Politicians are not going to raise taxes on FF use, unless they wish to be kicked out, usually not on their agenda. What seems to be happening is more "drill baby drill", and less push into renewables.

If FF prices continue to rise, there is no freed up capital, the economy will be tanking which leads to less capital available. If FF prices fall, then why would people invest in large renewables, there is no incentive.

Unfortunately it is all a large catch 22, but I really hope you are correct.

"how is it (electric) going to be done?" California is there.

California is only there if electricity does not take over from oil. Of course there will have to be imports of all types of goods that use energy in their construction.

In 2010 there was 3,177 MW of wind capacity producing 3.3% of electricity generated.

Natural gas is the main source for electricity generation at 56.7% of the total in-state system power


Exactly how is "California there"? especially if electric vehicles are going to take over from oil?

Exactly how is "California there"?

Of course, California is not exactly 'there'.. but they've made a considerable step, and have shown that such is possible. A switch to 'more' EV's doesn't mean that they'll be the only change. Assuming we're visibly descending at some near point into a deeper energy 'funk', then there will also be more bikes, more transit, more carpooling, more living closer to work (fow whom there is work).. all sorts of other adjustments and improvements as we trim the fat from 'the life that late we led' ..

None of these things are extremes or absolutes, which is what makes your questions hard to apply to where we're going. We're not going to put in as much wind and solar as we use today.. somehow the demand and supply will be trying to meet in a middleground somewhere, and surely some of it won't be pretty.. but what else is in YOUR tank? We might go way into debt, but the sun won't stop deliveries just because we missed a payment.. might as well get SOME equipment set up wherever we can, no?

How to cut energy use? Just keep on using it the way we are. Price will go up. Use will go down. End of story. Finis.


"This also leaves out the resources, steel, concrete, roads, copper wiring, etc that would be needed on a massive scale."

Sounds like a great jobs program. Those jobs can't be outsourced, either. But if we create jobs, the "guest worker" problem will come flooding back. Catch-22. What a wonderful bind. The American citizen can't benefit from the availability of work if it can be done by people in China, or in India, or by a migrant worker here. So, the only jobs created would be very high-end jobs... like the ones waiting, unfilled, in The Silicon Valley right now... and those only require a special visa.

The coal and the natural gas come from this continent. So war won't interrupt them? They will be there in the next financial quarter, too. If the intercontinental sources diminish during a financial quarter and this sustains through two more, then there will be a general reaction among the consumers. Electric cars will be the only fielded and proven mass-produced alternative available at that time.

Electric cars will be the only fielded and proven mass-produced alternative available at that time.


Electrified and expanded railroads
Urban Rail
Bicycles, including eBikes

Best Hopes for Better Alternatives,


Yes, I fully agree.

But the public transportation I am familiar with currently goes nowhere. It seems to be planned that way. It is also filthy and dangerous. I am in California. There is a constant drumbeat on the news of BART mayhem. The distances between the bedroom communities and the business districts are often huge. One and two hour commutes by car are not uncommon. There is no in-place rail alternative. Going shopping for me used to be a three hour tour with NO HOPE of public transportation. All of the layout needs to be redone to achieve rationality. But today, now, if the gasoline became inconvenient to get, like in to 70's embargo, the alternative to a gasoline car lifestyle is an electric car lifestyle. And I am sure there would be lots of "hardship" whined about even that.

I lived in London for a while decades ago. I could go anywhere and needed no car. It was a profound experience. If you stay on the underground long enough, but not long, it rises out into the beautiful open countryside.

It would be nice to follow rational models.

California's self-image still seems strongly affected by the romance of Cars and Burgers.. they're just great props! Look what it took to get Hollywood to learn how to act without ciggies in their mitts?

I just think Callie is in for a big rethink, which will soon have to adjust this '2 hour drive' world, when they realize that it was 'Mother' who's taken the T-bird away.

'Where have you gone, Bob Falfa? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you, vroom vroom vroom!'

It was built for cars.

Anything that wasn't for cars was removed. Like the Red Line.

I've dined at the burger drive-ins with the uniformly blond and pretty girls on roller-skates.

And there was a solid ribbon of asphalt from under your car going clear to the docks of New York. I've ridden a T-Bird down that, burning one hundred and thirty miles an hour, hour after hour, day after day.

The players are different.

The layout is the same.

California made a wrong turn several generations ago when it abandoned its passenger rail transportation systems, and the rest of the United States followed it. In the era of cheap and seemingly endless supplies of oil, it must have seemed to be the logical thing to do. In the era of scarce and increasingly expensive oil, it is no longer logical for people to build their lives around the private automobile, but people seem to want to continue going down that dead-end road, having forgotten what the alternatives are like.

It is going to be very difficult for the US in general and California in particular to recover from that historic mistake, assuming they can recover at all. Electric cars are not going to save the situation despite many people's delusions about them.

EV's may not 'save the situation', but that doesn't make them a bad choice, either.

In our journey of 1000 miles, the first of our many steps are in a world dominated with paved roads and a traffic culture, and an Electric car can still be powered with Today's Gas and other FF sources, as well as basically any of the alternates as well. Electricity is very 'Flexy Fuel'

As I say regularly, I don't see them as just becoming the 'Stepford Car' and merely mimicking today's fleet, as much as they look like that's exactly what they're doing, and others may believe this to be the case.. I believe their roles will shift quickly with a very different economy and worldview around rarer energy, and that they are in fact a fundamentally different animal than an ICE car.. even when towing an ICE trailer for power. It's like comparing a Steak Knife and a Swiss Army Knife.

(One page of examples with EVs on Gas Power.. http://evmaine.org/html/ev_trailers.html )

I like the little trailers made from the front-ends of cars! I've seen the beds of pickups turned into trailers, but this is a new one for me! The bike-pushers are interesting,too.

Depends which "green revolution" your referring to. The Agraculture green revolution more than doubled food product for a given amount of land. Of course this green revolution is dependant on fossil fuels for the production and transport of agra-chemicals.

Vermont farmer experiments with cold-hardy rice

... Andrus' effort comes as farmers in Vermont's dairy country seek more options, and as New England states seek ways to boost local food production and make the region more self-sufficient should disasters ranging from massive snow storms to terrorist attacks make it difficult or even impossible to bring in food. There's also been growing interest in locally grown food nationwide, and many states are looking at agriculture as a growth industry.

... Most of the cold-hardy varieties that can withstand lows in the 40s are short-grain, Japanese-style rice. Whole Systems Design LLC in Warren has been growing short-grain brown rice in paddies carved out of a hillside for three years. Its website describes the rice as an "exciting, climate-change adaptable staple crop."

Interesting, I was thinking the other day if it would be possible to grow rice in central France. I was reading somewhere that the rice, fish, duck system was extremely efficient. How do they get the water to stay in paddies on terraces? We have clay soil here, but it won't hold water, I'm just curious how they do it.

Rice Growing Manual for the Northeast USA says

A. Site Selection
Before you start, there are 3 factors to consider:
1. Soil type: A rice paddy needs to hold water well. Ideally, your soil needs to include about 50% clay content. Also, soil underlain with an impervious hardpan or claypan helps to hold water.
2. Irrigation water and warmup pond.
Rice could grow in either a wet (paddy) or a dry (field) setting. However, in the northeast, during May and June, water works as a heat-holding medium and creates a much milder environment for rice growing.
A pond could hold irrigation water to use in July and August, when demand for water is the
3. Climate (heat) – ideally a full day of sunshine First, we are talking about the rice growing season, which is May through September.

Or ditch the wasteful method of flooding water and switch to Fukuoka style farming! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masanobu_Fukuoka

Tata Introduces Flatpack Nano House: 215 Square Feet For $720

TATA, which famously brought a $2500 car to India, is now is taking orders for an entire house (without garage for the nano car) for 32,000 rupees ($720). That's $3.34 per square foot!

As one Indian correspondent pointed out, that's "cheaper than an iPad."

From my "ELP Plan" essay:


I think that “Tiny Houses” will become more popular, as larger homes are no longer viable. Where there are jobs nearby, many McMansions could be subdivided, but absent local job centers, I expect large swaths of American suburbia to be essentially abandoned. As Jim Kunstler warned, American suburbs represent the “Worst misallocation of resources in the history of the world.”

Very small (250 square feet or so), highly energy efficient, perhaps prefabricated housing makes a lot of sense, and this may become a growth sector.

No progress yet in persuading my lovely bride to consider the merits of smaller housing, but I have consolidated home and office into one, so my daily commute is a few steps.

I'm currently looking to build a 215sqft cabin, although it will be for holiday lets. But who knows, it may become suitable for a permanent let in the future. On the edge of the forest overlooking the valley, people could do worse.

Currently looking for inspiration/design for the rustic cabin, any ideas, links, etc. I'm also toying with the idea of doing a tree house.

I helped place/install something similar to these at a campground near me, to be rented.


360 square feet, including porch.

The units we installed were built entirely of Sips and looked to be very efficient. I couldn't help but think that I could live well in one of those little units (as they're bigger than the RV I lived in for years).

Jay Shafer designs tiny houses and wrote The Small House Book.


You might like to have a look at these houses a little bit more expensive but typical for Denmark and the level of insulation is exceptional. You will have to use Google translation as the site is in Danish but it is well worth the effort.


Well, if you are looking for really rustic, you could do this;

check out he photo of how they truck it - quite possibly the only house that ever gets moved while lying on its side!

Lots more at TinyHouseblog

How well does that fair in severe weather? is it anchored into the ground? can this be safely put over a cellar for those who what to use it in tornado ally?

Tornado? I'd have a trailer with a winch and just crank it up on top and burn out of there. I'd throw it on skids (6x6's)... Wouldn't go anywhere. Up here if it isn't permanent, you won't get taxed on it (like a camper).

I am thinking about it being used in a situation where you can't run such a vehicle since you don't have enough rations to run it.


"What's more, nicknamed the `Euro 500 home', a 20 square metre house works out to less than Rs 32,000 and can be built from scratch in just a week flat.

All one needs is a small piece of land and a kit of parts like doors, windows, roofs made out of different materials.

Currently being pilot-tested in West Bengal, the world's cheapest home is the brainchild of a team of nearly 15 innovators from Tata Steel's Indian and European operations and will be cheaper than the Tata group's own `Nano homes' project promising homes for $7,800 to urban poor that was rolled out a couple of years ago."

So there is a confusion available in that "Nano Home" is a different product.

No pictures yet.

Tiny Houses.
They cost more, the PLANS are $700(USD), but worth a look.


House Approves Fudge, Schiff, Bass Amendment Restoring Research Funding

Below is Congresswoman's statement for the record on the Fudge Schiff Bass Amendment which restores funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to FY11 levels (approx. $180 million) It restores the $79.6 million cut in the current bill.

... "As we are discussing fiscal issues and trying to make responsible spending cuts, I'm confused as to why ARPA-E is even on the table. It is one of the most effective and efficiently run programs in the federal government. It is an example of what we are doing right. An example of a place where we not only should be investing in scientific research, but where we need to be investing.

... let's look at the energy industry today. We have lost our technological lead, we are no longer number one in innovation, our competitors are rapidly outpacing us in advanced energy fields. Worst of all, we're addicted to foreign oil. Moreover, we are consuming more energy than we are producing, and it is not sustainable.

No matter what combination of sources you think is the answer, there's no arguing the energy crisis in this country is today's Sputnik. Yet instead of working together to make sure that future generations will have electricity, we're voting to ban efficiency standards for light bulbs. Where are our priorities?

related http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/21/idUS282235896420110621

Here is a quote from Ms. Fudge, "As we are discussing fiscal issues and trying to make responsible spending cuts, I'm confused as to why ARPA-E is even on the table. It is one of the most effective and efficiently run programs in the federal government. It is an example of what we are doing right. An example of a place where we not only should be investing in scientific research, but where we need to be investing. "

Sorry to be a broken record, but West Texas has proven to me that it is functional.

I expect the Republicans to attack most viciously exactly those programs that prove government can be effective. Apparently not all of them, however. Hope is not dead!!!!!

Shot self in head six times...no foul play suspected.. ;-o

News of the World phone-hacking whistleblower found dead
Death of Sean Hoare – who was first named journalist to allege Andy Coulson knew of hacking – not being treated as suspicious

I can't find any article that reports a cause of death, certainly nothing that says he "shot self in head six times".

Got a link to that?

It's a figure of speech. "Victim shot himself six times in the head, before reloading and firing three more shots."

Sorry, I was being sarcastic.
I find "the truth", when it comes to anything involving Murdoch a little bendy to say the least, especially when it involves sudden deaths of his enemies.

I did put a little "winky" on there.

See my comment upthread. The guy almost certainly died of liver failure, due to a lifetime dedicated to the art of getting stoned.


Almost certainly you've never seen anyone die of liver failure. It doesn't happen suddenly.

From memory, liver failure generally leads to coma (built up toxins) and death a few days late. AFAIK, not a sudden death.

But details on the death are minimal.


From The New Austerity and the EROI Squeeze, up top:

Though not a single politician or mainstream economic analyst has ever made the connection, the new worldwide austerity in public spending traces to a physical cause, as measured by change in EROI — energy return on energy invested. This is the ratio between the energy that comes into the global economy and the energy it takes to produce that energy. Worldwide, the average EROI of oil is down to 20:1 from its original value of 100:1 eighty years ago. This means that our oil-fueled economy simply has less capacity to generate wealth than it did back then, because an increasing share of the energy that used to be dedicated to producing goods and services is being plowed back into securing energy.

So 80 years ago the world was a prosperous place because of high EROEI. That was 1931.

I seem to recall there was a little problem going on back then called the Great Depression. How could that be when EROEI was so high?

Obviously there was something else going on in the economy that was more important than EROI of oil. The same is true today.

Economies can prosper with low oil EROEI or they can fail with high oil EROEI. The Soviet Union collapsed even though it was a big oil producer. Japan has made itself into one of the wealthiest countries in the world without producing any oil of its own.

Relating oil EROI to the state of the economy is a stretch. Monetary, fiscal and tax policy are much more important.

It also helps to have a well educated and technically savvy work force led by a capable elite that deals with problems at hand instead of denying they exist.

I thought you didn't even think that this was a valid concept. Accordingly, how can you even analyze this since you reject the concept. I think there has been or shortly will be a tipping point where decreasing EROEI takes hold although I will agree with you that is simplistic to place so much emphasis on the concept relative to the recent recession. We won't know whether we have reached a tipping point for several more years. At some point, though, growth has to stop, and energy will be a major factor in its cessation. Efficiency will help stave off the slow down but efficiency cannot increase indefinitely. Right now we are in the bargaining stage where we think we can use efficiency as a way to get around peak oil. Hence, the reliance on things like higher mpg standards. This cannot possibly be a solution given the increasing world wide usage of the automobile. Ethanol is another key facet of the whole bargaining approach.

News from the fringe

Fewer verbs and nouns in financial reporting could predict stock market bubble, study shows

After examining 18,000 online articles published by the Financial Times, The New York Times, and the BBC, computer scientists have discovered that the verbs and nouns used by financial commentators converge in a 'herd-like' fashion in the lead up to a stock market bubble. Immediately afterwards, the language disperses.

"Our study shows that reporters converge on the same language - 'stocks rose again', 'scaled new heights', or 'soared' - as their commentaries became more uniformly positive in the lead up to the 2007 crash."


Study shows that low-information voters are most likely to be swayed by candidates' appearances

Using data from the 2006 U.S. Senate and governors' races, the study shows that for every 10-point increase in the advantage a candidate has when rated by voters on his or her looks, there will be a nearly 5 percent increase in the vote for that candidate by the uninformed voters who are most firmly planted on their couches. ... The tendency is most prevalent among low-information voters who watch a lot of television

Specifically, among CCES participants in the bottom quartile for political knowledge, a 10-point increase in a candidate's appearance advantage yields ... a 4.8 percent increase in support among voters who watch the most television.

Who knew Grammar could predict the markets? LOL. Now that is great evidence of a problem.

I heard the same thing about juries. "I voted quilty because he just looks like a criminal".

Tepco Works to Cover Fukushima as Storm Nears

Tokyo Electric Power Co. is rushing to install a cover over a building at its crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant to shield it from wind and rain as Typhoon Ma-on approaches Japan’s coast from the south.

The eye of Ma-on, which is categorized as “extremely strong,” was about 420 kilometers (260 miles) southeast of the city of Kagoshima at 4 p.m. today, or 1,200 kilometers from the Fukushima plant, according to the website of the Japan Meteorological Agency.

...A forecast track from the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center indicates the storm may pass over the Fukushima plant by July 21.

also Typhoon Ma-on

Financial Crisis Commissioners Leaked Information to Lobbyists

House Democrats on Wednesday accused two Republicans who served on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission of leaking sensitive material during the course of the group’s yearlong probe.

The finger pointing came in a 37-page report from aides to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who culled from thousands of the FCIC’s e-mails, memos and other documents.

It found that two Republicans appointed to the 10-member commission — Vice Chairman Bill Thomas and Peter Wallison, a former Treasury official — “leaked confidential information to outside parties on multiple occasions.”

In addition, Wallison shared confidential data that the commission had compiled with Edward Pinto, a colleague at the conservative American Enterprise Institute...

The report also accuses Wallison of trying to persuade fellow Republicans to use their positions on the panel to aid GOP lawmakers in their effort to scale back the controversial financial overhaul bill, known as Dodd-Frank, that President Obama signed into law last July.

Scientists analyze and explain the chemical makeup of Gulf plume

... Using an oil industry remotely operated vehicle, they maneuvered the gas-tight sampler to the source of the spill to capture an "end-member" sample of fluid as it exited the riser pipe. No other such sample exists. By analyzing this sample, the scientists were able to determine what was in fluid spewing from the Macondo well before nature had a chance to change it and the exact ratio of gas and oil in the fluid.

Using petroleum industry terms, they found a gas-to-oil ratio (GOR) of 1,600 cubic feet of gas per barrel of oil. This value is smaller than other proposed values, Reddy said, suggesting "more oil may have been coming out of the well than other people calculated

A week or more in the past, we had a discussion about the efficiency of electric cars, due to the claim in some article I don’t remember, that electric cars have an energy efficiency of 90%.

So I was pleased to find another article today that agrees with my opinion that because most electric cars will use electricity from coal fired powerplants, their overall efficiency is closer to 30%. The title is "Electric Cars Should be Called Coal Cars", and was written by Prof. Chris Rhodes. You can find it on the website scitizen.com, at: http://www.scitizen.com/future-energies/-electric-cars-should-be-called-...

The actual breakdown of electric power is not quite 100% coal though. The reality is a mix of natural gas, hydro, nuclear and coal. You should call them fossil cars with a modest renewable component really. Coal car is exaggerated.

Nice thing about American fossil energy. It comes from the US.

But all this electric cars are polluting stuff misses a most important point. Design incentives are turned around for electric vehicles. With ICE units, there isn't range anxiety, and so the marekting (and design effort) goes into making them bigger, faster, and with more gadgets. For electric cars, the big issue is range-anxiety, and cost. And since battery capacity is the prime driver of cost, the pressure is on to make them as efficient as possible. That of course translates into smaller, and with fewer powerhungry frills. A "rightsized" electric vehicle would use much much less energy than an ICE vehicle -because it will be much smaller, and the inefficiencies will be engineered out. And ICE eficiency doesn't scale downwards very well, so even if they got the will, would they find a way.

What about those folks up in Quebec who are getting 65+ mpg from lightly modified Geo Metros? See the website "www.ecomodder.com"

The New Austerity and the EROI Squeeze - Though not a single politician or mainstream economic analyst has ever made the connection, the new worldwide austerity in public spending traces to a physical cause, as measured by change in EROI — energy return on energy invested. This is the ratio between the energy that comes into the global economy and the energy it takes to produce that energy. Worldwide, the average EROI of oil is down to 20:1 from its original value of 100:1 eighty years ago

This is a good, short and to the point article. I like to turn EROeI into percentage values for easier comparison. So 100:1 = 1/100 * 100% = 1% energy consumed for each barrel delivered and 20:1 = 1/20 * 100% = 5% consumed for each barrel delivered.

That does not seem like much of a change does it? Ah, but we have to subtract out all the other energy losses to see how much real energy is delivered. Refining efficiency, transport loss, engine efficiency, building the roads, building the cars, etc.

R. Ayres, in "Crossing the Energy Divide", has estimated that the US economy is about 13% efficient. So after all the losses are added up, only 13% of the energy supplied turns into useful work. Now it is clear that EROeI does not need to fall very much to really squeeze the economy.

An 8:1 EROeI energy source would consume 12.5% of the energy it produces leaving nothing left to power the economy. That cannot happen without collapsing the economy.

At what level does growth end and collapse begin? Well, in studying the Canadian natural gas and oil industry I found that EROeI dropped to a low of about 20:1 for oil or 15:1 for natural gas, and then the economy plunged into a recession and that cut investment into drilling.

15:1 is about 6.6% of energy out consumed getting the energy, or right about half the surplus. So that makes a ballpark estimate of the minimum EROeI energy supply to maintain current society. Higher may deliver growth, lower and we get contraction.

Most energy today is going to power existing infrastructure. As the surplus falls that infrastructure in no longer maintained. Roads are not repaired, cars are not replaced with new ones. The economy contracts and that frees up some energy. But depletion continues and soon EROeI has fallen again and another round of contraction must happen. Thus we find ourselves in repeated recessions.

The exact numbers here may not be correct. I have not seen exactly how Ayres calculates his value so there might be some double counting. But it is roughly correct and the takeaway point is true: Small changes in energy used to get the energy (EROeI) make a very large difference to the economy.

One of the interesting bits of information that I remember from the Deepwater Horizon disaster last year was the reported 170,000 gallons of Diesel fuel on board. Just a little clue about how much energy it takes to run one of those deep water drilling rigs.

That is a lot of fuel. And then all the crew flights and service ships. Miles of steel pipe.

Chris Martenson placed a matching scale image of an oil wooden derrick next to the Deepwater Horizon. It didn't reach the deck. That was a great visual representation of EROeI.

Jon - Yep...lots of fuel. But in the big picture the fuel consumption during drilling either onshore or Deep Water is still one of the less expensive aspects. Varies a good bit but fuel expenses tend to run only 2% to 5% of the total. But it's an easier number for most to relate. But as you point out there's a big chunk of imbedded energy in all the hardware involved. And that brings us back to the difficult task of amortizing that across the numerous wells drilled with this equipment. But even then drilling decisions are never made on EROeI but financials. And a DW rig with a very big imbedded energy component may lease for $300,000 per day at one point but some years later may be going for $600,000 per day. Same imbedded energy for two wells but one costing $80 million to drill and the second $140 million. Same EROeI and same reserves but the second well might not be drilled.

170k gallons is only abt 4,000 barrels. The well was flowing 162,000 bbls per day by one estimate. 4,000 stored bbls is in the noise level.

Of course, that giant sucking sound of all the wealth in the world being hoovered up to the top .00000...1 % couldn't have anything to do with it, could it.

We are reaching peak resource extraction at the same time as we are approaching peak all time inequity.

One does not preclude the other.

One does not preclude the other.

I suspect peak everything is a big motivation for the plutocracy class to try to take ALL of the shrinking pie.


Rob Hopkins did an interview with Dennis Meadows of Limits to Growth and that was his take. The interview is well worth reading. Actually, Dennis is often so clear in what he says that I want to take a speech class from him! His 2005 ASPO presentation is worth a look.

On the Titanic people were held below decks by locked gates. Here, in the US, it is lies that bar the path to the lifeboats.

Thanks for the link. That's a keeper.

Please also see: What is the Minimum EROI that a Sustainable
Society Must Have?
by Charles A. S. Hall, Stephen Balogh and David J. R. Murphy for similar analysis.


Hi George,

Thanks for linking to that paper! It is well worth a read. They found a 3:1 minimum EROeI when analyzed to the point of use (gas tank). Ayres goes one more step and includes the engine efficiency (or that is what I understand of his analysis). I expect their results would be similar.

This turns out to have profound implications for how fast you can grow replacement energy sources. Say wind is 20:1 (5% energy consumed to get the energy) and a recession is induced at 15:1 or 6.6% consumed to get the energy. Then your budget for growing the energy source (without causing a recession) is 1.6% maximum investment. Mather et al provide the growth rate equations based on EROeI and the result is very slow growth. Something like 1.5% per year once wind gets to be a major part of the energy mix. A lower EROeI solution like a nuke plant at 14 EROeI and 4 year build time will support 0.007 growth or nearly zero.


Thus we have one of the major flaws in neo-economics revealed. As the price of fossil fuels rise, it gets HARDER to transition. The price signal makes it easier to make the decision, but society has less surplus to devote. This locks society into the falling net energy curve. It will take inflicting a substantial recession on people (like WWII level rationing) to devote enough energy into energy production to not be locked into a massive decline.

One point that Charlie Hall refused to comment on.

What about dramatic gains in efficiency with, say, 500:1 ESOEI (Energy Saved on Energy Invested). My favorite, electrified rail on a busy line has higher #s if replacing trucking and lower if electrifying existing rail traffic, but still > 100:1.

A "way out" not otherwise considered.

Best Hopes for Efficiency,


Where is the energy saved, saved?

Transferring freight from trucks to double stack electrified rail "trades" 20 BTUs of refined diesel for 1 BTU of electricity.

Part of this is regenerative braking, where braking generates electricity.

Best Hopes,


Okay I blame myself for that.
So we have saved 19 btu's of refined diesel......somewhere.
Is that 19 btu's off the market? Are you expecting demand for diesel to then drop and prices remain steady (or something else).
Are you expecting the "saving" to transfer into facilitating BAU.

I fully understand why we should have transitioned to oil free transport. We should have before we reached peak oil. While we are burning at peak though, the exercise is admirable but not meaningful in the sense that you envision.

Unless your "BTU saving" actually leaves oil in the ground or not imported the transition to electric transport is simply a response to a necessity to continue BAU. It's not "admirable', "a good idea" or "environmentally justified".

Governments and businesses should be jumping all over the transition to electric transport, I'm absolutely perplexed that they are not in a much bigger way, it's a sensible means to keep the BAU charade motoring, so we can burn all the FF's.

Reducing global diesel use by 2 million b/day will reduce or eliminate the diesel vs. gasoline price premium. And it will reduce US oil imports, as well as allowing a higher level of essential economic activity in a post-Peak Oil economy.

Food and critical materials can be transported without oil. Today, refrigerated trucks use 100 gallons of diesel to keep food cool from California to the East Coast (in the summer, less in cooler seasons). This can be grid electricity in better insulated rail cars.

I disagree with your statement Unless your "BTU saving" actually leaves oil in the ground or not imported the transition to electric transport is simply a response to a necessity to continue BAU. It's not "admirable', "a good idea" or "environmentally justified".

Best Hopes for Good Partial Solutions,


The issue is not whether we leave oil in the ground. Any oil that is economically extractable will be extracted, at some point. The issue is what kind of world will we have when all the oil is economically extracted. Just because we don't advocate BAU does not mean we simply shut down all economic activity. Just because we continue to have transportatTtion of goods (trade) doesn't mean we have BAU. Just because we continue to get around doesn't mean we have BAU. Just because we continue to eat doesn't mean we BAU.

BAU in the U.S. is different than BAU in Europe and elsewhere. Maybe BAU in Europe is not sustainable either but it would be a good start. I don't know if anything is sustainable but my fall back position is your "best hopes" meme.

Thanks for trying. Seems better than despair. But that, of course, is a personal judgment and is not intended as a general prescription for everyone.

The cultural perspective is that deviation from BAU represents deprivation, inconvenience, pain, and spending more time getting from A to B. Many of us, however, have discovered that deviation from BAU can be a joyous, pleasant, and rewarding experience. Transmitting that insight is the challenge. Seeing your body as an encumbrance is a problem.

Thanks for the thoughtful support :-)

An elaboration.

"more time from A to B". Devoting >50% of the land area for cars, and creating Suburban social isolation, greatly increases the A to B distance.

Happily living within a 3 mile radius makes oil free transportation quite viable (even with weather variables).

Walking from A to B, and taking a few seconds to admire and quite literally smell the flower, and a minute to talk to a neighbor, may add a little time to the journey, but it adds FAR more to the quality of one's life.

Just as it is hard to describe Bach, Beethoven and jazz to a deaf person, so it can be hard to describe the joys of this lifestyle to a Suburbanite. They simply need to live it for a while, and be open to the experience.

Best Hopes for Better Lives,


"Just as it is hard to describe Bach, Beethoven and jazz to a deaf person, so it can be hard to describe the joys of this lifestyle to a Suburbanite."


Hi Alan,

I have only started Ayres book, which has many good ideas on improving efficiency, but he mentions that Europe has an overall efficiency of 20%. That would allow substantially lower EROeI. Something like 5:1 absolute minimum and 10:1 before recession. Combined heat and power plants are a big part of that.

But what I am not sure is getting counted is trip avoidance. A point you opened my eyes to a couple of years back. Nothing saves energy like not *needing* to use any.

So I personally think that Transit Oriented Development where people can walk for most trips and then ride transit for longer trips is the way most cities will work long term. It is hard to beat the efficiency of electric motors attached to a (short) grid. And electric delivery trucks seem a much better use of limited lithium supplies. Electric bikes don't take much space and give quite remarkable freedom (there is an elderly fellow who lives behind me who I see zipping past all the time on his electric bike! A new life for him!)

I think the future has quite a bit of hope. But most cities and not yet built this way in the US and I think we are going to go through a darn hard time getting there.

I have little doubt that the transition in the USA will be very tough.


Some have discovered the joys of slow food. Slow transport would be positive as well. If we learned to slow down and enjoy the ride and not be so obsessed with the destination, we would all be better off. Or so I say. I guess X types need not apply. And for the time obsessed, biking to work means less time in the gym or other exercise if your goal is to be fit.

And for the time obsessed, biking to work means less time in the gym or other exercise if your goal is to be fit.

Maybe then a few more could survive the summer heat outside of their cars.

You should try and find some tables or charts. I remember seeing a table comparing the cost/watt of nuclear, gas, coal, and conservation. Conservation made the most power available per dollar invested. Insulation and alternative lighting were the gist of it. I've looked again just now, but it is not coming up. From PG&E? ESOEI hardly exists in search-land.

Hall actually did a study on the energy return for investment on efficiency back in 1979.


If you find other references please post.


From the abstract:

We compared the energy and dollar costs of building that facility with the costs of an alternative comprehensive regional program of insulation. The analysis showed that regional insulation was more efficient in conserving energy than the plant was in providing it by at least a factor of 4 in economic terms and by a factor of more than 15 when viewed as energy returned on energy invested.

So the search term might be "ERI": Energy Return on Investment...
No. ERI gets us lots of pretty Japanese girls. Hmmmmmmmm
The full wording returns, essentially, EROEI.

Need the right search term.

Estimating a universal EROI limit is fine, but for any particular country the cost as a percent of GDP may be a more relevant number.

An 8:1 EROeI energy source would consume 12.5% of the energy it produces leaving nothing left to power the economy. That cannot happen without collapsing the economy.

Later in that same article it refers to tar sands and deep offshore at an EROeI of 5:1, so if you are right about 8:1, then as the global overall 20:1 descends to lower EROeI's, the economy will surely collapse. Seems like its already angling that way, so 8:1 sounds like about it. Not much to muster to keep things going at that point.

This is a second oil leak in Montana, not covered in the media.

Oil Leak Flooded into the Montana Cutbank River (photos)

A break in an oil collection pipeline on the eastern prairie of the Blackfeet Reservation approximately 5 miles from the town of Cutbank has led to a flood of crude that has been flowing approximately one mile over land and into the Cutbank river. Tribal officials received word of the spill on Tuesday, but it remains unclear when, or why the pipeline, which is managed by FX Drilling, actually began leaking oil.

The authors of this press release; Destini Vaile and Reed Perry local ecologists, became aware of the spill when contractors began quietly hiring people off the street $25 an hour (cash) cleanup jobs.

FX Energy to plug wells at site of NW Mont. spill

HELENA, Mont.—An FX Energy Inc. executive says the company plans to permanently shut down two oil wells in northwestern Montana where a spill was recently discovered to have spread nearly a mile before reaching Cut Bank Creek.

Wow. America looks deserted compared to parts of India and China.

But then, look at the lights at night:

Here is a political map with names:

Yep, the lights at night map is a much clearer depiction of rates of resource use.

It just strikes me that as floods, droughts and unsurvivable wetbulb temperatures kick in with GW, and as the "Green Revolution" collapses from PO and Peak NPK, and as the water tables drop to nothing..., China and the Indian subcontinent are going to be particularly full of particularly hungry and thirsty people. What will they do? Die in place? Emigrate? Where will they go?

Another favorite site of mine is the breathing earth:


Look especially at the rate of birth of India. Of course, that country pales in comparison to the US and China for CO2 production--the red pulses, fading to gray.

That link doesn't work. I think you meant this one.


Wish Google Earth had a night view so you zoom right in on the culprits.

Thinking in an Emergency

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was fond of noting that the Chinese character for “crisis” also means “opportunity.” In this era of disasters both natural and man-made, governments threaten to seize these emergency “opportunities” to augment their authority at the expense of democracy. In her latest book, Thinking in an Emergency, Harvard social theorist Elaine Scarry examines in concrete detail the many ways citizens and communities can prepare for emergency situations in order to preserve themselves and their autonomy. BR Web Editor David Johnson spoke to her recently about the Japanese earthquake-tsunami disaster, Swiss nuclear fallout shelters, and how not to respond to emergencies.

David Johnson: What inspired your interest in the topic of emergencies?

Elaine Scarry: I have been working for many years on the problems that arise from the population being willing to suspend its own responsibility for self-governing actions. One of the things that has seduced people into giving up on their own actions is the claim of emergency—the government will often make the spurious claim that because certain things require very fast action, there is no time for ordinary processes of deliberation and thinking, and therefore we have to abridge our normal protocols. ...

Thank you for this. Very interested in disaster preparedness and upgrading response capability of community health services. It is hard to act individually or collaboratively, with or without government's assistance, when the idea of taking disaster response seriously seems to be taboo in our culture.

Useful link I found post Fuku: (Large PDF alert)


Download it now before they raise all the limits!

Of course, if we had Protective Action Guides for fossil fuel depletion, extreme weather events, or currency devaluation, etc., that would also be very useful.

Rhe more I lurk here, the more I become interested in the normalcy bias, why BAU thinking is so prevalent, why we think we would never have to worry about a major catastrophe, that others would tell us what to do, and so on.

Rhe more I lurk here, the more I become interested in the normalcy bias, why BAU thinking is so prevalent, why we think we would never have to worry about a major catastrophe, that others would tell us what to do, and so on.

I think one of the reasons is that most people automatically assume that any worst case scenario is always also the least likely to become reality. So they make the unfounded logical leap of not having to prepare for a worst case scenario because such a scenario is just so unlikely that it could never really happen. Then when TSHTF its always, nobody could have seen this coming! ::sigh!::

Then you have these people who build their homes on the sides of an active volcano, and WONDER why they have lava in their living rooms! George Carlin

FM - A sad and cruelly funny story alone those lines that GC would shake his head at: some years ago a mudslide took out a large section of a subdivision in Ca. Reporter was interviewing a geologist. In a gully cut out by the slide the geologist pointed a series of at least 18 other mudslides that had occurred in this area over the last X hundred years. Homeowners standing by listening. One just stood there with the obvious look of disbelief: they had built the subdivision on top of long standing series of slides with no anticipation of one more slide. Or, realisticly, no more slides until they had sold the last house and cashed the check.

In a state that prides itself on protecting consumers looks like they let a big problem slip through the crack.

Mornin Rock. Some light reading for you this morning: I'm wondering what your take is on Stoneleigh's post this morning: July 19 2011: Fracking Our Future

Seems to me to be quite an indictment of shale gas in general, fracking specifically. Any thoughts will be appreciated, as always..

(BTW: I posed the same question over at the gas pipeline thread)


I read that post over at AutomaticEarth and thought it was quite well done.

The take away message I see in the article is that gas companies have figured out a way to privatize the profits and socialize the mess they leave behind.

"...gas companies have figured out a way to privatize the profits and socialize the mess they leave behind."

Sounds like BAU to me...Lehman Bros., GM, AIG, the list is long. At least these guys keep folks warm ...

Rockman was kind enough to respond to the article over here.

Best hopes for conscientious exploitation of remaining resources :-/

thanks for the link --Faustian bargain indeed

Companies I worked for in Canada fractured thousands of wells with no known cases of groundwater contamination. In fact the Alberta Energy Conservation Board has stated that over the past 50-odd years, about 170,000 wells have been fractured in Alberta with no known cases of drinking water contamination. Typically the fracturing occurs a mile or so underground and the chances of the fractures propagating to the shallow aquifers is nil.

Hydraulic fracturing is only new technology for places like New York and Quebec. In old established oil and gas producing regions like Texas and Alberta it's just business as usual. One company I worked for (Amoco) "found" the Pembina Cardium oil field, the largest oil field in Canada, in 1953 after several other companies had drilled right through it looker for deeper oil. It had to fracture the discovery well and every other well in the field to get them to produce because the rock was so tight.

Without fracturing the rock, the field would have produced no oil at all, but I have a "1 billion barrels of oil" pin I got 20 years ago to celebrate the production benchmark, and the tight old Cardium formation is now the new "hot" conventional oil play in Alberta with production creeping toward the 2 billion barrel mark.

The main source of confusion (other than the usual mainstream media hysteria mongering) is that places with deep shale gas formations often have shallow gas formations as well (e.g. in Pennsylvania or southern Alberta), and where you have shallow gas formations in close proximity to shallow water aquifers, the chances of natural gas getting into the water formations is quite high. This is a natural occurrence, however.

Tedious, yet compelling element of the "Arab Spring": the endless cycle of sabotage and rebuilding of the Egyptian natural gas pipeline to Israel, Jordan and Syria (via transit gas from Jordan) and the Gaza strip (via transit gas from Israel.)

Egyptian gas not expected to return soon (link)
By SHARON UDASIN / The Jerusalem Post / July 17, 2011

Following the fourth gas explosion to hit the Egyptian pipeline in five months on Tuesday, experts have agreed that the resumption of the natural gas flow will not be quick this time, as the damage was quite severe.

Oh, I wonder if there could be any repercussions? (don't forget that they generate electricity using natural gas)

Moody's reviews Israel Electric Corporation for possible downgrade (link)
Press Release from Moody's Investors Service via Zayaw / July 18, 2011

London, 18 July 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service has placed the BAA2 rating of Israel Electric Corporation Limited (IEC) and the

BAA2 rating of its USD2.0 billion Global Medium Term Note Programme on review for possible downgrade following the announcement by the company that it expects "financial hardship" in financing the cost of additional fuel following attacks on the natural gas pipeline from Egypt.

Pipeline problems? Just call 1-800-SUE-THEM to get back in action fast, right?

Natural gas supplier to sue Egypt over breach of energy contract (link)
World Tribune / July 18, 2011

LONDON — A regional natural gas supplier plans to seek $8 billion in damages for Egypt's failure to honor an energy contract with Israel.

Stations Run Dry in South Africa, Will Bus Service Stop? (link)

Yeah, I know it's about a labor strike but it's a window into what happens when there is a supply disruption too. [More]

Maybe I should wait to post to generate a few more views, but..

Potash Cartel’s ‘Cupboard Is Bare’ for India After China Pact, Mosaic Says

“Both the Indians and the Chinese understood -- we were perfectly clear -- that there would likely be enough tons only to serve one or the other of their requirements,” Prokopanko said. “This isn’t a matter of price discussion. This is a matter of supply.”


So much for this year's potash, India loses.

Interesting. I read they would try some other companies next to secure supply.

On a related note, fertilizer prices are starting to climb after lagging oil prices the last year.

Too bad India will need those supplies next year


It all started with 500 farmers in Achanta, a village in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district, covering around 4,500 acres of land. The farmers decided to declare a ‘crop holiday’, the agricultural equivalent of a manufacturing shutdown.

There are two main reasons for the farmers to ‘revolt’ in such a manner. The first is that the cost of production, after NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) pushed up costs all-around. Even if the crop is sold at the minimum support price (MSP), farmers say they are making losses. This is because the data used to calculate the MSP of rice is based on 2007-08 numbers. A BusinessLine report explains how the economics of farming has swung against the farmer in recent times.

NREGA : India's version of 'free lunches'. Dig up a ditch and get paid.
Next up is Food subsidy bill, dirt cheap food for everyone, some of the people on the death bed definitely need it of course...too bad it will all end up at the traders desk.
How many times have we seen such 'central planning' fail miserably but governments never seem to learn, do they ?

Second major dust storm whips through Phoenix metro area

PHOENIX –Two major dust storms have swept through the Phoenix metro area in slightly less than two weeks, and we could see number three Tuesday evening.

also Three Phoenix-area dust storms towered nearly 4,000 feet high

I hear Australia wants to get rid of some.

North America needs more climate adaptable mega-fauna.

Actually camels have already been tried in Arizona...

U.S. Camel Corps

Jefferson Davis's experiment. Feral camels were sighted till 1941 in Texas and 1930s in British Columbia.

His experiment with metal wagon bodies that could float across rivers was more successful.


There are still some farms with them down there..


Iran sanctions hit India:

Iran is India's second biggest source of oil imports after Saudi Arabia, but over $5 billion (about $22,500 crore) are due to that country for crude oil imports after various Asian, west Asian and European banking channels were successively closed due to international sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.

The Indian government, the ministry of finance and the Reserve Bank of India have been trying to negotiate a new payments mechanism without making much headway.

400,000 BPD may be removed from the market as India seeks other suppliers to replace lost Iranian oil.

As we import nearly 400,000 barrels of oil per day from Iran, it will not be easy for Iran to divert such a huge supply of crude oil elsewhere," said a senior official in an oil company.


"it would not be easy for Iran to divert such a huge supply" LOL they could keep it in the ground until it is worth more.

Saving fuel while plowing

Less friction, less power, less fuel – plowshares coated with diamond-like carbon (DLC) slide through the soil like a hot knife through butter. As a result, the tractors pulling them need less power and fuel. In some tests the power required has been reduced by more than 30 percent.

For farmers, the smoothly cutting plowshares mean either a time gain because they can use wider equipment or lower costs for fuel, machinery and maintenance. The tractors can be smaller or can operate in partial load, with longer repair and maintenance intervals. “From the environmental point of view it would be better for the tractors to be smaller,” says physicist and trained fruit farmer Martin Hörner from Fraunhofer IWM. They would not only need less fuel but would also be lighter.

[Currently] “A tine on a circular harrow can lose 50 per cent of its mass through wear every season,” states Hörner.

Another way to save fuel while plowing.

Several years ago I did an energy audit for an organic vegetable farm in Maine. Although the ground rules for the energy audit said that I should focus on fixed equipment and ignore anything on wheels, it turned out that the two small tractors were the biggest energy users on the farm.

My recommendation was that anytime they were pulling something with the tractor, they should use the highest gear and lowest engine speed that worked OK for the job they were doing.

When I made my follow-up call six months later, the farmer reported that they had saved 20% on tractor fuel. I don't know how rigorous his fuel comparisons were, but that's what he reported to me.

You have to be careful with that approach - over do it, and the engine is "lugging" (blowing black smoke) and you are stressing the driveline.

The modern high HP tractors with computerised everything (cabin is starting to look like an airplane) already monitor this - the power being used, fuel used, whether higher/lower gear is better etc. I am told there are some typos that have a tractor version of an automatic transmission that automatically selects the gear, and engine revs for the task - you set the speed you want, and the computer does the rest.

But for older, smaller tractors that do not have $30k worth of computer controls to save $5k of fuel a year, your method is appropriate. Some modification to add gauges for exhaust temperature and instantaneous fuel usage would help in finding the sweet spot.

But why plow? As William Faulkner pointed out in 1947 (Plowman's Folly)... And that's just the earliest name that comes to mind...

- Resid the Undergrad

Well, sometimes you have to. It is after all, a chemical free method of weed control.

I am a fan of minimum tillage - and zero chemical use, but even if you do something like Pasture Cropping, you still need ground engaging tools, and the less energy they use, and the longer they last, the better.

Fukuoka did it without ploughing, but I'm thinking he had pretty good soils for it - not everyone has that luxury.

A subsoil conditioning plow can make a big difference to soil fertility and water retention - certainly did on my family farm.


Whose fault is famine? What the world failed to learn from 1840s Ireland

... Contemporary reports [of the Irish Famine] established distinctions at every level, between ruler and ruled, the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving,’ the indolent and the industrious. Even the very diets that the people relied on were viewed in moral terms: the feckless and slothful Irish were potato-fed, whereas the thrifty and hard-working English were wheat-fed.

“In terms of perceptions,” comments Nally, “not much has changed since the 19th century. Dominant economic institutions like the World Bank still consider poverty in the Global South in much the same way as the Victorians judged the Irish: the natives are fundamentally incapable of autonomous development and, in certain situations, corrective measures will be needed to stimulate social reform and promote agricultural development.

This tendency to ‘blame the victim’, as it has been described, allows rulers and élites to ignore the deeper injustices that expose populations to calamities – making disasters like famine more likely to occur in the first place – and to leave untouched the political and economic arrangements from which they clearly benefit. You could say that we are blinded by an ideology of poverty that the Victorians bequeathed to us.”

Farming and the fate of wild nature

... “With land sparing, the idea is to farm the productive region as intensively as possible, without damaging areas away from farmland, and then to set aside other land for wild nature,” explained Professor Green. “With land sharing, agricultural practices encourage wildlife through retention of hedgerows, patches of native vegetation and fewer pesticides. This usually means lower yields and therefore more land is needed to grow a given amount of produce.”

“The argument for land sparing is rarely made by conservationists – it’s more commonly advocated in the agriculture literature,” he added. “Yet our mathematical model suggested that land sparing might allow more species to persist.”

What goes unsaid is that there are just too damn many people.

The 2011 Army-Air Force Energy Forum Agenda

DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable: Army & Air Force Energy Forum

On Wednesday, July 20, 2011, at 11:15 a.m. EDT,we will conduct a Bloggers Roundtable with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Air Force for Energy, Dr. Kevin Geiss and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Army Energy & Sustainability, Mr. Richard Kidd to discuss and take questions on the first ever Army & Air Force Energy Forum being held in Arlington, VA on July 19-20, 2011. The discussion will focus on the strategic importance and future direction of Army and Air Force energy. More information about the joint energy forum: http://usarmyusairforceenergyforum.com/

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett gives some closing remarks but Heritage Foundation and Center for American Progress are before lunch

also CTSI Launches Defense Energy Technology Challenge, Solution Matching Program

U.S. wants IAEA to vet Indian [Nuclear] liability law

... New Delhi considers the Indian liability law to be in conformity with the international Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) for Nuclear Damage and is committed to ratifying the Convention before the year is out.

The U.S., on the other hand, thinks Section 17(b) of the Indian law, which expands the scope of the operator's right to compensation from nuclear suppliers in case of an accident due to faulty equipment, violates the CSC. U.S. companies have also opposed Section 46 of the Indian law, which implicitly allows accident victims to file tort claims.

Looks like Westinghouse and GE-Hitachi are pushing back. Let the State Dept do their bidding.

India: 'Massive' uranium find in Andhra Pradesh

Mr Banerjee said that studies at Tummalapalle have shown that the area "had a confirmed reserve of 49,000 tonnes and recent surveys indicate that this figure could go up even threefold" and become one of the world's largest uranium reserves.

Mr Banerjee said the new findings were a "major development", but India's own uranium reserves would still fall short of meeting its nuclear energy needs. ... There would still be a significant gap. We would still have to import," he was quoted as saying by The Hindu newspaper

I wonder how many 'Enforcement Sorties' we'll be able to fly using $35/gallon Bio-Jet-Fuel?

Act now on climate, no need to wait: top UN scientist

PARIS — The key facts on global warming are already known and leaders should not wait for the next edition of the UN climate panel's report to step up action, the body's top scientist told AFP

... Pachauri cautioned that the widely accepted goal of preventing average global temperatures from increasing by more than 2.0 Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to preindustrial times is fast slipping beyond reach

24 Small Towns May Lose Air Service

That was underscored last week when Delta Air Lines announced that it “can no longer afford” to continue service at 24 small airports. The carrier says it is losing a total of $14 million a year on flights from places like Thief River Falls, a city of 8,600 in northwest Minnesota that fills only 12 percent of the seats, or Pierre, the capital of South Dakota, where Delta’s two daily flights are on average less than half full.
Airlines say that simple economics are driving them out of small-town America. With fuel prices high, carriers have been reducing domestic routes and seating capacity to focus on the flights that bring in the most revenue per plane — typically those in larger cities, especially major hubs. At the same time, airlines are removing less fuel-efficient aircraft from their fleets, including the 50-seat regional jets that have been the backbone of air service in small- and midsize markets.

Good thing we still have extensive passenger rail service...

Rail would get you from Pierre, SD to Huron, SD, if you care to "ride the rods".

By air, you can get from Pierre to Sioux Falls, SD, but you have to stop in either Minneapolis-St Paul or in Denver.

I'm guessing that SD legislators traveling to Pierre, SD (metro area population < 20,000) either drive or fly a small plane. (Although Google shows only 6 tied down at the Pierre airport).

Most of the Google aerial photos are apparently taken on Sundays, at least everywhere I go looking. Downtown parking lots routinely empty, but shopping center lots are often full.

Let's see if they can run an airline on what the Air Force is paying for bio-fuel (JP-8 equivalent).

US Air Force: We want to use biofuels

... "The big thing we're trying to do is to send a clear message to industry that the Air Force wants to be in a position to purchase biofuels and to use that operationally for our fleet," Conaton told AFP. "But in order to do that, we need industry to be able to produce in the quantities we need at a cost-competitive price."

Biofuels cost a prohibitive $35 a gallon, about 10 times the price of conventional jet fuel, or JP-8. "The biofuels that are available now are just nowhere near the cost of what we can buy JP-8 for," Conaton said.

prohibitive? it is only tax payer's money or better yet we just print it.

Oil from giant spill reaches Chinese coast: Xinhua

Oil from a huge spill off the Chinese coast has been found washed up on the shore in two separate areas, state media reported on Wednesday.

The spill from the oilfield, which the US firm ConocoPhillips operates with China's state-run oil giant CNOOC, has polluted a total area of almost 4,250 square kilometres (1,650 square miles), according to government figures released last week.

The incident was kept secret by the authorities for several weeks before being made public this month, sparking suspicions of an official cover-up, and the disaster has triggered a furious public response in China.

For comparison to Deepwater Horizon, an April 30, 2010, estimate placed the total spread of the oil at 3,850 square miles (10,000 km²)

So 2.5 times smaller than Deepwater Horizon and I bet they did not use corexit so more than 2.5 times smaller.

The spill is in China. Out of US sight and out of US minds. LOL. I bet the estimates are on the lowball side from prior experiences with industrial disasters.

Let them eat cake...

Biofuel demand in US driving higher food prices, says report
Government support for ethanol has led to an increase in corn production and a steep rise in soybean imports

Maine tidal energy firm looks to Maritimes

... More than 160 billion tons of water flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy each day, and it's estimated that up to 2,500 megawatts of energy could be safely tapped, officials say.

The Canadian project is getting assistance from the government of Nova Scotia, which has established a special rate of 65.2 cents per kilowatt hour for tidal power to be paid by utilities to promote community-based tidal energy projects. The so-called feed-in tariff is about six times higher than the typical rate for electricity.

Also, Nova Scotia's government is making $750,000 available to support the assessment and evaluation of underwater sites for small tidal projects like the one announced by Ocean Renewable and Fundy Tidal.

Nuke Plants Face Short and Long Term Flood-Safety Questions

... an NRC Task Force is recommending a dozen safety steps , aimed at natural disasters such as flooding, that are likely to impact all 104 of the country’s nuclear facilities.

Among the possible changes are emergency plans which are able to cope with prolonged power blackouts. The study argues for among other things “equipment, procedures and training to keep the core and spent fuel pool cool at least 72 hours.”

Mark Becker, a spokesman for the Nebraska Public Power District which operates the Cooper Nuclear Station, a Fukushima look-alike plant in Brownville, tells Nebraska Watchdog it is “clearly too early to determine” how Cooper will be affected.

A spokesman for Fort Calhoun, which is run by the Omaha Public Power District, says because the recommendations “call for additional protections…no plant site is already in compliance.”


What if it turns out there's plenty of oil? [w/video]

"All the top executives in the auto industry tell me that oil supplies will only get tighter this decade. They predict that fuel prices will do nothing but go up. And they say customers will be clamoring for small, fuel-efficient cars. Or electric ones. But what if it turns out they're wrong?"

Then we party like it is 1999. However, from my examination of things. It looks grim.

I read the blog...here is a juicy excerpt:

Just a few years ago, Brazil discovered massive reserves of oil off its coast, reserves that match or beat Saudi Arabia's. Brazil will start tapping those reserves before this decade is out. In Iraq, the infrastructure is being put in place to increase oil production to six or seven times greater than it is today. Right now, Iraq is producing 2.5 million barrels a day. By 2020, it could be close to 15 million. In the United States, the U.S. Geological Survey says there are at least 18 billion barrels of untapped oil, others say it could be much greater than that.

Bring back the Hummer!

Maybe we can go back to the salad daze of Fall of 2004, when Navistar developed the consumer monster truck meant to eat the Hummer...the CXT (scroll down a notch and read the description...I remember this announcement when it came out...this is where we would head with plentiful oil...makes me shudder to think of lots of these things speeding down the highways and city streets...


I had to do a doubletake, and then it hit me. It's a Tonka Toy!

It's "I wanna be just like a big truck drivin' man!"

(of course, the Hummer is similarly just a 'GI Joe Toy'. I saw a jeep at a gas station today, painted up like an old WWII Willy's GP, stenciled ID numbers and all. It was fun, and I was way less ashamed of my StarWars stuff!)

Sorry if any of you are into it.. I have my toys too.. but that does make me laugh.. I wonder if it comes with a bunch of different stickers so you can dress it up just how you like it?

I went through my toys phase before I got kids and could play with theirs instead.

They all had between one and three wheels and two pedals. That was all that they had in common. My flevotrike (sadly irreparably broken) could turn the head of any 10 yo. It looks unrideable, and without a lot of practice, it is. However, it does manoeuvres you wouldn't believe, and it doesn't even have handlebars. (OK, it does , but they are rigidly attached to the rear wheels and are used to hold the brakes and gear shift. You don't hold them to ride...)

This has Conflict of Interest written all over it!

See http://www.newsytype.com/8313-eric-cantor-debt-ceiling-bet/

Yea, He is a real 'Mr. Smith goes to Washington'....NOT!


For $15,000 X ROI he would sell out 300,000,000 people?

Reminds me of the mortgage crisis.
For a commission, they destroyed a family.
All they wanted was that little piece.
Like slaughtering the buffalo for their tongues.
Just that little piece.

Yeah, every time I see Cantor, my submind screams " Please,, somebody pull the corncob out of his ....."

His only priority is to bring down Obama, even if it means bringing down the country. I grow weary of these political power whores. Best to focus on reality; what matters.

[deep breath] OMmmmmmm...........

When will this crap end?
These bastards just get more and more brazen, dangerous, and, paradoxically, stupid!

Filthy rotten tard. And people vote for him all the same. LOL. Betting the US will fail with his own financial interests, and we call that patriotic too! The end is near for the empire unfortunately.

Wow, Albuquerque has receive3d a whopping .22" of precip since 1 January!


Midwest, send us your water!

At we do not suffer haboobs...