Drumbeat: July 27, 2011

Kuwait oil production flirts with 37-year peak

Saudia Arabia is getting all the attention as it unilaterally boosted its oil production after last month’s failed Opec meeting, but neighbouring Kuwait deserves consideration too.

The emirate, which at the begining of the year was pumping 2.3m barrels a day, is ramping up its output significantly, according to industry executives. The estimates vary, but some put Kuwait’s oil production now at a 37-year peak of about 2.7m b/d.

Anecdotal evidence confirms that the emirate is willing to ship more oil to its long-term customers. Valero, the largest independent refiner in the US and usually seen as setting the trends in the industry, said on Tuesday during its second-quarter results conference call with analysts that Kuwait was offering more oil.

Oil falls to near $99 after US crude supply jump

SINGAPORE – Oil prices fell to near $99 a barrel Wednesday in Asia after a report showed U.S. crude supplies unexpectedly jumped last week, suggesting demand may be weakening.

Iran temporarily cuts oil export to India by 90,000 bpd - Mehr

(Reuters) - Iran has temporarily cut its oil export to India by 90,000 barrel per day (bpd) because of technical problems in that country's oil terminals, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia strikes India oil deal after Iran cuts supply

NEW DELHI: Top exporter Saudi Arabia has struck deals to sell 3 million barrels more oil to India in August, stepping into the vacuum created by regional rival Iran after it cut supply to New Delhi.

The sale could stoke simmering tension between Riyadh and Tehran over oil policy. Saudi sources say the kingdom is not actively seeking to wrest market share from the Islamic Republic, but with Brent at over $100 a barrel Riyadh has taken a $300 million slice of Iran’s oil sales to India.

Refinery in Iraq set to go ahead

Iraqis who have to wait hours for petrol may soon have solace with a $6.5 billion refinery, but the project will have to overcome major security risks.

Japan's Hokuriku Electric to build LNG tank, berth

(Reuters) - Northwest Japan utility Hokuriku Electric Power Co said on Wednesday it will build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage tank and receiving terminal in Toyama Prefecture, as it prepares to start operating its first gas-fired power generation unit.

U.K. Recognizes Libyan Rebels as Government, Will Expel All Embassy Staff

Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain is to expel all Libyan embassy staff.

Egypt's revolution at 6 months: 'We can't go back'

Cairo (CNN) -- Six months after the improbable revolt that toppled one of the world's longest-serving rulers, protesters are once again camping in Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand speedy change.

Analysis: Debate swirls over Kazakh succession

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AP) -- Discussing potential successors to the long-serving president of oil-rich Kazakhstan is normally a political parlor game to be played behind closed doors in this authoritarian Central Asian nation.

British gas fined £2.5m over customer complaints

British Gas has been slammed with a £2.5 million fine by the regulator Ofgem for failures in its complaint-handling procedures.

The energy provider failed to reopen complaints that customers felt had not been properly resolved on several occasions and didn't provide enough information to customers about the complaints process.

South African Oil Workers May End 17-day Strike Over Pay, Mediator Says

A 17-day strike by workers at the South African units of oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Petroliam Nasional Bhd. may end after the employers revised their pay offer, a government mediator said.

Gulf oil spill victims weary of wait for payouts

NEW ORLEANS — Robert Campo once believed the TV commercials by oil giant BP that promised to "make it right" and compensate those along the Gulf Coast who lost work during last year's disastrous oil spill.

More than a year after the spill ruined his oyster beds, however, Campo is still waiting for what he believes is full payment. The $20 billion fund created by BP to compensate those ruined by the spill has offered him less than one-third of what he requested. He's still waiting to hear why.

BP Chief ‘Open’ to Refining Spinoff as Earnings Disappoint

BP Plc (BP/) Chief Executive Officer Robert Dudley said “all options” are possible including a refining spinoff as Europe’s second-biggest oil company reported earnings that missed analysts’ estimates.

Occidental Petroleum Profit Rises as Production Boost Replaces Lost Output

Occidental Petroleum Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. oil company, reported its largest quarterly profit since 2008 as increased production in Texas and North Dakota helped replace output disrupted by Middle East unrest.

Shell to Cease Processing at Australian Refinery by Mid-2013

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), Europe’s largest oil company, will halt refining operations at its Clyde plant in Sydney before mid-2013 and convert the facility into a fuel-import terminal.

The refinery, which processes about 79,000 barrels a day, is no longer regionally competitive against Asian “mega- refineries,” the Hague-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. The plan was first mooted in April.

Bulgaria revokes license of Lukoil refinery that supplies 70 pct of fuel for gas stations

SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgarian customs officials say they have revoked the country’s biggest oil refinery’s license for storing fuel, effectively blocking its sales.

Customs chief Vanyo Tanov said Wednesday that Lukoil Neftochim has not installed measuring tools to link its fuel warehouses to the tax authorities.

Latest Controversy Over Shale Exploration (video)

Arthur Berman, Houston-based Geoscientist, discusses a recent story featured in the NY Times that called into question whether the shale boom was akin to a ponzi scheme.

Spent Fuel Pools as a Bright Spot in Fukushima’s Crisis

The staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently produced a list of safety improvements that might be undertaken at American nuclear plants in light of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. On Tuesday, the nuclear industry focused on two elements that were conspicuous by their absence.

In a presentation to Wall Street analysts, Marvin Fertel, the president and chief executive of the Nuclear Energy Institute, emphasized that spent fuel pools at the Fukushima Daiichi plant had “survived the accident quite well.”

Jeff Rubin: Fed can’t keep long bond yields from rising

With triple-digit oil prices lassoing growth, the bond market can’t expect the economy to be giving Washington a helping hand on the revenue front.

White House Said to Propose 54.5 MPG Fuel-Economy Goal for 2025

President Barack Obama’s administration altered its proposal for a 2025 U.S. fuel-economy average to 54.5 miles per gallon to make allowances for light trucks, people familiar with the negotiations said.

World Bank to Lend $300 Million for Indonesia Geothermal Plants

The World Bank will provide $300 million in loans to help expand the power capacity of two geothermal projects on Indonesia’s Sumatra and Sulawesi islands, the bank said in an e-mailed statement today.

Indonesia may cut maximum palm oil export tax rate-official

(Reuters) - Indonesia, the world's No. 1 palm oil producer is eyeing a lower maximum palm export tax rate, now 25 percent, as early as next month, Bambang Brojonegoro, head of the fiscal policy section at the finance ministry, said on Wednesday.

Energy conservation rules rolled back by Florida regulators

State regulators set the clock back on energy conservation in Florida on Tuesday by reversing a rule that would have required Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy Florida to encourage customers to use less electricity.

Their argument: saving money for some was going to require higher bills for everyone.

Britain must rebalance its energy supply and demand

The abundance of energy resources - primarily coal - was one of the reasons Britain gained and retained its leadership of the industrial revolution. After taking off in the 18th century, Britain's coal production peaked at 178 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe) in 1913. Coal output is now less than 10 mtoe.

Nuclear energy came along in the 1950s, but "peak nuke" was in 1998, at 23 mtoe, and output is now less than half that. North Sea gas production began in the mid-1960s, and "peak gas" was in 2000 at 94 mtoe, but is now below 60. Oil started up in 1975, and Britain's peak oil year was 1994, with 132 million tonnes produced, but output is now only 60 million.

Peak Oil Passed: U.S. Food Riots Predicted

Self-professed contrarian and 321Energy Founder Bob Moriarty expects energy and food prices to follow oil on an upward trajectory, fueling more and more turmoil, unrest and violence around the planet, including the Western world.

Goodbye retail therapy

WHAT enables civilised life and economic growth?

It’s an issue that I was forced to contemplate after listening to a sobering yet insightful lecture by Jeremy Wake­ford, chairperson of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (Aspo), at a Finwrite conference on financial journalism at Wits University in Johannesburg recently.

Plant now to survive in the future

Like the overcast day, Moore is gloomy about the future.

His bugbear, and it's one that he's tried to hammer home again and again, is that those in authority aren't preparing for a post-oil future.

The world is officially past peak oil, which happened in 2005-06. "America peaked in 1970-71," he says.

On Peak Oil and Edible Landscaping

Once I recovered from the initial shock-and-panic of realizing I was utterly dependent upon a dwindling resource, I resolved to learn how to become more self-reliant, to create an existence for myself that didn't rely completely on petroleum. I don't have the money to buy solar panels and go off the grid, so I figured I would start my journey toward sustainability by cutting down on energy usage and growing as much of my own food as possible.

A Wicked Confluence

It’s all still phrased as a temporary down-turn; they have to call it that or fundamental questions would be asked. Even so, the most optimistic among us realize something is wildly wrong, even if they dare not give the feeling words.

We are the ones who will witness breathtaking change. Every history buff has an era they would like to have been witness to. Would anyone wish to observe our moment? Ours may be the most profound and rapid unraveling to ever color this globe.

In their own words: 16 questions for the visionaries

What does real sustainability look like? What's the best way for renters to get in on the efficiency game? What's for supper?

Storing Water for a Dry Day Leads to Suits

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Peter Key knew something was strange when the water levels in his tropical fish tank began to go down last summer. Then the washing machine took 40 minutes to fill, and the toilets would not flush.

But even as Mr. Key and neighbors spent $14,000 to deepen their community well here, they had identified a likely culprit.

They blamed water banking, a system in which water-rights holders — mostly in the rural West — store water in underground reservoirs either for their own future use or for leasing to fast-growing urban areas.

New Orleans is one of a dozen cities at risk from global warming, environmental group says

Other cities on the list include New York; Miami; Norfolk, Va.; St. Louis, Mo.; Los Angeles and Seattle, according go the environmental group’s report, “Thirsty for Answers: Preparing for the Water-related Impacts of Climate Change in American Cities.”

$200,000 annually for the next five years? Is this being well spent or what?

Farms of the Future: Bio-Oil, Biochar from Biomass (link)
South Dakota State University (Press Release) / July 22, 2011

... A major new study by South Dakota State University researchers working with a U.S. Department of Agriculture colleague explores how to get the most from such a production system. The USDA is funding the project with a grant of $1 million — $200,000 annually for the next five years — to help scientists design a feedstock production system for optimum energy production of “bio-oil,” and also to explore the possible ecological benefits from the use of biochar.

The grant was selected by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s flagship competitive grants program called AFRI, or the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. It was selected in the sustainable bioenergy challenge area. Typically fewer than 10 percent of proposals are funded, with awards based on external peer reviews of a proposal’s scientific merit. ...

As usual, I have problems with the basic ethics of converting food into fuel. People in third-world countries starve so Americans can drive.

Those third-worlders are poor and starving because they have not fully embraced the neo-classical free-market. When they stop moaning about being hungry and get off their feeble backsides and start engaging with the globalized market then they will be well fed and have plenty of cash left over for iPads and even a space programme too.

They have only themselves to blame. I see no reason why hard-pressed farmers in the US and Europe shouldn't maximise their profit by growing the most profitable crops if that is what they want to do. Their subsidies only go so far, then they too have to engage with the same global markets that the pathetic poor people should already be doing.

If you don't/can't stand up for yourself you deserve to be run over and therefore it is perfectly okay for me to do so... Might makes right and if you are not the mightiness then it your fault...

HAcland, you're kidding right?

I think he might be channeling PaulS. :-) :-) :-)

As a symptom of the times - we have to ask whether he was kidding!

fellas, I was hoping that my references to them having a space programme and farmers squeezing by on their subsidies might just have been enough to set the sarco-alarm ringing! Chill..... ;)


I'm not going to name names but, some of us took you seriously....

HA-HA-HAcland and this peak oil is nonsense.

Haven't you learned yet that Americans don't do sarcasm? It's why if we ever try it, we have to end the post with "sarc off" or something like that. Or, in real conversation, if we are met with a blank or hostile reaction, we have to add "I was only kidding."

We'll learn in time, though.

This is why Americans invented the smiley face.

I think it's worth noting that what he said DOES get said seriously here, as well as in jest.

I don't like smilies or sarc tags either.. but you take your chances when your delivery using plain text comes out that dry.

"To say what you have to say as clearly and concisely as possible. That is the basic element of Style." -Strunk/White

"I think people who complain that they can't communicate should just shut up!" - Tom Lehrer

Those third-worlders are poor and starving because they have not fully embraced the neo-classical free-market.

And if you don't like being run over by your giant SUV, I should stay out of the sidewalk when you want to drive through it talking on your cellphone! Drivers rule!

Okay, I knew it was sarcasm but I thought I should respond in kind. A lot of drivers actually think like that (not that I'd mention the Mayor of Toronto by name or anything. Torontonians will know what I'm talking about.)

If memory serves (ages since there) Toronto has miles of under ground shops which are eminently walkable without cars ;) Love Toronto, go Blue Jays!

You jumped in there before I could correct the pronouns on my previous post. In any case, suffice it to say that the current Mayor of Toronto (and his brother) are marching to the beat of a different kazoo than previous ones. It would be absolutely hilarious if he wasn't managing the biggest city in Canada.

Montréal aussi (e.g.,: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_p2VmnLpZKM)

Go Expos, Go ! oh, never mind :-(

Vast underground shopping malls are sufficiently common in major Canadian cities that Americans have asked me why Calgary doesn't have one.

The answer is quite simple - groundwater. The Bow River actually flows through gravel aquifer formations underneath the downtown core, and the water level is not very far below the surface. A subsurface shopping mall would not only be underground, but underwater. This naturally makes the engineers somewhat nervous.

Hence Calgary has its elevated skywalk system, the "Plus 15" which runs through the entire downtown core.

They weren't actually trying to create a George Jetson type of futuristic city, they were just trying to get around some technical problems. However, touring a city by elevated skywalk is more scenic than doing it by underground tunnel, and it does solve the ubiquitous Canadian problem of how to avoid going outside when it is 40 below.

Rocky, We Torontonians deserve everything you can have at us these days, what with our Suet-in-a-Suit mayor and Brudder Doug sidekick doing their best to embarrass us daily, to say nothing of moving us back into 1963-era planning. I chose to live in this city and have been happy here for two decades, but if I could easily get out now and prepare for a different kind of future, I would do so in a heartbeat. I know all too well what you are talking about, but be gentle, for we are a beaten down bunch these days.

Drive an SUV, talk on the phone *AND* flip the bird....

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2011/07/27/toronto-ford-cell...

The guy is a class act.

Bring back Barbara Hall !


This whole thread is inane. Both sides.

And no more oil for driving, save it for life saving prosthesis. And no corn for livestock, pets, zoo animals, bird feeders. It ain't gonna happen.

The neo-classical free-market system is magical. It will allow us and the third world continue to grow exponentially without the need for more planets.

Interesting that you bring up free market economy and european farmers in the same context:

EU spend 50% of budget on farming subsidies. If they did not farmers whould have had to charge what consumers would pay,a lot would be deifferent. NO free market there.

And it is not that Africa etc don't want to join the global economy either; they wnt to but are not allowed. We put on taxes on imports of proceeded goods from there. For example an etiopian coffe grower can expot the raw coffe to Europe without taxes, or rost it into coffe and export it with extr taxes. So he cn't afford to roast it, and hence 100% of the coffe is roasted inside Europe. And it is the roasting that is the profit.

Your opinion is very uninformed.

I notice it seems that globally, all financial systems are having the same 'reality issues' with growth as those of Peak Oil, namely all the extensions for debt ceilings, in my opinion, are the same issue of 'infinite growth' as for FF.

It seems all governments overspend, and 'pay' for it with increased debt. All of them. Eventually they have to reconcile, yet they choose financial BAU.

Both FF and $$ both seemed destined to have collapse after overshoot :|

After I posted my reply to HAc, I realized he was sarcastic. It scares me that those opinions are so common that I totaly bought his sarcasm as a real opinion from his side.

But you are right. It is my opinion that somewhere down the line,every single nation will eventually become a disfunctional state, one way or another. The winner is the one who first get their act right.

The best way to convert food into fuel is to eat it and then walk, bike, or walk to the bus/light rail/subway. Americans and probably the English are more obese than ever and have a lot of excess fuel just waiting to be burned for some other purpose than sitting in front of the TV eating corn chips. Not that I don't love corn chips.

Hey! Not fair, and not true. Compared to North Americans we English are still stick-insects.

I walk everywhere. Even when it is raining. Not unusual to clock up over 30 miles a week by foot.

Fortunately, more walking is certainly in the cards.

Bicycling is more efficient than walking. LOL.

All you walkers will need to pay the bicyclists carbon credits one day.

What about roller skates?

Well, I do know people who commute to work by roller blades (and actually I've done it myself), but they don't work that well in the snow. The brakes are pretty poor for commuting in heavy traffic as well.

OTOH, bicycles can be equipped with studded snow tires and disk brakes.

Just for the general FYI: It is "Inlines". "Rollerblades" is a brand. Just like with "Cars" and "Volvos".

Yeah. Kleenex (facial tissue), Xerox(photocopier), Channellock's, Klein's, Crescent wrenches are all brands that are eponymous as well. Oh well.

Modern brake pads are a lot nicer than the old rubber pads we all grew up with. They are very tough pads -- made of a hard metal-like substance. They work well even on decent downhills with lots of rain. KoolStops are my recommendation for cost effective pads.

I do like the disc brakes though. They would be great to have but sometimes hardware on your hub is not retrofitted so easy. In my case a front-wheel hub generator for my headlight is not able to accept the disc brake. Something to think about if you do a lot of downhill and want a generator -- get the gen-hub that works with disc brakes.

For the price, I think people should only pay the braking price premium for bicycle disc brakes if they ride in areas that have a lot of grime that would get on the rims, and therefore reduce rim braking performance.

They make sense for mtn bikes or places were people ride in mud, snow, slush, etc.

For regions that have none of these issues, I find standard rim brakes do just fine for me, and I did 1100 miles last year commuting to work by bicycle in Southern California.

Bicycle braking a bit off topic for TOD, but couldn't resist adding to the discussion. ;)

Aside from the cost of the brakepads, the lifetime of your rims (wheels) is important as well. The cost of a new wheel is several times the cost of new brake pads. I can remember getting rid of maguras (hydralic brakes), because I seemed to be going through too many rims. I've never had disk brakes, but I bet they are far superior, both for performance and for wear.

I find that for the kind of riding I do (mountain biking on logging roads in the Canadian Rockies), disk brakes are a necessity, as are front and rear shock absorbers.

This was clearly brought home to me last spring when I went for a bike ride with a bunch of my wife's friends while she was kayaking. The trip leader said it "isn't as tough as the guidebook says". I fell off my bike 5 or six times, had to ford several mountain streams, peddle through knee-deep snow, and at the end of it all, found myself on the other side of the Continental Divide and had to peddle back. I should have realized that since he was a veteran of the Israeli Army, his definition of "tough" differed somewhat from mine.

At least nobody got killed on my trip, which made it better than my wife's day. She had to do CPR on a dead kayaker. Fortunately, as a former ER respiratory tech, she has considerable experience doing CPR on dead patients, so it didn't bother her as much as everybody else.

Well, before everyone gets carried away about food v fuel and the like, keep in mind what this project is actually about.

It is using pyrolysis to process ligno-cellulosic material (corn stalks, wood waste,, and the like). It is an accelerated version of old style charcoal making, with the offgas being collected and condensed. The bio-oil is basically condensed tar, and is only useful as boiler fuel - can;t be used ina diesel engine, for example. The non condensible gases (methane, CO2, bit of H2) are used to fuel the process, and there is some excess that could be used for process/boiler heat

But the biochar that is left over is the real goal. It is then put back on the fields as a soil amendment. It improves soils structure, the nutrient holding ability, the water holding ability and provides a home for soil bacteria and fungi.

Not only is it one of the best things you can do to improve the the soil, it is also permanently sequestering the carbon. If the cornstalks etc are composted/mulched, eventually they get eaten, and the carbon is released. But the carbon as char stays there for thousands of years.

So, we have process that can restore degraded soils, sequester carbon, and the feedstock is grown on the same soils, and is not food.

I think that is worth a punt of $200k for a few years.

That said, there is lots of work being done on this around the world. Google "biochar" and you will see what I mean.

Not only is it one of the best things you can do to improve the the soil, it is also permanently sequestering the carbon. If the cornstalks etc are composted/mulched, eventually they get eaten, and the carbon is released. But the carbon as char stays there for thousands of years.

It is not PERMANENTLY sequestered. Per your example - a corn stalk Carbon is 'recycled' in 5 or so years.

Biochar seems to last a lot longer - a 1/2 life longer than a human lifespan is possible. But it is not 'permanently'. And eventually some biological thing will use it as its food, just like plant stalks and other organic matter is now.

Well, they find charcoal remnants in various soils that are thousands of years old. The soil bacteria just don't eat elemental carbon - it is no longer "organic matter" . They certainly do eat humus, which is what you get by mulching in the stuff.

There is certainly some debate about how permanent it is, and some studies have found that adding biochar to highly organic soils (mature forest soil, peat) increases microbial activity and releases carbon. But for degraded soils lacking in soil carbon - which is most farmland - it seems to stay there.

It has also led to notable improvements in soil productivity.

Overall, I'd say this has a lot of potential for improving farming sustainability - it is well worth pursuing.

I have the impression whether it sequesters (or releases) net CO2, is highly dependent on local circumstances, so it may not be wise to just start doing it. Also throwing it on the surface (I see a lot of people using it as landscape cover around here), lowers the albedo, and causes local (and by extension) global warming. So if you don't expect a carpet of green to cover it, bury it.

Well, they find charcoal remnants in various soils that are thousands of years old.

But what is unknown is if that thousands year old volume is the same volume in the now.

Somewhere on this planet is some radioactive iodine made in the middle of March in the failed Fukishima reactors. Not a lot, but there is some. If one has to create a metric ton lot of biochar to have 1 gram of it exist thousands of years later - its not a forever solution is it?

I think a bigger issue (regarding the fact that some ancient charcoal survives), is how deeply it was buried. Was it continuously damp (i.e. below the water table), and in an oxygen free environment. I suspect the environment is probably the crucial factor in how long the carbon stays in the soil.

the environment is probably the crucial factor in how long the carbon stays in the soil.

The environment is a big part. At this time we humans lack information on how well it works or does not work. Elaine Ingrham had a public position of it doesn't work. Others are showing results - some via soaking the Carbon in Nitrogen fertilizers.

If the buried Carbon is able to stablize yields in crops while decreasing external application of high energy fertilizers while taking Carbon out of the air for multi-decade timeframes - great.

A better solution than the environment destroying boondoggle of Fission reactors offered up as a solution by people who can't explain why, say, North Korea can't have Fission reactors.

Yeah I am biocharring my lot with charwood I have left in my fireplace. Certain fungi live on the stuff. After a forest fire notice the bright orange fungi on the burnt trees. Moreover, centuries later the fungi can still be found in the charcoal.

Fungi is amazing, especially for the purposes of bio-remediation. If you haven't seen it, TED Talk: Paul Stamets on 6 ways mushrooms can save the world

Paul is quite correct. This is not an idea to trash guys. I have built a crude 'retort' kiln.


The idea of pyrolysis gas is nothing new here either. For once I think this might be a good idea to have research done.




BP production down but profits up (link)
Andrew Hobbs / Upstream Online / July 26, 2011

... Oil and gas production in the second quarter was 11% lower than during the same period in 2010, falling to 3.43 million barrels of oil a day on the back of a suspension of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico as well as BP’s continuing divestment programme. ...

"continuing divestment programme"? So are they saying this is part of their big plans? Do you suppose the GOM situation was therefore intentional? Profits are up so they certainly didn't lose money doing it.

baby - "Profits are up so they certainly didn't lose money doing it." Maybe yes...maybe no. A yearly profit just means they had more income than expenses that year. Doesn't mean a project they spent $X on years early was profitable or not. Selling $2 billion of assets that cost you $3 billion to develop might give you big profit the year of the sale. But you lost $1 billion on the investment. Same reason folks get shocked when the see how much "profit" ExxonMobil makes in a year. That number in no way represents how much profit XOM made on the investments that generated this cash flow. One of the oldest tricks in the book for public companies: want to have a profitable year even though you income is falling? Just cut expenses...like firing a bunch of folks and shuting down high overhead operations. Makes the books look good...for a while.

Still, BP has been pushing to become "Beyond Petroleum" for a long time. They want to re-define BP as a "energy company" not a petroleum one. The "continuing divestment programme" is a mention of this.

NSW gets $66.5m grant to build largest solar power plant (link)
By Annie Dang / Manufacturer's Monthly / July 26, 2011

... project led by BP Solar ...

OK, just kidding, BP is a Solar nobody--a sinking ship on the horizon of tomorrow.

BP Solar to close Frederick facility, lay off 58 (link)
By Jamie Smith Hopkins / The Baltimore Sun / July 25, 2011

BP Solar warned state regulators Monday that it will close what remains of its Frederick operation and lay off 58 employees, starting this fall. ...

BP Solar modules no longer available (link)
by Emma Hughes / July 26 - 27, 2011

In what may come as a surprise to some, BP Solar has revealed its intention to apply the brakes to its distribution network and module expertise ...

"Beyond Profitable"

Beyond Pale. Oh, I think we played this game last year.

I actually think BP Solar is making a wise decision to pull out of manufacturing in the US and concentrate on developing large solar projects. It's a shame they didn't turn the Fredricksburg factory into SolarLand or some other theme park.

BP might have acted a bit too soon. If the US dollar continues it's fall down in value compared to the other major currencies, BP may wish they had kept their production in the US. As Peak Oil takes hold of the Amerikan brain, PV may become the shining path toward the future and low cost US production might prove to be the best option. Consider that the way US houses are built, most will need new roofs within 30 years. There's a great potential for adding PV to those roofs while the crew is up there fixing things...

E. Swanson

Old thinking, 'while replacing the roof add solar'. The two need to be combined so that the roofing material is the solar panel. Kill 2 birds and 2 costs with one stone. New thinking, 'replace the old roof with a solar roof'.



If the US dollar continues it's fall down in value compared to the other major currencies

Consider where the greenback would be vis-a-vis th Euro were it not for Greece!


Translation: BP is in deep doo-doo and is selling assets to get cash so it can spend its way out of the problems. Profits are up, but that's an illusion. Production is the issue.

For the past few decades most of BP's new production has come from deep-water drilling, notably in the Gulf of Mexico. If they can't drill new deep-water wells, then they can't find new oil.

This has implications for both the US and UK. Most of their new production in the past few decades has come from deep-water drilling. Same rules apply - if oil companies can't drill new deep-water wells, then the countries' oil production is going to fall, probably steeply, because existing deep-water fields show very steep decline rates.

Well, crap. The U.S. Coast Guard and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Joint Investigation Team was supposed to issue its report into the Deepwater Horizon disaster earlier this year, then the deadline was extended to July 27. I've been watching for it, but no report! What happened?

U.S. delays final report on BP oil spill probe

Ayesha Rascoe
Jul 22, 2011

A U.S. team probing the causes of last year's massive BP oil spill has delayed the release of its final report in order to more fully weigh the evidence, investigators said on Friday.

"The team is in the final stages of completing its report and expects to release it in the near future," the investigative team said in a statement.


... and a little bit of follow-up on the never-ending story ...

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. ...

... and a bit more follow-up on it too ...

Israeli ministries battle over using fuel oil at power plants (link)
Platts / July 27, 2011

... The IEC has said that it will need to import 300,000 mt of diesel fuel to offset the loss of Egyptian gas supplies, but also wants to use increased quantities of fuel oil. The excise tax on diesel fuel is currently $950/mt. ...

For some background info and a compilation of related links:

Egypt's Natural Gas Trends and Potential Impacts (Feb 19, 2011)

Kuwait to the Rescue? Re: Kuwait oil production flirts with 37-year peak (uptop)

The BP data base shows that Kuwait's recent annual net exports were as follows (total petroleum liquids):

2008: 2.42 mbpd
2009: 2.09
2010: 2.10*

*Down 13% from 2008 level

It's interesting that their 2010 net exports showed essentially no increase over 2009. We shall see what the 2011 annual data show.

Tell me about it. I nearly choked when I saw:

Global oil production increased by 1.8 million b/d in 2010 or 2.2% (link)
BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2011 / Oil Section

In 2010, world oil production grew by 1.8 Mb/d and surpassed the level reached in 2008. Growth was the largest since 2004 and was divided evenly between OPEC and non-OPEC. ...

Anybody who glances at the 2008 - 2010 data will see what an utter misrepresentation those statements are.

Year Barrles Tonnes
2008  82015  3933.7
2009  80278  3831.0
2010  82095  3913.7

Tonnes fell from 2008 to 2010 by 20 while barrels increased by 80? Must be lite crude. Hooray for supreme growth!

Yep. Excluding 2009, BP's data base shows that global total petroleum liquids production has been between 81 and 82 mbpd since 2005, and again excluding 2009, the EIA shows that global C+C production has been between 73 and 74 mbpd since 2005.

So if 2012 gives us another economic "soft patch", the media can come out in 2013 with similar stories of awesome growth.

if 2012 gives us another economic "soft patch"

Hmm, 2011 is already leaning in that direction.

HSBC Flash July China PMI Indicates Contraction (link)
edited by Cyrus LAO / July 21, 2011

... The 50-point level in the PMI demarcates expansion from contraction, with a reading above 50 indicating growth.

According to the final PMI reading in June, the industrial output sub-index fell to 49.8. The trend has now been confirmed with the preliminary July industrial output sub-index, which slipped further to 47.2. ...

That's the "Chinese Economic Miracle": contracting manufacturing. If China's manufacturing is contracting then categorically the world's is.

The scourge of 'peak oil' (link)
Dahr Jamail / Al Jazeera / July 25, 2011

... Heinberg believes oil prices are now acting as a cap on global economic activity.

"Every time the economy starts to recover it pushes [the price of] oil up, and then the economy falters," he said, "We're damned if we do and damned if we don't. If oil price declines, it is because the economy is in the toilet. Global oil scarcity has triggered the limits to growth scenario and we've seen the last of economic growth as we know it, at least in the US." ...

‘Peak Demand,’ Yes, But Not the Nice Kind
By Chris Nelder
Friday, March 5th, 2010

... Most people thought the nearly 2 mbpd decline in U.S. petroleum demand from 2007 through 2009 owed to efficiency and people driving less.

In reality, only about 15% owed to reduced gasoline demand. The other 85% was lost in the commercial and industrial sector: jet fuel, distillates (including diesel), kerosene, petrochemical feedstocks, lubricants, waxes, petroleum coke, asphalt and road oil, and other miscellaneous products.

Very simply, when oil got to $120 a barrel it cut into real productivity, and forced the world’s most developed economies to shrink. At $147, it wreaked serious damage. ... the new normal will be cycles of bumping our heads against the supply ceiling, falling dazed to the floor, rising back to our knees, then finally standing, only to bump our heads against the ceiling once more. ...

Footage of Colin Campbell and Richard Heinberg from 2002 saying the same thing: http://youtu.be/-757E56lcqo

Here we are in 2011 and China's head is the one bumping into the peak oil ceiling.

The nice kind of peak demand? I guess it is imaginable.

The nice kind is if everybody would be more green (eco-friendly.) The non-nice is if everybody finds it takes too many greenbacks (money.)

The "nice kind of peak demand" is the one where your daddy don't lose his job. Any sugestions on how that would take place?


2009 = 2.09
2010 = 2.10

2011 = 2.11

From above: "...the shale boom was akin to a ponzi scheme...".

A tad overly dramatic IMHO, Art baby. LOL. But I understand the point he's trying to make. The SG is being driven by public oils who are desperately trying to satisfy Wall Street demands for increased reserve base regardless of the profitability. As has been said many times: the stock brokers don't sell the steak...they sell the sizzle.

Again: real life...not a what if. In 1994 I drilled 4 horizontal wells into already producing NG reservoirs. The vertical wells were just producing too slow. The new hz increased companywide production 400% and WS rewarded us with 5X increase in stock price. And I didn't lie to WS: my reserve report showed zero increase in the reserve base and that I spent $12 million BORROWED capital to drill the 4 wells that would not add $1 to the ultimate cash flow.

WS and the investors who bought the stock didn't care that my wells didn't increase the value of the company one penny. They just figured that a company that can increase their production that fast must be a good invest. BTW: they were very wrong...within 5 years they went under and the stock was worthless. But again all the facts were laid out for all the world to see. So a ponzi scheme? Not really IMHO. Mr. Ponzi didn't tell his investors what he was doing...he lied. We told WS exactly what we did and told them the wells added no value to the company. And then WS jacked the price up. Sorta like the used car I selling you has a blown engine but you pay twice the Blue Book value because you like the color. I told you the truth but you still made a poor decision. But it was your money and your choice. I'm not responsible.

Shale gas is very obviously not a Ponzi Scheme and in the interview Berman was trying to distance himself from that claim because he doesn't like the NYT putting words in his mouth. What he is really trying to say is that shale gas is uneconomic under current market conditions, which is generally true.

The NYT likes the phrase "Ponzi Scheme" because it has a nice sound to it and most people understand that Ponzi Schemes are "bad", even though they don't have a clue what a Ponzi Scheme is. I'm not going to explain what a Ponzi Scheme is because life is too short. If you want to know, just Google it.

Shale gas is generally uneconomic at $4.50 per Mcf which is the current Henry Hub price. However, if gas was trading at its historic ratio to oil - 1 barrel of oil = 6 Mcf of gas, it would be selling for more than $16 per Mcf. At that price a shale gas play would be like a license to print money.

The fact that natural gas is trading at not much more than a quarter of the energy equivalence price to oil means that the relationship between oil and gas is broken, and I would surmise that means that oil is in critically short supply while gas is maintaining its historic availability. IOW, get off oil and switch to gas if at all possible because we are now experiencing Peak Oil. Peak Gas will occur some years in the future and we can deal with that crisis when it happens.

Rockie - Thanks. I owe Art an apology...didn't realize they were putting words in his mouth. BTW: Chenier has announced a multi $billion expansion of it's LNG exporting facility in SE Texas. Seems rather risky to me given how long it would take to pay out and how domestic NG prices might rise in a few years. Buying $4.50 NG and shipping it to England appears to make a small profit today. Can't see it working at much higher well head prices unless they get really desparite in the EU AND can afford to pay more.

I believe that the NYT quoted an anonymous source (obviously not Art) who described shale plays as "Ponzi Schemes." And of course, I agree that the characterization was inaccurate. I think that the reporter did make a mistake in using the quote, since it is obviously inaccurate.

Maybe Pyramid scheme. After pondering most economic systems you realize that you need a lot of pawns to service the king. But Ponzi triggers a criminal intent I guess; however, these systems are kind of built that way just more legally than Ponzi schemes.

Rock, I think that calling shale gas a ponzi scheme is a stretch too. I do feel that it's a "craze" and I think your past comments about it are dead on.

I had a talk with a senior drilling guy for Nabors in the Haynesville shale the other day, he put another view out there. He told me something that I've seen happen in my oilfield experience too. They are getting much better, faster, cheaper and more efficient at drilling in the area. According to his numbers they have gotten much better. He didn't say whether or not they are finding more reserves, but atleast they are punching holes faster. Getting good at what we do can help bring the cost better inline so shale can end up being what some think it can.

I was on a project where we took 40 million to punch a hole, within one year we were drilling the same well in the same field for 20 million. That's where the up's and downs of the drilling industry really hurts itself. Right when we start getting people trained in a cohesive safe group they get laid off due to slow downs or they quit and get higher paying jobs due to a drilling boom.

wildman - Yep...often works that way. But just when costs were coming down the Eagle Ford kicked in and prices started back up for many services. Did you hear about the $32 million in frac trucks that burned up on a Chesapeake Haynesville well up in E. Texas? Cudd was doing the frac when one of the trucks started to run out of fuel. Pulled a fuel tanker into the middle of all those red hot turbines, sprung a leak in the hose and there they went: all the equipment burned to the ground. No one hurt: they just ran into the piney woods and watched. The $32 million in lost equipment is one thing: think of the cash flow they'll lose on jobs they don't make. I'm told it takes about 18 months for new frac truck delivery.

I didn't hear about the frac trucks. WOW!

wildman - I've got an amazing pic of the burned up trucks if you have an email addy I can send it too.

Does this site have a private message capability?....Anyone?

No, it doesn't. People who wish to communicate with other members should put their e-mail addresses in their profiles.

In the oil business, it's important to know when to run for it. I know people who didn't run soon enough, and as a result were badly injured or even killed. OTOH I know people who managed to jump over a 6-foot fence without stopping when a gas plant alarm went off.

However, sometimes you're lucky A classic case was a blowout on King Christian Island in the Canadian Arctic. As someone who was there told me, when the well blew out (it was the largest gas well blowout in Canadian history), the rig manager ran around the rig shutting down the engines. He almost reached the last engine before it ignited the gas, and the explosion blew him over the pipe racks and into a snowdrift.

The rest of the crew, realizing that living outside in a Canadian Arctic winter is not survivable for anybody except the native people, hooked a Cat to the camp building and dragged it half a mile away. The well was blowing 200 million cu ft per day and the flame was 250 feet high so they didn't want to be anywhere near it.

As they were getting it set up, the rig manager walked in, charred clothes, burned eyelashes and all, and said, Hey! Can I get a cup of coffee?" Of course he got fired like everybody else in a position of responsibility, but at least his family got to see him again.

Rocky - Yep..always a constant thought: where to stand and where not to if X happens. I know we oil patch rats try not to be overly dramtic with the rest of the TODsters. But when on the well site, especially on the floor, if you have any common sense you don't stop thinking about "what if". My longest hitch was 43 days on a piece of cr*p Russian drillship off Africa. Sitting in front of a computer for 6 weeks is easy. But thinking around the clock about what some idiot might do that could kill you is exhausting. In my 36 years the only nightmare I had (while asleep) on a rig was during that hitch. Thought the ship was rolling. So real I put my feet thru the ceiling tiles..had the top bunk, of course.

The things that will kill you on a drilling rig would amaze people. I had an uncle that finally lost his battle with lung and heart problems brought on by a rig BR hand (bed room attendant)on an offshore drilling rig. The rig had a pending Coast guard inspection and the cleaning crew started pouring bleach, ammonia, and other cleaners on the floors of the hallway prior to scrubbing and mopping, the cleaning agents went under the door of his stateroom where he was sleeping after working for two days straight. The other room mates left the room, because of the fumes by the time he woke up the damage was done.
The strange thing was that my uncle was pulling his last seven day hitch for that company and had already taken another job and passed a physical exam with another oilfield service company. He went in for his days off, was sick all week and his doctor treated him for a common cold. He went to pull his first hitch for another company and that's when he couldn't go anymore. He was found passed out in the shower area. He was flown in to a hospital, checked out and given 6 months to live, due to severe lung and heart damage. Twenty years later, after several surgeries, many good days and bad days he died from what happened to him on that rig.

This happened in the early 1990's coming off of a real slow time in the oilfield, when people worked sick, because they didn't want to give anyone a reason to fire them or lay them off.The fact that he was the only person on he rig that performed the service that he performed, with no help or relief contributed to him sleeping through the chemical fumes had woke other people up. Today we still have people in the oilfield making important decisions and performing dangerous services after working for days without sleep. Things are getting better but we still have a ways to go.

That new refinery in Iraq should really help out their ELM profile. If people are waiting hours for petrol, then it means there is pent up demand, which could suck up some of any new production gains.

The Defaults of August?

I'm reminded of the "Guns of August," and how President Kennedy used the story of how the Great Powers blundered into the First World War as a cautionary tale regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis. An excerpt from the Wikipedia entry:


According to the cover notes of an audio version of The Guns of August, "[President John F. Kennedy] was so impressed by the book, he gave copies to his cabinet and principal military advisers, and commanded them to read it."[4] In One Minute to Midnight on the Cuban Missile Crisis, Robert Dallek notes the deep impression Guns had on Kennedy. He often quoted from it and wanted "every officer in the Army" to read it as well. Subsequently, "[t]he secretary of the Army sent copies to every U.S. military base in the world.[3] Kennedy drew from The Guns of August to help in dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis and the profound and unpredictable implications a rapid escalation of the situation could have.[5][6]

I am beginning to think that the only course left for the Democrats may be to cave in to the Tea Party faction.

Of course, the Tea Party folks want to reduce government spending and maintain, or cut, current tax rates, in order to boost economic growth, as we maintain an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base.

The irony is that the Tea Party crowd is right about government spending, but for the wrong reasons. Government spending must and will be reduced, because of resource constraints.

I have been thinking of this question for a while, but never had a place for it. Maybe here is good.

Everybody agrees that big inflation would help to devalue all of the old dept, including the national dept. The only people hurt would be savers, or more specifically, people who save in things connected to the USD. They have been unable to trigger this inflation through traditional means of cheap loans. And, any heavier handed attempts to devalue the currency have been off the table because of the risk of loosing favor with lenders like China.

Now, if the latest debacle in Washington causes ratings downgrades, and the Chinese quit loaning us money on the cheap, does this open the door to do what ever it takes to devalue the dollar? If so, do I finally have to buy gold in order to save my two cents?

I've posted a link a couple of times to a recent essay that put it this way regarding government debt (and promised benefits), "Default or inflation on a global scale." Or I suppose some combination of both in various countries.

You still haven't bought ?? World history is quite clear on this aspect. Barbarous relic or not Gold and Silver is the only thing that holds it's value as Government's try to delay the inevitable by causing hyperinflation. Even a conservative exposure like 15-20% should do the trick I guess.
That's the first thing I noticed in Joseph Tainter's presentation about the collapse of Roman Empire.

eastie - I agree with your sentiment but I still think folks ignore the other side of the coin. Inflation devalues the debt but this year a big chunk of your taxes are paying interest on that debt. And those $'s are worth $1 today...and you're paying today. Now take all that cash out of your mattress and buy gold. Now your gold will be worth more $'s as inflation eats away value...if the price of gold stays up with inflation. But next year you still have to pay the interest so you'll have to sell some gold. Granted the gold sale will yield more $'s then you would have otherwise. But you're still making a big interest payment...period. And that seems to counter the inflation reduced value of the $ argument. Master Card doesn't want you to pay off the balance. They would rather you just keep making minimum payments for the next 46 years. They apparently have no problem accpeting the future reduced value of those $'s. That should tell us something.

So it's settled then...I just buy gold today, then the govmnt devalues the money that the old loans were borrowed in, ......and, we make China roll over the dept at low interest rates. That should do it. Am I missing something here?

On another note: If I never get a raise, but my town keeps billing me more for property taxes, um...

So, basically I need a bunch of gold, but live in a cardboard box, with a gun.

Also add some silver, agricultural commodities and oil ETF's :)

If your gun was made out of gold you'd kill two birds with one stone.

But at a million a shot - its expensive to be the Man with the Golden Gun.

Pure gold is too maleable, however. Even though golden guns are the favorites of spy movies and the former Iraqi leader, they are a bit impractical. A gold bar and a steel gun would be better.

Someone needs to make the point that hyperinflation is anything but a certainty. As Nicole Foss said to me, a financial collapse happens so rapidly, government intervention is unlikely to be fast enough to prevent deflationary collapse.

As Keynesian economic theory posits, once an economy is caught in a liquidity trap pushing money into the economy has little effect both because investments makes no sense and because individuals become frightened and hold onto whatever money they have. Ongoing deflation provides its own motive for holding money as products become increasingly cheap.

To this Krugman adds the likelihood we have a rentier driven political system. Smart money turned to bonds and does not want inflation:

Incidently, deflation results in sustained low interest rates on long bonds (link below). In a smaller country, this might not happen as money can flee. But the US bond market represents such a large part of the worldwide bond market there is nowhere for this amount of money too flow to. Finally, the escaping a bear analogy (just run faster than your friend) is relevant, given how poor the alternatives are.

Apparently Zimwabwe didn't get the memo that it could not have financial collapse and hyper inflation at the same time - and that without a financial system run by high speed super computers.

A banking/financial collapse is certainly possible with our over-extended fiat money system. In those situations, such as in 2008/2009, prices could temporarily collapse. However sustained long term deflation is virtually impossible under the present fiat money system, at least in the US and most major countries.

The US Fed tightened policy dramatically in 1929 before the stock market collapse, and later was slow to change policy as the economy turned down. Later, the US had significant inflation in the midst of the 1930s depression, after a major dollar devaluation by the US Treasury and actively easing monetary policy by the Fed. It was only after the Fed adopted a very restrictive monetary policy again in the later 1930s that the US economy relapsed into depression and a new bout of deflation.

Can anyone provide even one example where there was a continuing attempt to hyperinflate which lead to a period (of one year or more) where there was any significant long term deflation? The closest example I can think of is Japan, but long tern price declines where rather mild and more closely associated with technological innovation than any other factor.

"Smart money turned to bonds and does not want inflation:"

You can add the rapidly growing numbers of the retired to the smart money group. They don't want whatever savings they have left dissipated to make Krugman's theory work out. Even more so since the "core" inflation rate Krugman is so fond of is a very poor match for the spending patterns of the elderly.

And those same elderly people are the most reliable voting block.

....then again, if you have a fixed mortgage with fixed interest, a couple of ounces of gold may buy the farm in a few years ;-)

Well, remember, Rockman, that Master Card (and Co.) aren't charging 3 - 0% like Treasuries. The credit card companies are charging more like 15 - 25%, so sure, they're perfectly happy with forever rolling over balances. But you and me, on the other hand, are supposed to be overjoyed to basically PAY the federal government (once interest rates are adjusted for inflation) to borrow our hard earned savings.
Also, don't forget that gold is taxed as a "collectible", at 29% on gains (or there abouts, last time I checked).

I put my Mastercard into the shredder. I'm sure they will be heartbroken when I tell them and send me more of them which I will also put into the shredder.

Don't buy gold, buy gold mine stocks. Same concept, lower taxes.

My financial adviser has been getting edgy lately (I've been edgy for months) and is putting me into gold stocks and cash dollars (NOT American dollars - Canadian dollars and Australian dollars). And forget anything in Europe.

But be aware of the gold speculation bubble, and sell the gold when prices is very high. The sign of the tides to look for is when experts start saying "This bubble will never deflate, it is different this time". Then sell the gold and buy land.

I don't think any experts are going to be that blatant. Plus, how will I be able to tell the true experts from the pretenders. Gold could be in a bubble right now for all I know. Tempted to short but I'm sitting out this market until at least after 2 August.

My bet is we are in the begining of a huge speculation bubbleon gold. PRices will climb for a long while. The one who sell in the right moment will make the dealof his life. Those who buy late and sell later will lose out big. If you already have it, keep it for a longer while, not time to sell yet.

I bought some stock in a gold mining company just before the Asian Crisis in '97. They were developing a mine with an estimated multi-billion dollar resource. As the Asian Crisis unfolded, the price of gold crashed and the company went bankrupt. The loss was painful, to say the least.

Back then, there was a large consumer market for gold in India and the financial problems cut deeply into that market. The resulting drop in demand for physical gold resulted in the price drop and troubles for the mining companies which produced the gold. Perhaps this same scenario will repeat if the Chinese and/or Indian economies drift into recession. High oil prices or lack of available energy supply might be a trigger, or another financial crunch might do it as well. It may be that gold is in a bubble and that at some point in time, the bubble will pop. Since the markets can turn on a dime, one needs to pay close attention. Better to sell before a crash than after...

E. Swanson

Yes, one is vulnerable with the mining stocks. Just because a company mines gold does NOT mean they will actually make much of a profit doing it. The mining cos. are sensitive to Peak Oil constraints; fuel, availability of credit, etc. Not only that, but globally, ore quality has been declining. There is good data supporting the likelyhood that gold is among the resources that are "peaking" in terms of production; ever lower and lower grade ore requiring greater and greater inputs of energy to extract the gold. The major gold producers have the exact same problems with "reserve replacement" as the oil companies.

Newmont (one of the world's largest gold mining cos.) stock has gone basically no where over the past five years. This isn't that unusual. And the junior companies have been mired forever. And with them, how would the average investor choose among them anyway?

jabby - True but Master Card has lots of defaults. The US hasn't...not yet anyway.

Only unexpected inflation has the ability to devalue debt in the long run. The average maturity of US government debt is about 5 years. So one would need hyper inflation in the next few years for it to have any meaningful impact. If everybody knows the inflation is coming the market will price it into the debt perhaps add an additional amount for uncertainty and given the debt profile the Government is actually worse off. It is the same story with currency devaluations- they might provide some short term boost but in the long run they are almost always a loser.

I don't think gold is cheap, but it's still inexpensive. It's probably going to at least $5000 an ounce, with silver to $250 or more.

Of course, what do I know, I'm just a stupid goldbug. You can always put your money into a savings account earning nothing, or Treasuries earning a few percentage. Even while food and energy and debt march relentlessly higher.

Or, you could buy Apple and Netflix and LinkedIn and Groupon.

Of course, there's always farmland and firewood and firearms, if you believe the "you can't eat gold" argument, an argument which, taken to the extreme, reduces us all to bartering food.

Your choice man. Thankfully it's still a relatively free country.

Yeah, the, "you can't eat gold" argument is particularly imbecilic; and one hears it over and over.
Louisa Bojesen made that very comment just yesterday on CNBC's "Worldwide Exchange" program. Uh, guess what? One cannot eat a dollar bill either, nor a share of common stock, nor a Treasury Bill. But what do I know? I guess Louisa lives in a refrigerated warehouse crammed to the rafters with food and when she's not giving useless advise on CNBC, she's sitting in front of the door of her warehouse with a loaded AR-15 on her lap.

I don't watch the Daily Show anymore because so much of the humor is so childish. In fact I don't think Jon Stewart's persona is very funny at all. But he is brilliant at showing the hypocracy of both political factions in the US so I really enjoy seeing these links. I would say that this last one showed a president with virtually no diplomatic, leadership or negotiating skills and a house majority leader who is a lying sack of...........well you know.

BTW, a contributor to Econbrowser also used the "Guns of August" analogy:

"The bonds of August"

Bruce Bartlett, formerly with the Reagan and Bush 43 Administrations, was just on Hardball, on MSNBC. He has reached the same conclusion that I had, i.e., that nothing will be approved by the House (except for possibly a spending cut only bill). As noted up the thread, it seems to me that the only way for the Democrats to avoid default is to capitulate to the Tea Party and let the chips fall where they may.

Sounds like we get defaults - a lot of them. If the US defaults with a Democrat President, then the US will default with a Republican President in the same manner. This potential for repetition is interesting in terms of its implications on National Defense and the disbursement of Social security checks and Medicare payments and interest payments.

Failure is not an option.

It's an inevitable.

(a.k.a. Murphy's Law)

[ i.mage.+]
[i]= image, [+]= more info

Oct - Technically I don't think it would be called default. AFAIK we can't, by law, default on treasury interest payments. The problem will be not being able to meet the rest of the obligations, like SS and govt paychecks, at the planned level. But the plan can be changed anytime the Congress chooses. They won't "default" on SS payments: they just change the plan. SS benefits have changed a number of times over the years. Just like Medicare, etc. If the Feds can't make the SS payments they can just change the benefit plan. They've already been talking about raising retirement age which would save hundreds of billions over the next decade or two. Granted everyone used to talk about this as the untouchable "third rail". But given a choice of changing benefits levels for future beneficiaries and reducing current payments to some degree, not sending out any checks at all would be the ultimate political suicide for both parties IMHO. Which I personally wouldn't mind seeing except for the suffering it would casue for so many American...even my Yankee cousins.

AWWWH, Rocky you threw a bone to us Northerners. Remember I used to live in Atlanta. I kinda know how you guys roll.

Me being a "teacher" will never receive these SS payments. LOL. My wife is a priest and neither will she, but alas my retirement contribution shot up an infinite percentage. Yes. Really. In the old days, the Golden State (no pun intended) made the contributions 100%. They ran out of dough in their little scheme. So now they ask the young set to pay for the older set with 5% of their salaries. LOL.

So the SS ponzi scheme was replicated in many other schemes for retirement and all of them have the same problem. Oh well. Sometimes I wonder who the math geniuses were that thought this all up, cause I was not even born yet when the plan to screw me was conceived. ;-)

Mostly I think it wasn't a coherent plan to screw you. Just typical BAU assumptions about rate of return on investments. Then the market has a lost decade, and no-ones pension plans are even close to being funded. Of course we've added a new thing, the wholesale starvation of government as a political tactic. So now the traditional backstop for plans gone wrong has been neutered, just when you need him most.

Also cannot default on pension payments... does that include SS?


Craig - From the few details I've read: no...SS isn't included. SS benefits are set by law. And the law can be changed by Congress anytime it wants to and can be done immediately..even retroactively. Not that they would go so far, but congress ould pass a law next week eliminating all future SS payments immediately. The govt never has guarenteed SS benefits in the future despite what most beleive.

And I'm not sure govt pension are a required payment either. The govt might not be able to eliminate the pension plans from the books but they also may not be required to pay them ahead of all other obligations. The only two manadtory payments mentioned on NPR was interest on the Treasury debt and govt contracts with industry...mostly DOD.

I am genuinely curious why a default should occur at all. I can see many contracts being immediately cancelled and workers furloughed, but debt default would require a purposeful move to spend tax revenue elsewhere, and I think that would create a constitutional crisis, given the 14th amendment.

Paleo - Don't know how accurate but I've read the following: by law the interest payments on the Treasury notes have to be paid first. Thus no possibility of that ever not happening since tax revenues can cover it. Next in line all contracts with the govt have to be honored. After those obligations are met almost everything else is optional: SS, govt worker pay including military pay, etc. IMHO that's why some weeks ago you started hearing "failure to pay obligations" (like SS) more then "default of the govt debt". Just a bit of spin. Again, if the reports are correct there never was the possibility of the govt defaulting on the Treasury notes. Which is why they are considered the safest deposit on earth: SS beneficiaries would loss their checks befor China missed and interest payment.

I still hear "default" mentioned a time or two per day on the radio, though. There certainly is an unusual level of hyperbole on this debt-raise cycle.

Why do we even bother with debt? Why not just print money if more expenditure is needed? Debt seems guaranteed to centralized wealth over time.

Just creating new money (which is done electronically by adding sums to accounts; printing is so old fashioned) would increase the money supply and cause inflation if done in the amounts needed to meet government obligations.

Both tax collections and debt issuance remove money from the economy. Taxes do so rather indiscriminantly without much regard to individually ability to pay, although the tax rate structure attempts to be broadly more or less equitable. Issuing debt collects money from lenders who presumably have extra money to be invested in secure instruments paying low interest. About a third of the money raised by debt comes from foreign investors and does not remove money from the domestic economy.

On the other hand, once the money is removed from the economy by taxes, the government has no obligation to the taxpayer. When the money is removed from the economy by debt, the government has and obligation to pay interest and principal at a future date. This future obligation does tend to concentrate wealth provided that the interest rate paid on government debt is higher than the rate of inflation. At present the interest rate is lower than the rate of inflation, so the debt holders have a slowly deteriorating asset.

That matches my understanding; thank you. I think all roads lead back to painful decisions, so why not take the tack that presumes least upon the future? Heavy cuts, modest tax increases, and modest inflation seem like the best option, with steadily decreasing debt.

Instead, when times are good, we double-up on discretionary spending. When times are bad, we double-down on support spending.

This article and graph depicts the federal budget (not the debt, the annual budget) situation from 1990-2006:


Many factors are in play...the booming stock market. seemingly strong housing market, etc.

I am not carrying water for the then-President, merely pointing out that the budget was in surpuls during those seeming 'good times'.

Also, I agree with your current prescription...with the caveat that the Military-Security-Spy-Industrial Complex does not get off with a free pass for BAU. Soical spending cuts...military-Homeland Security-Spy Agency cuts, and cuts to all the rest. Along with some tax increases and inflation, as you said.

Shared sacrifice...the current Republican-Tea Party schemes are pure crap.

My understanding is that SS is paid out of the SS 'Trust Fund.' The SS Trust Fund is filled with US Treasury Notes, and if the TNs must get paid first, it seems that SS checks would be among the top priorities.

Actually, I've heard so many different stories about what will happen, I'm not sure anyone really knows.

NY Times article is helpful, I guess?

Well, just one more complexity:

Meanwhile, thousands of homeowners are defaulting on mortgages every week. The mortgages are part of the money already created by debt. When that money is "destroyed" micro deflation is taking place with each lost mortgage. So no matter how much money the FR creates, if an equal amount is destroyed by default there is no inflation.

Does that make sense?

Actually no, it doesn't make sense.

Here's the rub. When the money was created for the loan, it was used to create an asset, namely, the house. When a homeowner defaults on a loan, only the loan ceases to exist, not the asset that the loan created. Title to the house eventually transfers to the bank, where it can be resold to a new buyer, most likely for less money under current market conditions.

No matter how much money is destroyed by defaults, overall, the country is still better off as we were able to create assets with that money. Those assets might be worth less than they were at the height of the market, but before the creation of the loan, those assets didn't exist at all.


Certainly the initial loan financed the building of the house and therefore created the assets that did not exist before (of course the land was there, just not 'improved'.

Subsequent loans did not create any more tangible assets, further material improvements excepted. The subsequent loans facilitated the transfer of the tangible asset from one entity to another.

The fact that the assets are worth less now is cold comfort to those put out on the street due to losing a job without provocation of under-performance or malfeasance, and the new low offering price is still out of reach to those with McJobs vice higher-paying jobs as were more common further back in time before the U.S. outsourced many good jobs and looked to the FIRE sector to create bogus wealth.

Come what may, the banks make out very well...

So no matter how much money the FR creates, if an equal amount is destroyed by default there is no inflation.

Does that make sense?

I think it does. Although the transation is not without consequences. The names on the assets and liabilities have changed hands. Some come out ahead, and some come out behind. meanwhile the physical resource, the house, complete with granite countertops undergoes rapid decay, while it is without an owner/occupant. So the physical investment that was made by those loans was a poor one. Value returned on effort put in was probably less than one.

Nice bit of spin, here:

"Over the years the limit has been raised repeatedly, to $14.3 trillion today from roughly $43 billion in 1940."

This implies that the debt itself grew over the last 60 years. It grew hugely since the new wars, with their funding hidden off of the books, and the gambling crisis.

Social Security should be doing just fine. It was paid for, in advance, by the workers. But the funds were raided to pay for, among other adventures, the Vietnam war. The "Special Treasury Notes" it contains now are known as "Worthless Promises". This is made obvious by the fact that any threat can be made not to issue social security checks. No one talks about this in the corporate media. The financial wizards at the levers of power want the future funds channeled to their criminal buddies for more gambling fun!... er, ah,... investment.

This is all just a show.

The US Government can play many games:

The 14th amendment was done at the time the Union was broken (civil war)
The Federal Reserve Notes aren't Constitutional
Ohio isn't a proper state, so everything gets rolled back to that time
The citizens didn't accept the terms, this was all done by corrupt people
(insert whatever legal mumbo-jumbo one wants to here)

Or just "no".

Are you gonna argue with someone with fission and fusion bombs?

I disagree on calling them a real faction. I see them as libertarians 2.0. a sock puppet of the corporate interests(wholly bought political class members are cheaper then ones who require larger and larger donations.) and of certain religious groups here in the states. giving them what they want would be worse. imho, still i do agree with you that the situation will kill democracy anyway, so i guess it's which poison. this odd alliance of oligarchs and religious fanatics or something else down the road?

No possibility of a national strike here.

Perhaps we are simply too entertained?


Japan’s nuclear emergency director tells citizens they have no right to live a radiation free healthy life while refusing to test children’s urine and answer why Fukushima radiation standard differs from the rest of Japan.

The EIA weekly report showed a drop in Alaskan oil production of 200kbd so I googled and came up with this. It will be interesting to see if the Alaskan oil supply is completely shutdown again this winter for a long period of time -- these pipelines are falling apart and the low flow rate is probably going to stress them even more.

BP reports spill at Prudhoe Bay flow station

Earlier this month, a North Slope pipeline operated by BP ruptured during a pressure test, spilling up to 4,200 gallons.

RE. Plant Now To Survive the Future (up top)

Wharf Rat and I were talking about the future, as we always do, at lunch yesterday. We both find it disturbing that people are being fed a line of BS - and that people believe it. The problem, in the case of food, is that home food production is not something that can be accomplished over night. Skills have to be developed, permanent crops like trees have to mature before they can produce, appropriate varieties and species have to be selected and so forth.

By the time people understand that they were lied to, it's probably going to be too late for things such as home produced food.


Who is lying? Not the article you are referring to.

He advises everyone to get planting fruit trees and other edibles now, simply because many species take a few years to get established.

On that note, he's off, talking about the local council and how it should only be planting fruit trees.

The 61-year-old is extremely suspicious of those in authority and says everyone should be asking questions. "It's a paradigm shift that's required," he says. "But while they are locked into the industrial system they are not going to move. They've got to think outside the box and take the blinkers off."

And they need to get planting.

Of course I'm not saying the article is a lie. Geeze that should have been obvious. The lies I was referring to are the ones from TPTB and MSM that everything is just great except for the "soft patch" and that will be gone any day now.

My point was that by the time people wake up it will be too late to do what the guy (and many more of us) have recommended for years which is to prepare now.


I found that article and the one about water banking an interesting juxtaposition. One reason so much water had to be drawn from the bank is that tree crops have become popular recently. With most crops, the farmer can just let the field lie fallow in a bad year. But with permanent crops like trees, they must be watered in droughts, or they'll die. And it takes too long to replace them to allow that to happen.

Another water story,

Texas ag losses could set new record amid drought

The drought has spread over much of the southern U.S., leaving Oklahoma the driest it has been since the 1930s and setting records from Louisiana to New Mexico. But the situation is especially severe in Texas, which trails only California in agricultural productivity.

McGee is still watering another variety of corn, cotton and sorghum but the loss of nearly one-sixth of his acres after spending so much on irrigation weighs on him.

"Kind of depressing," the 34-year-old farmer said. "You use that much of a resource and nothing to show for it. This year, no matter what you do, it's not quite enough."

It hasn't been tabulated yet that I know of, but cattle deaths will be substantial. I wouldn't be surprised with over 10,000 for this year's drought. In the heat and humidity, there's not much you can do. Lacking any sweat glands, they are really susceptible.

Here in France our drought has been broken by rain at last. The trouble is the vegetables being stressed by the lack of water didn't grow as fast, but now we have cool weather, so the vegetables are again growing very slowly. Sometimes you just can't win and now the gardeners are beginning to fret about blight. Basically poor conditions and poor yields all round for everyone.

Tis definitely true, you don't want to let the orchard die. Does anyone know how much less water is required for simple survival versus having a full crop that year? I would think with minimal watering combined with trimming that you could cut the water need by at least half. But it would be nice to hear from someone with experience.

I can't help with the numbers, but there is an interesting technique in this Agroinnovations Podcast about ollas, unfired pots buried for minimal irrigation.
Unrelated but fun is The Man who farms water

Jon from Virginia, what part of VA are you from? I live northern region 2 hours outside of DC

Most people do not grow the high energy foods like grain, nor do most have the land to grow enough to provide 100% of their calorie needs. And if you do, you may be subject to 'interstate trade' as per Wickland VS Filburn. And if things get bad enough to need 100% - the Government can come and take what you have under Continuity of Government Executive Orders.

WWII victory gardens were a 40% offset. And that was with things like clotures boosting yields.

The "modern" American has HOA rules and many of them prevent growing food plants. City workers see Rasberries, Orengano, Asparagus or Sunchokes and declare them "noxious weeds" and demand their removal or they will charge you to cut 'em down. They leave the day lillies.

Urban gardeners complain often about theft of their produce. Its most amusing to hear 'em complain about the theft while taking from someone elses patch.

Nitpick: the case is Wickard v. Filburn.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending July 22, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged about 15.4 million barrels per day during the week ending July 22, 261 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 88.3 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging nearly 9.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased slightly last week, averaging about 4.6 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.8 million barrels per day last week, up by 497 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.5 million barrels per day, 447 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 662 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 161 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.3 million barrels from the previous week. At 354.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.0 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 3.4 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.6 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 11.4 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged just under 18.8 million barrels per day, down by 2.9 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged nearly 9.1 million barrels per day, down by 3.3 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged just about 3.5 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 3.5 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 0.3 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve begins

Last week the US distributed 2,268,000 barrels of oil from its SPR, as part of a more general IEA program to distribute 60,000,000 barrels of oil and oil products from various national reserves. The US portion of that plan is to distribute 30,000,000 barrels of Louisiana Light Sweet crude. That distribution would be about 10% of all the LLS oil held in reserve. This type of oil was apparently chosen to replace the type of high quality lost from Libya and other African sources. Although the US was not a major importer of Libyan oil, other countries have been quick to obtain light sweet oil from sources that would have otherwise been exporting to the US, more specifically to the refiners along the east coast of the US.

Without the release of SPR oil, the amount of commercial oil inventories would have been unchanged in the latest week.

The rate of distribution of the SPR oil from the two days last week (Thursday and Friday) implies a distribution rate from the SPR of about 1,000,000 barrels per day. However since about 80% of the oil will be shipped to various locations in the US by tanker and barge, it may take a week or two more before refiners can start receiving that oil.

Although oil imports incrementally increased last week about 500,000 bpd, they are still about 500,000 bpd less than the import rates seen in the summer of 2010. The year over year loss of imports is mostly due to falling imports from Libya, Nigeria, and Venezuela.

Midwest refiners operated at 96% of capacity, virtually flat out, but overall refinery utilization dropped 2% nationwide mostly due to operational problems along the Gulf Coast. Still Gulf Coast refiners made enough product to keep the important Colonial Pipeline transporting oil products from the Gulf Coast to the northeast and southeast US at or near maximum capacity.

Going forward shippers report that Mideast OPEC members have been slow to arrange for August exports. Despite plans by Kuwait, Iraq, and now even the returning Libya to marginally increase oil exports in August, Saudi Arabia may not increase – or even reduce exports – due to internal demand.

Any information on the amount or effects of black market Libyan oil? I heard more calls yesterday for bombing Libyan oil facilities, that Qaddafi won't quit until his income is removed.

Libyan rebels sold one cargo of oil last Friday out of Tubrok to Qatar Petroleum, although that oil may have come from previous storage. While the US has informally indicated it may not oppose some 'black market' oil deals, international oil companies are still worried if they can legally buy the oil or risk some type of sanction by the US. Note the Iran-India oil dispute also relates to problems with US sanctions.

I don't have the link handy but the rebels hope to export up to 100,000 bpd fairly soon, but it's not clear if they the ability to do that or if Qatar - who has been their main backer for oil deals - will be able to facilitate this export plan.

Exclusive: Libya rebels ready to begin pumping oil

15 July 2011

REBEL-held Arabian Gulf Oil (Agoco) has repaired the Sarir and Misla oilfields; anti-regime forces have cleared the surrounding area of loyalist troops; and “production could begin today”, a senior industry source said on 15 July.

Oil output could reach 180,000 barrels a day (b/d) in the short term, enough to export three or four cargoes a month from Tobruk and earn the Transitional National Council (TNC) a vital stream of revenue as its forces close in on Muammar Qadhafi’s troops in Brega, Gharyan, Zliten and Tripoli.


Last week the US distributed 2,268,000 barrels of oil from its SPR

You mean July 17 - 23, 2011? I see a different amount being reported.

DOE: 1.77 Million Barrels Of SPR Oil-Sale Crude Shipped As Of Thursday (link)
By David Bird / DOW JONES NEWSWIRES / July 22, 2011

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- A total of 1.77 million barrels of crude oil sold under the U.S. emergency sale has been shipped from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as of Thursday, the Energy Department said.

Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) received 750,000 barrels, while Plains All American Pipeline LP's (PAA) Plains Marketing LP got 520,000 barrels and Shell Trading (US) Co., a unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA, RDSA.LN), received 500,000 barrels.

Deliveries scheduled for the week of July 17-23 total 4.52 million barrels, the data show, with 8.74 million barrels set for delivery in July. The remaining 21.9 million barrels will be shipped in August. ...

Did they deviate from 4.52 million barrels to only 2.26?

The 2.268 million barrels are for the week ended Friday 7/22 - not Saturday 7/23 for which the article states 4.52mb/d.

Must have been a busy Saturday.

Re: the link about New Orleans at the bottom:

Why not just move the population? Build a new city upstream? Would be loads cheaper than maintaining those levees? In the end NO will become,as said in the article, an island in the open sea if this goes on.

Or, since we are talking grand schemes, how about modeling it after Venice, It.

This conversation happened back when TOD was but a babe - and one of the regular posters of that time claimed the Nation should spend whatever it took to save New Orleans, New York and San Francisco due to the 'unique culture'.

New Orleans will be washed away and that is what happens over time when one builds next to a water feature.

San Francisco is not in much trouble, except by the Bay south of Market and down towards the airport. Oakland and other East Bay communities are lower. The inland sea between Sacramento and Stockton should be quite a rich habitat.

New Jersey, particularly the transportation infrastructure in the Meadowlands is at risk, but New York City not so much.


I was the poster and then living in the early post-Katrina ruins.

The vast majority of US cities are fungible - and people treat them that way.

Until the waters wash away New Orleans - hopefully late in the next century - it will continue to make significant cultural and creative contributions, far, far in excess of it's population.

And New Orleans has a tool that no other coastal city has - sediment from the Mississippi River that can, properly used, build up land around New Orleans even as the waters rise. The Mississippi is called the "Big Muddy" for a reason.

In 2017, the State of Louisiana will get, for the first time, 37.5% of federal offshore oil and gas royalties. The State Legislature has already dedicated 100% of that money to coastal restoration.

All we need are Dutch engineers to dodge the bullet, even late in the next century.

Alan, one other concern is that the Miss. River actually brings much less sediment down to New Orleans than it once did, due to projects up river. (Garland Robinette told me that)

The Army Corps has changed South Louisiana's delta and eventually our culture for the worse and mostly in the name of commerce not for protecting people. When we point out that levees that protect people in the area are much smaller than levees that keep the river straight, narrow and predictable it shows for certain who the Federal government is concerned with most.

Many areas near the French quarter will be fine for years to come due to the geology, but the outlying areas should have never been inhabited as they were, they should be turned back to swamps,woodlands,and marshy wetlands, not revitalized as subdivisions.
I'm waiting for this hurricane season to get heated up. In the GOM I'm seeing calm hot days just like it was when Katrina and Rita hit. The gulf has been really slick calm and real hellish heat. I have been checking Weather underground for the sea temps and they are also impressive. I tell a story about a rig I was on during 2005 when the big ones hit. The drilling rig I was working on turned seawater into potable water and stored it in tanks inside the hull of the rig. When we would take a shower we didn't have to turn the hot water on, because the cold water was so hot by itself hot water wasn't needed.

When we would catch seawater in the rigs drilling mud tanks, the steam would fog up your safety glasses. It's almost that hot again.

eric - Nawlin's problem isn't the prospect of being washed away. It's sinking under the GOM. How much has the area sunk already? Below Nawlins at at 50,000'+ are sediments that were once at the ground surface. The geologic term is geosyncline. Despite the efferts of Alan's Dutchmen the city will be under water in time. Even if they continuely build levees around the city to keep the Gulf waters out the levees will allow a giant lake to develop over the city just like the lake bordering the north side of the city. And if the Miss. R. changes its course (as it will inevitably) it will run down the middle of the state and all that sediment will build land mass far to the west of Nawlins. Like many forces of nature there's no question that Nawlins will be under water. It's just a matter of when.

Like many forces of nature there's no question that Nawlins will be under water. It's just a matter of when.

The alternative is to deposit the sediment in the city itself. Not an easy task. You can imagine jacking up the buildings and spreading dirt underneath. Or perhaps tear down a whole neighborhood, add fill, and rebuild. But the only "sustainable" way to keep a city there requires adding new material in on ongoing basis.

EOS - The problem is that we're not just talking about Nawlins but the entire SE corner of the state. Literally bilions of cubic yds of dirt would be needed. Even if they were insane enough to try it and it worked for a while it stlll won't save the city. Evetually the Miss. R. will switch course and the city would stil be abandoned. And that could happen as soon as next spring during the melt...no monster hurricane required. Back in the early 70's it almost happened when there was a very fast melt up north... much worse than this years. Had the river broken thu to the Atch. Basin there's no force of earth that could have gotten in back into the original channel. Lossing Nawlins would be just one small problem. We would overnight loss a large amount of oil/NG production and refining capacity. It would easily destroy the economy of the entire country. Just one aspect: no significant grain exports from the the farm belt for years. And you hear almost no one talk about the prospect. Again, more a question of when then if.

And if the Miss. R. changes its course (as it will inevitably)

You would think it would be inevitable, but... You should read this long piece on controlling the Mississippi River - classic John McPhee from the New Yorker's "Controlling Nature" series, back in 1987. Some incredible engineering going on. Hubris? Time will tell.

Atchafalaya (Fighting the Mississippi River)

I've never been to New Orleans - I hope I get the chance!

sgage - Back in the early 70's the M.R. had undercut the Morganza Spillway so deeply that they had an emergency opening at 2 AM to keep the locks from washing away. And the course of the river would have been sent down the midlle of the state for ten's of thousands of years if they hadn't. The M.R. has done this roughly every 25,000 years. At one time the M.R ran almost down the Texas/La. border...why lake Charles is a deep water port. At another time it ran east of Nawlins into Mississippi state waters. Look at the cresent shape of the Chandelier Islands in the GOM east of Nawlins: that's where the mouth of the M.R. was at one time. It's the current very low gradient of the M.R. channel that's the problem. And you just can't change the laws of physics. You can try to compensate...but only for so long.

The Corps of engineers will continue to maintain the current channel. Until one day a flood that had never been planned for (much like the flood that wiped out Nawlins during Katrina) will defeat the Corps' "most likely senario". BTW: it was one of the Corps "100 year floods" (that happened 3X in the early 70's) that almost took out the locks. Just a question of when. For a interesting novel search Clive Cussler and the M. R.: a story about someone other than Mother Earth being the threat.

If the natural switch frequency is on the order of 25,000 years, then intervention that lets a single cycle last say 26,000 doesn't sound that that tough of engineered change to me. If we delay the switchover by say a thousand years, and we have only been delaying it for a couple hundred, that leave several hundred years to go. I think the relevant timescale for planning here is roughly the same as the timescale of infrastructure decay. If we can plan/time the switchover with enough leadtime, there need not be much usable infrastructure that gets stranded. Of course that still means a slow decline of the city....

EOS - The cycle isn't time dependent. The course changes are a result of the gradient getting too low as the river, via delta growth, extends further out. That's the simple law of nature that can't be changed. As I pointed out they have had a system in place for decades that has prevented the river from changing...it would have otherwise done so long ago. But this is the same system that was almost breached in the early 70's. And the system can certainly be maintained/improved. Just as there was a system to keep Nawlins from being flooded by a hurricane. That system was maintained/improved over time also. And that worked...until it didn't. A slow and costly recovery but it's being done. The Miss. River control system will work...until it doesn't...just like the case with Nawlins. Big difference though: if the river is breached and the course changes there is absolutely no way to fix it. It's a done deal for thousands of years. Of course, the Corps of Engineers, along with the rest of the feds, swear the system will prevail. Just as they swore about the system protecting Nawlins...before Katrina hit.

Given that a course change would destroy the economy of the country how confident are you feeling about the current govt "guarantee"? Remember: in the early 70's we came perhaps within 24 hours of this happening. And almost none of the public is aware. Except for a few anal S La. geologists, of course. And there's a reason you don't see many of us broadcasting this situation very widely. A small group with limited resources could easily help Mother Earth along with the process. Again, search "Clive Cussler" and "Miss. River" and you'll see what I mean. But that novel does fail terribly with the economic implications. But not the process. parter of the protective system is designed to counter that particular man-made nightmare.

I recall a number more like every 1000 years for a modest switch, and we're now 100 years overdue. The new path process of course varies in scope -- smaller changes further downstream happen more often than larger ones further upstream, on average.

In any case, the M.R. wants to be in the Atchafalaya now, and eventually it will be. The corp already lets something like 30% of the flow take that path, including IIRC the Red River, which has already been captured by the Atchafalaya.

Personally, I think civil engineering is capable of of managing any river flow IF enough time and money is spent. As with so many thing of importance, no time will be spent until damage is done, and most likely expense will be short too. Failure is therefore the natural expectation.

Paleo - roger that. I skipped the normal overbank floods that happen all the time upstream. Obviously they can't let that happen below Baton Rouge or it would cut the levee and divert down the AB as you say.

Yep...spend the money and do it right there shouldn't be a problem. Just like protecting Nawlins with the levee system. BTW: you every see the big convention center in Nawlins built right on top of the levee? Built with $600 million of fed levee money. The rational: since it was built on top of the levee it was OK to use the levee maintenance fund. Makes you wonder if they had spent that money on the levees how Katrina would have played out, eh? As some folks say about one of the scariest statement in their opinion: "We're from the govt and we're here to help you".

Again, not trying to be overly dramatic: When I say it would destroy the economy of the US I'm not exaggerating. Lots of folks have trouble connecting the dots on just how critical the river and that strip of La. is to the country's financial well being. I don't want to burn up more space on the subject though...we done beat this horse to death IMHO.

People pay big bucks to visit Islands. Anyway, talk about news that is clearly not a news flash. Hey. News flash. Global warming is going to suck for a whole bunch of people and animals.

Failure is not an option

A politician (usa) uttered that cliche today

When you think about it, it's true
Failure is not optional, it's guaranteed.

(More on that thought later, no time now. My time expander invention has failed me.)

So the politician (usa) was talking about the "debt ceiling" (=BAU here in the States) and how, because we are undoubtedly "the greatest nation on Earth", we cannot possibly default because even the notion of failure is unthinkable.

However, if you think about it, pretty much everything eventually fails.

Our bodies ultimately fail, which leads to our inevitable demise.
The Sun will eventually run out of fuel and "fail"
(And whatever is left here on Earth will also surely then fail)

And of course, oil wells ultimately "fail" (due to inevitable depletion of a finite resource).

The only question left therefore is whether we fail gracefully and with minimized pain
or we fail catastrophically and with maximized pain.

It appears that most USA politicians are voting in hopes of assuring catastrophic failure coupled with maximized pain (the so-called Hard-Landing option).

Where is Captain Scully when we need him?
(the guy who soft-landed his airplane on the East River in New York)

1. Failing without Grace= [ i.mage.+]
[i]= image, [+]= more info

2. Failing without Grace= [ i.mage.+]

3. Failing without Grace= [ i.mage.+]

4. Failing without Grace= [ i.mage.+]

Re: Peak Oil Passed: U.S. Food Riots Predicted

I think Moriarty makes two mistakes in this interview, both things that I would expect from a investment/finance person.

  • The US may be a net food importer when measured in dollars, but I believe that we are a very large net exporter when measured in calories. We import high-price calories such as strawberries in January, and export bulk grain calories.
  • The second is his assumption that the federal government will not act if potash companies in the US export their product to the detriment of US agriculture. Congress may have lost touch with the common person, but will likely wake up before we get to the point of food riots.

Hope you are right about Congress waking up, seems like a logical assumption, though the behavior of the feds has been somewhat... er, unpredictable of late.

Did anyone else notice what Moriarty's said about Fuku?

"As far as the disaster in Japan goes, it's like an iceberg with 90% of the problem below the surface where we don't see it."

Yeah, affirmative on that, but...

"I think it's a lot more serious than anybody wants to admit, and that we'll end up with tens of millions of people dying of radiation-caused problems."

That sounds like a highly suspect back-of-the-envelope number that I am reverse-engineering as follows: "Hmm, about 180 tons of at Chernobyl = 1 million deaths per NYAS, so about 1,800 tons of fuel at Fuku = 10 million deaths, except it's more b/c of the SFP & MOX so more than 10 million deaths." I suppose it's possible, it's just wild to actually hear an investment guy talking like this.

"Consequently, I think nuclear is dead for 50 years..."

I would prefer a world with dead or wildly scaled back nuclear, but I don't see how Moriarty reaches this conclusion. Deaths from nuclear have always been hidden behind epidemiological sleight-of-hand. Why wouldn't they be 15 years from now?

"...I think it's a disaster of a magnitude that's never before occurred in history."


For those who might be interested, the Northeast passage (around Northern Russia, see map) seems to be ice free http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/index.html ... just BAUU (Business As UnUsual). I'm sure a lot of ship are going to profit of this opportunity. The Northwest passage doesn't seem to open yet but there is still a good 6 weeks of melting season.


Also The Potential of the Northern Sea Route

Let’s look at the shortened voyage distances in terms of the number of days at sea. Passing through the Northern Sea Route at current voyage speeds would cut the time spent at sea in proportion to the shortened distance. If we calculate this reduction in shipping time, it comes to about 16 days maximum and about 3.5 days on average. For individual vessels (since there are sometimes multiple reduced voyages) the average reduction is about six days. Alternatively, supposing the present number of days at sea is maintained, nautical speed could be reduced by around 2 to 4 knots. Taking into account that the fuel consumption per unit time of a voyage is, characteristically for vessels, roughly proportional to the vessel speed cubed, we can estimate a reduction in fuel consumption of about 40 to 50%.

This guy is not quite right in his statement about fuel consumption...

Taking into account that the fuel consumption per unit time of a voyage is, characteristically for vessels, roughly proportional to the vessel speed cubed, we can estimate a reduction in fuel consumption of about 40 to 50%.

Yes, power, and so fuel per unit time, does go up as the cube of speed, so when you cut your speed, you see quite a drop in fuel per unit time. but it also takes more time to do that same trip - the total fuel used, per mile, goes up as the square of speed, not the cube.

if the sailing speed is 16knots, dropping to 14kn will reduce fuel for the trip by about 24%, not the 40% that he suggests.

That quibble aside, there are not only reductions in sailing time and fuel to be had by going "over the top", the ships can also avoid all the pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the Straits of Malacca. Ships going through these trouble areas are having to pay increased premiums on maritime insurance.

So there are some real financial benefits to be had from the northern routes. At some point fairly soon it will be worth the cargo ships getting into a convoy and paying for an icebreaker to open the path for them.

That quibble aside, there are not only reductions in sailing time and fuel to be had by going "over the top", the ships can also avoid all the pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the Straits of Malacca.

Instead, they'll have to deal with the long-deprived Canadian and Russian pirates. Aaarrrrhhh, eh?

The long-deprived Canadian Pirates? Aaarrrrhhh, they be nasty ones, matey!

The Last Saskatchewan Pirate by Captain Tractor.

And it's a heave (ho!) hi (ho!), coming down the plains
Stealing wheat and barley and all the other grains
And it's a ho (hey!) hi (hey!), farmers bar yer doors
When you see the Jolly Roger on Regina's mighty shores

Yeah, right! Pirates infest Lake Wascana (a mud pond six feet deep in the middle of Regina for the non-prairie types). sarc off

It might make sense for weapons-equipped UAVs to orbit the ships in piracy areas?

I can also easily imagine high value cargo carries have their own non-weaponized UAVs to patrol the ships area, as an early warning device, and call in support if the UAV detects pirates too close to the ships path.

It seems if the Air Force is having such good results, then it would not be a stretch for Navy run UAVs for this scenario? http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/06/22/1839236/Air-Force-Drones-Hit-1-M...

Large kite carrying a stabilised camera platform? Would give a good boost to the horizon.


The 2011 sea ice extent seems to have merged with the record of 2007, as anticipated. The clear skies and windy conditions abated during the end of July. However, it's quit possible for 2011 to have the record ice extent low by this fall.

Jeff McMasters, http://classic.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html, today notes a study warning of increased severity and frequency in the Yellowstone burns. Having watched the '88 burn, it's an arresting prospect. But even that I fear would change little in people's attitude to climate change. It won't be until the megafires hit the Southeast. Those will be game changers.

Another Lulzsec/Anonymous arrest. Looks like one of the core group this time.

Man arrested in e-crime investigation

Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) today (27 July) arrested a 19-year-old man in a pre-planned intelligence-led operation.

The man arrested is believed to be linked to an ongoing international investigation in to the criminal activity of the so-called "hacktivist" groups Anonymous and LulzSec, and uses the online nickname “Topiary” which is presented as the spokesperson for the groups.

He was arrested at a residential address in the Shetland Islands and is currently being transported to a police station in central London. A search is ongoing at the address.

A residential address in Lincolnshire is also being searched. A 17-year-old male is being interviewed under caution in connection with the inquiry. He has not been arrested.

Perhaps not as "anonymous" as they thought, eh? Apparently hubris extends to both sides of the security game. Kids might find themselves as pawns in grown-up games.

There are reports that he may have been set up as a fall guy.


Just smoke I suspect. The wrong guy theory is based on an earlier attempt at identification by self-described "grey-hat" "the Jester". The Jester now believes that the real Topiary was arrested. Some people who follow the supposed leader of Lulzsec "AnonymouSabu" suspect he may have been arrested as well as it now appears to be a different person posting on that account. A number of other Lulzsec related twitter accounts have not been updated in several days.

The lulzsec twitter account itself went silent 24 hours ago and has not commented on the arrest. There is a rumour circulating on twitter that PayPal may have helped identify some of the key people. Lulzsec/anonymous started a campaign for everyone to close their Paypal account yesterday.

Edit: "Topiary's" voice has appeared in some interviews and people are claiming it is English with a Swedish accent therefore the real Topiary must be Swedish as previously claimed. I've just listened to them on Youtube and it sounds to me quite possibly an educated north Scotland accent - very possibly late teens/early 20s from Shetland where the arrest took place. That said - thanks to the Vikings there is a certain similarity.

Edit more: Scottish Television (STV) say suspect arrested at Scalloway near Lerwick. Either because STV are idiots or someone needs sacked they broadcast part of LulzSec's twitter feed and transmitted clearly a posting of theirs linking to the infamous "Goatse" image (complete with URL) If you don't know what this is don't Google it in polite company or at work. http://news.stv.tv/scotland/north/264139-teenager-arrested-over-hacking-... (about 47 secs in - safe to click as the image is not displayed, just the URL with advice to visit it).

Ethanol price soars as blenders buy in anticipation of credit expiration:


Why Africa's Drought Is So Catastrophic

... "79 percent of all food aid last year from wealthy countries was delivered in the form of domestically produced surplus crops, shipped via rich-country transport mechanisms...Upwards of 40 percent of all food aid spending last year was eaten up by shipping and distribution costs... Hundreds of foreign aid organizations--in the UN system, bilateral government programs, and NGOs--have tried for decades to improve agricultural production inside poor countries... Shipping food, grown by subsidized farmers toiling inside rich countries, distorts local markets not only inside famine-affected countries, but across entire regions...The longer-term impact of donated food, then, is to destroy all positive market incentives for local farmers."

... U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, Nancy Lindborg ... described how the "multiple legislative mandates" tied to U.S. food aid "create a number of operational difficulties and hinder the effectiveness." For instance, 75 percent of aid commodities must be "processed, fortified or bagged," forcing USAID to "make less than optimal product selections."

Good for business = Bad for starving people

From the linked story;

Much of the productive farmland has been leased to China, Saudi Arabia, and India, so desperately needed food has been exported to foreign markets.

Well, there would seem to be a large part of the problem. As usual, the press loves to point the finger at the US, for not "giving enough" and then when it does, of "destroying local markets"

In this case, I'd like to see the spotlight shine on those countries that have, literally, "taken away" - how much aid effort are KSA, India and China making here?

Sounds like the Irish famine on Steroids.. or Genocoids?

One of the questions facing food surplus nations like the U.S. is whether to continue to try to feed the world, letting its own population descend into poverty, or whether to use its surplus for its own people. Corn ethanol is an example of a decision made in favor of the latter, even if it's misguided in that regard.

Same problem facing oil surplus nations.

Ultimately, nation states are nation states. No single nation state, or its people, can reasonably be expected to support the whole world.

Trust me, this is going to be a big issue going forward.

I trust you.Some ten years, give or take, before we are out of food inventories. Then the next famin somewhere (and they will be plentiful due to CC) we will have nothing to send other than symbolic ammounts. Watch it happen, prepare to cry.

"Shipping food, grown by subsidized farmers toiling inside rich countries, distorts local markets not only inside famine-affected countries, but across entire regions"

So in other words, the rich countries should convert their excess food into fuel (oil, ethanol, syngas, it doesn't matter) and leave the poor countries markets alone.

The opposite of the usual opinion that food should not be turned into fuel because the price will rise above what the poor will pay. That argument has always had a problem in assuming the poor can afford to pay the cost of production in the first place. But now if you tax the rich countries in order to be able to buy the food even at break even cost, then ship it to the poor country and give it away, you still have failed to help the situation.

Rock, meet Hard Place.

There's also been the Monsanto angle, where South Africa and others were refusing to accept Terminator seeds like roundup ready corn, etc.. fearing what this might do to their other strains of grain, and that it might be 'Aid' that succeeds in getting them hooked on a perpetual cost, exactly as Terminator seeds are designed to do.

January 2011 - Haiti

Monsanto "gifted" haiti with tons of GM corn to plant, but the Haitian people, even in the dire conditions they struggle with now, burned the corn and said they would not corrupt their farms with these poisonous seeds.


July 2011 - Hungary

Some 400 hectares of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said.

The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added. Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary.



Monsanto officials beaten up by Cotton farmers as Bt.cotton seed failed
When news of a Monsanto senior official's arrival from Mumbai reached the nearby village of Munjala, cotton farmers of the village Karanji, about 140 K.m. from Nagpur located the Monsanto official and took him to their field where a complete failure of ‘Paras Sudarshan’ Bt cotton seed was shown to him. When the Monsanto representative failed to admit the lapse, he was severely beaten up by the farmers. It was reported that even a local agriculture officer did not come to his rescue.

...The Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti farmers advocacy group has approached the local state Govt. of Maharashtra to arrange a high level probe of all complaints received from farmers of west Vidarbha where more than 10,000 cotton farmers have committed suicide since June 2005 after the introduction of the killer Bt cotton seeds in this region.

...I suspect there are a great number of people who cracked a smile when they read this account of a Monsanto official being beaten up in an Indian farm field. Violence is never a good answer, but particularly in light of the horrific, staggering suicide rate, it is understandable why some might embrace it as a last resort.


Thanks for posting the Hungarian story.

Isn't that profound, though. People are starving in this world, but the Monsanto product Frankensteined together from pieces of other living things is becoming so recognized as evil that it is plowed-under when found.

And, no, the wonder cotton did not help India. It still required pesticide for the farmers to drink... the standard way of committing suicide when they have become hugely in debt trying to grow the stuff.

Nuclear and genetic engineering can make for us a paradise. The only problem is, them monkeys is crazy.

The underlying reason for opposition to GMO in Europe is that European farmers already produce a surplus of food and they do so at an uncompetitively high cost. They stay in business by being subsidized according to national and EU common agricultural policy.

Introducing GMO would create even more surpluses and require more subsidies in order to preserve farm income. The surpluses cannot be sold on the world markets due to the high cost unless the governments subsidize the exports.

So the primary opponents of GMO are the farmers, who oppose GMO for good economic reasons. Of course, it helps if the greens can be persuaded by all sorts of specious science to whip the population into an emotional frenzy about GMO as well.

GM corn is great stuff.
It enjoys being planted much more densely.
The weeds die when sprayed, but not the crop.
It is meant as feedstock for corn-syrup and beef.

"King Corn" is worth watching. It shows two kids growing an acre of corn. There is very little for them to do. They get fantastic yields. I found it at a video rental store in L.A.
Here is an online source you can try:

There are emergent properties to these things.
Others, like the terminator gene, are purpose-built.

Nuclear and genetic engineering can make for us a paradise.

I disagree.

Fukushima and Chernobyl are my counter examples for nuclear paradise.

Seeds that prevent farmers from being self-sustaining for subsequent harvests, just force external artificial dependencies, and more risk. It is my opinion the raised risk does not result in paradise. I support their refusal to use GMO seeds.

Monsanto's "Superweeds" Gallop Through Midwest

Today, Roundup Ready crops blanket US farmland. According to USDA figures, 94 percent of soybeans and more than 70 percent of corn and cotton planted in the US contain the Roundup-resistant gene. Back-of-the envelope calculations tell me that nearly 200,000 square miles of prime farmland—a land mass about two-thirds the size of Texas—now grow crops rigged to flourish amid an annual monsoon of Roundup.

Well, in what is surely the least surprising, most-anticipated major development in the history of US agriculture, farmers are discovering that when you spend years dousing land a single herbicide, ecosystems adapt. Roundup Ready crops, meet Roundup-defying weeds.


Them monkeys is crazy.

There was no innate reason for Chernobyl to explode.
Some monkeys goofed-up.


The bad thing about that is the courts have ruled that their patent 'follows' the gene, if those weeds are on your property your using a unlicensed version of their patent and your now liable for damages.

I recommend NOT using motherjones.com as a source of valid information on GMOs. The first herbicide resistant weeds evolved in the 60s, before the invention of glyphosate (Roundup). There are at least 3 other herbicide resistant products on the market right now, and a couple more on the way. Chief among them is Germany's Bayer Crop Science's Liberty Link brand, for which not as many weeds have developed resistance to yet. They offer GM corn, canola, and soy alternatives to Monsanto's.

The answer to problems with bio tech is more science, not a rejection of it and stepping backwards. Biotech scientists and manufacturers know that failure of their products will be suicide for them, so they're trying to develop integrated and mixed approaches to the use of GMOs and their associated herbicides so pests can't evolve resistance. The stewardship part of the agreements farmers have to sign will explain what the methods will be.

The alternatives to biotech will not be environmentally friendly or easy on the backs of farmers and farm workers.

The answer to problems with bio tech is more science, not a rejection of it and stepping backwards. Biotech scientists and manufacturers know that failure of their products will be suicide for them, so they're trying to develop integrated and mixed approaches to the use of GMOs and their associated herbicides so pests can't evolve resistance.

Garrett Hardin famously said Every pesticide... selects for its own failure.
Conservatives should know in their bones that Unintended Consequences applies to more than just government actions.
What is "seen" and "not seen" in the effects of herbicides?

"Garrett Hardin famously said Every pesticide... selects for its own failure."

Pesticides are allowed and regularly used in organic farming.


What the heck does conservativism have to do with any of this?

The Terminator gene is not used in roundup ready seeds. You are confusing this with the patent position of Monsanto and others which they use to contractually obligate purchasers of their seed to not save and replant seeds.

On the other hand, for crops like corn, most farmers haven't been planting seeds saved from their own production for the last 50 years, since the seeds of hybrid corn varieties do not breed true. Most commercially produced corn seed has been F1 hybrid for a long time.

Conservative, white men more likely to be climate change sceptics, study shows

"Even casual observers" of those who argue that climate change isn't a serious problem "likely notice an obvious pattern," Aaron M. McCright of Michigan State University in East Lansing and Riley E. Dunlap of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater write in Global Environmental Change: "The most prominent denialists are conservative white males" – from media pundit Rush Limbaugh to politicians like Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe. But the pair wondered: "Does a similar pattern exist in the American public?"

My observation has been that in my generation (early 30's), most climate skeptics are white males, often college educated and intelligent, especially with a background in electrical or computer engineering. It seems to me like they see very clearly the sacrifices that would be required to go low-carbon or no-carbon, but have an abiding faith in human technology and problem solving, and very little connection to or respect for ecological systems and the natural world.

I don't intend to offend anyone, these are just my thoughts.

jim - Don't be shy...the facts are the facts. Working in the oil patch for the last 36 years I've been knee deep in those types of personalities/attitudes. Their typical basis in belief was simple: didn't matter if global warming was a real threat or not...they wanted nothing to do with anything that might stand in the way of their BAU. I got my degree in Earth Sciences in 1973. I understood all I needed to know about the potential for global climate change before anyone even started using "GHG" or "AGW". But I also knew there was no point in debating the issue with my cohorts. As I often like to point out: don't try to teach pigs how to rollerskate: it just frustrates you and p*sses them off.

Depends on what you mean by skeptic.

The religious types don't want to understand science. These are the genuine deniers. The corporate types may understand a little, but all that matters is the bottom line.

I'm a doomer myself. I happen to think that the catabolic collapse of industrial civilization will likely short circuit AGW before it makes the planet uninhabitable for mammalian life. I could care less about the human species as a whole, or some humans living here or there who will be affected. There are 7 billion of us, and I'm not responsible for everybody. Thereby, I don't think anything specific should be done, and I would never join any type of movement to cut carbon or give it more than a moment of my thought or consideration. If others don't want to burn the oil, I'd be happy to do it. And if one nation doesn't burn the fuels, surely another, like China, will.

I can't justify this with evidence. So there's alot of grey area, in my opinion.

OC: Don't forget the people who know GHGs kills the planet, but don't give crap about it because their wealth is not big enough. 5 billion dollars yes, but if I can make it 10 the planet is gonna fry. Those are the big bad guys in the block, and very scary as such.

As a side note; while I share your domerism I do not believe the collapse will happen soon enough to stop spiraling climate change. I am convinced we have tied us in for the worst of both worlds. That is sadening.

Well educated, intelligent, people with a background in data analysis are skeptical. Well, maybe they are right.

Well, maybe they are right.

But, its not about data analysis. Its about the physics of energy balance. More energy in then out yields heating.

Texas Jim:
I've had a whole career in technical computing being surrounded by such types. I think its less about the sacrifices then it is about having choosen a side in the cultural cum political war. They come to trust what their tribe says, and completely distrust what they think is associated with the other.

Related to "Plant Now to Survive in the Future", "Peak Oil and Edible Landscaping", and "16 Questions for the Visionaries....What's the best way for renters...?" up top:

You guys are just gonna love this. I just got a 14 day fix-it-or-get-evicted notice for having vegetables in my yard. What's the best way for renters? There is no way for renters.

This comes on top of not knowing if my means of paying the rent will arrive on the 3rd or not thanks to the games in Washington.

Reading upthread "gold, or gold mine stocks? oh dear whatever should we do!" makes me sick. I dare any of you to switch places with me for a month or two.

I now have to rip out my vegetable garden to appease a landlord who I may not be able to pay anyway.

It's been a long time since I cried, but today I'm crying.

I miss Charles, and Fremont, and all the others who used to post here until Campfire went away.

VT what state are you in? States differ profoundly with regard to renter's rights - eg Nevada which is heartless (but good to you if you are a landlord).

Unfortunately it gets worse. Landlord-tenant law (aka renter's rights) does not apply at all in two situations: roommates and mobile home parks. I am in a mobile home park. They can do whatever they want. If I had been aware of the weirdness of mobile home law, I never would have bought the thing to start with.

You didn't say what State you were in, but in some mobile home park tenants do have rights.

Nothing is more annoying than a trailer park trying to be "upscale". I used to have to water the lawn in the desert of Northern Nevada. No xeriscaping for them. However, they did not complain about my tomatoes either.

"Upscale", yes. This park is part of a large network of parks all owned by the same corporation; the CEO/owner is down in California somewhere.

Part of the weirdness is that an eviction in one of these places is not just an eviction of people; it's an eviction of the house too. Except that it costs roughly 20 grand to move a doublewide mobile home. If you have a place to move it to, that is.

So then they can place both a landlord lien and a contractor lien on it- one for the lot rent, the other for maintaining it after the people are gone- and in the end, they end up with the title.

Then, since nobody lends on used mobile homes any more, they offer the financing to the prospective new tenant as well, at ten percent interest. Thus collecting both the lot rent and the home payment for themselves, on a home they didn't pay a dime for. Quite the little racket.


I'm really sorry to hear about your situation.. you had said the other day mounting PV was 'illegal' for you as well, so that's I guess part of the same predicament. This is 'landlord law' more than State or City rules I guess.

Wish I had anything to offer for ideas. Don't suppose you could put the Veggies in Raised beds on your roof instead of the yard, and instead of Solar Panels, no? My only other thought was a bare-all letter to the landlord stating your need for this supplemental food, and your willingness to work on the cosmetics of it if that's the problem.

Not nearly as vulnerable as you, but I just had to appease the neighbor on whose land I have my rented parking space.. and I'd had an unsightly pile of palettes growing there, as I set up my firewood system. (Lots of free, spare palettes around here) He didn't tell me it was a problem until he was already pretty cranky about the situation, so I had to skidaddle to make it right, and hope it won't be too tough to mend fences with the guy now.

But I'm not at the 'should I buy gold' level. I'm at the 'how much time should I expend scavenging insulation and plumbing parts for homebuilt solar heaters?' level.

Hang in there..

Actually, the illegal PV is a county ordinance. What determines legal or not legal is the grid-tied part. You're not allowed to cut the cord to the power company, heaven forbid. Blasphemy.

Improvised homebuilt solar water heater, right on dude! Righteous! Gnarly! Sweet! Or whatever it is the kids say these days!

Well, if they let you have PV, so long as you maintain a grid connection, I'd say go for it. You can or cannot as your taste dictates add power-storage, if you want to retain power during a long blackout. But with the PV, you can cut your bill substantially, even if they can probably get you for a connect charge. It may not be your ideal. But it would be a giant step in the right direction.

I am sorry to hear it - it must be very frustrating.

I believe the debt ceiling will be raised, one way or another. I hope I'm right. The alternative is too crazy to think about.

On the vegetable garden - any chance you could find a few free containers to transfer some items, or is that frowned upon too?

I know how it goes though - I was in a condo building where the other units would not have stood vegetables either. Strictly small, evergreen conifers, with the occasional daylily.

I never thought I would say this, with all the work I've put into my house and garden, and my determination to stay, but I've been considering returning to South Africa. This place is getting way too wierd politically.

Maybe my family and I could flee to Canada and apply for refugee status...

I wish you the best of luck. It is not fun being a tenant when the landlord is unreasonable.

If the don't allow containers could you maybe try transplanting some of the garden to an alternate site? If you have to junk them anyways it might be worth seeing if they survive on some empty space on a roadside...

What the heck is wrong with having a veg. garden?! It's healthy, colorful and shows personal initiative. Guess the modern conventional wisdom is you're suppose to burn those subversive books, fill your yard in with white river rocks, take prescription meds (developing a superficial wry smile), watch fox news on a big screen tv and vote republican.

It's not just renters.

When the government regulates your garden

Bass wanted a more active use for her real estate. After her front lawn was excavated to repair the sewer this spring, she replaced the grass with five raised beds for vegetables. If she was going to water the yard, she figured, she might as well raise food for her husband and six children. Within a few days, the garden police came calling.

She said she was told to remove the offending garden and replace it with the municipal code’s demand of “grass, ground cover, shrubbery or other suitable live plant material.”

Sorry to hear about your situation, VT. Maybe you could find someone who has space for a garden, but doesn't have the time or inclination to plant one? You could offer a share of the produce in exchange for use of the land.

Or maybe there's a CSA nearby? There's one near me, that sells allotments to those who don't have space for gardens. They also donate a certain percentage of them for free to people who can't afford to pay.

When renting, it's best to bring up anything you would like to do with the property before you sign the lease. Landlords don't much like surprises, and an awful lot of tenants take the "easier to ask for forgiveness than permission" tack. This is often a slippery slope, with "give an inch, take a yard" personalities.

I'd say it's better to pick a place that already has what you're looking for. While you may want a garden, most renters today don't, and it'll take hard work for the landlord to undo your hard work to suit the next tenant. Many tenant "improvements" don't match the style or quality of the property, either. One my laments in life is that I live in a neighborhood that is "too nice" for my target lifestyle -- I have the same complaints with my HOA as my renters do with me, probably!

There are properties where the landlord is perfectly willing to let you change things and add stuff, and where there is already a long history of odd-ball changes. Usually, such places are cheaper too.

Longevity makes a difference too -- family renters who have already stayed with me for a few years I am likely to let do what they want, versus a college student who moved in last month.

I live in a neighborhood that is "too nice" for my target lifestyle -- I have the same complaints with my HOA as my renters do with me, probably!

It sounds like you at least have a face-to-face relationship with your renters. Here, there's a park manager, then a regional manager, then the big guy absentee dude who nobody here has ever seen or spoken to. We're on the third new park manager since we moved here just over four years ago.

The park manager was fine with everyone's gardens; even asked me for advice, being a recent California transplant and the gardening climate here is very different. Apparently this came down from Regional. At least three others got the same notice I did.

At the time I chose this place, I was only just starting on the path to Peak Oil awareness, and gardening was not on my list of criteria. Hadn't done any for years, in fact, so when it burst upon me what might be coming down the pike, I figured I'd better get to know my local microclimate, discover what species and varieties do best here- a process that can take years to figure out, and we may not have that many years to fudge around planting the wrong things.

If I had the means to move to a place that was a better fit with my new, peak oil aware self, I would. Unfortunately, barring Bill Gates descending from the heavens in a flaming chariot full of free gold, I don't think that's going to happen. It's frustrating to have one's outlook change so much and then not be able to act on this new knowledge.

It has everything to do with a community's bylaws and worldview.

A friend just sent me this link which makes me a tiny bit more hopeful for the future :-


"In a pointed reversal of his predecessor's policies, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Tuesday that he is supporting an ordinance that would allow for a vast expansion of urban farms around the city.

Advocates say such projects have the potential to transform decaying vacant lots into vibrant farms producing healthy, locally-sourced foods that can be sold in neighborhoods where produce is otherwise hard to come by, and providing jobs in economically depressed areas. "

I wrote to the Emanuel campaign in support of urban farming. While I'm not big-headed enough to think he is running with my idea, I do like to think it added to the voices of the proponents to make this happen.

He has also hired a Chief Sustainability Officer for the city, and they have a program running called "Sustainable Back Yards", which is all about installing rain barrels, tree planting and the like.


Vegetable planting is the next natural progression.

By circumstance, VT is on the front lines of profound change. Soon, folks will simply have to stand up to these stupid rules. I don't know how this will be done when living in a crowded environment?

I have known folks who lived in rv parks on the water, set for life, only to discover that their deal has just been sold for waterfront condo development. Ouch, and time to move. Urban rv parks can change with the investment winds, and the folks who live there have to pick up and do an expensive move. It really sucks.

If I was on a fixed income such as SS or Canada pension Plan I would live in a poor rural area. The cheque amount is the same, but the dollars buy more and there is that good old freedom thing. There is the occasional run down place and sometimes a car is on blocks, but the people wave to each other when they pass and vegetable gardens are admired.

Also, if the dollars were short a grow-op could be done on a small scale, discrete, of course. Maybe the solution is to stop paying rental fees and walk away after a few years of landlord posturing. It would depend on the equity one was willing to give up.

VT, if you lived around here I would till up the garden for you. Best of luck. I wish I had a solution (guy thing), and I don't know what to say beyond I am sorry to hear of this/your situation and wish you the best.


I don't think choosing a poor rural area is necessarily a solution. A few years ago, there was a news story about a family who moved to a rural area, in preparation for peak oil. Unfortunately, their neighbors turned out to be meth dealers. Their home and garden was repeatedly robbed and vandalized. The local cops wouldn't do anything about it. They gave up, and moved to downtown Portland, OR instead, where they were much happier.

IMO, Nate is right: social capital is what counts. Not everyone will be happy or fit in to a rural area or small town. You may have to make concessions to the neighbors even in the friendliest neighborhoods - making your vegetable garden look decorative, for example. And Paleo is right - renters should get permission first, and stay on good terms with the landlord. They're much more likely to take your side if they know you and trust you.

I've lived in the boondocks for the better part of 40 years. Meth/drugs are a problem any place so they wouldn't concern me were I considering a move to the boondocks.

What would concern me are the realities of rural life.
1. Rural living is a different reality. It is not suburbia with big "lots".
2. Although you may be able to buy more real estate for fewer dollars, other expenses can be far higher. We spend several thousand dollars a year maintaining our mile-long private road.
3. You either do it yourself (whatever "it" is) or forget about it since you will go broke hiring people.
4. It requires a vast range of skill sets and tools. If you couldn't overhaul your vehicle if it broke down when looking at the property and then build all the structures you see and... People need to look at their lives and ask themselves whether they could supply all of their needs.
5. Nothing is close. The closest chain grocery to me is an hour drive. For more than these two stores I have to drive 1 1/2 hours. COSTCO is 2 1/2 hours away.

There's more but there is one last point: Some people are not psychologically suited to the boondocks. I've seen them come and go since we've been here. The reasons are many but they finally give up and move back to a more populated area. For example, we are always snowed in at least one week a winter. The longest was three weeks and we only got out then because we had a CAT come in to plow the road.

My advice to people who are considering a move to the boondocks is to find a mentor who already lives there.


What would concern me are the realities of rural life.

Todd is right. I lived for many years in the mountains about 200 miles north of him. Although it would delight me to return to a similar situation, I'm not fooling myself. I can't wield a chainsaw anymore, nor a maul. Just the thought of the kind of road work he's talking about makes me hurt. And it has to be done, every year.

The odd snow-in doesn't bother me, but an oddity of where I lived was that the wind never stopped. It's amazing how intolerable wind can get. It's things like that can trip some people up.

I've seen many folk taken by surprise by the closed nature of many rural communities. If yo' great-grandpappy wasn't born there, you one of them foreigners, and you always will be. You may have bought the place of a hard-luck family that got foreclosed, or a beloved elder who passed on, and catch some resentment over it. Stuff like that can be pretty rough if you don't know it's a possibility.


Let me add my regrets regarding your situation as others have done so above and below me. Not getting trapped by "the system" is one of the reasons I first considered the boondocks. It's the pits!


That has been my experience as well. That's why I would not move to a rural area or small town (other than my own) as a peak oil strategy. At this point, I'd never fit in. I'd always be the "townie."

This is a consideration for those thinking about moving overseas as well. I know people who have moved to Mexico, Costa Rica, etc. to prepare for peak oil. The people who moved to Costa Rica seem to be doing well. Mexico...not so much.

I love Canada, and they seem well-positioned to weather peak oil and climate change. But I'd still be an outsider there, I fear.

I don't know if anybody is an outsider in Canada any more. It has developed into an extremely heterogeneous society. The only way you wouldn't fit in is if you thought there was some sort of standard definition of what it is to be a "Canadian".

Rocky - Reminds me of many years ago in Toronto going to a store in a Pakistani (Indian?)neighborhood to find file powder to make some gumbo. And all the street sign were in Chinese. Not only diverse but mobile.

Well, since then Toronto has diversified even more. About half the population was born in other countries.

There are shopping centers in the Vancouver area which have almost no non-Asian stores at all. Many of them are in the affluent suburb of Richmond, or "Lichmond" as the residents call it.

Aberdeen Centre

Aberdeen Centre is a shopping mall in Richmond, British Columbia. It is located in the Golden Village district on Hazelbridge Way, bordered by Cambie Road to the north. It primarily serves the Asian Canadian population in the Metro Vancouver area, but is striving towards an appeal to Western customers as well. It was named after the famous Aberdeen Harbour of Hong Kong.

They are diversifying, though - many of the staff now speak Mandarin as well as Cantonese - and they have added a major Japanese department store and a Lamborghini dealership.

There is a free economy web site that links growing space. I thought I had the link but unfortunately not. Perhaps someone here has a link.


In California, Front yards are so damn ugly with overgrown hedges, you could hide an army of dead people behind that hedge and no one would know from street level.

I think this stuff is terrible. I veggied out my backyard now with fruit trees and veggies. I want to add a couple of fruit trees to the front.

Here is the catch where I live. The deer walk down the middle of the street and dine on fruit tree shoots. LOL. Probably worse that city ordinances are wild deer protected by city ordinances.

When I was a kid I lived in a deer infested suburb. The "solution" was to plant things like marigolds and dill that deers don't eat. The neighborhood joke was that baby deer don't know what deer aren't supposed to eat and take a bite of everything anyways.

A friend of mine´s father swore by a bow and arrow at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning.

Or maybe there's a CSA nearby?

There's a CSA up by the library, right across the street from it. I never paid it much mind, but I'm up there to get books all the time. Poor librarians, then they won't know whether to hide or not when they see me coming. "It's him, run! He asks questions we don't know the answers to, and always wants obscure old books we have to borrow from halfway across the country!"

I am furious for you.

Luckily, I'm growing veggies in my elderly mother's walled back yard. They're spaced between landscaping shrubs and flowers, and also have a collection in a group of pots on a small patio - all fairly attractive, as I'm sure your garden is as well. I wonder if I'd put any in the front yard if neighbors would have complained - perhaps not in this predominately Hispanic / Asian neighborhood.

No sense to be made of any of it!

My latest whammy is that I have two kids entering college, one here in Cali and one in the UK. Guess what? The federal Direct Loan program disburses the tuition funds directly to the institution immediately, but for freshman, holds back the "extra" funds - needed for living expenses - for four to six weeks. Meaning, how the heck does my son live near his school, which doesn't have dorm accomodations, particularly since he hasn't been able to find employment? My daughter at least will have dorm accomodatioin and currently has a minimum-wage retail job and can wing it by saving every penny and denying herself anything extra for her first month away from home. As a single parent, I'm stretched to the limit with other household obligations (including a rather large studen loan payment) plus my kids' school entrance fees, airfare for my daughter, etc. etc.

I also have several elderly relatives terrified by the SS situation, perhaps unnecessarily, but they shouldn't have to be worrying about the circus performing in Washington after a lifetime of helping build this nation.

Reading about your veggie situation on top of this student loan fiasco is the final straw for me. Indignados, anyone?


for freshman, holds back the "extra" funds - needed for living expenses - for four to six weeks. Meaning, how the heck does my son live near his school, which doesn't have dorm accomodations, particularly since he hasn't been able to find employment?

My son went through the exact same idiocy when he started the year before yours. He lucked out- his best friend, going to same school, found a job, and a fairly cheap house, and kept him afloat until the aid came in. He would have had to drop out if not for that.

Those student loan payments are killers, I know firsthand. Although I had some extra options due to becoming disabled, I will still be dealing with them, and the fallout from them, for the rest of my life. Student loans are going to be the next S&L crisis, the next mortgage crisis. Huge numbers of people are using school as a way of avoiding the unemployment problem- but this "unemployment benefit" has to be paid back, with interest. And there are no jobs waiting for the great majority of these students.

Peak University Degrees?

We're hoping to figure out something like this for my son as well. , .

I'm one of those financial refugees who took out a loan for my MA after becoming underemployed in 2009 - I'd wanted to do an MA for years, but also had wanted to clear up extra debt first. Couldn't - had to do something to keep a roof over our heads. And my loan was huge because I took my kids overseas with me for a one-year MA in the UK. Great cultural and life-changing experience for the us - but will be paying the loan off literally the rest of my life. Came back home to - well, you see what I came back home to! But have had a bit more econonomic opportunity with the MA, at least. Things are slightly better for me than before, with the possibility that I may just tread water for longer than I thought possible.

I've pointed out to my kids that going the loan route for a uni education is probably not the best way to go, but their hearts are set on some interesting programs at pricey schools . . . I'm praying they get through or through enough semesters to give them a boost.

Wishing all kids the courage to make their way!

Probably a good decision though, they are saying that the MA/MSc is now the new BA/BSc. The UK seriously degraded degrees since I did mine.


Absolutely, though I should have before it became a crisis issue. I found that by 2002 or so, most of the jobs in my area that should have been available to people with BAs were being filled by people with MAs. Now I'm looking at positions that used to be easily available to MAs that are preferring PhDs. . . or are still available, but at lower salaries . . . and the beat goes on.


but this "unemployment benefit" has to be paid back, with interest.

Its worse than that, the greedheads managed to push through pretty draconian laws. They've made "your" government be the enforcer for repayment. About the only way out is to skip the country. Many of the for profit U's are just in it for the money. bring in warm bodies, fill out the paper work from them, and make big prfits spending your student loan money. Then when your done, and your degree doesn't deliver a decent job, you've just joined the class of serfs. I fear creating a large subpopulation of debt-serfs, has been the plan all along.

It is a circus. It is a game.

The student loan scheme itself is a game. The idea is to move money, not educate. A doctor graduates half a million dollars in the hole... and is, in this way, owned.

Now, the money goes around us and offshore. Our purpose is to consume. Anyone not consuming has no value. Any effort to stop consuming is counterproductive. There is no pity.

After the two financial office buildings were destroyed in New York, the message from the leadership was "Please, continue to consume".

I think this is the only lever available to the common inhabitants of the United States. The elections are rigged: I'll never forget being told that exit poles "had no meaning" by the corporate news.

I am very amazed at the quiet acceptance of sudden poverty and the promise of more. It is like an addict oblivious to all else. "Just let me get home to my screen" (And so the little jingle above). Nobody voted for sending our jobs away, the war, the repeal of financial gambling laws, or ginned-up credit default swaps. Yet they only quietly moo as their children's future is obliterated.

Not having a job, or even a garden, is a poor place to be. The oil hasn't run out yet: this is not caused by resource decline. This is systematic looting.

Are there stealth plants to grow that make food, like blueberries or something like that? Is a potato tower offensive, where you keep stacking wood and making the potato plants grow vertically?

Very sad day. Sometimes I wonder who made these laws. They are insanely idiotic.

I don't know who they are but I bet they have nice big cars.


I have a large sweet potato plant that's lovely and blends right into the landscaping as if it belongs. Stealth plants rock!


Are there stealth plants to grow that make food, like blueberries or something like that? Is a potato tower offensive

I can get away with a strawberry bed, apparently. Low and neat and they make pretty little flowers. Herbs are okay, as long as they don't get too large. I might be able to keep a row of tomatoes along the south wall- as long as they don't get all big and rangy with stakes all over, because that's too ugly.

I shall rip out what I've been ordered to rip out, but now instead of sad, I'm getting angry, the more so since I found out everyone with vegetables got the same treatment.

Cherry tomatoes, the fruit is smaller and a bit more decorative. I think the plants may be a bit more compact too. Maybe yellow tomatoes 'Oh, but they can't be tomatoes, tomatoes are red :)'. Pick frequent, keep more flowers on them.

PS Another thought, root veg. Stealth below the ground. Them's not carrots, them's -er- ornamental ferns - yeah.

Are there stealth plants to grow that make food, like blueberries or something like that?

Oh, heck, yes there are. You need to Google "potager gardens" or "ornamental edible gardens" and see the possibilities.

Potager Garden

A potager is a French term for an ornamental vegetable or kitchen garden. The historical design precedent is from the Gardens of the French Renaissance and Baroque Garden à la française eras. Often flowers (edible and non-edible) and herbs are planted with the vegetables to enhance the garden's beauty. The goal is to make the function of providing food aesthetically pleasing.

Plants are chosen as much for their functionality as for their color and form. Many are trained to grow upward. A well-designed potager can provide food, cut flowers and herbs for the home with very little maintenance. Potagers can disguise their function of providing for a home in a wide array of forms—from the carefree style of the cottage garden to the formality of a knot garden.

Don't overdo it though, or Homeland Security may arrest you for indulging in UnAmerican Activities and not having enough crabgrass in your lawn.

Tropical Storm Don. Currently not predicted to reach hurricane status as of time of posting but needs watching very closely.

Statement as of 4:00 PM CDT on July 27, 2011

Don is over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico...and the global models for the most part forecast light to moderate vertical wind shear over the system for the next 72 hr. Despite this...none of those models suggest significant strengthening of the storm...and neither does the GFDL. The SHIPS...lgem...and HWRF models forecast the system to reach 55-65 kt before landfall in Texas...and the intensity forecast follows that scenario in best agreement with the SHIPS model. It should be noted that the 48 hr intensity of 55 kt is well before landfall...and Don could get stronger than this between 48-72 hr.

Note that some professional meteorologists on various forums seem to think there is a greater chance than the NHC is making out that this reaches hurricane status. But the NHC are supposed to be the experts on this...

It is too early to worry over much.

Historically 3 weeks + & - around September 10 is when the devastating hurricanes happen.

Best Hopes for Fish Hurricanes,


Historically 3 weeks + & - around September 10 is when the devastating hurricanes happen.

Historically AGW did not exist either. It was 107 F in Kansas today, 104 F in Oklahoma and 103 F in Texas. Such heat drives hurricanes.

Hurricane Dennis
Wikipedia / scraped July 27, 2011

Formed July 4, 2005
Dissipated July 13, 2005
made landfall on the Florida Panhandle in the United States as a Category 3 storm

Sea surface temperatures are not showing much of an anomaly around there, at the moment.


Speaking of 104 in Oklahoma, look at this calender of temps in Oklahoma City for July.


Now look at the 10 day forecast.


It's like something out of a sci-fi B movie. After that 10 days is up they will have endured that level of heat for 40 days & nights! I wonder what Oklahoma Senator, AGW denialist Inhofe thinks of them apples.

Maybe he should schedule a press conference in which he can deride people for suggesting the actual possibility of AGW. "It's hot in the Summer and cold in the winter. What else is new?" Senator Inhofe's probable response.

Senator Inhofe's probable response= ...

Top ten answers:

10. Tim McVeigh was a cool guy

9. Global Warming means never having to say you were just 'chillin

8. I never said HOAX. I said them guys are true scientist blokes.

7. We Global Warm Busters ain't afraid of no warm weather ghosts

6. Me Feelin' So Hot Hot Hot (another you-tube)

5. This is not OK City, This is Sparta! (another you-tube)

4. ???

3+2+1 Its god's punishment for not stopping gay marriage (in New York). God punishes the impure. And he is the sole determinator of the weather......

Apparently, God's approval rating is only 52% :-


"A new poll result suggests that almost half of the America's population is dissatisfied by God's performance, if God exists.

"If God exists, voters would give God a strong 52-9 approval rating. This is hardly a surprise considering the vast majority of the country believes in an infallible deity, but some of the cross tabs are quite interesting," said the Public Policy polling blog post."

s-t: And as was said on "M.A.S.H." a long time ago: God answers every prayer. But sometimes the answer is "No".

Add me to the dissatisfied list. God has been falling down on the job for years now and needs to be a lot more selective about who he lets get born. Is God pro life? Decidedly no given all the deaths from disasters the last several years. And then she goes and picks on Japan.

You know the drill:

God is testing our faith ...

because She, in her infinite and all knowing wisdom, does not know whether we are truly faithful

so we've got to be be put through this panel of "tests" (i.e. Fukashima, Peak Oil, 911, yabbah, yabbah, and do doo)

Written by Peak Earl:
I wonder what Oklahoma Senator, AGW denialist Inhofe thinks of them apples.

Adaptation: chilled cider is refreshing on a hot day?

My home for many years was Portland TX. Celia was a tropical wave, heading for Galveston on July 31, 1970. On August 2, with 175mph winds, it came ashore, and virtually destroyed Portland!

I told my daughther (living there today) to keep her eyes on the Weather Channel.


Right now most people in Texas are just hoping that Don comes calling with lots of rain.

When you all in Tehas get some good rain send Don straight ahead to NM!

A true "Don V. Juan" you, eh?.

When there's something bad 'ear your hood, who ya gonna call? (GB You-tube)

The five day hpc prog, has is coming into the southern part of the state. North central is only supposed to get a half inch though. So maybe a slight bump to the moonsoon.

Why not build a pipeline from the overflowing Missouri and Mississippi and store that water? Amazing how water is feast or famine in places separated by a few thousand miles or less.

Sounds like a pretty good suggestion to me - don't know why Texas isn't onto this already.

According to the Texans it's been done before - some bloke got a stick and dug the Rio Grande - might be time for a repeat performance!

Some evacuations from oil/gas/drilling/gathering platforms have already been completed, with probably more ahead tomorrow. No Gulf coast refiners have reported any precautionary moves:

Shell Oil Co, (RDSa.L: Quote) Apache Corp, (APA.N: Quote) Anadarko
Petroleum Corp (APC.N: Quote) said they were evacuating support
workers primarily from western Gulf operations. BHP Billiton
and BP Plc (BP.L: Quote) (BP.N: Quote) were evacuating support workers from
central Gulf platforms.


UK crude oil output fell 11% in May on month to 1 million b/d

UK crude oil production fell 10.9% month-on-month in May to 1 million b/d, the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change said Thursday.

The output figure was also down 20.2% on May 2010, the data showed, due to maintenance-related outages at North Sea crude oil fields.

FOR ALL - Just a brief reminder of how hazardous fluids are disposed in Texas and La. We recently chatted about NY and PA having to pass laws to stop local municipalities from dumping those toxic frac fluids into their river systems. What brought this back to mind: I just signed a $7,800 invoice to have 14 truckloads of RAIN WATER that fell onto my drill site hauled to a certified disposal facility. And complete with all the paper work (sworn statements) sent to the state proving that I followed the rules.

Yes...RAIN WATER. Like I've said before the oil patch is good at following the rules when it's forced to. Even when the rules seem a tad silly.

As a member of the group of experts on the production of energy from radio-isotopes of the former ENEA (European Nuclear Energy Agency) in the sixties we have looked at and studied the problems and/or possible solution for the use of radio-isotopes from spent nuclear fuel elements from many possible angles. Waste heat of the fuel elements is a natural phenomena and it has to be cooled.


The nuclear accident in Japan has given rise to some afterthoughts about the use of nuclear energy as a major world energy resource for our society when FF will dwindle out after PO. This web site, with its large variation of readers and commenter’s will probably be a proper place for generating some basic thoughts about pro and/con of the large scale application of this energy form in the world.

Nuclear energy in power plants is generated by breaking up the nucleus of heavy elements like uranium atoms in the fuel elements of the core by catching of thermal neutrons. The heat power generating nuclear fission process in the core can be stopped within minutes, however the decay heat of the radioactive fission products in the fuel elements have their natural half live, which range from a few days to many years. It is this natural decay heat, still a few megawatts for a power station of several hundred to thousand megawatt powers, which has to be cooled continuously for a long time.

The installations in Japan have been designed, constructed and operated, taken into accounted the potential local natural hazards. The shut down process the reactors after the earth quake has functioned as planned, however the breakdown of sufficient power for decay heat cooling after the tsunami has created the worst nuclear accident of today. From information made public it is learned that many reactors have been build on the same site and that several pools for storing spent fuel elements were all filled up, creating a significant need for cooling power to run the emergency cooling systems, that could not be fulfilled on short notice by the breakdown of all power supply.

Improving the situation could probably be by not keeping so many spent fuel elements in different pools on the same location for so long periods of time.
Another technically a solution might be found by specifying rule of law that decay heat energy of the spent fuel elements should be the energy source for powering its own cooling without the need of external power. The cooling system has to be conceived so that the decay heat itself activates the pumping devices for circulating a coolant flow, that removes the heat from the fuel elements without the need of an external power supply.
It could be based for example on a Stirling cycle type thermal device for pumping as described in US patent 3552120.

A better large scale solution would be to have a reprocessing plant for reworking the spent fuel elements into new nuclear charges for the power stations. However with a public opinion of “not in my backyard”, the construction in Japan has been retarded or blocked by lack of political will.

In general nuclear power generation can be technically safely developed, when it is done and controlled under strict jurisdiction and management; e.g. the US navy.
It is more difficult in a civil democratic system. Where political influences can block needed activities. The politicians have too many short term interests to respect the engineer’s discipline needed for safe operation of complex systems.

It is a good thing that the people of many democratic countries say no to nuclear power in the aftermath of the Japanese accident. It forces us to change our life style and to develop alternatives, which are unknown to most of us yet, but not impossible.


Thanks for the thoughts, Hans.

When you said;

"In general nuclear power generation can be technically safely developed, when it is done and controlled under strict jurisdiction and management; e.g. the US navy."

..do you have any information that would show us the estimated cost of the kind of control the Navy has been able to implement to keep this system clean? I don't have a very high degree of confidence that this could be done either culturally (ie, in civic/private institutions) or economically.

Also, I'm afraid I have to wonder what mishaps and messes have happened with the Nuclear Powered Ships that we never got wind of. Of course the Hanford, Washington mess has a lot of waste that is derived from military nuclear work. I don't expect the navy record is as spotless as we're usually told. 'Absence of Evidence doesn't prove Evidence of Absence'..


""In general nuclear power generation can be technically safely developed, when it is done and controlled under strict jurisdiction and management..." One word was left out--"forever."

Why does the guy feel the need to constantly describe spent fuel and its behavior as 'natural.' As if spent fuel rods pop up all over the place naturally.

Of course, it is much more likely that this PR man is pulling the old trick of using a positive sounding word (to most people) next to something really nasty so people slowly start associating it with positive 'natural' things--presumably including rainbows and butterflies, rather than with childhood leukemia, Chernobyl 'necklaces,' and the horrors of nuclear war.

"Of course the Hanford, Washington mess has a lot of waste that is derived from military nuclear work. I don't expect the navy record is as spotless as we're usually told. 'Absence of Evidence doesn't prove Evidence of Absence'.."

Don't confuse the weapons program with the propulsion program. Very different cultures there. The weapons guys were never expected to live 50 yards from an operating reactor for months at a time. (The Sturgeon class, for instance, was 292 feet long and the reactor was in the center. You do the math.)

A visit from the local Naval Reactors rep while you were in port terrified everyone on board. If they were unhappy they had pretty much absolute power to fix the problem now. There were not allowed to shoot anyone, but pretty much any other event up to immediate termination of career was possible.

Weekly there were drills. The XO would wander back and trip something like a feed pump. Or open an air valve and when you showed up yell "seawater everywhere"! Or the flashing red light with the "fire" sign taped to it. And eventually the reactor would get Scrammed for whatever reason so we could practice restarting it, and test the emergency diesel. When real things went wrong they were generally much less exciting than the drills just because you didn't have a grinning XO being sneaky. An XO actually on your side for once is a wonderful thing.

And then every year was the ORSE. Two full days of all out drills with a team from Naval Reactors, followed by a third day of painstaking record review. That really sucked. Not nearly as much as it would suck if you failed it though.

The crew was men 20 to 30 who were run pretty much ragged serving the machine. You couldn't do that routine with civilians.

That said, most of the faux pas that rated an Incident Report were well out to sea. And they tended to not be directly nuclear, as in an output breaker goes 'poof' and that trips something else that trips the reactor, ruining a very quiet midwatch, (sigh) So the Navy has an easier time keeping a low profile than the civilians have. But they are also fully aware that they are one spectacular disaster away from being diesel-powered again, so they take care to prevent that disaster.

My basic thoughts of today are, like all six reactions that nuclear energy is not the answer for our global energy needs after FF are gone. It is too dangerous in any civil society where a majority of poeple don't understand the risks it helds for future generations. And I am happy not to be alone in this opinion.


Written by hansbertil:
The installations in Japan have been designed, constructed and operated, taken into accounted the potential local natural hazards.

If Fukushima Diichi had been designed taking into account the local natural hazards, then three reactors would not have melted down from an earthquake and ensuing tsunami. They simply would not have been built in a seismically active area. Few if any reactors have been designed to withstand increasing extreme weather brought about from anthropic climate change. Placing reactors so close together that a major disaster at one damages and contaminates the others is gross incompetence.

This line about taking the local natural hazards into account in the design of the nuclear reactors is the one important reason why I'm now against nuclear.

It is clear to me that they get reports written saying what they want them to say so the installation can go ahead. Six years before this tragedy the Boxing day earthquake created a 34+ metre Tsunami that hit Aceh. Despite a similar subduction zone off the coast of Japan, the warning signals from Aceh were ignored.

Safety costs money. 100% safety for nuclear would involve much higher costs, therefore it does not happen. The proper place for nuclear reactors is in geologically stable areas, away from where floods or hurricanes can get them, isolated from populations so that accidents don't cause huge grief for millions. At the edge of former nuclear bomb testing sites occurs to me as a good place for them, but the costs of course would be too high.

"In general nuclear power generation can be technically safely developed"

But them monkeys is crazy.
What a beautiful world this could be
If we weren't out of our minds.

The Fifth Element
Leeloo researches

JS Bach - Concerto in d moll nach Antonio Vivaldi
Sander Booij

Russia battles wildfires in new heatwave

War-time shells exploded and Moscow subway passengers fainted on Wednesday as Russia again sizzled in the summer heat and battled dozens of blazes, officials said.

A major fire started in the southern Rostov region on Tuesday causing two days of explosions of World War II-era shells embedded in a local forest, a local spokeswoman for the emergencies ministry said.

I got a report from my brother who visited his wifes family in Riga. It is very hot there now. My thought: Then I guess it is even hotter in south Russia. Seems I was right...

Thankfully it's not as worse as last year..yet, the last time Russia had heat wave, wheat crops failed and food riots occurred.

Regarding the tundra fire link. I wonder how much water is stored in tundras, and if that frozen water is accounted for in maximum sea level rize calculations?

I'm thinking, if the tundra was dry enough to catch fire, surface water is not in excess. Frozen subsurface water, thawing permafrost, is part of the fresh water calculation and mostly forms thermokarst lakes or ponds, which don't neccessarily empty into the sea. They probably represents less than 1-2 cm total SLR by 2100.

Far more worrying is the carbon that would be released. That will pobably create more SLR than the release of some water.

EU Supports LNG Study

The European Union will donate almost €10 million (about $14 million) to support a study to analyze the possibilities of switching to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) propulsion in the shipping industry in order to improve the environmental performance of the sector. The grant, which comes from the 2010 TEN-T Multi-Annual Call, will be used to draft a feasibility study to create a network of LNG filling stations for ships, coupled with a pilot to convert two vessels to LNG propulsion.

...The lessons learnt from the project are foreseen to have a wider benefit for other geographical areas within the EU, demonstrating that LNG propulsion is a viable fuel solution for large vessels.

There are a lot of very good prognosticators here ... IARPA needs your help to predict the future. [Of significance are the questions they are asking]

To test your forecasting skills, please visit: www.forecastingace.com

Some questions:
•What will the monthly average of US natural gas wellhead price be in the last 6 months of 2011?
•What will the price of silver be on 12/31/11?
•By what percentage will China's gross domestic product grow/shrink in 2011?
•What will the average U.S. price of gas for vehicles be on September 1, 2011?
•What will the price of gold be on 12/31/11?
•Will the average surface temperature of the earth from June-August 2011 exceed that of 2010?
•Will a hurricane of category 3 or greater make landfall along the Mid-Atlantic of the US prior to December 31, 2011?
•Will an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 or greater impact Istanbul in 2011?
•Will there be a military coup in Venezuela in 2011?
•Will there be a military coup in Nigeria in 2011?
•Will the US deploy troops in Mexico to fight the drug cartels in 2011?

•Will the US deploy troops in Congo in 2011?

Designing a better crystal ball

... Intelligence agencies have historically relied on experienced specialists to provide forecasts on world events. Aggregative Contingent Estimation System (ACES) recruits everyday citizens as research participants to help improve the accuracy of forecasting methods for intelligence analysis.

... With the goal of creating a more powerful “prediction engine,” for forecasting everything from the price of gas in the U.S. to the nuclear capabilities of Iran, Stone’s research team is looking for individuals to contribute their knowledge in topic areas such as politics, the military, economics, science and technology, and social affairs.

Study: Iraq must overcome logistical, political challenges to become oil leader

The study, "Iraqi Oil Potential and Implications for Global Oil Markets and OPEC Politics," argues that ambitious targets set by the government of Iraq may not be reachable in the short-to-intermediate term while international oil companies operating in southern Iraq continue to experience infrastructure development problems.

"Political decentralization inside Iraq, social tensions and electricity shortages remain barriers to large-scale repair and construction of infrastructure that is needed before export levels can rise," ...

Iraq's logistical and political challenges come at the same time that the costs for Saudi Arabia to continue to expand and maintain sufficient spare capacity to influence global markets have increased dramatically, according to the study. Future investment in a new tranche of Saudi production capacity is likely to be even more expensive because the kingdom will have to shift to areas that have more complex geology and require greater technological intervention. But Saudi Arabia is also facing competing priorities with higher spending requirements on social services and defense in light of new regional and internal challenges, which calls into question whether sufficient spending on spare oil production capability will be maintained.

To read the complete study, go to http://www.rice.edu/energy/publications/thefutureofiraq.html.

Ongoing global biodiversity loss unstoppable with protected areas alone

... Despite impressively rapid growth of protected land and marine areas worldwide - today totalling over 100,000 in number and covering 17 million square kilometers of land and 2 million square kilometers of oceans - biodiversity is in steep decline.

Expected scenarios of human population growth and consumption levels indicate that cumulative human demands will impose an unsustainable toll on the Earth's ecological resources and services accelerating the rate at which biodiversity is being loss.

...Humanity's footprint on Earth is ever expanding in efforts to meet basic needs like housing and food. If it did prove possible to place the recommended 30% of world habitats under protection, intense conflicts with competing human interests are inevitable - many people would be displaced and livelihoods impaired. Forcing a trade-off between human development and sustaining biodiversity is unlikely to lead to a solution with biodiversity preserved

"Our study shows that the international community is faced with a choice between two paths," Dr. Sale says. "One option is to continue a narrow focus on creating more protected areas with little evidence that they curtail biodiversity loss. That path will fail. The other path requires that we get serious about addressing the growth in size and consumption rate of our global population."

As a result of reaching the debt ceiling and as a result of their being no official QE3 so far thin air money-print at the Fed has not only stopped - it has gone negative. Liquidity is currently being taken away from the market. So far this has not had any significant effect on commodity prices, but the situation can hardly be expected to continue for very long!


"Since the beginning of the financial market turmoil in August 2007, the Federal Reserve's balance sheet has grown in size and has changed in composition. Total assets of the Federal Reserve have increased significantly from $869 billion on August 8, 2007, to well over $2 trillion."

Actually that should read $2.9 trillion as of last week. But for the first time in a very long time the trend is downwards.

I could be wrong... I see two ways out:
1. President invokes 14th Amendment, raises ceiling!
2. Using constitutional authority he tells treasury to print money.


1) Wrong, the 14th amendment only implies the interest on the debt is paid first. To wit;
"Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."

The debt in question must be "authorized by law" which means Congress had to approve it.

2) also wrong; to wit; (article 1 section 8)

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; ...

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin,"

Obama is only the water boy on this issue; the ball is in Congress' court, and they are fumbling up a storm. This time, he would be legally in the right to go play golf until Congress passes something. Perhaps that would not morally in the right though.

As mentioned elsewhere, Congress could coin a couple of $1 trillion dollar coins, flip them to the Treasury and join Obama on the links. and that would be entirely legal.

PV - The coins have already been minted. A story on NPR a few weeks ago explained: there is a govt warehouse the size of a soccer field filled to the roof with US $ coins. Many billions. I didn't know there has been a set of presidential $ coins being stamped for years but since folks don't like using them they've been kept out of circ. And by law they can't stop minting them. Even worse, a N. Dakota had the law amended require that for every two new presidential coins minted they are required to mint 1 Sacagawea $. He's no longer in office and now thinks it was a bad idea.

Who says the govt wastes money?

With all due respect, I'm calling BS on every single action by the Fed and the U.S. federal government. I'm all in gold and silver.

They're bluffing.

They have to prove me wrong and show their hand. They have to end the wars, the welfare, the money printing, the confiscatory taxation, and interest rates have to rise to 10, 15% or more.

Otherwise, don't waste my time.

Climate change brings tea and apricots to Britain

(Reuters) - British farmers are experimenting with crops such as olives and nectarines which have traditionally been imported from southern Europe while the first British tea plantation has opened with a changing climate set to transform the nation's countryside. ... Britain's first tea plantation has opened in Cornwall in south-west England, the country's warmest region and the center of much of the current crop experimentation.

From BBC: 'Grapes of Wrath' Redux

In Steinbeck's footsteps: America's middle-class underclass

... The shop is full of stuff that is emblematic - the stimulant drinks in yellow bottles that keep truck drivers going all night, confederate flag-themed headscarves to wear on your Harley instead of a helmet, Route 66 stickers. Like so much of American culture, the subtext - if you dare admit it - is "we were great once".

I remember the teacher bringing in a big TV on a roller-cart so we could watch the first space launches. The last manned flight landed in an impoverished America. I guess I lived in the Space Age.

My pants are made in China
My fan is made in China
My computer is made in China
My dog is made in America
She's an American dog
Licking a can from China

K - My dogs are American made also. But on a more personal level my daughter was made in China...adopted in 2000. And oddly enough because in America public adoptions agencies don't consider anyone over 40 yo to be much of a candidate as an adoptiing parent. China, OTOH, at that time wouldn't let you adopt unless you were over 35 yo but could be up to 60 yo (although wife's age was the real key). That's why there's a fairly large US population of old folks with young Chinese daughters. At least 600 families in Houston alone. We even have our own Chinese New Year's party.

There seems to be an enormous iceberg out in the middle of the north atlantic--and pretty far south for one that big--45N. 50W



Has anyone seen any news about this thing?

It's bigger than greater London. Surely that's got to be an imaging / measurement / sensor anomoly?

EDIT: I hadn't seen anything on the news about this either so I 'google newsed it':


This year is good aparently.

Sunday April 12
9:40 pm
"42 degrees to 41 degrees N, 49 degrees to 50 degrees W saw much heavy pack ice and great number of large icebergs, also field ice, weather good, clear"

-Mesaba to Titanic

10:30 pm
"We are stopped and surrounded by ice"

-Californian to Titanic

Neither of these ever reached the bridge, the radioman was too busy.

So location isn't all that odd, just the time of year.
(Funny I just finished reading a book about it and recognized the location!)