Drumbeat: August 8, 2011

Saudi Arabia grapples with gas conundrum

Experts warn that the kingdom’s ambitious industrialisation plans and heavy subsidies mean that the new gas supplies are unlikely to lower the growing reliance on oil for electricity production.

HSBC estimates Saudi Arabia will burn as much as 1.2m barrels a day this year on electricity generation, almost double the 2010 amount, meaning a loss in valuable exports.

Pemex to Hire More Guards to Reduce Theft, El Universal Reports

Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s biggest oil producer, plans to hire 280 employees and improve its security equipment in an attempt to reduce vandalism and theft, newspaper El Universal reported today on its website.

Petrobras Says Crisis May Reduce Appetite for Company Stakes

(Bloomberg) -- The global economic crisis and plunge in stock markets may reduce demand for assets state-controlled oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA is seeking to sell as part of a divestment program, its chief executive officer said.

Imperial, Exxon rejig oil sands "megaloads" plan

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Imperial Oil Ltd and Exxon Mobil Corp said on Monday they have revised plans to ship massive pieces of oil sands equipment on U.S. highways after legal challenges and protests forced delays.

FACTBOX-Deepwater rigs moved out of the Gulf of Mexico

(Reuters) - Some of the 30-plus deepwater rigs that were in the Gulf of Mexico have moved to other markets, first because of a U.S. halt called in May 2010 after BP Plc's well blowout, and then because of the lack of permits in the months after the moratorium was lifted.

Govt may cut petrol prices if crude falls further: Oil minister

NEW DELHI: India, the world's fourth largest oil consumer, may cut petrol prices if global crude oil eases further, Oil Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said on Monday.

"If prices globally come down sharply, and in a stable way, naturally the price of petrol will be adjusted downwards," Reddy told reporters. "The softening trend must be stable."

Tanzanian papers decry artificial fuel shortage by dealers

All newspapers reported the new prices of petrol and diesel as fixed by the Energy and Water Utilities Authority (EWURA) in line with the government's directive to eliminate several levies that were previously charged on fuel.

As a result, EWURA reduced retail pump prices of petrol by 9.17 per cent and filling stations reacted immediately by turning away customers, claiming that their storage tanks had run dry.

New Adnoc stations to ease Sharjah woes

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company has been directed to solve Sharjah’s fuel shortage after Enoc/Eppco petrol stations have stopped selling subsidised fuel and many of the outlets were closed due to official action from the Sharjah Government.

The new outlets are expected to divert long queues from the existing stations as motorists line up refill their tanks at Adnoc due to non-availability of an alternative.

Kuwait to build port despite threat

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait said Sunday that threats by Iraqi militants will not deter the oil-rich emirate from completing the construction of a controversial megaport between the neighboring nations.

Libyan rebels set up force to protect oil fields

BENGHAZI, Libya — Libya's rebels have set up a force to protect oil fields that have come under their control during six months of fighting against the army of Muammar Gaddafi, rebel officials said on Monday.

OPEC member Libya holds Africa's largest crude oil reserves and produced 1.6 million barrels of oil a day before an uprising against Gaddafi's 41-year-rule erupted in February.

Libya rebels deny losing hold on Bir al-Ghanam

NALUT, Libya: Libyan rebels said Sunday they were firmly in control of the town of Bir al-Ghanam, a staging post about 80 km south of Tripoli, rejecting a government assertion they had been pushed back.

A small settlement in the desert, Bir al-Ghanam is also the closest point the rebels have come to Moammar Gadhafi’s stronghold in the capital, lending it a strategic role in the rebels’ six-month campaign to end Gadhafi’s rule.

Tepco sees one-off loss of 500 bln yen - Nikkei

(Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co is expected to report about 500 billion yen ($6.44 billion) of extraordinary loss for the April-June quarter to make provisions for compensation to victims of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the Nikkei business daily reported.

With profit slipping in its core business, Tepco is likely to report a group net loss of more than 500 billion yen when it announces first-quarter results on Tuesday, the Nikkei said.

Jordan to name nuclear plant builder in November

AMMAN — Jordan said on Monday it will announce in November the firm it has chosen to build the parched kingdom’s first nuclear plant to meet growing energy needs and desalinate water.

“Three companies were selected in June — a consortium by France’s Areva and Japan’s Mitsubishi, Russia’s Atomstroyexport and Atomic Energy of Canada,” Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Khaled Tukan told AFP.

Defkalion Responds; Ignores Rossi's Accusation

Andrea Rossi, the inventor of the E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer), recently announced that he had canceled the licensing agreement with Defkalion Green Technologies Inc. Now, Defkalion has responded via a statement to Ny Teknik, but avoided addressing Rossi's most critical accusation -- the claim they have not built a working reactor.

Book review: Beyond Oil Bust: Investigating Oil Economics, Society and Geopolitics

In their recently published book ‘Beyond Oil Bust’ two researchers of the University of Nicosia James Leigh and Predrag Vukovic analyze the dramatic changes in the supply and demand of one of the most important sources of energy, oil, and they point to possible negative repercussions for the geopolitical map of the world. The authors first of all analyze the role of oil in the world economy starting from the first years of the twentieth century till today. It points to the fact that cheap oil was the basis that formed the overall development of the world economy – industry, mining, road, maritime and plane traffic, car manufacture, and cultivation of agriculture. It is almost unimaginable to point to a sector in which oil is not the energy progenitor or main energy input. The overall industrial society is built on the basis of one main source of energy – oil.

Peak Oil Perceptions: If Gas Prices Soar, Who's Most Pessimistic?

76 percent: gas prices could triple in 5 years

But it turns out a majority of the survey group thinks oil prices could triple in the next five years. Would this do serious damage to the economy? Far more self-identified conservatives than self-identified liberals say it would.

A nation-sized battery

So let’s buy ourselves security and design a battery that can last a week without any new inputs (as before, could be 8 days at 12.5% average input, or 10 days at 30% input). This may be able to manage the worst-case “perfect” storm of persistent clouds in the desert Southwest plus weak wind in the Plains.

Let’s also plan ahead and have all of our country’s energy needs met by this system: transportation, heating, industry, etc. The rate at which we currently use energy in all forms in the U.S. is 3 TW. If we transition everything to electricity, we can get by with 2 TW, assuming no growth in demand. Why? Because we currently use two-thirds of our energy supply (or 2 TW) to run heat engines, getting only about 0.6 TW out for useful purposes in the bargain. An electrical system could deliver this same 0.6 TW for only 1 TW of input, considering storage and transmission efficiencies.

Military urged to defend Antarctic territory

AUSTRALIA is being urged to defend its claim to Antarctic territory in future military planning ahead of inevitable global competition for the icy continent's rich energy resources.

Antarctica is thought to have the world's third-largest oil reserves, locked away by an international treaty that preserves the territory from exploitation.

But a new Lowy Institute report released today warns other nations are eyeing the abundant energy reserves as new technology makes it easier to access the frozen continent.

Oil Falls to Eight-Month Low in New York After S&P Downgrades U.S. Rating

Oil fell in New York after Standard & Poor’s lowered the U.S. credit rating from the highest level, stoking concern an economic slowdown will worsen and cut fuel demand in the world’s biggest crude consumer.

Futures dropped as much as 4.9 percent to their lowest price in more than eight months. S&P cut the U.S.’s AAA rating to AA+ on Aug. 5 in response to a deal by President Barack Obama and lawmakers to raise the government’s $14.3 trillion debt limit. Oil pared losses after the European Central Bank was said to have bought Italian and Spanish government bonds.

BP says Forties oil flow restarts, flow reduced

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil flows through the North Sea Forties oil pipeline are reduced because bad weather delayed maintenance on an oil platform, trimming shipments of the crude, which usually sets the dated Brent benchmark.

Forties pipeline operator BP PLC said on Monday it restarted the line late on Friday as planned, although work on the Unity platform, which connects five oilfields to the main Forties line, was continuing.

Analysis: European refiners could face another decade of pain

(Reuters) - European refiners are poised for another decade of pain from low profits and run rates as a string of plant sales to emerging market investors only postpone inevitable closures .

PetroChina shuts down Hohhot refinery for expansion

(Reuters) - PetroChina has shut down its Hohhot refinery in the northern Inner Mongolia region and focused on construction of new equipment that will more than triple the refinery's capacity, the China Petroleum Daily reported on Monday.

Iraq qualifies 41 oil companies for energy bidding round due in January

BAGHDAD — Iraq has qualified 41 international oil companies to compete in its fourth international exploration licensing round in January.

Iraq is offering exploration rights to 12 mostly gas fields, and the list of companies released Monday by the oil ministry shows many of the same oil giants who won rights to other fields in earlier licensing rounds, such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

Norway's Statoil announces promising oil find in North Sea

Oslo - Norwegian energy firm Statoil and its partners Monday announced a promising oil find in the North Sea, west of Stavanger.

The well in the Aldous Major South prospect was estimated to contain between 200 and 400 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe), the groups said citing preliminary data.

Venezuela plans long-term boost in oil output

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela's top energy official said the government is making progress on long-term plans to dramatically boost oil output and is also aiming to diversify an economy that remains heavily reliant on oil wealth.

Kuwait denies joint oil development with Iran

KUWAIT CITY — The oil ministry in OPEC member Kuwait on Monday denied that it has started a joint oil development with neighbouring Iran.

“There is no cooperation between the two sides in this regard,” said the ministry assistant undersecretary for technical affairs Ali Sabt, cited by the official KUNA news agency.

Iran makes new '$133bn' gas find

Iran has discovered a gas field with 495 billion cubic metres of gas that it estimates is worth $133 billion, Deputy Oil Minister Ahmad Qalebani told a news conference on Monday.

Iran's oil minister: Replace foreign oil companies

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's new oil minister says the country's powerful Revolutionary Guard's economic conglomerate should replace foreign oil and gas companies.

Rostam Qasemi told the official IRNA news agency that the economic conglomerate, Khatam-ol-Anbia, should be improved. He didn't elaborate.

Iran says has not reduced oil exports to India for August

(Reuters) - Iran has not reduced its oil exports to India for the month of August, Deputy Oil Minister Ahmad Qalebani said at a news conference on Monday.

Iraq PM fires electricity minister

BAGHDAD - Iraq's prime minister has fired his electricity minister, who is under investigation for allegations that he failed to follow government guidelines in the signing of $1.7 billion in deals with two foreign companies to build power stations.

Violent crackdown intensifies in Syrian city

A besieged Syrian city came under fresh artillery fire early Monday as a deadly military assault left President Bashar Assad's regime increasingly isolated, with Arab nations forcefully joining the international chorus of condemnation for the first time.

Big China bucks drive Ecuador

QUITO - Ecuador sees the loans it has agreed with China as "good news" because they are long term, and all that is required in return is "oil, and not the horrendous adjustments imposed by the IMF [International Monetary Fund]," left-wing Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa told analysts critical of the size and high interest rates of the loans.

Many enthusiasts bailing on boating industry

John St. Martin, a mechanic at Fitchburg Marine in Lunenburg, estimates business has been off this year 30 to 40 percent.

As the price of gasoline has climbed and the economic news worsened, industry after industry has suffered, including the boating industry, where consumers are showing a reluctance to pay for hefty maintenance and repair bills as well as the fuel prices at the docks that often dwarf what the average motorist pays, industry officials say.

Atomic Bomb Survivors Join Nuclear Opposition

Now, as both Hiroshima and Nagasaki observe the 66th anniversary of the American atomic attacks at the end of World War II, the survivors are hoping that they can use their unique moral standing, as the only victims of nuclear bombings, to wean both Japan and the world from what they see as mankind’s tragedy-prone efforts to tap the atom.

U.S. Debt Deal Kills Off Prospects of Renewable-Power Support

U.S. government support for renewable energy may plunge from record levels, setting back the use of wind and solar power before they can compete on their own with oil, gas and coal.

Direct spending, tax breaks and research funding pushed federal renewable-energy subsidies to $14.7 billion in 2010, according to Alan Beamon, director of the Energy Information Administration’s Office of Electric, Coal, Nuclear and Renewables Analysis. Project developers are lining up for subsidies approved in the 2009 stimulus bill as incentives expire and the deficit-reduction deal dims prospects for future backing of solar panels and wind farms.

Wind Power Gains as Gear Improves

The electric wind turbines built 30 years ago, after the 1970s oil-price shocks increased interest in the industry, often experienced serious problems. Some came apart in bad storms, some did not work well, even in good weather, and still others found insects piling up on the blades, slowing power production. Bird deaths at some early wind farms were alarmingly high.

Challenges remain, but the technology has come a long way in recent years, and wind farm operators have learned plenty of tricks, too, like the importance of shutting down the machines in high winds and the best places to put them to begin with.

GlassPoint Solar Wins Huge Middle East Oil Field Contract

Last November, Rod MacGregor, the CEO of innovative GlassPoint Solar approached oil drillers in the Middle East to offer Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) using solar, and returned with no orders. This week, he is announcing the fruit of the mission. His first MENA contract will be with Oman’s 60% government-owned partnership with the Shell Group, Petroleum Development Oman.

Group harvests urban fruit

"We just noticed that there's a lot of food wasted in the city," said Morgan LaBrash, one of the founders of Fruit for Thought.

"We have a lot of local produce that's growing literally right in our backyard, and tons of people don't have access to fresh fruit. There's so much that goes to waste and we just wanted to do something about it - a sustainable alternative to people just throwing away the fruit once it's fallen."

FACTBOX-Water trading schemes around the world

(Reuters) - Trading water access rights takes place across the world as water resources are stretched by a rising global population, climate change and increasing urbanisation.

Global water use doubled from 1960 to 2000 and is projected to grow twice as fast as oil consumption by 2030, and forms of water trade are likely to play an important part in adapting.

Oil sands expected to undo carbon cuts

The development of Canada’s oil sands will single-handedly undo greenhouse gas gains made by weaning the country’s electrical supply off coal, a government study predicts.

The Environment Canada forecast of Canada’s carbon output over the next decade casts in stark terms the challenge facing the country as it pursues major energy development at a time of continued global efforts to bat down emissions.

Chinese, Arab airlines push back against EU ETS

The China Air Transport Assn. and the Arab Air Carriers Organization reiterated their calls for the European Union to rethink plans to include aviation in its Emissions Trading Scheme starting next year.

Is climate change to blame for famine in the Horn of Africa?

So is famine in the Horn of Africa linked to climate change or not? The question arises whenever "extreme weather events" – hurricanes, floods, droughts – hit our TV screens. It's impossible to answer with a simple yes or no – but here's what we think we know so far.

Is climate change to blame for famine in the Horn of Africa?

Perhaps equally important is the question of whether or not the drought in the US, especially Texas, is related to Global Warming. There's been little mention of that possibility to be found on TOD lately. Perhaps that's the result of our present MSM slant away from such concerns, thus fewer news items to post. Besides, it hurricane season and East Texas often is hit with flooding rains this time of the year. The commentary concludes:

Attributing the current drought directly to climate change is impossible, but in the words of Sir John Beddington, the UK government's chief scientific adviser, in a talk at Oxfam last week, "worldwide, events like this have a higher probability of occurring as a result of climate change".

E. Swanson

The problem is Meteorology and Climatology are apples and oranges. Climate deals with data occurring over decades (generally thirty years or more) while weather is defined as conditions in the atmosphere happening over a short period of time. It's a distinction lost on most reporters and analysts.

So one can see why it is difficult to associate a single weather event directly to climate change without having access to the long-term trends. Once one views the long-term trends, however, and undertands that the frequency of extreme weather events is on the rise, one can infer that more drought causes more famine, absent political concerns.

I recently wrote to our local news channel that kept inviting Meteorologists in to answer the same question : are the extreme weather events we are experiencing related to climate change? Of course, they could not answer the question, absent the long-term data. I suggested they invite a bona-fide climate scientist onto the program next time.

Even if you had access to long term trends, for example a historian from 2100 trying to answer the same question regarding a drought in 2011, you are left with only statistical knowledge. Its like you lost a game of dice that was a single throw. Was it because the crooked dealer gave you loaded dice, or simply bad luck?

Except that throwing dice, if they are thrown exactly the same way time after time, is a totally random event. You have equal probability of throwing a one or a six.

Weather events do have certain predictors, such as atmospheric temperature, amount of water vapor, wind speeds, surface topography that affect the "throw".

I agree, though, that one single weather event is not predictive of a pattern.

One should be able to look back and see if droughts, for example, have started occurring with greater frequency.

Edit : of course, the idea of climate modeling takes known predictors and past behaviour, and projects them into the future under certain scenarios, to arrive at potential future conditions. The look in the rear-view mirror will tell if they were correct.

What I wa saying, is climate can determine how badly the dice is loaded, but cannot attribute the cause of a single outcome.

I agree.

s-t: my first stat prof always asked the same question the first day of every class - flip a coin 19X and it comes up heads every time. What are the odds it will be heads on the 20th flip? Obviously all us smarties said 50/50. And he would laugh and call us idiots. "I don't care what the stat chart says: never in your life will you see a HONEST coin flip heads 20X in a row". He couldn't care less if we could remember all the stat formulas and set ups...kept our books open. All semester he drummed it into us: look for the flaws in the assumption about your population. Every stat/model has a number of assumptions built into them whether you recognize them are not. Start off with an invalid assumption (the coin wasn't double sided) and your calculation to 5 decimal places is worthless.

For 36 years I've shot down one exploration project after another by finding those faulty assumptions. All exporation wells have attractive economic analysis...without exception. An exploration geologist has to be cornucopian. But only a very few justify drilling. I haven't run a numerical analysis of an exploration project in 30 years...a waste of time. It always boils down to common sense. I've drilled my share of dry holes. But not nearly as many as most. My best run: hit 23 in 25 tries using an approach that classical economic analysis rejected. And sold the NG for less than 25% of today's low price. And I made the best ROR for a client in my career.

If I see a coin flip heads 19X in a row you can bet I'll bet the farm the 20th flip will be heads. LOL. And how would you bet?

If I see a coin flip heads 19X in a row you can bet I'll bet the farm the 20th flip will be heads. LOL. And how would you bet?

ROCK -- you are a font of wisdom! (All the way from your wizened hands to your wiseass. LOL)

This is the best, easiest to understand example I've ever seen of why we should be eternally skeptical of statisticians and modelers. Thanks for that.

I'm not saying we should ignore statistics and models -- they have lots to contribute and I use them myself. But finding and questioning their assumptions is always the very first thing we should do.

Some of my clients want to know whether I have procedures in place for QA/QC and I can always give them some buzzword compliant answer if required. It's only with the smart ones that I explain that that QA/QC for me means "Question Assumptions/Quantify Challenges".


I think your professor is an idiot.

there is a finite probability that an HONEST coin will flip heads 19 (or 20) times in a row. the odds are miniscule, but finite. people win the power ball all the time betting against such odds.

If you see a coin land heads 19x in a row and you still think it's an honest coin, you're an idiot. Especially if the first 19 flips were set up as an intentional demonstration by somebody trying to prove a point.

So what is your point ? That the powerball is dishonest ?

The whole point is as follows. Statistics is a game of assumptions and a precise mathematical modeling of those assumptions. For example, in a coin flip.

Assumptions are:

(1) There are 2 sides of the coin that are uniquely "Heads" and "Tails."
(2) There is a 50% probability that Heads or tails appear in each coin flip.

Model of probability, p, for a series of n consecutive events:

p = q ^ n

q is the probability of an individual outcome. For a 'fair' coin q = 1/2.

Then one can estimate the probability of seeing a series of flips and decide how to bet for or against a particular outcome. Statistically, the outcome of 20 heads in a row is very very small: a 1 in a million. So the simpler statistical model of an event where one got 19 heads in a row is that assumption (1) is false and q is actually '1'. This professor was trying to teach the point that modeling is only as good as the underlying assumptions. Rockman is saying his gut instinct is good at gauging assumptions, since they are most important basically.

Casinos monitor dice rolls and roulette wheels to determine if they are fair. The games are designed to make money if the machine is 'fair'. They can run maximum entropy routines to determine if a die is uneven and tends to roll some numbers more than others. Heck most casinos change their dice at great lengths to avoid any gaming of their "fairness." Same goes for the number of cards in a blackjack game and so on.

a - I forgot to mention: the prof did have a two-headed coin. And eventually I found one but I lost it somewhere along the way. And yes...I did cheat a few friends with it. But I always told them afterwards.

People will continue to believe that since they've lost a lot of money to a slot machine that the machine is due to pay off.

I thought thats how they worked? That's what makes them so addictive. Of course you only get back about 80% of what you start with... as it says on the label of the machine.

I think the professor is not an idiot at all, maybe just used a bit of hyperbole. In the real world, if you come up with an enormously improbable result on just one or a few tries, you really ought to check carefully that your result is as improbable as you think. While an honest coin can certainly show heads 20 times in a row, you really need to assess the chance that the coin is in fact dishonest. (Just as your winning powerball ticket, if you have one, will be checked and verified, not just taken for granted.) Always double-check your assumptions. And if you're emotionally married to any assumption, triple-check it yet again.

2^19 is only 1/2 a million. But One would speculate that the coin is not fair, since a 1 in a 1/2 million event is rather rare. The easier explanation would be that the coin does not have a tails. LOL. I like your professor ;-)

I think the number you are looking for is 0.5^19 = 1.9e-6 = 0.0000019

Wait. 1 in 1/2 million is the same as 1/2 ^ 19th power. Same thing.

Wait ? No. (1/2)^19 = 1.9e-6 = 1 in 1.9 million, not the same as 1 in 1/2 million.

And wrt your other post: then you agree there is a finite probability a fair coin will toss heads 19 times in a row?

I eat maximun entropy for breakfast, so you are not going to confuse me.

It seems you are already confused. .5^19 is 1.9e-6, however to convert to "one in a whatever" you take the inverse (1/x) that comes out to 524288. Or 1 in half a million.

I am so confused now. You need to take the reciprocal of the number 500,000 and you get your number which is a probability fraction or ~2e-6.

Same thing still.

There is a finite probability for anything to occur. Like the coin could land on its edge and stay there. I am betting that the odds are lowish. Just like the odds of seeing a 1 in 1/2 million of 19 heads in a row. In fact I bet the odds of seeing a coin land on its side is greater. Perhaps it lands next to a book and stays upright.

The point that you do not understand is that before one makes a sophisticated model, one should carefully think through the data and the underlying assumptions. Then one should come up with their own assumptions and model and move forward. Rockman called that "gut" and that is more valuable than a model. Some people call that wisdom or experience. The philosopher, Henri Bergson, calls it "intuition."

Maximum entropy is well maintained if the system had the same "Heads" on each side.

There is no data that confirms a tails side of the coin exists, since that micro-event never occurred. So why would you believe one exists in the course of a one in a million series of flips? Maximum entropy would lead to the idea that the simplest explanation is that the coin has the same picture on each side. That outcome would be most likely.

You are assuming a perfect mechanical coin flipper. I believe with a little practice I could flip a coin to increase either heads or tails ratio. This is especially true with a large coin like a silver dollar. I know a dealer here in Reno who can hit a quadrant three our of four times on a certified roulette wheel. In a past life I was a dealer in a couple casinos.

“Honey, save my lucky slot machine while I go get more money.” LOL

If you saw the image on the coin, I bet you could control the number of rotations to get the odds in favor of seeing a particular image. 2-1/2 rotations to get the other image or 2 rotations to get back what you started with. Without seeing the image of the coin before flipping it would be hard. Perhaps you could feel the heads versus the tails. LOL. I see a scam in the making.

FYI to everyone; My niece in Las Vegas is a bartender at a popular casino. She informs me that if you order a drink and don't tip at least a dollar, your next drink order will be a "virgin".

The "virgin" drinks are marked either by a different colored straw or two straws.

Rock - That supports my view - one coin toss by itself isn't a predictor, but 19x in a row form a pattern which might influence how you view the 20th toss. However, you might be a very big loser if someone tossed 19 heads in a row for you to bet on, while waiting for you to put everything you won, and more on the 20th toss. At which point the crook tosses tails.

If it were me, and I saw 19 heads, I think I'd run. Craziest thing I ever saw was four 7's in a row on a roulette wheel. On the 5th spin I took everything off the table. He threw 19, IIRC.

Statistics works best for random occurrences and large populations of data.

Edit : The most hated experiment I ever had to do in college was estimating the population of cockroaches in a fishtank full of cockroaches.

First you have to pull out a sample of 'roaches, and mark them all with a dot of paint. Then you put them back in the tank and wait. Then you pull another sample, and count the ones with dots. Then you can estimate how many are in the tank.

Then there was the time we had to stomach-pump penguins to estimate anchovy populations...

s-t: a real life honest to goodness example of what I'm talking about. About 30 years ago during the boom a fellow showed me a salt dome prospect. Looked interesting based on his maps. Kinda risky but it was an oil prospect. He gave me a very complete data set to work with. Which is why he didn't think I would go to my data base and check my map. Turns out his location had already been drilled some years earlier...and it was a dry hole. He just took the dry hole symbol off his map.

The Assumption A: his map had all the wells on it. The truth: Assumption A was not valid. I learned early on: don't assume sh*t in the oil patch. Don't assume the maps are correct and don't assume the BOP will function properly. And don't assume the 20th flip has a fair chance of being tails.

And the prof was not an idiot. A large percentage of stats I've seen in my career were full of incorrect assumptions. Sometimes not significant...sometimes a deal killer. I've reached a point in my career that I tell from how someone presents a deal where the weakness/poor assumptions are. saves a lot of time. just like with Big Oil press releases: it's not what they say or how they say it. It's what they don't say.

never in your life will you see a HONEST coin flip heads 20X in a row

I think your professor ASSUMED no one would flip a fair coin enough times to prove him wrong.

b - Are you prepared to prove him wrong? If so start flipping and get back to us when you hit those 20 heads.

I think folks have been a tad rougher on you then called for. The point the prof was making that the key to the validity of any stat analysis is not calculating the odds. It's the validity of the sampling. If I show you a deep urn with 5,000 white and black marbles. Pick a small sample, say 100, and estimate the proportions. So you pull 20 white marbles and 80 black marbles. So you estimate the total number of white marbles is around 1,000. In reality there are 2,500 white marbles in the urn. You assumed the marbles were equally distributed. Your assumption was invalid and thus so is your stat. No one arranged the marbles that way. That just happened to be their distribution...this time.

Validity of your sampling method is key. If you don't confirm the validity of your coin sampling (that there is one head side and one tail side) then you stat is questionable. Polling is the ultimate challenge is this regard. You want to know how many Texans would vote for Pretty Boy Perry if he ran for president. How do you pick your test population? Easy...right...just pick folks at random. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a "random" population in many circumstancs. Ask 100 folks at the cheap Chinese buffet and I doubt you would find the same stat from 100 folks at a 5-star restaurant. Or how about 100 folks at the supermarket in Montrose vs. 100 folks at the same supermarket chain in the Woodlands? Maybe more representative? No freaking way. LOL. The Montrose section in Houston has a high proportion of the gay community. The Woodlands is the epicenter of the upper end high income white bread population in these parts. Not so easy to confirm a representative population to sample, eh? I would guess the proportions of conservatives to liberals would be just the opposite of each other.

In reality the generation of just random numbers is an art unto itself. Another example: would anyone pick the sequence "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9" in the lottery? Worse odds of that number hitting then flipping 20 heads in a row with a honest coin perhaps. Except the odds of hitting that number is exactly the same as any other sequence you pick. Some advice: don't try to convince a dedicated lottery player that reality. LOL.

BTW: you didn't answer the question: would you bet the 20th flip is a tail after 19 heads? What if I gave you 20 times your bet if it does?

We're waiting...

Are you prepared to prove him wrong?

That would be too time consuming, however we are living in the 21st century and we already have algebra and indoor plumbing. So the probability of a fair coin landing heads 19 times in a row is 0.0000019. That proof is already settled.

Maybe your professor meant to say: "never in your life it is highly unlikely any of you will see a HONEST coin flip heads 20X in a row".

BTW: you didn't answer the question: would you bet the 20th flip is a tail after 19 heads? What if I gave you 20 times your bet if it does?

Yes, with a fair coin. How many $,$$$ at 20 to 1.

b - Great. You finaly agree with my prof: you will never see a fair coin flip heads 20X in a row. Read my words again: he didn't say the probabilty of hitting heads 20X in a row was zero. He said that you will never see it happen. So if you want your payoff you better start flipping. I'll give you all the time you want to win the bet. But as of this moment you still haven't witnessed the event...just as the prof predicted. And you never will because you'll never flip that coin enough times for it to happen.

You still don't get it. I've worked for failed managements that only wanted to drill high risk wells because they wanted the big flash. On paper there was a certain probability they would hit enough big ones to make up for all the dry holes. And without exception everyone of those companies went under (often spectacularly) for the same reason you won't win our bet: they ran out of money/time before they hit the big score. Just as you will give up and admit defeat long before you flip that honest coin enough times to get your 20 heads. We're talking about real life...not a stat formula. And this is how life works...like it or not.

If you want a more horrifying example of such hubris research Robert McNamara and his statistical analysis of how the it would be impossible for the NVA/VC to defeat us. Rather chilling when you understand he wasn't working with coins or wells. His paper work was perfect according to the Ivy League whizkids that worked with him back then. And then take a trip to DC and look at the 60,000 names on that black wall. And while you're at it think about the million+ Viet civilian casualties that didn't show up in his numbers. Late in life he finally admitted his "computational errors". And then he died. Like I said: there's the text book world and the real world. It's good to be able to distinquish between the two.

But prove me and the prof wrong...start flipping. We'll all wait here for you.

He said that you will never see it happen.

If he said that, he is not teaching statistics or probability, that is called superstition. An unlikely event, with a finite probability, can happen on the very first trial. So in other words, your professor did not know whether or not any students would see 19 or 20 heads flipped with a fair coin.

Companies go broke drilling all sorts of projects. A string of unlikely, finite probability, outcomes happen all the time and that is real life.

Probability theory has already proven you and the professor wrong. If you disagree, the ball is in your court, prove (empirically) a group of students 'will never see' a fair coin flip heads 19 or 20 times in a row. If you prove that, you may disprove probability theory and win the Nobel Prize.

Now, did you want to underwrite that 20 to 1 ?

b - A bet is a bet. I'll put up $10, You want your $200? Then drop me a line when you see an honest coin flip heads 20X in a row and I'll pay off.

But remember the bet: you'll never see a honest coin flip heads 20X in a row in your life. Not that a coin can't be flipped heads 20X in a row. The prof's statement was very clear...whether you were paying attention or not. And maybe you still haven't gotten THE point of my tale: recognizing spinning via statistics. Don't feel bad...a few others didn't get it either.

A bet is a bet

ok, i will take $10 million. you post a $200 million bond and i will post a $10 million bond.

I can see why you get banned.

You're no fun. Take the bet already..

Take the bet already..

What ? I already took the bet already. Whasamatter ? $10 million not enough fun for ya ?

You would probably have more fun if you would pay attention.

We live in the 21st century, and a computer simulated coin flipper, could do the roughly million simulated experiments in roughly a second without even breaking a sweat! Takes much longer to program, and especially to determine you haven't made a programming error, than it does to run the program.........

Ahh, but how do you *prove* to me that the computer is generating completely fair random numbers, before we start the test.

Just like I would want to see both sides of the coin, I want to see absolute proof that it is fair, first. How long will that take?

I think some people have missed the prof's point. Smart prof. I wonder if he would have swapped doors in the "monty hall problem".

Random number generators aren't. They are just unpredictable enough to us to be useful. But then you could technically say that about throwing dice :)

Some random number generators have proofs written about them. The idea is that things that can be computed by a large number of random events, can be computed, via a sort of simulation called Monte-Carlo. If you didn't know how to compute the odds (nearly trivial in this example), you could run a billion cases, and look at how many special events ocurred. For many complicated problems, first writing such an inelegant method pays off, as serious bugs aren't very likely. Then you go go back and write a more elegant solution method, because you have the brute force Monte-Carlo method to check it against.

EOS - Yep...and that was the point I suppose I was being to subtle about. You can easily see a computer program flip an honest coin heads 20X in a row. But you will never see a real coin flipped heads 20X in a row because you won't ever take the time to do it. And no one else will either. From a practical stand point it is impossible for you to flip a coin heads 20X in a row. Theoretical? Yes...just like if a frog had wings it wouldn't bump his butt. But in reality frogs will always bump their butts.

Just like the computer models that calculate XXX trillion cu ft of NG will be produced from the shale gas plays under a specific set on conditions. Just like you'll see that coin flip heads 20X in a row...if you sit there the rest of your life (and then some maybe) and flip that coin. If the conditional aspect of the stat (NG prices continuously over $12/mcf or you spending the next 40 years of your life flipping a coin) are unrealistic then the statistic is worthless. That's the point I kept failing to make: if the stat isn't reality based (as opposed to theoretical) then the results are, at best, misleading, or at worse, a lie.

Heads.. Heads! ...


"The cinema is truth 24 frames per second." - Jean-Luc Godard

print "How many heads would you like to see in a row?\n";
my $n = <>;
my $i = 0;
while ($i < $n) {
$coin = int( 2 * rand() ) ;
if ($coin) { $i++ } else { $i = 0 };
print "You flipped $i heads in a row. Wow! /n";

It takes 1 second to get 20 heads and about 3 seconds to get 22 heads.


Oct - Yes. But did you actually see that coin flip heads 20X in a row...remember that's the bet. Or did you just take that lying computers's word for it? Next thing you'll be taking Chesapeake's shale gas models as the "truth".

Remember I can photoshop a pic of me doing the horizontal mambo with Hillary Clinton. The horror...the horror...

Rockman, I will mail you a printout from a pinfeed printer in an empty blue bell ice cream container. LOL. I will highlight the 20 heads in a row. ;-)

This is the difference between probability and statistics. Yes probabilistically there is a chance that "fair coin" would yield 19 heads in a row.
Statistically this probability is soooo low that only a fool would not doubt that the coin is biased. By the way there is no such thing as a fair coin. Because of the engravings and the weight distribution all coins in circulation have a bias (they favor one side over the other).
Rockman you rock, your comments are always interesting.

But a small bias in a coin makes little difference in looking for a 20 flip series of heads when you are talking about such as extreme event. From my simulation sometimes it takes 4 million flips and sometimes is takes 600,000 flips. Variation like that from entropic effects is far greater than a 0.01% weight differential in a coin.

After 793794 coin tosses, you flipped 20 heads in a row. Wow!
After 1326270 coin tosses, you flipped 20 heads in a row. Wow!
After 4040839 coin tosses, you flipped 20 heads in a row. Wow!
After 2989170 coin tosses, you flipped 20 heads in a row. Wow!
After 601497 coin tosses, you flipped 20 heads in a row. Wow!
After 766994 coin tosses, you flipped 20 heads in a row. Wow!

The bias you speak of affects bets made on many individual flips or many small consecutive series of flips.

Ahh, but how does your program factor in the chance of the coin landing on its edge?

After all, if it can happen on tv..


I wonder if the chances of a coin on edge are greater than 20 heads in a row?

You did include that weight difference, didn't you?


I can flip an unfair coin in my Macbook. Here is a coin that is 1% more likely to be heads than tails.

After 517025 coin tosses, you flipped 20 heads in a row. Wow!
After 1821510 coin tosses, you flipped 20 heads in a row. Wow!
After 2418721 coin tosses, you flipped 20 heads in a row. Wow!
After 1876750 coin tosses, you flipped 20 heads in a row. Wow!
After 3187426 coin tosses, you flipped 20 heads in a row. Wow!
After 408281 coin tosses, you flipped 20 heads in a row. Wow!

Lots of variation. If you did tons of simulations of course you would see fewer flips are required on average to get to 20 heads in a row.

Oct - Thanks but no need. My stat program has all the various permutation functions built in...answers just a few clicks away.


But now I have to be heavy handed with some folks: moral of the coin toss story isn’t about statistics at all. It's about the nature of human endeavors. It was never a question of the odds of flipping a coin heads 20X in a row. It about the probability of someone flipping a coin enough times to see that sequence. IOW as close to zero probability of any human effort happening.

Lets get down to the nitty gritty now. There are a lot of very cleaver and passionate folks on TOD who have offered potential solutions (or at least beneficial responses) to PO. Along with much debate on the methodology of such approaches. But very seldom is the concept of the “20 coin flip” injected into the discussion. There have been any number of PO responses that make very good sense…on paper. Just like everyone’s computation of the 20CF. And just like the 20CF the PO response X will never happen. Doing X will reduce our oil imports significantly. Absolutely doable just as the computer tells us a person can, eventually if they make the effort, make those 20 heads flips in a row.

So here you go Oct: you obvious have a strong analytical ability: ask the computer the probability of someone actually flipping a coin long enough to see 20 straight heads. Easy done: just input the number of folks who have flipped a coin enough time to get 20 heads in a row. And now divide that by the world’s population. I believe your computer will spit out 0.000000 as the Ps. Obvious since your numerator is zero.

So back to the great X response to PO that looks good on paper. Unfortunately if the effort isn’t undertaken by a sufficient number of folks then X is not a viable response to PO regardless of what the model says because the calculation violated the basis of all statistics: conditionality. To have a person see a heads flip 20 times in a row assumes someone will actually flip that coin a sufficient number of times. And the probability of that happening is zero. We can stop importing all oil tomorrow…absolutely possible. If the condition is met: everyone voluntarily reduces their driving 80%. Absolutely possible…if the condition is met. Now what is the probability of that condition being met: zero. ICE consumption may well eventually fall 80%...but it won’t be voluntary.

Of course that’s an over the top example. But we can ratchet the example back to less extreme examples. But the basic premise is still correct: regardless of what the statistics or model says the probability of any event happening is zero if no one undertakes the effort. My little teasing story about flipping a coin didn’t start out in this direction but evolved to here we are now.

Or IOW a long way to go to say we're screwed. LOL.

s-t: my first stat prof always asked the same question the first day of every class - flip a coin 19X and it comes up heads every time. What are the odds it will be heads on the 20th flip? Obviously all us smarties said 50/50. And he would laugh and call us idiots.

IMO you lost making your point there. You quoted your "Stat Prof" who turned out to be an Prof of something else as well, possibly human nature.

bandit - And you make a valid point...if you ignore the fact that statistic are computed by human beings and as such are dominated by human nature. And that was the critical point he taught all semester: stop worrying about the end numbers generated. They are not valid if the conditional statements are not valid or the population is surveyed improperly.

Just look how difficult it was for folks to focus on the actual question: it wasn't if a coin could be flipped heads 20X in a row...it was whether anyone would flip a coin enough times to see that outcome. That's a pretty freaking clear distinction IMHO. And it appears, thanks to HUMAN NATURE, many have trouble seeing that distinction. And that, friend, is the source of many misleading stats IMHO.

The odds of my concept of "Planning for a Panic" so that when it happens, we can "Panic with a Plan" ?

What are the odds that, in the long descent post-Peak Oil, that the American people will become energized and do "something" with great energy and vigor ?

If President Gore had stood on a burned out fire truck at the WTC and said "If we are going to win the War of Terror, we cannot fund both sides", the odds were that we would be ahead of the curve post-Peak Oil today.

Another Pearl Harbor, another Sputnik, another 9/11, another catalyzing moment is likely to occur - we will not boil like frogs till the pot is dry. So the odds of a moment of "panic" or galvanizing moment - 70% ?

That politicians will respond with a plan of action (however ill conceived) - at least 80%, more likely 90+%. Say 85%.

On the front end, what are the odds of a reasonable group putting together a workable, fairly close to optimal plan ? Earlier, I would put low odds (5%). Now 30%.

The odds of being able to publicize it and put it near the forefront of political choices - 50% if we start with the right players.

The odds of the politicians choosing that reasonable plan alone ? 10% The odds of the politicians choosing most of that plan PLUS some special interest elements - 80%.

On the back end - the odds of implementing a good plan properly - 15%. The odds of implementing the plan in a way that works, but with "waste, fraud and abuse" - 80%.

The odds of the plan being implemented in time to "save our bacon" - 25%. The odds of the plan being implemented to "make a bad situation just a little bit better" - 95%

So chaining the suboptimal result chances I get -

30% x 50% x 80% x 70% x 85% x 80% x 95% = 5.4 %

Well worth taking a shot :-) And devoting a life to the pursuit thereof.

The lowest odds are the next step - *IF* I can get past that point, the odds of a suboptimal, but positive result jump to 16% ! And the odds of an optimal result approach 1% :-)

Best Hopes,


The odds of my concept of "Planning for a Panic" so that when it happens, we can "Panic with a Plan" ?

What are the odds that, in the long descent post-Peak Oil, that the American people will become energized and do "something" with great energy and vigor ?

If President Gore had stood on a burned out fire truck at the WTC and said "If we are going to win the War of Terror, we cannot fund both sides", the odds were that we would be ahead of the curve post-Peak Oil today.

Another Pearl Harbor, another Sputnik, another 9/11, another catalyzing moment is likely to occur - we will not boil like frogs till the pot is dry. So the odds of a moment of "panic" or galvanizing moment - 70% ?

That politicians will respond with a plan of action (however ill conceived) - at least 80%, more likely 90+%. Say 85%.

On the front end, what are the odds of a reasonable group putting together a workable, fairly close to optimal plan ? Earlier, I would put low odds (5%). Now 30%.

The odds of being able to publicize it and put it near the forefront of political choices - 50% if we start with the right players.

The odds of the politicians choosing that reasonable plan alone ? 10% The odds of the politicians choosing most of that plan PLUS some special interest elements - 80%.

On the back end - the odds of implementing a good plan properly - 15%. The odds of implementing the plan in a way that works, but with "waste, fraud and abuse" - 80%.

The odds of the plan being implemented in time to "save our bacon" - 25%. The odds of the plan being implemented to "make a bad situation just a little bit better" - 95%

So chaining the suboptimal result chances I get -

30% x 50% x 80% x 70% x 85% x 80% x 95% = 5.4 %

Well worth taking a shot :-) And devoting a life to the pursuit thereof.

The lowest odds are the next step - *IF* I can get past that point, the odds of a suboptimal, but positive result jump to 16% ! And the odds of an optimal result approach 1% :-)

Best Hopes,


Or IOW a long way to go to say we're screwed. LOL.

Yeah, the question remains, is this where we all end up?


A drought, not seen in 60 years, compounded with near complete lawlessness and utter disregard for human life has made it so.

It is hard to imagine, but dust and starvation are nearly everywhere you look, and the world's largest refugee camp is thick with misery on this night. The smell is a combination of the acrid sweetness associated with malnourishment, anxious sweat and diesel fuel.

The fuel is used to keep away the swarming flies. It stinks more than it repels.

Now there is a use for diesel fuel I had never even imagined!

some people here paint wood with it to dissuade termites. I have no information on its effectiveness.


Well, assuming one could flip a coin and record the effort in ~2 seconds, then you would need ~1-2 years time to basically prove the professor wrong, that is if you had a fair coin.

That should put this non-accident of 19 consecutive flips into perspective. Furthermore, the confidence of the professor should have led you to believe he was a huckster. Who would have the bravado to pull off an event like that when needed?

That is the essence of gut instinct that Rockman speaks of.

Couldn't you have sued the guy for fraud - after all, he's using falsified documents - of course there'd be no point in suing a poor guy ... ?

I despair of the younger generation, no forward thinking, a loaf of bread s few pats of butter a few beers, what;s wrong with an anchovy lunch?

If I see a coin flip heads 19X in a row you can bet I'll bet the farm the 20th flip will be heads. LOL. And how would you bet?

So if you see some random guy beat the dealer ten times in a row at three-card monte, would you pony up? Just like you say common sense. a random process that someone isn't going to switch on me?

If he's cheatin that bad he'll switch it for a double tail to take your farm ;)

"average weather" is just that and 'average'. If we cross some tipping point, it will only be able to be 'proved' in hindsight. This will be especially true given the paid deniers that exist it seems - everywhere. For every industry that has and impact there is someone who says they don't.

The last two springs here in western Oregon have been cold and wet. Our temps are something like 10 deg. below average. Do the wind farms in eastern Oregon, Washington, and California slow the wind enough to hold back the westerly flow of clouds? How would that effect the mid west or texas?

To think we can put up hundreds or thousands of wind mills and everything will stay the same is simply not rational.

The energy extracted from wind is a trivial % of the total. Cutting down (or growing) forests have much more impact. And even that should have minimal if any impact.


Don't underestimate the forests impact on the climate. They do a lot to increase moisture in the atmosphere, and that is a big issue. Windmill OTOHis only sucking up a percent of a percent of the wind energy, if even that.

Agree. Especially forest impact - clear cuts along ridge tops would drown out the effect of an army of windmills.

It has more to do with the anomalously low sea surface temperatures hugging the west coast all spring and summer, the La Nina that we have never really come out of, negative PNA, and we are in the cool phase of the (PDO) Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

Although the above is hard science, I'd like to throw in the possibility that global warming may be contributing to the pattern change, and that limited sea-ice may be altering oceanic circulation in ways we do not fully understand (way out there, I know).

I was surprised to learn upon my return to the PacNW in 2001 that it never snows here, hardly ever freezes, and you only need a light rain jacket in the winter. These opinions were all formulated during the multi-decadal warm period that began in ~1978 and began to fizzle out the middle of last decade.

It has been so cool this summer that right now at Paradise, on Mt. Rainier, there is still over 40 inches of snow on the ground. This at about 5500 feet.

Oklahoma and Texas droughts worsened significantly after governors asked citizens to pray for rain

"In light of the sustained drought, Governor Mary Fallin today asked all Oklahomans to set aside time this Sunday, July 17, to pray for rain." That was two weeks ago. The result is that Oklahoma went from the drought condition on the right to the one on the left in just two short weeks.

Sometimes you don't get what you want, you get what you need. Perhaps this time, it's another repudiation of the power of prayer. Or, perhaps doG wants another Dust Bowl to teach Texans and Okies a bit of humility...

E. Swanson

Ah, well, this is obviously God's answer to our hubris at thinking we can tell mighty god what to do. Just as rain appearing would have been him answering said prayers as a loving god.

Interesting that the reporter wrote "The result is that", as if he assumes there is a cause and effect relationship. If there is, this indicates that God is not cooperative in this matter, according to the reorter.

Drought in the southwest and mountain states of the US is what you expect from a persistent La Nina state in the Pacific. This appears to have been the case during the Midieval Warm Period when there were such droughts.

Climate Changes in the Last 1500 Years

This extreme shift from dry to wet climate on Washington Island but not Christmas
Island can be explained by a northward shift of the ITCZ. The picture emerging from these
proxy records, moreover, is that during the Medieval Warm Period, the tropical Pacific
resembled a 'permanent' La Nina state, with lower sea surface temperatures in the central
and higher sea surface temperatures in the western tropical Pacific than today. Computer
climate simulations for the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age support these two
major changes in the tropical Pacific climate. Especially the teleconnections between the
tropical SSTs (La Niña state) and the well-documented droughts in western North America
appear in simulations as robust features.

Excellent, timely.

You are welcome.

Special issue of PAGES News on the Medieval Climate Anomaly, warning 10 MB PDF.

From the Past Global Changes (PAGES) Project. http://www.pages.unibe.ch/

doh, i am a little reluctant to disregard this study, not because I am a denialist (I am not), but because I think it may give clues as to how climate forcing may be impacting regional climates today. It is not all about warming as you are aware.

But it is interesting to see things from the perspective that evidence of past warming events can be misused as arguments against the existence of anthropogenic global climate change.

I find it funny how people like that fail to use their skepticism on computer models, then in turn to claim those who point out the flaws of model's as deniers. You know the old saying garbage in garbage out, not that i think there is no warming going on. there defiantly is warming and we are the cause of it. Still one has to be careful with accepting on 'faith' that a model is correct.

For example look at the ipcc report and how it's models turned out to be wrong simply because they thought glaciers melted like ice cubes left out in the sun. turns out glaciers melt very differently and much faster making their models on ocean level increases orders of magnitude to slow. the faith that i see that computer model's are perfect from the very same people who claim to use their logical rational minds astounds me. I view this same faith as dangerous as people thinking nothing is happening.

The scientists largely understand their models, including their limitations. There are lots of other checks on things. A lot of secondary metrics that the public couldn't pay attention to, like stratospheric cooling, minimum temps rising faster than maximums, polar amplification. Now ice melting is largely an effect of the weather/climate, the fact that it isn't well understood isn't a huge impediment to determining for instance how much current warming is due to greenhouse gases. There is a lot of confidence in determining the degree of warming by higher levels of CO2 as well (as long as other things, like ice and vegetation are hled constant). Since those unkowns are largely positive feedbacks, most of the uncertainty is on the high side.

Everything old is new again?

Root cellars becoming cool again

The Ecology Action Centre is making grants available to those interested in starting community root cellars in Nova Scotia.

Project co-ordinator Marla MacLeod says root cellars are gaining interest as a no-energy way to store root vegetables.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2011/08/07/ns-root-cella...


The drop in oil has got to be a gift to China as they want to diversify out of US treasuries.The Chinese have talked about Peak oil and have been after energy and energy related assets.What better way to spend those excess US greenbacks.

When this round of trouble is over, China will have ended up with another big chunk of world oil export shares in their pockets. As the last time back in 2008.

Exactly JW. Lots of folks didn't notice the Chinese reaction to the oil price crashe in early '09. They went on a huge spending spree thansk to all those US $'s there were collecting as interest payments from us. And exactly why free enterprise companies compete poorly against a single minded govt entity. The Chinese didn't have to go to their shareholders or bankers to get the capital for their acquistions...they just pulled out their fat checkbook and began writting.

Once upon a time there was an ant and a grasshopper.... Why do we criticize the industrious?

They went on a huge spending spree thansk to all those US $'s there were collecting as interest payments from us.

The Chinese collect a pittance from their holdings of US debt.

The return on US Treasuries, depending on their term, go from low to negative.

The Chinese can buy oil because they sell a lot of stuff that people buy, even some useful stuff.

Yeah, what better place to put those "excess" greenbacks?

Beijing Has French Taste
"China Investment Corp. Nears Agreement to Invest $4.28 Billion in Energy Firm GDF Suez"

Behind a paywall, but google will find it...

E. Swanson

OT but... just to let you all know what the angry Eeyore has been up to this is what I decided to focus on for the last year (instead of focusing on the spirits still and the product thereof).

I know it is no solution (I considered naming the boat “Silver BeBe”) but it may have saved a life already (mine) and it turns out to be rocking good fun.

The boat is capable of re-generating itself (winding the rubberband) overnight so operation is net neutral (sorta).



Thanks for posting that, Jef. I'm impressed. Any specs on your boat? Especially the drive system, batteries, etc.

I've dreamed of building an old pontooner into an electric cruiser/camper to use on our TVA lakes. About a KW of PV on the roof, an electric outboard or a couple of trolling motors, and a nice set of batteries. When trailered to the house it could be a backup to our PV system. Alas, we have other priorities as things get dicey.

Thanks Ghung - Specs are on the left side and down under more info.

Edit; Moved "More Info" over to the right hand side

I wonder if the following alternator might work better for that application? It is designed for lower RPMs. Maybe through gearing or increase the number of turns in the coils to get sufficient voltage at even lower RPM. Perhaps a MPPT charger.



Very cool. My dream is a 14-acre urban farm on the Chicago river (any investors out there with a spare few million? I know exactly which piece of land I want) . This would be great for making deliveries. Or as a river shuttle.

Re: Wind Power Gains as Gear Improves, up top:

Iowa's wind generation reached 20 percent of the state's total electricity network during the second quarter, the American Wind Energy Association reports....

Iowa is the nation's second-largest wind capacity market, with more than 4,000 megawatts installed. Texas, with almost 9,000 megawatts, is the largest wind generator in the United States.


But Texas' percent of electricity generated from wind is much smaller than Iowa's (2008 data):

Percentage of electricity generated from wind.

- United States 1.30%

1 Minnesota 7.48%
2 Iowa 7.10%
3 Colorado 5.91%
4 North Dakota 4.86%
5 New Mexico 4.41%
6 Oregon 4.30%
7 Kansas 3.85%
8 Texas 3.52%
9 Washington 3.28%
10 Oklahoma 3.00%
11 California 2.67%
12 Hawaii 2.09%
13 Wyoming 2.00%
14 South Dakota 1.90%
15 Montana 1.89%
16 Idaho 1.68%
17 Illinois 1.06%
18 Massachusetts <1.00%
19 New Hampshire <1.00%
20 Rhode Island <1.00%
21 Vermont <1.00%
22 New York 0.92%
23 Maine 0.75%
24 Nebraska 0.67%
25 Wisconsin 0.66%
26 West Virginia 0.42%
27 Pennsylvania 0.33%
28 Missouri 0.21%
29 Indiana 0.18%
30 Alaska 0.10%
31 Michigan 0.10%
32 Tennessee 0.05%
33 New Jersey 0.03%
34 Alabama 0.00%
35 Arizona 0.00%
36 Arkansas 0.00%


I lived in AZ for over three decades. Very windy state, especially in the high desert valleys - no excuse for their 0% rating. I know many people who have personal wind generators there. The same for many other states, no doubt.


Why build wind generators when you have the biggest nuke plant in the country and export much of its production?

Base load demand is more than the nuke generates.


Yea, Alan, I was being a bit sarc. Though Palo Verde alone generates about of a third of Arizona's power, I've always been miffed as to why AZ hasn't gone all out on wind and solar, especially with the Colarado River drying up. I guess they need to use all of that Navajo and Hopi coal for something.

Navajo Nation passes green jobs legislation

In July 2009, the Navajo Nation became the first Native Nation to pass legislation promoting green jobs. The Navajo Council approved the legislation 62-1. One bill will create a new Navajo Green Economy Commission, which will oversee the approval and funding of small-scale, sustainable and low-polluting projects. A second bill will establish a Navajo Green Economy Fund, which creates an account for receiving federal, state, local, and private funds to make these green projects possible. For over a year, the Navajo Green Economy Coalition worked with Navajo Nation Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan to secure Council and community support for the legislation. The bills must be signed into law by President Joe Shirley, Jr.[11][12]

Congressional hearing focuses on Arizona coal plant closure

Leaders of three American Indian tribes said in a Congressional hearing on May 26, 2011 that closing a coal-fired power plant in northern Arizona would devastate their communities, leave hundreds without jobs and threaten water rights settlements.

Others that supported the closure spoke at the hearing on the role of Navajo Generating Station stating that the dire predictions are overblown. They urged Congress to transition the plant from coal to renewable energy to protect people's health and the environment.

Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta Mine contribute about $140 million in revenue and wages to the Navajo Nation, while the Hopi Tribe receives $13 million for its coal and water. Some 1,000 people are employed at the plant and the coal mine, the majority being American Indians.

A fifth of all congressmen taking paid-for holidays to Israel this summer

A fifth of members of the House of Representatives will be taking their summer holidays in Israel this year with almost all the trips being paid for by one of America's most powerful lobby groups.

The American Israel Education Foundation is shelling out to take around eighty congressmen to Israel during the summer recess period.

The group is supporting organisation to the American Israel Public Affair Committee (AIPAC) which describes itself as 'America's leading pro-Israel lobby'.

That's really good news. Maybe, just maybe, these congressmen will have a first hand encounter with the protests happening in Israel this year.

Israel PM forms panel to quell protests

"Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed a public protest that expresses real hardship," he said.

While Netanyahu's governing coalition faced no immediate threat, a summer of discontent in Israel has underscored the potential electoral impact of a burdened middle class rallying under the banner of "social justice" and rewriting a political agenda long dominated by security issues.

In under a month, the popular protest movement has swollen from a cluster of student tent-squatters into a diffuse, countrywide mobilisation of Israel's middle class.

"This [movement] really is reaching across Israeli society," Al Jazeera's Cal Perry said, reporting from the tent city in central Tel Aviv. "What people will tell you is that the middle class is slowly disappearing."

"The prime minister has formed a committee to take a look at what exactly the protesters want. The president said a few days ago that these are legitimate demands that the protesters have ... And it's going to take a financial burden on this country."

Wonder what they will think of a phenomenon called a middle-class revolt? Particularly, one where the banner of "social justice" moves ahead of that of "security issues"? This may be more educational, with regards to public policy, than they had bargained.

The Israeli protest has turned into a revolution

Following decades in which the public has curled up in its indifference and allowed a handful of politicians to run the country as they wished, the rules of the political game have changed.

Perhaps they'll be in time for the million man demonstrations later in August.

I personally think that this is a question of priorities. What do you do when your enemies Hamas and heszbolar receives from Iran , thousands of rockets aimed at your cities. a classical case of guns or butter.

The reason they are poor is the enemy not the tycoons robbing the people. Much like the US. LMAO.

Maybe one thing to do would be to stop stealing land from other people.

what's really telling is that the article is from the UK, not the US. Strange media blackout over here? I'll have to snoop around and see if ANY news outlet is covering this. It is nauseating news no matter who is covering it.

"paid-for holidays"? Shouldn't that be illegal? It is simple bribery.

No this is standard practice for the isrial lobby. It's how they use their billion plus aid to them that we give them to make sure it keeps coming and we keep taking out their 'enemies' so they don't have to. Also remember isrial is a theocratic democracy and the sect of Jewish faith that is in control as one of it's pillars is the belief that most of the middle east land in that area 'belong's' to them by divine right due to some ancient texts with dubious authors.

It's one of the two mistakes made in the 20th century in that region. the first one was letting the British empire divide up that area into artificial nations after ww1. the second was the united states and by extension the un(since they 'are' the majority controller of the un) giving in to the fierce lobbying of this same sect for a 'Jewish' homeland after the atrocity's done to them by the nazi's and as a side effect eclipsing the plight of all the other undesirable social groups and religious sects that were also persecuted by them.

Careful, lest you be accused of "antisemitism" by the American liberal thought police.

Growing up in America, one learns that the two broad groups who are beyond criticism or comment of any sort, not even in friendly jest, are blacks and Jews.

Don't want to go too far with this, but IMHO it's one more sign of our decline...if you can't joke about reality, it means that reality itself must be denied.

Which is not to say that this phenomenon is limited to the left; evolution and AGW denying evangelicals prove that.

We are basically a reality denying nation now.

Oilman, the politics wrt. Israel have flipped. Now the conservatives are the most ardent supporters. This probably is because some of the millenialist Christians beleive certain biblical phophesies regarding Israel must be fullfilled before the second coming, and see greater Israel as helping that along. Some members on the left even sympathize with the Palestinians. Although the risk/reward for a politician wrt Israel is still so skewed that Dem politicians are mostly full throated supporters. But, the only real non-supporters of Israel in the US are left of center (bit few are professional politicians).

lest you be accused of "antisemitism"

Consider it done.

But then again, what else should the world's next Kaiser (Caesar)/ Hitler expect?

It takes a true coward/ megalomaniac to pick on one of the world's smallest countries and near extinct peoples. Go find somebody your own Etu size Caesar.

Why don't you say something derogatory about "Chinese" people (population: 1Billion plus)?
Why don't you say something derogatory about "Hindu" people (population: 1Billion plus)?

Hint: They are both great fans of your Islamofacist/Nazi expansionist ideologies.

Note: you've got 2-3 ha ha derogatory jests above about blacks and jews versus this one, in your face come back.
Let's limit it to this being the final (solution) word --ha ha.

Interactive map of the riots which seem to be spreading across London:

London riots: all incidents mapped in Tottenham, Brixton, Hackney and Greater London

The situation seems to be getting worse. I wonder if these sporadic protests will grow into a revolution as in the MEND countries with 10's of thousands occupying Trafalgar Square? Or Greek like protests against austerity? Like one protester/rioter said, it's the only way to get the government to acknowledge there is a problem.

Well if it's gonna happen, hopefully it is before the next season of American Idol, otherwise us Americans will ignore it.

Expect 10x such events when the financial crisis strikes full on, the TPTB underestimate the power of internet in spreading ideas. Even if MSM is controlled, the world of underground blogs and social networking is not, I am already seeing many people (previously called sheeple) in my network beginning to voice such ideas.

I just watched todays edition of the 19:30brodcast of the most popular swedish news program on TV. I was more scared of that than I ever been fromany zombie-movie. Loads of so called "experts" with totaly uninformed opinions on the economy. My favorite was the CEO of on of the largest banks urging the gouvernment for "demand stimulating measurments". They realy have no idea about what is going on.

Or, like me, part of me is cheering them on. Another part thinks it will end badly, so maybe it isn't such a good idea. IMO its mostly inspired by the Arab Spring. While that was/is impressive and inspiring, I don't think any of the places it ocurred at are better off. Revoution almost always produces a worse result.

Welcome to Caostán/Chaostan.

Induced chaos, maybe? Perhaps that's why the government is away on holiday and they don't bother to go back, three days later even the Mayor is not back in London or not yet.
A few pacific demonstrators in Israel and they blow it up to the level of a revolution.
Tottenham, it was much worse in the eighties, the howling mob murdered a policeman and tried to hack his head off with their knives.
I reckon it will be called off soon, when this rubbish with the markets has run its course.

There are no genuine protests taking place over here. It's all just a small minority of opportunistic thugs trying to steal as much as they can, with a slight lust for violence. There's no anger as far as I can make out and most of the local community are horrified.

If you say so, Bashar.

I'm just telling it how it is. The initial peaceful protests were by family and friends of Mark Duggan who was killed by the police under unclear circumstances. Even those members of the family and friends are now saying that their protest was hi-jacked by mindless thugs who were just after wanton violence and a new tv.

Of course, you can believe what you want...

Seemingly the riots have spread to the UK's second largest city Birmingham. I think all that's missing is a 'Plausible Promise' to ignite a rebellion. As explained by John Robb:

For an open source revolt to be successfully formed, it needs a plausible promise. A meta issue around which all of the different factions etc. can form (remember, most of the groups and individuals involved in an open source revolt can't agree on anything but some basic concepts).

It will be interesting to see if other actors enter the ring and whether a plausible promise emerges.

Ordinary ethnic violence requires much less theory.

From what I've been watching on the BBC I wouldn't describe it as ethnic. It's a multicultural riot, the violence seems to be directed mainly at the police, as well as opportunistic looting and vandalism.

The original spark was the shooting of a black man by the police. By now anarchists and opportunists have undoubtedly joined in. In the videos on Guardian's web site there are lots of blacks as well as whites.

From the Telegraph -- Riots: the underclass lashes out

London's rioters are the products of a crumbling nation, and an indifferent political class that has turned its back on them.

Agents-provocateurs? To enable the next turn of the screw, ratcheting up the surveillance state?

After all, that's the most likely outcome: "we need more police and more surveillance cameras! Everyone must carry photo ids! All residents of Tottenham must have a 'T' tattooed on their foreheads!"

Giving rise to High Chancellor Adam Sutler?

Anarchy in the U.K.!

It does look like organised looting by gangs now, regardless of the original protests. As expected, the original intention will be lost under looting and violence. This will mean the police will have to raise their offensive and then it's a warzone for the civilians.

Frankly if people are looting under pretense of protesting, rubber bullets. If these criminals want to make things worse for themselves and everyone around them then i have little sympathy.

These are just opportunistic arsonists and thieves.

The origins of the riots are irrelevant; if somebody was carrying a gun, or a fake gun, they knew what to expect. Carrying firearms is illegal in Britain except with a licence for shooting animals, in the country.

Some people are trying to blame deprivation and racism but the reality is that the riots are just plain looting. I couldn't care less about deprivation and colour because in Britain there is very little true colour prejudice and education up to a high level can be practically free. If people choose to have children carelessly and not bring them up properly, that is their decision, but to bring up uneducated children isolated in a gang culture of pretend deprivation is a matter of choice, not societal impost.

I have no sympathy and the government should tell it how it is.

Well. The sort of distribution of attitudes which allows such an event to be sustained, doesn't just happen by accident. Put a bunch of people in a situation where their odds of escaping misery are low. Then blame them for their situation. Then start taking more and more. Soon enough people will form disrespectful attitudes against, authority, and the more successful classes of people, that something like this will happen. Usually those pathways out that you mention are not very viable and easy to take. It requires some sort of outside assistance, other than just labeling all those who don't make it as unworthy. If that isn't done, this is the entirely predictable result.

In the last few years there have been high profile scandals of corruption among large numbers of MPs, senior police, the media, the banking class, etc. The middle and lower class have been getting progrssively poorer, and the rich are seen to get ever richer. This is simple economic rebellion - "if the rich are taking so much, then we are going to take what we want too". In part it is a kick-back from the expectation to entitlement under the walfare state, partly real anger and hopelessness, it is mostly unintelligent, undirected, smashing up their own communities, but it is also being inflamed and exploited by twittering organised criminal gangs to hoover up as much looted material as possible to sell on the black market.

Everybody is on the take and everybody gets exploited and everybody loses.


I agree with you both up to a point, what is there to disagree with, but a system that encourages single parenthood through a misplaced divorce, housing and benefits system is contributing to a generation of family - proper family - deprived children who do not have the strong social structures that engender hard work in either education or training. True, the rich have been milking the state for their own benefit - for ever! - and perhaps it suits them to create a feckless society of unattached youth, but a consumer society where many are unable to consume needs to be addressed from the inside, and we are failing to do this.

The politicians and bankers promising a growth that cannot happen no longer ring true and the public has largely sussed their lies, and we do need to create a fairer state where more is shared.

But: these riots are purely opportunistic and this is not the time to look at the bigger picture. Wrong remains wrong, whatever people pretend their motives might be. Still I always expected or society to end in mayhem and lawlessness, and nothing changes my opinion, given that the rich are so few and that they are now so hated, by practically everybody. The police look totally lost as to how to respond, and the kids know that. They sense the fear.

and perhaps it suits them to create a feckless society of unattached youth

I think that is more of an unintended byproduct of their thinking and policies. The sort of thinking that blames the downtrodden for their condition, and then turns around and takes opportunities away from them. Thats the natural human emotional reaction to such events. This creates a very nasty dynamic. A frustrated class throws a very nasty public temper tantrum. Then the rest of society is horrified, and chooses to crack down and withdraw support, so the group becomes even more desperate. Then they throw another even worse tantrum. Rinse and repeat...
Looked at from orbit, you can discern the pattern, and the need to break it. But, imbedded in the society up close and personal, most people follow the dynamic programming that perpetuates the cycle. And politicians know how to play on people's fears and resentments, so doing the right thing becomes really really hard.

But: these riots are purely opportunistic and this is not the time to look at the bigger picture. Wrong remains wrong, whatever people pretend their motives might be.

I would avoid words like purely. Some are motivated by other things. Probably mostly it is going along with crowd psychology, and releasing pentup emotion, and joining in the excitement. But, you obviously have quite a few people -some coming in from outside, who just want to take advantage of an opportunity.

Again, right and wrong, aren't fundamentals, they are defined with respect to cultural norms and values. If you belong to a group that believes it has been wronged and cheated out of its heritage, you will view taking stuff from your oppressor, as not oppotunistic, but almost a responsibility. And you will probably disrespect those norms, since they appear to be (one of) the means of holding you down. The legend of Robin Hood is enduringly popular (take from the rich, give to the poor), becasue people want to right social wrongs.

One wonders what the impact of the Arab spring is on this particular set of riots, and how facebook, twitter, etc. might enable the situation in the UK and future demonstrations to reach critical mass.

How is this larger battle over internet based social mobilization going to play out?

"I'm just telling it how it is."

You are telling how you see it.

What is setting off the mindless thugs? Just the opportunity? Why should this opportunity justify the degree of violence being exhibited? Could there be some deeper issues lurking?

I am NOT on the side of mindless thugs, BTW.

My initial response to you was due to your language being semantically identical to that used by every authoritarian government in recent history to justify a crackdown. Hence the "Bashar" reference.

I am not intimately connected with the events there, nor do I particularly believe this or that about the situation.

I wish you luck. I wish us all luck.

I am NOT on the side of mindless thugs, BTW.

Are you deliberately or accidently permitting yourself to side with them, if it is determined that they are mindful thugs?

What are they mindful of? "Mindless" was not my adjective, in any case.

I can recall some kids from my well healed suburban town/(high-school class) participating in the Newark riots in the 60's. It was all a chance to score some free booty, normal rules and inhibitions being inoperative. I don't think thats how these sorts of things start, but once going opportunists rush in.

You may be right but complex issues have a way of rearing their heads here and there. I can already imagine many people thinking about this as a socio-ethnic conflict between ethnic minorities and the majority. In times of economic boom this could have been shoved under the carpet but in exceptional times like these people will not forget this easily, the scars will run deep and cause more trouble in the future.

Grow into a revolution, you have got to be joking. these riot started when a drug dealer resisted arrest shot at cop, and they opened firer and they killed him. By the way the so called victim hit the cop in his chest.Pray in this case did not save the cop. his bullet proof vest and his radio is the hero of this piece. The police cordoned,off can I say this, predominantly black area and literally let it burn itself out. If there is going to be a revolution it will come from the indigenous white population. There are stirrings among the Aboriginals but vilification of them by the MSM and heavy handed policing, most Brits are keeping there heads down Give it a couple of years to build up a head of pressure. I think that is enough for one sesion.

By the way the so called victim hit the cop in his chest.Pray in this case did not save the cop. his bullet proof vest and his radio is the hero of this piece.

Or is this the true version?

Doubts emerge over Duggan shooting as London burns

The Guardian understands that initial ballistics tests on a bullet, found lodged in a police radio worn by an officer during Thursday's incident, suggested it was police issue – and therefore had not been fired by Duggan.

...The latest developments come as one community organiser suggested the handgun recovered was found in a sock and therefore not ready for use.

Seemingly the gun was only capable of firing blanks and couldn't possibly have been used to fire at the police. The policeman seems to have been shot by another police officer. Keystone cops.

The gun had apparently been modified and was capable of firing and apparently loaded. However it was not fired and does not appear to have been in the suspect's hand - some reports say it was found inside a sock.

It now appears according to Channel 4 News that the policeman who fired the fatal shot also shot himself - injuring his arm and destroying his police radio.

If the gun was never in sight then it seems he would have been shot dead even if he had no weapon.

The family of the deceased, Mark Duggan, are very clear though that they are totally disgusted by the rioting and do not condone it in any way.

Fires and riots now reported breaking out in Manchester and Birmingham tonight. BBC broadcast van attacked and destroyed in Manchester in last few minutes. Occupants managed to get away.

"the indigenous white population"

What, the Picts? Or whatever the pre-Celtic population was?

Of course, even they came into the land at some point. And every other "white" population thereafter were definitely not indigenous or aboriginal in any very deep sense--Celts came mostly in the centuries BC, a few Romans thereafter, the precious (or godless or goddamn, take your pick) Anglo-Saxons around 500 CE, Vikings (also godless, unless you include Loki and friends) around 7-800, and of course, Normans (nominally Christian, but pretty bloody god-awful, nonetheless)--1066 and all that--and a smattering of other over the years.

Like the US, the UK is largely a country of immigrants--many just came a few centuries earlier.

Please, give it a break, people such as yourself are grasping at straws. "We're all immigrants because we're not living in some valley in Africa" isn't much of an argument.

It is, of course, much more comfortable for bigots to ignore history.

Great Britain, for the most part, consisted of one ethnic people since the middle of the 11th century until the middle of the 20th.

That's 900 years - a fairly long time by historical and generational standards. And it's all changed in less than half a century.

Now, it's not a long time, at all, by evolutionary standards. But this path leads to a reductio ad absurdum.

Again, the main point being that most of the "immigration" to the British Isles was initially of European peoples, then they remained one ethnic group for 900 years, then all of a sudden there was a surge of people from across the entire world, with completely different ethnic/cultural/racial backgrounds.

Still, I find this academic. Britain, unlike North America, is a small, crowded, and paved over island. It can't, and it won't, support endless immigration.

I think that starting in ohh about 1066 there were at least two ethnic groups in England; Anglo-Saxons and Normans. I also think that, at least thru WW2, those two groups existed relatively separately.

This is just pure Rubbish William brought over about 6,000 -7,000 Norman soldiers The populations was bobbing along at about 1,000,000 that is less than 1% of the Population, many of these were mercenaries who buggered off back to Normandy when the contract finished and he had got himself nicely settled in and secure after the raising of the North. It was an invasion not a migration The Normans had virtually no effect on the gene pool.

My wife made an interesting comment about immigrants recently. She said that, in the USA at least, we have always had immigrants and always treated them badly and they always did the jobs that the previous waves of immigrants didn't want to do. Ultimately they moved up in the society and got to sneer at the latest batch of newcomers.

But its different now. Without an economy expanding faster than the population growth there is no possible growth path for the latest arrivals. They become mired in the poverty at the bottom of the economic ladder. Any movement upward is resisted by those just scraping by. The poverty, in the face of nearby wealth, leads to a high incidence of crime. The poor, especially if they are easy to identify by skin color, become stigmatized. And angry.

in the USA at least, we have always had immigrants and ["we"] always treated them badly

IIRC, Christopher Columbus came ashore without a Green Card.

IOW, he was an illegal immigrant; and also infected with microbes (a.k.a. biological weapons of mass destruction) for which "we" had no defenses.

The Pilgrims are yet another case of illegal and criminally behaving immigrants.
After "we" showed them how to plant corn, they thanked us with their gun powder.

So the case can be made that the "immigrants" behaved badly and "we" should have dealt more harshly with them.

Yes. You also suffered from some very bad historical breaks. The seven years war (which Americans call the French and Indian) was about which superpower (France versus Britian) got control over colonies (Americas, and elsewhere, especially India). Many of the tribes sided with the French, since their pattern was not to conquer, but to trade. And being on the losing side hurts very badly. Then one of the issues in the so called revolutionary war, was restrictions on westward expansion. Again the indians had strong motivation to choose the side which lost.

Disease flow was a two way street. There is evidence that Syphilis came to Europe when Columbus returned from his first voyage.

The natives in America had corn, the Brits did not. They also had cultivated fields, and villages with streets. Problem is that, after the first wave of immigration, our diseases wiped out most of the natives, and the streets and villages were essentially empty. Made our "conquest" a bit easier, I'd say.

One other nice distinction... the natives did not have any concept of ownership of land. The land was a common asset... though I would suppose that the native who planted and harvested a crop of corn had some proprietary say, it was also a common asset.


Not to mention in the past they could 'move west' to get a fresher start too.

London Burns As Rioters And Looters Run Amok

Sky reporter Mark Stone filmed stores being damaged and said he could not see any police officers.

He said people were smashing the windows of a Ladbrokes, a Wimpey and a hairdressers.

He said: "I cannot see one policeman at all. They are dealing with problems elsewhere.

"This is quite extraordinary. Every shop they can find they are looting."

Prime Minister David Cameron is to return to London overnight in the wake of the unrest and will chair a meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra on Tuesday.

And Britain's most senior police officer has called on parents to contact their children as he urged the public to clear London's streets.

There are fires burning in multiple areas of London. Serious trouble in Birmingham reported as well. New reports of serious trouble in Liverpool coming in now according to Sky News.

I lived in England for 3 years. I have very middle east looks. I was always treated fairly by the police and by the people. I tend to believe the police side of the story. I think most of the rioters riot for free looting and not due to injustice.

I think once a lawless situation develops, opportunists rush in to take advantage. Very likely the original demonstration/disturbace seemed justified to the participants, but then greedy opportunists took advantage of the situation. Of course the feeling that your type is discriminated against, and is given no chance at a good life, makes it easy to justify looting the man's stuff. It probably requires that the overall level of percieved oppression among the people must be above a certain threshold, before such an event can get going and be sustained. Sometimes people make a note of who they think are friends/sympathizers. A few years some some memebers of a minority rented a house on my block. I greeted them as welcome neighbors, everyone else acted as if they were unwelcome crime risks. I heard stories of petty crime, stuff vanishing from cars/garages. Virtually every house had such a story. My house was totally untouched even though I didn't take any special measures to avoid it. So, if the community considers store owners to be exploiters, rather than members of the community, it is a lot easier to self-justify looting them.

That's an interesting story.

It sounds like "everyone else", that considered them crime risks, were right, and thus, eventually, were justified in regarding them as unwelcome.

Did these people move in there for honest reasons, or was it because there were fresh pickings to be had?

You, could say both sides were right. The predictions (of the victims) became self-fufilling. My presumption that they were just some humans going through bad times that I could empathise with, was also borne out. They were there in a rental house because they could afford it (by putting more than a single family into the house). After the owner abandoned the property (since housing prices are 50% of peak), they stayed on as squatters, because there was no-one to pay the rent to. The house was eventually bought, from foreclosure by investors, who kicked them out, and fixed it up and resold it.

I would say the "plausible promise" binding the rioters is that of free consumer goods, bundles of street cred and venting their antagonism against the authorities.

We're again seeing dismay from people at what is happening, but I think it is exactly what we should be expecting. In fact this is something I posted in the July 30th Drum Beat:

No go areas for modern commerce and finance as existing channels become increasingly bypassed and made redundant. A social quicksand which becomes impenetrable to outside onlookers with a comprehensive irreverence and disobedience towards the authority of the State.

The trend is already building and as time goes on more and more people will be swept up by it as they fall from the shrinking world of BAU. New loyalties will probably come into being, based on new and different survival strategies.

We now have the elite looting at the top and the underclass looting at the bottom, all of which is going to drive the middle class towards extinction. The Ghettoes will beckon for those loosing their foothold in the world of BAU.

I'm not so sure it's an underclass thing, more an age thing. It's almost exclusively youths involved in this.

And it definitely doesn't have universal support even in the poorer areas as this West Indian woman from Hackney colourfully demonstrates:


But I'm starting to agree that there is a bigger underlying cause to this. If these kids all had decent jobs/prospects/owned property then I'm sure they'd be much less inclined to join in. I can't see many upper class, polo playing kids trashing the place up...

I'm not so sure it's an underclass thing, more an age thing. ..... If these kids all had decent jobs/prospects/owned property

Typically "underclass" lack things like jobs/prospects/owned property.

Alright, well I'm trying to point out that it's not all walks of life participating like we saw in the Middle East, it's very much predominantly young to very young men/boys.

But it wasn't all walks of life as in the Middle East.

Unless you mean the pro "keep the present leadership in" counterdemonstrations.

Was there not a overclass/underclass there also?

Handouts of $5K a year keeps the underclass in the US of A from 'biting the hand that feeds them' and 5K is far cheaper than 30K cost of jail. If the "get rid of the social handouts" win in the US of A its either because they've bought into their own propaganda OR have an awesome police state in mind.

Ok. Well perhaps I'm biased as I'm stuck in the middle of all this whilst I watch other situations from afar.

But something just feels different about it. There's no demands for anything (as contrasted with demands for democracy, freedom, education, food etc. elsewhere). An equal, if not bigger, number of people from the same communities are joining up to clean up the neighbourhood.

Will just have to see how it turns out.

Looking like a down day on the markets. Wondering how widespread knowledge of the S&P downgrade was among the folks that got in on the action a little earlier on Thursday?

Anyone have an idea what the new bottom for oil will be?

Oct - Down less than 4% right now. Much todo about nuthin IMHO. Ole Ben B can make one speech and knock it down that far. I suspect the bargain hunting is already beginning by the savvy traders. Seems as though the predictions of the downgrade having already been factored in to some degree is correct.

I won't pay attention to the market for at least a week...see where we end up then.

Too much politics for me in the S&P show. Was the thing trying to hide a poor global economy?

People are complaining about politics when they should be more proactive. I guess the energy slide is going to be about heightened politics rather than working toward solutions in a proactive way. Too bad we humans act like a bunch of monkeys. ;-)

Apes not monkeys. ;)

Much like myself. Bad timing however. Kids fall tuition is due. It was their turn to pay from the college funds, but I'd rather wait and not get caught selling at the bottom. So Mom & Dad's checkbooks will be tapped instead..... I guess we will be eating plain brown rice for a while now.

I was smart/lucky (for once) and stayed completely out of this market. Being at the tail end of the baby boom I got clobbered one to many times in what seems like a wack-a-mole game to my generation. I am borrowing heavily from someone else's post from a few weeks back with regards to the wack-a-mole game, but that lines up perfect with my perception of the markets. I got fooled a couple of times - but not this time. Think, internet bubble, real-estate, etc.

Me and you are not so much different though. I am still trying to dig out from 2008 and I have tuition coming due for my daughter in two weeks.

This is why truth is getting harder and harder to find. The age of the spin-meisters...

PR Industry Fills Vacuum Left by Shrinking Newsrooms

The Gulf oil spill was 2010's biggest story, so when David Barstow walked into a Houston hotel for last December's hearings on the disaster, he wasn't surprised to see that the conference room was packed. Calling the hearing to order, Coast Guard Captain Hung Nguyen cautioned the throng, "We will continue to allow full media coverage as long as it does not interfere with the rights of the parties to a fair hearing and does not unduly distract from the solemnity, decorum, and dignity of the proceedings." It's a stock warning that every judge gives before an important trial, intended to protect witnesses from a hounding press. But Nguyen might have been worrying too much. Because as Barstow realized as he glanced across the crowd, most of the people busily scribbling notes in the room were not there to ask questions. They were there to answer them.

"You would go into these hearings and there would be more PR people representing these big players than there were reporters, sometimes by a factor of two or three," Barstow said. "There were platoons of PR people."

The dangers are clear. As PR becomes ascendant, private and government interests become more able to generate, filter, distort, and dominate the public debate, and to do so without the public knowing it. "What we are seeing now is the demise of journalism at the same time we have an increasing level of public relations and propaganda...

Money talks. Agree 100%.

Only agree 90%. He gives the impression this process has just started. Its been clear its been this way for several years already. Better late than never. But how do we fight this thing?

At the same time we see the rise of new media, blogs, twitter and everything else Internet based. The more they try to spin their news, the more people will turn away from mass media to less controlled source of information.

Or maybe not. Would be nice, tho.

That is dependent on whether 'new media, blogs, twitter and everything else Internet based' has a seat at the table. The [checks &] balance has definitely shifted. The funding, as noted in the article, has shifted also.

Have any of the protests around the world resulted in economic change? Yes Egypt and Tunisia pushed out the head dictator. But beyond that any change? I can not think of any. So it looks more like letting the workers vent. No big deal.

"So it looks more like letting the workers vent."

The smart dictators know that, and make appropriate soothing noises. You know, rather than sending in the tanks and just mowing down the populace.

This reminds me of the original Star Trek, episode 21: Return of the Archons.

The U.S.S. Enterprise is investigating Beta III, where the U.S.S. Archon disappeared over 100 years before.

When the landing party exhibits strange behavior, Kirk sends another party down to investigate. They find the culture on Beta III is quiescent, with no creative tendencies. The entire culture is controlled by a group of 'lawgivers' known as "The Body" which is, in turn, controlled by the omniscient Landru. The inhabitants change from normal, peaceful people to a violent mob at the coming of the Red Hour. This 'Festival' is the society's only outlet for the tyrannical hold that Landru has over them at all other times.

It must be the "Red Hour" in the London burbs..

Good ol' Landru! I watched Star Trek on TV from when it first came out - what a trip - I couldn't believe this stuff was on TV! Been 20 years now since I've watched TV.

Anyway, Festival time...

"Are you of the body?"

"Yes Brother. May peace and contentment be with you."

Spock convinces the computer (controlling the people) to destroy itself because the logic is it must rid itself for the good of the body.

I remember that episode clearly!
I remember being totally creeped out by DeForrest Kelly (Dr. McCoy) as he snooped around his former colleagues until he "outed" them as not being "Of The Body".

jabby - And to add to the creepy factor: back then we had a Mayor Landru in Nawlins. And he had an similar erie demeanor about him...way to calm in a town that drinks a lot of dark roast chicory coffee. Very unnatural in these parts.

His son is Mayor of New Orleans (and a nearly 80% approval rating - calling a spade a spade and admitting mistakes - with corrections - helps).

And his daughter is our US Senator (we disown Sen. Vitter). And he is a retired federal judge.

Best Hopes for the Landrieu's,


Aha...so it appears all the Landrieus are of the body. Must be sumtin in the water.

""Must be sumtin in the water.""

Yep, usually runs in the Family.

It's called MONEY.

Choose Wisely.
The Martian.

For what it is worth:

Netflix currently has the original Star Trek, Star Trek - The Next Generation, and Voyager available online.

Not trying to advertise for NF, but rather to say if nostalgia hits to wanna rewatch them, you currently can on NF.

Successful revolutions require that the police and armed forces go over to the side of the revolutionaries. This usually happens only when the country is reduced to extremis by losing a war or economic collapse. What also usually happens is that the former oligarchy/plutocracy, etc., lose power and are replaced by a strong man who emerges as the revolutionary leader and concentrates autocratic power in the executive.


And many times the revolutionary leadership are people who want to be in charge but won't be allowed by the ruling class they are working to replace.

Some change -- Egypt's Pharmaceutical Shortage Is Now A Crisis

Pharmaceutical companies in post-revolutionary Egypt are having trouble importing medicines and the materials necessary to produce them, causing a severe shortfall that threatens hundreds of thousands of Egyptians with paralysis or death, according to a United Nations report.
Hosni Mubarak was not deposed by the Egyptian people or by the army, but by what the novelist Saul Bellow once called the Good Intentions Paving Company.

Natural Gas exports have declined as well:

Egypt: Wednesday, August 03 - 2011 at 08:52
Egypt has said its natural gas production rose by 6.1% in the first five months of 2011 to 19,363 tonnes from 19,056 tonnes in the same period of last year, Kuna has reported. Exports of natural gas and its derivatives during the period fell 7.12% to $885m, compared to $1.014bn in same period in 2010, the government said.

Natural gas exports to Israel were a solid source of revenue; emphasis on 'were'. ~$300 million/year would buy a lot of bread for somebody.

This is the bind for all energy exporters. The Export Land Model problem. What to do without energy or food or inputs to make pharmaceuticals, etc.

Behind a paywall, but maybe someone has a subscription. Not sure if this is about the same Jadwa report or not.

Report: Saudi oil exports declining due to domestic demand

Eric Watkins Oil Diplomacy Editor Saudi Arabia's oil exports look to decline sharply over the long term as the Middle Eastern country's own domestic demand is expected to consume more of its production. "

KSA's oil exports will likely decline because nobody will be able to afford it.

North and South American markets finished sharply lower today with shares in Brazil leading the region. The Bovespa is down 7.82% while U.S.'s S&P 500 is off 6.66% and Mexico's IPC is lower by 5.85%.


They may as well keep it and produce value added products and food for their own markets and Chindia.

2008 redux....

Nature bats last: Notes on revolution and resistance, revelation and redemption

... Ask an audience to name the three most important revolutions in human history, and the most common answers are the American, French, and Russian. But to understand our current situation, the better answer is the agricultural, industrial, and delusional revolutions. While those national revolutions had dramatic effects, not only on those nations but on the course of the history of the past two centuries, these other revolutions not only reshaped the lives of every human but remade the world in ways that may spell the end of human history as we know it.

The agricultural, industrial, and delusional revolutions were -- to use a current political cliché -- real game-changers.

... The agricultural revolution set us on a road to destruction. The industrial revolution ramped up our speed. The delusional revolution has prevented us from coming to terms with the reality of where we are and where we are heading...

Delusional Revolution. That's a good name. I'd labelled it "the rise of Unreason", with a capital U, but "Delusional Revolution" is better.

Personally, I blame Walt Disney and his happy endings.

I hope you haven't copyrighted "delusional revolution", and will instead OpenSource the term, and your use of it. Its too good to waste.

Tropical storm threatens China chemical plant

Workers at a chemical plant in China are scrambling to protect the facility after waves from a powerful tropical storm breached coastal defences, the state news agency Xinhua reports.

Xinhua said people living near the Fujiahua chemical plant in Dalian, a city in Liaoning, were being evacuated after the dyke protecting it from the sea was breached on Monday morning.

... A serious chemical leakage would be a fresh headache for Liaoning, which recently suffered an oil spill from two offshore platforms.

Toxic chromium found in Chicago's drinking water

Chicago's first round of testing for a toxic metal called hexavalent chromium found that levels in local drinking water are more than 11 times higher than a health standard California adopted last month.

But it could take years before anything is done about chromium contamination in Chicago and scores of other cities, in part because industrial polluters and municipal water utilities are lobbying to block or delay the Obama administration's move toward national regulations.

... researchers say there is strong evidence that years of exposure to chromium-contaminated water can cause stomach cancer.

This is not good news, but has been on the horizon for a while.

As it happens, I have had some contact with Tom LaPorte (mentioned in the article) when he was Deputy Commissioner of the Water Department. I doubt he'd be working for an agency that put people unnecessarily at risk. I think Chicago will find ways to filter Chromium-6 from the water. Sadly, it's unlikely we'll get co-operation from Indiana to crack down on corporations pouring toxics into Lake Michigan.

Just in case, though, I own a Berkey water filter (filters heavy metals, but they don't specify whether this includes Hexavalent chromium.)

Cr+6 in minute concentrations only causes cancer in Hollywood movies.

In my opinion, it's all about the LD50 and longer term issues, like cancer.

The 96 h LD50 for hexavalent and trivalent chromium was found to be 75 and 1,000microg fish(-1), respectively. Groups of fishes were injected intraperitoneally with 10, 1, 0.1 and 0.01% LD50 hexavalent and trivalent forms of chromium and subsequently immunised with bovine serum albumin (5 mg in 0.2 ml physiological saline). Both forms of chromium suppressed the antibody response, with hexavalent chromium being more suppressive than trivalent chromium.


I worked on quite a few level I-III environmental investigations, from Superfund sites to corner gas stations. The story that sealed the deal for me on how compromised our water supplies are has to do with Chicago, and the chemical munitions plant in Newport, IN. Seems they had something in there called the "deep injection well", where some of the process waste was theoretically injected at a depth below the deepest aquifer, and presumably then just sat there. They operated the injection well for over 20 years, some of that time disposing of the troublesome remnants of VX nerve agent production. Upon a dye test in the 80's after most production at the plant had ceased, they discovered flow from the well reached Chicago aquifers in less than a month.

We tested for a lot of analytes, and hexavalent chromium was among the most vanilla. 2,4,6-Trinitromethylbenzene was a good one. Anyway, we sent some sketchy-looking samples out and got nothing back, so I think even our thorough profile missed quite a few fun things that your municipal water authority has never even heard of.

Heels - And that's a real potential threat to deep well disposal. Properly designed (and monitored) deep injection is the best way to go. But the risk of a failed cement job or casing corrosion is a critical issue. A properly designed injection well costs much more than a typical producing well drilled to the same depth...perhaps several times. But even if designed properly it can still fail. Has been documented a number of times in Texas...usually salt water contamination. The injected nasties can be very corrosive and eventually eat away the strongest chrome alloy out there. That's why the regs in Texas require periodic testing of casing integrity. It's not a cheap process but very straight forward.

As I keep hammering about frac'ng: it physically impossible to inject any fluid that deep underground and have it migrate up through thousands of feet of Mother Earth. OTOH it's very easy to pump millions of gallons of poisen into shallow fresh water aquifers if corrosion eats a hole in the casing up shallow. Just an educated guess but I'm pretty sure that's happened in this instance: either the nasties are being pump back up through failed cement in the annulus or they actually have a shallow hole in the casing and are directly pumping the nasties in.

The private companies/public utilities will do anything to hide such problems. No company could finacially survey the lawsuites that would follow such a discovery. Thus strict monitoring and testing of any such op shoud be mandatory. Injection problems readily fall into the "out of sight...out of mind" category.

Deep injection wells are a good way to get rid of nasties...if done properly and verified by the regulators.

Tohoku tsunami created icebergs in Antarctica

To put the dynamics of this event in perspective: An earthquake off the coast of Japan caused massive waves to explode out from its epicenter. Swells of water swarmed toward an ice shelf in Antarctica, 8,000 miles (13,600 km) away, and about 18 hours after the earthquake occurred, those waves broke off several chunks of ice that together equaled about two times the surface area of Manhattan. According to historical records, this particular piece of ice hadn't budged in at least 46 years before the tsunami came along.

Fukushima City secretly dumping tons of radioactive dirt – Situation expected to worsen

... The Fukushima city government has not made this place known to the public, even to residents living near the area. That's because it is the dumping site for huge amounts of radioactive sludge and dirt collected by city residents cleaning up and decontaminating their neighborhoods.

"(If we did make the site public), garbage from other residents might come flooding in," a Fukushima city official said, emphasizing that the disposal site is only "temporary."

One wonders how "temporary" the radiation levels will be.

Who cares? If you are happy and smiling, there are no radiation effects.

AP IMPACT: Japan ignored own radiation forecasts

Japan's system to forecast radiation threats was working from the moment its nuclear crisis began. As officials planned a venting operation certain to release radioactivity into the air, the system predicted Karino Elementary School would be directly in the path of the plume emerging from the tsunami-hit Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

But the prediction helped no one. Nobody acted on it.

The school, just over six miles (10 kilometers) from the plant, was not immediately cleared out. Quite the opposite. It was turned into a temporary evacuation center.

Reports from the forecast system were sent to Japan's nuclear safety agency, but the flow of data stopped there. Prime Minister Naoto Kan and others involved in declaring evacuation areas never saw the reports, and neither did local authorities. So thousands of people stayed for days in areas that the system had identified as high-risk, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan and others involved in declaring evacuation areas never saw the reports,

"Liar, liar pants on fire" comes to mind at least as far as the PM is concerned.

I am happy to see the nation-sized battery article above.

Maybe we can go the French way. If there is no energy we take a holiday for a week or a month.

The battery article was a bit silly. The author is either promoting an interest or not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. His assertion that lead acid batteries are the best way to store energy at that scale shows a complete lack of vision. I would expect that running the numbers on pumped storage, thermal storage or momentum would all yield better results at a fraction of the materials and cost.

I just like someone taking low points into account. I would pick pumped hydro storage.

If they don't have to move on land, lead acid does pretty well. After all, they have about a century of military R&D in them just from the submarines.

The sodium sulfur batteries look even better for big installations where they can stay hot. But it will be a few more years before they are completely tested. Keep an eye on the Presidio TX project.

If they don't have to move on land, lead acid does pretty well

And nickel iron can last 100 years and only need a change of the NaOH if the charge level drops.

I smell a strawman. Set up a ridiculous solution, then knock it down. Then anything with the slightest resemblence to your dead-strawman can be dismissed. In this case all forms of renewable energy.

Of course reasonable accomodations, such as natural gas peaker plants, and god-forbid, some demand management for rare shortfall periods, render the strawman silly.

Looks like the Crash Part Deux, Act II is well underway.

The sequence seems to be:

Open 2% down then gradually drop from there (high -3% or low -4% so far).

Just sampling NZ, Aus, Kospi and the Nikkei for now. Shanghai and Hang Seng open within the hour.

Didn't we see this move in 2008? It seems like it was just yesterday!;)

The timing is eerily following the 1929 crash in that the real swan dive didn't occur until 1932 after a series of convulsions where the swings, at first smaller than the initial 1929 event, got bigger and bigger.

QE3 anyone?

EDIT; Changed a very misleading sentence

QE3 will worsen the situation, it will send the commodity prices sky high without creating any jobs or fostering any growth (China and other developing nations will definitely object vehemently). Besides that like a heroin addict the economy will need a bigger injection every subsequent time.

Sadly it's the only thing central banks can and will do at this point.

Check out last night's posts on TAE. The megabanks are stuffed with liquidity that they can't do anything with. I'm not sure what good QE3 would do, unless the Fed decides to just give it all to main street; cut a check for everyone in the US to spend on more stuff or pay bills (something they should have done all along, making sure it gets spent).

OTOH, I tend to agree with Kunstler.

...Everybody's quailing at the prospect of QE 3, in all its cosmic futility. The United States has already half killed itself at the Golden Corral steam-table of deep-fried debt. I guess we could go all the way and shoot what remains of the dollar in its pitiful, lolling head.

There is a welling recognition that the dice have been cast and the world has rolled snake eyes. The casino is on fire and a flash flood is boiling down the strip. It's no fun running to the exits only to find the revolving doors already eyeball deep in dirty water. America gibbers to itself but nobody has a clue. I'll try to help: this is a compressive financial and economic contraction (one is money, the other is activity). Late-summer storm that it is, it looks to be intensifying. Everything that's super-big is going down sooner or later. The exact sequence of failures is unpredictable. But you can be sure Nature is telling you to get local, get smaller, get finer, downscale, solidify your friendships, and drop your stupid grandiose fantasies about running WalMart on algae. This is change you don't have to believe in, because it is about to jump up and bite you on the lips.

...and drop your stupid grandiose fantasies about running WalMart on algae.

Just gotta love Kunstler prose for making one laugh while also pointing out the truth.

The megabanks may be stuffed with liquidity but it doesn't stop the market from knee-jerk reactions to musings coming out of the Federal Reserve.

U.S. Stock Futures Climb on Speculation Fed Will Act to Restore Confidence

U.S. stock futures rose, following yesterday’s rout that wiped out $1 trillion from the nation’s market value, on speculation the Federal Reserve will act to restore confidence in financial markets.

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (C) rallied at least 3.2 percent, after yesterday plunging more than 16 percent. Pfizer Inc. (PFE), the world’s biggest drugmaker, gained 1.7 percent after being added to the “Conviction Buy” list at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM), the largest U.S. gold producer, advanced 1.7 percent as the metal rose to a record.

S&P 500 futures expiring in September added 1.4 percent to 1,126 at 8:55 a.m. in New York. The gauge dropped 6.7 percent yesterday and traded at 12.3 times reported earnings, the lowest valuation since March 2009. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 118 points, or 1.1 percent, to 10,844 today.

“Right now it’s a question of confidence,” said Jonathan Golub, the chief U.S. market strategist at UBS AG, in a Bloomberg Radio interview in New York. “There is no liquidity shock here, there’s no economic news. This is a confidence game and once we get beyond this and look back at the economics, the market is going to move higher.”

You've gotta luv that confidence... "the market is going to move higher." And Ben Bernanke seems ready to save the day:

Fed May Boost Stimulus Pledge

Federal Reserve officials may strengthen their commitment to record monetary stimulus as soon as today after a faltering economic recovery and a U.S. credit- rating cut provoked a rout in global stocks.

By a 52 percent to 48 percent margin, respondents in a Bloomberg News survey said the Fed would ease policy this year through monetary tools or statement language. If the central bank acts, 59 percent said it would communicate that the federal funds rate, balance sheet or both will remain especially stimulative for a longer period or more specific amount of time.

Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his colleagues are weighing the use of more untested policy tools after two rounds of bond buying totaling $2.3 trillion failed to spur sufficient economic growth and reduce unemployment below 9 percent. The Federal Open Market Committee holds its regular meeting today in Washington following the worst day for U.S. stocks since December 2008.

Meanwhile, the news of recovery gets ever so sketchy.

Productivity in U.S. Falls for Second Consecutive Quarter

The productivity of U.S. workers dropped from April through June for the second consecutive quarter, pushing labor costs up from 2010’s record low.

This decline in productivity was... drum roll please... a direct result of declining U.S. living standards.

Revisions to GDP figures going back to 2003 showed the 2007-2009 recession took a bigger bite out of the economy than previously estimated, and the recovery lost speed throughout 2010. Those revisions led to today’s updates in productivity.

A lack of productivity gains, combined with stagnant growth, may keep a lid on hiring and wages, hurting Americans’ living standards. Employment grew by 117,000 in July and the jobless rate fell to 9.1 percent, the Labor Department reported last week.

The article goes on to say the preferred solution to the problem is more of the same. Job cuts. Apparently, it is good for business's bottom line.

It's becoming apparent to Main St. that Bernanke is beating a dead horse, and no one believes that one more good beating will get this poor old nag up for another long, hard ride. It's pitiful to watch, really.

Gitty up old girl!

Time to get off and start walking....

The grey old mare she aint what she used to be... many long years ago.


Wonder if this tune ever crosses Bernanke's mind when contemplating quantitative easing?

Ha! The Fed should buy us all kazoos (made in China) as part of it's debt stress reduction program ;-)

Debt stress reduction program, try these:

Austerity Survival Guide

Those top hat guys were in the game monopoly. I think I am remembering now how this all goes down...

The megabanks are stuffed with liquidity that they can't do anything with

I am telling you they always find ways to channel crap money into even crappier deals no matter how much money they have on their balance sheets, they don't hire the world's biggest servers and fanciest computer programmers just for fun.

There are dogs standing outside the Fed building standing right now listening for the sound of printers, the faintest sound and their masters will start betting on commodities. And who will suffer first, the emerging markets, we have close to 10% inflation here and it's destabilizing the govt, a rate of 15-20% will get people on the streets with pitchforks. Same with China, the Chinese Govt is dead scared of a runaway inflation, same with Russia and Brazil and many other G-20 economies. Tighten your seat belts, this will get ugly.

Putin didn't indulge in name calling for fun.

There are dogs standing outside the Fed building standing right now listening for the sound of printers, the faintest sound and their masters will start betting on commodities.

They won't have long to wait. The Fed is currently meeting and an announcement is expected at 2:15 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, which is about an hour and a half from now.

No QE3, yet! Looks like everyone is getting a thrashing, longs, shorts and even bystanders as a result.

From Bloomberg, U.S. Stocks Rise on Speculation Fed Will Act to Boost Confidence

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his colleagues are weighing the use of more untested policy tools after two rounds of bond buying totaling $2.3 trillion failed to spur sufficient economic growth and reduce unemployment below 9 percent. The Federal Open Market Committee holds its regular meeting today in Washington and plans to issue a statement at about 2:15 p.m. New York time.

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross said he’s buying assets as the losses in global markets are being driven by fear rather than economic reality.

QE3 may be a tad overoptimistic on the part of the business community. Wishful thinking, perhaps. Policy makers are running out of palatable options and everybody knows it. Perhaps not much there for the FED to report.

Thus far (as of 3:35 p.m. Eastern), the Dow is up 1.6% and the S&P 500 is holding at about 2.3%, hardly a robust recovery from the thrashings this past week - even from yesterday. The genie has been held in check so far today but is it clear that the mischief maker is still out of the bottle.

UPDATE: At 3:50 p.m. EDT, the DOW is reporting a 311.32 point rise (2.88%) and the S&P 500 is up 36.96 (3.3%). Some upward movement closer to the end of the day.

unless the Fed decides to just give it all to main street; cut a check for everyone in the US to spend on more stuff or pay bills

The other day I mentioned to a co-worker that something like 40 million people are on food stamps in America. She launched into a tirade against someone she saw in line at the supermarket buying steaks with food stamps which, apparently, is the height of impropriety. With genuine angst she regretted not having the nerve to make them explain themselves for such flagrant abuse of other peoples money.

I listened politely and then quietly suggested her time might be better spent inquiring after the banksters and their trillion dollar bailouts. End of conversation.

What is a trillion dollars anyway?

Hard to picture it... How about that fantastic story of pallets stacked high with shrink wrapped $100 bills shipped to Iraq:

Meh, a mere billion, just pocket money really.
Try multiplying that by several orders of magnitude:


Notice those pallets are double stacked, and remember those are $100 bills. I wonder how many steak dinners that would buy?


"She launched into a tirade against someone she saw in line at the supermarket buying steaks with food stamps which, apparently, is the height of impropriety."

Firstly, how would she know? An EBT card looks like any other debit or credit card ("food stamps" are long gone). The holder swipes the card and enters a pin number. Secondly, what is she doing looking over someone's shoulder while they make a transaction? Thirdly, would she rather a person spend her funds buying sugary cereal, softdrinks, salty snacks, Little Debbies and highly processed TV dinners, all available with the EBT card? Fresh pork, fish and chicken are all reaching price par with fresh beef these days, especially if one goes organic (at least around here.)

This is an old argument from those who have no good ideas, just resentments.

Why should an EBT card look and feel like a credit or debit card in the first place?

If should be obvious to all what it is especially the user. Making unproductive people feel good or normal about being unproductive is counter to what we should be doing if we want a sustainable society. Shame is an emotion that society needs people to feel when they are doing something wrong, the emotion of shame and guilt is necessary even useful in keeping us honest. This touchy feely politically correct stuff is creating generations of people that can't fend for themselves and that is a crime against humanity.

Soup and bread lines would be just as compassionate and it could be even more helpful to giving people in poverty a balanced diet. If foodstamps or EBT cards is about feeding people, then why not just feed them directly? If they want to be normal and they think waiting in line is uncomfortable then they would have to learn to be productive because that is normal.

We will get to a time in most western countries when we can't be there to care for the poor as we do now and when we aren't there, they will suffer because we lacked the will to force them to be at least a little self sufficient. The post Katrina response in New Orleans is a prime expample of people who looked to government for every need getting left behind.

Do we want to keep growing that population or should we change our system? We need a social safety net that leads or even pushes people in poverty toward a sustainable way of living. We should promote urban gardens, trade schools, recieving free food should be uncomfortable at best, public housing should be very basic shelter, tents where and when its possible.

Compassion is not just throwing money at a problem, thats going to get millions of people killed one day in some mass die off, compassion is planning and doing the leg work to make people self sufficient. ISn't this a science based forum? Who else agrees with something like this?

The food stamp program (aka Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) is a US Department of Agriculture program.


Your whole premise is wrong, since food stamps are an agribusiness subsidy first and a welfare program second. It is intended to boost food consumption.

Merril my premise on foodstamps and public housing is right with no regard to how it's a subsidy for agribusiness, the outcome is the same. When the program turns multiple generations of humans into a permanent underclass, an undercless that doesn't know how to compete or provide for themselves that's outcome is the same. It's not compassionate to allow the human being to be broke down to that level and anyone that says otherwise is either crazy or dishonest.

There are a couple of fundamental problems:

1. We don't need everyone to work in order for the economy to function. Actually, we only have about 60% of the population 18-65 working now, for around 160+ million employed. Everything that needs doing could probably be done with 120 million employees, since automation has greatly enhanced manufacturing productivity and since there are lots of service jobs that could either be automated or eliminated.

2. There are a huge number of people who are unsuited to be employees. Many are physically unfit, mentally unfit, too undisciplined, and generally lacking skills and motivation. In fact, it's likely that 20 million of the 160+ million could be laid off tomorrow and total productivity would go up. It's a rare organization where getting rid of 1 out of 10 workers isn't an improvement.

"The important thing to understand about collapse is that it's brought on by overreach and overstretch, and people being zealots and trying too hard. It's not brought on by people being laid back and doing the absolute minimum. Americans could very easily feed themselves and clothe themselves and have a place to live, working maybe 100 days a year. You know, it's a rich country in terms of resources. There's really no reason to work more than maybe a third of your time. And that's sort of a standard pattern in the world. But if you want to build a huge empire and have endless economic growth, and have the largest number of billionaires on the planet, then you have to work over 40 hours a week all the time, and if you don't, then you're in danger of going bankrupt. So that's the predicament that people have ended up in. Now, the cure of course is not to do the same thing even harder... what people have to get used to is the idea that most things aren't worth doing anyway..."
~ Dmitry Orlov, author of 'Reinventing Collapse'

"Did you know that before the Industrial Revolution, the average person worked for about two or three hours a day? Studies from a wide range of pre-industrial civilisations show similar data-- it takes only about fifteen hours a week to provide for all of our basic human needs. And that's using hand tools."
~ Walden Effect (online)

"Using the data provided by the United State Bureau of Labor Statistics, Erik Rauch has estimated productivity to have increased by nearly 400%. Says, Rauch:
'...if productivity means anything at all, a worker should be able to earn the same standard of living as a 1950 worker in only 11 hours per week.'
...Since the 1960s, the consensus among researchers (anthropologists, historians, sociologists), has been that early hunter-gatherer societies enjoyed much more leisure time than is permitted by capitalist and agricultural societies..."
~ Wikipedia

Good information. Tribe!

I have an idea! - we can tattoo a "poor loser person" symbol on their foreheads! Better yet, brand it in with a hot iron. That ought to do the trick, and teach them some self-sufficiency. And we wouldn't want them to feel "normal", heaven forbid.

Do you honestly believe that every food-stamp recipient is a lazy slob just taking advantage of the system? My god, a lot of them are even white, you know!

How do you feel about trillion dollar illegal wars?

Sgage, how will you feel knowing you support an unsustainable system that turns generations of humans into a permanent underclass. People will starve tomorrow just so they feel good about themselves today! Yeah they will feel normal alright, because hunger will be the new normal. It's time we started using our brain rather than our emotions on this subject.

"It's time we started using our brain rather than our emotions on this subject."

Good idea. You can start by leaving behind your Reagan-era stereotypes.

What stereotype? Wow, Go back and read it again, I never mentioned anything that would say I'm stereotying any one group, but you read that into what I wrote, how telling. Now who's really stereotyping.

Do we have generations of people that have been on government assistance? Yes. Well if it's true then it's not a false stereotype.

Do we have a war on poverty that's caused people to be unproductive for generations? Yes.

All I'm saying is let try something that may work so people don't get caught in the poverty trap. Making poverty too comfortable is part of the problem. It sure is heck ain't the solution.

You are stereotyping all people on assistance.

Your stereotyping was a) that people who need food stamps are lazy and irresposible and b) that poverty is comfortable, and c) that assistance to the poor has made people unproductive for generations.

Jobs - there are no jobs. The real unemployment rate is at least twice what the official figures say. There is huge systemic unemployment (which is great! Keeps wages down!)

I'm not talking poorly about people on assistance your reading that into it. I'm saying that we need to be more compassionate to people on assistance by nudging them off of it. How can we call them lazy when they don't have to do anything. Lazy is when there's work to be done and you don't do it.

If you don't believe that that are generations of people on assistance your either lying to yourself or maybe your sheltered.

There are some jobs. It may be jobs no one wants, but they are some there. I know many farmers that could put people to work right now, but the comfort level between doing that particular job and doing nothing has to at least comparable.

I'm genuinely offended. You paint people who get 'food stamps' as lazy and shameful.

My grandmother gets the electronic card equivalent to food stamps. She's is neither lazy nor deserving of scorn. She has been working since she was 12 and is now 78. She still works, but is laid off in the winter, and depends on assistance to make ends meet. Do you think she should wear a letter of shame when she goes to the supermarket? Would that improve her moral fiber?

we need to be more compassionate

You mean, "conservatively compassionate"?
And "lovin' life" all over again?

Weren't 8 years of Bush II enough for you?
You want a three-peat?

Here's a better idea: Round up all the bankers and financial wizards of Wall Street and put them lazy arses to work pickin' cotton on your farmer friend's plantation. (They are the more "deserving" ones in our fair-is-fair society. No?)

Unproductive ?

Work a minimum wage job for 40 hours a week and you qualify for some food stamps (not the full $200). Many of these jobs that, supposedly, Americans do not want to do - so we need immigrants (mainly illegal). But if an American does one it is difficult to pay for the necessities of life - food, shelter, clothing - much less the fourth necessity for many Americans - a car.

40 hours per week of hard work is not "unproductive".

Best Hopes for more understanding and compassion,


PS: I would support further restrictions on the food that can be bought, such as the WIC (Women, Infants, Children) program has. But that would cut into the food processing business profits.

Alan there are alot more than 40 hours in a week. Who says that a person has to restrict themselves to 40 hours of labor?

How about 40 hours working at a job and 40 hours gardening? Why not? Who says labor is wrong?

I have planty of compassion, but the logic says handing out cash doesn't help people. You folk on this site talk about science and sustainable practices, but your politics doesn't allow you to expect the programs you believe in to also be sustainable? Explain that!

Michael Moore interviewed pilots with low cost airlines on food stamps. I suppose they should have been gardening when they weren't in the cockpit? You'll be glad to know one of the pilots had come off food stamps by getting a second job. I wouldn't want to fly with pilots working all the hours of the day when they weren't actually flying the plane would you? Or maybe you fly around in your private jet so you couldn't care less.

Then don't become a pilot. How easy is that? Your argument is that Pilots should get foodstamps so the airline industry can be subsidized, it is.

If there were less people becoming pilots the industry would pay more. It's basic economics! You folks are lost.

The problem is a lot of working poor have two or three jobs. Employers make sure no single job is full time, so they don't have to pay benefits. So they end up with multiple part-time s@^% jobs, and still can't make ends meet.

Employers do that because benefits cost too much to the employer, the alternative is not being in business or not giving someone a job at all.

How about this, for every peson you know with three jobs that can't make ends meet that you produce, I'll give you 1000 dollars and for every person that's on government assistance that I can produce that shouldn't be on it, because they are gaming the system or they have become generationally stuck there you give me 100 dollars.

I bet you can't take that bet! I'd have to see your account info to see how much I'm getting. Ha ha!

Ha ha!

So, in other words, ya all been reading Nickel and Dimed Part II, aye?

Let them eat cake, just this one more time?

What is productive? Contributing to the GDP? Wasting limited resources as fast as possible? If you spout such nonsense you clearly have not assimilated what is happening. So much of what society has considered "productive" for the past many decades is about to be shown as the useless waste of time and energy that it is, while activities such as Greer discusses regarding the home economy will become essential.

The sad reality is that the vast majority of what respectable members of society do to earn their proud labels of "productive", "respectable" and "accepted" are at best useless and quite often are actively destroying us and our planet.

But then again, maybe you are right, maybe they should work hard and get jobs in finance, or home building, or banking.

What is productive? Taking care of yourself and/or your family.

Twilight, so you think it's nosense to say that it's compassionate to encourage people to continue a status quo that's not working, people that will suffer first and most during a economic or environmental calamity, it's nonsense to look for an alternative to unsustainable ways?

I thought you guys were all for a more sustainable approach to life on Earth.

You don't get it - the vast majority of people are not taking care of themselves and/or their families. They are doing things that society accepts in return for the benefits they receive from that society, but mostly they (we) spend our lives doing random activities of no real value, or worse. If they had value in the world we grew up in they may not have any in the world we're heading into, and many of those activities will be directly responsible for causing misery in the years to come. I'm not blaming anyone, it's just that what seemed to make sense in a world awash in fossil fuels can become suicidal in a world with real limits. And in a world without enough, taking care of yours usually means depriving some else of theirs.

You appear to be clinging to the idea that successful, acceptable people like us deserve what we have, when it may well be that we deserve what we've got coming. If you should end up on the bottom of the heap, make sure you do not accept any help if it's offered, lest it encourage you to remain a loser.

Twilight, I see where you are going and I tend to agree with you to a certain extent, BUT I'm talking about a starting point, a minimum. What your talking about take more time but needs attention.

I came to the Oil Drum forum, because people here seemed to be really concerned about the future and changing our attitudes, but when you touch something that goes against their political agenda they run home to momma. Telling!

Think about this. My entire premise was that we should make it rather uncomfortable to recieve and exist on social programs. We should not reward and promote unsustainable behavior as we do now. If that means you don't get an EBT card that looks just like my debit card, how big of a deal is that? Well it sent some here into a frenzy.

Stop making yourself out to be a martyr. There is no frenzy. There is no agenda. There is no running home to momma. You are just full of it, that's all.

But we should not reward and promote trollish behavior, as I am afraid I have done in bothering to respond to your foolishness.

So you say your not running home to momma with your responses, but you are refusing to respond now.

I may be trolling, but I seem to have struck a nerve. Not one person here seems to have an alternative. Just name calling. Do none of you think our social welfare system is unsustainble in the USA and maybe even other western countries?

If so what do we do about it? What's your ideas?

How do we continue this system when Peak Oil really starts to hurt?
Don't any of you care about that?

I'm also not saying I won't have my hand out for assistance one day, what I'm saying is that I don't want it to be so easy and normal that myself and my family continues on that path forever.

One of the often repeated themes on TOD is the notion that BAU requires continual inputs of fossil fuel, particularly oil. In the short term, if there's not enough oil to supply the basics, such as enough fuel to drive a car to work, then BAU can't continue for the person who used to drive to that job.

Of course, as oil can be expected to become more expensive, people will change, but part of that change might result in no job as employers cut workers. Sounds rather like what's been going on recently, doesn't it? And, if there are no jobs which pay what an unemployed person needs to pay the bills, such as the monthly car payment, rent or mortgage, then what, do you just move into a tent or cardboard box under a bridge? Or, will the government provide a little income to keep one going from day-to-day?

E. Swanson

"And, if there are no jobs which pay what an unemployed person needs to pay the bills, such as the monthly car payment, rent or mortgage, then what, do you just move into a tent or cardboard box under a bridge? Or, will the government provide a little income to keep one going from day-to-day?"

Black Dog, I think you put your options backwards and you left some out.

Option one could be depend on family in your time of need as many have done for centuries. Is that a foriegn thought these days? Are we beyond going to family for help? Maybe we need a cultural shift.

Option two, get all you can get from the social system until it breaks.

Option three, get a tent or a box to live in, once you have went through the other options.

What else do you do once the government provide a little income to keep one going from day-to-day?? What do you do when they run out of money? Some would say we already have.

Written by wildbourgman:
If so what do we do about it? What's your ideas?

Near term, repeal Bush II's tax cut to the wealthy and cut spending. Long term, American aristocrats will be skewered on peasants' pitchforks and their mansions set ablaze by their torches. The riots in the UK are a preview. Your approach will make that day arrive sooner in the U.S.

Good let's get it over with. The main difference is the fact that we have guns, lots of guns. As long as the rioters don't go into the rural areas which they never do, it's all good!

We farm and they starve.

My entire premise was that we should make it rather uncomfortable to recieve and exist on social programs.


If you think the road to public assistance is paved with gold and lubricating oil, you've been snorting from way too many "compassionate conservative" web sites.

My hope for you is that you should never be in need of public assistance.
Remember, there but for the grace of God, go I.

But if you ever do need public assistance, boy oh boy are you in for a rude awakening.

Yeah, wildbourgman, they should all be put on cattle cars and shipped to work camps. Ones who work get a tatoo and food, the rest get turned into fertilizer for the prison farms. Meantime, all of the fortunate, hardworking pillars of society (you get to arbitrarily decide) get to join a superman club. The only requirement for admittance is that candidates turn in the least productive member of their family. This should include those who have been productive members of society, but have been labeled "INVIABLE" due to: loss of job; loss of health insurance; loss of health due to aging, genetics, environmental/employment hazards; uncompensated medical malpractice; and especially those supposedly disadvantaged by racial/religious discrimination (why should you have to work with or hire someone whom you consider inferior?).

I need to turn in my nephew, veteran of Iraq (three tours) and Afganistan, recently discharged and unemployed. Seems there aren't many jobs for tank mechanic ex-Marines, except part time stocker at the grocery. SLACKER! And to think his veteran adviser told him he and his family qualified for an EBT card. His wife isn't even a American Christian. They just give these things away!

To think that your tax dollars paid for their baby......it's just too much.

So far all of these replys seem to becoming from emotional school girls that are taking my comments way out of context.

We have a system that's broke. It' needs to be fixed.

"Seems there aren't many jobs for tank mechanic ex-Marines"

Send him to South Louisiana and he'll be making six figures in 4 years. Seriously!

wildbourgman, you have become a pathetic troll. People who disagree with you are now "emotional schoolgirls". You don't seem to have a clue as to what you're talking about, and saying ridiculous things as if they were true.

Please go on and school me. Explain how rewarding bad behavior and expecting a good result is rediculous....

"Rewarding" "bad" behavior? How is being out of work "bad behavior"? How is helping people in distress "rewarding" them? There aren't enough jobs, capiche?

Your whole premise is bogus.

"Bad behaviour" may be a poor choice of words, but with my lack of education please give me some leeway.

I'd would love to hear any of your suggestions of how to win the "war on poverty" or do you like it the way it is?

wildbourgman - I think your perception of the 'bad behavior' of poverty over-simplifys things. Try reading this

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

I'm a simple person. I'm taking things back to basic human needs. Food, water, shelter. Once that's provided for, even in an uncomfortable manner, the responsibily of basic human compassion to your fellow man has been met.

Now if you want to add a system of rewards we could go further.

Food, water, shelter. Once that's provided for, even in an uncomfortable manner, the responsibily of basic human compassion to your fellow man has been met.

If that's your bar for compassion I pity anyone who has the displeasure of knowing you. You obviously have no heart at all.

Let's just build more prisons. Food, water, shelter with the added bonus of keeping those pesky underclasses out of site and out of mind.

Let me tell you something. Food, shelter, water is the bar for societies compassion for it's fellow man, if you set the bar higher for yourself, then go get it. If your family set the bar higher for other family members, great. But I'm not responsible and maybe not capable to give anymore than that and no one has the right to enslave me in order to raise the bar well beyond those basic needs. My heart is in not seeing people become entrapped in the cycle by "poverty pimps" the likes of Marc Morial in New Orleans, keeping people enslaved for easy votes. It's criminal.

As for the picture of the nice room. I'm an oilfield worker, I would kill for a room like that sometimes. I've slept in and on much worse, steel grating comes to mind, crew boat floors with people puking their collective guts up during bad boat rides, chairs in helports waiting all day for a chopper ride to a drilling rig where I found bedroom much worse than your picture, a room I shared with 6 guys.

If the bar for society is food, water and shelter... then why are you complaining about food stamps?

You take a nuanced and complicated issue and bluster about it with the level of understanding i expect from a daily mail reader.

If you want a better more comfortable life then i suggest you get a better job. It is apparently quite easy to do that in your magical world.

Seraph, I read it and I disagree with the proposed answers to the problem (which a posted below). The minimum wage should be zero in economic theory it is zero, because some jobs are not productive enough to justify even the minimum wage so the alternative is zero. Universal health care will run business out of this country or it will make prices go mcuh higher, just wait! As for as affordable housing we were going to have some affordable houses hit the market then came, Tarp, Stimulus, QE1 2 and soon 3. Our people could have had price deflation and affordable prices, but instead we decided to bail out mega banksters and we now have inflation which hurts the poor and middle class.

"So what is the solution to the poverty of so many of America’s working people? Ten years ago, when Nickel and Dimed first came out, I often responded with the standard liberal wish list -- a higher minimum wage, universal health care, affordable housing, good schools, reliable public transportation, and all the other things we, uniquely among the developed nations, have neglected to do.

Today, the answer seems both more modest and more challenging: if we want to reduce poverty, we have to stop doing the things that make people poor and keep them that way. Stop underpaying people for the jobs they do. Stop treating working people as potential criminals and let them have the right to organize for better wages and working conditions.

Stop the institutional harassment of those who turn to the government for help or find themselves destitute in the streets. Maybe, as so many Americans seem to believe today, we can’t afford the kinds of public programs that would genuinely alleviate poverty -- though I would argue otherwise. But at least we should decide, as a bare minimum principle, to stop kicking people when they’re down."

Send'em all to South LA?

Your first question: "Why should an EBT card look and feel like a credit or debit card in the first place?"

It seems, in most States, that's the way JP Morgan Chase set it up, to be the most profitable for them, and to "avoid fraud/waste". Besides, the electronic system was already in place.

If it's good for the Banks, it's good for America:

The More Americans That Go On Food Stamps The More Money JP Morgan Makes

JP Morgan is the largest processor of food stamp benefits in the United States. JP Morgan has contracted to provide food stamp debit cards in 26 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. JP Morgan is paid for each case that it handles, so that means that the more Americans that go on food stamps, the more profits JP Morgan makes. Yes, you read that correctly. When the number of Americans on food stamps goes up, JP Morgan makes more money. In the video posted below, JP Morgan executive Christopher Paton admits that this is "a very important business to JP Morgan" and that it is doing very well.

So, the Banks make money, the farmers and food producers make money, the trucking companies make money, the retailers and marketers make money, and poor folks don't have to stand in line outside your church to eat. Seems like the only folks bitchin' are ones like you. Fact is, 'food stamps' create jobs.

BTW, I work 20+ hours a week, and 50+ hours on the farm, donate produce to the local food pantries, my wife works 28 hours a week, we both have been seeking full-time employment since the BANK closed our previous employer 3 years ago, and (you may want to quit reading now) we qualified for an EBT card last week. Imagine that.

Since we're both in our mid fifties, have been paying into the "system" all of our lives, including private insurance (gone now), Social Security, Medicare, and have made virtually no claims from these systems excepting regular health checkups (oh yeah, I broke a wrist once), and I'm a veteran with virtually no benefits,,,,, and we expect to be screwed out of all of our benefits (that we've been paying for our entire lives), do ya think we'll avail ourselves of this pittance of an "entitlement" before your economic system implodes?? I'll even wear a dunce cap to the store with a sign that says:
I'm on food stamps, you a'holes!

As you said "We have a system that's broke. It' needs to be fixed."

Hello,,,,McFly..... It-can't-be-fixed.

Good stuff Ghung. Now that's a good reply. I may not agree but bravo! Oh yeah only send the trained mechanics for now. I'm very serious, my company is one among many that needs them. NOW!

When I say soup and bread lines I'm just using that as a mental picture. I'm not talking about depending on church's I'm not a religious person anyway, it would be government soup lines but charity would be fine. It's about lowering the comfort level. If I had to stand in line with my wife and kids in the South Louisiana heat I wouldn't be having any more kids. I may not have the equipment after day one. So the first possible job that came up, I would be jumping at it.

I totally understand how many people make money off of keeping the status quo, but that doesn't make it right. In my view food stamps may be creating many jobs that shouldn't be jobs to start with. That may be somewhat along the lines of what Twilight was saying.

There are many jobs such as CPA's and tax lawers that shouldn't be around either, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't scrap the tax code. So the "food stamps creates jobs" argument holds no water. The wars in Iraq, Afganistan, and Libya create jobs too!

"do ya think we'll avail ourselves of this pittance of an "entitlement" before your economic system implodes?? I'll even wear a dunce cap to the store with a sign that says:
I'm on food stamps, you a'holes!"

Hey get what you can I may be right there with you with a dunce cap, but sooner or later this economy is going to collaspe under it's own weight. It does no good to act like it's "all good", when we no it's not.

I think you've done a fine job of expressing folks sense of frustration, so get as much as you can, while you can, without screwing someone else, 'cause times are achangin'. We can't bargain this thing away..

I've actually suggested the oilpatch to my nephew; he'd fit right in. Tough, hard working kid, and used to not being home all of the time. He's also pretty aware of the conundrum we're in. I guess Afganistan can have that effect on folks. Proud to be a Marine, not too stupid to reject food stamps if they're available. I was surprised he didn't become a lifer, but I think he did some hard time, and probably realizes the futility of it all. Once a soldier begins to question the underlying premise of his mission it's wise to seek new employment, and a cat knows when he's used up eight of his nine lives...

"I think you've done a fine job of expressing folks sense of frustration"

See I am frustrated, but it's not with poor people or people on any government assistance, I'm frustrated with intelligent people on this forum that will blog all day long about how we are going down an unsustainable road, how peak oil with cause major problems (it will), the problems of population growth, climate change and how we should rely on logic, science and common sense to fix these problems. I agree on many of those concerns.

BUT when it come to political issues many of you take the side of people who have and promote an unsustainable future whether that be democrat or republican. If we can't sustain our current path how can people overlook who will be the first among us to be hurt? How is it logical or compassionate to talk here all day about what we need to do in the future because of a coming crisis and then forget about those folks that are stuck in the poverty rut? At least I remember that that they are there. We need to prepare everyone and if I come off as coarse so be it, because what's coming isn't easy. Had we been honest with ourselves even 10 years ago we wouldn't be in this economic situation.

You are 100% right, but it's not worth it. I love this site, but it comes with a certain set of assumptions of a particular American liberal variety, assumptions that most of the world, including coddled Europeans, would find absurd.

This is a consequence of Empire. Americans - either of the conservative or "liberal" variety - don't believe in giving up anything. We're American! We can bomb anybody we want! Everybody can be on food stamps, with digital money created out of nothing, and we can eat anything we want and get fat and get bypass surgery!

Don't waste your type with fruitless argument. Accept the decline of Empire and the coming dollar breakdown, and protect yourself and your family with gold and silver.

I am doing just that. And when the time comes, I won't be in the welfare or charity or bailout business. If you want my gold and silver, you'll have to trade something or work for me.

I agree with you Oilman Sachs, but I had fun today.

It's a shame I could not get back to this last night, and that you're out of here by now, but I think you've missed the entire point I was making:

The very essence of collapse is when the marginal returns on the activities society performs become negative. As the people employed performing those activities, that means the work we do at our jobs has negative marginal returns, and society won't be able to keep providing us things of real value in return for work that has none. How does that differ from what is provided to people who are not doing such "work", or perhaps are doing things that our present system is incapable of recognizing as valuable?

The whole thing will end eventually, but in the mean time we are transferring huge amounts of "wealth" (which may be only of temporary value) to a small segment of the population while complaining that a larger segment at the bottom is sponging off our good labor (which is not actually valuable anymore).

One of your best posts Ghung...well done.

Thanks! I'm working on my dunce cap as soon as I check on my peppers, about the only things that did really well this year. Damned hot it is...

At this late time few of us will see this comment.

I try to be objective, and I must say that Imo the membership is putting on hilier than thou airs in refusing to see what the wioldman is trying to get across.

Perhaps a couple of examples from my own family would help-these people are kin to me , and only one generation removed from a puritan work ethic so hard and tough that thier parents and grandparents generally held two jobs-a Part time forty in a sweat shop textile mill, and the real job-running a hard scrabble farm.

Case I

Divorced wife of very close relative-on disability but able to ride the roads all day and party all night. she moved back in with him as soon as her welfare checks were coming nice and steady.We MUST UNDERSTAND that this is only fair and ethical since we all know that marraige is a religious institution, and not a social one, do we not?

Case II Her "boy friend" worked his AXX off most of his life-he has recently learned to work for a paving contractor during the hot months and collect unemployment right thru hunting season.On days he is not hunting he works for cash as a handy manor works on long term progects around his homestead.

Case II-daughter in law of the same-has found it much more practical to never apply for a job where she will be hired than one where she will.

She manages to collect about three quarters of what she could make working locally at a low wage-but since she doesn't need a car most days, she is actually better off NOT WORKING, as she would net less after commuting expenses and ownership expenses..She is not a bit shy about asking to borrow one, however.

The same doctor who charges me ninety bucks for a visit sees her and her kid for iirc correctly five bucks at the county health clinic.

My Momma packed my lunch, often a piece of bread and a jar of beans-(with plenty of home grown ham in them, we always had plenty to eat but no cash to speak of), all thru elementary school-my folks were too proud to accept a free lunch for thier kids.

This lady would not allow her child to play with a toy offered as a gift -a stuffed cartoon character- after I laundered it because my Lab dragged it across the lawn a couple of times-you see, it was a "dog toy " after that, and not good enough for her child, although in like new condition.

She and her mother in law feel absolutely no compunction about accepting anything they can get for free-they FEEL ENTITLED.

Now personally I can't and don't blame them- I am altogether too aware of how many middle class and up upright self respecting republicans of my acquaintance also collect like bandits thru various govt giveaways-I know a bunch of them personally too. One of them-another relative!- was basically given a free fifty thousand dollar pickup truck thru a gift act of congress aimed at big labor and contractors.

I have another close relative who is a professor retired military and will be triple dipping pretty soon, with supergenerous to grave bennies.

I am acquainted with several folks who earn high six figure incomes thru capital appreciation of thier assetts and yet pay less taxes than I do.

The important point is this-all you folks who are condemning wild man for speaking his mind are basically refusing to look at our welfare system objectively-with you it has become a sort of sacred cow.You defend it reflexively, and for admirable reasons, but you are making a serious mistake.

Defense became a sacred cow a long time ago;homeland security has become another recently.Political correctness threatens open and fee discussion of many serious problems on a daily basis.

Make it morally objectionable to discuss any aspect of our society freely, and you will eventually wish you had not!

It should occur to you that you are putting wild man in a position similar to the one the hard core conservatives put try to those of you into who oppose the various wars we are involved in today-they question your ethics, morality, and patriotism, rather than think about and address what you actually have to say.

Now having said all this, i fully recognize the necessity of having a robust welfare safety net , especially in times such as these, as it is completely onvious that lots of people simply cannot find work.

But to deny that some considerable number of people abuse the system is to bury your head in the sand at best.

Old timers here may remember that I fly under false colors here so that I may speak my mind freely without being rode out of town on a rail or burned at a stake by some of my pious relatives

Ps please eccuse my onefinger typing today, i am too busy to proofread it right now.

"The important point is this-all you folks who are condemning wild man for speaking his mind are basically refusing to look at our welfare system objectively-with you it has become a sort of sacred cow.You defend it reflexively, and for admirable reasons, but you are making a serious mistake."

Oldfarmermac, I think your quote I copied sums up what I had finally got around to saying. Yes I don't mind tweaking folks and pushing the conversation in order to get people talking. What use is an online forum for anyway if you all agree and no new ideas get bounced around. They can call it trolling, but I think it was a discussion worth having. As I said before I'm not all that educated like most people here seem to be, I think many here are very intelligent and I'm sure I would do anything to help any of you in need, all I'm asking for is intelectual honesty on a few issues.

Being a Cajun from South Louisiana, (soon to be moving to Central Louisiana) for people who think I'm coarse or rigid let me tell you oilfield workers from my area went to working on rigs which isn't easy, because it was an easier and better life. I'm only the second full generation out the swamp and marshlands. My grandparents lived on house boats, farmed, ranched and trapped for a living, they only spoke cajun French, they grew, killed, and caught what they ate for dinner. Weather and nature had to be worked with, you couldn't perform in an unsustainable way and get away with it very long. Efficiency meant everything, no waste was allowed period! You would think some of you would be interested in that concept. Yeah, I enjoy the creature comforts, but when I've spent time out trying to live of the land and farm it was for recreation, failure didn't mean death. When you people talk about things you never think basic survival and true necessities and I'm no different at times.

I think humans have been turning into poodles and how in the heck do we get back to being wolves when the time comes? That's a metaphor guys.

Turning humans into parasites and "poodles" when we have the mental capabilities we have is a very wasteful, inefficient use of what nature has given us. It's time to toughen up.

I hear you, Mac, but wildbourgman jumped into the TOD meat grinder when he questioned my point that "food stamps" are now the EBT card, that the EBT is used like any other debit card, and that it's nobody else's business how someone pays at the grocery store. What's liberal about that? He also suggested that anyone taking advantage of this program should be obvious and shamed, a position TODers expected him to defend. If someone asserted that you are a socialist or should be shamed for taking advantage of the tax breaks, deductions and subsidies available to farmers, we would do the same. The idea that everyone on some form of Govt. assistance, especially in this day and time, is somehow a slacker gaming the system, is provably false.

That said, abuses occur on all levels. Those of us living in rural areas see it, as do those in cities and burbs. Some folks are just dead weight consumers, from a purely sociopathic point of view, but when you have 7 billion humans on a small planet, not everyone will play a productive roll, (and some commenters brought up the question of what "productive" really is). In a purely Darwinian world, many wouldn't last long, but our species broke with evolution long ago. This too will pass...

I think wildbourgman defended his position pretty well, and may have come to a more realistic understanding of the subject. Most of us here understand that our systems are in deep trouble, though we'll debate degrees, timeframes, and solutions ad-infinitum. I, for one, plan to salvage what I can from this mess. I've surely played my part in creating it.

Quote "it's nobody else's business how someone pays at the grocery store"

When it's our money they are spending it's our business. When you use a tax payer's money they have a right to question how the program works. That's reasonable enough. If it were military spending do you have a right to question it? Sure you do! You made that too easy are you baiting me?

Quote "He also suggested that anyone taking advantage of this program should be obvious and shamed, a position TODers expected him to defend. If someone asserted that you are a socialist or should be shamed for taking advantage of the tax breaks, deductions and subsidies available to farmers, we would do the same. The idea that everyone on some form of Govt. assistance, especially in this day and time, is somehow a slacker gaming the system, is provably false"

I would say that shame has been used in history in order to affect peoples actions or inaction. If I need foodstamps to feed my children I'm taking all I can get, and if I feel ashamed of that I'm taking the next available job too. That's all I'm saying. Shame can be a cheap effective tool, so why not use it?
I would assert that most farm subsidies are wrong and I'll take every single one I'm entitled to, until the law is changed. For you information some farmers are shamed to a certain extent, because every one of them that takes "farmer welfare" subsidies have their names online for public record. If you agree with equating farmers subsidies to foodstamps as you did, then you would agree that they should have their names made public record online for the world to see?

Damn, I didn't even go that far! Your hardcore!

If I need foodstamps to feed my children I'm taking all I can get, and if I feel ashamed of that I'm taking the next available job too.

And when there are no jobs, some alcohol or drugs will help ease that shame. You keep suggesting that things should be harder for those receiving social assistance. I think you've got things ass-backwards. You shouldn't be making it harder to be unemployed, you should be making easier to be employed.

Shame can be a cheap effective tool, so why not use it?

Using shame just erodes peoples self worth. If you want to turn people's lives around, you have to build them up, not break them down.

I knew kids that skipped lunch every day because they didn't want the shame of being singled out for a 'free lunch'. Shame in action.


If it were military spending do you have a right to question it? Sure you do! You made that too easy are you baiting me?

I would bet dollars to donuts you have very little idea of how your hard-earned tax dollars are spent in the Military Industrial Complex.

Even if you read some articles in magazines or on the Internet or even some books you (and most other folks) would have no education, training, or experience to understand what you are being told, and not being told.

I have seen the inside skinny for 23+ years, and it makes my head hurt to think about it too much.

But it is usually easier to pick on welfare for the poor than to examine welfare for the middle and upper class who are 'defending our country'.

After the divorce, my deadbeat Dad got away with not paying hardly any child support...he continued to carouse and go deeper and deeper into debt and died horribly and penniless, and my mother soldiered on being a dental assistant to an @$$hole who liked to sexually harass his assistants... and she did other hard and not very well paying jobs...we lived in modest apartments, had decent clothes, and I went on to earn my B.S. and do rather well up to this point (fate willing it will continue), and I have been the breadwinner for my wonderful wife and two children, both completing college.

My point: Me, my brother, and my mother received welfare, including food stamps (and I received Pell grants and PHEAA (PA) grants, and Work Study, then transitioned to a full ROTC scholarship.

We did not like having to use food tamps, but it allowed my Mom to do her very best to raise my Brother and me, allowed her some breathing room to get a modestly better job at a state mental hospital, and allowed me to step out on my own and earn my own way in society.

Buy hey, we should never give a hand out, or a hand up...let the poor hang. Great Philosophy.

I just got to know you a whole lot more.

Another example recently in my life.

An older black woman, age 61 (who attended segregated New Orleans schools and got a poor education there). For decades, she worked in the mornings cleaning hotel rooms and evenings office buildings. She asked for Sundays off at the hotel if it was not too busy so she could attend church.

A "Spanish" cleaning crew took the office building contract- she lost that job a couple of years ago and it is hard for her to get on elsewhere at her age. And with a touch of arthritis that she works through.

Summer is always a slow time in New Orleans, with fewer days and shorter hours cleaning hotel rooms. And she saved for that. But this summer it was harder without the office job.

So I talked her into applying for food stamps and helped her with her forms. She got $120/month. When the 6 month review comes up, that will be cut - but likely not to zero.

Should she be shamed when she buys red beans and rice, vegetables and a little sausage or a whole chicken ?

IMO, not so.

Best Hopes for the Working Poor,


Alan, if she has family maybe they should be ashamed to not take care of their relative.

Alan I'm results oriented and if the result of her getting in a food line, rather than a nice food stamp card coaxed her family into action then sure, shame on them. If she feels ashamed well I feel for her, but the moral of her life story would be to prepare for the worse. I'm thinking bigger picture, we can all trade sob stories and I would cry at all of them, really, but the results don't change, until we act.

How about the story told by a young black woman that ended up in Houston after Hurricane Katrina. She said her mom, her grandmother, and her great grandmother had all been on the total package assistance,
I'm talking housing, foodstamps, welfare, and medicade, the works. She got pregnant and quit school at a young age, because there was no reason not to, everyone else in the area did it, it was expected. No shame there.
oh wait there's more, well when a cat 5 storm was heading her way she did what she always did, waited for government to take care of her. When no one came she was in severe shock! They had always came before. She sat in the heat and suffered until someone picked her up and brought her to the convention center and she sat there in the heat and suffered some more. Waiting for government? Well this story ends pretty good, because she said at that moment she had an awakening, she had the understanding to realize that she had been chained to a lifestyle that got her right where she was. No where!
Once in Houston she got a job and she worked for the first time in her entire life and she promised to never again wait around for anyone to save her. Now that story still makes me cry!

One size does not fit all.

You see only the "welfare class" and assume that the hard working, honest, responsible "working poor" must suffer whatever you decide is needed to reform the "welfare class".

Your proposal to shame EVERYONE that applies for food stamps is shameful.

Shaming this very nice, generous and hard working woman is simply shameful - You should be ashamed of yourself !

And your Darwinian ideas of shame motivating will simply not work on the "welfare class", your target.

She would not have to apply for food stamps if employers were fined, say, $25,000 every time they are working an "undocumented" worker. She is a victim of those that want cheaper (or just younger) labor from Mexico et al.


I agree Alan. Like I said I'm a big picture guy and the big picture is that what we have been doing doesn't work.

If she eat and she's ashamed, then she eats fast, no big deal. I'm looking for results.

I think Darwin's ideas should be good enough for humans, are people on welfare any less human? Have we stopped evolving? Maybe just me huh? Don't tell me you don't believe in evolution?

Do you think evolution stopped when you were born? Hubris anyone? I like Darwin.

"She would not have to apply for food stamps if employers were fined, say, $25,000 every time they are working an "undocumented" worker. She is a victim of those that want cheaper (or just younger) labor from Mexico et al."

I couldn't agree more about that point, I love hispanic illegal alien women, but you are right. 25,000 dollars and jail time for good measure should do the trick. I really have to go now.

If she eat and she's ashamed, then she eats fast, no big deal

No big deal to you (and shame on you !) but it would be a big deal for her and me.

Best Hopes for Respecting Hard Working, Honest People,


Ok guys it's been fun, but I'm out of here. See you in a couple of weeks or so depending on work. It's been a blast.

If any of you need jobs, South Louisiana is the place for you, some of you cuold work two weeks on and two weeks off and make decent money. You need some skills now, machinist, welding, mechanic, pipe fitter, ship captain or degrees that actually mean something like anything engineering. Or you could be a low level drilling rig hand which is better than nothing. Adios!

Geologist you talk to Rockman maybe he can help in Houston.

last word-I don't really disagree with anybody's comments on this subject, but some of them are a little two sweeping to be allowed to pass unchallenged.

We have not in any real sense escaped our Darwinian heritage-we have simply temporarily been able to smooth up some of the sharpest edges of it thru various welfare programs-and yes, I support them-We would never have been able to pay my own Momma's extraordinary medical expenses for the last ten years of her life without Medicare.Her special bed alone cost over forty thousand dollars, and we had in an aide daily and a nurse three times a week.She accumulated over a million dollars in hospital and doctors bills due to surgeries and extended stays in ICU.

Whether such programs can be sustained or even expanded is an open question-I think they can be, if the political climate is right.

It is however quite obvious to me that we simply are not going to be able to afford such expensive care for folks with one foot in the grave going forward-no mater if it is my own foot at some future date.

But I also think-know- that we need to be careful about creating an entitlement mentality-I have personally witnessed the results of such a mentality .

Shame is the necessary Yang to the Yin of self esteem- it can and very often does work wonders in changing people's behavior.Like any other tool however, it can do more harm than good in the wrong hands.

Ghung - If your nephew is interested in looking at an oil field career there's currently a big demand for hands with his background. But that would probably require relocation to Texas/La. That might be a deal killer for him for any number of reasons. But I have access to some folks near the top of the ladder in a fair number of service companies. I can't promise him an interview let alone a job. But I can probably get him on a fast track for consideration.

Hopefully he's working on more promising leads locally. But if he is interested just let me know and we'll give it a shot. The oil patch can be a very fickle lover: pay you big bucks during boom times and then kick you to the curb when biz slow up. But what industry doesn't function that way?

Thanks, Rock. I'll defininately mention it to his mom. Last I heard he's trying to go back to school (on your tab) in San Diego.

"The oil patch can be a very fickle lover: pay you big bucks during boom times and then kick you to the curb when biz slow up. But what industry doesn't function that way?"

Sounds like the military, except for the big bucks part ;-/

Ghung - Standing by. And guess who has a shop close to the beach/down town S.D. - Ingersoll Rand. http://www.cbmachineandair.com/about.html Heavy equipment makers such as compressors we use in the oil patch. Not sure what their overall demand is these days but oil patch components are in high demand. It was so odd the first time I saw their complex: sitting on some very expense real estate. Who knows: might have some opportunity there that could mix with his school plans.

The cash register system should be programmed to only allow the purchase of eligible items by barcode when the purchaser is using a food stamp EBT card.

Meat is an eligible item. I doubt that the regulations go so far as to permit only certain types of meat. The do vary by state.

PS -- $1 trillion can be represented in only 5 bytes in a bank computer in binary. Even in packed decimal using cents it fits in 8 bytes.

"The cash register system should be programmed to only allow the purchase of eligible items by barcode when the purchaser is using a food stamp EBT card."

It is. If you try to buy toilet paper, soap, or any item not covered under the program, it is rejected. The only foods or (non-alcoholic)drinks not covered are those things pre-prepared in the store such as a rotisery chicken or cooked ribs from the deli. Store-baked bread is OK. It seems silly, but I can buy sugar cookies, but not a pre-made salad from the deli (sort of a gray area, they put stickers on some things: "EBT approved"). I'm sure it varies by state.

I imagine politics/lobbying enters into it as well. One corporation will object if some of its products are excluded because of some obscure nutritional requirement. Too much money involved. Imagine that.

Written by Ghung:
... cut a check for everyone in the US to spend on more stuff or pay bills (something they should have done all along, making sure it gets spent).

That was the purpose of the stimulus checks in 2009 and 2010. They were not successful.

The US loses AAA, followed by, bond yeilds drop + stock markets drop. We need to print money to pay off the debt forcing those who now own treasuries to put their money into either A) investing productively in the US economy, or B) investing abroad ( likely in foreign government debt ).

We are Japan. QE3 would put money into bank vaults and it would just sit there. New money has to be created where it will be used.

Choice A boosts the US economy. Choice B weakens the dollar making exports easier, and imports more expensive which needs to happen sooner or later to make the US economy healthier. No need to worry about competing with china for resources. They use the resources to make stuff to send to the US. If we can't afford to buy the stuff from abroad then they can't afford to buy the stuff to make it with. We can make it ourselves.

Now the right hates Keynesian economics. It means growing government by large public works projects and hairbrained schemes. That's why paying off the debt with printed money is something the right might swallow. This is putting money into private hands, and does not grow government.

Paying off the debt with printed money is both monetary (money creation) policy and countercyclical spending ( by former bondholders ) rolled into one.

Due to a lack of many alternatives, I tend to agree with your suggestions.

QE2 and QE3 may not have measurable results, but they did get money into circulation – witness the rapid rise in money supply over the last year or so. The Fed buys bonds which were issued to pay for deficit spending, spending that goes directly to many.

No doubt that increasing the Fed’s money base also increases inflation, and inflation distorts investment spending and planning. The real estate bubble of the 2000s may be considered a massive misallocation of investment due to the inflationary expectations of real estate buyers, which followed the Fed’s low interest rate policy starting about 2003 (and temporarily in late 2001 before that).

The problem is – what to do going forward. There is a real risk that allowing deflation in the economy will make debts unpayable, and that may create a feedback loop which leads to even more asset liquidation. On the down slope of peak oil, this is a possible nightmare scenario for central banks. But right now, with oil at roughly $100 for most worldwide retail purposes, and with some small amount of excess oil inventories, some small amount of economic growth is temporarily still possible.

A slow transition to the long descent may be the most preferable path.

IMO, the best way forward is a DECREASE in consumption (counter to stimulus strategy) and an increase in investment - investment in long lived, energy producing or energy efficient infrastructure.

As a society we could have both decreasing income over time coupled with increased wealth. The "dividends" from the growing investments will allow a higher quality of life - if not nominal GDP - over time#. The best available combination post-Peak Oil.

Best Hopes,


# A simple example - a post-Peak Oil house with R-50 walls, R-90 attic (in a moderate climate), triple pane windows, solar water heater with natural gas tankless back-up and enough solar PV to = annual demand. Very high efficiency heat pumps and some passive solar heating.

It costs more to build (see investment) but minimal utility bills (see lower consumption & GDP) and a comfortable quality of life.

Those are all great things for an energy efficient house . . . but none of it addresses oil. So make that PV array big enough to charge up the EV you buy in order to travel oil-free. :-)

I telecommute from home, so for me that would only mean about two extra hundred watts to run the Internet-to-DSL, and my work PC ;D

Good idea. We have to make a transition to a different way of life, and I don't think we will have the 'wealth' to do that much longer.

No doubt that increasing the Fed’s money base also increases inflation, and inflation distorts investment spending and planning.

But if inflation is negative, then increasing it might very well increase inflation to 0 or thereabouts. Probably want more than 0 inflation.

Just made an ass of myself. I'm so glad to be just some anonymous internet troll. QE 1 and 2 did get money into circulation. I was thinking of the bailouts. But still the money from QE 1 and 2 put treasuries to be sold onto the Fed's balance sheet. Still I find printing money to cancel debt preferable to the QE schemes that create money as well as matching securities. The effect of printed money in circulation is immediately evident. The effects of radically increasing the national debt ( even if the additions are largely held by the Fed ) are more obscure and hard to fathom intuitively.

Paying off the debt with printed money is both monetary (money creation) policy and countercyclical spending ( by former bondholders ) rolled into one.

Default is far, far superior to printing money. When you print money, you damage everyone's currency in order to pay bondholders. Those bondholders are, primarily, large banks and foreign governments. IOW, you're trashing the value of Grandma's Social Security check in order to send money to J.P. Morgan and the People's Republic of China. In no universe does that look like a just or sensible policy.

Instead, it's time to repeal Article 4 of the 14th Amendment and begin to consider defaulting. Both default and monetization have negative effects, but defaults hit the (rich, often foreign) bondholders hardest, whereas monetization hits savers and fixed-income folks hardest.

Bondholders could be anyone, foreign, domestic, rich, poor, or even retired. There is no particular reason why bondholders should foot the bill. It's impossible to choose you screw when you default. Either you honor debt when it is presented to you or you don't. You don't know who the 'original owner' was.

In a liquidity trap the threat is deflation. Just as there is no reason why those on a fixed income should foot the bill for inflation, likewise there is no reason why they should benefit from deflation. Paying bondholders with printed money is something that can be done in a measured way so as not to cause wild swings that would effect any one interest.

Preventing deflation this way should have immediately noticeable consequences. This is preferable to creating debt that must be sold into a soft market when/if the economy picks up. Selling it will decrease the money supply bringing things back down.

Then if inflation becomes too much of a problem because of a pickup in the economy, taxation above the level of expenditure can keep it in check. ( burning money instead of printing it ).

All this interest bearing debt business is just unnecessarily confusing the issue.

As far as the portion of debt owned by foreign countries, every dime of that foreign investment is OVERVALUATION of the dollar that dollar holders are unfairly benefitting from at the expense of taxpayers who pay the interest. Paying the debt back prevents interest payments from going overseas.

The bondholders should foot the bill because they made a bad investment, and because making them whole would hurt ordinary people at the expense of the (primarily) rich and powerful.

As to the rest of your post, I think you grossly overestimate the competence of the financial lords. You write breezily about their ability to manage monetization - a little bond buying here, a little tax there - but the record of the past few years is utterly disastrous. What happens if they aren't as competent as you think? What happens if they put private interests over public ones?

Whether or not a bond was a bad investment depends on whether default happens, and that is not yet determined. Saying they deserve it because it was a bad investment is like saying that someone deserves to be hit with a water baloon because standing where I was going to decide to throw it was a bad idea.

And I totally agree that the ptb are incapable of much in the way of coordinated action. Don't know what to do about that.

There are big problems with the Chinese economy: namely an undervalued currency and an associated worsening inflation (currently 6.5 % and growing by the day).

Clearly, there is significant malinvestment in the Chinese economy. Capital manages worldwide have been irrationally dumping massive amounts of dollars into China to feed a liquidity bubble while the capital markets in the US have been very tight affecting a meager jobs creation process.

When the Federal Reserve prints money, that money flows to China which has exhausted its supply of labor causing an escalating inflationary wage price spiral.

China’s decision to keep its currency weak has caused the government to lose control of inflation and risks fuelling and uncontrolled wage-price inflation.

It would be very advantageous to allow the Chinese currency to appreciate as a way of controlling inflation. Of course, this would undermine Chinese exports and provide incentives in the US to rebuild some of its exported industrial base, something that the Chinese are loath to see happen. But the current bilateral situation is unsustainable. Something has to give sooner or later.

From a Chinese domestic perspective, the Lewis Turning Point (according to Sir W. Arthur Lewis, developing countries' industrial wages begin to rise quickly at the point when the supply of surplus labor from the countryside tapers off. The point, named after him, has recently gained wide circulation in the context of economic development in China) will crater productivity levels as wage rates rise.

The corollaries of this increase in wages and lower productivity are slower GDP growth, higher consumption, lower savings and a deteriorating external balance of payments aka current account deficits.

Also, Chinese labor shortages could spell inflation and trade deficits for China.

The NY Times had an interesting article today about Gretchen Daily, a Stanford Univ biology professor. She co-founded the Natural Capital Project.

An Economist for Nature Calculates the Need for More Protection

It aims to transform traditional conservation methods by including the value of “ecosystem services” in business, community and government decisions.

I don't know if there are any ArcGIS users out there. If so, Natural Capital Project has a free tool available requiring ArcGIS called InVEST: Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs

errr....What happened to NYMEX tonight? I looked at the drop and choked on my late night snack.

Just wondering....

Mass panic sell-off due to a downgrade by only one of the three rating agencies?! Remember, its only a loss if you sell. Hold em if you've got em and sell later, because two things will always be true about humans.

1. Panic spreads fast (because no one wants to lose all their money).

2. Hope springs eternal (because greed makes it easy to jump on the bandwagon).

BP Delaying Wells Worsens Fall in Production

"While executives say BP is making progress toward resuming drilling in the Gulf, the company hasn’t submitted an application for a permit to start a new well since President Barack Obama’s moratorium was lifted on Oct. 12, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. They declined to be identified because it’s not public information.

BP’s output in the Gulf may drop as much as 30 percent a year without the wells needed to boost production at existing fields, according to Macquarie Capital Ltd."

JP Morgan Chase (the spawn of the devil) is making a mint on
food stamps (15% of USA now on food stamps)!:


JPMC does this for 26 states. Other banks have the contracts in the remaining states. Use of the bank's debit card networks to issue food stamps as a specialized refillable pre-paid debit cards is cheaper for the states that printing and processing paper food stamps. The food stamp electronic benefit card is also more resistant to fraudulent use than paper stamps.

Debit Card Fundamentals and Their Use in Government Programs has an overview.

Seems a prelude to privatizing SS. Why let the gov do it for 2-3% of revenue when banks can garner 15-20%.

OPEC cuts oil demand growth forecast

LONDON - OPEC, source of more than a third of the world's oil, cut its forecast for global oil demand growth this year as a worsening economic outlook curbs consumption in developed economies.

"Dark clouds over the economy are already impacting the market's direction," OPEC said in its monthly report. "The potential for a consequent deterioration in market stability requires higher vigilance and close monitoring of developments over the coming months."

... "Economic worries along with high oil prices have affected OECD oil demand," OPEC said. A revised report received minutes before its embargoed release time of 1130 GMT removed the words "high oil prices" from the sentence.

"Oil demand in the OECD is expected to continue its contraction after a temporary rebound last year." [new colloquialism for 'peak oil']

"Oil demand in the OECD is expected to continue its contraction after a temporary rebound last year." [new colloquialism for 'peak oil']

But is it really a codeword, or euphemism for peak oil?

I'm not convinced that there is a strong connection between peak oil and the present economic crisis, except that both are subject to the exponential function.

Most of us assumed that PO would decimate the economy, not realizing that the economy was already in need of a quintuple bypass.

I see some irony that, after all the excellent work that TOD and many others have done, PO could largely be a non-event. Whether the economy collapses and no one can afford oil, or oil skyrockets and no one can afford it (and then the economy collapses), the net effect is the same; demand destruction and people adapting. The reason for the paradigm shift is moot.

As IEA's Fatih Birol said; "We should leave oil before oil leaves us", and I think that this is OPEC's biggest fear.

That will likely happen long before oil is truly scarce, but the change will come from NASCAR Bubba and a new generation of share croppers as much as it will be from the efforts of Chris Martenson and Dimitry Orlov.

I'm not saying that oil won't be a factor, slowing or even killing any recovery, but for most, that fact will be lost in the noise of high unemployment and a moribund global economy for years to come.

BTW, don't expect China to be the exception. With jiggered CPI (too low) and inflated GDP growth, the Next Great Superpower is well on it's way to a recession, and perhaps a Tottenham event or two of its own.

Cue "Who Will Buy?" from Oliver.

Berkeley lab-led team works on storing CO2 underground to extract electricity

... “This is the first project intended to convert geothermally heated CO2 into useful electricity,” says Barry Freifeld, a mechanical engineer in Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division who leads the effort.

The idea is to inject CO2 three kilometers underground into a sedimentary layer that’s 125 degrees Celsius. CO2 enters a supercritical state under these conditions, meaning it has both liquid and gas properties.

The CO2 will then be pulled to the surface and fed into a turbine that converts heat into electricity. Next, it will loop back underground and through the cycle again.

Obama Announces Fuel Rules for Heavy Vehicles

WASHINGTON — Big tractor-trailer trucks will have to get 20 percent more miles per gallon by the 2018 model year, under the first-ever fuel economy rules for heavy vehicles, announced Tuesday by President Obama.

... The Environmental Protection Agency said that the rules would cost vehicle buyers $8 billion, but that would be paid for in fuel savings in a year or two, depending on the vehicle. Total benefits, including less time spent refueling, and lower global-warming emissions, would exceed costs by $49 billion over the lifetime of the trucks, the agency said.

Commercial trucks used about 22 billion gallons of diesel fuel last year, a number that experts say could be cut substantially. Heavy-duty vehicles also consumed a significant fraction of the 150 billion gallons of gasoline and ethanol sold last year.

Roger H. Bezdek had a different view of this at last year's ASPO-USA conference. Presentation

S&P "concerned" about threats to bank profits

... While bank credit ratings, earnings, asset quality and capital strength improved in the second quarter, Frey said analysts are rethinking their formal forecast of continuing improvements in the third quarter.

"Events of the last few days" have shaped their concerns, he said.

With all due respect to S&P (i.e., none) I think they have been and are playing political games. I think they are an interested party. What is going on?

The idea is to shroud the global slowdown in a financial problem rather than reveal that high inflation in China and little growth in the US is due to resource constraints.

I think they are trying to use finance again to scapegoat oil limits, just as they did with the Housing collapse.

It is a bit of a conspiracy theory but they did manufacture this rating situation in the dead of summer at the height of oil demand when in years past it was obviously clear that debts could not be paid like under Bush II.

Finance was the culprit of the housing collapse, not the scapegoat. Rising oil prices were a problem, but the real problem was untold trillions of overrated bad investments and the shadow banking industry that had grown up around them. Take away that shadow banking bubble, and oil prices would have contributed to a slowdown instead of a global financial crisis.

There's a lot to say for peak oil's negative effects, but not all bad things are caused by peak oil.

Don't you find it just a bit ironic that the MSM is busy trying to discredit S&P by pointing out time and again that they "overrated" firms and MBS's just prior to the 2008 crisis? Just today I saw no less than 4 stories on the cable news telling me why I should ignore the downgrade because they effectively missed all the downgrades in 2008.

So based on the MSM BS, and their own backwards logic, I should probably assume that the US is really much lower than AA+.

Jeez! Even Michael Moore is calling for their heads:

Liberal firebrand Michael Moore called on President Obama to respond to the U.S. credit downgrade by arresting the leaders of the credit-ratings agencies.

On his Twitter feed Monday, the Oscar-winning film director also blamed the 2008 economic collapse on Standard & Poor’s — apparently because it and other credit-ratings agencies did not downgrade mortgage-based bonds, which encouraged the housing bubble and let it spread throughout the economy.

“Pres Obama, show some guts & arrest the CEO of Standard & Poors. These criminals brought down the economy in 2008& now they will do it again,” Mr. Moore wrote.

S & P finally has a 'come to Jesus' moment of clarity and nobody want's to hear it.

I can only imagine what Moore would do if GWB had arrested S&P execs for such an act. I suspect it wouldn't involve praise.

NOAA: Heat wave leads to fourth warmest July on record for the U.S.

Persistent, scorching heat in the central and eastern regions of the United States shattered long-standing daily and monthly temperature records last month, making it the fourth warmest July on record nationally, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. The heat exacerbated drought conditions, resulting in the largest “exceptional” drought footprint in the 12-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor. “Exceptional” is the most severe category of drought on the drought monitor scale. Drought conditions at several locations in the South region are not as long lived, but are as dry, or drier, than the historic droughts of the 1930s and 1950s.

Drought Cripples the South: Why the 'Creeping Disaster' Could Get a Whole Lot Worse

The related article starts out with a good analogy:

The writer Alex Prud'homme ...compares drought to a "python, which slowly and inexorably squeezes its prey to death."

But gets bogged looking for the sunny side towards the end:

"Farmers will suffer because of this year's dry spell, but much less so than their fathers and grandfathers in the 1950s and 30s, thanks to better weather forecasting and drought insurance. Efficient drip-irrigation methods on farms also makes the water that is available stretch further."

Forecasting does not bring rain, insurance must be purchased first, funds for which are scarce. Study after study demonstrates more efficient irrigation does not "save" water. That system must be paid for. On farm expanded irrigated acres is the usual available route.


'Massive Riots: Britain Today, America Tomorrow?'

The Great Crash 1929, were as follows: bad income distribution, a business sector engaged in "corporate larceny", a weak banking structure and an import/export imbalance.

All those factors are again in play.

Financial crashes and human catastrophes are cyclical. Each reoccurrence threatens to be graver than the last. As Galbraith wrote, "memory is far better than the law" in protecting against financial illusion and insanity. In an age of austerity, there are diverse luxuries that Britain can no longer afford. Amnesia stands high on that long list.

Could she be describing America today, with the widening gap between rich and poor, no jobs, and a frustrated underclass?

Sounds like the many projections here on TOD of what will happen in a post peak oil world are beginning to come to the fore. And yet MSM still talks about the need for growth without ever connecting it to the price of oil. However, its obvious the price of oil is well connected to the leading edge of the economy. So tight are supplies against demand, that the price garnered on the world markets simply floats at the level the economy can handle without folding. Like breathing air, but just treading enough water to keep the nose of BAU above the water line.

Oil inventories down 5.2 mln barrels, API says

Crude-oil supplies declined 5.2 million barrels on the week ending Aug. 5, the American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday.

The trade group also said gasoline stockpiles declined 1 million barrels, while distillates inventories were down 600,000 barrels.

API reports steep fall in US oil inventories despite SPR release

Even though the US released about 5 million barrels of high quality oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve last week, the American Petroleum Institute reported oil inventories dropped by 5 million barrels. In other words, without the SPR release US oil supplies would have fallen by about 10 million barrels - which would have been about a record weekly fall.

Aug. 9, 2011, 4:48 p.m. EDT
Oil inventories down 5.2 mln barrels, API says
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Crude-oil supplies declined 5.2 million barrels on the week ending Aug. 5, the American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday. The estimate comes ahead of official data from the Energy Information Administration Wednesday. The trade group also said gasoline stockpiles declined 1 million barrels, while distillates inventories were down 600,000 barrels. Analysts polled by Platts expected oil inventories up 1.8 million barrels, gasoline stocks down 1.2 million barrels, and distillate stocks up 1.2 million barrels.


We’ll have to wait to until tomorrow to see if the US Energy Information Agency reports a similar decline. However recent trends indicate that the SPR release was instituted more in a response to falling imports of light sweet crude than any other factor, and not an increase in gasoline demand, for example.

Averaged over four weeks, gasoline use was 2.2 percent below a year earlier, John Gamel, director of economic analysis for SpendingPulse, said in the report. It was the 20th week in a row that demand fell on that basis, Gamel said.


In the long run demand would have to fall significantly further – into deep recession territory – for US oil demand and available supplies to balance. That is because based upon all information from OPEC exporters, OPEC has not increased its total exports since last February when Libya essentially went ‘off line’. Even worse, OPEC is sending less to the US as Europe’s refiners scramble to make up for lost supplies from Libya.

Charles - So is this what we just saw: the feds release SPR oil to help reduce gasoling prices even though they had already begun trending down. And at about the same time crude buyers began cutting back of crude purchases as is indicated by the big drop in inventory. So the refiners stopped buying oil at the higher price and can now start replacing storage with cheaper oil.

Perhaps just a coincidence. Or maybe the oil traders, who do this for a living 24/7 (and have for decades) understand and anticipate the market forces better than a group of DC bureaucrats who never depended making a living by understanding the market. Nah...they probably just made lucky guess.

I wonder if those same DC folks will start replacing the SPR reserves with cheaper oil any time soon? Wow...think about that: the feds may actually make a profit trading oil. Quick...call Guiness.

What you said may be what happened.

The SPR oil, in the recent release all Louisiana Light Sweet, was sold about $16 over WTI but now it may be trading about $23 or there about over WTI. So a sharp Wall Street trading firm (and Wall Street firms did buy some of the oil) could have bought the SPR oil, sold short WTI futures, then later sell the LLS oil, cover the futures, and make about $7 profit per barrel - less some small amount of storage and transfer expenses.

It now would be best for the government to buy back the oil right away, at current prices, if possible. But probably there is not much spare LLS oil to be had, and if so, their buying would probably push the price right back up again.

Charles - Tough for amateurs to beat the pros at their full time jobs. I suspect you've rubbed elbows with a lot more traders than I have. From my exposures they spend just a little time trading and a great of time figuring how to game the system. Finding a 1% spread can make someone a millionaire overnight if they can get the volume. Of course, it will always be a gamble. But with the feds pushing broadcasted factors into the mix I'm sure someone was able to add 2 + 2 and got $X for the answer.