Drumbeat: August 10, 2011

The Peak Oil Crisis: Technology

Let's face it! The whole fossil fuel thing - widespread use of coal, oil, and natural gas could not have happened without technological advances. Without the steam engine, the coal age would have been limited to a handful of people living near surface coal seams and burning coal for heat and cooking, and perhaps a little metal smelting. All the rest of the industrial age - the internal combustion engine and nearly everything else grew out of some technological development coupled and the abundant energy from fossil fuels.

So entranced are we with the constant advances in technology many among us simply can't believe that we will not find a technical fix for depleting reserves of fossil fuels. Some like hydrogen powered cars, others believe that nuclear fusion will soon be viable - there are many possibilities out there. The real question, however, is whether there are developments in the offing that can be brought into general use in time to prevent the obvious catastrophe that will result from the rapidly declining availability of fossil fuels.

Saudi to supply full Sept crude to Asia

TOKYO (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company, will supply full contractual volumes of crude oil in September to at least two Asian term buyers, steady from August, industry sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The two buyers did not request additional crude on top of the contracted volumes, and Saudi Aramco refrained from offering them additional oil, they said.

Mexico oil watchdog rejects part of Chicontepec plan

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's oil regulator on Tuesday rejected the Pemex development plan for fields at the Chicontepec oil project, saying it is not yet ready for production as the state oil monopoly claims.

The recently created National Hydrocarbons Commission, which gives official recommendations to Pemex, said the Agua Fria-Coapechaca field has an unacceptably low outlook for oil recovery and needs more technological development.

Tanzania govt acts to end fuel crunch

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzania's energy regulator on Tuesday issued a licence to a state-run oil marketing firm to import and distribute petroleum products for the first time since 2000 after East Africa's second-biggest economy was hit by a fuel shortage.

The Tanzanian government ceased its involvement in oil import and distribution in 2000 after freeing up the economy, but was forced to step in after pumps ran dry.

Libyan rebels say key oil town within their grasp

(Reuters) - Libya's rebels said on Wednesday they were on the verge of capturing the coastal oil town of Brega, in what could be a decisive step towards unlocking the country's oil wealth and forcing out Muammar Gaddafi.

Apple Beats Exxon: Less than Meets the Eye

Apple may have passed Exxon as the most valuable publicly traded company, but that probably says more about the balance between markets and governments than it does about anything else. Exxon ranks somewhere between tenth and twentieth among oil and gas companies in terms of reserves; the top ten are state owned firms.

Detroit's Big Three win Energy Department grants

Washington -- The Energy Department said Wednesday it is awarding more than $175 million over the next five years to 40 projects for advanced technology vehicles.

The projects were selected out of 400 applicants are in 15 states and include about $40 million for Michigan projects, including awards to Detroit's Big Three automakers.

Three Views of Urbanism: Alex Steffen, Kaid Benfield and Jim Kunstler

Three important urban theorists are making the rounds this week, with Alex Steffen delivering a TED talk on the Sharable Future of Cities. He starts of with our "clean energy problem"- that we cannot possibly generate enough to replace the fossil fuels we use in our cars.

Oil demand growth could stall in 2012: IEA

LONDON – Global economic slowdown may stifle oil demand growth next year, the West’s energy watchdog said on Wednesday, while warning that tightening supplies could still spur yet more oil price volatility.

The International Energy Agency, adviser to industrialised nations on energy policy, said that although it had not made big changes to its oil demand growth estimates for 2011 or 2012, its predictions were now at the mercy of the global economy’s performance in the months to come.

“Recognising emerging economic storm clouds, we also run a lower, 3 percent global GDP growth scenario, which more than halves base case 2012 oil demand growth to only 600,000 barrels per day (bpd),” the agency said in a monthly report.

Oil Rises From 10-Month Low on Shrinking U.S. Stockpiles, Fed Statement

Oil rebounded from a 10-month low in New York on signs of shrinking U.S. crude inventories and after the Federal Reserve said it may to use a range of methods to bolster the economy.

Futures gained for the first time in three days after the Fed said yesterday it will keep interest rates near zero until mid-2013 and use other tools “as appropriate.” Crude supplies fell the most since June, according to the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute. The International Energy Agency said it may need to cut next year’s estimate for oil demand.

Dark clouds force Opec to cut back oil forecast

Opec lowered its forecast for global oil demand, giving ammunition to member countries who have pushed for production drops.

IEA: Indonesia Oil Output May Decline 6% Next Year To 860,000 B/D

SINGAPORE -(Dow Jones)- Indonesia's crude-oil production will continue on its declining path in the absence of any significant new projects, with output projected to decline another 6% next year to 860,000 barrels a day, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday.

China’s Net Crude-Oil Imports Fall to Nine-Month Low on Plant Maintenance

China’s net imports of crude oil in July fell to the lowest in nine months as refinery maintenance reduced demand in the world’s biggest energy user.

Net imports declined 1 percent from June to 19.23 million metric tons, or 4.55 million barrels a day, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data released today by the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs. Imports were 19.43 million tons and exports at 200,000 tons, the data show.

Petrobras refinery in Argentina to close after blast

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine officials ordered Petrobras to close down a small refinery in Argentina after an explosion at the plant killed one person early on Wednesday.

The refinery, located in the southern port city of Bahia Blanca, has a capacity of 31,000 barrels per day. The blast happened in a resting area when workers turned on the lights after finishing their shift.

U.S. reviews Alaska's oil and gas reserves

JUNEAU, Alaska (UPI) -- The United States must consider a wise approach to tapping into the vast oil and natural gas resources in Alaska, the U.S. interior secretary said.

Cheap Shale Gas Means Dow Leads Record Expansion in U.S. Chemical Industry

Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) spent a decade moving chemical production to the Middle East and Asia. Now it’s leading the biggest expansion ever seen back home in the U.S. as shale gas revives the industry’s economics.

Apple Briefly Passes Exxon Mobil in Market Cap

Signaling either Peak Oil or Peak Apple, Apple earlier today topped Exxon Mobil as the largest US company by market cap.

Japan Held Nuclear Data, Leaving Evacuees in Peril

FUKUSHIMA, Japan — The day after a giant tsunami set off the continuing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, thousands of residents at the nearby town of Namie gathered to evacuate.

Given no guidance from Tokyo, town officials led the residents north, believing that winter winds would be blowing south and carrying away any radioactive emissions. For three nights, while hydrogen explosions at four of the reactors spewed radiation into the air, they stayed in a district called Tsushima where the children played outside and some parents used water from a mountain stream to prepare rice.

The winds, in fact, had been blowing directly toward Tsushima — and town officials would learn two months later that a government computer system designed to predict the spread of radioactive releases had been showing just that.

Japan’s Clean Energy Bill May Falter on Lawmaker’s Ties to Utilities

Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s plan to shift Japan toward renewable energy following the Fukushima nuclear accident faces resistance from politicians compromised by close ties to utility companies, an opposition lawmaker said.

Tokyo Electric Posts $7.4 Billion Loss

TOKYO — The operator of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power, said Tuesday that it lost 572 billion yen in the latest quarter, largely because of costs related to the cleanup after the nuclear disaster and the compensation of victims.

EON Cuts 11,000 Workers, Slashes Dividend

EON AG, Germany’s largest utility, will eliminate more than 10 percent of its workforce and cut dividend payments after first-half profit plunged because of the government’s decision to shut down all reactors by 2022.

Westinghouse Reactor Takes a Step Forward

The reactor at the leading edge of what has been cast as a “nuclear renaissance” has taken a step forward.

The staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Tuesday that it had finished its evaluation of the safety of the proposed Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors, a Southern Company project near Augusta, Ga. The staff has also completed work on Southern’s application for a license to build and run the reactors.

Strapped Americans try to stretch car dollars

McCormick is among a growing number of Americans struggling to keep their cars on the road, as job losses and gas at just under $4 a gallon take huge bites out of their wallets, a new AAA survey shows.

"Many Americans rely on their cars for their livelihood, and losing access to them could be financially devastating," says Jim Lardear, director of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Heavy Trucks to Be Subject to New Rules for Mileage

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.

Canada, U.S. announce plans for fuel-efficiency regulations for heavy trucks

The Harper government says it will begin regulation greenhouse gas emissions from heavy trucks starting in the 2014 model year, as Ottawa moves in concert with the United States to address climate change.

The Canadian and U.S. governments both announced on Tuesday their intention to establish fuel-efficiency regulations by next year, that would take effect in 2014.

India Car Sales Fall for First Time in More Than 2 Years on High Rates

India’s car sales fell in July from a year earlier, the first monthly decline since January 2009, after higher interest rates and production changes at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (MSIL) damped deliveries.

Predicting the Electric Vehicle Adoption Curve

As I told the audience in my recent presentation at the Electric Vehicle Summit, I actually see this subject as one of very few bright spots happening in the world today. In particular, it appears that the divorce between Big Auto and Big Oil will be a messy and ugly affair, but one that will, in fact, culminate in the end of the Age of Oil. In this short piece, I’d like to provide my reasoning.

U.K. Gives Go-Ahead to Biomass Plants to Power 1 Million Homes

The U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change today approved two biomass power plants that will produce enough electricity to power about 1 million homes.

S&P U.S. Credit Rating Downgrade: Where to Now?

1. A tripling of the world’s population since the end of World War II without the appropriate long term infrastructural planning that should have accompanied this population explosion. In short: The edifice rose ever higher whilst the foundation was allowed to erode. (The population explosion did not only occur in the under-developed countries.)

2. This put pressure on per capita resource availability – in particular land, potable water, food and oil

3. It also led to a deterioration of “Energy Return on Energy Invested” (EROEI) which, in turn, led first to a flattening and, more recently, a reduction of energy output per capita across the planet as Peak Oil came and went.

Peak oil and public health: Political common ground?

Peak petroleum—the point at which the maximum rate of global oil extraction is reached, after which the rate of production begins to decline—is a hot topic in scientific and energy circles. When will it occur? What will the impact be? While geologists and economists debate the specifics, American University School of Communication professor Matthew Nisbet believes peak petroleum and the associated risks to public health may provide an opportunity to bring conservatives and liberals together in the move toward alternative forms of energy.

"Somewhat surprisingly, conservatives are more likely to associate a major spike in oil prices with a strong threat to public health," said Nisbet—an expert in the field of climate and energy communication. "This could present a gateway to engagement with conservatives on energy policy."

This election could be our last chance

For a legacy fund to start building the amount of investment revenue to produce lucrative returns, we need to start investing while our natural resource revenue is still flowing and still flowing well. This means not only oil, but mining, hydroelectric: the lot. And given that this is our last election for the next four years – during which time we will reach our peak oil production and peak labour boom – this is our last chance to wrangle a commitment from the future government to create a legacy fund. No matter which parties that future government will be comprised of.

Food is a fundamental right

Food security involves allowing all people, at all times, to have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. Around the world 852 million people are chronically hungry. Two billion people lack food security intermittently. Six million children die of hunger every year. In the last few years, export restrictions and panic buying; U.S. dollar depreciation; increased farming for use in biofuels; world oil prices at more than $100 a barrel; global population growth; climate change (with droughts), loss of agricultural land to residential and industrial development and growing consumer demand in China and India have dramatically pushed up the price of grain. It has become more and more difficult to maintain food security in a world beset by a concatenation of ‘peak’ phenomena: peak oil, peak water, peak fish.

An Economist for Nature Calculates the Need for More Protection

Gretchen Daily is one of the pioneers in the growing worldwide effort to protect the environment by quantifying the value of “natural capital.”

Off the Grid, Where the Living Is Good

Three weeks ago, my wife and I moved with our three boys, two cats, five bikes and canoe from the New Jersey suburbs to a cabin in the Maine woods. We’ll be here for a year, and from time to time I’ll be updating you on our experiment in living in tune with our surroundings and off the grid.

We have no hot water, no microwave, no washing machine, no coffee maker and only enough solar electricity to power two laptops and a cellphone. We turn on a small generator every other day to pump lake water into two 55-gallon barrels on our roof that serve our needs. A lot of tasks are harder up here, but we have daily adventures, no commute, views from every window and a chance to cure our suburban kids’ nature-deficit disorder.

Sewage Frequently Fouls Hudson River, Report Says

Despite improvements in water quality since the passage of the Clean Water Act in the 1970s, the group said, 21 percent of its water samples had unacceptable levels of bacteria because of problems like discharges from aging or failing sewage treatment plants, overflows caused by rain and poor maintenance of septic systems.

Britain 'woefully unprepared' for Arctic warfare

A leaked report drawn up by Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office experts raises concerns as the Arctic ice cap melts the Royal Navy's warships are ill-equipped to deal with a new era of territorial disputes and piracy.

The paper details how the expanding seas will create a "new territorial front" and dramatically reduce shipping times, with Britain potentially drawn into conflicts to assist its assist allies.

Canada "too small" to develop Northwest Passage shipping, diplomat says

Canada will lose out to Russia's Arctic shipping routes because it is too small to finance the infrastructure, France's ambassador for the polar regions said Monday.

Melting polar ice will make Canada's Northwest Passage more accessible in the next decades, but Canada does not seem interested in exploiting it for shipping, said Michel Rocard, who recently returned from a tour of the Arctic aboard the Canadian icebreaker Amundsen.

Lloyd’s: Drought Caused Subsidence Costliest Natural Hazard in Parts of Europe

An article on the Lloyd’s web site notes that “news reports on climate change have focused on dire predictions of more hurricanes and increasing flooding due to rising sea levels. But subsidence caused by drought, which has already become a major problem across Europe, will also become much worse due to global warming.”

The phenomenon is one of the costliest, but as yet still largely unknown, risks to property. “Unlike a roaring storm, the damage wreaked by subsidence takes years rather than hours, but it can be serious,” Lloyd’s warned.

A recent video put out by Richard Heinberg and the Post Carbon Institute discusses Limits to Growth and how economists attacked it/rebutted it. I have never found out how they did this, what they were attacking and why they were wrong. Can anyone tell me or provide a link to the rebuttal of the rebuttal. Thanks.

Were you talking about this one? "Who Killed Economic Growth?"


yes that's the one. I had heard sometime ago about the Limits to Growth 'conspiracy' and rebuttal by mainstream economists. What I want to know is what their problem with L2G was and why they were just wrong.

So far as I know, the rebuttal consisted mostly of "You predicted in L2G that we would run out of resource x by year y, but here we are in year y+10, and resource x is still available. Therefore you are ignorant wrong liars and no-one should listen to you."

The rebuttal fails because L2G explicitly never made predictions. They build a mathematical model of the world and how its various systems interact, and ran multiple simulations with multiple initial conditions. What they found was that in an economy focused on constant growth, it takes more and more effort to obtain the resources needed to maintain and grow your economy, and to deal with the associated wastes and pollution. Eventually, all available resources are required simply to maintain your current economy and deal with the consequences of pollution. At that point, net economic growth necessarily stops.

More succinctly, a population that grows at a constant rate will chew through all of its available resources surprisingly quickly, no matter how big that resource base was to start with. Growth, overshoot, and collapse were characteristics of all the modeled economies that had constant growth as a goal.

Seems pretty plausible in 2011, right?

Good summary. There were other attacks, mostly ideological, and mostly from economists and others who have based their entire world view on infinite growth and human progress. For example:

  • Malthus was wrong about population, and these neo-malthusians are also wrong
  • The model is wrong about resources becasue it does not account for price/technology/human ingenuity

The other day I was thumbing through one of Smil's many books and he outright sneered at the L2G model, claiming that he and some colleagues looked at the "source code" (Stella) and immediately dismissed it as completely wrong. Oddly, he wasn't very specific about what exactly was wrong with it.

In fact, the L2G team ecplicitly acknowledged that any model is only as good as the assumptions that went into constructing it, and they invited anyone who disagreed with them to construct a valid alternative world model as a way of showing where their analysis had gone wrong.

AFAIK, no one has ever taken them up on that.


Also, another attack was about how LTG only assumes linear technological innovation while assuming exponential growth of other factors (population, pollution, depletion, etc.,). AKA, you're pessimistic.

Matt Simmons wrote a white paper in 2000 in which he reviewed Limits to Growth and all of the attacks on it. He did a pretty good job of fisking the critics.

You can read it here:


At a quick scan this seems to address your question:


Link up top: Food is a fundamental right

In Catholic Social Teaching, food (minimal nutrition, as well as food security) is a fundamental right, tied to human dignity.

In Catholic Social Teaching, birth control is not a fundamental right. Aren't these two fundamental positions in conflict with each other?

Do other species have a right to exist? If God created all these different species do humans have a right to drive them into extinction because our their unchecked fecundity?

It is not a black and white world we live in. The we seldom, if ever make choices between good and evil. It is almost always between the lesser evil and the greater evil. Unchecked procreation is almost always the greater evil and advocating unchecked procreation is an evil even greater than that.

(Yes, yes, I know, the terms "good" and "evil" are human inventions and are adjectives not recognized by Mother Nature herself. However they are adjectives used to describe the human condition as well as the condition of other animals.)

Ron P.

I wonder if the Catholic Church will ever acknowledge and fess up to the massive human misery and suffering they have caused. Maybe when they are standing amidst the smoldering ruins of our civilization? All to get more butts in the pews I suppose.

I wonder if the Catholic Church will ever acknowledge and fess up to the massive human misery and suffering they have caused.

I'm a critic of the Catholic Church too but, do you think maybe your statement is a little broad?

We Catholics don't make up 3/4 of the over populated planet.

You Catholics make up 16.8% of the over populated planet, second only to Muslims at 22.4%

If you were a country you would be India to Muslim's China.

Muslim views on birth control are marginally more liberal, on average. It is accepted on health grounds, and for
planning (your large) family evenly over the full fertility period of your wife(s).

I as a protestant could actually wear a condom, any time I wanted. If I were actually to have sex.


I'm not saying the Catholic Church is solely responsible for our predicament, just that their influence especially in poor, third world countries in Latin America is leading to massive suffering and misery. I just wonder if they will ever acknowledge that.

Two Quick Stories:

I was sitting on a bus somewhere in South America and during small talk with the man in the seat beside me the inevitable "and do you have children" question came up. When he found out that I was married, but was not planning on having children ASAP he told me: "If you insist on using birth control I suggest you use the pill, not condoms, that way only you will fry in the fires of hell, you won't take your husband down with you".

I decided that fundamentalist Catholics disturbed me.

So a few weeks later, on the same bus route a lady hopped on, stood at the front, and declared herself a devout Christian. She then proceeded to ask if we were worried about climate change and crime. I got all excited about the possibility of witnessing a dialogue over climate change, but it turned out (over the course of an emotional 45 minute long fire and brimstone speech) that she wanted the people sitting on the bus to abandon all responsibility over to Jesus, they should spend and buy as hard as they could, and stop worrying about things that were obviously in God's hands. Thinking about climate change, or the social problems that cause crime would be an affront to the great almighty, as that was his job and ours was to trust him.

Fundamentalist religion scares me, I don't know whether it scares me more in poor, vulnerable populations or in rich influential populations :S

Wow. Our species is headed to an inevitable die-off. Such ignorance guarantees it.

For more horror, listen to this NPR story about birth control in Pakistan:

Yeah, we are screwed.

If you're looking for ignorance, no doubt you'll find it. Is that a good use of our intelligence?

The more we allow our morbid curiosity to click on Sarah Palin-type links and stories, the less of our time is available for the massive amount of useful and intelligent work we need to do. I'm vulnerable to it as much as anyone here.. but just don't forget that it's a trap, and squeaky wheels are not a good reason to stop using wheels.

There is a lot of intelligence and wisdom out there. Don't let it be lonely..

"So, friends, every day do something that won't compute...Give your approval to all you cannot understand...Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years...Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts....Practice resurrection."
— Wendell Berry (Baptist Environmentalist)

Wendell Berry was one of my heroes. He was a professor (Univ of Ky - creative writing?) who spoke out against the Vietnam War in 1968. As far as I know, he did not stress his religious beliefs, but he did live them, exemplifying the teachings of Jesus. At least, in my opinion. Like me, he was opposed to abortion, and to capital punishment, both for the same reason - the sanctity of life. And, he was relatively outspoken. I guess one reason I like him is he always seemed a kindred spirit.

Wallace published many short stories, as I recall, writing about life on the farm. I don't know if he is still alive - he would be close to 80 by now. We need more scholars of similar demean.


I'm reading this article right now.. has a few other Religiously inclined folks that don't deserve the blanket putdowns that Spiritual folks often get around here.


James Lawson , the United Methodist pastor whose teaching of nonviolent action and commitment to the poor were so vital to the rise of the southern student movement and to Martin King's own development. After retiring from 50 years in ordained Methodist ministry, Jim found time this summer to be arrested in Los Angeles and Cleveland, first for sitting-in with the Janitors for Justice and then standing with the beleaguered community of gay and lesbian sisters and brothers in his own national Methodist denomination.

Bernice Johnson Reagon , the founder of “Sweet Honey in the Rock” who began her singing career first in church and then in southern jails, on marching lines, and in movement mass meetings, and was fundamentally transformed by the experience. Bernice continues to teach for democratic change in classrooms and on concert stages.

Ruby Sales , who almost lost her life in 1965 when her friend and co-worker, Jonathan Daniels, a white seminarian, was murdered during their voter registration work in Alabama. Ruby, a women's movement and community organizer, recently completed her seminary degree and is now directing a church-based community center in Washington, DC.

Zoharah Simmons, whose pilgrimage took her from a Memphis Baptist childhood through Black movement leadership to the completion this year of a long-sought doctoral degree. Zoharah all the while maintained her own highly disciplined spiritual life and her commitment to justice and peace, and is now a Sufi-based university professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Florida.
Andrew Young, an ordained United Church of Christ minister, has taken his sense of religious calling into a fascinating variety of local, national and international political and economic venues. Andrew commutes between the United States and Africa in a never-ceasing commitment to the economic development of that continent.

But two of our favorite Veterans of Hope are Rachel Noel of Denver and Grace Lee Boggs of Detroit. Having entered their 80s, these two women model the advice of the late Fannie Lou Hamer: “Keep on Keeping On!” Doing so, they remind us that the dance toward the more perfect union has always depended on veterans like Noel and Boggs, who continue to put their arms around the young folks and move on in loving determination, manifesting in their lives the title of Grace's memoir, Living for Change.

They might only have empathy for their own tribe.. they just choose to define their Tribe VERY broadly, which is one of the things most of the world's religions share in their stated beliefs.. Compassion and Active Offerings of Relief to those who suffer. But we won't see it if we're just looking at the extreme statements and actions of the extreme factions, but it's actually out there in abundance if you want to find it.. alas!

One of my heroes, too, Craig

I think I first encountered Wendell about 25 years ago when PBS's Smithsonian World carried an amazing 60-minute film called "The Promise of the Land." That film is one of those 'desert island' things: if I could only have one hour of video to watch, that would be my choice.
Lots of historical context (Jefferson's hopes for a democratic nation built around farmers), a strong & hopeful ecological message, and very powerful statements from Wendell and from Wes Jackson (Wes is speaking at ASPO-Washington, which is wonderful).
That film got me reading his books, starting with The Unsettling of America.

I have no idea why such an important film is so rarely aired. We take our food for granted, and that film warns that we cannot.

(Jefferson's hopes for a democratic nation built around farmers

One of my favorite themes. And one that should resound on TOD, what with all the back to the farm sentiments.

Thanks for the post... I will try to find the film.


Hi Bob,

Nice quote - thank you.

I took the comment to be more than about a story. The issues: religion intersecting w. population, women/girls education and population, etc. All worthwhile topics, IMVHO.

And thusly do "we" humans in a desperate attempt to keep BAU build things we know we can not control and when they fail wipe out entire sections of biosphere (like fission plants) or do "we" come up with some sort of different plan?

Most creatures 'run a script' of what's worked in the past - be it 'technology fixed this in the past', 'they are a (insert political party or follower of X religion) therefore ...', or the ever popular - 'the burecratic plan laid out beforehand.'

And scripts are a fine way to do things, biological elements and computers do quite well - cept when they don't work.

Like this script "if there is a public emergency, move everyone to the big public place - the school"


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.

The mass of humanity are robots, they just don't have the sense or have been informed to start repeating I am a robot

I am a fundamentalist christian. And I am an evolutionist, don't hate gays (or any one else), think the Republicans sucks (slightly more than the Democrats (am happy I am not allowed to vote in the US)), am pro poulation control through all mens other than abortion (wich whatever you say is extinguishing an individual human life) and am deeply worried about Peak Oil and Climate Change, and think we need to do something about it.

Can you direct me to something we could do, that would actually work? I am out of ideas.

IMO, Sweden is doing most of the right things. Just do more and faster :-)

Best Hopes for Sverige,


Quoting a low population density country like Sweden with a population of ~9 million when the world has a population of ~7 BILLION completely misses the scale of the problem.

The average population density of the world's land is 122 per square mile, Sweden's is 54 per square mile. If the world's population density is to fall to Sweden's this implies a world population of ~3 billion. How do you propose we do this?


As one of the interviewees in the Pakistan story sited above noted, education of women is crucial.

This seems a rather non-controversial approach to most of us in developed countries, but by any deep historical criteria and for much of the less developed world, this has been and is seen as radical feminism.

So I would humbly suggest that those who profess to be most deeply concerned about population growth start by defining themselves to their family, friends, neighbors and enemies as radical feminists. If they have the balls to do that (so to speak), perhaps they have what it takes to face the kind of resistance they are likely to face if they go to countries they mostly know nothing about and propose solutions to their problems that may go radically against their long-held beliefs.

On the other hand, most areas to understand the advantages of education, and, as my friend has found in his work in Pakistan and Afghanistan, if you offer this much desired benefit to the sons on the condition that the daughters also partake in the same, people seem to be generally receptive.

Hello Dohboi,

Thank you so much.

1) I've been waiting for this moment:

re: " So I would humbly suggest that those who profess to be most deeply concerned about population growth start by defining themselves to their family, friends, neighbors and enemies as radical feminists."

Culture change can start right here at TOD. :)

2) re: "if you offer this much desired benefit to the sons on the condition that the daughters also partake in the same, people seem to be generally receptive."

Interesting. I wonder...does the arrangement persist? Do people keep the terms?

3) There's one other point that strikes me, and is the reason I have the view that men, in particular, can initiate tremendous change via (not even "radical feminism" but) just some basic human rights equality.

The point has to do with the way that education achieves this reduction in birth rate.

According to Dr. Raashid (quoting from NPR article)

"And the only thing that you see different there is that women are educated there," Raashid says. "They know about their rights."

Emphasis on "...rights."

It has to be the case that the rights must be there; they must be codified in the law and - (drumroll) - there must be a way to enforce the law.

Many critical steps between simply the education and the protections afforded by law, backed up by enforcement. It seems to me.

3) Example of lack of rights and/or lack of enforcement. From the UNICEF page on child marriages. http://www.unicef.org/protection/index_earlymarriage.html

Abuse: This is common in child marriages. In addition, children who refuse to marry or who choose a marriage partner against the wishes of their parents are often punished or even killed by their families in so-called ‘honour killings.

Excellent points. I bet in this short radio interview they had to chop out other points that were made--important as education is, it is just one part of a multifaceted approach that surely must include female solidarity (along with sympathetic males), good legislation, and as you say well enforced legislation.

" re: "if you offer this much desired benefit to the sons on the condition that the daughters also partake in the same, people seem to be generally receptive."

Interesting. I wonder...does the arrangement persist? Do people keep the terms? "

Good questions. I should see him tomorrow, so I'll ask him then. I'm not sure how long these programs have been in place.

[edit--I did see him but had more of an opportunity to talk with his wife, who said that people continue to send both their sons and their daughters to the schools. They are under pressure, however, to turn the running of the schools over to the government. And that has a history of going badly.]

Jedi, thanks for your insights.

I strongly recommend, given your positions, that you avoid having an abortion.

But please don't refuse funding or support for international programs that do many good things to help the lives of the poor and help reduce population growth just because they occasionally say the word 'abortion.'

None of us know for sure what 'works'--see what seems to work in your particular circumstances and apply it and share it with others.

We are all up against a culture of death that is beyond anything seen on earth. I happen to think that a few terminated pregnancies are not the worst aspect of this global death culture--if I thought they represented some kind of murder, I would have to favor considering every woman who experienced the tragedy and heartbreak of miscarriage a potential murderer. That just doesn't square with my notions of compassion, either from my Christian upbringing, my Buddhist adolescence, or my current (more or less) atheist morals.

"am happy I am not allowed to vote in the US"

I'm equally happy that I am allowed to not vote, altho I never exercise my right to do it.

JW. If only you could convince Americans who are attracted to the fundamentalist label, to look at the world like you do. But, I think part of the problem comes from ignorance of the book they claim contains the truth (they only have read tiny cherry-picked parts). Sounds like you read the entire thing in order to get a wholistic viewpoint of it. Thats probably beyond most people intellectual capability -or at least tolerance for long reading and thinking projects.

BTW. In the English speaking world, the King James bible is what is used? Is your bible from that translation, or is their a more direct Sweedish version. Supposedly the King James version contains certain bviases of the translators.

"If God created all these different species do humans have a right to drive them into extinction because our their unchecked fecundity?"

Gosh, Ron,

Then God said:

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Genesis 1:26

Seems our butts were covered, right from the beginning. :-/

We were given permission to @#%$ things up.

One of the primary definitions of dominion is "supreme authority", which in human terms means the right to f^@# things up, at least that seems to be the consensus, considering our history.

All this is a common but just as wrong interpretation. The true meaning is we have dominiation over earth just like a gardener has over the garden. Would the gardener take this as an excuse to waste the garden? No, but as a duty to maintain and improve it. A detailed look at the hebrew makes this interpretation quite obvious.

Unfortunately, hobby theologists all over the world with no skills to read the book make their own assumptions, and with them, mess things up the whole time. It is a big problem.

Jedi, Ghung's post was pure sarcasm. And I thought it was hilarious. Now you want to spoil the fun by getting serious with us. You want to point to the word "dominion" and tell us Ghung has it all wrong, that actually "this means...". Well, I still can't take you serious. And I still think it is hilarious. ;-)

Theologians do not just do this incidentally: (gerrymander) this is theology. Doing theology is like doing a jigsaw puzzle in which the verses of Scripture are the pieces: the finished picture is prescribed by each denomination, with a certain latitude allowed. What makes the game so pointless is that you do not have to use all the pieces, and that pieces which do not fit may be reshaped after pronouncing the words "this means."
- Walter Kaufmann: Critique of Religion and Philosophy.

Ron P.

My brain was not delivered with a sarcasm detection circuit. Sorry for that, but it is not my fault.

And I totaly do not agree with your view on theology. However you are an atheist and is bound by your faith to be unable to detect any patterns in the Book. Like a snake can not fly. There is a general picture in the Bible,and once you get it, all pieces fall in place. I donot expect atheists to have the ability to see this picture.

But all of that is unrelevant, because we are only looking at one individual verse. No big deal building a puzzle with just one piece, is it? And the hebrew word gives no room for this very popular interpretation. But please do as atheists do and go on reading the Bible in an english translation in wich those details get lost. It is easyer to fid stuff for critisism if one does not check the original writing first.

Maybe you even believe Jona was swallowed by a whale? Ateists often do.

JW, you may be interested in a book by Bill McKibben (a Methodist) called "The Comforting Whirlwind."

It suggests that the Job story, particularly the last few chapters, is a radical challenge to anthropocentrism and a proponent of a life- (and of course God-) centered understanding of the world, a world filled with creatures loved by God as much as s/he loves humans.

Is it lack of a sarcasm detector? Or, maybe just that it is easy to miss certain subtleties when it isn't your native tongue.

C'mon, Jedi, that's just your interpretation. The beauty danger of the Bible is that it is so open to interpretation. It says what people want it to say. If a man wants permission to beat his dog, he need only read Genesis 1:26. No need to go farther....

Yes, it is a big problem, especially for us godless 'wretches' who have a more organic sense of right and wrong. Some folks don't need encoded permission to do the right thing.

I'm scorned here on TOD for checking up the facts. And ateists mock ME forblind faith...

You have my respect for standing up with your Faith in this context. I do think your statements to that effect are very helpful in showing people that Religious belief isn't just the caricature they've learned from the Extreme factions.. Many people here in the US (and surely elsewhere) have been so enraged and hurt by that extremism that it's hard for them to see how the Middleground can even have something useful to add to the mix..

I'm a bit more on the Agnostic side.. but the allies on any of the fronts we're facing, Environment, Economy, Energy, Education (What is it with 'E' words, anyway?) etcetera.. the troops in any of these battles are thin, so I hope we can start to distinguish better who the real antagonists are, and not waste valuable effort in this sort of Stabbing at Phantoms, and build the alliances that we need..

We'll see.. but don't you dare quit, OK?


That is a very wise comment, Bob. I Second your line of thought.

I'm an atheist too, but I see people who are open to understanding about our predicaments despite their (lack of) beliefs in a Creator of sorts.

But such thoughts (about a Creator and taking it seriously) come about only when we're disconnected from reality. These thoughts, like wedges, stay around just to serve this disconnection. I believe (out of an understanding of how evolution works) that we're built to be naturally 'aware' of our environments. To some extent, I see science also a means to disconnect us from this reality.

It is this disconnection that has caused the horrid belief in Technological progress for those Atheists who believe they lack a belief.

I have personally felt trouble in talking about Limits to Growth / Peak Oil / etc., to Atheist friends of mine than god-believing folks. These Techno-cornucopians cite pointless excuses to continue BAU (such as, "It is difficult to predict what may come about to a complex system such as the world and the LTG looks like a toy". "Reality cannot be simulated or forecasted"). Some cite examples such as the Green Revolution and how such "Black Swan" innovations happened at times of pressure and Solved problems. Someone even recently brought up the news that Apple surpassed Exxon as "the most valuable company". Now, of course, it is possible to argue - the laws of thermodynamics always win. But sometimes I start realizing that they truly 'believe' in technology (in that some of them believe that 'laws' can be altered).

Kathy McMahon's website opened my eyes to looking at these people in a different way - http://www.peakoilblues.org/blog/?p=132

My own view of this is: There are two last-legs to the 'acceptance' state - which is to see our perceived truth confirmed by

1. the people we interact with
2. our living experience

In the case of a typical terminal illness, we do easily find confirmation that the illness is true and real (since it is not our peers who will be as affected as ourselves, they often easily confirm that we're going to be dead; body deteriorates and we do see that we're slowly dying). So the acceptance is relatively easy to get to.

However, when it comes to these planetary-wide gloom and doom topics, I think, most of us L2G aware folks find ourselves a minority and continue to (naturally) alienate ourselves from REALITY and tend to slip back into a state of depression.

1. we live / interact with peers who do not confirm our world view. This acts as a hindrance often to take action.
2. we are in a living arrangement that is still the same "BAU" setup (that is, any useful action that can be taken isn't "yet" taken and as a result we see ourselves "stuck").

Personally, after realizing this, I stopped explaining LTG and our predicaments to my peers even if the topics arise (based on news and events). This allowed me to truly find (unexpected of all) people I can work with in bringing about whatever little change we CAN do right now than sit around waving and throwing up hands.

Like you said, we need to be able to identify folks who CAN work with us despite our differences. Not waste time debating - people take their own time, afterall, we all did in some ways.

I'm a bit more on the Agnostic side.. but the allies on any of the fronts we're facing, Environment, Economy, Energy, Education

For sure. And because you are part of the fold (flock), you can talk to Christians, in a way those of us who dismiss it as a fairy tale can't. That makes you very valuable.

Appologies, Jedi. I for one respect your (most people's) faith as long as it's non-evangelical (as in "don't try to put it on me, 'cause that means you believe I'm deficient"). And I'm not an atheist. I don't deny the existance of "God". I just don't put a face or name to the concept, and certainly don't insist to others that "my God" is the one and only true god.

BTW: You should try living in the US Bible belt as openly "not-Christian"....I have little sympathy for the "persecuted Christian" syndrome, though I forgive them, for they know not what they do. Amen.

And ateists mock

I'll certainly try not to! [If I get out of hand you are allowed to remind me]. I can see you are serious, and have put in lots of good thinking time. That is something to be respected.

Mr. Deity and the Believing Brain

In a footnote in EMPIRE, Niall Ferguson says that in India life expectancy increased from 21 to 31 years from 1820 to 1950 and that over the same period life expectancy in Britian increased from 40 to 69.

So the problem is not that the number of births is too high. The problem is that life expectancy is too long.

If global life expectancy were 21 years, as it was in India in the early 18th century, we would not have a population problem. Furthermore, the number of souls being sent onward to heaven (or limbo) should be at a satisfactory rate.

Most positions come into conflict at some time. Especially in religion.

I recall as a boy in early sixties the stink that forced our parish priest to leave. Doctrine stated to feed the hungry, that food was a right. The priest got in hot water when he asserted it was justified to steal for food. That it wasn't a sin if you were truly starving. This went over great in Catechism class, teaching the commandments.

I think I like that priest;^)....

The church has gotta watch those Jesuits, at least the modern day ones. They were always getting in theological trouble.

I left any religion while still a teen, (but probably kept the guilt), yet occasionally follow it. Catholicism seems to infusing more and more native practices as it attempts worldwide growth. Even aspects of Voodoo. It's not the church, but the converts keeping old ways. Probably similar to the Christmas tree.

Well, that's a relief. It means that Jean Valjean in Les Miserable still had a chance at getting to heaven, even though he suffered the punishment of being a low-life bread thief. /sarc off

It's too bad for Valjean that he didn't live in England. In the late 1700's, stealing a loaf of bread would get you a seven year, all expenses paid "holiday" to the new South Pacific "resort"(=penal colony) of Australia.

Just as well they don't have that rule today, or there would be no one left in Old Blighty...

It can all be summed up from this bible verse:

"It is easier to thread a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be held responsible for robbing from the masses."

LMAO good one.

"It is easier to thread a camel through the eye of a needle"

Meh, depends on how fine you grind it. There's nothing about it being in working condition afterwards.


And, you couldn't smoke it!


You can, but Camels are unfiltered.

Or how big your needle is

(biggest needle)

Its an interesting issue you take on. I always enjoy reading your posts.

If one thinks about it, food cannot be a right. If there is no food, one cannot have food, and the right has no value. For who shall provide for this right? Fellow citizens? The government? God? If I go into the desert and choose to stay there, who will provide food to my cabin?

Rather, I argue that "food is a right" is more like "a universal obligation to share ones food with those who are so unfortunate to have insufficient food despite their best efforts". I also believe that the concept of sufficient nutritious food as a human right can only arise in a society of "milk and honey" to use a biblical term.

But consider this, for whom do these basic human rights allegedly apply? All humans alive? Everyone in the future? If there is not enough food due to a global crop failure or something similar, do the right still apply?

Lets do some armchair experiments:

Consider the world consists of a continent with a homogenous population and resources. It is severed by a natural event, and the two populations carry on isolated from each other. These islands we call Wester Island and Easter Island. The people on Wester Island by reasoning discover that the world has finite resources and must live within some limits to avoid a terrible fate. They enforce a frugal lifestyle with regards to consumption and realize that in order to sustain life for the long term, their population must stay within the carrying capacity of their environment.

The people on Easter Island are also informed about this potential catastrophe. However in spite many people wish to implement a similar way of life as on Wester Island, they do not succeed because of a ineffective decision system. So as time passes they become far to numerous for their environment, and they eventually find themselves in dire straits. They outnumber the frugal Wester Islanders by a factor of x. Their soil is depleted, energy resources and vital materials are exhausted, and they face a massive famine.

If we can for the purpose of this exercise accept this as a plausible scenario (actually the least plausable of this is actually Wester Island's frugal life style), we can use it as a basis for contemplating the human right of food. There simply is not enough resources to sustain life as normal on Easter Island. Do the humans of Easter Island still have the human right of enough nutritious food? Who shall answer for this right? The people on Wester Island? Shall they sacrifice in order to minimize the famine on Easter Island?

Raise their hands everyone who feel that the Wester Islanders have an obligation to share equally with the Easter Islanders to avoid the catastrophe.

I think that this small armchair experiment shows that one cannot have universal human rights like many people advocate. I strongly believe that one should not exploit others, and generally treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. In Utopia, the human rights are 100% valid, but on Earth, these universal human rights are being and will be challenged by the limits posed by the natural world.

In your experiment, it's quite likeny that Wester Island will not have any spare food to give away because they have a sustainable production system that only produces sufficient food for the population and no more.

If they share, they will, themselves, also starve!

One cannot possibly have a right to what nature cannot provide. And no one has an obligation to feed another if it means that they themselves must starve. Rights and obligations are, like good and evil, human concepts not natural concepts. There are no rights or obligations in nature. In the animal world, concerning others, there are only instincts. And if we are ever living on the very edge of survival, instincts will override all concerns of rights or obligations. Empathy will be an emotion that no one will be able to afford.

Ron P.

I couldn't agree more. No one has a right, nor should they have an expectation, that others will bail them out when they overbreed to the point of starvation. OTOH, when nature, in its fickle failures, dictates an unexpected famine, our species should cooperate and share, if possible. Note the qualifying words: if possible.

The right to farm on the commons is another question... we will be seeing it arise as time advances. How we answer that question could determine our future.

Strange species, Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Wonder if they'll be missed.


Is empathy not instinctive?

I don't think so.
It can be relative but it doesn't mean anything in the scheme of things.
You could and do (if you aren't a psychopath) feel empathy for the starving children in East Africa but unless the empathy is acted on, it's just another day as you go about your daily life.

Empathy can be diluted if you are suffering the same misfortune, for instance flood, fire, earthquake, collateral damage from war, a participant in war, sport and many other situations.

Not all murderers are psychopaths, nor are thieves or politicians so "instinctive" empathy must be able to be easily suppressed or ignored.

Is empathy not instinctive?

Good question. As far as empathy synonymous with conscience it is instinctive. But empathy is, or has been, limited in its reach. It has historically been very strong within the family, still present but weaker within the tribe and non existent outside one's tribe.

Psychologist often comment on the expanding circle of empathy. Modern communication, in particular television, have enabled most people to include most of humanity within their own tribe. But during wartime the enemy is not usually seen as a member of one's tribe. People all over America Jumped and cheered when the word spread about the atomic bomb being dropped on Japan.

I know it is hard to believe but the exact same thing happened in many schoolrooms in the South when the children got the word that John Kennedy had been killed. Our circle of empathy is a fickle thing. We have no empathy for those we hate.

Of course empathy, like all other human characteristics, varies greatly over the population. That is the strength of one's conscience varies. If we could plot the strength empathy over a few thousand people the plot would resemble a bell curve. The vast majority of people would fall right in the middle or within one standard deviation of the center. There would be a few people at one extreme tip of the bell curve with empathy so strong that they would have great pity even for those who commit the most atrocious crimes.

Then there are those on the other tip of the bell curve. Those people have no feeling even for their own offspring. They could, and often do, kill their own children because they find them a burden. Those folks are called psychopaths. That is a word that describes those born without a conscience. However if you are among those who believe conscience, or empathy, is not instinctive, then you would use the word sociopath instead, meaning you believe it is a learned behavior.

But to answer your question, empathy for those outside one's own tribe, or what one has come to consider people outside their own tribe, is not instinctive.

Ron P.

We have no empathy for those we hate.

'The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.' -Elie Wiesel ( this is not the first time this thought occurs there's a turn of century play this probably comes from by someone else I forgot who and couldn't find it again, but it is not as concise or quotable )

the exact same thing happened in many schoolrooms in the South when the children got the word that John Kennedy had been killed

Hard to believe... I was in the Air Force, sitting in the barracks when the news came. We had people from all over, including of course "the South." No one cheered! Maybe the severity of the situation was overwhelming to all, but I do not recall anyone being even the least bit happy or encouraged. Today that event seems a real turning point, where hopes were tempered by harsh reality. Even now one has trouble thinking about it without being overcome.


Didn't the south turn Republican after LBJ? Why would the Democratic south (back then) cheer over the assassination of Democratic President?

Beats me, Les. Maybe Ron can answer that. I don't personally know anyone who lived in the South at that time who reported that phenomena.


Well believe it because it happened. There was some controversy as to whether it happened in Dallas schools or not but I know it happened in Alabama schools because I was told by people who were there.

I was in the Air Force also when I heard the news, at a small Radar site in Eufaula, Alabama. Everyone was quite depressed at the news. But it was a totally different story among most of the towns people of Eufaula. Everyone was all smiles. One of my fellow airmen told of buying something at a local department store. When he was checking out he remarked something about the terrible news that day. The clerk replied with a snarling: "Why, are you Catholic?" He threw the merchandise at her and walked out.

The hatred was all because of the role Kennedy played in the civil rights movement.

Hey, I lived through the entire civil rights movement in the South. I got involved late when I joined a small group of protesters at the local Unitarian Universalist Church in Huntsville, Ala. But by that time most of it was history. Most of the time during the entire movement, to my everlasting regret, I was just one of the gawkers.

Ron P.

Kennedy was not really involved in the Civil Right Movement. He did, after waiting too long (in the opinion of many at the time, myself included) call in the National Guard - twice. But the real leglislation so hated in the South was the product of his death, under LBJ, and in reactive support, just as LBJ's election in '64 was.

Perhaps the reason for the sentiment you report was anti Catholic and not Civil Rights oriented? Remember, most of the South was Baptist, and resented that a Catholic was elected, religous wingnuts apparently being of like mind whenever encountered.


Kennedy was not really involved in the Civil Right Movement.

Oh for goodness sake, give me a break!

John F. Kennedy
During Kennedy’s Presidential Inaugural address in 1961, he promised to end racial discrimination. During Kennedy’s time in office, he appointed black people to many federal positions. No other president had done that in the past. President Kennedy appointed about forty Blacks to administrative posts such as Administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, Associate White House Press Secretary, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. He also selected five black federal judges, giving hope to Black Americans that more important jobs will go to Blacks.

Perhaps the reason for the sentiment you report was anti Catholic and not Civil Rights oriented?

Nonsense. Georgia, North and South Carolina went to Kennedy in 1960. Alabama and Mississippi went to independent (then) Robert Byrd. There was resentment because most of the South was protestant, not Catholic like Kennedy. But no one hated the Catholics! You know damn well who most white rednecks hated and that is why they also hated Kennedy. For that reason and no other reason.

The point you do not realize, and everyone in the south did realize was that as far as the federal government, laws and such, Kennedy started it all. He was the one who put the full force of the federal government behind the civil rights movement.

I was there, in the deep South of Alabama, during the entire civil rights movement. I remember it like it was yesterday. And some of the things I remember, I would rather not remember.

Ron P.

Some times our memories are selective. We on the left tend to diefy JFK, just as Republicans elevate the status of "St. Ronnie the Wrong." My recollections is that, while he generally supported the civil rights movement, his brother, Bobby, was more active in that realm.

Kennedy's narrow election victory and small working margin in Congress left him cautious. He was reluctant to lose southern support for legislation on many fronts by pushing too hard on civil rights legislation. Instead, he appointed unprecedented numbers of African Americans to high-level positions in the administration and strengthened the Civil Rights Commission

It is not that he did nothing, but his lack of action early on was disappointing to those who expected so much. One of my friends in the Air Force was a grandson of WEB DuBois, and we had a number of discussions about events at the time. He was less than impressed by Kennedy's actions, and by his reticance to take stronger action, while he did vote for JFK and was a staunch Democrat.

That is not to say that race was not an important factor in what you encountered, and the South may have felt that he was far too active. And, again, I did not encounter any rejoycing by my fellow airmen. Just to say that JFK was not a saint. Just as his foreign policy, especially as to Vietnam, was not all that I would want, he did as little as possible on civil rights until events forced otherwise (just as did Dwight Eisenhower several years earlier).

JFK was a pragmatic politican, and acted according to advise proferred by policy wonks, just as does Obama today. And just as I am seriously disappointed in Barack Obama, I was unhappy with some of JFKs actions, or lack thereof.

Just saying.


Craig, my memory is not selective, I remember it exactly as it was. I was there. Though as I confessed above, I was mostly just one of the gawkers, but gawk I did. I saw the beatings of blacks, I remember very well the venom of whites when cursing Kennedy. And it does not matter what Bobby did, he was appointed by John and everything he did people attributed to John, not Bobby.

The majority of white people in the South hated Kennedy with a passion and it was because of his role in trying to make black people their equal and for no other reason.

Let me repeat myself. I remember the venomous rantings of southerners, cursing Kennedy. I remember it like it was yesterday. To suggest that it was not because of his trying to make blacks their equal is just absurd. I was there, I remember.

Ron P.

Wow, Ron! I am sorry you had to endure that, and glad that I did not witness any of those things until later (did travel a bit from 1964-1966 in support of the Civil Rights movement).

Were the Southerners in the AF with you of like mind? I was in Germany, and again heard or saw no indication of such. Lucky me!


Were the Southerners in the AF with you of like mind?

Like my mind or like the local Southerners mind? Either way the answer is no. Even in the deep south you heard very little racial rhetoric on the bases where I was. Actually there was only two, Keesler in Biloxi Miss and the very small Radar site in Eufaula, Ala. I was at Keesler for one year and in Euvaula for three years.

However I was one of the very few southerners that actively, or more correctly vocally, supported the civil rights movement. Most other southerners I worked with in the Air Force were mostly silent on the matter. And I do not recall ever hearing, from my fellow southern airmen, anything like the venom I heard from the civilian populace.

One of the reasons, and there was likely more than one reason, but one of the reasons was that we were from all over the US. Everyone liked to get along and not create friction among the group. So we all just tried to get along and keep peace in the family of airmen.

Ron P.

I was in the army 64-67. There was a lot of "under the breath" racism in those days but the army itself was so egalitarian that I think the rascists were a little cowed by the situation. But even so I saw very few friendships between black and white.

I know it is hard to believe but the exact same thing happened in many schoolrooms in the South when the children got the word that John Kennedy had been killed.

That doesn't sound right to me. The south was solidly Democratic back then.

Les, the south was democratic under Roosevelt and Truman. The transition began under Eisenhower but became totally complete when Kennedy put the federal government squarely behind the civil rights movement. The south, at that time, still elected democratic governors and other elected officials. But the people hated Kennedy, then Johnson after him, with a passion that you would not believe either.

You would have to have been there. I am 73 and I was there. I lived every minute of it. I saw the things, firsthand, that you only know from history books. The civil rights movement was the prime mover that turned the south from democratic to republican, from liberal to conservative. And Kennedy started it all as far as the redneck south was concerned. The hatred is mostly gone now, because most of the haters have died. But it was there, I lived through it all.

Ron P.

turned the south from democratic to republican, from liberal to conservative

The Southern Democrats / Dixiecrats were never liberal. They were conservatives who opposed the Northern Republicans, who were in power from 1860 to 1932 with minor exceptions.

The party realignment, from Nixon's Southern Strategy through the '94 election which solidified the hold of southern Republicans on the House of Representatives, reflects a realignment that recongnized that reality.

After the mid '90s the Democratic party became more socially liberal, union/worker, minority and female supported everywhere and the Republican party became more socially conservative, business/manager, white, and male everywhere.

The Southern Democrats / Dixiecrats were never liberal.

Well that all depends on what you call "liberal". Was Franklyn D. Roosevelt a liberal? He was supported overwhelmingly by the south when he ran against conservative Herbert Hoover, conservative Alf Landon, conservative Wendell Willkie, and conservative Thomas E. Dewey. They supported every government job Roosevelt ever created, the WPA, the NRA, the CCC, TVA and all the rest. All were liberal programs hated by all conservatives but supported overwhelmingly by Southerners.

Was Harry Truman a liberal? They supported him... well I could go on and on.

Dixiecrats were states rights people who felt states had the right to keep blacks from voting or in any way equal to whites. That is another story that has nothing to do with the liberal-conservative issue.

My Dad was a liberal democrat all his life and a poor sharecropper for half his life. I inherited his politics but not his religion. Anyway, he was always talking about how the democrats supported "the little man". The little man could only be supported by very liberal government programs... he felt. The vast majority of the South, in those days, were poor just like my Dad. They were also very liberal, just like my dad. Damn rich conservatives never gave a damn about the little man. ;-)

Oh, I must tell this story, one that I heard Dad tell dozens of times. In the election of 1936 all the big bosses in every factory around the country supported Alf Landon. The workers, of course, supported Roosevelt. The day after the election it was learned that Landon carried Maine and Vermont, for a total of 8 electoral votes. Roosevelt carried all other states for a total of 523 electoral votes. On the bulletin board of one of the factories was posted this notice:

Election Results
The Country       523
The Country Club    8

Ron P.

By 1937, the Southern Democrats had turned on Roosevelt.


In the United States, the conservative coalition was an unofficial Congressional coalition bringing together the conservative majority of the Republican Party and the conservative, mostly Southern, wing of the Democratic Party. It was dominant in Congress from 1937 to 1963 and remained a political force until the mid 1980s, eventually dying out in the 1990s.


The spring and summer of 1937 saw a return to economic recession (dubbed the "Roosevelt Recession"), a failed attempt by Roosevelt to "pack" the Supreme Court with judges sympathetic to New Deal policies, and a series of sit-down strikes by organized labor.[1] A bipartisan coalition of conservative politicians emerged in light of these political developments, and Senator Josiah W. Bailey (D-NC) recognized an opportunity to stem the excesses of the New Deal through "bipartisan conservative action."[2] The document's key authors were Bailey and Arthur H. Vandenberg (R-MI), with Bailey acting as "final editor."[3

The statement called for:
1.lowering taxes on capital gains and undistributed profits,
2.reducing government spending and balancing budgets,
3.restoring peace to the relationship between labor and industry,
4.resisting government competition with private enterprise,
5.recognizing the importance of profit in private enterprise,
6.protecting collateral as a prerequisite for credit,
7.reducing taxes,
8.maintaining states' rights,
9.aiding the unemployed in an economical and locally responsible manner, and
10.relying on American free enterprise.

During the depression, the moderate pro-business Republicans of the Northeast and Midwest lost out to the liberal, pro-union Democrats, who had maintained a base in New York, but had not held elsewhere in the region. The center of power in the Republican power moved to the West and Far West, where there was more of an anti-Washington, socially conservative Republicanism. Finally, the socially conservative Southern Democrats were absorbed due to the schism with the Northeast and Midwest Democrats who had coopted the civil rights cause from the Republicans, who had emancipated the slaves.

Ron. I think you are showing that the breakdown of positions into liberal/conservative boxes wasn't the same as we have today. Generally, you old southern Democrat would be considered today to be liberal on econoimc matters, and conservative on social matters. We tend to get too wrapped up in the constellation of issues that in our time have become associated with one political side or the other, that it almost inconcievable to imagine that in other places and times the division was quite different.

Greetings, Ron and all discussants,

It seems to me that it might possibly be the case that the behaviors in the examples might have several possible "back-stories" or causes.

It may be, for example, that there is a capacity for empathy, and it requires certain environmental features in order for it to develop.

It might be the case that empathy exists, and yet is over-ridden by other aspects or factors in human motivation. For example, people could be reacting to "emotional cues" - (a phrase I first learned here on TOD) - from others, and the immediate "goal" is to fit in. This is a type of empathy. Just not one directed towards the sufferer.

How people behave in different social settings might enter into it.

Or, maybe empathy can be conjured up. It takes practice, though.

Does empathy come from Bonobo?

Bonobos: Encounters in Empathy

The salient point being that Masons promise to help Masons. But, can they be pursuaded to help Muslims or Mormons? How about the leave the M list for the B list, and help some Baptists or Bahai's? Or the C list, Catholics and Confucianists?

And, the Lists go on... the lists go on.

And if that's all there is my friend,
Well, let's keep drinking.
Let's break out the booze, and have a ball.
that's all...

(one of the saddest songs ever written and recorded!)


The largest "social group" is humans helping other living things on planet Earth. You can then shrink the circle via phylum et la until one gets to humans helping someone because they are human. From there the circle shrinks to your list.

History has humans helping their relatives and fellow tribe members and I'm not expecting some grand change in the running of the scripts that expand that circle of assistance.

Oh I am so sorry Eric, my mistake. If you are a Mason then you do have an obligation to feed another... well another Mason anyway.

But wait... even the Masons agree with me.

I will always aid and assist all poor, distressed, worthy Master Masons, their widows and orphans, knowing them to be such, as far as their necessities may require, and my ability permit, without material injury to myself and family.

Even a Mason will not agree to starve or starve his family, even to help another Mason.

Ron P.

Go back and read what was posted - did I say I was in disagreement with your position?

Did I even use my own words to make that point?

You act as if you are under attack and then beat your chest with indignation.


I love Darwinian, but he is the most brittle and defensive personality on this blog by an order of magnitude.

If I have a right, someone else have an obligation. You can'thave it any other way. So, who has the obligation to feed the hungry? Something for us surplus food eaters to think about.

We have turned the idea of 'Rights' into some sort of Assumed Natural Law in America, which I think is an unhelpful distraction.

I see 'Rights' as what we have Chosen to guarantee to one another, a basic standard that we hold as a tenet of our being successfully Civilized. In that, it is an ideal that is probably always imperfectly met, but always what we strive towards.

Clearly, it has come with a corresponding downplaying it seems of our "Responsibilities".. Perhaps those should be described as RIGHTS as well.

'You have the Right to keep your population in check..' unless you want real trouble down the road..
(And of course, there's the very real possibility that we are just thrilled by the prospect of knowing that trouble is coming, that we're rebelliously happy to be running along the edge of the cliff, blindfolded, underslept, with open scissors in both hands..)

If I have a right, someone else have an obligation.

The point is that you have no right to something that nature cannot provide.

You can'thave it any other way.

And neither can you. We reached the point, some time ago, when the earth could not support it's population of humans without destroying the habitat, and driving into extinction, other species. The time will come soon when the earth cannot support even the current population of human beings.

Wo who will have the obligation to feed all those people when there is not enough food on earth to feed them. I think that is a rather silly question.

Ron P.

"Rights and obligations are, like good and evil, human concepts not natural concepts."

Cartesian duality. That's outdated. Thinking man is somehow outside nature is what got us into this whole mess in the first place. Rights and obligations are important conceptual behaviors that we have gained through the process of adaptation. They are part of what allows us to live in societies encroaching into the billions now.

No, your confusing morality with privileges. A social species does not need the freedom of speech to be successful nor do they need the right to a speedy trail or the right to a fair trail by their peers.

From today's Toronto Star:


Customers fume as gas stations run dry

Drivers looking to fuel up at Toronto gas stations Tuesday found the pumps dry — a phenomenon that some experts say will become more familiar in the future.

Shell stations across the GTA displayed “No Gas” signs after a delay at their refinery in Sarnia caused supply shortages.

“Customers are getting mad,” said Damodar Madhi, an employee at the Shell station near Lake Shore Blvd. and Third St. in Etobicoke, after his station ran out of gas Tuesday morning.

His station hadn’t received a delivery since the weekend, and he had no idea when their next shipment was coming.

Gas shortages in the GTA and across the country will be the new normal, according to experts and Natural Resources Canada. Refineries across the country are pushing out gasoline at or near capacity, and without “new refining capacity, supply interruptions could become more frequent and increasingly difficult to manage,” according to the Natural Resources Canada’s website.

McTeague said with Torontonians paying up to 7.5 cents above world gas prices, the public has a right to know if part of the cause is a fuel shortage. In the U.S., for instance, every refinery is required to supply the United States Department of Energy with weekly information about how much crude each used and how much product it had.

“It speaks to why we need an appropriate inventory report of what the true supply and demand picture is in Canada,” McTeague said. “If not, we’re going to get ripped off.”

McTeague is a former Liberal MP- and a wingnut. I'm curious about how he arrives at the "7.5 cents above world gas prices". Or why the explanation that the refinery was still down isn't good enough for him. Of course, the comments section is even nuttier, with various posters seeing conspiracies to cap prices and others a fake shortage to keep prices high.


Lloyd - Keep an eye out for another potential problem: hoarding. And most of the folks doing it don't realize it. Back in the 70's during the embargo there were lots of conspiracy theories thrown out about the sudden drop in gasoline inventories in the US. Lots of "No Gas" signs and long lines where there was some fuel. Long after the inflammatory headlines/politicians disappeared they discovered exactly where all the missing fuel went overnight: into everyone's fuel tanks. Instead of waiting till they got below 1/4 tank to fill up (as most folks normally do) they started filling up at 1/2 a tank...or more. Fear that if they got too low they wouldn't have enough fuel to get to the next pump. Multiply those extra few gallons by 10's of millions of vehicles and SHAZAM!...there's all the missing fuel.

Saw exactly the same phenomenon here in Houston after the last hurricane blew through: long lines at stations for a few days and then, when the stations' storage was full: very little business. Everyone was driving around with a nearly full tank by that time. I just kept commuting to work every day passing hundreds of folks parked in front of stations before the sun came up. I had topped off before the storm hit. By the time I needed to refuel the stations had full storage and almost no customers.

Be nice if the MSM sent some reporters out to the stations and have them keep track of what the fuel gauges are reading before folks fuel up. It's not difficult to imagine you're seeing the same factor there exaggerating the situation. But I suspect your MSM will be more interested in looking for all those secret underground fuel bunkers TPTB have built over the decades.

Didn't Matt Simmons run a calculation the year before he died where he concluded just a rumor the gas were to run out that caused a run for the pumps would suck the US dry and then cause a complete stand still in just a few days?

Hoarding in vehicle fuel tanks is one thing, but in these "shortages" some idiots go a bit further. I vaguely remember a story from when there was refinery strike in Sydney back in the 70's. So petrol was rationed, and everyone tried to keep their vehicles full, all the time, worsening the problem. But one family, convinced the shortages were going to carry on, but who wanted to just keep on driving, went all out. They were filling jerry cans, plastic buckets, anything that would hold petrol, and storing them in their garage. You can guess what happened - something started a fire - I think they still kept the car in said garage - and the garage blew up, burned the house down. Can't remember if anyone died.

It is amazing the way some people go into panic mode at the possibility of a temporary disruption to their ability to buy fuel anytime, anywhere. It is not the end of the world, but if you do things like that family did, it might be the end of your world.

It's been standard practice here for the last 10 years to have at least 25 gals treated and stored. It's rotated probably every 4 months. We also keep 4 of the small grill type propane tanks filled and stored. Stored in a small, well ventilated, shed well away from the house proper. Just like the stacked winters firewood it is better than $$ in the bank.

Don in Maine

Just like the stacked winters firewood it is better than $$ in the bank.

And just like $ in the bank, stacked firewood earns interest, as it dries out and its net heat value improves, only you don't pay bak fees or taxes on it.

It is actually the only fuel I can think of, except perhaps coal, that, stored properly, improves with age instead of degrading.

only fuel I can think of, except perhaps coal, that, stored properly, improves with age instead of degrading.

Whisky in oak barrels?

Back in the 1970s there was a shortage of sugar in the UK. I can't remember why. I do remember there was wisespread hoarding by housewives (including my mum) which made the shortage much worse. After the shortage was over, an academic decided to see how easy it was to trigger hoarding. He gave a TV warning that the supply of cooking salt was only just adequate, and that people should not buy more than normal, or it would trigger a shortage. Within a couple of days table salt was unobtainable in UK shops. There was no shortage.

It was 2 years before my mum stopped keeping extra sugar 'just in case'.

Don't forget the 1973 toilet paper shortage in the USA:

December 19 – After reading a news item that said the federal government had fallen behind in getting bids to supply toilet tissue, Johnny Carson inadvertently triggers an unprecedented three-week panic when he announces, on the "Tonight Show", that there is an acute shortage of toilet paper in the U.S.

Surely storing food and essentials is a good idea. Just not such a hot idea after the horse has bolted, so to speak.

Also, if my job depended on me being able to drive, i damn well would be storing some fuel.

Rock, I think there IS a growing awareness of the possibility of gas shortages, at least among some sectors of the population. My own case in point; I never run the twin gas tanks in my old F-150 very far down. The two tanks hold a total of 37 gallons and I don't let that fall below about 28 gallons. For two reasons; 1) because the truck is my "rolling storage facility" and 2) because I really don't want to drop $125 bucks to fill up both empty tanks;-) I have been doing this for years now. So, what this means for me with my Toyota Prius as my primary vehicle is that at any time I pretty much never have less than a three and one half week supply of gasoline and when both vehicles are topped up, I have a six and a half week supply of gasoline at "normal" usage rates. (The truck's fuel tanks always have fuel stabilizer added after every top-up). For me, this is SOP now.

Along those lines almost all the field hands I know have a stash of fuel. At least most of them know how to stablize and safely store it. And I do keep two empty 5 gal cans just in case a situation develops when I might want to do a tiny bit of hoarding.

I think today the biggest problem is the ethanol content. Is there any other 'secret' we should know about?


No kidding - I do exactly the same thing with the twin tanks on the old F250, even though it does not get driven much! In an emergency we can run that fuel in my 1500cc Accent. 37 gallons at at least 35mpg is enough to be useful. My small scale version of "floating storage".

What amazes me is all the morons who stash fuel even though they only need it for their commute and their shopping. It's one thing if you work out of a truck. But if you're worried about fuel shortages, stash food & consumable goods, not fuel, dammit. I have a stash of canned and dry foods, toiletries, bikes and bike parts. If a fuel shortage hits my area, I'm ready and the neighbors have nothing to fear.

Good point. Though for some, no fuel = no food. e.g. elderly in, say Dallas, who live 2+ miles from any grocery outlet. For most, though, absolutely true.


That's why you store non-perishables. Canned food sucks, but it's better than getting caught up in a gas hoarding line, which, by the way, is the most profoundly un-patriotic thing I can think of.

So you use extra fuel lugging that extra fuel around? Do the decent thing, if you must keep the extra, and get some jerry cans and only lug around what you need. Just rotate your can stock.


"Then the drivers could drive on the fumes."

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 5, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.6 million barrels per day during the week ending August 5, 135 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 90.0 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.5 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.5 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.1 million barrels per day last week, down by 34 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged just under 9.4 million barrels per day, 696 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 633 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 99 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 5.2 million barrels from the previous week. At 349.8 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are slightly above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.7 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.2 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 8.2 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 19.3 million barrels per day, down by 0.6 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged 9.1 million barrels per day, down by 3.4 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 3.7 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 7.1 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 2.5 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Wowsers. Looks like some hefty drops there. Oil is around $81 right now and DOW is down 350+.

Down 700+ Monday, up 350+ Tuesday, down 520 Wednesday. Wild times, indeed, daddy, w i l d !


More terrifying than any roller coaster! :)

An intersting start at least... Dow up about 150, news headlines expect drop on France woes. Must be the short sellers covering? We'll see. Oil is wild today as well... chaos, or fluxuating plateau?


edit: I wonder if there is a 'resonance' principle involved, like in some physical events, where oscillations begin, then feed on each other until the system collapses? Can anyone, say maybe an economics guru, shed any light on this thought?

Big run up today, led by Cisco. Cisco! For God's sake, they just laid off 11,500 workers!!!!! Now they get their reward. No wonder jobs are vanishing.


Craig - That double edged sword I was talking about. If you're retired and have Cisco stock maybe you just made enough money to get that wornout hip replaced and get back to taking those long evening walks with your sweetie. Good for you. If you just got laid off from Cisco...not so good for you.

EIA reports large fall in US oil inventories despite SPR release

For reasons unknown to me, US released from the SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) only about 2.5 million barrels of high quality (Louisiana Light Sweet) oil last week – although they were expected per their own schedule to release about 5 million barrels. Even so, US oil inventories fell at a rapid clip – down 5.2 million barrels. Without the SPR release US oil supplies would have fallen by about 7.7 million barrels – a fairly rapid pace.

Supplies are falling especially fast at Cushing, OK, the oil futures contract delivery point - down 1.4 million barrels. The Wall Street Journal noted some details about that today:

AUGUST 10, 2011, 4:02 P.M. ET
Central U.S. Oil Glut Shrinks; WTI Discount To Brent Likely To Follow

The midcontinent oil glut has been shrinking, as Midwest refiners run at near-maximum capacity and refiners elsewhere scramble to get hold of the region's crude. In Cushing, Okla., the town that sets the price of West Texas Intermediate crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange, inventories have fallen 17% from their record high reached in April and are now below year-ago levels.

"The 'midcontinent supply glut' can now be officially called the 'imaginary midcontinent supply glut,'" said Tim Evans, an energy analyst with Citi Futures Perspective in New York.


US refiners, especially along the Gulf of Mexico Coast and the Midwest, attempted to step output, and for the US in general refineries operated at a strong 90% of capacity. However some refiners in the Midwest experienced new unexpected problems, slowing regional utilization down a little from the near record levels seen recently. Gulf Coast refiners managed to keep the nation’s largest pipeline, the Colonial Pipeline (which transports refined products from the near the GOM to the U.S. Northeast), running its gasoline transport lines at nearly maximum capacity for another week.

See these articles for further details about refinery problems:

Valero Memphis refinery to be shut for wks-sources

Gulf Gasoline Strengthens Most in Two Weeks on Refinery Shuts

Looking forward, there are no signs from OPEC that exports of oil to the US have increased in recent weeks. In fact it now appears OPEC will export less to the world during August. It is not yet clear if this drop is intentional or in reaction to internal summer demand of Mideast OPEC exporters. Therefore do not expect any improvement in total US oil inventories – unless a new recession takes hold.

In answer to my own question about the SPR, according to this report, 14.2 million barrels have been recently shipped from the SPR so far. That means only about 7.4 million barrels were shipped in the last two weeks - which is at a slower pace than their original schedule. Apparently for unknown reasons some oil buyers have not "picked up" their oil purchases yet.

US delivers 14.2 million barrels, 46%, of SPR crude sale: DOE

Washington (Platts)--11Aug2011/1037 am EDT/1437 GMT


Anyway based upon this report, the SPR distributed roughly about 5 million barrels of oil this current week - which should show up in next week's EIA report.

On another subject: OPEC exports, 'Oil Movements' says that OPEC is shipping 22,710,000 bpd in the four week period ending August 27, which is incrementally lower by 304,000 bpd from the peak of 23,050,000 bpd reached three weeks ago.

In other words, OPEC is cutting back exports in August, and the export decline may get progressively larger later this month. This is depsite reports from OPEC itself and the IEA that Saudi Arabia substantially increased 'output' in July to the highest levels seen in some time. KSA is known to increase oil use for domestic purposes in the summer months, so it is not clear if the reduction in KSA exports is intentional or not.

8/11/11 Reuters News 15:30:00

OPEC exports to fall in 4 weeks to Aug 27 -analyst

LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Seaborne oil exports from OPEC, excluding Angola and Ecuador, will fall by 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to Aug. 27, an analyst who estimates future shipments said on Thursday.

Exports will fall to 22.71 million bpd on average from 22.77 million bpd in the four weeks to July 30, UK consultancy Oil Movements said in its latest weekly estimate.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries failed to agree on an output increase in June. But top exporter Saudi Arabia said it would provide whatever oil was needed and has boosted its production.

OPEC's output remains below that of a year ago because of the loss of Libyan supplies.

Exports in the four weeks to Aug. 27 are expected to be down 590,000 bpd from the same period in 2010, Oil Movements said.

[No link available, from thomsonreuters.com]

Memphis faces imminent gasoline shortage:

EPA waiver requested to prevent gasoline shortage in West Tennessee
By Bartholomew Sullivan

Posted August 10, 2011 at 5:21 p.m., updated August 10, 2011 at 10:16 p.m.

WASHINGTON -- West Tennessee faces an imminent shortage of summer-grade gasoline after the explosion and fire at the Valero refinery last week, prompting officials to ask the EPA Wednesday for a waiver to sell winter-grade fuel in Shelby County despite air quality concerns.

Wholesale gasoline distributors and tanker truck drivers are working overtime to bring in fuel from other terminals, but shortages at some retail outlets can be expected in the next few days, according to the Tennessee Fuel and Convenience Store Association.


US EPA grants fuel waiver after Memphis refinery shut

Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:25pm EDT

* Waiver allows temporary sales of winter-grade gasoline

* Flexibility intended to prevent gasoline shortage
(Adds details, background)

HOUSTON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency on Thursday allowed the temporary sale of
winter-grade gasoline in a county near Memphis, Tennessee, to
mitigate possible shortages of summer-grade motor fuel after a
fire last week forced the shutdown of a refinery there.


UK riots as country enters era of net oil imports

LEE JASPER, FORMER POLICING ADVISOR: I think there are a number of reasons for its spread. I think we've seen huge levels of austerity cuts in many inner city areas that's leading to a great deal of anxiety, concern, young people themselves now are not able to afford to take higher education, even at a basic level, much less get into a higher educational degree. That unemployment continues, unemployment continues to rise and there is a sense of anxiety but also a sense of moral crisis in the country. I think because of the MPs scandal, the corporate tax dodging issue of huge multinational companies, the News International corruption cases with the metropolitan police and phone hacking, there is a kind of failure really of people in power to uphold the kind of moral standards that we all aspire to. And as such, this has had an effect around the country particularly in some very poor and deprived communities. I saw a youth with a 52-inch screen walking, having robbed it from a local store in London and when I asked him what he's doing he said to me that this is his banker's bonus, it's his MPs expenses. We have a kind of malaise, a crisis of morality in the country. Things are very tough in very many areas and I think there is a sort of criminal opportunism that is riding on the back of a legitimate protest of what was a very serious incident of gunning a man down on London streets. And as a consequence of that lots of people have sought to criminally exploit what is a legitimate issue.

Has Kunstler's long emergency arrived?

The House of Commons was warned by Colin Campbell already in 1999

His latest interview is here:

"Has Kunstler's long emergency arrived?" Seriously? We've been in the long emergency is a serious way since 2005.

From the lead:

"...more than halves base case 2012 oil demand growth to only 600,000 barrels per day (bpd),”

Later we read that production drops of 6% yoy in Indonesia are in the offing; and later still that OPEC members are "urging" reduction of production. Yeah... like they can do anything about it.

Meanwhile, short sellers at work big time in the stock markets, and price of oil following the markets. If things are like this with a 1/2 'point' reduction in US credit rating, and 'threat' of Greek default, how bad will it become when things really get cooking?

The best is that, in 2014, just after the nick of time, we will have a mandate that new big trucks get 20% better mileage than they do today. So, 4mpg + 20% = 5mpg~. In the United States of America, as always, progress is our most important problem.


My take on the big truck fuel mileage mandate: re-arranging the deck chairs.

Back around 2000, the typical new tractor trailer rig operated by the big trucking companies, like Swift or Schneider, were getting around 6.2 to 6.3 mpg. They may have dropped a few percent since then due to tighter standards on engine emissions, but I'm sure they are still above 5 mpg.

Actually I would put the beginning of the first leg down in 2008. The second leg down is likely to begin in 2011.

Ron P.

Ron, I think we just felt that leg drop... wonder how many people will be crushed by the 'foot' at the end of that leg?


"wonder how many people will be crushed by the 'foot' at the end of that leg?"

And this after being slapped around by the Invisible Hand for a couple of years.

It is interesting to see how the government tries to control the people by sending out police. When the rioters reach millions, 16 thousand police will be useless. It will also spread to the US within a year. With new social media interaction, the govt is way behind the curve on keeping the peace at this point. The drop in the stock market is still attributed to the US debt, but the bigger picture is all about energy supply. Growth of the markets is over, poverty is deepening at an exponential rate. House ownership taken back to 1965 levels. Most people in the 20 to 30 year old range, are unemployed, very upset, and hungry too.

It will also spread to the US within a year.

Was there rioting in the US in the 30s? I do not recall being taught about any. I expect no rioting in the US.


There certainly was read the article and you will realise why you wasn't taught about it in school.


enjoy the read

That was the only one I've heard about. That was more just a bunch of people demanding their legimate claims. Was there any generalized urban rioting?

"That was more just a bunch of people demanding their legimate claims."

And what exactly do you think many who end up in what are labeled 'riots' by the police and media thought they were trying to do?

Here you go !warning big picture!



I remember reading about a attempted fascist take over that used that same riot..

I was taught it in school. In fact, the textbook most commonly used to teach US history in the states, The American Pageant, has a couple pages about the Bonus Army.

There were riots in the 1960's, in LA, Detroit, etc.
I'm surprised we haven't seen more of it today.
I think the growing violence of the "Flash Mob" phenomenon is ominous.

Los Angeles, 1992 (similar circumstances to London, 2011)

Seattle, 1999

Cincinnati, 2001

Pick your favorite riot here.

Chicago in the 60's (including the '68 convention riots) and list with Detroit, etc. when MLK was shot. That one extended far into the suburbs of Chicago!


How much is still festering, waiting for a trigger? Ask a few inner city residents. The answer may be disturbing.


Having taken part in the 1999 WTO protest in Seattle I can assure you that news coverage of protest events focuses only on the most violent, most "newsworthy" behavior.

Here's what happened during the Seattle WTO protest from my perspective:

  • 30,000 people marched peacefully and joyfully from Seattle Center to downtown.
  • Once downtown, folks were encouraged by organizers to blockade the streets -- "Peaceful protest this way. Tear gas that way."
  • Maybe 10,000 people hung around to "take over downtown". (For once, downtown was a pedestrian heaven!)
  • Probably only a few hundred black clothed "anarchists" lit some fires and smashed some windows. Some of this activity was actually prevented by the peaceful protesters.
  • Seattle police were simply outnumbered and unprepared for what turned into an extremely stressful situation.
  • I left my "peacful blockade" intersection when it became clear that a lot of young people were simply waiting around to "see what would happen". (I've never trusted aimless mobs.)
  • With no buses, I ended up taking a lovely 3-mile walk back to my house.
  • I was absolutely shocked when I saw the news coverage that evening as it represented what was happening in at most 0.1% of Seattle. A few thugs and their media enablers had commandeered what I thought had been a successful peaceful protest.

Since that event I have come to see the mainstream media not as reporting what is actually happening but as an untrustworthy, emotion-shaping entertainment system that benefits much more from a focus on societal dysfunction than from any effort to actually educate people as to what is happening around them.

I'm not saying that there wasn't any mayhem in Seattle at the WTO protest or that what is happening in London is similar. I don't have any reliable information on what's happening in London. I just want to remind everyone that, unless you talk to someone who was on the streets, you really don't know what happened. At a minimum, be aware that the media will focus 99% of their attention on the 0.1% of the action that will generate the strongest emotional response.

Best Hopes for Alternative Media.


There were lots of small riots, often in response to foreclosures and evictions (eg, this one in Cleveland). In Iowa, a number of sheriff's deputies were tarred-and-feathered while trying to evict people from their farms. Across the Great Plains, both the communists and the fascists held open meetings, advocating a violent overthrow of the government. Lots of small violence as well, particularly against minorities. When I was a kid, my grandfather from southern Iowa told me the story of the local game warden who just disappeared one day after going out to nab some out-of-season hunters.

Once he took office, FDR sent a number of trusted people out to "tour" the country and give him accurate reports about the mood of the people. At least one who traveled across the rural parts of the plains states from Illinois to the Dakotas sent back letters suggesting that armed revolution was a real possibility.

"Lots of small violence as well, particularly against minorities."

Good point.

What else is a lynch mob except a riot directed at one or a few people?

The US was a very different country in the 30s. Even mannerisms and language have changed.

Several generations of welfare have created a huge number of people with a solid entitlement complex. Start taking those entitlements away and the rioting will not be far away. On the other hand, most of the really big entitlements go to old people, and old people aren't known for rioting. So maybe not. Who knows, I guess.

I'd be pretty surprised if US inner cities don't experience riots in the next few years, though. They're just as full of hoodlums as any english city. And the US hoodlums are much better armed.

the government tries to control the people by sending out police.

Back to my scripting comment upstream - the US government has documented some of the plans/scripts to be run.

Rex 84, Operation Garden Plot, and others.

The UN has its Agenda 21 - and many of these elements are supported by TOD posters.

There are softer social control plans that have been in operation for years - referred to as the main stream media 'round these parts.

With new social media interaction, the govt is way behind the curve on keeping the peace at this point.

And with a few phone calls the Government will get what it wants from the Corporations that serve this social media. Remember how qwest was one of the only firms that asked for a court order to turn over phone records in the hunt for do-ers-of-evil? Note the phrasing "Qwest Communications International, Inc. was a large United States telecommunications carrier. " If one does not play, one will pay in some way. Be it an audit - Judicial Watch next argues the comments of several IRS agents evidence an improper retaliatory motive. According to the taxpayer, one agent said the audit was a "hot potato," and another rhetorically asked, "What do you expect when you sue the President?" or something else.

Perhaps a more global and timely example - http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/11/uk-riots-amazon-withdraws-trunc...

Amazon has removed several police-style telescopic truncheons from sale on its site as soaring sales of truncheons, baseball bats and other items that could be used as weapons sparked fears of vigilantism in the wake of widespread rioting.

At some point the various social pressures and even blunt force will fail - what then? What will be left at that point of failure?

Wow this video has gone viral


But not everyone was caught by surprise.

Sixty-eight-year-old Darcus Howe, a West Indian broadcaster and former editor of the magazine “Race Today,” told BBC in an interview Tuesday that he has for some time now been certain that “something very serious was going to take place in this country.”

Howe, who lives in South London, paints a sobering picture of London today:

Our political leaders had no idea, our police had no idea. But if you look at young blacks and young whites with a discerning eye and a careful hearing, they have been telling us, and we would not listen what is happening in this country to them.

The BBC anchor interviewing Howe doesn’t quite know how to take Howe’s comments.

“Does this mean you condone what happened in your community?” the anchor says, interrupting Howe mid-sentence.

Howe tells the anchor to “have some respect.”

She also goes on to accuse Mr Howe of taking part in the riots, without any shred of evidence !!

Above is from Washington post blog


Only time will unearth the real reasons behind the riots but it's safe to say at this point that it will leave deep scars in the society for many years to come, scars which will cause a much bigger damage later on.

Brings to mind a line from 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress', where Manny tells us that there's nothing more frustrating to a person than being denied having their say.

As it's a Revolution story, I suspect the upshot of that frustration is written just barely between the lines.. Let us not forget to read those parts!

It is very true that the establishment has been seen to be greedy, dishonest, dishonourable , conniving and morally bankrupt. We are all aware of the corruption in high places, and the fact that it has not been significantly addressed. The banksters still get fat on the fiat money stolen from us to give to them, and the politicians are as hypocritical as ever.

However, looting and stealing and saying that a lead has been given by those who were once considered respectable is not the way forward. There is no excuse! Or might there be, just a little bit?

In large part the generation of disaffected young, and older, people has been built of a benefits system designed to reward profligacy, immorality and laziness. The hope was that by giving single mothers, for example, free housing and money they would become model parents and upstanding members of society. The opposite has happened. In Britain the middle classes also clamour for their 'rights', meaning cash handouts when they split from their 'partners' in order to help them out with housing and children; even when their joint incomes are more than adequate to the task! The rest of the taxpayers are supposed to keep these people's good lives rolling, only now in two houses - just because they had a falling out. Decadence and profligacy is the order of the day, and the chickens are finally coming home...

Amorality, greed, a zero moral compass, 'rights' before duty, and faux 'respect', whatever that means, demanded with menace. All this profligacy was created on the back of cheap energy, and now we cannot afford it. Sometimes I wonder if the destruction of the family unit amongst the working class was engineered by the governing classes in order to destroy working class solidarity, because that is the outcome. We now have tens of thousands of unhappy, lost, uneducated disaffected people totally dependent on state largesse for they survival. If this was in fact the intention - keep them begging in fact - it has worked very well.

But the benefits are beginning to reduce and the kids are getting angry. I deplore their behavior, but given zero growth, forever by the looks of it (we here know why!) and the shocking behaviour of the elites who cleave ever more wealth to themselves, I feel a certain , dare I say, sympathy?

Trillions are have been and are being stolen from us by the banksters and their ilk with the full cooperation of the political establishment.

Voting in a hopelessly two(-heads-of-one-)party system (I am speaking now from the US perspective) has not changed anything

Marching peacefully has not yielded anything

Petitioning our leaders has not brought about any meaningful change

All of these have been ignored by TPTB and the press.

What is left.

Rioting is generally completely ineffectual and self defeating as a political strategy, but it does get media attention.

Really, given all the incompetence, malfeasance, idiocy...in high places that we constantly point out, discuss and bemoan around here, aren't we all surprised that there are not more riots everywhere all the time?

I think it is only the old bread and (now largely electronic) circus that has kept the masses opiated. And of course there is religion and actual opiates and other drugs doing their part. I suppose the constant drum of right wing propaganda and commercials promising that the next good thing is right around the corner play their roles, too.

Very difficult to attribute any other motives to the UK rioters than opportunistic thieving and mayhem. While there are many reasons for protest this seemed more like a case of greed and thuggery that got out of hand.

What is left.

Using the extensive communication network and expressing ones vote with one's spending.

Cut off the spending to the offending parties and if enough do such, those parties will not have the money to buy the political process.

"Off the Grid, Where the Living Is Good"

I should feel excited about someone trying to "live off the grid".

However, the only sense I feel is one of frustration.

Nowhere do they mention how far they are going to drive to the store to fill up the pantry, and, presumably the kids to school, unless they are out for a year. No mention of a refrigerator, so one has to assume they can only store dry goods. Passing mention of a generator, without mentioning what they will use to fill it (presumably a petroleum product) purchased in town.

The entire scenario is the beneficiary of modern infrastructure - roads, laptops and a satellite dish. It is, essentially, romantic fiction. One wonders how they are going to adjust when the snow starts falling...

Perhaps I should be patient and wait for episode 2.

Every stage of life brings favorite music to mind, and for me, it’s been Jimmy Buffet the past few weeks. I’m not at the beach and there are no bars, but there’s a sandy area along the lake, cold beer and an attitude tilted toward enjoying life.

I wonder how he cools his beer.

I look forward to the January edition, when cooling beer will be easy.

Yeah, as the article concludes: "Stay tuned.."

Heh...I have cooled beer by hanging a bag in the water or pulling it behind the kayak...

Fished in fresh water lakes in Wisc as a youth... hung a fish basked off the boat, with beer in the basket. Every time we caught a fish, we got a beer. If there were no fish, we drank the beer anyway. Life was good!


Floating Missouri streams requires three inner tubes for every two people. Or, if you're in a canoe, just tow the inner tube behind you. A cooler fits snug and safe in the right sized inner tube.

I wonder how much wood they have split and stacked now? And how much insulation the house has.

Yep. I love reading the various off-the-grid stories where the people are still surrounded by technology that would have to be produced in the large high-tech energy-intense city "over there" somewhere.

One of my favorites was a guy trying to plan his future low-tech village. "Electrician" was high on his list of people that he would need, to install the solar panels, do the wiring, repair the gadgets, etc. No mention of farmers, or a carpenter, or a blacksmith, or anyone who could spin thread and weave cloth, or someone with enough medical training to set a broken bone.

My recollection of my grandmother's spinning wheel (my brother has it) is that building a spinning wheel requires a well equipped wood shop and considerable cabinet making skills.

However a drop spinning spindle can be made from a stick and a lump of clay in a few minutes.

As did our neolithic ancestors.

And low-tech looms have been invented independently by people all over the world. Lots of manual labor needed to use them, of course. The thing that jumps out at me in comparing the description of this family "living off the grid" and a family that is living in a truly low-tech fashion is the kids; they sound like they're old enough to put in a full day's work every day doing semi-skilled labor, rather than playing in the lake and the woods.

As an amateur luthier I can tell you that you would be astonished at what can be done with the most modest hand tools. A spinning wheel? They have been around a lot longer than "well equipped wood shops"

From Wikipedia:

The earliest clear illustrations of the spinning wheel come from Baghdad (drawn in 1237), China (c. 1270) and Europe (c. 1280), and there is evidence that spinning wheels had already come into use in both China and the Islamic world during the eleventh century.[2] According to Irfan Habib, the spinning wheel was introduced into India from Iran in the thirteenth century.[2]

Yes, but a wheel with nicely turned spokes would require a lathe. Since lathes have been around since 1300 BC, why not use one?

This thread has inspired me to learn how to skin rabbits and make a jacket and pants out of the pelts.

If you want to make it more impressive, use either brain or bark tanning, which don't require an industrial base for the raw materials. If you want to make it really impressive, knap your own scrapers from flint :^)

I'm always impressed with our paleolithic ancestors. Who would have thought of rubbing the hide with mushed animal brains? Or even have noticed that the part of the hide that was accidentally rubbed with mushed animal brains didn't crack or rot?

Needles and tailored clothing date from around 35,000 years ago. In colder than semitropical climates, multilayer tailored clothing is essential.

Few will get your sarcasm as most posters here have no idea on how thin skinned a rabbit is, and how fast the hide will tare.

This is why I scoffed at the solar powered absorption refrigerator 2 days ago. Some Oil Drummers seemed to favor it because it was low tech, but it requires high tech to manufacture the clumsy monstrosity.

Sarcasm is hard when the facts of the manufacturing of solar powered absorption refrigerators requires nothing more than 1920's vintage level tech.

When ISAAC units are copper pipe and valves.

The construction of the ISAAC Solar Icemaker involves only welding, piping and sheet metal work, and there are no expensive materials. It is estimated that, when produced in-country where wages are low and transportation costs can be minimized, the 11 square meter ISAAC can be produced for less than $7,000.

But if that is "hi tech" then this computer thing is powered by magic smoke. (Go ahead. Let the smoke out of the computer - it'll stop working. Ergo - its powered by that magic smoke)

My hands twitch in a cringe of sympathy for whoever is doing hand laundry for 5 active people roaming around in the great outdoors. Looking at the comments people left on the article I am not the only one.

I hope that they find interesting solutions to their challenges over the next few blog posts and we don't read: "drove in to town for coin laundry"..."drove in to town for pizza and hot chocolate"..."drove in to town for generator fuel and night in a motel--hot shower!!"

syn - Good point. Just like Mc's above. Maybe if folks went camping more often they might begin to appreciate how much they take for granted what they have available. Living off the grid doesn't count if you make a point of staying close to a WalMart IMHO. Drive into to town to the coin laundry...LOL. I've seen macho Texas deer hunters get disturbed after spending just a few days in camp with folks that haven't showered/changed clothes for a while.

They might also learn a thing or two from this woman, who is doing "off the grid" in a fairly extreme manner. while we may talk about saving 100W of electricity here or there, that is all that her micro hydro system produces. Still, she has made this lifestyle work, so power to her:


Their biggest problem might be their water supply. They are now pumping water into 2 55 gallon drums mounted on their roof. There's no mention of how this will work out when the temperatures drop below freezing and those drums are filled with ice. Then too, they won't be rinsing their cloths in the frozen lake, either. Then the fun will begin and the city folks get to experience real back to nature living. One wonders, do they use an outhouse? Gotta love those "garden club" folks from the Nature Conservancy...

E. Swanson

Our family have a offgrid cabin with a small 20 year old solarpanel. The "refrigerator" is just a hole in the floor that extends into the ground. Its not supercold in the summer but its cold enough. You just have to be carefull about food that spoils easily. If you want something extra cold, like beer i just drop it in a bucket of water in the bottom of the "fridge"

You should check out this program for someone thats truly gone offgrid. The program is norwegian but she speaks english.

I stayed with a family in southern France once that had an old stone farmhouse as a getaway. They kept it stocked with home canned goods and, what impressed me most, roast duck and rabbit that they kept in crockpot jars filled with oil. That delicious meat would keep for weeks if not months with no refrigeration at all.

Confit. Now seen as hotsy-totsy haute cuisine, but originally a way to preserve meat in the days before refrigeration.

I live off grid because the most desirable location was 1/4 mile from the nearest power line. I have a wonderful view up the valley and did not want to trade that for plumbing and electricity and a high cost of living.

For those who can't understand how we can survive comfortably away from water and power lines I will try to explain.

Off grid does not mean away from the road. I get gas for my generator at a small store 5 miles away. I can do laundry there and take showers. Fairbanks is 30 miles away for other necessities.

I have 6 solar panels eked out by a small generator. No refrigerator but there is a cold hole in the ground. I am living on permafrost and coolness is a few feet below me all summer. I don't have running water. I collect water from the roof in summer and either melt water or haul it from town in winter. I have an outhouse with a good view up the valley. It always works. Indoor lighting is provided by kerosene lamps or propane lights. Much quieter than the generator. Along that line, propane refrigerators are expensive but they are reliable.
Without street lights illuminating the night sky Mr Leisher now may be able to see the stars at night in all their glory.

In winter, when those 55 gallon drums on his roof freeze, Mr Leisher can get all the water he wants from the lake. If it's frozen just chisel a hole in the ice and use a bucket. Store the water inside in a plastic barrel. Heat water in a big pot on the cook stove if the stove does not have a built in water tank.

It gets better in winter. I store frozen food outside and really stock up with the unlimited storage space. I have a huge selection of frozen food to eat.

Like me, Mr Leisher is probably a bit paranoid about having enough wood to keep warm in winter. Until now I cut wood on my 25 acres of black spruce. This summer I bought birch firewood logs, 10 cords in a huge truck load. I did some thinking about how much fuel the logging and delivery operation used and concluded that using the fuel directly for heat was far less efficient than converting it into wood and burning that.

Like me, Mr Leisher probably has (or will have) a block heater in his vehicle, so he can preheat the vehicle with the generator. My Toyota Echo starts easily at 0 degrees and above without preheating. Below 0 I use the generator. Another preheating method is using a propane weed burner but this requires great care.


Yeah, but no matter just how much has to change around us, don't forget that there still will have to be baby steps.

It seems to me they are letting the camel's nose into the tent. Some folks, but not all, will notice that there's a whole camel behind that nose.. so who knows how much they'll get from this, but I'm not really impressed every time one of these baby steps is shown here at TOD, and then just gets decried, since it's just a Baby Step.

And who will take the next one if all they hear is haranguing by a bunch of self-important know-it-alls, after taking the first?

Just sayin..

I get your point, but how is it a baby step in the right direction ?

I did go back and read some of the comments after I posted my initial thoughts, and one person there had a good point too - trying to live off the grid in their suburban house.

Perhaps the point is more about "living in the woods" rather than "living off the grid". Which, really, is why most people moved to the suburbs originally - to have the feel of country, while living with the amenities of the city.

I found a better example in No Impact Man Colin Beavan.

Nothing is truly "Off the Grid" unless you mine your own ore, smelt it, forge it into a knife/saw/axe, cut down trees and work them into your furniture and your cabin, then grow your own food, make your own clothes from natural fibers or animal skins, secure your own water, build your own fireplace with clay and stones...

To my knowledge very few live this far off the grid.

I think rather than making a judgment on the purity of the "off the grid" headline, we should examine the situation. People that normally lived in a suburban modern home are thrown into a cabin in the woods in a pretty rustic part of the US, which will get a very cold in the winter. This was not a cabin in coastal California. This is a cabin in Maine.

Yes, they have internet (for his work) which seems like a must. But otherwise they have stripped away a fair amount of suburban stuff.

So this is an experiment that compares these two contexts. No one is saying that these folks are making yarn from cotton plants or beewax candles. That is some other series no doubt that someone else is doing.

I would just take the story at face value and let them describe what happens, like how they deal with wood, water, food, the toilet, wild animals, and chores. Of course, that is the point of all this and they will likely deal with all those things.

Already I see some potential value in the idea that the kids are not playing video games and in A/C all day long drinking Coke. I have no problem with Coke, but the lack of exercise in the modern American kids routine seems to be related inversely to Coke consumption ;-)

Moving away for a year may turn out to a great formative experience, but, essentially, they get to go home at the end. I think a lot of people can put up with a lot of changes temporarily, knowing they can go home at any time. The issue is will it change behavior in the long term. The changes we are experiencing are going to be permanent. A cabin in the woods requiring a connection to the "real world" by paved road is no more sustainable than the suburbs in the long term, no matter if you can do the laundry in the lake, or work with no commute.

I think if people really want to start changing the way they live, they should start right where they are.

I see your perspective. I wish people all over the US would walk more, ride their bikes and eat a more vegetable-based diet. Many things irk me like A/C chilled rooms at 67 F and giant cars in grid-lock on a roadway with a mass transit rail line about 25 feet nearby running in the same direction.

How will it all end? Most likely, not very well -- unless we move toward a much leaner lifestyle. Don't even know if that is possible, but we should all start down the path especially those of us that realize where we are in history.

The cabin living thing is a little gimmicky but it did draw a following with some 100 comments. Maybe it can stir a little excitement in reducing some of the trappings of modernity that make us more like slaves to technology rather than simpler humans (as I type on my Macbook ; ).

Oct - So what you're implying is that the odds of a significant number of Americans voluntarially giving up those wasteful habits you listed (before they are forced to) is about the same as you flipping heads 20X in a row. IOW zero.

Na na na na na. LOL.

The odds of a significant number of Americans voluntarially giving up those wasteful habits ... close to zero.

If President Gore had climbed in top a burned out fire truck at the World Trade Center and said "We need to stop funding both sides in our new War on Terror" ?

And later linked energy waste to hurting our efforts to reduce oil imports (that natural gas could be used for making ethanol, or powering buses and garbage trucks).

The odds would not have been that bad :-)

Best Hopes,


OK, less bad, only 19 tosses in a row. Twice zero. :-D

Alan - Opinions vary. IMHO if Jesus Christ had desended, walked on the water, turned some of that water into wine, been elected president and told folks they should stop wasting energy they would have ignored Him. In fact, they would have demanded He create more energy for us to waste and then would crucified him again if he refused.

But, as I said, opinions vary. And I don'think He would have burned up hundreds of thousands of gallons of jet fuel flying around the country spreading His word. LOL.

"Texas is a whole different country" as the ads say.

Energy efficiency has been a focus of the rebuilding in New Orleans post-Katrina. Tankless natural gas water heaters are a status item, but solar water heaters or solar PV even more so. The new schools being build are at least Silver LEED.

Brad Pitt's "Build it Right" net energy zero homes in the Lower 9th have had an influence beyond their #s (about 20 homes).

Simple things like more insulation and more efficient appliances and a/c are a concern for most - including those with less education and income.

One car families are a large minority - people notice the savings with one and not two cars.

A 50% state (+30% federal) tax credit for solar hot water or solar PV.

We passed a "Complete Streets" program, and we are steadily expanding bike lanes. New Orleans is now #6 in the USA in bicycling %.

New streetcar lines are going forth with universal support.

Best Hopes :-)


Heck Jesus took a couple of fish and loaves and multiplied them EXPONENTIALLY. So I have to agree with Rock here. Jesus would have said make more people and use more oil. I can say these things cause my wife is a priest. LOL. And no I am not terribly religious. Dont tell the wife. ;-)

But the us had a President Carter who made a sorrta-kinda-similar pitch and look at how well that ended up working out for him, even with The Carter Doctrine in play.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda...

Carter's 1979 Energy Address:

There are, of course, already solar techniques that are economical right now. With existing tax credits and with our new energy security fund, we can encourage even more rapid development and more use of solar power.

In the future, we will use solar energy in many other ways, including the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity. We already use this method for limited purposes, such as in our space program, but scientific discoveries will be needed to make it more useful directly in our homes and factories.

The energy security fund, derived from the windfall profits tax, will pay for these exciting new energy programs.

Read more at the American Presidency Project: Jimmy Carter: Energy Address to the Nation. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=32159&st=speed+limit&st1...

Rockman, yes very lowish. LOL. I was born a pessimist unfortunately. ;-)

Thanks, Oct.

That's closer to what I meant.. and wish I had put my own comment in more constructive terms.

I think ANY experience with sacrificing something that you once blindly expected as part of your daily routine gives you a chance to see what it entails, how the world doesn't end because 'all you've got is an outhouse', or 'we have to get water from the pump and heat it on the stove' ... no, it doesn't mean you've become Perfect.. but it has started awakening you to the difference between Blind Wealth and Living with Necessities.

Whether it is 'enough' for the purists isn't the question.. the question is did it open the family's eyes to resource use, to what are really discretionary and non-discretionary lifestyle elements?

It's a journey of a thousand miles, and it's good to see some furtive steps being taken and reported..

Assuming they don't have a terrible experience, it will have planted a seed that a good life can be different.

I've spent more than half my life in the boondocks and the remainder near large urban/city areas. When I return to those kinds of areas to visit friends or something, I always comment to my wife, "Why do they live like that?" By this I mean, so many things; no silence, continual activity or some sort, no being part of nature/life and on and on. And, further, it strikes me that everything they are doing is nothing more than killing time until they die whether that is watching TV or going on vacations.

When they are done they might find their old life so unbearable that they will seek out some middle ground.


Somehow this reminds me of typical American behavior, lurching from one extreme to the other, or at least to the appearance of the other extreme.

So true. Like the oat bran diet or the no red meat diet to the steak and eggs no carb diet. LOL

Not to totally disagree with you, but I think this partially has to do with a failure of conventional wisdom (low fat, calorie control) to have positive impact on Americans with regards to obesity.

And the failure of conventional thinking to keep BAU going ?


Dont forget the kicker. Exercise. That is missing in so many cubical jobs and the heavily subsidized fossil fueled economy. My grandmothers (both of them) walked to the grocery, the butcher, and tailor using a simple push cart. She had the push cart for 40 years more or less. That is why many are obese imho. Also studies show that the US Ag policy for the last 40 years have added 200 calories of food to the average american's diet. That "food" is corn syrup.

I am a biochemist and I know that corn syrup itself is not a problem. Before a corn guy comes and poo poos on my post. But the huge influx of liquid sugar is not such a good idea. Man is not designed to take in such a bollus of calories like a 64 jug of soda. Hence our obesity problem.

Not to bring up the last discussion again. Also there are emerging facts on passing on your genetic fingerprint in soft inheritance to your progeny: if you metabolize such a distorted high sugar diet, you give your kids a much better chance to suck in those liquid calories and get fatter faster. LOL. Talk about feedback problems.

Hence America kids are fairly rotund. More so than all the rest of American ( and dare I say human ) history.


I am 100% convinced that exercise is good for you, and you should do it for a variety of reasons. But weight control is probably not one of them.

There's also increasing evidence that sitting is bad for you, regardless of how much exercise you do.

I think it's quite possible that corn syrup is more of a problem than sugar. At the very least, the jury's still out on that one.

Of course, in the end, a calorie is a calorie. But newer research on diet and nutrition is focusing on what drives us to consume more or fewer calories. The metabolism involved in appetite and satiation is quite complex, and sugar seems to play a big role.

The current thinking is going towards calorie != calorie. The way calories in food are measured is by burning a sample and seeing how much heat is given off. This does not take into account the bio-availability of the calorie. For example suger is 100% available to the human whereas cellulose is 0% available yet they both burn. Exercise can cause weight gain, adding muscle can make you heavier but more muscle helps burn calories more effectively. To lose weight you need to consume more calories than you eat so the improved metabolism from exercise is a help plus any extra calories you burn vs sitting on your butt.


I think it's a lot more complicated than that.

Sitting is bad for you independent of how much exercise you do, just as smoking is bad for you, no matter how much exercise you do. Standing doesn't use a lot more calories than sitting, but your metabolism changes when you sit, and not in a good way.

And it goes way beyond the bio-availability of calories. The low-fat, high-carb recommendation of the '80s seems to actually increase appetite. Sure, a calorie is a calorie if you're a rat in a cage, and can only eat what the researchers give you. Or if you're a mental patient that only gets the food given. But for ordinary people, who can choose what and how much to eat, not all calories are the same.

It certainly is more complicated. You need the fat in your diet to slow stomach emptying. Overall, it is the old story of balance. Exercise is part of the mix and you have to consider it along with diet. Here, it is very hot and humid and I have been eating a lot less. As I tend to snack in the evening I am eating a meal for a late lunch rather than an evening meal according to schedule. I am feeling a lot better for it. I must go out and get another papaya and melon for the snacks tough, I'm out :(


It's more than just slowing the stomach emptying. Sugar actually causes metabolic changes that, among other things, makes people hungrier.

IOW, it goes way beyond the mere physical (bulk, slower digestion, etc.). The really interesting stuff is happening on the biochemical level.

(From above) US auto economy at work:

"Many Americans rely on their cars for their livelihood, and losing access to them could be financially devastating," says Jim Lardear, director of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Extortion designed into the system. having access to a car is also financially devastating.

Also, petroleum demand destroyed by high petroleum prices. Last time spot crude was over $100 per barrel for six months was early 2008.

In a related vein, now that all auto assembly plants have been shut down in California, all new cars purchased in California are in effect imported cars. And the cost for these imported cars dwarfs the state's budget deficit.

Rather than try to restart the state's auto plants, I think they would be better off building public transit systems using electric trolleybuses, and reshaping development patterns to match the trolleybus routes. And, of course, the new trolleybuses should be made in California.

Siemens produces light rail vehicles in Sacramento. I think there is/was another facility in Pittsburgh, CA.

Best Hopes for California manufacturing,


Millions of square feet, billion$ of dollars of unused manufacturing capacity and hundreds of thousands of workers idly waiting for someone to get them started.

Making transit vehicles isn't rocket science:


Scroll down and see the Philadelphia streetcar map from 1954:


Expanded Rail Service recommended for Marcellus Shale Drilling

The Marcellus commission recommends giving priority to an evaluation of rail freight systems in the Marcellus regions in order to relieve the burden on roads and bridges from transporting sand, water and pipe to serve gas well operations. Another suggestion is for the state to partner with local rail authorities to seek federal rail freight dollars for this effort.



Salt Lake City almost doubles Light Rail System

The Red and Green west spurs were opened last weekend. The Blue Line is the starter line, the NorthEast spur was added for the Winter Olympics. The purple Frontrunner line in the NorthWest is not to scale - it is a 44 mile long commuter rail line.


A 44 mile extension of the commuter line south of SLC is under construction, scheduled to open in 2012.

An airport line and blue line extension south are scheduled by 2015.

A circulating downtown streetcar, and a further extensions south of both the Blue Line Light Rail line and the commuter rail line are planned past 2015.

Airport Light Rail Line map

This is the type of rapid expansion taking place all over France, and should be being built all over the USA as well.

This a real world example of what can be done in a reasonable time frame - as the post-Peak Oil world develops.

Best Hopes for more Oil Free Transportation,


Commuter trains were designed for two bicycles/car but riders are bringing as many as 15 bikes/car. A problem awaiting resolution. The Blue Line is standing room only and they are going to 5 car trains.

Unfortunately our heavy rail (Frontrunner between Salt Lake and Ogden, soon to extend south to Provo) is NOT electric. For the life of me I cannot understand how they made such a short-sighted decision. Diesel was cheap compared to stringing new wires, I'm guessing.

Yes, while President Chirac set a goal in 2005 to "electrify every meter of French rail" and "burn not one drop of oil" within twenty years.

The feds will not fund electrification, although it speeds up commuter rail timetables by 15%. Faster always attracts more passengers, electric has fewer breakdowns and allows six train sets to do the work of seven. Part of dysfunctional federal transportation policy.

The north Frontrunner is on Union Pacific RoW (a new, separate second track except for the last 6 miles). Given a shared track section with UP and UP RoW, UP may not have approved electrification. South Frontrunner is different - UTA is building on abandoned RoW.

Still, Best Hopes for First Steps,


After the first "energy crisis" in 1973, the UP (Uncle Pete) strung a mile or so of electric wires above their mainline between SLC and Ogden. Rumor was they were testing conditions for eventual electrification of their freight service in the mountain west. Those things just hung in the breeze for at least 10 years, but I can't remember when they came down. Do any of the 4 major railroads in this country consider electrifcation?

Link to 1970's electrification plans.




Today - UP not interested, BNSF - "Electrification is inevitable", NS - Only for complete line, end to end, CSX - minimal interest, CN - follow BNSF lead, CP - wants to but not enough cash - will someone else do it for them and sell "Power at the Wire".
KCS ????

Best Hopes,


Alan, as you know, a proposal to link Edmonton and Calgary by train has been bantered about for a few years. This article is somewhat dated - July 2009 - but illustrates a point about electric rail.

Calgary-Edmonton Corridor Next Up for Train Improvements

The study, completed by a consulting firm for the provincial government, compared four types of rail investment — 125 mph diesel service (2 hour trip), 150 mph “jet train” operations, 200 mph electric travel, and 300 mph maglev service (1 hour trip). Unexpectedly, the report showed that economic benefits would improve as train speeds increased, and that ridership would similarly go up, reaching between 2 and 10 million annual riders by 2050, depending on the speed of the trains. The study found that 200 mph trains would be the most effective system for implementation; the project would cost around C$10 billion to construct. Other options would cost between C$3 and C$20 to complete.

Calgary and Edmonton are close enough to one another that high-speed rail service between the cities would be competing more with car drivers than airplane riders; this could make attracting market share more difficult than along longer distance routes of between 300 and 600 miles, which are a stretch for most drivers. But the question the government should have in considering whether to invest in this line is whether it expects people to choose rail over driving, and whether ticket prices will be low enough to make that option feasible. If estimates show that rail — with its lower trip times and stress-free commutes — will attract many of those people out of their cars, than this corridor would be worth constructing.

My emphasis.

Policy makers are left to wrestle with both cost competitiveness and people's love affair with the automobile. We just have to convince people to fall in love with trains instead. Nothing that a bit of marketing to glamourize high speed ridership couldn't handle.

I actually sketched out a Calgary-Edmonton-Ft. McMurray possibility on existing rail RoW (and some track sharing).

110 mph (maximum with at grade crossings) EMUs could be added at an affordable price. (EMUs are self propelled rail cars that can operate in groups of 1 to 6 cars/"train").

Later, remove grade crossings and have HSR operate express service (no stop in Red Deer) for ever longer sections at 200 mph - but keep the 110 mph for local (stop @ Red Deer) and off-peak service.

Frequent service makes up for a lack of speed (110 vs. 200 mph).

110 mph service from Edmonton to Ft. McMurray would get a lot of people + express freight service. Offer non-stop express service plus service with stops near major operations. Provide a medical evac EMU as well.

Best Hopes for Practicality,


Calgary-Edmonton - 175 track miles (roughly)
Edmonton-Ft. McMurray - 240 track miles (roughly)

Just got back from visiting relatives in Alberta. The road to Fort McMurray is sometimes referred to as the highway of death. I think a lot of people would take the train so as to avoid a road adventure.

Another centre now booming in Alberta is Grande Prairie. When I first landed there in 1979 it was a town of 18,000 people. Today it is a city approaching 60,000. Even with a double lane highway, it is a five hour drive north of Edmonton.

Despite it's redneck reputation in Canada - a reputation that the locals sometimes play up to the max - the province is prosperous and quite forward thinking. I can actually foresee many of its communities linked by rapid rail. There is very much a can-do attitude among its people - very refreshing to see - one that optimistically looks forward to the future.

If any place can do it in Canada, or lead the world for that matter, it would be Alberta.

I cannot see the point in going to the expense of 200mph rail between Calgary and Edmonton.

The drive between the two cities, downtown to downtown, is three hours, 2 1/2 if you want to risk a ticket, and 3 1/2/ in winter, when hwy2 can have brutal snowstorms and crosswinds.
To fly from one to the other is a 1/2 hr flight, but Calg airporty is 20min out of town, and Edm is 40min, and add in check-in security etc, and there is very little time advantage over driving - though some will do it in winter to avoid driving the road.

So, all you need to compete with air travel between the two is a rail service that goes downtown to downtown, which the lines currently do, (though not electrified at present) and do the trip in less than 2hrs (av 90mph) , and you will be faster, more convenient and cheaper than air.

To compete with driving, all you need is to be less than two hours, and to be cheaper than fuel for 1 person driving. Two or three people in a car will always be cheaper than the train.

So, to go to a 200mph train, at 4x the cost of the 110mph, means people will have to pay 4x the fare, just to save one hour - not many people will pay that premium, despite what the consultants said.

110mph is fast enough, and hourly, or better, non stop service between the cities would fill every seat.

There would be some interesting issues with 200mph trains and strong crosswinds and snowdrifts in winter. The snowdrifts can form in minutes in the right conditions.

Another interesting possibility is for the train to go from Edm city centre to Calgary Airport, and then Calgary downtown. This would effectively relegate Edm airport to a regional airport, with most all international flights going from Calgary. For this reason alone, this option won;t happen, as Edmontonians still can't accept that they are not the major city.

For Fort Mac, there is no value in high speed, it just needs to be faster than the drive.

Alan, I presume your EMU's are Electrical Multiple Units?

Many good insights. I agree with most of them. However, quite a few workers fly into Fort Mac so 110 mph will help attract more of them. And the workers there can afford premium prices.

I idly wondered about a premium price "parlor car" with a wet bar, and a quiet car with recline flat seats for those wanting a nap (extra Can$ for both :-)

Best Hopes,


The workers that fly in to Fort Mac, generally do so on the company tab, so it is they who will make the decision. if the company has to pay travel time, the plane may still be the better bet. If they give a travel allowance to the workers, then many will opt for the train whether it is 70 or 110mph.

You should not idly wonder about the Club Car, it should be an automatic part of any inter city train that has a trip time of more than half an hour (= one beer). Lounging with a beer or brandy while watching the countryside go past, and preferably playing chess, is simply a great experience that driving and flying can't match. When things are this comfortable, who wants to pay extra for a faster train to have less time in such nice surroundings!

We have had the discussion about speeds before, and I think we are in general agreement here - more frequency is more important than more speed.
For a line like Fort Mac, it is really the driving/buses you are competing with, and all a train has to do is not take longer, and be more comofrtable, wet bar, etc to do that. Capturing some of the fly ins-fly out is just a bonus.

The Calgary - Edmonton one is the real prize though - two cities of one million each, separated by relatively flat farming land, with existing rail to downtown in each. Electrification may be a bit of an issue at each end - not much clearance with some of the overpasses, if they are still to run any freight trains.

With annual average daily traffic of 50,000 vpd at the ends, and 20,000 in the middle sections, there are lots of people that would be happy to have someone else drive, especially in winter. There are also two flights between the cities, each way, each hour. The train doesn't need much of a % of these two markets to be viable - unless it is a high speed train and then it won't be viable.

A primary reason to use EMUs is to make frequency affordable. One car trains are viable with EMUs, and so are six car trains. Labor is the same, 1 to 6, but all other costs are variable with the # of cars. And EMUs are quite capable of 110 mph operation. An unpowered car can be added with several EMUs.

My thoughts were trains every 15 minutes at morning and evening peak, every 20 minutes mid-day and for an hour before and after peak, every 30 minutes in the evening and every 2 hours over-night. Express trains would take every other slot during rush hour (express would not stop in Red Deer or Park & Ride lots outside town).

People do not typically look at time tables if they know that they have service very 15 minutes. Every 20 minutes is a split - some try to catch the 8:20, others just grab the next train.

Other than Red Deer, are there any other worthwhile stops in between ? You mentioned an Edmonton airport stop - any other worthwhile secondary stops ? Such as southern Calgary or northern Edmonton after the downtown stop ?

Connecting with the Light Rail systems of Calgary and Edmonton would be essential, perhaps with a stop at a Park & Ride lot outside town for local trains.

Fort McMurray service could have a freight car attached for express freight and package delivery services.

I wonder about just coasting under bridges, Are these older bridges that with winter salt are not that far from replacement in any case ? Third rail is an option if there is very little access to the rail RoW.

Best Hopes for Efficient Solutions,


Yair...I often look at the huge complexity and heavy build of conventional passenger rail cars that carry (say) sixty seated...and then I see a conventional ten meter dump truck that has been adapted so it can run on the road or rails.

It would seem to be cost effective if that could be done with conventional coaches...that is to say the return of the "rail motor" for some services.

Excessive US safety standards (800,000 lb crush) prevent auto & trucks from operating on tracks today. There is a specific exemption for cars carrying rail employees.


Yair...thanks Allan,I figured it would be the safety angle. In the future I reckon some of the more extreme BAU regulations are going to need to change.

I've heard that the passenger cars for Amtrak's Acela Express are sometimes described as the world's fastest bank vaults.

Alan, that is a great point to emphasize. Trains will have more space to spread your legs. Few security annoyances and the like. The train may be the luxurious way to travel ~100-1000 miles. Get some work done. Have a few drinks.

IMHO plane travel has become nauseating and uncomfortable especially in the days of tornados and terrible weather. I honestly hate planes. lol

How do you know they won't cram-and-jam the trains just like the planes, in good time? In England, some of the trains already have near-airline seating and/or standing-room-only. And the first time somebody does something on a train, they'll probably add "security" in every train station, absolute-zero risk and all that. Two hours on line for a half-hour commuter ride.

And the first time somebody does something on a train, they'll probably add "security" in every train station, absolute-zero risk and all that. Two hours on line for a half-hour commuter ride.

Couldn't they just as easily see automobiles as potential security threats? Would any of us really be that surprised if we started seeing highway/freeway security checkpoints in the near future?

As an Edmontonian, I agree fully with your comments. High speed is unnecessary. Consistent, fairly frequent, and reasonably priced should do the trick. Flying is a pain, and driving is tiring, especially if you go in the morning, have a meeting, and then drive home at night.


Thanks Don, good to hear from someone who is actually the subject of what we are talking about!

When I lived in Calgary I did the Edm and back day trip a few times, summer and winter, and it is an exhausting day. A train trip would be far more relaxing and productive, especially if it was DT to DT.

It will happen, eventually, but will probably be done in an expensive way to be a flagship project for high speed rail.

Best hopes for pragmatic solutions!

Just by coincidence I found an article this morning about a project to electrify three commuter rail lines out of Montreal.

See the article in French at http://www.cyberpresse.ca/actualites/regional/montreal/201106/09/01-4407...

Good News !!

I read the study and talked to one of their engineers at a workshop#. I expected two of the five diesel lines @ Montreal, at best, to be electrified. They are "pushing the economics" and doing three lines. One line was electrified many decades ago. So soon 4 lines (and Metro) will run on hydroelectricity and two less busy lines on diesel (from tar sands ?)

Best Hopes for More :-)


# The Workshop was about electrifying more than just one commuter rail line @ Chicago.

Hydro Quebec has been very active in advancing electrification and has invested heavily in battery research. Must give credit where credit is due. Quebecois business is keen to promote reliance on homegrown resources so as to secure competitive advantage.

Alberta is petroleum rich. Quebec is hydro rich.

The past as prologue? Here's a nostalgic look back to the early 20th century for a glimpse at possibilities.

Electric Tram Rides from Forster Square, Bradford (1902)

Imagine a world where transport is electric and muscle power.

Imagine a world where transport is electric and muscle power.

I find it easy to imagine - and attractive :-)

Best Hopes for Renewable Powered Transportation,


Alan: do you know if there are any plans around Chicago suburban rail? My family mostly live there (well, in the 'burbs, but close in), and they should be involved.

email me if you would. thanks.


Metra has one electrified line that shares much of it's tracks with Indiana's South Shore Line.

The attitude at Metra is that "we have over $10 billion in deferred maintenance, electrification is a luxury we cannot afford".

However, there has been so much public (or political) pressure to electrify that they sponsored the workshop I attended.

The best hope is for the freights to electrify (BNSF, maybe CN) the outer sections of their lines and Metra continues it into the Loop. Or we make oil free travel a priority.

Hopes that helps. I eMailed this to you as well.

Best Hopes for electrifying, and fixing up, Metra,


Thanks, Alan. I used to ride Burlington commuter into Chicago every day! Diesel, of course. It's been quite a while, and it is way past time we electrified all of our MT lines!

If I was President, you would be my Transportation Czar!


Hello Alan,
I'm a little surprised that there hasn't been more news about possible electrification on the CN mainline from Quebec City to at least Montreal. The last time I checked there were about five passenger trains per day in each direction, and at least that many freights. Traffic is even heavier from Montreal to Toronto and much of the freight in that area seems to run overnight, so that would appear to be a good second phase of the project, with maybe a detour through Ottawa for some of the passenger trains.

Kudos to Salt Lake. May the force be with them.

Old news to many perhaps, Calgary, at the centre of Canada's oil patch, has been at the forefront of clean transit.

Time-lapse ride on the LRT train through Calgary

A new West LRT route is scheduled to open in December 2012. Calgary Transit's West LRT Route Animation

Construction Overview is neat to view, too.

Here's to electric light rail coming to a city near you.

From Tyler Cowen's blog:

Is there a productivity crisis in Canada?

Think of TFP as trying to pick “the stuff we get for free through innovation.” Falling TFP in mining reflects Canada’s move from “suck it up with a straw” oil to complex, high cost extraction tar sands projects and the like. They have moved down this curve a long, long way.

Yet Canada still prospers: someone is willing to pay for all the time and trouble they put into extraction, because the other natural resource options are costlier at the relevant margin. Another way to make the point is that this graph, and the embedded story of productivity, is very bad news for someone, just not Canada, at least not so far.

So that graph shows that all but the most efficient manufacturers have shut down/moved offshore (with the exception of some inefficient auto makers in Ontario that were bailed out by the rest of the country), and those that remain do not employ many people for what they produce

It also shows that the mining/energy sectors have been increasing employment faster than output. While bankers seem to think this is a bad thing, those employed in such sectors, and those who service them, will tell you it is a good thing.

Or to put this another way, the manufacturing focused eastern part of the country, which, according to this is "more productive" is not doing well, and the mining/energy/food focused western part of the country, which is "less productive" is doing quite well.

So how useful, really, is the measure of productivity?

Ultimately it is profitability that matters, and there is much more to that than mere productivity.

The reason I found the graph (and Cowen's comment) interesting is the argument, frequently made on this site, that EROEI is what matters.

But while EROEI is a useful concept in philosophical arguments about the boundaries of Project Humanity, it seems difficult to measure with any degree of precision, and even harder to apply in practice. Because, as you imply (and ROCKMAN constantly reiterates), decisions are made on the basis of profitability, EROEI be damned.

So I thought it interesting that this measure of productivity apparently shows that the utility provided to society as a whole (per effort, presumably) of the Canadian oil/gas/mining sector is declining and has been so for some time.

It seems to me a smoking gun that sector EROEI is indeed declining considerably, DESPITE its profitability.

KODE - Mucho thanks for the reference. When I see myself mentioned on TOD for a brief moment I feel like my life may have some meaning after all. LOL.

But to be more accurate, the oil patch doesn't say: "Let EROEI be damned". They actually say:"ERORI...what's that?" It's not that the oil patch doesn't think it's a meaningful metric. It just doesn't exist in our world. Not saying that's right or wrong but it is the cold hard truth. So when I say EROEI is meaningless I'm just referring to the oil patch. The rest of the world is certainly correct to focus on it and the future implications. It just that drilling decision just won't be affected by EROEI. At least not directly. There is linkage but as you say it's difficult to quantify.


But to be more accurate, the oil patch doesn't say: "Let EROEI be damned". They actually say:"ERORI...what's that?"

Yes, I know. I should have said something like that. Had to be quick and that is not my forte...

However this brings up a point I wanted to include, namely: That in communicating this part of our Grand Predicament to people in mainstream business/economics, it would probably be far more effective to point out that "Total Factor Productivity is declining and has been so for some time", than to point out that "EROEI is declining and has been so for some time".

The first they might have learned about in school, the second one, if they recognize the word at all, they're likely to associate with those tin-foil-hat-wearing Peak Oil conspiracy theorists...

it would probably be far more effective to point out that "Total Factor Productivity is declining and has been so for some time", than to point out that "EROEI is declining and has been so for some time".

I think it will be easier still, and more effective, to simply say that "oil will keep getting more expensive" , which is what it really means to the consumer, and even the policy makers. This has been Jeff Rubin's message, and I agree with it.

If the sector is to remain profitable, and it won;t long exist if it isn't, then lower TFP must be reflected in higher prices. Of course, the CDN producers are not price makers, just price takers, and if the price goes down, the lowest productivity production (highest cost) may be shut down.

What it really reflects is that there are cheaper substitutes for the Cdn manufacturing industry - i.e. China.
But there are no cheaper substitutes for oil - only more expensive ones. So we will continue to put more manpower and resources into oil/energy production, and I am Ok with this.

It would be *very* interesting to see a fourth curve added to that chart - the "Total Factor Productivity" of Government! Then we would easily see where we can make efficiencies to make up for the "lower productivity" of energy production.

Paul Nash said:

I think it will be easier still, and more effective, to simply say that "oil will keep getting more expensive"

Oh, I think I see; we're not talking about the same thing.

Expensive oil is the consequence; but there are many possible explanations why oil is (has been, will be) getting more expensive. For instance, demand may be increasing rapidly while petroleum projects may have a lead time of many years, creating a temporary imbalance that drives up price.

Or it might be speculators. Or price-fixing cartels. Or inconvenient revolutions. Or...

IOW, price rises alone, even spectacular rapid ones, are not proof, possibly not even a strong indication, that Peak Oil is inevitable or imminent.

Declining TFP however, over decades, in a sizeable oil producing nation, points to something chronical, inevitable, not explained in full by any of the above suggestions. I do not claim it is proof of Peak Oil, but it is a counterpoint to many of the common no-it's-not-peak-oil excuses. What it is proof of, is that in this case at least, technology advances doesn't allow us to get more, cheaper.

Paul Nash said:

What it really reflects is that there are cheaper substitutes for the Cdn manufacturing industry - i.e. China.

Hmmn, you seem to be commenting on the blue manufacturing sector line. I was only commenting on the red line, actually; I don't think there is any direct link between the two. I should have pointed that out, I guess.

Paul Nash said:

But there are no cheaper substitutes for oil - only more expensive ones. So we will continue to put more manpower and resources into oil/energy production, and I am Ok with this.

This seems to be Tyler Cowen's point when he says

Yet Canada still prospers: someone is willing to pay for all the time and trouble they put into extraction, because the other natural resource options are costlier at the relevant margin.

That's all from me for now, it's way past my bedtime!

Until one gets down to an EROEI of 3 the energy needed to invest is just a cost of doing business. At3 and below you might question if there is excess waste of energy.

But even at 1 as long as the cost of the invested energy is less than the cost of the sold energy you can make a profit. Even below 1 if the cost differential is big enough.

What is it about EROEI that you do not understand? EROEI is a way of measuring the cost of production... I mean, you need to calculate the cost, in energy, of extraction and production. There is NO way that below 1 the "cost of the invested energy is less than the cost of the sold energy" when by definition EROEI = 1 means it is the same, and EROEI < 1 means it is more.

Or did I misunderstand something about what you said?


Cost as expressed in dollars, obviously. If you use 10 energy units of cheap NG to produce 9 energy units of oil, your EROEI is < 1. But maybe the oil sells at a big enough premium to make that worthwhile.

I have considered that, and agree. In the future, the use of oil will be, not for energy use, but rather for medical, plastics, and other products for which it is the necessary feedstock.

Thank you for excellent input!


Allow me to jump in.

I think EROEI is a useful yardstick (Meterstick?) but the ratio does not tell the whole story. Not all forms of energy are created equal, so if the EROEI drops below 1, it does not automatically mean that the process drops dead.

Rich and/or important people will be using aviation fuel far into the future when the input energy in some form, ie cellulose, and the processing energy far exceed the resulting liquid fuel energy produced.

Similarly, if a stripper well uses electricity from a wind farm and the energy expended exceeds the energy in the oil that is pumped, it will still be produced because the liquid fuel gained has far greater utility. Obviously, if the pump jack was driven by a diesel engine, the EROEI rule applies more closely, because we are talking about apples and apples.

The winners and losers in liquid fuel production will be determined by relative EROEI, not an absolute number.

In the big picture, I think EROEI has been given a status that implies absolutes, but is not warranted. It is just one method of evaluating our energy situation.

Let's say I can buy 2GJ of natural gas for X dollars and use it to extract 1GJ of oil from tar sand. If that 1GJ of oil sells for more than X dollars I can make a profit. Say it sells for 2X dollars my profit is X dollars even though the energy returned for energy invested is only 0.5

You are correct there is no gain of energy but there is a gain of money. All a business cares about is the gain of money.

In the short term, maybe. However, EROEI is about how much it COSTS for equal energy. Long term, those will factor out in the price of the commodity produced by using the oil. In other words, if used for energy, cost will be the same; if used for pharmaceuticals, the price of drugs goes up to pay for the differential. TANSTAAFL.



To make this more clear, the EROEI of tin is far less than 1... in fact one could say it is zero. We do not mine tin to use for energy, but we still do mine it. The cost in energy of tin is a part of the price of tin on the market. When EROEI of oil is less than 1, it cannot be mined for its energy uses... except as, for instance, if its portability is important and there is nothing else available. At that point is will be mined almost entirely for other uses: lubrication, drugs, etc. That a profit can be earned from oil used as a minieral aside from energy production is irrelevant to the concept of EROEI.

Actually, EROEI is not about how much it costs for equal energy. It takes $$$ right out of the equation - that is the point of this metric.

That said, differentials in the perceived utility and need for different energy sources can sometimes (and temporarily) make it ECONOMICALLY possible to go against EROEI. It often involves subsidies, obvious or less obvious.

But the whole point of EROEI is to take warped "economics" out of the equation - indeed, to point out the warped economics - in the long run.

For example, take ethanol (please!). The EROEI hovers around 1, and even though ethanol is a less useful fuel than the fossil fuels required for its production, people grow corn for ethanol and make a profit because... subsidies. This is warped economics. The EROEI is what it is, regardless of the $$$ involved and the profits made.


Your edit really focused the issue. Because oil is the elephant in the room, it seems that we need to define it by application, as if it were three different things.

- A general energy source
- A highly dense and portable energy source
- A commodity useful not for it's energy content, but it's chemical properties, just like tin.

IMHO, EROEI only really applies to case 1, in the other two it is, as you say, irrelevant.

When EROEI of oil is less than 1, it cannot be mined for its energy uses... except as, for instance, if its portability is important and there is nothing else available.

Craig, this is simply not true. We just need quote ROCKMAN 3:16 for the answer - it matters not what the EROEI is, for most oilmen do not even know what that is, it matters if the $return is greater than the $spent. Or, in some cases, if the $increase in stock price because of the apparent increase in reserves, is greater than the $ spent.

Even if getting the oil out has an EROEI of 0.5, if oil is $100/unit and I can use three units of $5firewood for my steam extraction, I have a very nice, profitable business. You can;t pay the bills, or feed your family, or satisfy stockholders, with EROEI. This is why the oilsands use NG to produce their oil, not oil to produce oil

The ultimate example, is of course, coal fired electricity. The EROEI is about 0.3, but it is a very profitable business.

Not all energy is valued equally, and if you can use a cheap form to make a valuable form, then you have a viable business, EROEI be damned.

FOR ALL: Great discussion. The best focus I’ve seen. And now I’m going to screw it up with a few more inconvenient truths. Speaking of the industry as a whole, not only can we drill with an EROEI less than 1, we will drill when there is a loss. Remember: I’m talking industry wide. I’ll use the oil boom that started in the late 70’s. At the peak we had over 4,600 rigs drilling…about double what we have drilling during the current “boom”. Half those rigs were drilling prospects that had little chance of success. Real example: I worked for a company then that spent $550 million drilling and found $40 million of oil/NG. Forget about a low EROEI. It was obviously negative. LOL. And they were a public company whose stock soared…for a while. And then when they couldn’t pay $1 when a $100 million bond came due the party was suddenly over. Many companies went under when oil/NG prices crashed by the mid 80’s. These morons went under at the same time oil prices peaked.

I don’t track any companies today…too busy. But I have no doubt the above example is being repeated to some degree. And that was when oil was trading above $100/bbl. If oil slides below $70-80 and stays there for a while the bodies will start to stack up. And that focus will be on the public companies. I’ve mentioned before that in the 90’s my current boss (engineer) and I once spent more money to drill 4 horizontal wells than the value added to the company by those wells. But the wells increased companywide production RATE 400%...for a while. So Wall Street rewarded us by bumping the stock from less than $1 to over $5 a share. Yes…the Rockman is that good at gaming the system. And we didn’t lie: my public reserve report clearly showed we did not add one bit of reserves to the books by drilling those 4 wells. Which led to the first time my current boss fired me…at the insistence of the board. And that wasn' the only time I was run off for not having the "right attitude". LOL. And just one reason I'm glad I'm working for a company that has only one goal: sell oil/NG for more then we spent developing it. What a novel idea, eh?

And that’s just how foolish investors are when any industry is being hyped. And that’s what will make it difficult to gauge activities as we bounce along the peak plateau IMHO. Especially as volatility increases and more above ground factors, like ELM and recessions, come into play. Virtually all the press releases and MSM stories will be about public companies. We private oils intentionally stay way below the radar. It ain't about hyping stock prices or egos for us...it's just about making a profit.

If profitabilty isn't necessarially a strong determanent how could EROEI? Which is why the Rockman tries to avoid making predictions about the future price/availability of oil/NG. He just ain’t that smart.

I get it Rocky. People really do stupid things. "Some people like blood sausage."

My final take is that, while they will no doubt do weird things with their books to 'make a profit,' extracting oil at less than 1 EROEI is a guaranteed loss, long term. Except if it is to be used for something other than its energy value, or if it is being used for portability (one thinks of military apps, though even those might well be better served with, say, bio-diesel, etc.). I note that those who drilled at less than one EROEI went out of business, as well they should.

I know that you were not recommending they drill.




Craig - BTW: I grew up eating blood sausage...not a fond memory. But we couldn't afford to be too picky about our protein sources. At least it tasted better than nutria. LOL.

And that's why it's going to be difficult for the general public to understand the dynamics as we go forward. So many mixed signals. They'll see stories highlighting the "successes" of various companies and won't understand it doesn't change the situation significantly. A DW GOM field may be developed with a very high EROEI and some will think it means the situation isn't so bad. But they'll never see headlines about the $1 billion/energy spent drilling a number of DW dry holes in the same area. I'm tempted to guess what the EROEI was during that long ago "boom" but not enough detailed data. But I wouldn't be surprised that over a 6 to 8 year period not only was it a net monetary loss by the industry but an EROEI close to zero...maybe even negative a tad. We might be a bit smarter now but the force driving that boom (opportunistic greed) is still out there. Just depends on how many investors get sucked into next time around.

As you know I'm in the "Drill, baby, drill" camp but not because it can change PO to any great degree. It's just a good plus for the economy on several levels. So even my position seems to confuse some folks.

As you know I'm in the "Drill, baby, drill" camp but not because it can change PO to any great degree. It's just a good plus for the economy on several levels.

I do understand. I am sure that the last buggy whip factory had a whip engineer who designed the last whip, and was in the "Whip, baby, whip" camp. I just wonder whether there isn't some better hole to put all that money into, if the result is negative in the hole you're diggin'.

Being a lawyer, I can tell you that there are far too many of US, and that we are an absolute drain on the economy. And, yet, so many of my brothers remain in the "Sue, baby, sue" camp.

While my attitude toward PO is more of the gradual, step down, crisis, I do recognize that at some point soon our economy cannot keep afloat. Perhaps we are seeing signs of fecal matter approaching rotating blade today. My crystal ball is a bit dim, and I hope not. After all, I have plans for the next 5 years at least that require some sembelance of normalcy, though I am sufficiently flexible that I can sustain through one or two steps down. But, one never knows.

Meanwhile, you are one of the more readable and enjoyable contributors, in addition to being a great knowledge resourse for me, and for TOD. And today I was referred to Rockman 3:16(?). Now you are scripture!



Craig - Yep...a mixed bag. For example: Currently about $2 billion/year is going into the Eagle Ford play. The good side: adding NG production which keeps NG prices down for consumers; shareholders of the public players reaping rewards, state agencies and land owners (paying lots of taxes) making big bucks and not investing a $. The down side: in the long run would the country better of with the SG resource monies going into alts? Maybe...but doesn't matter because that's not where the hype is. Good or bad? = huge wealth transfer from shareholder in public oils to shareholders of public service companies. And the current share holders selling out and making big bucks but shareholders inplace when the bust comes (as it always has in the past) get skinned alive. Perhaps some environmental damage for my Yankee cousins in the Marcellus trend; but maybe more fuel to keep some of them from freezing to death in the dark. Something like the fable of the blind men feeling up that elephant. Good vs. bad depends what piece you end up with..or what you step in.

I'm not thinking in terms of a slow step down in the big picture. Perhaps a somewhat slower step down in resource extraction. But the mix of economic instability, growing military interventions, political forces and civil unrest could easily make it a very rapid and harsh (even cruel) step down. Once the majority of folks realize that the Peak Plateau is here to stay I suspect the above ground factors will be magnified. And then when they realize there's a down slope following the PP I suspect it will get really nasty. At that point the drill rig/windturbin/solar panel count might not be as critical as the aircraft carrier count.

There is the old saw about the small town lawyer who was barely making ends meet. Then another lawyer moved into town, and they both made a good living.

Being a farm raised engineer, I once had the physical and utilitarian view of economics that is so often on display here.

Then one day as I was questioning whether there would be a market for a particular product, an Iranian engineer, whose family had no doubt been in the bazaar for the last three millenia, said, "There are tens of thousands of jewelry stores, and no one 'needs' jewelry."

Most of the economic system consists of long chains of transactions whose only real criteria for being done is whether J can sell something to K.

As a fellow farm raised engineer, I concur.

I used to think that every "thing" had to have some useful purpose to justify its existence, even accepting that for some things, like art, the purpose is just to be beautiful. After all, that is how Nature does it - it does not waste resources - even the beautiful things, like the peacocks feathers, still have a purpose

But in my adult life I have seen many things that do not justify their existence, yet they often seem to be very successful businesses/industries (e.g. personal injury lawyers, derivative traders).

So, yep, no only whether J can sell to K, but also whether X can somehow extract money from Y.

Money has become the whole game, but it seems it has become decoupled from the real resources it was meant to represent (land, labour) and that it can be created just by application of capital and enterprise.

At some point, this has to end, either by money becoming completely separated, and irrelevant (hyperinflation) or else by a dramatic re-coupling (crash and deflation).

Kinda like the old physics question about what happens when irresistible force meets immovable object. No one knows exactly what will happen, but all agree there will be lots of interesting side effects - best viewed from a safe distance.

Ya, Craig, but I think Rock's post goes straight to the black heart of Chicago School free market economics-- at least as its commonly discussed and understood at the office water cooler.

The market does not reward the most efficient production technique, the best idea, those who offer the best goods and services at the most competitive prices.

Markets will not self-regulate, or not on any time-scale that will be predictable or meaningful.

I prefer the idea that how much money you're making and how efficient you're being are basically separate concepts. It's a beautiful world on the rare occasions that those two horses are pulling the same wagon, but they're just as likely to gallop off in different directions.

That's good illustration of the distortion caused by investment in corporations. An enterprise that derived income only by selling products or services would not be driven to spend huge sums on something that did not provide a return. It's only because of the returns provided in the tertiary financial economy (gambling and playing with money) that this is appealing to those at the top who stand to gain from it that it seems to make sense for a while. Even though in the end it destroys the enterprise.

"People have a right to food"

When the KSA buys or rents land and water rights in a poor country and then ships the food it grows back to the Kingdom it looks more like money has rights not people. Bill Clinton is quoted in the article; how would he change international law to favor people over money? Or is he just talk?

When the KSA buys or rents land and water rights in a poor country and then ships the food it grows back to the Kingdom it looks more like money has rights not people.

You are correct the right belong to the one who write the law and during Great Famine (Ireland) there was "Laws that restricted the rights of the Irish". A good army can also be handy to make sure everybody follow the law.

Cecil Woodham-Smith, an authority on the Irish Famine, wrote in The Great Hunger; Ireland 1845–1849 that no issue has provoked so much anger and embittered relations between England and Ireland as "the indisputable fact that huge quantities of food were exported from Ireland to England throughout the period when the people of Ireland were dying of starvation." Ireland remained a net exporter of food throughout most of the five-year famine.[fn 4]

Did anybody thought about why IRA was formed?

The Irish Republic that had been proclaimed during the Easter Rising was formally established by an elected assembly (Dáil Éireann), and the Irish Volunteers were recognised by Dáil Éireann as its legitimate army. Thereafter, the IRA waged a guerrilla campaign against British rule in Ireland in the 1919–21 Irish War of Independence.

By the end of the 19th century, Britain had solved its food security problems by massive imports from its colonies.

Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not.

Hilaire Belloc, "The Modern Traveller", 1898

According to the latest OPEC Oil Market Report, Saudi Arabia production reached its highest level since 1981. Production in July was 9,725,000 barrels per day, crude only. That is an increase of over 1.5 million barrels per day since last October. But where is all that oil going? They are not going to Asia or Europe and imports to the US or anywhere else shows no great increase.

UPDATE 1-Saudi keeps oil supply high despite price fall

LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Leading OPEC producer Saudi Arabia has left supply to Asian and European customers unchanged in September despite a heavy fall in oil prices in the past week as global economic growth slows.

And for sure they are not going to China.

Chinese crude imports continue to fall

Chinese crude imports fell in July from a month earlier, hitting their lowest levels since October 2010, in a shift that will feed nervousness at a time when crude prices are sliding amid global turmoil.

Oil deliveries from OPEC, according to Oil Movements, are down about 1 million barrels per day since the Libyan revolution. Things just don't add up.

Ron P.

Internal use? Or lying?

Or simply time lag. It is for July and it is in the beginning of August now.

Nope, not time lag. Saudi production in June, according to OPEC's Oil Market Report, was 9,497,000 bp/d, the highest since May of 2005. Production in July was up another 228,000 bp/d to 9,725,000 bp/d in July. However Oil Movements says OPEC deliveries were down 150,000 bp/d for week ending August 20th. And the article says that they will keep exports to Asia and Europe unchanged in September.

Oil movements are saying they are shipping less now and Saudi is saying that they will not be shipping any more next month either.

Ron P.

How do OPEC exports compare to a year ago? We do not need to worry about what they produce just what they export.

I don't have the data from one year ago. I did not track "Oil Movements" back then. But I am hoping we will have the export data for 2010 within a few weeks. I think the annual data is updated in late August at this site: EIA Crude Oil Exports

I am not really worried about what they produce or export. I am just an observer that watches the situation very closely. Net oil exports (exports - imports) dropped 3 million barrels per day between 2005 and 2009. But 2009 was a very bad year for oil production. Production rebounded in 2010 but I highly suspect that net exports did not rebound nearly as much. But I will watch the data and let you know.

Ron P.


Worry was the wrong word. I am curious.

Here's a snapshot I've found with a search. Unfortunately many of the hits I can find in Google for last year's oil Movements reports are "Not Found" when I click them.


* Seaborne oil exports by OPEC, excluding Angola and Ecuador,
will rise by 20,000 barrels per day, to 23.60 million bpd in the four
weeks to July 31 (2010), U.K. consultancy Oil Movements said on Thursday.

This compares with 22.93 in the 4 weeks to July 23rd 2011.

Okay, Ron. Production is 9.5 mb/d, deliveries are 0.15 mb/d. Where are they storing the other 8.35mb/d?


Craig, in the past I have been accused of posting before carefully reading the post I was replying to. I was guilty in most cases. But I don't think I ever made a boner that big. What I said was:

However Oil Movements says OPEC deliveries were down 150,000 bp/d for week ending August 20th. (I should have wrote "four weeks ending..." not "week ending...") Anyway from my link:

Exports will drop to 22.78 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Aug. 20, the Halifax, England-based researcher said today in a report. That compares with 22.93 million barrels in the month to July 23.

Do the math. 22.93 mb/d drops to 22.78 or down .15 mb/d, exactly what I said. You perhaps thought I wrote down to...? Nope, I did not write that at all.

And... all OPEC deliveries were down 150,000 bp/d, not Saudi. But the OPEC Oil Market Report says OPEC production up 618,000 bp/d in June and up another 405,000 bp/d in July or just over one million barrels per day for the two months. And deliveries were down 150,000 bp/d. That just don't add up. Err... I think I said that didn't I?

Ron P.

Oops... my bad, I guess. Been working 60 hr weeks for a while, with heavy reading. I must have misread.



India? India owes $5 billion to Iran, Iran cut off their oil export to India refiners. So Saudi makes up, even without getting paid, just to hurt Iran.



I thought India resolved that issue by paying Iran through Turkey.
Saudi is giving free oil to Yemen at the moment and Pakistan is also asking for it. Maybe that is where it is going?

Things just don't add up.

They do if KSA wants to hold onto that idea they are still a swing producer. As we know from Govt. reports, even if information is false it sways people to think certain things, i.e. P.R.

You gotta just love these guys:

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon told CNBC that he’s very optimistic in the long run and the fundamental strength of the economy is “still here.”

“The strength of the system is going to blow your socks off when it comes out of this malaise,” Dimon told CNBC while touring his branch network in California. “This will pass too. I don’t know when, three months, six months, nine months or a year, but it will pass.”

Assuming anyone has socks left. Are socks even made in the US anymore? Perhaps he's just trying to cheer up the thousands of folks he's laid off over the last few years, though I suppose that it's easy to be optimistic when your second quarter profits were $5.4 billion.

Martinis in Somalia?

French engineer Georges Mougin has a big idea. He wants to go to Antarctica, tie a big rope around a six-million-tonne iceberg, drag it back to Africa and melt it into fresh, drinkable water.

Some might call him crazy, but Mougin reckons the plan could work. Using 3D computer simulations and declassified satellite data, his “IceDream” team believes that towing a drifting mountain of fresh water to Africa is absolutely possible.
Talked about for years, maybe this time it will... work..?
From WiredUK.

More likely just a bit north of the poor Somalis. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Emirates burn oil to desalinate seawater.


My drinking water costs around $400 per acre foot. Desal is between $1500 and $3000 per, I didn't see the cost of iceberg H2O in the story.
So there's a two million ton ice cube off the coast. Now what? Assuming that it's not hijacked by the pirates there will have to be some infrastructure to process and distribute that sweet glacial water.

And if the pirates hijack the ice berg, wht will they do with it? Open up a bar? Or just keep it while waiting for someone to deliver the ransom?

Melting ... melting ... gone ... sold to no one.

This idea gets re-invented at least 3 times a decade. For the last 70 years.

In the second war the UK even planned an ice aircraft carrier.


Greetings all.

I've finally gotten around to updating the Energy Export databrowser with the data from the BP 2011 Statistical Review.

I've also tweaked the colors every so slightly to accommodate those with red-green colorblindness.

Besides that, everything else is the same. Please let me know if you encounter any problems but be patient with the response times while the image cache refills as new plots are generated.

Here's one plot to whet your appetite.


PS__ Plans are still the works for bigger changes but those have been pushed out until September.

I know this is not about this data per se, but I imagine China is in for a world of hurt trying to import NG, or are they going to outbid the EU for that exported NG?

China has been very busy on this front:

Turkmenistan-China pipeline

Altai pipeline

Also check out this older TOD post on Turkmenistan Natural Gas and the associated comment thread.

I think the Chinese will be able to at least double their consumption of NG before they have to outbid the EU. There is a lot of stranded gas in Central Asia and the Russian far east that will be delivered to China by pipeline.

I'm curious. What do you use on the back-end (programmatically) to generate your graphics?


Thanks. I was thinking matplotlib

I have used matplotlib within the context of a Django website to create simple charts on-the-fly from data in the database. That seemed like an appropriate choice given the dynamic nature of the data, the python framework and the simplicity of the charts. Matplotlib certainly has plenty of open-ended power but operates at a somewhat lower level in the data management - analysis - visualization stack.

I prefer to use R for most of my work because it's oriented towards scientists and statisticians rather than programmers. By that, I mean that a ton of very high level analysis and plotting functionality has already been created and is freely available in packages from CRAN. R has a wicked learning curve but, once you get past the initial hurdles, you can write extremely clear and simple scripts that do some amazing things.

Here are a couple of posts on Using R from my Working With Data blog.



Thank you! That was a fantastic amount of insight. I've been shopping around, debating what type of library/environment to throw myself into. You just sold me on R. I've bookmarked your blog posts and will certainly reference them when I get started. Perhaps some time in the future I can have something equally amazing, but with different objectives. Your databrowsers are tremendously helpful. Keep up the great work!

Thanks again,

John from VA

Thanks as usual, Jon. Your work is much appreciated.


Just had to add this to the discussion of oil and energy issues generally.

This is why public transit is so much more efficient in pictures:

Where is the fourth (4th) frame to your picture?



All that metal and no where to go but wait in a traffic jam. The irony.

Did a quick head count on the bus I was on Monday. 40 seated, 30 ++ standing. I had to get on at the back door and pass my fare down the bus, from person to person, to the driver. Ticket returned the same way. Every time someone got off several others got off and back on. Now if that had been 70 SUVs!


They give out tickets up there in the north? (Mexico, right?) Here they just blast out dance music so you can pretend that you're in a club instead of on the way to work.

The bus/carpool song:

Ay que caben,
que caben 100.
50 parao 50 de pie.
Dicen que es lo mismo pero yo no se.

oh they say they fit,
they fit in 100
50 standing up, 50 on foot
they say thats all the same but I don't know

Yep, tickets and Mexico, they also check tickets so you make sure you get one. There was a strike the other day as the buses have people counters that count people on and off. On at the front, off at the back. From my comment above you can see why these counters give wildly wrong numbers and the drivers got fed up with being docked.


Strange but I don't remember seeing this web site before The Dry Dipstick a peak oil metadirectory. It is quite possible however that I have read it before and just forgot about it. I read hundreds of articles a month on this subject and just can't remember them all. Anyway they have a good article up now.

Peak Oil and the Future – Grim Reality or Conspiracy Myth?
Overall the long-term prognosis is grim for the future of "cheap" oil, and the world must expect to get along without what has been our critical energy source in expanding the world’s economy for more than half a century. The sooner the world’s governments prepare for that eventuality and a transition to alternative energy sources the better, but the signs have hardly been encouraging up to now, with both the oil industry and its client nation-states keeping their fingers crossed and continuing "business as usual."

Following this article are lots of good comments and reviews.

Ron P.

Thanks for this Ron.

This comment describes my life to a T:

There's a Choo-Choo Train A-Comin'

Mick Winter


I think I'll enjoy my coffee a bit longer though. Time to go for a drive!

Edited to remove excessive quoting. Please don't post the entire text of someone else's article.

That site has been there for many years.

I think Stoneleigh (of AutomaticEarth) has it correct by rephrasing "cheap" oil as "easily affordable oil/ gasoline, etc."

Price is immaterial if you don't have a job.

s-b: On one level it's easy to agree:"Price is immaterial if you don't have a job". OTOH many societies have some sort of support sytem for the disadvantaged. Maybe formal like our Social Security or less formal like large extended families cooperating. But much of this scoial safety net is dependent upon a society's more successful members supporting the system. As PO weakens a society across the board the majority may be able to maintain a satisfactory lifestyle or expand the safety net to cover many. But may not be able to do both. Consider the ongoing debate over changing SS benefits. If our recent economic downturn is due at least in part to PO we may be seeing the beginning of an even greater divide between the haves and have-nots. And, more importantly, less support of the have-nots by the haves.

If so the future of resource prices may be more material then ever even if you don't have a job.

From Peak Oil and the Future – Grim Reality or Conspiracy Myth?

...there is overwhelming evidence that the world will shortly reach a plateau where supply cannot continue to keep up with demand increase. Accordingly, hundreds of billions of dollars will need to be found if the world is to continue its oil addiction, and these massive investments will eventually be factored into increased oil costs.

Is it just me, or is this an absurd statement? Either "supply cannot continue to keep up," or "billions" will be needed "to continue its oil addiction." The two are polar opposites, and cannot both be true. Either supply cannot continue to keep up, or we will be able to continue our oil addiction. One way or the other!

And this, IMO, is part of the true problem. We simply cannot concieve of supply cannot keep up, and so go along, blithly asserting that we can come up with sufficient billions to continue BAU. Where those billions will come from not a worry; where that oil will come from, same thing. No worries, mate. Put another chicken on the barbie and have a cold one!


Virtual exhibit shows off more than 100 renewable energy projects

Solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal, and other types of renewable energy projects are coming together under one roof in the form of a new online renewable energy platform. Hosted by the electronics exhibitions project EXPO21XX, the renewable energy platform showcases ongoing projects in both the industry and academia

“The massive nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, followed by news of diminishing fossil fuels, energy security, and a growing demand for electricity, fuel and the increasing global carbon emission were enough rationale to undertake this project,” said Seth Quartey, the Universities’ Projects Specialist for the exhibit. “EXPO21XX’s goal therefore is to contribute to a cleaner, greener and healthier planet by displaying the new environmentally and economically sound energy resources being produced and researched in the industry and universities like wind, geothermal, hydropower, tides, waves, solar, and biomass to generate global interest in and demand for renewable energy resources.”

More info: http://www.expo21xx.com/renewable_energy/default.htm

and http://www.expo21xx.com/renewable_energy/renewable_energy_research.htm

Zombie ethanol clings to life in Iowa. Just when you think it's dead for good it rises from the grave again.

The yard, with long lines of round bales stacked four high, was built by Poet last year for $3.5 million and occupies an area the size of 17 football fields. It can hold 40,000 bales of stover. Most are roughly 5 feet in diameter and 6 feet wide. One round bale can make 40 to 60 gallons of ethanol.

Yet the yard holds only enough biomass to supply the plant for a few weeks. About 15 times that much residue will need to be gathered and trucked all year long from cornfields within 30 miles, Poet says. It is seeking residue from about one in four corn acres in that radius.

Stover is collected like hay from fields in late fall after the harvest -- a time when early snows can bury it. That worries some people working on cellulosic ethanol.


Corn is $7.00 per bushel around here. Land now sells for around $9,000.00 per acre. Even small farmers are now millionaires at least on paper.

They are not going to mess with nickle and dime corn stover.

It's past time cellulosic ethanol supporters get real.

Please, please someone drive a stake though the heart of this dumb idea.


Ah the welfare queen farmers of Iowa know no shame.

The High Chancellor has taken off his gloves

London riots: water cannons to be used on 'sick society'

David Cameron said that the cannon, previously only used in Ulster, would be available at 24 hours’ notice to deal with the “despicable violence” being seen in cities. Police had already been authorised to use baton rounds, he said. In a sign that other, more draconian, measures will now be at their disposal, he added: “We will do whatever is necessary. Nothing is off the table.”

[From V for Vendetta (2006): H.C. Adam Sutler: What we need right now is a clear message to the people of this country. This message must be read in every newspaper, heard on every radio, seen on every television... I want this country to realize that we stand on the edge of oblivion. I want everyone to remember *why* they need us!

This violent and unparalleled assault on our security will not go undefended... or unpunished. ... Tonight, I give you my most solemn vow: that justice will be swift, it will be righteous, and it will be without mercy.]

I imagine the locals will find a way to resist the high chancellor's command. Generally kids like to disobey.

Do as we say, not as we do.

UK may disrupt social networks during unrest

(Reuters) - Britain is considering disrupting online social networking such as Blackberry Messenger and Twitter during civil unrest, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday, a move widely condemned as repressive when used by other countries.

Egyptian authorities shut down mobile and Internet services in January during mass protests against then-President Hosni Mubarak, while China is quick to shut down online communication it sees as subversive. [same with Iran, Libya, ...]

UK is moving rapidly to Nineteen Eighty-Four . The police state is here. Oh that is so last decade. We already have the "Patriot" Act.

Haha, they try that stunt, and it will only make those not rioting want to join in. Don't take peoples circuses when they are rioting over bread.

It's not like the TV news won't delight in telling you up to the minute information about where to go anyway... and no mere government would win against the mainstream media if they try to shut that down too.

Hmmm... Mr. Cameron's own reputation as a youthful little hellion is coming back to haunt him.

The irony of David Cameron's riot condemnation

As a student at Oxford in the late 1980s, however, Cameron was part of a members' club (the British equivalent of a fraternity), which ritualistically smashed up local restaurants. Unlike the rioters, however, Cameron's club, The Bullingdon, was exclusive and notoriously elite.

"This is criminality pure and simple and it has to be confronted and defeated," Cameron said on Tuesday, having returned from his vacation in Italy three days after the riots first ignited in the British capital. He added: "If you are old enough to commit these crimes you are old enough to face the punishment" (referring to the fact tha many of those involved are in their early teens).

The prime minister has never applied such strong words to condemn the actions of his former club. The Bullingdon Club -- a members' only dining society in the university preserved for the most privileged of (male only) students -- is known for breaking the plates, glasses and windows of local restaurants and drinking establishments and destroying college property in Oxford. (The U.K. newspaper, The Independent, described it as a club "whose raison d'être has for more than 150 years been to afford tailcoat-clad aristocrats a termly opportunity to behave very badly indeed.”)

Guess it takes one to know one.

The riots are over for now.

They were a moment of madness, when the veneer of civilised society slipped slightly. What it reminds me of, is Baghdad in the days after the fall of Saddam, in microcosm. The corrupt leader was gone, there were no police to be seen, the US soldiers just stood by and watched. People went berserk. It was a moment of release. Then they woke up to the reality of a smashed, looted city and still no work and not much food and things had simply got worse.

The UK rioters have woken up, and half of them are already in jail, and thanks to universal CCTV in this country, most of the rest will be as well, very soon.

Are releases of oil from SPR double counted in the statistics for oil production and refinery gain and all that jazz? Are they going to be able to act as if some of the SPR release is now considered new oil due to refinery gains?

Oil released from the SPR just decrements the SPR total and increments the commercial crude stock by the same amount (until it is subsequently refined obviously when it goes into product stocks and comes off crude stocks with appropriate refinery gain). It shouldn't be double counted in any way.

(U//FOUO) DHS Rising Copper Thefts Disrupting Homeland Infrastructure

(U//FOUO) Scrap copper prices remain well above historic levels, reaching an all-time high of $4.63 per pound in mid-February 2011, primarily due to growing demand from developing countries. The upward trend in thefts of copper components from CIKR sectors generally tracks increases in copper prices (see Figure 1). Theft levels in 2011 are likely to exceed 2010 levels, but mitigation efforts by states and the private sector probably mean they will not reach the record levels seen in 2008.

— (U) In March 2011, a security guard at the Port of Houston was arrested for allowing his friends and family access to the port, where they allegedly stole over 22,000 pounds of copper transiting the facility.

— (U//FOUO) In October 2008, thieves in Florida posed as utility workers—using vehicles painted with utility-service logos and wearing utility company uniforms—to access manholes to steal copper from underneath city streets. They stole copper cables worth over $1 million before being arrested.

Thanks for this.

I have been monitoring the NSIDC, which just measures area coverage although they do make reference to multi-year ice reduction. Seeing the reduction in volume is even scarier, showing larger and faster deviations from the norm. Yikes!

The exponential extrapolation is really scary and a classic example of a tipping point.

- More open water > lower albedo > more solar energy absorbed > warmer water > faster melt
- Warmer water > ice forms later > forming period shorter > less ice to melt next year > more open water

Rinse and repeat.

And when we lose that thermal sink?......

I've been following ice extent at http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ ,however ice volume seems like a much better metric due to the obvious incremental decrease yoy.

The problem with ice extent is it appears recent years minimums are all within a new range. Observers keep looking to see if years after 2007 will ever exceed that years ice minimum. But as we can see with graphs showing volume, 2007 is not the record holder, 2010 is, and it appears 2011 will surpass that year too.

Thanks for the links.

It is interesting how they are measuring now, using gravity detection (less ice = less gravity). Also, as ice on Greenland thins, land rebounds. As land rises, ice flows increase, diminishing ice and allowing land to rebound farther. Rinse and repeat.

We're thoroughly screwed, aren't we?


We're thoroughly screwed, aren't we?

Yup. Seems like it.

I bought my house on a hill, in the middle of my country, a fair distance from any major lakes and rivers.

That's about all you can do now really.

Based on PIOMAS sea ice volume I kinda concur that the arctic will be ice free in summer this decade, but UCAR has done some simulations that suggest the possibility of temporary stabilization for up to a decade depending on wind variability. Their simulation addresses ice extent rather than volume

from UCAR Arctic ice melt could pause in near future, then resume again

As [I think] Nevin pointed out ice extent can remain large even while volume is shrinking.

In the real world, though, it looks like all the old ice is getting flushed out through Fram Strait.

we've had a bit of a power problem. Checking it out...


Not good during an extended period of 100+ degree days!

Is this a sign of the times, or just BAU?


Is this a sign of the times, or just BAU?

I'll take door #1, that it's a sign of the times (that BAU is getting frayed around the edges), as we continue on this FF net energy decline. Black outs are just another view into slow collapse.

I've been wondering lately though if the slow collapse is gaining speed and momentum. For example, the US stock market has been plummeting lately, however the Fed in its latest meeting did not make any changes. No plans mentioned for a QEIII. I think that's been looked at and the concern is hyper-inflation. It might not occur on QE3 but with each additional printing press bonanza, the odds increase. So what does that leave? Interest rates were left as is, but even super low interest rates are now failing to generate growth like they once did.

It would seem then that the economy is being left to either grow or not on its own. No more stimulus can be mustered because it would fail to get through the House. Jobs will either be generated by the private sector or not at all, and growth is no longer a given. The economy is at best flatlining. A huge inventory of real estate still floating from one year to the next.

The major banks are no longer being trusted by as many people, who are increasingly depositing in local banks. The result is plummeting stock values for the big boys. But it is the big banks that loan out the majority of funds, which leaves a weak economy strapped for funds.

We are in stagflation, in which prices rise but wages do not keep pace. Kind of feels like shades of the 08/09 recession could be upon us again this Fall/Winter. If so, then there's no way Obama can get re-elected. Might as well throw in the towel now. Then who do we get? Romney with Bachmann as VP? Sounds weirder and scarier than what's going on now, because super massive defense budgets along with huge tax cuts for the super wealthy will not help the situation, but instead make it worse. This idea that tax cuts for the 'Job Creators' will help the unemployed get jobs is beyond idiocy.

But, it probably does not matter what kind of silly govt. ideas are pushed forward anyway because there's an iceburg straight ahead.

More likely Perry will be the R nominee. Consensus is that the R's won't be able to find anyone who can get nominated who can defeat Obama, so BO gets the nod by default (interesting talk last night on the late nite, cable, ABC news channel).

My fear, as stated several times, is that we get a "Facebook President." Or worse, a Twitter President. 145 characters! If we do, we are Twits!

Not sure it's an iceberg ahead. May well be more like a waterfall!


Posted today : "Why Rick Perry is headed to the White House"


A truly frightening scenario. Are we, do you think, truly that stupid as a Nation? Would we really vote in another Texas idiot...

Well, I guess if we could elect Warren Harding in 1920 (some believe he was elected because he was better looking than Cox, and what with women voting for the first time... well, who knows?), and Shrub Bush twice, Perry is not impossible.

Perry/Palin. 145 characters (or less) limit to any question - or answer, on any issue.

Please frame the energy issue in 145 characters. Please frame a foreign policiy in 145 words or less. Tell me about your economic platform, please. 145 characters or less.

I'm telling you, Americans are becoming a bunch of Twits!


If he wants to govern a country he should just have Texas leave the union.. oh and take all the fundies with him too..

OK here goes:

energy: drill baby drill
foreign policy: nuke a towelhead for Jesus
economics: you are poor because God made it so, don't blame us
abortion: no no
gay marriage: no no

Don't we already have this?

Mark Miner, Rick Perry's communications director, confirms Perry running for president.

Rick Perry Is Officially Running For President

I bet those are burned out transformers. You need lots of workers to service the gride when she gets stressed out. Local generation would alleviate the pain some.

Drought-Stricken Texas Town to Recycle Urine

While looking for market news I ran across the above, on the front page at CNN.

This is probably a more instructive link :-


I just took the new Peak Oil Aware Survey at https://survey.cla.umn.edu/77445. Then I got the results. I was a little shocked to find that most of us peak oil aware folks are liberals. But this result surprised me the most:

What is your religious preference?
Protestant	         6.59%
Christian (non-specific) 6.59%
Catholic	         4.40%
Jewish	                 3.30%
Mormon	                 0.00%
Other specific	        13.19%
None	                50.55%
Undesignated	        15.38%
Total	               100.0%

Just over half of peak oil aware folks are heretics just like me. I am so proud. ;-)

Ron P.

Somehow that is not surprising, Ron. Not that you're proud (you have every right), but the survey results.

I wonder if a list of skeptics or scientists would parallel the list of PO aware folks? My first reaction would be, "yes." They tend to be intellectually curious.


I dunno, Zaphod.
I work in a science research institution and most of the scientists here have their heads firmly buried in the sand on the Peak Oil issue.

As an interesting aside to this; my institution is very proud of it's "Sustainability Forum" which it hosts in a "town hall" type of format. Well, a couple of years ago I suggested Nicole Foss as a really good speaker for the "Forum" to the coordinator of that project and was immediately shot down on the grounds that she is a, "Catastrophist" and unsuitable as a speaker.

Yesterday, the wild thought entered my stupid mind that Richard Heinberg would be a terrific speaker for the "Sustainability Forum" ..........but then sanity regained its grip, I realized my error and dropped the idea of suggesting his name. Too bad because I had just read on his website that he was looking for suggestions for future venues for his presentations. But I know now that a "science" institution like the one I work for would be among the last places with any interest in hearing anything he might have to say.

Climate Change sceptics are commonplace among engineers to. They don't want to change either.

Very true, as it goes against the engineering view of reality.
You fix things by moving dirt, and making machines.
When this becomes the problem, you don't relinquish that position without screaming in the fetal position.
BAU is the engineers friend.

Doing more cheaper and easier is the engineer's friend.

Climate change is just another reality that has to be adjusted too and compensated for.

I dunno, Zaphod.
I work in a science research institution and most of the scientists here have their heads firmly buried in the sand on the Peak Oil issue.

I find the same is true of other scientists in academia. However, I think it is mainly because most of them have never considered the issue in any real depth. The issue is being ignored by most of the scientific community because nobody realizes it's an imminent threat, not because of some kind of ugly cognitive dissonance.

Fortunately, scientists are considerably more susceptible to data and statistics than your average person, and can usually be persuaded by a well-defended argument.

most of them [scientists] have never considered the issue in depth

Very doubtful.

"Scientists" are human beings just like the rest of us emotional, irrational others.
It is delusional to believe that "scientists" will behave any differently.

But then again, hope we must; cause we too are emotional, irrational human beings.

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

Yup. They react to this issue in a very "normal" human way........DENIAL.
They simply will not hear the argument. They are deaf to it in one way or another. Either they won't pay any attention to the basic argument, or they politely listen (inevitably with that, "you're obviously a Chicken Little" expression on their faces) and then tell you equally politely and calmly that technology will develop the "alternatives". If you try to explain that there are severe financial constraints to this and that there is a connection with excess debt, then it's pretty much, "conversation OVER".

On the other hand, these same people are very willing to sit down for forty-five minutes and listen intently as someone like Amory Lovins tells a fairy tale about how we will all soon be flying around in our own personal jet powered flying cars with our pet dog named "Astro" in the passenger seat next to us.

I'm telling you, "It's hopeless........it really is".

I'm telling you, "It's hopeless....

Not hopeless.
Just generational.

These indeed are the people who grew up watching Astro lick George Jetson's face after they dropped Elroy off at school out of the flying saucer car.

These indeed are the people who heard JFK declare live, that before this decade is out, "we' the exceptional Americans will land an American on the moon (you go there, Neil boy!)

It's extremely difficult to give up on these childhood fantasies
(and BTW, ya ta ta talking about my generation)

Today's children however, are growing up in an entirely different world, collapsing markets, parents out of work and going broke, the last shuttle flight, the last this and the last that.

The notion of the last drop of affordable oil is not an alien concept for them.
They will hear you --matter of factly-- and then just shrug shoulders and ask what else is new?

Not hopeless.
Just generational.

Depends on what you mean by hopeless. Convincing others of the coming Peak Oil disaster is only almost hopeless. Preventing the coming disaster is completely hopeless however.

Ron P.

Hi Jabberwock,

re: "I work in a science research institution and most of the scientists here have their heads firmly buried in the sand on the Peak Oil issue."

1) Well, it's an emotionally difficult issue. (She says, by way of the attempt to explain to herself why she ever thought particular famous-in-their-own-worlds science dudes and dudesses of her acquaintance would react any differently than anyone else.)

2) Have you thought of perhaps suggesting that the National Academy of Sciences might undertake an immediate scientific investigation of global oil supply, impacts (of decline) and policy options?
www.oildepletion.wordpress.com for details.

The NAS could take up where they left off in 1982.

In the end notes of that study, there's a comment by one of the participants - Kenneth Boulding.

I found it inspiring for his characterization of the need for courage and a sense of community.


In preparing for the future, therefore, it is very important to have a wide range of options and to think in advance about how we are going to react to the worst cases as well as the best. The report does not quite do this. There is an underlying assumption throughout, for instance, that we will solve the problem of the development of large quantities of usable energy from constantly renewable sources, say, by 2010.

Suppose, however, that in the next 50, 100, or 200 years we do not solve this problem; what then? It can hardly be doubted that there will be a deeply traumatic experience for the human race, which could well result in a catastrophe for which there is no historical parallel.

It is a fundamental principle that we cannot discover what is not there. For nearly 100 years, for instance, there have been very high payoffs for the discovery of a cheap, light, and capacious battery for storing electricity on a large scale; we have completely failed to solve this problem. It is very hard to prove that something is impossible, but this failure at least suggests that the problem is difficult. The trouble with all permanent or long-lasting sources of energy, like the sun or the earth?s internal heat, is that they are extremely diffuse and the cost of concentrating their energy may therefore be very high. Or with a bit of luck, it may not; we cannot be sure.

To face a winding down of the extraordinary explosion of economic development that followed the rise of science and the discovery of fossil fuels would require extraordinary courage and sense of community on the part of the human race, which we could develop perhaps only under conditions of high perception of extreme challenge. I hope this may never have to take place, but it seems to me we cannot rule it out of our scenarios altogether.

3) You could just quote the above. Paste it on your door or something? :)

And zero Mormons.


Mormons are "undesignated." (?)

Ron - Very interesting indeed. Even more so when you consider nearly all the oil patch (despite what Big Oil commercials imply) are conservative and understood PO long before the term became widely known. Would have been more intersting if they had included atheist as an option.

Thanks for this info, Ron.

I saw the founder of Americans Elect on the Colbert Report last night. Here's the skinny on the project:

Link: www.americanselect.org
"Americans Elect is the first-ever open nominating process. We're using the Internet to give every single voter—Democrat, Republican or independent—the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012. The people will choose the issues. The people will choose the candidates. And in a secure, online convention next June, the people will make history by putting their choice on the ballot in every state."

This sounds interesting. It may be a way to vault the debate on energy (peak oil) to a new level.


Like heck they won't take donations from big money. in some parking garbage, abandoned building, or encrypted vpn setup big donors and p.a.c.'s are donating to them as well..

I particularly liked the question - basically pick 3 out of 6 things to teach our kids.

100% of the respondents picked the same 3 questions. 92% put 'think for yourself' as their first option.
(OK 1 reply of 'don't know' for third).

Mind you, the sample size is clearly only about 100 respondents, when I filled it out yesterday.

What???? No separate category for us Buddhists???


"Stocks pop at open on Cisco, jobless claims"

Will the austerity measures enacted by Congress have an immediate negative impact on jobs? My take is that it will, as projects shut down and government workers are laid off. Remember that the job multiplier we hear about when new jobs are added acts as a negative multiplier as they are reduced.

We can hope that those newly employed Americans are being well paid, have full medical insurance, and will keep working for many years. Hope does, as they say, spring eternal.


Craig - Speaking of jobs I've been wanting to float a thought on TOD that might get some eggs tossed at me. Consider govt stimulus done to create jobs such as infrastructure repairs/build out, etc. Such projects might benefit the public interests and get some paychecks out there. But isn't an increase in jobs just a side effect and not the solution. Increasing paychecks by borrowing money and conducting business that doesn't produce profits/growth in business doesn't solve the primary problem IMHO. For private sector jobs to grow the private sector needs to expand. And that expansion generates new jobs as a side effect. And a growing and self supporting private sectors feeds its own capital requirements.

But there's the nut of the problem: this requires, to some degree, maintaining BAU. And most of us here don't see that as a viable possibility for a variety of reasons besides PO. Govt stimulus may be a reasonable short term solution while waiting for economic expansion. But how long can we afford to do that? Maybe in the grand scheme of things govt BAU can't go much further than private enterprise BAU can.

A truly enlightened way forward would take into account the curve below. Where should money be allocated when it is scarce? Which infrastructure should be repaired, which should be abandoned? How should companies and governments downsize responsibly and spread around the work that is left? etc. etc.

But we should plan for decline, not economic expansion, in my view.

Greer's Stages of Technic Societies

Where should money be allocated when it is scarce?
Its not that money is scarce, its a matter of allocation between investment and consumption.
We may be at peak FF consumption but does this mean peak energy consumption? Why do you think that renewable and nuclear energy cannot replace FF(not BTU content) but equivalent work( ie KWh generated from coal and NG and vehicle miles traveled by ICE vehicles replaced by PHEV and EV's).

Which infrastructure should be repaired, which should be abandoned? How should companies and governments downsize responsibly and spread around the work that is left? etc. etc.
There has been a continual abandonment of old infrastructure (old bridges, vehicles, trains, trams, passenger ships) and replacement by new infrastructure. This doesnt mean a downsizing, even in an economy that is not growing.

Let's continue for a minute, with the thought behind some of this. Stimulus, per se, is not bad or good. The problem is expecting the government to build and run that infrastructure. OTOH, why could that stimulus not be, in a way that has been used in the past, by way of some tax incentives for businesses that take on desireable infrastructure improvement and buildout. Encourage permanent jobs in the new industries, building mass transit (for instance incent GM and Ford and Chrysler to do electric mass transit), rebuilding power grids, etc. Just the build outs would take a generation. Continued use and maintenance would keep those people working. So long as the same legislation precludes incentives for importing. The idea is to put Americans to work, the rebuild our industrial base. How much of the Stimulus money went to overseas companies?

The point being that BAU cannot continue - governmental or business. There needs to be a paradigm shift, and it can only happen if private enterprise is supportive. And, if it is going to happen at all, it must needs be quickly before energy and material shortages make it impossible (if that has not already happened). Thus, the imperative from government should be directive toward private implementation of a major infrastructure shift.

I don't believe I just said that!

Anyway, no eggs yet. I can support your grand scheme, at lest for now.


aangel/craig - Well put. And damn depressing. It seems all govt/private enterprise is capable of doing is BAU. In fact, fight to the death any effort to change the program. In time, this misallocation should become obvious. But it's difficult to believe we won't be much too far down the wrong path at that time. Even if there's an instant evolution of thought tomorrow and a full commitment by all to abandone BAU I'm not sure we haven't run out of time.

Rock, these are exactly the thoughts I was having this morning as I listened to yet one more well meaning economist insist on the need to stimulate growth to create jobs and bemoaning the relative lack of attention jobs are getting on capitol hill (except for soundbites for the press).

While I do think that much more attention should be given to jobs, it should be in the context of the real resource and environmental and other constraints we find ourselves in, not with the usual economic assumptions of eternal growth.

But this would require that politicians:

a) give a sh!t about average people's lives

b) have some glimmering hint of the reality of our situation

c) be willing to share such hard truths with each other and with the general population

d) be willing to come to some shared vision of our reality that has some relation to the truth

e) be willing to work together

f) come up with creative solutions approaches that are not part of the usual, knee-jerk bromides

g) reconsider fundamental assumptions about what a 'job' is


Any one of these would seem to be enough to make it pretty much impossible--together they show how utterly hopeless it is to expect anything approaching an adequate response to our multiple predicaments to come from this set of politicians.

Just to point out, there is no lack of jobs in this country--just taking (most of) the existing jobs and reducing the time that each person works by a quarter or perhaps a third would immediately create openings for as many people as are now unemployed.

On top of that, there are huge numbers of much needed work that needs doing and lots of cash floating around to do it:

Nearly every house and building in the country needs to be better sealed and insulated.

Much of the overbuilding of the last decade needs to be un-built, the materials put into shoring up the best of the existing infrastructure

The entire transportation infrastructure has to be overhauled to gear it toward more walking, biking, busing and trains

Massive amounts of education has to happen on a lot of levels

War-style education/propaganda/advertising must happen to get people to preserve what they can, grow their own, walk, bike...

Lots of new urban and rural farmers are needed

We need lots of people involved in reclaiming destroyed habitats, especially those, like prairie grasslands, that effectively remove carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in their massive root systems which comprise 90% + of their total mass

And obviously, a good deal of renewable energy needs to be developed, though I would put this last in priority compared to the others and to generally massively reducing our need for energy and new materials.

But all these and other ideas seem to be political non-starters given the mindset that pretty much all of our politicians are locked into.

The, by now, over-used observation that the Chinese term for crisis combines danger and opportunity seems to need to be reintroduced--there is no opportunity to revivify BAU--BAU was never all that great for many people anyway; but this is a great opportunity to get busy and start planning and implementing a much more modest and earth oriented economy.

Further notes--we also have to start recognizing 'jobs' that are not usually seen as part of the economy as being important, valid, and worth supporting in whatever way we can, even if they don't get a wage--raising kids, developing neighborhood cohesiveness, coaching little-league teams, playing in community orchestras and bands...the humble things that make a set of houses or apartments into a community--a place that seems worth living in.

Further note--our job problem is actually much deeper than reported, of course. Not only do sites like shadowstats make clear that there are many more regular folks that want and need jobs beyond the 9 some % officially reported as unemployed; there are vast numbers of (mostly) men that are in jail for minor drug offenses--up to half our world leading jail population--that should be released immediately; and as we rapidly deconstruct the American empire, which we must start doing immediately, there will be hundreds of thousands of former military and support who will need to be reintegrated into a civil society, ideally in jobs other than bashing in the heads of those of us who may choose to exercise our constitutional right to bring our grievances publicly to our representatives....

(Sorry for the long rant--I must be trying desperately to avoid doing some pressing work ;-)

dohboi - Getting more difficult to avoid those doomer thoughts these days. And you only make it worse with your ideas. Thanks for nutin! LOL. Lots of good ideas on TOD as to how we might improve our situation. Some dumb...some impractical...but some good ones. And good ones that will never happen. If you caught my point about the coin flipping story that many had difficulty getting. Yes: it is statistically possible to flip heads 20X in a row. No: you will never see an honest coin flip heads 20X in a row. Some folks found it impossible to accept the distinction. Just because it's possible for you to do it you won't take the time to try to do it even if there was a nice pay off. Let's say I'll give you $5,000 if you do it. Would you flip the estimated 17 million times (someone else's number) to win your prize? The probability of you or anyone else doing it are low enough to be called zero.

No viable response to PO, no matter how good it looks on paper, will work if not applied. And almost all the ideas offered requires the public to voluntarily take up the cause. Even when gasoline prices were peaking many folks still drove over the speed limit. And got even madder as they watch the fuel gauge fall and anticipated shelling out that next wad of cash at the gas pump. And these are the folks that will change their wasteful habits "for the good of society?" Maybe if the political system and the MSM pounded the necessity into the public 24/7 then maybe, just maybe, some significant changes will develop.

And what do you give the odds of that happening anytime soon?

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" -

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% :-)

Add other efforts, via several other avenues, and those odds, overall, of "making a bad situation a little bit better" at least double.

Best Hopes,


P.S. There is a world of difference between a stressed society with hope and a stressed society without hope. Both in the quality of life and social cohesion = and their respective abilities to actually "do something".

Why do you think I chose my salutation ?

Good points, as usual.

The only thing I try to keep in mind to keep myself humble if not all that hopeful is that the unexpected does on occasion occur--black swans and all that. Unfortunately, black swans generally don't bring pleasant things.

Large, radical, rapid change is upon us, one way or another. More and more people are seeing that things are not going well and are reconsidering basic assumptions about what does and doesn't work. Last I saw, something like a third of those under 30 iirc trust socialism as much as capitalism. Not saying socialism is or will be the great savior, but people, especially young people, aren't as locked into rigid world views of what is possible politically.

(Now I'm going all pollyanna on you, so I better stop '-)

Greetings Rockman (or, is it RockStar? :)(just kidding.)

Anyway, time for a plug for someone(s) besides the politicians and MSM to do their duty as scientists and tell the truth.


Many advantages: an objective body that speaks for Mother Nature, being as how she's currently busy trying to make sense of the sixth great extinction.

Aniya - Hey chicken...what's clickin? Been a while.

"The National Academy of Sciences is the only source that can provide unbiased and authoritative answers to the questions of how to manage in the era of the “remorseless decline” in available oil and natural gas". Maybe...can't say since I haven't kept up with them for many years. OTOH the NAS or similar body is probably the only chance for the message to reach the general public IMHO. Whether they listen is another matter.

Unlikely it will ever be Big/Public Oil. Except for a long shot possibility if the political pressure reaches a tipping point during a price spike/shortage. Then they might start pitching PO hard. But very tricky: in doing so they would also be broadcasting the potential lack of future for the stocks. Private Oil like us won't do. We exist for one reason; make a profit. If the effort benefits society and lessens some of the PO pain it will just be a side effect. It obviously doesn't benefit us for the public to conserve. That would just put downward pressure on prices. Nothing personal, mind you...just business. LOL. OTOH some of us are beginning to take the energy price/economic activity relationship more serious. The boom/bust cycle has always been devastating on the oil patch. But when I started in the 70's the cycles ran 10 to 20 years. That was always difficult to cope with. But now it's seems to have shortened to just several years. And that's almost impossible to cope with unless you bank much of your profits during the good times.

As far as the political machine goes I think we already know how that will continue to play out. It's either "Things are OK and will only get better...if you elect me" or "The end is near!!! Elect me and I'll make those damn Arabs/oil companies/speculators/any generic scapegoat pay for their greed".

But as implied at the start: will it really matter is if the NAS et al really walk the walk effectively. IOW if a clear and honest warning of PO is shouted in the forest will it make difference if there's no one to hear it?

"...an objective body that speaks for Mother Nature". Actually I don't tend to think such terms. Long ago when I began my earth science studies I came to appreciate the Mother doesn't really need anyone to speak for for her. She follows whatever course is ahead and just pushes forward on her own terms with no pity or remorse for any effect on mankind. Man is no different than an earth quake or tsunami: we do whatever damage we do and Mother just shrugs and carries on. OTOH the damage we do to our follow man is another matter. And Mother couldn't care less. If we go the way of the T-Rex or dodo it matters not to her...we're just one more species passing through her realm. She doesn't love us any more than the trilobit.

AFAIK, the NAS only does requested studies. And someone has to pay out-of-pocket expenses. And, unfortunately, the NAS is not set up for advocacy. They publish studies into the public domain and let others go from there.

I prefer a combination of well known and well respected groups that can advocate. A combination of, say, Left & Right, that each has credibility on their side of the spectrum.

Best Hopes for Promoting Solutions,


Hi Alan,

Thanks. I'm not sure I understand everything you say here, so let me try to take your points one at a time.

re: "AFAIK, the NAS only does requested studies."

This is, for the most part, quite true. This is the way they are set up to operate. The request can come from *any* State Legislature, Congress and/or the President. There are possibly other avenues as well.

Technically speaking, I believe it's the case that they can also initiate a study. However, as you say in your next point, studies need to be funded. So, they could not very well initiate a study they could not fund.

From our POV, the fact that there are so many potential ways to make this request means that it "should be" relatively easy to do. For example, my own Congressperson's staff person told me that the Congressperson knows about peak, but WILL NOT DO ANYTHING AT ALL until she hears from constituents. OK. So, if a number of constituents in a number of districts demand an immediate scientific investigation - then the NAS can do it.

re: "And someone has to pay out-of-pocket expenses."

Yes. One huge plus: the members of the NAS work essentially for free. They are nominated and it's considered a "badge of honor" to be a member. The expenses are thus minimal, relative to the value of the expertise available.

This financial arrangement is part of the reason they are considered to be objective and capable of independent inquiry. There are other safeguards as well, as I understand it.

The amounts of money we're talking about here are relatively small for the benefit of having the one organization whose mission is precisely to advise the Nation on matters of science - to actually do so. And, to take on the topic that concerns us all: peak oil, especially the impacts and then, the policy options, as well.

re: "And, unfortunately, the NAS is not set up for advocacy."

Why is this unfortunate?

From our POV (please see www.oildepletion.wordpress.com for further details and/or write to the authors): This is exactly the reason the NAS should be called upon at this crucial - critical - (let me say urgent!)... time.

To explain further:

1) As it currently stands, despite our shared TOD perspective, my experience is that most people, even highly educated people, have absolutely no clue about "peak oil." None.

2) Further, for the lay person, there are many anti-peak spinners - they're everywhere.

3) I've often heard the argument, even here on TOD, that the only solutions are municipalities (for example) taking local action.

However, municipalities and communities have exactly the same problem as elected officials - nothing to point to. Nothing to base actual plans on. For example, our local city decided to spend huge gobs of money to expand the airport. Crying shame, IMVHO. Not an example of peak-aware planning.

The NAS telling the truth about peak might be analogous to the IPCC weighing in on GCC.

4) In addition, the NAS has done numerous studies that relate to positive ways to deal with what I personally see as a cascading set of negative events.

These study panels, for example, the study on the Nation's infrastructure, could be reconvened and requested to consider their conclusions in light of the new information on peak. That peak is real, etc.

Do you see what I mean?

5) Alan, we're talking about the kind of objective findings that are, for example, contained in the work of contributors to TOD for example.

The NAS is set up to take input from the public and from experts.

Essentially, the scientists would be forced to consider the facts.

6) They can suggest options, in light of their findings.

7) We are asking for something unique: a study of impacts, and policy options in light of those impacts.

8) I've put the references elsewhere to the Fridley and Hirsch statements to the effect that the current and previous administrations know full well about peak and mandate an edict of silence.

This is the opposite of what we need to avoid the worst and plan for "best hopes."

re: "I prefer a combination of well known and well respected groups that can advocate. A combination of, say, Left & Right, that each has credibility on their side of the spectrum."

Our idea is: Objective scientists using objective methods in a system that is set up to be transparent and accountable to reach scientifically sound conclusions.

Eg.: "We have a problem. The problem is here. It is huge. The consequences are enormous. The following options are possible."

What are the "well-respected" groups of "Left and Right" you have in mind?

How can this operate? Do you have some details?

re: Alan, I really don't understand what your objections are to our idea. I'd like to understand.
To me, your work fits right in, because it comes under the heading of "policy options."

Let me ask you: What policies for example would best promote the kinds of measures you'd like to see taken?

Very good idea.

However, last Monday I sent a proposal to a "well known environmental organization" that is starting a "get off oil" campaign (full time director August 1). Two members of the steering committee are strong proponents of my efforts, so I have more access than most.

To quote my eMail from Monday -

The Well Known Environmental Organization "WKEO" (preferably with funding in hand) solicits the Hoover Institute for a joint effort. ALL policy options, from deep green (more bicycling) to deep brown (coal-to-liquids) are modeled by the Millennium Institute for decades into the future. The results are rated by the 4E’s – Economic, Environmental, Energy and Employment as well a cost, speed and scale. EVERY option would be evaluated and graded with a common methodology – a level playing field.

Another is that the shear novelty of a Left-Right coalition working earnestly together to resolve our long term energy, economic, environmental and employment problems would attract attention and support from a nation weary of partisan bickering.

Any solution endorsed by the WKEO would need to be implemented over decades. This means through political cycles – with both Democrats and Republicans in ascendency. Bi-partisan support will be required, and going bi-partisan from the beginning is the easiest way to gather bi-partisan support.

The WKEO has no credibility with the details of tax policy, the Hoover Institution does. As such, they should be tasked with coming up with viable means of funding the selected policy options.

Hans R. Herren, the President of the Millennium Institute, is above reproach and ad hominem attacks as Mother Teresa was. He single handedly saved 10 to 20 million lives and then used the funds from the World Food Prize to found Biovision – an institute that researches and teaches sustainable agriculture to small African farmers. He is also a person of great personal integrity.

One bad result of the Koch & Exxon attack on the IPCC, is a devaluation of science and reason on the right. Which would potentially hurt the NAS report.

Which is better ? WKEO + Hoover or NAS ?

NAS does not attract much media attention to most of their reports. WKEO + Hoover can, as I put it, use everything from Science to Popular Science to get the ideas in front of people.

I have spent several years of hard work getting to this point. However, Dr. Hans R. Herren is one of the invited foreign members of the NAS. So both options are at least remotely possible.

Please discuss.
Some, but not all, of the policy options, would be -

- Conservation & Efficiency (divided into several)
- Transportation Bicycling
- Urban Rail & TOD
- Expanded & Electrified Railroads
- High Speed Rail
- Push for Renewable Energy
- Natural Gas to Methanol/Ethanol
- Picken's Plan
- CNG for local trucks & buses
- Electric Vehicles
- and more

Hirsch Options
- Coal-to-Liquids
- Tar Sands
- Oil (kerogen) Shale

Anyone care to add to my "off the top of my head" list ?

More later,

Best Hopes,


Hi Alan,

Thanks for taking time to reply. (And apologies for my delay w. same.)

re: "I have spent several years of hard work getting to this point. However, Dr. Hans R. Herren is one of the invited foreign members of the NAS. So both options are at least remotely possible."

Thanks for all your work.

I'm glad you see this other than as an "either/or" problem, which was my first impression from your question: "Which is better ? WKEO + Hoover or NAS ?"

Q: Can you possibly refer our efforts to Dr. Herren?

re: Your list.

1) Here is one of my concerns.

Where is there a discussion of the intersection between peak oil and the shrinking (collapse?) of global industry? (AKA "Global industrial civilization" or, "the economic growth premise," if you prefer to call it that.)

Without such a discussion, and some solid analysis brought to the foreground (analysis, which IMVHO already exists): then...it's still the case that people in general, will not know about the fact that less oil = less economic activity. With no end in sight.

(Perhaps Leanan will allow us to bring this up anew on a new DB, because I'm asking a new Q? I don't know.)

2) In addition, as I see it, we need an immediate scientific "top-level" analysis that covers these two questions: 1) Is it possible to switch from an LTF based industrial economy to an electricity based one? 2) If so, what is needed (money, materials, labor - oil, etc.)

What do you think of this point? See, it seems to me we need to face head on the Q that if there's no way to really get from A to B, then renewables are simply a waste of oil. Not that they're any worse than other wastes, just that they won't get us where we want to go. (Do you see what I mean?)

3) Your list - the ideas - while they do cover transportation and raise the Q of "renewables," they appear to me to overlook the issue of "redesign" of how basic needs are supplied.

I'd like to see your famous group take a look at these issues: shrinking economic activity, possibly quite rapid, rising unemployment that does not end, etc.

My personal view is that we need analysis along the lines of my two Qs above, and that an infrastructure approach might be more useful.

I still think about what Orlov said about housing be owned by the FSU gov, and so people staying put (as opposed to homeless). I'm not saying that's necessarily an answer, but just that it is in the arena of the kind of changes we're actually looking at to help deal with the worst of the problems we face - just around the corner.

What's your take on it?

Greetings Rockman,

Thanks. Let me try to answer your points because...I really think this NAS thing is a great idea, and I can say that since it is not my original idea. Also, I'd like the chance to clarify a couple of things.

re: "OTOH the NAS or similar body is probably the only chance for the message to reach the general public IMHO."

Yes! Exactly.

Right now, there is no US body similar to the IPCC that is talking about the factual content of peak oil, let alone the impacts - and not to mention the policy options.

The US government is not warning individuals. The National Academy of Sciences was established at about the beginning of the oil age - please read my answer to Alan. They are supposed to be looking at scientific issues and telling the truth. They are currently avoiding the one precise question:
what is the global supply picture? What are the impacts of decline? What can we do about it?

If there was an incoming asteroid, there wouldn't be this milarky, because there are so many amateur astronomers, and you can't very well hide it. Oil, on the other hand, is a little trickier. Just a bit.

re: "Whether they listen is another matter."

For sure. At the same time, they can't listen to something not only is their government not telling them, but their elected officials are apparently covering it up. See Fridley/Hirsch references.

Re: "It obviously doesn't benefit us for the public to conserve."

Maybe, maybe not. Maybe true in the past, however...can't sell to people when the system is collapsed. (collapsed already.)

Conserve, undertake a plan to redesign how we supply basic needs, take some measures to "buy time," promote re-localization, etc. - (I realize this is a big "etc".) - and you'll be both selling oil and staying alive (presumably) longer than you would otherwise.

Re: "And that's almost impossible to cope with unless you bank much of your profits during the good times."


This is why we need a comprehensive plan that deals with reality.

Re: "As far as the political machine goes I think we already know how that will continue to play out."

This is an opportunity for things to play differently.

RE: ""...an objective body that speaks for Mother Nature"."

Apparently I wasn't communicating well, Rock. Let me try again, OK?

I didn't mean Nature needs a voice.

What I was trying to say is this:

1) There is geological reality. Facts - the kind we've studied here at TOD.

2) These facts are brought to us by Nature. Facts of the type as follows: A. Laws of thermodynamics. B. Earth is finite, as are oil supplies. And so forth.

3) At present, the one body that is supposed to be - (i.e., has as it's precise Mission exactly this) - delving into the facts and making a statement about them is *not* doing so.

We, the people, can require them to do so.

re: "IOW if a clear and honest warning of PO is shouted in the forest will it make difference if there's no one to hear it?"

Rock, is this a question meant to prevent the clear and honest warning?

Of course, a clear and honest warning is only the first step.

It *is* the first step.

It's essential.

re: "IOW if a clear and honest warning of PO is shouted in the forest will it make difference if there's no one to hear it?"

What's going on that you assume no one will hear it?

Aren't we here? Hearing it?

Speaking for myself, not only did I hear it - back when - I decided I had to find out everything I could for myself.*

So, the NAS weighing in would make information available to those who have not heard, or who don't know what to think.

* Aside: Of course, that doesn't mean the people upon whom I unfortunately depend listen to me. (Sad face goes in this space, with a little bitty smidgeon of "best hopes for better listening." Maybe I can recruit Rock to talk for me!) Anyhow...

Maybe that's why I try to work on something that can make available the facts for people who are capable of listening.

This is the type of dialogue that keeps me coming back for more.

I agree, fishoil, this is an excellent dialog.

PL - I agree. Even though Alan and I have different expectations/hopes they are just an expression of our personal feelings. I'm pragmatic (probably too pragmatic) but for 36 years I've watched as many efforts based on hope as much as pragmatism. And rarely has hope won the battle. I wish I could be as hopeful as Alan...I wouldn't worry so much about my 11 yo daughter's future. But the coldhearted "realist" in me can't see the basis for much hope. If I could see some history of our society/political powers rejecting BAU for the betterment of society as a whole then I would have someting to hang on to. Pretty much every effort I see today is attempting to preserve some component of BAU. Even some of the more interesting alt ideas are't designed to cut our energy consumption as much to make it more economical in order for us to carry on BAU. Some benefits perhaps but not solutions.

I always read Alan's post although I usually differ to some degree. I may not accept much of his optimism but I do find some comfort in it. Who knows...maybe I'm full of cr*p. Has happened before. LOL.

I try to keep my hopes within realistic bounds - referencing what we did in the past or what other nations are doing now. From my current draft

A second oil free transportation program requires that Americans learn to work with the speed, efficiency and determination of French bureaucrats. The French are building 1,500 km of new tram lines (light rail) this decade in every town of 110,000 population or larger. 1,000 km of the 1,500 km will be finished or under construction by 2013. This will, with prior investments, create an oil free local transportation option for most of France.

A comparable effort, adjusting for population and workweek (Americans work during August), would be 12,000 miles of light rail (or comparable dollar investments in subway, streetcars and commuter rail) over 20 years. This proposal is dramatically less effort than what Americans did the last time we built an all new oil free transportation system.

From 1897 to 1916, the USA built subways in all of our large cities and streetcar lines in over 500 cities, towns and villages. US population crossed 100 million during those two decades, our population was half rural, GDP was 3% to 4% of today and technology was comparatively primitive before World War I. We built much more with much fewer resources than today – population, GDP and technology. Just coal, mules and sweat !

Now to say that Americans cannot learn to work with the speed, efficiency and determination of French bureaucrats is American "exceptionalism" of the worst sort - and shames what we did just a century ago with coal, mules and sweat !

Once these first efforts are underway, and accepted as "the right thing to do", there should be openness to make further changes to BAU. It will take much of that rarest of virtues - Wisdom - to find that second step, but it can be found with an earnest effort.

I do sense a deep yearning to "do something" in this nation - IMVHO, the biggest step is to demonstrate what must be done in a way that people can understand and accept.

Best Hopes,


learn to work .... French ... bureaucrats

You'll have some pushback on "French" but those who are not bureaucrats seeing a claim that one needs to be "a bureaucrat" or "better bureaucrats" - that'll create a wall of worry you'll need to climb.

good luck on finding a way of getting across "work better ya bozos"

This was meant as a prick on US national pride, and an invitation to rivalry.

Many Americans have a poor opinion of the French (unjustified IMO) and to say we cannot equal their bureaucrats is an inferred challenge.

I am aware that strict logic is NOT how most decisions are made. Emotions, like pride and chauvinism, also play a role.

Best Hopes for a "Tram Race" with the French,


"Just to point out, there is no lack of jobs in this country--just taking (most of) the existing jobs and reducing the time that each person works by a quarter or perhaps a third would immediately create openings for as many people as are now unemployed."

So are you proposing that the original workers take a 20 to 30% pay cut, or that the corporations move off-shore even faster?

And the 20% pay cut would push many of the original workers into default. Was that an intended consequence?

The 20% pay cut would force those original workers who were able to avoid defaulting on some debt into cutting spending, and now the economy sinks another notch, only partially offset by those who are newly employed, as they are still at subsistence, and probably still in default.

Bad idea,

If you use government borrowing to create something that returns future cash to the government, then you can have jobs today, and deficit reduction tommorrow. So if we bacame pinko-commie enuf to stomach building stuff like say (a national electric transmission line), and lots of new renewable generation, and electric railroads, and pumped storage hydro, and ... Well you get it. As long as these things have a net payout greater than the cost of the debt service to build them, we would be ahead to just go ahead and do them. But ideologically, this is a non starter. So instead we will just circle the austerity drain.

"If you use government borrowing to create something that returns future cash to the government, then you can have jobs today, and deficit reduction tomorrow."

The problem is that is a really big if.

If the money is used to blow up hapless Islamics, Cash for Clunkers, housing subsidies to people who were going to buy a house anyway, supporting over-bloated state bureaucracies, or just digging holes to fill in, then there is no long term improvement, and the debt becomes a long term millstone.

Now, which option did Congress choose?

It didn't help that all those infrastructure projects would require an EIS, and the median time to complete one of those is 4 years. Assuming there were no lawsuits.

Will the austerity measures enacted by Congress have an immediate negative impact on jobs?

There are no austerity measures. Taxes have not been raised. Spending will continue to increase next year, but by $22b less than it would have (out of a $4t budget). Don't buy the "austerity" hype.

Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi 'cold fusion' E-Cat Review

Controversial energy-generating system lacking credibility (w/ video)

It's been seven months since Italian physicists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi publicly demonstrated a device that they claimed could generate large amounts of excess heat through some kind of low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR). (Previous descriptions of the process as “cold fusion” are incorrect; although the process is not completely understood, it is likely a weak interaction involving neutrons, without fusion.) The physicists call this device the Energy Catalyzer, or E-Cat. Due to the major potential impact such a device could have for energy production, the scientists have received visits and inquiries from all over the world, but so far the claims seem to be lacking credibility.

One of the visitors to Rossi’s lab was Steven Krivit, editor of the online magazine New Energy Times. Krivit has been following LENR news for more than 10 years, and recently published a 200-page issue devoted exclusively to examining the Rossi claim. Based on his investigation, Krivit has concluded that the Rossi group’s energy claim of extraordinarily large amounts of excess heat has no scientific support, and that he “can't help but wonder whether Rossi is pulling a scam.” Some highlights of his comprehensive report, are highlighted below.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. When one has a history that casts doubt, even more so.


I would love to see an article on peak oil in Mexico. Maybe there was one in the past that someone can point me to. Thanks.

500+ point loss yesterday, 500+ point gain today. What a roller coaster ride, just glad I'm not on it.

EU considers banning short-selling. I guess the idea of the French credit rating downgrade and PIIGS warnings is to take capital out of EU and put it into China or the US.


I agree with Oct... this smells of short sellers riding the market. Watch tomorrow; they will sell short again and ride 'er back down. Then first of the week, they will cover and drive the markets back up. Rinse and repeat and you can 'grow' your wealth. They should be in jail!


edit: market closed at 420, which makes 2 day net - 100 points. This week it was down 700, up 500, down 500, up 400 (rounding). That's what short selling does in the market, from my observations (used to have Series 7 and 66 securities licenses, now lapsed).

Oh, and that is most likely the sort of market we can expect for a while. The bandits will be making money on each step down, punctuated with a step not quite so far up, and another greater down swing... Not a pretty picture, made worse by the banksters/brokers and day traders taking advantage of an essentially unregulated stock market that allows them to sell stocks they do not own in anticipation of the shares losing value. Some days I want to spit!


99% of all stock is owned long term as an investment and/or income producer. The fact that some think they can get rich day trading and loose their shirts is not a problem.

Oh, I know that eventually the swings go wrong and most lose what they thought they had gained. What I find distressing is that they do have a disparate impact on market functions. Again, short selling, IMO, should be a criminal act. It is, in truth and in fact, a fraudulent statement, made for the purpose of distorting market valuations.

Shorting is not like investing in puts and calls, which are hedging bets and understood to be such. Short sales are transactions where the sellers are purporting to be owners selling something that they no longer feel is valuable.

If the SEC or NASD, or someone cannot regulate it, then it should be criminalized. Huge fines for first offense, monster fines and confiscation of assets for second, and heavy jail time for third offense might do the trick. These people understand fines better than they do jail.


"Oh, I know that eventually the swings go wrong and most lose what they thought they had gained. What I find distressing is that they do have a disparate impact on market functions. Again, short selling, IMO, should be a criminal act. It is, in truth and in fact, a fraudulent statement, made for the purpose of distorting market valuations."

Nonsense. There is nothing fraudulent about borrowing, selling, buying back, and returning to the lender. That is essentially what you are doing to the United States dollar when you borrow some for a house, an education, or a credit card purchase. Short selling doesn't distort market valuations. It corrects them. Short selling feeds more information into the market: i.e. the opinion that a stock is overvalued. Short sellers help pop bubbles earlier than they otherwise would, and with less damage.

When you see attempts at bans on short selling, you see someone essentially trying to keep information out of the market for his own reasons. At which point, that is your cue to run to the exits.

Again, short selling, IMO, should be a criminal act.

I agree 1 billion percent! I've seen particular stocks that short sellers collude on and they play it until the stock is worthless, then move on to another. The short sellers prey on opportunities but produce nothing of value in return. So why does Wallstreet allow it? The only reason I can think of is because it monetarily benefits from it somehow - corruption. Really, very unfortunate.

I've seen particular stocks that short sellers collude on and they play it until the stock is worthless,

Impossible! The price a stock trades at does not determine its worth. A share of stock is a piece of the company and its worth is determined by the earnings and future prospects of the company. If short sellers drive the price of a stock down then it becomes a bargain for value hunters. And short sellers often get caught short when a stock surges upwards, and they lose their shirts, or perhaps shorts would be a better word. Rallies are often caused by a "short squeeze". Short sellers caught short during a rally and must rush in to buy back their shorts... at a loss of course. This causes the rally to surge even higher.

Short sellers add liquidity to the market and also form a valuable service by keeping the price of a stock within its fair value range. Short sellers only sell a stock short if they think it is over valued. This keeps a stock from inflating its price into a bubble.

Every stock has a fair value. If buyers inflate the price above its fair value then short sellers will take advantage of that fact and make a profit by shorting that stock. Or, is short sellers drive the price lower than its fair value then buyers will jump in and make a profit at the expense of those shorting the stock.

Short sellers preform a valuable service in the market. And one fact that apparently you guys don't realize is that short sellers lose just as often as they profit.

And short sellers don't "collude" as you put it. Each short seller is an individual in his own right and tries to make a profit trading his own portfolio without consulting with other short sellers. Some do make a profit, some don't.

Ron P.

If stock in ABC Co is valued at $5 per share, and it is listed on NASDAQ, it has a capitalized value. That value helps to establish credit, bonding ability and so forth. Short sellers can concentrate on that corporation, and either simply for gain or for malice drive the price below $1.00. At which point it is delisted, denied credit and destroyed. Never mind that there are 1000 employees, and they make s decent profit. There are consequences to valuation of stock.

Of course, the short sale is a specialized trade, whereby a person who has no stake in the company sells stock he does not own. I submit that the owners should establish value, not some pirate. And, that person does the purchase on credit, for which the broker charges some nominal interest charge, and more importantly to the brokerage a transaction fee. He buys the stock in the hope it will drop in value, and if it does he enters a buy order and takes the profit. Never did that person own a single share. It is nothing but gambling, and using other people's property as collateral. It should be illegal

If an investor wants to perform a service he should invest. Buy stock in a company. Better yet, start one. Or back someone who is. Or, if you just want to gamble on the change in value of a company, puts and calls are legal, do not adversely impact the values, and perform the service you note in a much better way.

Selling shares you don't own would be like someone else going out and selling your house short, and when the value drops entering a buy order to take a profit on the drop in value that he caused. As a shareholder whose stock was sold short, how would you view your next door neighbor putting a sign on your lot, "For sale by neighbor." It would be similar, no?

Vast numbers of lurking short sellers do grave harm to the markets. And saying that they don't collude is absurd. Short sellers know each other, and hunt in packs as it were. Just as most investors collude in one way or another. Communication by e-zines, tweets, and blogs is expected, and unless an insider is involved it is legal. Sometimes that communication is by way of a financial advisor, at other times it is your uncle Louie. It is silly to think otherwise.

I might add that I did acknowledge that short sellers can lose as well as win. My objection is not that they win, but that what they do is harmful to others, and is fraudulent in that they have made a financial statement that they own shares, presumably they no longer believe the corporation is doing things right, and now they are, because of their status as investors, telling the market to devalue the company. In fact, they are lying. They own no stake, have taken part in no board meetings, have cast no proxies, have taken no risk until the moment they 'sold' shares they did not own. If they want to sell the shares, they should have to buy them.


If stock in ABC Co is valued at $5 per share, and it is listed on NASDAQ, it has a capitalized value. That value helps to establish credit, bonding ability and so forth. Short sellers can concentrate on that corporation, and either simply for gain or for malice drive the price below $1.00.

No, can't happen unless the company is already in deep trouble and its stock would have tanked even if there were no short sellers. First of all, short sellers do not concentrate. They are not a group that all act in mass. Sometimes a stock can have lots of short sellers and lots of people who have held the stock who dump it. That is because the company has serious problems and the word just got out. Short sellers would have little to nothing to do with the stock tanking.

And, that person does the purchase on credit, for which the broker charges some nominal interest charge, and more importantly to the brokerage a transaction fee.

No, the short seller does not do it on credit. Though he must "borrow" the stock in order to sell it, he must put up a lot of money for the privilege of doing that, 50 percent more than the proceeds he received from the short sale.

What are the minimum margin requirements for a short sale account?
Under Regulation T, the Federal Reserve Board requires all short sale accounts to have 150% of the value of the short sale at the time the sale is initiated. The 150% consists of the full value of the short sale proceeds (100%), plus an additional margin requirement of 50% of the value of the short sale. For example, if an investor initiates a short sale for 1,000 shares at $10, the value of the short sale is $10,000. The initial margin requirement is the proceeds $10,000 (100%), along with an additional $5,000 (50%), for a total of $15,000.

If an investor wants to perform a service he should invest.

Oh for goodness sake, get real. No one who trades long term or short term does it because they want to perform a service. Everyone, day traders, short sellers and long term investors are in it to make money, not to perform a service. Of course short sellers are just day traders and they do perform a service by creating liquidity. But not because they want to. That is just the way it works out.

Vast numbers of lurking short sellers do grave harm to the markets. And saying that they don't collude is absurd. Short sellers know each other, and hunt in packs as it were.

My God, you are paranoid. Short sellers do not hunt in packs, that is the most absurd thing I have ever heard. They don't know each other any more than commodity traders know each other. Commodity traders, day traders and short sellers are just people who sit in front of their computer trying to make a buck in a short time. The idea that they call or post each other so they can act in unison is beyond the pale. They want to make a buck Craig, that's all!

Hunt in packs indeed.

Bye now. Ron P.

I would like to contribute my thoughts regarding Short Selling. I agree that short selling, like anything in moderation, is good for our markets and does provide a serious dose of liquidity to buyers and sellers both. However, what no one ever mentions is that on July 6, 2007 the SEC repealed the Uptick Rule. This was, and is a huge mistake. The former SEC Chairman Chris Cox, on his last day in office, sent a letter on his letterhead to a member of congress suggesting a reinstatement of the Uptick Rule. Chairman Bernake is on record as saying the repeal of the Uptick Rule probably contributed to the decline in the markets during the 2008/2009 crash.

The Uptick Rule had been on the books since 1938. Never in our lifetimes have the markets traded without the Uptick Rule until July 2007. Since that day we have seen record volatility in the markets, major swings in Short Interest, and a market that is by historical measure undervalued. Yes, we can argue that point over and over as to future earnings visibility, PO, collapse, etc. But the bottom line is the market is logging all time record earnings in the S&P 500 and yet we are thousands of points off the last high.

The Uptick Rule simply served as a stoplight at the intersection of trading. It never stopped anyone from shorting a stock and was never intended to do that. What it was intended to do is stop multiple short transactions from overwhelming market stability.

4 years later and the discussion continues on regarding Short Selling stocks. The answer served us well for decades.

Rockman has described numerous small oil companies that "manipulate" their stock prices by doing uneconomic things - and eventually going bankrupt. More active and astute short sellers would prevent that. An economic plus.

I shorted a mortgage insurer PMI at 16.36 at the beginning of the meltdown. I helped drive their price down - closer to it's true value. Today $0.31 and I still hold it short, waiting for bankruptcy.

I had superior knowledge and I helped shape the market by my sell. Without short selling, skeptics would have no input - and high flying scams - like some of Rockman's earlier employers - would attract much more capital.

Best Hopes for Better Markets,


99% of all stock is owned long term as an investment and/or income producer.


You got some proof of this?

sellers .. sell ... again ... cover and drive the markets back up. Rinse and repeat

Ya know, that is a whole lot of financial transactions. Anytime I buy something, I gotta pay a sales tax.

Why not a sales tax on their activity?

An interesting idea...


And then there are more radical ideas...


Of course this is all on the revenue increase side...We still need to cut defense //way// back and cut non-defense expenditures significantly as well.

We still need to cut defense //way// back and cut non-defense expenditures significantly as well.

And I'm guessing that is why Ron Paul is getting traction.

The volatility of panic vs. greed.

China's Energy Shortages Start to Bite

The magnitude of China’s enormous need for new sources of power is starting to come clear, with rationing expected in as many as 10 major areas between now and September, according to a number of reports issued recently.

“This time, the emergency will last longer, with widespread ramifications across industry sectors,” according to a report by Energy Shortage, a website dedicated to keeping tabs on the global energy situation. “As for the market, the power crisis – on top of ever-tightening monetary police pressure – is threatening a near-term growth scare. . . .
Imported coal prices have been soaring upwards -- partly because China is buying so much of it. China now uses 46 percent of the world’s coal, according to the PSA report. Prices have doubled over the last five years and have played a major role in China’s stubbornly rising inflation, at 6.7 percent in mid-July and which could go as high as 7.2 percent before the year is out. . . .

News agencies reported that one traffic jam last year on the highway between Beijing and Zhangjiakou was 70 kilometers long and lasted 20 days as an estimated 7,000 vehicles, most of them overloaded with coal, were stuck in a line. In another in August was 120 km. long and lasted 11 days on a freeway linking Beijing and Inner Mongolia. At its worst, some 10.000 vehicles were backed up on the freeway. . . .
NDRC* once again seeking to close mines that produce less than 30,000 tons. . . .
In 2010, according to a spokesman for the State Administration of Work Safety, 2,422 people died in coal mine accidents – 198 fewer than in 2009 and probably more than the rest of the world combined. . . .
Hydropower now accounts for 20 percent of energy production, with 22,000 large dams built and plans to build more, many of them on the Brahmaputra and Mekong Rivers at their headwaters in China the subject of substantial controversy.

From IEA: Crude oil prices have plunged for the third time in three months

... The unforeseeable 1.5 mb/d Libyan supply disruption rumbles on. Non-OPEC supply remains prone to unexpected outages. OECD industry stocks, despite a potential top-up in August from rising OPEC supply, SPR oil and renewed market contango, now look tighter at around five-year averages, and could go lower still if the near-700 kb/d of current non-OPEC outages proves deeper or more prolonged than we assume here.

Aside from UK field problems, political instability in a number of MENA and sub-Saharan African oil producers also risks curtailing supply further in the next 18 months. And although higher prompt OPEC supply is welcome in the face of seasonally rising demand, it has inevitably curbed OPEC spare capacity, down now to 3.3 mb/d, fairly meagre in comparison to the totality of currently perceived supply-side risks.

I feel the tipping point may be "global grain supply".


Greetings, TODers,

Did anyone happen to take note of this reference to oil:

Source: WSJ Blogs. Washington Wire. August 8, 2011. 4:59. Transcript of Obama’s Remarks on S&P Downgrade.
“I know we’re going through a tough time right now. We’ve been going through a tough time for the last two and a half years. And I know a lot of people are worried about the future. But here’s what I also know: There will always be economic factors that we can’t control –- earthquakes, spikes in oil prices, slowdowns in other parts of the world. But how we respond to those tests — that’s entirely up to us.”

1) Hmnn...we can't control spikes in oil prices?

2) Meaning...?

Like...umnnn...They are kind of like...umnnn...earthquakes? And completely unpredictable, to boot?

3) re: "But how we respond to those tests — that’s entirely up to us.”

Since both David Fridley and Robert Hirsch have said in public statements that the current and previous administrations know full well about "peak," one wonders if the POTUS might be a tad more explicit?

A. Robert Hirsch is a member of the NAS, and lead author of the first DOE report on peak oil in 2005.

Peak oil : A conspiracy to keep it quiet in Washington, says Robert Hirsch

Interview with Robert L. Hirsch (2/2) - LINK to full text of original

B. David Fridley.

(Steven Chu, US Secretary of Energy) was my boss. He knows all about peak oil, but he can't talk about it. If the government announced that peak oil was threatening our economy, Wall Street would crash. He just can't say anything about it.
-- David Fridley, scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, quoted in an article by Lionel Badal (see Peak Oil News, 10/28, item #23)

Hi Aniya,

Personally, I think the BEST thing Chu could do is to announce that peak oil IS threatening the economy and LET Wall Street crash.

The sooner this does of reality medicine is taken, the sooner, we can clear away all the mess and misconceptions and get to work on real solutions.

As Feynman said, "reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled"

I'm sure Chu knows that, it's about time for him to man up and say it. He is the energy secretary - his job is to advise/manage energy, not Wall Street - let Geithner, Bernanke etc worry about that.

Wall Street is supposed to react to reality, not make its own- I have no problem with them getting a not so gentle reminder of that.

I am not so sure that it would crash. There is an urban legend kind of thing out there that there is plenty of oil, and that it is environmental regulations that is preventing us from going and getting it. Even if Chu came out and talked about peak oil, you would have all kinds of blowhards out there insisting that peak oil is a liberal conspiracy of some sort.

there is plenty of oil, ... it is environmental regulations that is preventing us from going and getting it all

It's TOD denialism, pure and simple.

You people out there simply refuse to accept the hard and cold fact that there is a creamy nogut center at the core of our donut world that is producing oil forever, to infinity, and beyond.

If God had not meant for mankind to have dominion over the creamy nogut center, He would not have put it there in the first place.

But as the Russians have undeniably proven, if you drill deep enough, you hit this creamy center, and then your economy is fueled to eternity and then some.

You don't see the FSU stock market collapsing, do you? Ha! There is your proof.


I am not so sure either, but I am sure that they/he are doing a disservice to the country if they are "hiding the truth".

The first step in dealing with a problem is recognising there is one - this step seems to be missing, or at best, gets lip service along the lines of improved MPG etc will solve everything.

I do think the flipside of such a statement would have to be to open up ANWAR, offshore, etc for drilling, simply to resolve the debate about how much, if any, oil is there. Once the oil co's start coming up dry, maybe then the PO denialists will see what everyone else already knows.

doing a disservice to the country [by] "hiding the truth"

No one is hiding anything.

They don't have to hide it.

Even if you stepped up on a soap box in the middle of New York City's Times Square and announced out loud "the truth" about Peak Oil, no one would hear you, no one would care.

Roscoe Bartlett, a US Congressman, has stood up publicly on the floor of the US Congress --while being broadcast to the entire nation by TV-- and has done so numerous times; trying to alert his fellow Congressmen/ women and the nation as a whole about the perils of Peak Oil.

Guess what?
They all look at him like he is a nut job.
And then they move on with their business-as-usual (BAU) lives --as if the out in the public proclamation never happened.

Gosh, that's sort of like my own saying: Me 'n' Feynman are pretty smart, huh?

It doesn't matter what I think or you think, what I believe or you believe, in what I have faith or in what you have faith.

What matters is what IS!

Slow motion rider. What's up with TOD? It takes seemingly forever to load, and if I go to a link from a post it takes a billion years to get back. However, other websites are loading fast, so don't think it's our computer. What gives?

I'm experiencing slow page loading too. Also very slow saving of comments at times. IE8/Windows7.

its all the traffic to TOD looking for sage words on

FBI agents are looking into who left what appeared to be a crude explosive device attached to a natural gas line in rural Oklahoma

It is stalling downloading a picture with a URL starting sm6.sitemeter.com

Apparently a tracking and counting tool for website measurements. http://sitemeter.com/

I routinely block Sitemeter, using Firefox's Ad-Block function.

That's the problem when elements are called from a variety of different servers. Not only does opening all those pipes down page loading, you have a greater chance that one server will be down or running very slowly.