Drumbeat: September 9, 2011

U.S. Crowned King of Coal, Some Disagree

In his book Hubbert’s Peak, Ken Deffeyes described resource estimates prepared by the US Geological Survey with a strong sense of skepticism: “When USGS workers tried to estimate resources, they acted, well, like bureaucrats,” said Kenneth Deffeyes, professor of geology at Princeton University. “Whenever a judgment call was made about choosing a statistical method, the USGS almost invariably tended to pick the one that gave the higher estimate.”

Rutledge calls this tendency to overestimate reserves the “Deffeyes’ Law of Bureaucratic Resource Estimates.”

ASPO-USA Conference: Experts to seek “truth in energy”, find solutions to end of cheap oil

Washington DC – Experts on energy and the economy will gather on Capitol Hill, November 2-5, to confront the global challenge of resource depletion, Peak Oil, and the end of cheap energy—with a focus on economic implications and strategies to navigate an uncertain and rapidly changing future.

Peak Oil, Energy & the Economy, the 2011 conference of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas USA (ASPO-USA), will feature cutting edge research and analysis by leading experts from North America and Europe. Under the theme of “Truth in Energy”, the event will take a hard look at America's energy and economic challenges, and the actions required to tackle them.

US natgas rig count falls by 3 to 892-Baker Hughes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States fell by three this week to 892, the third straight weekly decline, data from oil services firm Baker Hughes showed on Friday.

Horizontal rigs -- the type most often used to extract oil or gas from shale -- fell two to 1,134 after hitting a record high of 1,140 two week's ago. Horizontal drilling rigs comprise part of the overall gas rig count.

Tropical Storm Nate Turns to Mexico, Away From Oil-Rich Gulf

(Bloomberg) -- Tropical Storm Nate is forecast to veer westward into Mexico, away from U.S. energy platforms and rigs in the Gulf, as Maria bears down on the Lesser Antilles and Hurricane Katia drifts toward the northern Atlantic.

FACTBOX-US Gulf offshore back up after Lee, watching Nate

(Reuters) - Oil and natural gas producers in U.S.-regulated areas of the Gulf of Mexico continued restoring operations after Tropical Storm Lee Friday after some pulled non-essential staff due to Tropical Storm Nate.

Risks to U.S. offshore oilfields from Nate, unpredictable Thursday, appeared to diminish Friday as the U.S. National Hurricane Center said the strengthening storm would turn west toward Mexico.

Mexico's Pemex 2012 budget lower than company hoped

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's government proposed on Thursday a 2012 budget for state oil monopoly Pemex below what the company was hoping for to boost lagging production.

Mexico’s Pemex Maintains 2011 Oil Output Target

MEXICO CITY – Mexican state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos said Thursday it will leave unchanged its 2011 crude output target of 2.6 million barrels per day at year’s end.

Pemex said its oil production in August rose 22,000 bpd compared to the previous month to an average of 2.55 million bpd.

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Problem

Saudi Arabia, home to more proven oil reserves than any other nation, has an energy problem. HSBC estimates that this year the kingdom will burn 1.2 million barrels of oil a day to generate electricity, double the amount burned in 2010. With the amount of crude oil burned domestically climbing sharply, it is leaving less and less oil for exports.

The solution for the desert kingdom? Use natural gas, both conventional and unconventional, to meet domestic energy needs.

Hundreds of Iraqis protest over poor services

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Iraq’s capital and other cities on Friday, demanding that the government steps up reforms and provides more electricity and jobs.

Inspired by the Arab Spring, Iraqis have been demonstrating on Fridays for months but protests had petered out in recent weeks.

The rallies came days after a prominent anti-American Shia cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, called on the government to create 50,000 jobs, give Iraqis a share of the nation’s oil wealth and make more reforms or face protests.

CAPP Unveils Hydraulic Fracturing Guidelines

Canadian natural gas producers on Sept. 8 announced new guiding principles for hydraulic fracturing that guide water management and improved water and fluids reporting practices for shale gas development in Canada. The principles were created by members of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and apply to all CAPP natural gas producing members, large and small, operating in Canada.

Study Urges Canada to Suspend Arctic Oil Exploration Due to Disaster Risk

An environmental group urged Canada on Sept. 9 to suspend oil exploration in the Arctic, warning that otherwise it risks an environmental disaster worse than the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The PEW environmental group said in a report that it does not necessarily oppose developing the oil and gas reserves at the top of the world, but called on Canada to become "Arctic ready" and urged reforms of the way it regulates the industry.

API: Obama's Jobs Plan a 'Missed Opportunity'

API President and CEO Jack Gerard called the president's jobs plan a 'missed opportunity' and said the oil and natural gas industry could create more than a million new jobs for Americans and more revenue for our government with a few sensible changes in national energy policy.

"The president missed an opportunity to pick the low hanging fruit of job creation," said Gerard. "Allowing the responsible development of more of America's vast domestic oil and natural gas resources could generate more than one million new jobs in just seven years, with thousands of shovel-ready jobs that could be created almost immediately."

Russian Rosneft's president could be removed-sources

(Reuters) - The president of Russian oil producer Rosneft could soon be replaced, two industry sources said on Friday, little more than a week after the company's Arctic offshore development deal with ExxonMobil .

"(Deputy Prime Minister) Igor Ivanovich (Sechin) is dissatisfied with (Eduard) Khudainatov's actions," one of the sources said.

Kyiv’s Move Toward EU Fuels Ukraine-Russia Gas Tensions

Russia and Ukraine are in tough talks to avoid what could be their third gas war in five years. Our correspondent reports on what is behind the tension.

Hayward's Kurdistan deal: Another reminder that BP should be broken up

Are these assessments correct -- has Hayward (pictured above in less-happy times), 17 months after the devastating BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, demonstrated again that he has the right stuff? Mmmm ... no. What he has demonstrated anew is his taste for living on the edge, cutting corners and risk-the-company deals.

With electricity firms’ investment, Charlotte looks to become ‘energy capital’

By the end of this year, a tower built as a home for Wachovia will be the new headquarters of Duke Energy.

That switcheroo in one downtown building highlights a change sweeping Charlotte in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. While the tidy North Carolina city of 730,000 people still counts itself as the nation’s No. 2 financial center and is looking to expand in a number of areas including health, motor sports and defense, the area’s energy sector is showing particular promise for growth.

Electricity restrictions lifted / Summer power-saving averts blackouts; concern turns to winter

The government lifted its usage-reduction requirement for large-lot electricity users throughout the service areas of Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co. at 8 p.m. Friday.

The order for large-lot users to reduce their electricity consumption by 15 percent from last summer's peak levels came into effect July 1. It was lifted in TEPCO's service area earlier than the initially scheduled Sept. 22.

NRC: Shutdown of Yucca Mountain nuke dump can proceed

WASHINGTON — A divided Nuclear Regulatory Commission has allowed the Obama administration to continue plans to close the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada.

Welcome to the Post-Growth Economy

Even if we are being proven right, this is no time for victory laps. Here’s the point. Daly, Gilding, Grantham, and I are saying that as humanity has chewed through the low-hanging fruit of our natural resources and has turned to lower-grade and more expensive ores and fuels, managers of the economy have attempted to keep growth going by piling up debt in the mistaken belief that it is money that makes the economy run rather than energy and raw materials. Now we’ve reached limits to government and consumer debt, and the realization of that fact is sending financial markets into fibrillation. If energy supplies and debt are both stretched tight, that means more economic growth isn’t possible. Worse, if policy makers fail to realize this and continue assuming that the current crisis is merely another turning of the business cycle, then we lose whatever opportunity still remains to avert a crash that could bring civilization to its knees.

New Zealand: Road sealing deferred

His report recommended deferring the council's entire seal extension programme for 2011-12 and 2012-13, saving about $1.8 million, to help bridge the shortfall.

Cr Teresa Stevenson supported the idea, saying the council needed to "bite the bullet" and cut costs as it also faced peak oil and rising transportation costs.

"It's a luxury we can no longer afford. We have done a lot. I think we have done enough."

Name the PCI's next book!

In early 2012, Post Carbon Institute is releasing its next book. It's an easy-to-read guide to getting your money out of the Wall Street casino and investing it locally, where it'll perform better for both you and your community. And we're thrilled to have PCI Fellow Michael Shuman (Going Local, The Small-Mart Revolution), one of the nation's top experts in local economies, as the author.

But we still need a title!

Why are we so busy we can’t save world?

It may be that we’re pretentious superficial dorks. Or that the dilemmas we face as a civilization are complex and of a massive scale.

But there is also a simple answer. We can’t save the world right now because we’re too busy. Most people are so busy staying ahead of their bills, raising their kids or just trying to stay on top of things. They simply don’t have time to save the world. They probably wish the government had a Saving the World Department.

Days of simmering carbon rage in the post 9/11 world

A decade removed from the horror of 9/11 and what’s changed in our attitude towards ecology, energy and economics?

We are still frighteningly dependent upon imported oil and there’s no comprehensive U.S. energy policy other than to consume with abandon every last molecule of carbon by blowing up mountains, fracking bedrock, fouling waterways, polluting oceans and warming the atmosphere.

The Oil Game: a free pdf workbook

A while ago I posted a film here about Tom Harper’s ‘The Oil Game’, a programme of teaching young people about peak oil that he has been doing in schools in the south east of England. Tom has now finished a workbook for people who want to run this programme elsewhere, containing the games and activities that he developed.

Elephants and livestock battle for water in East Africa

(CNN) -- As the Horn of Africa suffers its worst drought for 60 years, there are reports of growing conflict between people and wildlife over the region's limited resources.

Conservationists say that in Kenya livestock herders and their animals are encroaching on water sources in protected areas, which is having a potentially devastating impact on the wildlife there -- particularly elephants.

With the region getting hotter and dryer the battle for water is going to become even more of a problem in the future, says Angela Sheldrick, director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), an organization that protects animals in Kenya.

Living Right on the “Wrong” Side of Town

Since the bottom dropped out of the economy in 2008, my family has gone from affluent suburban living to life below the poverty line, in a shabby house in the “wrong” part of town—with no car. We’ve given up most luxuries, and sold many of our possessions. We’ve become admirably “green,” as a benefit of paring down to the simplest needs. We have chickens, a vegetable garden, and a front door that is always open and ready to welcome a neighbor. People often comment on how we are living with a softer impact upon the earth. But if I am honest, I have to acknowledge that the most dramatic changes we have made were those that were forced upon us.

Reality TV’s “Stories of Stuff”

If you’ve missed reality shows like Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, and American Pickers, then you’ve missed a fascinating front in the expanding “new economy.”

From taiga to tank: hard scrabble for new oil

Fields like Eastern Siberia's Verkhnechonsk, set to pump nearly 100,000 bpd this year and reach its plateau of over 150,000 bpd in 2014, are ever more complex and remote, but essential to maintaining Russia's oil exports as the Soviet oil heartland of Western Siberia declines.

While the bulk of Russia's output will come from those old fields -- Western Siberia still holds nearly 3/4 of Russia's reserves -- East Siberia is keeping the oil flowing to growing markets of Asia via the ESPO pipeline, which is due to expand to 1 million bpd in 2012, or a tenth of Russia's total output.

Western Siberia, too, requires heavy investment in technology to maximise output from crudely tapped wells, but the wells are already drilled and the pipelines, power lines and roads built.

In the east, oil companies face up-front costs to get oil flowing from fields surrounded by nothing but forest for hundreds of kilometres. Even drilling contractors willing and able to work here are harder to come by.

Oil below $88 after Obama announces jobs bill

Oil prices fell below $88 a barrel Friday as the dollar strengthened and investors mulled whether a new U.S. jobs package will help boost crude demand.

Motorists Fuming After Another Gas Price Jump

INDIANAPOLIS -- Gas prices at numerous Indianapolis-area stations jumped about 30 cents to $3.85 a gallon on Thursday, angering motorists anticipating that prices would be dropping.

Tropical Storm Nate Weakens; May Become Hurricane Today

Tropical Storm Nate is expected to become the third hurricane of the Atlantic season today or tomorrow as it forces energy companies to begin evacuating platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Asia Distillates-Gas Oil supported as China imports eyed

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Asian gas oil's front-month timespread rose to four-month high on Friday as market participants weighed the impact of a rare import of diesel from China.

China Aug refinery runs 2nd-lowest this year

BEIJING, Sept 9 (Reuters) - China's refinery throughput grew at a modest 4.5 percent on the year in August to about 8.66 million barrels per day, the second-lowest daily processing rate this year due to regular plant shutdowns and refinery accidents.

This is the third straight month that China has operated its refineries at levels below the norm since late 2010, capping demand growth in the world's second-largest oil user at rates slower than the double-digit pace seen earlier in the year.

Russia to sell up to 15 pct in Rosneft in 2012

(Reuters) - Russia will sell up to 15 percent in its top oil producer Rosneft for over 200 billion roubles ($6.77 billion) in 2012 as part of a broader privatisation drive that can yield around $40 billion by 2014, Economy Ministry said.

Medvedev calls on Ukraine to honor 2009 gas deal

MOSCOW - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he hoped Ukraine would stick to its existing gas agreement with Russia despite tension between the two on the issue, according to media reports.

Libya Said to Ship First Cargo of Crude From West as Production Resumes

Libya may export this month its first crude cargo since March from the country’s west as the holder of Africa’s biggest oil reserves rebuilds production after deposing former ruler Muammar Qaddafi.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Efficiency is the Solution

If there is a way to get through the loss of fossil fuels, it lies in developing new and more efficient ways to generate renewable energy and more efficient ways of utilizing the fossil fuels we have left. Renewable sources currently provide only 16 percent of our energy in the U.S. and 11 percent of our electric power. Unless the production of these renewables can be increased substantially in the next 50 years and the efficiency with which we use energy increased many fold, then the world is going to become a very dark and stagnant place.

The Next US President will be the Chauncey Gardener of Energy

It is certain that the United States is in for an energy price and, especially, energy supply shock the likes of which have never been experienced or imagined. While high prices, to a reasonable extent can be tolerated, hell will break loose if massive supply disruptions emerge. We are much closer to them than people think and not because of peak oil clamor, still decades away. Those who think that we can conserve ourselves to energy independence need not read any further. They are way wrong and it is pointless to try to show them otherwise.

The World's Changing Energy Equation

The world's energy equation is rapidly changing. Three recent developments have altered energy options, re-calibrated the calculation of supply and transformed the implications for the planet's environment. Unfortunately, renewable, pollution-free energies - although they continue to make advances - are not in this equation.

Peak Oil To Reach Non-OPEC World

Peak oil has reached the non-OPEC world. Oil prices to rise even more in the future.

Commodities Look Set to Rocket Higher

I've been asked to comment on the work of a few noted deflationists who are calling for a top in commodity prices here. Their argument is pretty clear cut: Because inflation is a function of available money plus credit (their definition), and because credit has fallen, deflation is what comes next. When looking about for things to deflate in price, commodities are an obvious candidate for attention because they have risen so much over the past decade.

Midst of Deflationary Collapse or Brink of Inflationary Disaster? 12 Recommendations

Murphy calls for an "inflationary disaster" while Atwater calls for "price deflation across all categories of consumer goods."

I do not know if we see across-the-board price deflation Atwater calls for given peak oil constraints and an inept US energy policy that also affects food prices.However, I do expect to see falling education costs and medical costs as well as falling prices in a broad array of consumer goods and services, especially if Republicans can get a few sensible deficit measures passed.

Whether that scenario happens or not, the idea "brink of inflationary disaster" is complete silliness unless and until the Fed can revive credit, yet the Fed is powerless to do so.

Rick Rule: Supply Decrease + Demand Increase = Explosive Oil Upside

Long-time followers of Global Resource Investments Founder and Chairman Rick Rule know he is an energy bull. He sees increasing demand as an inevitable outcome of global mathematical formulas. “Around the world, in emerging and frontier markets, 3.5 billion people aspire to your lifestyle, but haven’t been able to compete with you for the last 150 years because they haven’t had any money,” he explains in a recent webcast. “As those people become more free, they become more rich and increasingly they are able to compete with you. In the process, these 3.5 billion people will increase their per-capita consumption of energy. The demand curve in energy relative to GDP is breathtaking. As people on the bottom of the economic pyramid get more money, what they do with it is very energy-intensive. So, GDP gains at the bottom of the demographic pyramid lead to disproportionately high gains in energy consumption.”

Leeb Capital Management Launches The Leeb Resources Fund

NEW YORK (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Leeb Capital Management announces the launch of the Leeb Resources Fund (LCMRX), a new mutual fund that seeks to profit from the issues of peak oil, limited natural resources, and devalued paper currencies. The new fund joins the Leeb Focus Fund (LCMFX) under the firm's management.

Investment Fund Launches to Build Model Local Foodshed

There’s a lot of hubbub these days about developing healthy, thriving local food systems, but who is actually financing this lofty endeavor? Just this past week, one group called Transition Colorado put their money where their mouth is by launching Localization Partners LLC, a $1.5 million fund established to expand local farming and food businesses. Boulder-based LP is a for-profit initiative of Transition Colorado, a non-profit whose mission is to achieve relocalization at the community level by engaging people to become more self-sufficient and resilient to the impacts of climate change and peak oil.

US, Cuba to discuss co-op in oil spill prevention

HAVANA - The United States and Cuba should work together to ensure that safety is maintained for off-shore exploration of Cuban oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico, a senior US expert said here Thursday.

More on Tar, Oil, Pipelines and Presidents

I sought reactions to my post on President Obama and the “Alberta tar pit” from a variety of analysts and campaigners examining the economics and environmental impacts of a proposed pipeline linking that Canadian source of oil with American refiners.

I argued that the pipeline issue, which will confront President Obama later this year as he decides whether to approve the project, is a distraction from the core issues involving our energy future and is largely insignificant if your concern is averting a buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Report Outlines Rewards and Risks of Upstate Natural Gas Drilling

Natural gas drilling using a controversial technique known as hydraulic fracturing could create up to 37,000 jobs and generate from $31 million to $185 million a year in added state income taxes for New York at the peak level of well development, according to analyses in a report commissioned by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that was released on Wednesday.

But communities in south-central and southwestern New York, on or near the Marcellus Shale, where most new drilling is expected, would pay a price for the local economic bonanza.

Imagining a Blur of Fracking Activity

Despite its dull title (the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement), the document offers some interesting tidbits of information on how the drilling will affect quality of life in various places and how the impact might be mitigated.

Outage affects millions in Southwest, Mexico

The outage was accidentally triggered about 4 p.m. Thursday when an electrical worker removed a piece of monitoring equipment at a power substation in southwest Arizona, officials at Phoenix-based Arizona Public Service Co. said.

It was unclear why that mishap, which normally would have been isolated locally, triggered such a widespread outage. The company said that would be the focus of a probe.

Quake's jolts were double nuke plant's design

The magnitude-5.8 earthquake last month in Virginia caused about twice as much ground shaking as a nearby nuclear power plant was designed to withstand, according to a preliminary federal analysis.

After Quake, Virginia Nuclear Plant Takes Stock

MINERAL, Va. — After weathering the East Coast’s recent quake, the North Anna nuclear plant finds itself in a situation that no American reactor has ever faced before.

The shock was bigger than anything its designers thought it would ever experience —big enough to make 117-ton canisters of spent fuel skitter a few inches on their storage pad.

The situation is so unusual that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, already facing questions about American earthquake safety after a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, has no protocol in place for determining whether North Anna’s 1970s design still holds up, post-earthquake.

Q+A: What's going on at Japan's crippled nuclear power plant?

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) has edged another step closer to its near-term goal of bringing the crippled reactors at its quake and tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi plant to a state of cold shutdown by January, as the temperature at the second of three damaged units fell below boiling point this week.

Sea radiation from Fukushima seen triple Tepco estimate

TOKYO (Reuters) - Radioactive material released into the sea in the Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis is more than triple the amount estimated by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co, Japanese researchers say.

Tepco Aug LNG use hits record as more reactors shut

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co used a record amount of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for power generation last month as the No.1 and No.7 units at its sole online nuclear plant in Kashiwazaki-Kariwa were shut for maintenance, leaving only two reactors in operation.

No reactor in Japan has restarted since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that triggered radiation leaks at its Fukushima Daiichi plant. The radiation crisis raised public concerns over nuclear safety and led the government to impose stricter assessments before reactors can be restarted after routine maintenance.

Opponents object to Cape Wind power deal at SJC

BOSTON (AP) — The state's highest court is considering arguments from opponents of National Grid's deal to buy power from the Cape Wind offshore wind farm.

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and the Associated Industries of Massachusetts are among the plaintiffs in the case argued Thursday before the Supreme Judicial Court.

2 Texas projects get federal wind research funds

DALLAS (AP) — Two projects in Texas will share part of $43 million in federal grants for offshore wind energy improvements.

The Department of Energy on Thursday announced $900,000 in funding for programs in Austin and College Station, as part of 41 projects across 20 states.

U. of Mich. getting $1M to help spur wind energy

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy says the University of Michigan is expected to get more than $1 million to help spur offshore wind energy development.

Mississippi Lures ‘Green’ Manufacturing Jobs

Calisolar, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based manufacturer of silicon for solar cells, has decided to build its next factory in a faraway locale known for generous government subsidies, low taxes and relatively inexpensive labor rates: Mississippi.

Calisolar is the fifth green technology company in the last 18 months to announce plans to build manufacturing facilities in the Magnolia State, which is actively pursuing environmentally-friendly jobs. The state is giving Calisolar a $75 million incentive package that includes grants, workplace training and a $59.5 million low-interest loan.

FBI raids solar firm that got $535M US loan

FREMONT, Calif. — FBI agents raided the headquarters of a California-based solar panel maker, which received a $535 million loan from the federal government and was once held up by President Barack Obama as a model beneficiary of federal aid.

Agents executed multiple search warrants at Solyndra's headquarters in Fremont as part of an investigation with the Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General, according to FBI spokesman Peter Lee. Lee said he could not provide details about the investigation.

FBI Raids Bankrupt Solyndra as Lawmakers Question Panel Maker’s Finances

An FBI raid on Solyndra Inc., a solar-panel maker that failed after receiving a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Energy Department, may signal the escalation of a probe into the Obama administration’s clean- energy program.

New Zealand: Ecocide is immoral and stupid

COAL producer Solid Energy New Zealand Ltd last month unveiled plans for a new opencast mine in the Upper Waimangaroa, northeast of Westport — part of the Buller coalfield.

Around half the overburden — material above the coal — will cause acidic runoff and need to be dealt with.

Now Apache, an American petroleum drilling company, will be seismic testing here on the East Coast this month.

Four initial wells are planned, the first early next year. No doubt they will be using the environmentally-unfriendly fracking method.

Survey: Tea Party Isolated on Climate, But Wide Accord on Most Energy Policies

Majorities of all four political groups support funding more research into renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power and providing tax rebates for people who purchase energy efficient vehicles or solar panels.

Majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans support requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if it cost the average household an extra $100 a year. A majority of Tea Party members, however, oppose this policy, with 39 percent strongly opposed.

Humans at risk of extinction, Prince warns

Mankind faces ex-tinction, Prince Charles has warned, unless the way we live can be transformed to stop mass consumption, climate change and destruction of wildlife.

In his first speech as the new president of the Worldwide Wildlife Fund (WWF), Prince Charles suggested replacing the famous fight to save the panda with a new "cause célèbre" - to save the entire environment.

Ohio senator seeks rollback of clean energy quota AP

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Environmentalists lined up Thursday to urge the Ohio Senate to pull the plug on a Republican senator's effort to repeal the state's clean energy requirement, warning it could destabilize a burgeoning new area of the economy.

Does a healthy environment harm jobs?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Despite easing off on one particular clean air regulation last week, there's every indication President Obama plans on tightening a half-dozen other environmental rules in the months ahead.

Is the U.S. Reaching Peak Water?

Questions about resource availability and limits are not new. The specter of “peak oil”—a peaking and then decline in oil production—has long been predicted and debated, and peak U.S. oil production occurred forty years ago.

But the concept of “peak water” and its implications for the U.S. economy are less well explored and understood. A paper published last year introduced and defined the concept of peak water and The New York Times chose the term “peak water” as one of its 33 “Words of the Year” for 2010.

U.S. experiences second warmest summer on record

The blistering heat experienced by the nation during August, as well as the June through August months, marks the second warmest summer on record according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, N.C. The persistent heat, combined with below-average precipitation across the southern U.S. during August and the three summer months, continued a record-breaking drought across the region.

Sacrifices and Restrictions as Central Texas Town Copes With Drought

Hundreds of lawns are dying in the 100-degree heat here, turning straw-colored and crunchy. The drought that has gripped much of Texas has forced Llano to adopt some of the toughest mandatory water restrictions in the state. Residents are prohibited from watering their lawns except for once a week early in the morning and late at night. The filling of swimming pools, the washing of cars parked outside homes, the use of automatic or detachable sprinklers — all have been banned since June, by order of the City Council.

Government has always had a hard time telling Texans how to live. But the ban on most types of outdoor watering has been embraced by people in Llano, where a kind of World War II-era rationing spirit has become a way of life.

Wildfires and drought cost Texas billions

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Texas wildfires are adding economic trauma to a state that has already suffered billions of dollars in agricultural damages from an ongoing drought.

Wildfire damages to homeowners could exceed $100 million, a record high for the state, according to Mark Hanna, spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas.

Perpetual warfare

The west would be wise to curb its dependency on oil, but that will not remove the risk of resource wars. The coming conflicts will not be mainly between the west and the rest. Advancing industrialisation has set in motion a new Great Game in which western states are not the most important players. China is the world's largest energy consumer after the US and will soon be first; but its fiercest rival for oil in future is likely to be India, rather than the US.

The danger comes not only from peak oil. Peaking minerals, arable land and fresh water are likely to inflame existing conflicts and spark new ones in many parts of the world.

The Military Assault on Global Climate

By every measure, the Pentagon is the largest institutional user of petroleum products and energy ... Yet, the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements ... Any talk of climate change which does not include the military is nothing but hot air, according to Sara Flounders.

In the Lowest Country on Earth, High Anxiety Over Rising Sea Levels

Perhaps no other head of state is more closely attuned to rising sea levels than the president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed.

The lowest country on earth, with a population of nearly 400,000 people living across some 200 islands in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are the proverbial canary in the coalmine for global warming watchers. If rising sea levels continue, Nasheed has often said, “We will die.”

Global warming effect seen in pole-to-pole data-gathering flights

Unlike satellite or ground-based data, the information gleaned on flights that dipped from as high as 40,000 feet to below 500 feet recorded and demonstrated some of the mechanisms that put additional greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, adding a level of precision that mathematical models and satellite observation often lack.

"It's like looking at an X-ray from the '60s versus a CAT scan today," Wofsy said of the difference in the data.

Scientists were surprised to find strong evidence that ocean surfaces laid bare by melting ice are emitting methane at a "significant" rate likely to have "global impact," Wofsy said.

McClendon: How America can regain its swagger
Chesapeake Energy

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The current shocks to the U.S. financial markets reflect the prevailing pessimism about our nation's economic prospects. We've lost much of our swagger at home and abroad. How to best regain it? Become energy independent and invest the saved trillions in the American economy . . .

We can supply all of America's future energy needs from domestic resources. Production of oil and shale natural gas from 32 of our 50 states now provides fuel sources of revolutionary abundance, allowing us in the years ahead to stand tall again without the weight of exporting trillions of dollars to the world's oil producers.

Read more:

I question the author's assumption that we need to regain "swagger".

I grew up in Oklahoma City and recall how important it was for high school boys to swagger though the school grounds. This was a learned and carefully calibrated behavior. I am thinking that maybe it is time to learn a little humility and maybe a little science about how the world works. Oklahoma is at the very epicenter of climate denial and until Texas surpassed it this summer had the hottest temperature by any state ever for the month of July.

I am thinking that maybe it is time to learn a little humility ... Oklahoma is at the very epicenter of climate denial

What is interesting is people CAN learn.

The various talking heads over at http://www.ruleoflawradio.com have changed their POV on both Peak Oil and (less so) Climate.

(and in case any of you want to hear the voice of Robert Rapier this should be this episode http://mp3.ruleoflawradio.com/A4L/64k/A4L_2011-08-12_64k.mp3 Mr. R^2 even mentions climate change and biofuels)

Wow. I never knew how accurate "King of the Hill" was. ;-)

I liked what Robert Rapier said except the "the government is at war with oil companies" . . . Why did you say that Robert? The temporary drilling moratorium in the Gulf after the big spill? If the government is at war with the oil companies then the government is losing that war badly.

All hat, no cattle.

Right on. The swagger is the same as "the ugly American" syndrome. While travelling abroad alot, especially in the '70s and'80s, it took a lot of time and energy to overcome the bias created by the Swagger mindset. Most of those who would promote "the swagger" have been nowhere, done nothin', and don't have a clue about the rest of the world. Small-minded bullies, they are. Perhaps they need to study their Bibles, especially the parts about too much pride.

Maybe if we lost the swagger sooner we would be better off.

As long as girls go for the guys with swagger, swaggering guys you will get.

I want to share this, it came in an email this morning. This seems as good a place as any.

US Coal production up across the board. If I read it correctly over the past year the USofA has 'produced' a little over 1,000,000 short tons - so 2 billion pounds of coal. Every region, every type, up. Sounds like a lot, then again, isn't that just 6 or 7 pounds per person?

Here's the link: http://www.eia.gov/cneaf/coal/weekly/weekly_html/wcpweek.html

One interesting fact: Almost 7 million rail cars loaded, or almost 20,000/day.

As some have noted, we aren't really replacing fossil fuels, we're just adding new stuff on top of them. Radio this morning (NPR) said fusion with a positive EROEI was 2 years away...

If you look at the top left of the table, you'll see that the units presented in the table are "thousand short tons", not merely tons. So your figures appear to be off by a factor of 1000 - the annual production was a little over a billion short tons, corresponding to around 3 tons per capita.

Thanks StC, the first time I calculated I did get 2 trillion pounds dug up. THAT sounds like a lot!

That's about 330,000 pounds per railcar. Sounds about right. 7,000 pounds for every man woman child in the USofA.

Was someone talking about ice melting?


I notice that westexas didn't add his thoughts on Aubrey's statement. I'm guessing he's as tired of responding to such comments as I am. So I'll be short too: Either Aubrey has suffered a stroke and lost much mental capacity or he's just a BIG LIAR...and he knows it. No one in the oil patch, including the many hundreds I know personally, believe "We can supply all of America's future energy needs from domestic resources." Unless, of course, one is predicting a severe depression that destroys so much demand the country could barely function. You might not get managers with publicly traded companies to say so on the record. Nor will you get scam artist promoters trying to seperate your daddy from his life's savings. His statement almost makes Bachmann's promise of "$2/gallon gasoline" look reasonable.

As most here already know I'm a big proponent of "drill, baby, drill" (responsibly, of course) but not as a potential cure for PO. It's just good for the economy to recover what we can. All I can imagine is that Aubrey is willing to sacrifice his reputation and dignity in the oil patch in hopes of recovering some of the $billions he personally lost when the shale gas crash nearly wiped out his company. I've mentioned his statement to all my cohorts and universally they just shake their heads.

So I'll be short too: Either Aubrey has suffered a stroke and lost much mental capacity or he's just a BIG LIAR...and he knows it. No one in the oil patch, including the many hundreds I know personally, believe "We can supply all of America's future energy needs from domestic resources."

We need more honest oilmen like you.

I think he is just being a bit fat liar in order to get support for government policies that will personally help him financially. And that is pretty sad . . . it is not like anyone in the oil biz is going to go hungry these days. The oil biz is extremely profitable right now. It is experiencing a boom in oil from the Bakken Shale.

Why do you need to lie to the American public to make a even more money when you doing great as is? I find that to be quite unpatriotic. We need the most accurate information possible in order to select the best policies for the country . . . such massive lies that will affect public policy are borderline treasonous.

Edit: Reading the full article made me a bit less mad at him. He does point that out that we need to move to a natural gas transportation infrastructure to be independent and that certainly would make a big difference. But he does have whoppers in there like "Instead of importing $100-per-barrel oil from foreign countries, we can find American oil at less than $20 per barrel" . . . really? Are you calling all the oil drillers a bunch of idiots then? Because if they could do that, they would!

spec - Besides promoting his company's stock there's another good reason for the hype and unrealistic promises. As you say profits are good...right? Not as good as you might think. Granted if I had a lot of oil wells that were in production before the price run up you couldn't wipe my grin off my face with sandpaper. But that's yesterday. Now jump to today: most won't believe but there is a undercurrent fear of unemployment in the long term floating around the oil patch these days. There's a very good reason you see so many public companies chasing the resources plays: there isn't nearly enough conventional plays to left to split up. If Aubrey pulled out of the shale plays tomorrow he would have to fire at least 2/3rd of his staff and then sit back and watch his stock price go down the toilet again. Public companies have two values: dividends and reserve growth. Without the shales to drill most of the major companies would have few opportunities for reserve growth.

As you know my company drills for profit...not an increase in stock price. I'm forever grateful the big public companies are chasing the resource plays. If they were focused on our conventional plays we would probably close up shop or at least greatly scale back our ops. There's just not enough conventional wells to drill for all of us to share. Yes: without the shale plays many of us, especially the service company hands, would be looking for an unemployment check. But that should be a surprise to most here if they think about it: PO means we're running out of places to drill. And less holes to punch...less people you need.

Yes: without the shale plays many of us, especially the service company hands, would be looking for an unemployment check. But that should be a surprise to most here if they think about it: PO means we're running out of places to drill. And less holes to punch...less people you need.

Yes and no. Sure . . . that is the ultimate outcome. But PO also means that oil prices will rise such that previously unprofitable finds may become profitable such that areas that were ignored in the past due to small size or difficultly will be drilled. So I think your jobs are probably safe a while.

And ultimately, the few remaining places that we don't allow drilling on (ANWR, OCS, etc.) will eventually be drilled as well. That is our nature. When food prices go up because diesel for tractors and trucks is too expensive the people will change their mind about have such places be off-limits.

And when oil is really expensive then drilling geothermal wells might become profitable. :-)

Rock, we thank you for your honesty. tough times for all of us in the years ahead.

Oct – I suspect some folks don’t buy the point about the strong sense of job insecurity in the oil patch. Said that not looking for sympathy but to point out the near universal understanding of PO in the oil patch. We know the boom/bust cycle every well. I’ve mentioned it before: back in the mid-80 slow down I (and many others) had so little consulting work that I drove a Yellow Cab around Houston at night and delivered produce to restaurants during the day. But that was a result of low oil/NG prices.

Now we’re looking over our shoulders at another potential drilling slump but this time while we’re having relatively high prices. Even if prices hold and the public companies keep swapping $1 for $1.25 the shale plays eventually will be drilled up. This is not the first shale drilling boom. In the late 70’s a carbonate shale (the Austin Chalk) took off. Biggest drilling boom in the country if not the entire world at that time. And did it bust eventually? Nope…just drilled up most of the potential locations…many, many thousands of them.

It’s not so much a matter of being honest as seeing the future clearly: there will an eventual and irreversible decline in the oil patch. We talk about the Peak Plateau of oil production. I hadn’t thought in such terms but obviously we’re also Peak Oil Patch. Short term highs and lows but an eventual downward slope that can’t be reversed.

Makes me long for the sweet release death can bring. LOL.

I still think a lot of you will be employed for quite a while, doing workover on existing wells to keep 'em pumping.


This seems worth reposting here:



2007 is not longer the record holder for lowest sea ice are in the Arctic.

Just part of a long term trend (one that is even more clearly seen in the ice volume/ice thickness data).

A minor quibble here. The sea-ice area index produced by Chapman's group at UIUC may overstate the melt, as the passive microwave data tends to see melt ponds as open water. The data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) uses what's called extent, which also shows that this year is roughly at the 2007 value for this date, with the minimum not yet determined. That said, both analytical approaches are showing record lows at the moment...

E. Swanson

And the estimated value for sea ice volume shows an umambiguous record low this year.


In fact, if the trend of the last 10 years continues, then the Arctic will be ice free in August 2021.

That's PIOMAS - not definitive. There is a dense, technical discussion of this stuff over at Real Climate that makes it more clear.

Pretty good chance we'll set an all time low for ice cover and volume, but let's give 'em a month to tally the score before we declare it's happened.

Re: In the Lowest Country on Earth, High Anxiety Over Rising Sea Levels, up top:


Seems like the Netherlands would be lowest?

Islands have a much worse usable area versus vulnerable shoreline ratio, for sure.

Re : "Wildfires and drought cost Texas billions"

Watch the embedded video entitled "Texans grab their guns as the economy stalls".

One interviewee stated he has more than 50 guns - he is concerned about a currency crash or a pension default, and people kicking his door down to "take what he has".

Edit : we appear to be at the point in history where it is no longer feasible to get resources from some other place if they run out where we are. I wonder how people will deal with that.

Scenario planning at its best: durable investment coupled with security, for hard-crash scenarios.

Home defense is a pretty good reason to have a gun handy. 50 guns isn't protection though -- it's probably a hobby masquerading as an investment (honest, honey, these guns are worth 3 times what I paid, and the 10,000 rounds of ammo, too!). A lot of guys work the gun-show circuit, and always have a stock of guns they're buying and selling.

Not saying that this article is going for "crazy gun nut" impact, but I saw a breathless news article a few months back about some guy getting arrested for something and whe the police searched his house, and the report made it sound like the home was an arsenal with something like 5 guns and, gasp, 1000 rounds of ammo.

The guy you need to worry about has a 9mm he bought on the street last night with about 10 rounds of ammo, not the one with 50 guns. The latter guy has something to lose.....

<51 = small collection
51 to 150 = medium collection
>150 = large collection


<1,001 rounds = small ammo supply
1,001 to 35,000 rounds = medium ammo supply
>35,001 rounds = large ammo supply


Great, now I've got collection envy!

That's a business, an obsession, or a hedge against other things falling flat. What do you need? A pistol, a carbine of the same caliber, a shotgun? A few spares in case you have guests.

Coming and going with guns constantly makes your place 'interesting'. That's to be avoided.

Shotgun, deer rifle, .22 rimfire. Handgun if you want.

If anything larger than deer lives in the area, then the deer rifle should be 7mm or larger.

Handguns are great fun simply because they are so hard to shoot accurately. It takes a lot a practice to get and stay proficient. If you are not able or willing to put in that time, then they won't do you much good when things fall flat.

Why would one say "when things go flat"?

Who has the crystal ball that says we have zero chance of solving our energy problems just like we've solved other problems in the past?

We've already got the technology we need.

OK, I'll whip out my crystal balls, but I'm going to need you to define what "solving" our energy problems actually means. If it means that you and a billion or so of your friends get consume as much crap as you ever did (nevermind the other 6 billion who want to consume at that level) using algae farts or biofuels or windmills or solar panels or unicorn pee or dilithium crystals instead of hydrocarbons, then I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that there is indeed a zero chance of solving our energy problems.

Actually, I once had a neighbor who had a collection of about 50 guns. He always struck me as a bit odd, but no odder than a lot of other people I could name. Not that I would name anyone on Oil Drum.

Fortunately he moved to another area before he got into his shootout with the police. The first I knew about it was when I bought a newspaper, and there he was on the front page, being loaded into an ambulance, all shot full of holes.

Reportedly he had some kind of bad hair day, called up the police and threatened to kill them all, and the TAC team went right over to talk to him about it. He fired a couple of shots at them, so they did a blind shot around a corner with a submachine gun and hit him five or six times. Fortunately, it was only a 9 mm and didn't make really big holes in him so he survived.

Subsequently, the judge gave him a suspended sentence, and he promised never to do it again, and always take his meds like his doctor told him to do. It's really bad when gun collectors go off their meds. I mean a madman with an ax is bad enough, but a madman with an automatic rifle can take out an entire building full of people.

The lesson I took away from this is that all gun collectors should have to start mandatory psychotherapy BEFORE they start their gun collection. And if their psychiatrists prescribe antipsychotics they should be required to take them regularly or forfeit their gun collections.

Note that crazy or not, he didn't actually hurt anybody but himself. Not that I'd want him as a neighbor.

Note that all sorts of people who shouldn't have guns get them, so the only rational response is for all people who should have guns to have them too.

Errr, nope.

The rational response, since you never know when a nut or criminal might get a gun, is to get rid of all the guns and make owning one a criminal act. That way exactly the kind of people who shouldn't have guns are the ones that seek them and you have something simple to charge and convict them of to get them off the street.

Uh, it's already a criminal act for convicted felons and crazy people to own guns, and for anybody to use them for crime. This is a genie that cannot be re-bottled. Just look at DC, or any city where it's been tried.

'all gun collectors should have to start mandatory psychotherapy BEFORE they start their gun collection. '

I think that's my take-away line for the day..

It's why I love Canadians! (Glaxxo Smithklein would probably jump onboard with this plan, by the way..)

I've never understood this obsession with trying to protect what's yours.

If things get bad enough that you have to use your guns, then you only have to fail to beat off an attacker once, and it's game over. There will be many hungry people out there. Sure, you can repel the first attack. And maybe the next ten. But fifty? Two hundred? It just takes one mistake.

Being less attached to your stuff, being prepared to bug out, knowing your neighbors and knowing people in distant but reachable places too, learning hard-core first aid and survival in the suburban wild ... those seem to add up to a better survival strategy than does building a fortress. Perhaps someone can explain?

Then why have the police? Why not just let criminals have everything?

Until armed thugs outnumber law-abiding people, an attrition approach will benefit all. If all the neighbors are armed, hopefully most miscreants will go elsewhere. Like say CA or DC, where there aren't heavily armed people looking to kill home invaders.

You can't always know in advance to run away. Never heard of a robbery or home invasion that didn't shift tone with the racking of an AR-15 or shotgun. Distinctive sounds with predictable reactions.

If you still have the police, then things haven't got bad enough that you have to use your own guns.

Police won't protect you! They are there to arrest criminals AFTER the fact! Sure, you might get lucky and eventually have criminals caught in the act, but mostly they go catch the bad guys after they've done something nasty.

Around here property crimes are mostly duly noted and turned over to insurance. The police really don't have the time to care much unless it becomes a pattern.

Several stories of home invasions around here just this year. A buddy of mine was sleeping upstairs (all the bedrooms are upstairs in his house) when robbers came into his house a few years ago. He just chambered a round and yelled, "You can have whatever you want downstairs, but if you come up the stairs, I will kill you." Turns out they weren't really interested in anything downstairs either.

Maybe calling 911 while you're cowering under the covers would have worked too, but it's nice to be able to maintain control of your own house, don't you think?

Yeah, it's nice to be able to protect yourself and your loved ones, but I can't make that picture fit with a picture of someone owning 50 guns and 5,000 rounds of ammunition. The two pictures don't match.

50 guns and pallets of ammo look like a picture of preparation for the Apocalypse, not a rational degree of self protection against ordinary burglary and theft, in times when we still have a police force -- however late it turns up.

To me, one gun per adult plus maybe two for hunting guests seems enough. Instead of the other 46 guns, money could go on strengthening doors and windows, better locks, and CCTV and such-like. There'd be some left over for self defence courses (learning to read body language and calm people down or distract them) and first aid courses.

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

The idea isn't to have a fortress, just to look dirt poor and have a reputation for being dangerous ;-) "He ain't worth the trouble".

when things get bad. throw clothes and random objects out into the yard at random. maybe break a few windows. make the place look like it has already been looted while you keep a low profile inside.

Peak Oil Short Stories Wanted for Anthology

I propose that as many of you as are willing write a short story set in the future in the wake of peak oil, and put it on the internet. (If you don’t have a site, Blogspot and Wordpress both offer free blogging space that you can use for the purpose.) When it’s up, post a link to it on the comments page of this post. Meanwhile, I’m going to sound out some publishers, and see if I can find one willing to bring out the world’s first anthology of peak oil-related short stories; if that happens, I’ll pick the best dozen or so stories, add an introduction, and get the collection into print. If any money comes out of it—there probably won’t be much—it will be split between the contributors or, if they agree, donated to a peak oil nonprofit.


The "fuming motorists" story has it all, well, almost -- consumers noting the gas price disconnect from widely-publicized WTI (but no mention of Brent), class envy and blame with fat-cats lighting cigars with $100 bills, and the view that high energy costs are hurting the economy (but no mention of the environment).

At least we're to the point that average Joe's are beginning to connect the dots. At least they see the dissonance of expectations versus reality, and will perhaps listen to explanations for "why?". Unfortunately, there is at least one more round of misplaced blame before comprehension accurately sinks in....if it ever does.

Not even a mention in the comments (as far as I read) of WTI no longer being representative of world oil prices. Latest Bloomberg data shows spot market Louisiana Sweet now trading at about $5 premium to Brent ($117.08 for Louisiana Sweet). So much for Brent "speculators" driving up other markets. The premium for Louisiana over West Texas is now about an almost unbelievable $30.


Light Louisiana Sweet traded in pipeline lots of 1,000 to 5,000 barrels a day for delivery between the 25th of one month and the 25th of the next month. These prices are for physical shipments. API gravity: 37 deg Sulfur content: 0.3 % wt Barrels per ton: 7.506 Pour point: -25.0 deg F Loading port: St. James, La.


West Texas Intermediate traded in pipeline lots of 1,000 to 5,000 barrels a day for delivery between the 25th of one month to the 25th of the next month. These prices are for physical shipment. API gravity: 39 deg Sulfur content: 0.34 % wt Barrels per ton: 7.640 Pour point: -5.0 deg F Loading Port: fob Cushing, Ok.

I wonder how much longer "WTI" will remain even part of the formula used (along with other crudes) for any international oil sales at all? Even the US government ignored WTI and used the Louisiana Sweet price for the SPR sale. Wonder if Mexico and others are considering replacing WTI with LLS as part of their basket? Of course there is probably some behind the scenes arm-twisting to persuade them not to I imagine.

Crude stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma again declined a further 0.4 million barrels last week and are now almost 3 million barrels below last year at this time.

tow - All of our Texas crude is barged to La. right now to take advantage of the LLS pricing. Barging large liquid volumes is relatively cheap.

"I wonder how much longer "WTI" will remain even part of the formula used (along with other crudes) for any international oil sales at all?" Not my expertise but those that use WTI as a price index in their long term contracts can still use it as long as the term period isn't too far out. They'll simply contract to buy the crude at WTI + $X. $X might be $5 or $50...doesn't matter. Though the price differential have been high but notice that WTI has been selling in a fairly small range. Remember most of the time when "they" say WTI is selling for $XX it isn't selling for that price. They are usually referring to the current short term futures price. We've been selling our WTI-like crude for way above the WTI futures price on the NYST for a very long time. From some reports west Texas operators are trucking more WTI to the Gulf Coast refineries than ever before and are getting a fair bit more than the prices the MSM keeps tossing out.

The price differentials have really gotten the black little hearts of the oil traders pounding fast. Canadian crude oil (aka diluted bitumen) is trading in Canada at a substantial DISCOUNT to WTI, so people are working as fast as possible to build the loading terminals and tank cars to move it to the Gulf Coast by train.

Unit trains of Canadian (and North Dakota) oil are already moving south in large numbers, and if the differential persists for long, you will see the tracks of the former Illinois Central Gulf Railroad (now owned by Canadian National Railway, aka CN Rail) running more or less bumper to bumper with trainloads of oil.

For paranoid Americans, you don't have to worry - it's not a Canadian plot and the Canadian National Railway is no longer owned by the Canadian government. Actually, I think Bill Gates owns a big share of it now. It's just good old capitalism in action.

Anyone notice that going to TOD homepage takes you to the Drupal configuration page? I'm still able to navigate from Drumbeat directly to other posts. Curious........

Seems SuperG is busy this week.

Same experience I'm having.

Thanks, wt, makin sure it's not just me :-0

I'll be interested to see the postmortem on the southwest blackout.

There was a lot of talk about fixing the grid after the blackout of 2003 in the northeast, but a month later, it was forgotten.

I wonder if it's even possible to fix the problem. After the NYC blackout in the '70s, they created more interconnections, so they could share power more widely and prevent blackouts. And it's worked...most of the time. But the price might be much larger, if rarer, outages.

There was a paper that came out a few years back, that argued (mathematically) that it was impossible to make networks that did not fail. Larger networks fail less often, but far more catastrophically. So maybe we have to choose between frequent small blackouts and rare but humongous ones.

I posted some stuff on "Path 46" last night on Drumbeat. Seems needed upgrades are bogged down in regulation and interstate snaufus. Construction was to begin on an additional transmission line from AZ in 2011, completed in 2012. Not sure if it's in progress.

That said, word is this was caused by a maintenance screwup at a substation. One mistake shouldn't bring down an entire segment of the grid. Brittle systems.....

BTW: I'd repost the link, but Drupal seems to be having issues. Wiki "Path 46".

The 1965 Northeast Blackout is the one I remember, growing up in CT at the time. 30 million people without power - very exciting for a 10-year-old.

Northeast Blackout of 1965

The cause of the failure was human error that happened days before the blackout, when maintenance personnel incorrectly set a protective relay on one of the transmission lines between the Niagara generating station Sir Adam Beck Station No. 2 in Queenston, Ontario. The safety relay, which is set to trip if the current exceeds the capacity of the transmission line, was set too low.

A whole cascade of events happened after it tripped, and that did it. Interesting post-mortem in the linked article.

It was exciting for a thirteenyear old too. We were lucky, NYC was blacked out -we could go up on the hill and see it, but our New Jersey town was fine -except that the NY TV stations were off the air.

Ah, the joys of complexity! Datacom networks have issues like this all the time, as they respond to failures, congestion, network changes, and other events. It's hard to plan and train for events that happen so rarely that nobody knows quite how the system will react, and thus it takes time to figure out what the underlying issues are, and still more to come up with a repair plan.

The trouble is that automated systems will create emergent behaviors due to their rapid and highly interconnected operations. I would bet, but without direct expertise, that the best bet would be to have rapid fail-over locally but slower actions between larger nets. This would imply that to have stability you'd have to have dispatchable emergency loads as well as interruptable loads and generation. It's silly for nukes to fall over when a far-away grid connection trips out -- obviously there was local use for most or all of that power, only it couldn't be rebalanced quickly enough to suit the reactors.

Human in the loop actually might be optimal for major cuts and switches, with automated systems simply buying time for a human to do something intelligent in rare circumstances. Really, for large-scale issues it's not so much whether the power goes out but how long it takes to restore. Local backup (battery or generation) could handle infrequent but short events for critical loads quite nicely.

Your "large" outages should probably imply large in coverage area and long in duration. I'm sure there is a curve somewhere that depicts impact severity increasing as time outage increases.

A bunch of us will be looking forward to the analysis.

Do you have a pointer to the paper? I believe it, I'm just curious about how they stated it formally. I was involved with distributed software systems for years, and specifying the behavior of individual agents so that error conditions damped out rather than propagating was enormously difficult (Rule #1: You're never paranoid enough about how things can go wrong; Rule #2: See Rule #1). The electric grid, what with essentially no buffering or throttling, has got to be a much harder problem.

Of course, even if you have a perfect plan, it has to be implemented. As I recall, after the NE blackout in 2003, FirstEnergy got spanked for not knowing enough about how their grid actually worked.

For you PV folks: I've been having an interesting series of events this morning. Good PV production overall, but have had several extended episodes when my arrays are producing ~ 150% of their rated output, as much as 5300 watts from a system rated at ~3500. I went outside to look at the clouds, suspecting an edge-of-cloud occurance, but the sun is actually behind a succession of small, puffy cumulo-nimbus[?] clouds. Some sort of lensatic effect, it seems. I could feel the intensity when I went outside. Kind of cool (if you are a PV freak).

This is why we over-design things.....

I've never noticed swings that large. Obviously a thin cloud refracts a lot of light, so if the sun is coming through a hole in thin cloud cover you'd expect well above 100%. Also if the panels had been shaded, they are probably operating at near air temp for a minute or two. But, it is hard to imagine those effects exceeding say 25%. I hope your inverter isn't going on the fritz.

Data logged directly from three separate controllers ( Outback MX60s), three arrays. All responded proportionately. Quite unusual. When I went outside, I could immediately feel the light intensity. Air temp was about 65 F.

Anything to do with this, I wonder?

Sun Unleashes X-Class Solar Flares, Could Cause Radio Blackouts

In case one is wondering "IS fiat currency a religion?" I bring you:

Terrorist organizations rely on financing and support networks to sustain operations and launch attacks. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) has developed a sophisticated and comprehensive approach – including intelligence analysis, sanctions administration and enforcement, financial regulatory action, policy expertise, and outreach to the international community and financial sector – to aggressively identify, disrupt and deter the funding networks of terrorist organizations. The U.S. Treasury Department is the only finance ministry in the world to develop such an office, and TFI continues to play a leading role within the United States Government and the international community in combating terrorist financing.

Now ya might think I put in the bold the part I wanted ya all to note - but the bolding is theirs.

The thing to be taken of faith from the Ministry might be the Terr-er-izm, but I'm not sure.

Do the banksters qualify as "financial terrorists"? After all, they deliberataly blew a collossal housing bubble that crashed the world economy and caused the current Depression. Then to top it off, they blackmailed the taxpayer for bailouts to the tune of $4.7 Trillion, until they and the top 1/10th of 1% were made whole and their bonuses restored to pre-crash levels. If that doesn't qualify as "terrorism" I don't know what does.

Harm - it's the "Underpants Gnomes of Zurich Wall Street's" secret plan.

1. Create an artificial crisis, e.g. by lending to people who can't pay it back, or getting your lackeys in Congress to paralyse the government

2. Run around shouting "OMG we're all gonna die" and saying "gimme money now now now". Get your lackeys in the media to do this too

3. Get given taxpayers' money by governments, if you can, or watch asset prices plunge and buy them when they're really cheap, or both

4. Profit!!!

It's one step longer than the original Underpants Gnomes' plan, but hey, these gnomes have had a fancy Harvard education. They can handle it.

Do the banksters qualify as "financial terrorists"?

I saw on a podcast recently in which they said the banks have filed for an exemption so their employees will not have to disclose their pay or bonuses. Which means they are trying to hide their terrorism so we the people do not get so irked.

Yes but the fraud is so big that we can't wrap our heads around it. Kill a few people, and you are a murderer, kill a million, and you are a conqueror.

The whole world is in see no evil, hear no evil mode. Some peasants think we'll be better if we drill baby drill and build more churches, other peasants think we'll be better off if we ride bikes and build solar panels.

The peasants never put their heads together and figure out that they are all screwed by inflation and corrupt banking practices. Besides, they all envision that one day, they will be rich and the one to do the screwing.

There are a few examples of successful uprisings - French, American Revolutions for example. But in general, corrupt societies just sort of fail as the currency and political structures collapse.

Is Obama’s Jobs Plan Good Policy or “More of the Same”? Peter Schiff Debates Demos’ Rapoport


Google Details, and Defends, Its Use of Electricity

Google disclosed Thursday that it continuously uses enough electricity to power 200,000 homes, but it says that in doing so, it also makes the planet greener.

Every time a person runs a Google search, watches a YouTube video or sends a message through Gmail, the company’s data centers full of computers use electricity. Those data centers around the world continuously draw almost 260 million watts — about a quarter of the output of a nuclear power plant.

To a large extent, Google is a trivial piece of what they enable, for good and ill.

On the positive side, every e-mail, data fetch, search or whatever that gets done virtually instead of with a trip to the library, letter mail, or physical shipment saves energy to some degree. Even watching a YouTube instead of buying a CD or going to a movie saves power.

On the negative side, the PC, TV, wireless router, and telco equipment that delivers the content to the user after it leaves Google's servers adds up.

Either way, you should probably blame the Internet more than Google, as it's just one piece of a power-hungry puzzle. And you should praise the Internet more than Google, as it's just one piece of the virtualization of a power-hungry alternatives.

By way of comparison with Google's 260 MW, the top ten supercomputers together draw 42.3 MW.


Bloodbath on Wall St. today. Supposedly it's concern that Europe is near a tipping point. There's some fear that Greece will default this weekend.

Well, it has to happen at some point. Why not this weekend?
If you ask me, it makes much more sense for the German taxpayer to shore up the German banks rather than Greece.......and Portugal and Spain and Ireland and Italy and all the French banks and, and, and......

It does, but it's not realistic for Germany to expect to export heavily to import nations like Greece, while the import nations maintain employment and monetary strength, unless they loan them the money to do so at increasingly easier rates.

If we take money out of the picture, what does it look like? Germans make a lot of stuff and ships it to Greece and elsewhere, and in return they get to visit there on vacation and sometimes get some olives and wine to boot.

What do Greeks get? They get somebody to send them electronics and cars in exchange for putting up with obnoxious pasty-white people on their beaches and in their restaurants.

Seems like Greeks would naturally want to have fewer tourists and to ship out less olives while still getting the cars and TVs. Germans would like to have their wine and vacations without working in their factories.

Add money to it and one wants cheap loans to buy stuff, and the other wants healthy prices and good debtors.

Seems to me that when physical exchange levels get skewed far enough that currency valuations would be strained, it's awfully hard to keep a shared currency. In reality, Greeks need to ship more olives and Germans needs to take more Mediterranean vacations if the Greeks are going to keep buying cars.

I know this is oversimplified, but to me the issue is less about debt and more about relative efficiency of work and valuation of goods. Germany won't be happy when their exports crash, and Greece won't be happy if they have to all go to work waiting on German tourists.

The most stable situations would have balanced net trade. If things go to far, it'll end up balancing near zero, while if managed intelligently it should balance where resources allow.

I get a chuckle out of watching the markets. Two days after Obama announces plans to increase the deficit by an additional 1/2 trillion (a month after the US was downgraded), the 10-year US Treasury yield hits a record low. I haven't checked but I would bet German bonds are at record low yields and what the heck is their debt-to-GDP ratio. For heaven's sake!

One does have to wonder. By bidding up the price of debt (reducing the yield), the market is sending the message "increase the supply!"

If you could borrow five trillion dollars for 30 years at 2%, would you do it? Inflation adjusted, that's zero percent. Free money.

Somehow the US Government seems to think that it's a bad idea. Or maybe they're holding out till people offer to buy at negative interest rates.

"If you could borrow five trillion dollars for 30 years at 2%, would you do it? Inflation adjusted, that's zero percent. Free money."

But you still have to pay back the principle. So I have to find a place to put it that returns more than the inflation rate. Even worse, more than the worst case inflation rate over the next 30 years.

It's not nearly so appealing now is it? Speaking personally, I do not carry debt gracefully. The only way I would feel confident of being able to pay it back would be to put it in the vault and never touch it. That's not what I'm supposed to do with it now, is it?

I have all the debt I want. (to wit, none) No interest rate is low enough to convince me to take on additional debt. This is one of the points the economists cant seem to wrap their heads around.

In 30 years I'm dead or collecting social security (if it exists). So it is pretty much free money.

Gosh if Greece can't default then how on earth could the US ever default ;-)

The collapse of the European Union as we know it is picking up steam and the impact is destroying US stocks.

The problem stems from the unpleasant fact that Greek government debt is worthless, and no turnaround is in sight. No one, not even the European banks themselves, know just how much of this Greek government scrip is in the EU banking system. Greece is merely Patient Zero in a European, if not global financial Black Plague. Speculation is now focusing on a Greek default as soon as this weekend.


Under the radar news :
The German main index DAX has plunged more than 30% over the last 6-8 weeks, similar reductions also happened to other European exchanges.

DOW is only down 14% over the same period

The German main index DAX has plunged more than 30% over the last 6-8 weeks

Because the german people have made their voting intentions known, they are not ok with further bailouts (who can blame them) of EU countries in danger of default. Merkel's party lost another recent election due to their earlier willingness to lend money for bailouts. With the political picture changing, more bailouts are probably not going to happen, certain EU countries will default and the EU will disband. Out goes the Euro, replaced by the currencies of each E country.

Sounds like a natural conclusion in a post peak oil (2005) world (with much higher oil prices), in which there is a reduction in complexity and transition from globalization to regionalization.

I suppose the markets will roil as much as they need to until a new lower balance is achieved.

Greek two-year bonds ended the week paying about 60%. Germany is putting together a plan to bail out its own banks if the Greeks default. Mr. Market and Ms. Merkel seem to think it's going to happen soon.

Monsanto Denies Superinsect Science

And now those unheeded warnings are proving prescient. In late July, as I reported recently, scientists in Iowa documented the existence of corn rootworms (a ravenous pest that attacks the roots of corn plants) that can happily devour corn plants that were genetically tweaked specifically to kill them. Monsanto's corn, engineered to express a toxic gene from a bacterial insecticide called Bt, now accounts for 65 percent of the corn planted in the US.

The superinsect scourge has also arisen in Illinois and Minnesota. "Monsanto Co. (MON)’s insect-killing corn is toppling over in northwestern Illinois fields, a sign that rootworms outside of Iowa may have developed resistance to the genetically modified crop," reports Bloomberg. In southern Minnesota, adds Minnesota Public Radio, an entomologist has found corn rootworms thriving, Bt corn plants drooping, in fields.

Interesting if this turns out to be true.
It was always reckoned to be a danger.
A colleague and I wrote a report for Ministry of Agriculture (England & Wales) back in 1994 that covered this and other risks. It seemed only too possible back then. The counter-measures, refuges, etc. don't seem to have been enough? There is also GM Bt cotton that has been going a while now - seems OK still?

Phil, I came across this the other day regarding GMO corn, what do you make of it?

Permaculture versus Conventional: Corn

the scientist goes into the genetics lab and isolates the cry 1Ab gene from Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. kurstaki, the nptII gene, an intron (a non-coding section of a gene) from the heat shock protein hsp 70, the CaMV 35S promoter gene from the cauliflower mosaic virus and the NOS terminator sequence from Agrobacterium tumefaciens and sets them on the plasmid vector pV-ZMBK07. Plasmid vector pV-ZMGT10 carries the CP4 EPSPS gene from Agrobacterium tumefaciens and the gox gene from Achromobacter strain LBAA and the nptII gene. These are coated on microscopic BBs and fired into corn cells to transfer the DNA. Simple enough, right?

Wow. Millions of dollars later, the copy of the gene cry 1Ab gene was incomplete. If you don’t know what this means, don’t feel bad. No one does. No one knows exactly how this affects the functioning of the genetically modified corn. There was another problem, unfortunately. The terminator sequence to turn off the promoter gene was absent but made it to market anyway. Promoters can affect the DNA 40,000 base pairs down from them. So what is the CaMV 35S promoter promoting besides the inserted transgenes? What are the health implications, if any, of this? What are the environmental effects? Is the incomplete cry 1Ab gene coding for something slightly unique rather than the predicted insecticidal toxin? If so, is this unique attribute helpful or harmful to human health? Independent research has suggested that there were some deletions or rearrangements in the host corn DNA. What affect, if any, is this having on the corn’s nutritional content, human health and environmental safety? Is glycosylation (an enzymatic process attaching carbohydrates to other molecules in cells) causing unpredicted effects when this GMO is ingested? This has been seen with other GMOs. Has the disruption in gene order (something known to be important) had any harmful side effects? And if the only changes made are those that theory designed and predicted, why does this corn have higher lignin content than conventional corn? What about the recent finding of decreased fertility in rats fed the corn?

I know Hsp70 is going to be a stress response element perhaps used to pump up the expression of the Cry toxin. The promotor, terminator and cloning artifacts are interesting though.

I do not think the nutrition content, etc., etc. are affected. I think I would worry more about how large quantities of cry affect the ecosystem and how resistance forms in insect populations. Those are the serious issues to focus on. Does cry pollen affect bee populations for example? They say the bees are not affected but I would remain skeptical since we have a pretty large bee problem currently.

I think research should focus on how to rebuild soil with microbial communities in a semi-industrial manner instead of using a single type of toxin in GMO crops, which is doomed to produce high levels of resistance in a short period of time.

Can't argue with the idea of improving soil health, but how well understood are soil biomes? Are there ways that industrializing them could backfire?

"but how well understood are soil biomes?"

Not well.

"Are there ways that industrializing them could backfire?"


Just a granny, not a biologist, but this is what I make of it:

"And he warns that we are writing code we can't understand, with implications we can't control."

--from the TED Talk referenced above in the discussion of failing electricity grids:


[Edited to add] Most prepared foods sold in grocery stores contain GM corn, soy, and other ingredients. It is becoming increasingly difficult for non-GM corn growers or organic growers to protect their crops from these "new" versions of plants. Then as soon as a Monsanto detective finds a field where a non-customer (one who has not purchased their seeds and signed a contract promising never to reproduce them) has a "hint" of their version that has migrated there by the breezes, they sue the farmer for patent infringement. I will not speak ill of Monsanto. I don't need to.

Burgundy and others who commented - sorry to come back late, but am in different time zone.

I am more than a bit out of date as well, but if it helps, here are my comments:-

1. The idea of any plant breeding is to change the crop, by means of selection after reassortment of the genome.
2. We (on TOD) should distinguish between unanticipated changes in the host genome and any changes in the specific inserted genes themselves.
3. Concerns with changes in host genome due to process of genetic insertion / rDNA technologies.
The gene insertion process relies on clonal propagation stages. (Genetic inserts are introduced to living tissues with the aim of randomly 'transforming ' many cells, some of which can then be selected to be grown in to viable plants). Further selection of the resulting plants aims to find the ones that most closely resemble the original, desirable, host cultivar, but that now carry a functioning new insert. The process of transforming a single cell and then growing a plant from it, very frequently (almost always?) creates changes in the original host genome. These problems are well-known and presumably coped with by careful testing and selection, just as in conventional breeding.
Risks remain, especially when any individual crop variant is grown on a trans-continental scale. 'Big Mistakes' happened even with conventional crop breeding in the past, even when the breeding had not involved reducing, non-sexually, the plant to a single or even a few cells.
4. Concerns with inadvertent changes in the insert itself.
There was more concern back then (in the 90s) that the insert itself might not be what you thought it was and could introduce unknown properties. Bt gene itself was selected from a complex of natural 'Bt' genes. Did we know, we asked ourselves, that we had exactly the one that had been thoroughly tested already and was well-understood?
They seem to have got round this question OK (and deliberately introduced complementary Bt types to help counter the inevitable phenomenon of insect resistance) except that the strategy of avoiding 'resistance' appears not to have worked totally. I guess this was inevitable eventually.

a) 'Bt' was used well-before there was any genetic engineering, by spraying suspensions of bacterial culture (Bacillus thuringensis) over the crop. 'Resistance' in some insects (Diamond Moth?) had already been noted; so the problem for engineered crops was anticipated.
b) Interesting that there appear to be residues of Bt protein from the corn residues in the environment. What insecticidal properties these might have on a range of insect fauna, is a bit conjectural I presume. Insects have to absorb the Bt protein, usually only by eating it.
c) Worth remembering that Bt replaced chemical insectides which were much more 'broad spectrum' and often had non-specific effects on non-target insects and some were very toxic to for example fish if residues got in to water courses.
d) My problem with GM crops was more the hyped-up promises of a new 'green revolution' in world food production. Nearly 20 years later still count me strongly skeptical of anything except minor advantages (and occasional serious errors), in any meaningful time-period such as the next 3 or 4 decades.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply Phil. It all seems a bit like someone inserting a new bit of code into a complex software programme. They assume they're inserting it in the right place and they assume the bit of code they found on the internet does what they think it does but they can't be entirely sure. There's some functions which they don't know what they do, but they left them in there anyway and patching the code in place was a bit hit and miss. The fact the software didn't crash when they booted it up meant everything was good and ready to go for immediate release.

It's amazing how many inventive ways we find to wreck the future :(

I recall reading recently about problems with pest resistance in GM cotton, too. Will try to find it.

Update: Google says first reports of problems with Bt cotton turned up in 2008, and India has been getting a bit annoyed as of 2010: Bt cotton has failed admits Monsanto

I read about the resistance to BT in cotton. They found mutations in a protein transporter and a protein receptor called cadherin (calcium-dependent adhesion protein). The cadherin was deleted and affected the ability of the Cry (BT toxin) to assemble. The other mutation in the worm was the transporter, which the author's claimed helped the Cry enter the worm cells.

So it appears two mutations are involved which means that there were two selection events. Perhaps the resistance was natural and selection pressure increased their population.

All these crops with BT will show similar trends in these protein receptors for resistance I imagine.

From the research paper, adding multiple toxins will be the stop-gap. I'd say using a real predator like bacteria is far smarter because bacterial have a means to co-evolve and adapt to changes in the worm. Maintaining soils with good microbial communities that fight worms is far smarter.

Recently, Bt maize was commercialized that produces both Cry3Bb1 and Cry34/35Ab1 [34]. Pyramiding of multiple Bt toxins that target the same pest can delay the evolution of resistance to either toxin when most individuals that are resistant to one toxin are killed by the other toxin [35]. In populations where western corn rootworm populations have begun adapting to Cry3Bb1, the benefit of pyramiding two Bt toxins may be diminished [36]. However, the lack of cross resistance between these toxins (Fig. 3a) suggests that pyramiding Cry3Bb1 with Cry34/35Ab1 may still act to delay resistance in problem fields at least as long as, if not longer than, the cultivation of maize producing only a single toxin.

Corn...my people call it maize.

An insecticide used in genetically modified (GM) crops grown extensively in the United States and other parts of the world has leached into the water of the surrounding environment.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, analysed 217 streams in Indiana. The scientists found 86 per cent of the sites contained corn leaves, husks, stalks or cereal cobs in their channels and 13 per cent contained detectable levels of the insectidical Cry1Ab proteins.


This should be no surprise to anyone. We did this experiment with humans and farm animals and antibiotics. Low levels of prophylactic antibiotics gave rise to drug-resistance bugs making those antibiotics useless. Monsanto has rendered useless a perfectly fine “organic” pesticide, Bt, that has been applied for decades in cases of emergency by organic farmers. They deserve reserved seating in a warm place in Hades.

As someone here offered to me a year or so back,

"You build a better Mousetrap, and put it in your house.
Pretty soon Mother Nature, will build a better Mouse!"

Yeah, tell me about it. I've got a rat in the barn that I just can't catch, tried cage traps, snap traps and shooting it (air gun). Even buried the traps and camouflaged them so it can't see them. It invariably always springs the traps but also always escapes. Guess I'll have to try poison next, although I don't like using it. The new cat is only 3 months old and not up to the job yet, I'm putting him through boot camp. :)

Cat biscuits.

Rats and mice love them. However, do not use the trigger arm on the trap. Substitute it with a loop of monofilament holding the biscuit down and the spring arm open. Rat eats biscuit, frees loop - snap. Rat bites through loop to free biscuit - snap. I have nailed quite a few houdinis this way.


The FDA has stated that GMO's are generally recognized as safe. Therefore you have nothing to worry about. Citizens, go back to your Corn Chips.


Oh this is rich, monsanto trying to deny evolution! thanks for giving me a late night chuckle.

Re: Perpetual warfare, up top:


Thanks for the tip. This is a dangerous bill. Most of it is authorization of funding and some rules and/or descriptions for the various military services. It is mostly just replacement of numbers, usually higher numbers, but not always. And apparently they can edit and add and remove stuff without formal "amendment" (and the approvals that implies). I am learning. Don't quite "get" how rather serious things can become law in this way.

There were two similarly odious provisions (see below*) "slipped into" the NDAA for FY 2007, which I "sensed" was popped out of Committee and went up for vote very quickly--way past the Oct. 1 deadline (for funding bills) in Oct. 2006. I'd been trying to track it to determine whether there was any floor discussion of it, and I never did find such public discussion in either House. But I did track it for a couple of months as the various versions (there were at least five) bounced around among the Houses and their Committees. I lost track of the "current version" in early September, I think it was hiding in a Committee until they could pop it out late and vote it into law quickly with no opportunity for me to read it before it became The Law. By then, I was starting to take the whole thing personally.


* (1) provision removing state governors as primary commanders of their states' National Guard units -- right to refuse the Federal Executive Branch to order the Guard to domestic deployment. At least 50 state and protectorate governors objected by formal letter to Senate Leaders.

(2) provision for hiring a contractor to provide for design of rapid-build-out detention centers (to house 5000 detainees each) and to effect that quick construction of some unknown number of them, when so ordered by the Executive Branch in the event of a serious "emergency." There were no definitions or requirements for "emergency." Only that the President declare said emergency and order the building of the detention centers. This may be where the false flag crazy conspiracy theorists not their "detention centers all over the county" claims. But for all I know, maybe some of them were built already. There were examples of potential "emergencies." The one I remember was something about immigration, and another example was "natural disaster." As I remember, there was no dollar funding for this. I think it to be paid for out of some other fund, but I don't really remember that detail. I never heard anything about this provision, just found it myself.


Here is the link to the NDAA for Fiscal 2012, for anyone who would like to read it. The heinous Eternal War provision described in the video may be easy to find, or not recognizable at all by the "untrained reader." No matter who is President, executive power seems to just keep on increasing. I remember Henry Kissinger quipping that although he could not be President, there was nothing to prevent him from becoming Emperor. It was thought to be a joke.


[Edit: I am tired, and should not have stayed up so late--apologies for stupid errors]

Researchers predict extreme summertime temperatures to become a regular occurrence

... Anderson's research indicates that if the 2°C increase were to come to pass 70-80% of the land surface will experience summertime temperature values that exceed observed historical extremes (equivalent to the top 5% of summertime temperatures experienced during the second half of the 20th century) in at least half of all years. In other words, even if an increase in the global mean temperature is limited to 2°C, current historical extreme values will still effectively become the norm for 70-80% of the earth's land surface.

"Many regions of the globe—including much of Africa, the southeastern and central portions of Asia, Indonesia, and the Amazon—are already committed to reaching this point, given current amounts of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere" said Anderson. Global-mean temperatures are expected to increase an additional 0.6°C (1°F) over the coming decades even if no more carbon dioxide, methane, or other heat-trapping gases are added to the atmosphere.

In the United States, the impacts are expected to be most severe over the western third of the country. "In these regions, if the 2°C threshold is passed, it is more likely than not that every summer will be an extreme summer compared with today," said Anderson.

Looks like Texas will be seeing 110-120 F all summer with occasional 130 F heatwaves. Wonder how the grid will hold up to that.

Maybe T. Boone will eventually get to install his wind turbines in Texas. I'd imagine those high temperatures create lots of wind. Wnd Wind turbines are an electric power generation system that does not need any water the way coal & nuclear do.

But . . . I guess the big winner will be natural gas since that doesn't require water and natural gas is so cheap. (But don't they need massive amounts of water to do the fracking?)

The most efficient, and most common way to burn NG to make electricity is by combined cycle.

Burn the NG in a gas turbine derived from a jet engine. Run the hot exhaust into a boiler to make steam, and run the steam through a steam turbine (second half just like a coal fired plant).

The gas turbine part can turn on in seconds. The steam part takes more like 20 minutes to begin to operate and close to an hour to get to full output.

From ancient memory, after an hour of operation, 62% of the power comes from the gas turbine and 38% from the steam turbine.

The most efficient combined cycle plants have a paper efficiency of 60%. The average US coal plant is around 33-34%.

If you do not have a working cooling pond, one can operate just the gas turbine - burn 100% of the fuel and get 62% of the electricity.

PS: the 62/38 split is for now obsolete equipment. Anyone have modern #s ?


With all the high temps this summer the wind has been strangely absent. Just recently in past few weeks has the wind started to pick up. Technically with the change in dew point we are little less dry now then we were all summer, but due to the increase in wind when a fire starts they seem to get out of control much more quickly right now. We have had quite a few small fires all summer but they typically were brought under control after only a few dozen acres were scortched.

If you read any of T. Boone's plans long term he is touting wind, but he has bet the farm (and a few other peoples farms) on NG. If he really believes in what her is doing (for some reason I think he does) he really needs and heir apparent for his cause. The green/reneable part of the Pickens Plan won't really kick in for 10-20 years.

"I'd imagine those high temperatures create lots of wind."

Not sure about Texas, but up here (Eastern WA) high temperatures come under big high-pressure systems that have no wind at all. The good news is that they also provide blazing blue skies, so PV would work well.

Summer finally got here. Yesterday was 1 degree less than the record high set in 1935.

And I just ate the last of the sweet corn tonight.

Using 61 years of tropical storm data, scientists uncover landfall threat probabilities

... "In a typical El Niño season, we found that storms have a higher probability of curving back out into the ocean as opposed to threatening to make landfall along the East Coast of the US due to a change in the circulation across the Atlantic. This is important for not only weather forecasting, but insurance companies, who can use these findings when determining seasonal and yearly quote rates," said Colbert.

In contrast La Niña seasons, when the equatorial Pacific Ocean surface is cooler than normal, are associated with both greater numbers of storms as well as an increased likelihood that they will make landfall.

We are looking at another La Niña seasons next year - so more hurricane on the East Coast :-(

From Lester Brown - Earth Policy Institute

Learning from China: Why the Existing Economic Model Will Fail

... By 2035 China would need 85 million barrels of oil a day. The world is currently producing 86 million barrels a day and may never produce much more than that. There go the world’s oil reserves.

What China is teaching us is that the western economic model—the fossil-fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy—will not work for the world. If it does not work for China, it will not work for India, which by 2035 is projected to have an even larger population than China. Nor will it work for the other 3 billion people in developing countries who are also dreaming the “American dream.” And in an increasingly integrated global economy, where we all depend on the same grain, oil, and steel, the western economic model will no longer work for the industrial countries either.

You bring us some interesting stuff, Seraph. Thanks!

Sounds about right.
Western boot drops? Then we wait for the Eastern boot?
Er ... it could be the pennies drop first?

Ordos: Boom town to ghost town (Video)

Ordos is empty - an entire city out in the middle of the desert. The "ghost city" became a radical example of China's obsession with growth.

Right. Keeping your savings in the bank yields very little because interest rates are so low in China.

Inflation hit a three-year high this past July at 6.5 per cent, meaning that wherever Chinese store their savings, it had better yield something that can keep up with the rate of inflation.

The stock market is no longer a popular choice for many ordinary citizens, who find it too unpredictable. That really only leaves property to dump your money.

Ordos is one oversized, inefficient bank vault.

Came across this strange article:

Tech company to build science ghost town in NM; backer says project will be economic boost

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico, home to several of the nation’s premier scientific, nuclear and military institutions, is planning to take part in an unprecedented science project — a 20-square-mile model of a small U.S. city.

A Washington, D.C.-based technology company announced plans Tuesday to build the state’s newest ghost town to test everything from renewable energy innovations to intelligent traffic systems, next-generation wireless networks and smart-grid cyber security systems.

Although no one will live there, the replica city will be modeled after a typical American town of 35,000 people, complete with highways, houses and commercial buildings, old and new.

As you read through the article you get the impression that they hope this city will have the economic advantages of a city, but without the pesky human inhabitants. If corporations find they can make money from uninhabited cities, with humans living in shanty towns beyond the city limits, that would make our future interesting. :)

hmm, twenty square miles? might by a nice place to squat for a while.

Anyone want to guess how much government funding will be involved with this? They are "Washington, D.C. based" after all. Can you spell boondoggle?

Supercomputer predicts revolution

Feeding a supercomputer with news stories could help predict major world events, according to US research.

A study, based on millions of articles, charted deteriorating national sentiment ahead of the recent revolutions in Libya and Egypt.

While the analysis was carried out retrospectively, scientists say the same processes could be used to anticipate upcoming conflict.

"Supercomputer predicts revolution". Indeed. So can a competent intelligence analyst, with a lot smaller carbon footprint. The challenge is not predicting a revolution, it is transmitting that prediction to decision makers in a form they can confidently use as a basis for action.

"transmitting that prediction to decision makers"

We are all decision makers.

It is time for all of us to make the decision to turn away from the current paradigm.

A potential oil field was found 100 miles of the coast of French Guiana. There was, of course, quite a lot of comment on the French news even though it is a rather preliminary report. This is quite expected since France has very little oil and French Guiana is a poor part of France.
Here is one of the few news about it in English http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/32946/
The oil was foud in a sandstone layer after deep sea drilling: Total depth 5770 m, including 2000 m of water. More drilling will be performed o estimate the size of the field including in neighboring Surinam. The field is suspected to be of the same type than Brazil and Ghana deep sea fields. It won't change much to peak oil but might help smooth the way down... and raise the amount of CO2 we release.

66 – Not much meat to chew on in that press release but: ” The exploration well encountered 72 metres of net oil pay in two turbidite fans,” Not at all like the Deep Water Brazil play with its billions of bbls of oil. More like the fields around Bakersfield, CA. Over 230’ of pay is nice but that’s the combined pay in two separate reservoirs. No hint as to the areal extent so can’t speculate on reserve potential. But if a 100’ pay column is typical, the reservoirs will have to be very large to even yield a modest size discovery. Not very deep drilling but that water depth will run the development cost up. As you say probably not enough to make a dent in PO. And maybe considerable less that that.

The big deal is that it is in FRANCE ! (Think as Hawaii and Alaska are American).

In tough times, they can get a trickle to run their farm tractors on.

Otherwise the French are setting up an Oil Free Transportation system in parallel with their oil based one.

All French rail is be electrified by 2025.

Bicycling has expanded six-fold to 6% of Urban trips (and MUCH higher in an emergency).

1,500 km of new tram lines this decade in every town of 110,000 and larger. 1,000 km open or under construction by 2013.

Building three TGV lines at once - creating more international connections and lines that bypass Paris.

More than double freight carried by rail. Some increase in barge traffic.

Best Hopes for the French,


Floating cities: PayPal billionaire plans to build a whole new libertarian colony off the coast of San Francisco
Ocean state would have no welfare, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons
Platforms would house 270 people and hundreds could eventually join together

Great! A bunch of egotistical maniacs, armed to the teeth, packed together on an island.
Sounds like an excellent plan to me. Let the shooting begin!

Look I believe in the free market as much as anyone, but this idea is insane and stupid.

And look at what it tells us about our country, about the type of people in it. Ok, fine PayPal is a successful company, but it's just a method of payment, for crying out loud! This guy is not worth a billion dollars. But then again, it's just a meaningless number, as the dollar is probably the most inflated major currency in the world.

Or maybe I'm too "negative" to be an American, the country where the only limit is the human imagination, the country where everybody can become rich if they just dream harder.

diesel-powered structure with room for 270 residents.

And they will eat what ? 270 x 2500 calories/day

they will have to create a new photosynthesis

They already did this experiment in Waco, TX. It exploded in the end.

day 1; 270
day 7; 190
day 24; 80
day 72; 1 sitting in a throne room of bones :P

hmmn. Guess It's time to cancel my PayPal account.

But there's a consolation: it demonstrates one of the great things about this world. Just when you get a bit complacent in thinking you've seen and heard it all, along comes something more mind-boggling still...

One of the greatest gifts of this life, is that most of us somehow learn the skill of making each day interesting. If you sit on a beach in Hawaii far away from the mainland, you might get the sense that actually nothing much is happening. Each wave followed by another. But it is our mind that makes each wave interesting, it is designed to note the distinctions.
Which is why any kind of mental illness is so sad, as the world is no longer interesting.

Infact if we could somehow engineer that, it would greatly aid the descent, after PO, climate crisis etc. Imagine masses of humanity quitting after their child raising obligations are over. Quitting as in suicide or even just withdrawal to something more passive than now.

In fact this opens up an entirely new optimistic vista. Gosh I wish the world were not so exciting.

If this screwed up world doesn't drive you completely insane every once in a while, there may be something seriously wrong with you.

If this screwed up world doesn't drive you completely insane every once in a while, there may be something seriously wrong with you.

That's why it's so important to continue to have TOD as a launching pad for the occasional rant. Sometimes nothing beats a good rant for venting toxic realizations.

Speaking of realizations, starting to look like EU on precipice of defaults, due to lack of action recently. Kind of feels like the other shoe's going to fall soon.


'Europe Is Urged to Take Bolder Action on Debt'

The stock sell-off, which began in Europe and continued in the United States, was prompted by news that an important German member of the European Central Bank was resigning, creating new uncertainty for the euro monetary union’s ability to take unified action.

But adding to the gloom was a word of caution from one G-7 attendee, the United States Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, that headwinds from Europe’s deepening debt crisis risked hitting the United States at a time when its own economy was still weak.

Versus 08, the recent decline in oil price along with dropping market indices have been rather orderly so far, but headwinds of possible defaults in the EU could provide shades of 08/09 great recession soon enough. Seems like many people and businesses are holding on by a thread, and any real dramatic shock to the markets and hiring (worse than it already is) will make it seem like we are reliving the same scenario. What a weird, uneasy feeling it will be if it plays out that way.

But maybe that will jolt people into realizing a repeat of the same occurance is probably happening for some fundamental reason, like the rising cost of commodities including oil (post peak 05 plateau), as Chindia expands.

Meanwhile the age old battle cry of 'what we need now is growth, sweet growth' continues to be urged as the best way to get ourselves out of this debt mess.

And so, with mounting worries of a new recession in the United States and Europe, the G-7 finance ministers have little choice but to focus on restoring growth — even at the risk of running up further deficits and debt.

Even at the risk of further debt!? I guess that's on par with drilling for oil in the Arctic, even though FF melted the ice and could lead to runaway AGW. Might as well go all in, win or lose. Guess which one it's going to be.

David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacology expert at Imperial College London who was not involved in this study, agreed.

How did they find a guy names Nutt

Nominative determinism. Search New Scientist for more information and examples.


pfft, already done in bioshock.

Loved that game. Looking forward to Bioshock Infinite. :-)

My mom, 70, thus far this season sold about $1000 worth of chili peppers to the local Asian market in D.C. Not bad for an old woman, I suppose. Thank goodness, she is doing it because she loves it. However, I think gardening out of necessity will be the trend to watch going forward. Just made my crab cake noodle dish, using my own tomatoes. I probably save ~$2.50 tonight. I'm a newbie, and I must admit that it will take a least two to three seasons for me to learn the basics.

What feels great is to sit at the table eating a fantastic meal and realize you grew/caught everything and made the wine...built the table, even. of course every night is not like that but one could aim for increasing percentages depending on seasons. I just built bins for storing spuds in our new root cellar, bins on wheels to permit easy access. It feels great to know that if tshtf, you have enough food for the year....maybe limited in selection, but you could get by.

By the way, a few years ago I made a stainless still to process fermented demerra sugar that I think I paid next to nothing for. I mixed it up to potential 14% alcohol, and ran it through the still twice to make a palatable overproof rum for those days/nights when a hot toddy is called for. It actually had a quite nice flavour without the dangers of going blind from the process. I think I got it up to 95% alcohol. This is a very simple recipe for home distilling and a good way to get started.

Just a few ideas.

I have noticed a number of small scale rural/exurban pert-time growers at the Farmer's and Fisher's Market. Not even close to commercial scale. They come with a specialty crop for a few weeks each year.

Asian pears - 2 acres, Figs - 3.5 acres, Blueberries (several growers, 2 to 10 acres), Persimmons - 1.5 acres, Pecans - several growers and a 90 year old man with honey and more.

A secondary/tertiary food source that adds variety. Typically they come to New Orleans, make some money @ the Farmer's Market Saturday morning and then spend it enjoying the city that weekend.

Low transportation and processing costs.

Best Hopes for Redundant Food Supply Chains,