Drumbeat: September 12, 2011

Entergy, Vermont battle over nuclear plant's fate

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (Reuters) - Power company Entergy faces off against the state of Vermont in U.S. court on Monday to fight a landmark effort to force the closure of its aging nuclear power plant.

Entergy in April lodged its lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the state and Gov. Peter Shumlin, saying the state violated the terms of Entergy's deal to buy the reactor in 2002 by giving politicians the power to shut it down.

The battle over the 620-megawatt (MW) Vermont Yankee plant, which produces almost enough electricity to power the entire state, comes six months after an earthquake in Japan triggered the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years and raised new doubts about the safety of the technology.

Kurt Cobb: A guide for the perplexed energy policymaker

If you are an energy policymaker (or layperson interested in energy) and you are NOT perplexed by the last decade, read no further. You have little to gain from what I write below. However, if you are a perplexed energy policymaker (or perplexed layperson interested in energy), please continue and learn why poor quality data, lack of transparency, broad uncertainty and flawed thinking about risk have made it difficult for many experts and the public alike to think sensibly about our energy future.

East coast will host third largest LNG terminal

Kolkata (IBNS) India would set up its third largest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal somewhere in the east coast to fulfill the requirement of gas and put thrust on green energy.

Prisoners of the Grid

US authorities are reportedly investigating the precise reason for the problem at the San Diego Gas and Electric company substation that set-off the cross-border energy crisis.

How China dominates solar power

Huge loans from the Chinese Development Bank are helping Chinese solar companies push American solar firms out of the market.

IAEA activates emergency center after French accident

Vienna - The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) activated its emergency center immediately after news broke of an explosion at a French nuclear site, the IAEA's chief Yukiya Amano said Monday.

Le Figaro: 1 killed in explosion at nuclear plant in southern France

The BBC quotes Le Figaro newspaper as saying one person was killed and three injured in the explosion following a fire in a storage site for radioactive waste.

The BBC also quotes media as saying there is a risk of a radioactive leak from the accident, which occurred in France's Gard region.

Oil below $86 amid growing Europe debt crisis

SINGAPORE – Oil prices fell to below $86 a barrel Monday in Asia as investor concern about Europe's debt crisis undermined confidence in equities and commodities.

OPEC cuts oil demand forecast

OPEC cut its forecast for global oil demand growth next year because of a worsening economic outlook and said a disappointing economic performance in top consumer the United States could further weigh on fuel use.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, in a monthly report on Monday, also said concerns were easing about a tight oil market in the fourth quarter of the year and that it expected Libyan oil output to return to full capacity in less than 18 months, more quickly than some estimates.

TransCanada ordered to cut gas flow in Quebec

The National Energy Board has ordered TransCanada Corp. TRP-T to restrict the flow of natural gas through a major Quebec pipeline, amid a broader crackdown on pipeline safety.

Late last week, the energy regulator quietly slapped TransCanada with a “pressure restriction” and ordered it to do a series of inspection digs on the TQM Pipeline, which delivers more than half the gas to Quebec’s major markets.

Mexico rescues seven oil workers drifting on life raft

Seven oil workers who spent three days drifting on a life raft in the Gulf of Mexico have been rescued.

Mexico's state oil company, Pemex, said the men - four Mexicans, two Americans and a Bangladeshi national - were found in the sea off the state of Campeche.

Iran to boost crude oil production

TEHRAN // Boosting Iran's crude production is one of the Oil Ministry's top priorities, the ministry's Shana news website reported, citing Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi.

Crude output must increase by 1 million barrels a day by 2013, Qasemi said at a meeting with officials in the southern city of Ahwaz, according to Shana. Iran, the second-biggest producer in OPEC, pumped 3.6 million barrels of oil a day in August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Iraq’s Kurdish Region Stops All Crude Oil Exports, Minister al-Luaibi Says

The semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq halted all exports of crude today, Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said.

Oil Tanker Sailing for Libya’s Mellitah as First Cargo From West Offered

An oil tanker is sailing to the Libyan port of Mellitah, a sign the nation may be resuming energy exports after months of fighting that led to the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi, ship-tracking data show.

Gaddafi forces kill 15 at Libyan oil refinery

RAS LANUF, Libya — Muammar Gaddafi loyalists attacked an oil refinery on Monday, killing 15 guards, in an apparent attempt to disrupt a drive by Libya’s new rulers to seize the ousted leader’s last bastions and revive the oil-based economy.

Witnesses said the assailants damaged the front gate of the refinery, 20 km from the coastal town of Ras Lanuf, but not the plant itself, which is not fully operational.

Libya’s Opposition Advances on Sirte After Halting Assault on Bani Walid

Libyan opposition forces pushed toward Sirte, Muammar Qaddafi’s birthplace and the last coastal town controlled by his supporters. A son of the deposed leader fled to Niger.

Mike Sadler: Incentives needed to eliminate reliance on foreign oil

We need incentives to end our addiction to crude oil that is primarily obtained from foreign sources. I contend that we will be much better off in the long run if we face the issue head on rather than to pretend that a problem doesn't exist. Even with the pessimistic evaluation that we are already experiencing "peak oil," we have only used half of our extractable reserves. In order to avoid a collapse of our national (global?) economy we need to utilize our existing supplies to ease the transition to other energy alternatives.

Money Show Report

Turning to fuel, he debunked the whole concept of peak oil saying new discoveries and technologies will give us access to a virtually unlimited supply of oil and natural gas. But high-quality, sweet oil will be tight - much of the world's supply is "junk" including Saudi oil. "It contains too much sulphur and it's too expensive to refine - no one wants it," he contended.

This explains why Brent crude, which is sweet light oil produced in the North Sea, is trading at a significant premium to West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) which is the North American benchmark, he suggested. The spread between the two is likely to continue to widen.

How Dead Is Yucca Mountain?

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has voted to kill Yucca Mountain again, sort of.

The project has become more complex than nuclear physics. Yucca Mountain, a volcanic structure 100 miles from Las Vegas, was the government’s lead candidate for a nuclear waste repository, but President Obama, making good on a campaign pledge, cut funding for an Energy Department plan to build there, meaning that the country would have to restart the search for a burial spot.

Lukoil plans to build solar power station in Uzbekistan

Russian oil major Lukoil plans to build a solar-powered generating facility in Uzbekistan, company President Vagit Alekperov has said, according to a video posted on the Lukoil press service's blog.

Around the World on Solar Power Alone

HONG KONG — Almost a year ago, the Turanor PlanetSolar, a sleek catamaran that bears a resemblance to a giant water beetle, set off from Monaco on a voyage around the globe. Later this month it will arrive in Singapore, having amassed proof that it is possible to traverse the world’s oceans on solar power alone.

Innovation Will Beat the Heat, Qatar Says

Fearing its bid could be torpedoed by the blistering heat that would greet FIFA officials on an inspection tour, Qatar knew it needed to do something dramatic. The heat issue already was being used against it in a bidding contest that included the United States, Australia, South Korea and Japan.

Organizers turned to the global consultancy Arup Associates and gave it a simple directive: come up with a design that will keep a soccer stadium cool. Arup delivered a 500-seat model stadium with a solar-powered cooling system that keeps temperatures below 75 degrees. The $25 million price tag was nearly as much as some countries spent on their entire World Cup bids.

Solar panels cause flap

She calls the solar-panel assembly particularly frustrating because in the neighborhood where they live, with homes valued at about $900,000 and up, atop Newport's Wiedemann Hill, views were among the top selling points.

"I don't know how you do this to somebody," said Bush, who in June moved into the couple's Watch Hill Lane home. "I just don't."

Green Age Dream

LUCY McArthur was born today, a hypothetical gen-alpha girl who will leave home and start her adult life in 2031. By then, Australia’s population is projected to have swelled to 27 million people – five million of them in Melbourne. The world will have run out of cheap oil, and its eight billion people will have to rely on renewable and reclaimed energy as petrol tops $8 a litre at the bowser.

Lucy will grow up in a low-rise apartment block. She will never play in a cubby house in her own backyard and will probably never know many of the things we take for granted today, like cheap, personal cars, hairdryers and bananas available all year round.

In our global future, less must be more

To stop heading down that road, Asian governments must immediately recognize that a bleak future lies ahead if Asians attempt to live out an aspiration to consume like Americans.

Above all, Asia must reject the blinkered views of those who urge Asians to consume relentlessly – be they Western economists and leaders who want the region to become a “motor of growth” or Asian governments convinced that ever-expanding economies are what their populations need.

John Sauven: 'I want to claim the arctic region for all of mankind'

As his campaign group turns 40, Greenpeace director John Sauven tells Michael McCarthy how he plans to save the Pole from big oil.

Analysis: Electric car hype hiding a quiet revolution

(Reuters) - Electric cars and hybrids may be capturing headlines and the imagination of green-leaning consumers around the world as one automaker after another announces plans to push into the brave new world of fossil fuel-free mobility.

But away from the spotlight, carmakers have been quietly delivering significant cuts in CO2 emissions with some re-engineering of internal combustion engines, technology advances, weight reduction and aerodynamic improvements.

Gaddafi forces kill 15 at Libyan oil refinery

I have been very surpised a 'scorched earth'policy of attacks on refineries never happened as per kuwait. I wonder if extraordinary precautions and constant air cover by NATO was implemented to ensure it didn't happen?

Does anyone know if this was done?

Thank you and good morning......Paulo

Re: France nuclear site explosion

Tweets point finger at this site (Google translate) http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://fr.wikipedi... in the Marcoule complex

The nuclear waste treated Centraco are very low, low and intermediate (TFA, FMA), they come from the nuclear industry (mainly from EDF and from Areva ), research centers ( Atomic Energy Commission ) , and small producers such as hospitals.

However some tweets say otherwise. Hopefully will become clearer soon. Let's hope it really is a relatively low level waste processing facility and not something much more serious (of which there's plenty possibilities at the site).

According to Wikipedia now working reactors at Marcoule:

All the 3 first generation reactors were shut down by 1984.

The site has a PWR operating to produce tritium for hydrogen bombs.

It is military, not used for civilian power generation, so does not get talked about.

More here:

The Nuclear Safety Authority said the blast occurred at an oven in the Centraco nuclear facility located next to the Marcoule site.

"According to initial information, the explosion happened in an oven used to melt radioactive metallic waste of little and very little radioactivity," the agency said in a statement.

Local media reports that firefighters have thrown a security cordon around the Centraco plant, which contains an incinerator that burns low-level contaminated waste. The plant is run by Socodei, a subsidiary of the French power company EDF.

Officials from EDF stressed that there was no nuclear reactor on the site and that no waste treated at the site of the explosion came from a reactor.

Then, again:

The furnace that exploded is used to melt waste with levels of radioactivity ranging from low to very high, ASN said.

[bold added]

There are no nuclear reactors at the southern French site.


it has also operated a pressurized water reactor that was used for the purpose of producing Tritium.


So I think the PWR reactor has already been closed too.

Whatever is operating there it is all pixelated on Google maps/earth. Obviously they don't want people to know too much about it.

According to Wikipedia no sites in the UK are pixelated (lots are in the USA though).


The situation at Marcoule is complex. Whereas the facilities producing plutonium were stopped several years ago, those which produce tritium continue in operation.

The web sources are contradictory. Mainstream media do not normally report the existence of working military reactors, except in Iran.

This looks to be still operational as a "research tool" according to French Wikipedia anyway (English Wikipedia said it shut down in 2010 - maybe it depends on the definition of "shut-down"). There might be other operational unmentionable reactors as you say.


Phoenix is a nuclear reactor of the type research nuclear reactor and fast neutron sodium-cooled . Built in 1968, is located on the nuclear site of Marcoule ( Gard ). Diverged August 31, 1973, and connected to the electricity grid in 1974 , it was in 2009 the oldest of French nuclear reactors in operation .

In an electric power of 250 MW, Phoenix has operated for 36 years jointly by the CEA and EDF .

Its mission was to both provide electricity and to conduct the study of transmutation of radioactive waste long-lived ( Bataille Act of 1991). Decoupled from the network March 12, 2009, was arrested September 12, 2009, but will work as a research tool until 2012, before dismantling whose duration is 15 years.

Everything you wanted to now about...

Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing in France (pdf 2.6 MB)

I.     Introduction 5
II.    The Economics of Reprocessing 8
III.   Reprocessing and Nuclear Waste Management 12
IV.    Reprocessing at Marcoule 16
           Process waste produced at Marcoule 17
           Clean-up and dismantling 17
V.     Reprocessing at La Hague 19
           Reprocessing contracts and operational history 19
           Plutonium separation and use 24
           Radioactive discharges and health effects 27
VI.    Waste Generation 30
           Nuclear waste versus re-usable materials 30
           Estimates of waste volume 31
           Alternative estimates of waste inventories 33
           The impact of reprocessing on final waste and disposal volumes 36
VII.   Conclusions 41

http://twitter.com/#!/KrsBauer (News producer at France 24 in Paris)

KrsBauer Christophe Bauer
Staff at #Marcoule told not to go outside and forbidden from eating or drinking anything. Audio (French) http://www.europe1.fr/France/On-pensait-que-c-etait-un-exercice/index.html

re: Le Figaro: 1 killed in explosion at nuclear plant in southern France

Nuclear energy provides more than 70% of France's energy needs.

All the country's 58 nuclear reactors have been put through stress tests in recent months, following the disaster at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant which was hit by an earthquake and tsunami.

EDF's share prices fell by more than 6% as news of the blast emerged.

Explosion at French nuclear plant of Marcoule

Marcoule site has not been included in the stress tests of nuclear facilities requested by the French government after the Fukushina crisis


Things seem to be okay, although TEPCO's denials at Fukushima, and the secretive nature of the site, give me pause.

L'accident est terminé

A 16 heures, l'Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN) a indiqué que "l'accident était terminé" et "qu'aucune contamination n'avait été relevée". "Aucune contamination n'a été détectée par nos six balises dans la vallée du Rhône", confirme la Commission de recherche et d'information indépendantes sur la radioactivité (Criirad) sur son site Internet. "Il n'y a pas de risque radioactif ou chimique", ajoute le ministre de l'énergie, Eric Besson. "Il n'y a aucun risque de rejet à venir", indique encore EDF.

My translation:

At 4:00, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) indicated that "the accident was finished" and "no contamination had been released". "No contamination was detected by our six sensors in the Rhône Valley," confirms the Internet site of the Comission for Research and Independent Information on Radioactivity (Criirad). "There's no radioactive or [toxic] chemical risk," adds Eric Besson, Minister of Energy. "There is no risk of future releases," EDF reiterated. [I don't know what EDF means here.]

Probably Électricité de France.

Things seem to be okay

I'm guessing things are not "ok" - but if one is not measuring, one can not know what the status of "things" are. Measure, release the data, and let each human figure out for themselves if the data is a personal risk.

"no contamination had been released"

And there was no release statements made at the start of three mile island and the pushers of Thorium were claiming there were not going to be releases at the THTR-300.

Looks like most people think the financial crisis in Europe is a lot scarier than a nuclear explosion. (Krugman's take here.)

Fear = Panic + risk
Finance is a high risk event right now while Nuclear wins the round on Panic.

There's a real chance of a bank run on one of the major European banks and that will bring the World's Financial system to it's knees. Though I am not sure that will be allowed to happen, there will be massive monetization aka money printing by the TPTB and everything will be fixed the way Krugman wants it.
Mind you before that happens somewhere along the way the developing economies will implode under growing inflation.

A bank run won't be allowed to happen?

How could that be stopped? I doubt that a there is enough control in the system to prevent it. Just like a mass panic, its hard to stop once the herd moves. Also, the smart money is already getting out of the greek banks, a sort of covert bank run.

As for the economies imploding due to inflation, Id say that already happended during the Arab spring.
The combination of inflation (price increases for food), crop failures due to effects of climate change and price increases for oil and transportation of goods already increased the average global food price by some 30%.
This lead to the social unrest we saw in Egypt, Lybia and others.

Since the only way to "fix" the financial system is to increases inflation this will only get worse.
Crops might get better next year or they might not. But the trend seems to be downwards.

Personally, I expect the problems in the countries wich need to import a large percantage of their food to get worse. The big question is if Saudi Arabia can evade the trouble of their neighbors and continue to provide oil for the rest of the world. I guess the recent delivery of tanks from Germany to Saudi Arabia is a way of preventing widespread civil unrest.

The big question is if Saudi Arabia can evade the trouble of their neighbors and continue to provide oil for the rest of the world.

The BP data base shows that Saudi net oil exports (total petroleum liquids) fell from 9.1 mbpd in 2005 to 7.2 mbpd in 2010, with four of the past five years showing year over year declines in annual net oil exports.

If we extrapolate Saudi Arabia's 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in their ratio of oil consumption to oil production (from 18% in 2005 to 28% in 2010), they would approach 100%, and thus theoretically zero net oil exports, in 14 years. I don't expect this to happen (presumably something has to change in their rate of increase in consumption), but it gives one a pretty good idea of the current trend.

The recent five year increase in Saudi oil consumption was 800,000 bpd. To put this in perspective, it is more than three times the five year increase in net oil exports from Canada (Canadian net oil exports increased by 250,000 bpd from 2005 to 2010).

Note that 21 of the top 33 net oil exporters showing lower net oil exports in 2010, versus 2005. The 21 decliners, in round numbers, showed a net export decline of about 6 mbpd, while the 12 showing increasing net exports showed an increase of about 3 mbpd, resulting in a net decline of about 3 mbpd. The 21 decliners accounted for almost 70% of global net exports in 2005, and their combined net oil exports dropped by one-fifth in only five years, from 2005 to 2010.

How could that be stopped?

I can imagine Trichet and/or Bernanke to come on TV and saying don't worry we are going to guarantee bank cash levels or something like that and in one second all action will shift to the commodities from the bond markets. Of course it will implode in the long run but in the medium term expect massive runaway inflation.

As for the economies imploding due to inflation, Id say that already happended during the Arab spring

I am talking about the BRIC's and South East Asian economies. The supposed growth engines of the world right now, the Chinese are frightened of another QE and rightly so, Putin has even compared Bernanke to a four legged creature.

there are two types of bank runs- those initiated by small depositors. These folks have the option of putting the money in their mattress. For the large depositors they have to take their money and actually put it some place- either in another bank or another asset class. If they buy an another asset class the seller now has to put the money in a bank. The bank that now has the money lends it back to the bank that has had a run on it- if necessary via the Central bank.

Runs by small depositors actually require the Central Bank to truck currency. But the amounts are usually small and usually impact small bank that are generally inconsequential.

Bank insolvency is a completely different thing- can and usually has occurred without a bank run. But bank insolvency is also a relatively easy thing to take care of - if the primary purpose is not to protect the bank equity owners and managers. All you have to do is nationalize the bank. To date that has been reserved for small banks that are not politically well connected.

Money is leaving Greek banks...

Your chart is too wide for my display but I found it here:
Greek Bank Deposits Decline For 7th Month In A Row: Tax Collectors Celebrate By Striking

Thousands of Greek tax collectors and customs officials walked off the job Monday in the first day of a two-day strike over plans to cut civil service salaries, the latest in a string of protests over Greek government reforms.

They were joined by taxi owners, who have called their own two-day walk over plans to liberalize taxi services, and garbage collectors in the capital, Athens, who are staging a separate 48-hour strike over local government cutbacks.

I think these folks are nuts. Striking is not going to help, it can only make things worse.

Ron P.

I think these folks are nuts. Striking is not going to help, it can only make things worse.

If a party has a grievance - what do YOU suggest they do instead?

Post on TOD? Tweet? Like the statement "I do not like this" on the facepages? Write new song lyrics and post the karaoke on MySpace?

Sitting in the forward seats on the bus are only going to result in things being worse.....

When the illustration is too wide, I can right-click, get "view image" on the menu, click on that, and see the whole figure. But maybe it just works on Firefox.

Calculated Risk has a list of 2, 5 and 10 year yields for government debt for various European countries:


The Greek 2 year yield is at 64.3%. The Greek 1 year yield is at 112%. Ouch.

These are numbers that only Beavis and Butthead could come up with if they ever discussed bond yields ... ehhhee dude ehhhee

CNBC is talking about S&P downgrading US debt again, within two to three years.

It is a Catch-22. People are in TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities) and other government bonds to protect their money from the dead-beat economy, but the dead-beat economy wants the capital so it is trying to get people out of G-debt and back into stocks. Wonder how it works out?

Depending on how the criminal investigations and civil lawsuits turn out, S&P could easily lose their NRSRO status within two or three years, which would pretty much put their rating subsidiary out of business.

The view of S&P is one that needs to be looked into by credit-ratings rater agencies.

Maybe our tax collectors will go on strike then too.

So where can I buy some? Seriously?

Good link. It is interesting to say the least. I suppose the threat of collapse in Euro Zone is offset in US by the subsequent flight of money to North America and other world currencies.

I understand what Krugman is saying about staying the course. However, if it was my money on the line in any shaky investment I don't think I would ride it out over the edge. I would have pulled out long ago unless stuck.

The stated idea that Spain is okay except for the 'housing bubble' could well be said for the US. Actually, it is a dumb thing to say because that is one of the main problems of the whole world wide messy overshoot. It's like saying, " Steve McQueen was in great shape but he had melanoma".

On the other hand, the economic dire warnings continue on and on. It seems fairly slow motion in the unfolding. It feels like the prepping we west coasters make for 'the big one'. We know it will come one day, but except for a mirror rattling last Friday from the 6.3 offshore, (which 50% in my area did not even feel), the warnings, evacuation signs, and earthquake kits morph into an industry, itself.

The truth is out there, but damned if I know what it is anymore other than fundamentals taught by family traditions and values? Even conservative financial values are pooh pooed as 'homestead or folk economics'. I am beginning to think we will just muddle on...week to week.

The big question...will Europe disintegrate into war(s) over the decline? History indicates it will. This cooperation seems to be a blip in past practice.

The big question...will Europe disintegrate into war(s) over the decline? History indicates it will. This cooperation seems to be a blip in past practice.

That thought has crossed my mind as well. Of course a lot of experts say it's impossible a world war could happen again...but they said that after WWI, too.

Fortunately we don't have enough munitions here in Europe to start a war or money to buy any. We'd have to have a virtual war over the internet instead. :)

I believe currency war, trade war then shooting war is the usual order. But if the euro collapsed, I'm not sure what there would be to fight about? Competitive currency devaluations certainly, trade barriers probably, but what would trigger fighting and to gain what?

Climate change would however be a different kettle of fish with survival at stake anything could happen. The need for mass migration, fertile land or favourable climate could easily trigger a war.

The last war hasn't been forgotten yet and frankly, if anything we should have learned by now that war always costs more than you gain when you are going up against similar level armies. That and there isn't much to take really that would improve our situation...not when you realise that when one european country goes down, all countries are going to be badly hit.

Of course it would lower population and then you have all those houses that need rebuilding...

Personally, I don't see a war coming as of now.
Who is supposed to fight? Will the Greeks invade Germany? Or Spain attacking Britain?
And with what? The millitary of the individual states of the EU are in no shape to defeat any other of the European contries. It looks more likely to me that we will see a lot of civil wars or authoritan regimes with an iron grip on their populace. That is to say, I see greeks fighting other greeks before they will ever try to project force outwards.

This might change of course, there could be a seize of power by some radical group and a buildup of military force.
Altho I'm not sure how that is supposed to happen. The lack of ressources might prevent a quick ramp up of arms.

There is also the the fact that some of the EU states have nuclear weapons or nuclear reactors.
A war within Europe could mean in the catastrophic failure of one or severeal of these, wich would mean trouble for all.

For the life of me, I cannot see it. Not within the next 10 years at least.

To tell the truth, I think a breakup of the USA has, while unlikely in itself, a higher likelyhood. Some sort of Red vs Blue states scenario.

But I can't see that either yet.

I guess a big part of this is that their is no convenient "feindbild", no scapegoat you can blame. It's hard to build up a war frenzy without an enemy. As of now, people will blame their own politicans or the "banksters". I don't see anyone blaming any nation. So, if there is a war, it might not be about nationality but something else.

A scenario would be a consilidation of power by the EU government. The individual states will surrender their sovereignty to a central EU government in the hopes of continuing the status quo. Due to the ever increasing pressure by PO and Climate change, the populace will suffer, resulting in terrorist attacks. The government will respond by tightening security. And so on.

"Who is supposed to fight? Will the Greeks invade Germany? Or Spain attacking Britain?"

More likely the opposite is possible, when German, French and Dutch banks try to enforce their claims on the massive debt, especially soverign debt, in the PIIGS. Suppose Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal create a Med Rim alliance which thumbs its nose at the rest of the EU and the debt they hold. Just some thoughts...How long will the populations of these states stand by and watch the private foreign debt-holders/repo men take possesion of real property in their countries? Methinks nationalizm is alive and well under the surface, along the Mediterranean rim. South vs. North, eurostyle.

Societe Generale down (another) 9.84% today. Off 59.15% YTD.

As a start, you are talking about the banks trying to enforce their claims. This would increases the already high dislike for the "banksters". I fail to see how that becomes a national issue. That sounds more like what Marx said, capital vs labor. Also, while I don't know what other countries expectations are, but I haven't met any german who expects to see greek ever repay it's debt. The talk about a Greece default is now pretty much mainstream. I doubt anybody every expects repo men to somehow enter the picure.

As for the PIIGS entering a new alliance. Just after their last alliance breaks down, they enter a new one? However, if nationalizm is alive and well, I dont see them forming an alliance. Also, their economies should be pretty much in ruins by then and unlikely to project any kind of force. That would also leave the countries with known nuclear weapons on the northern side.

This scenario might be some cold war style thing, but the southern alliance would have nothing to gain by attacking the north.

As for the north, its hard to say what would happen. Presumably, the economy would be pretty much ruined as well. Still, there would be no pressure to attack the south. What would be gained by that?

The main thing that makes this whole talk about war in Europe unlikely as of now or the next years is the lack of an enemy. I still see the population of the various members blaming either their own politicans, the banks or the banking system, or maybe the EU as a government entity.

Ghung - Like the man said: Predictions are difficult...especially about the future. Difficult to imagine the rise of an externally agressive state like Germany in the 30's. OTOH, trade wars (especially involving energy/critical commodities) sprinkled with various terrorist activities could still be rather nasty.

Sooner or later that "U" word will be unavoidable for the majority of countries. The only question is how long before TPTB explain unsustainable to the people. Or if they ever will. Hard to imagine the banks won't be the ultimate scapegoat. Remember that TV series "V" where the aliens convinced the sheeple that all scientists were evil and should be destryoed?

I think the probability of war happening is very low, it will play out too fast for it to happend. Once CDS starts exploding, banks are being nationalized, credit squeezed, ATM blocked, it will already be too late to do anything. THe countries will be in such an extraordinary complex mess that it will be way to late to act and the collapse will unravel very quickly afterward ...

I think widespread war is much less likely than in the past. Birth control (fewer excess males) and instant communication tend to make it far less tolerable to most people than in the past.

instant communication tend to make it far less tolerable to most people than in the past.

Say, how's that instant communication working out on Sept 11th, 2011?

Did that communication channel pitch 'kinetic military actions' as less tolerable on that day in the US of A?

I doubt that this is a fair comparison. You equal a war within the EU by EU members to one of the many military adventures of the US of A. Its fair to say that the communication between the various EU states and their populace is on a different level than the communication between the US and Afghanistan. Actually, as far as instant communication goes, Afghanistan in 2001 is not one of the top examples that comes to mind.

I think Eric's point was that speed of communication between countries is irrelevant -- what matters is the elite's desire to divert attention and its ability to create a scapegoat.

I think one can point back to the book Propaganda. Or a remembrance of the Maine.

The talk of war/no war matters little. With the use of the press - and if a Nation State needs a distraction - a war there shall be.

I find the risk of a European war close to zero. War is simply to politiclly incorrect. You have to overcome that, and show that there is a gain to be had. But what would that gain be?

Also, we do not have armys any more. Sweden have 9 000 000+ inhabitants, and 5000 soldiers in the army. Yes, 5000, I didn't drop any 0s. Europe have to few soldiers to fight any wars at all.

On the long term, I do hover see the risk of a WWIII greater than 50%.

It seems to me that as the holder of the current (Euphemized) 'Empire Card', any conflict growth within Europe will instantly draw in the influence of the US, and all members of the security council will pull out every stop to prevent 'unpleasantness' on Europe's shores and fields, as they do in Israel.

The club likes to protect its own.. that's what clubs do to assure continuance of control. Which they do until they can't. (Club = Empire = Warlord's Clan)

Yes, it's the long term I was talking about. Not next week.

In the long term, I would expect the US to break apart as well.

I would be careful using the phrase "long term", when talking about big changes coming. It has been almost 70 years since WWII. That might give people the wrong idea that they will be dead before things degrade to the point that the will be effected. But, judging by all of the stabilizing exponential realities of peak oil, I don't see even ten years of status quo. Just think about the Alaskan pipeline coming off line because of too few barrels per day to keep it warm, or the Available Net Exports that Westexas never quits talking about. :^) (Just kidding Jeff)

Did someone mention net exports? Time to post a chart again.

I do see ten years of status quo, and probably more. At least with respect to WWIII.

Will most of us live long enough to be affected? Yes, if by "being affected" you mean higher gas prices, maybe even to the point that SUVs become hard to sell again. The economy probably won't be great, either. But that's a far cry from WWIII.

Yes, if by "being affected" you mean higher gas prices, maybe even to the point that SUVs become hard to sell again.

Oh the horror!


You guys are looking at the wrong place for a war, think South Asia and Middle East. China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Israel, KSA. All itching to let their missiles fly.

I agree - unlikely to have a war in Europe. But riots - that's another matter.

Technically we've already had riots all over Europe. They just haven't flamed up yet into anything truly impressive. Yet...

Gosh, it's nice to know this time's different. List of conflicts in Europe.

I lost count somewhere around 300, but I suppose history is a poor predictor of the future. Maybe Europe finally grew up :-0

let people be hungry like in Germany in the 1920-s then you have someone step up and take over the economy and then starts a war. History can repeat itself.

In the modern world we think we relegated death to the nursing homes and war to the history channel and video games.

But these things never really go away. If you don't die of infection or starvation, then you'll die of heart disease or cancer. If countries don't make war, then businesses will.

The war going on right now is a currency war. It's in the financial markets. Gold and silver will win this war, and the dollar and the euro will lose. Tomorrow the war might involve guns again, but who can say for sure? I suspect the wars of the future, like everything else, will be local. The energy isn't there for anything else. The U.S. can barely hang on to a couple of small countries in the M.E., much less bomb and take over entire industrialized countries.

So wars, probably. WW3, unlikely.

So wars, probably. WW3, unlikely.

Don't be so sure. Even deep into poverty we can always scramble the resources for one last big war effort. If we realy want to.

Here's a list of numbers of men at arms by nation, presuming relative accuracy from Wiki, that is.



No, Spain is not OK.
Cleverly they (we?) have a stock exchange index called IBEX 35. They are the 35 most important Spanish companies, but our Stock Exchange has hundreds of companies. The ones in Ibex35 mostly work overseas (Campsa, REPSOL-YPF, Telefonica for example) and even IBEX 35 has lost 33% of value in two years.
Look at the chart at the right of the screen.

The others are all broke, they have lost 50% and more of their value in the past two or three years.
Ah, but the IBEX 35, the FTSE, the German DAX, are not doing too bad, are they? What a con game.

The big question...will Europe disintegrate into war(s) over the decline? History indicates it will. This cooperation seems to be a blip in past practice.

History indicates that there will be a period of revolutions in the weaker powers and peripheral states and an armament buildup by the great powers prior to the outbreak of war.


Note that there was also a significant shift in allegiances in the period 1875 - 1914. Some of this may be taking place now. There seems to be economic stress between the US and Europe, and Turkey seems to be shifting towards staking out an independent foreign policy, rather than being a dutiful subordinate in NATO and a supplicant to the EU. Indeed, I would expect the breakup of NATO to be a key indicator.

2011 vs. 2008: Redux or next step down?


Note: All chart prices through Friday. Financials off sharply again today. Major French banks all off ~10% Monday. At what point does fear become panic?

Unfortunately, investor panic is all you need to really destroy the Global economy – as we proved in 2008.

Really now, can we blame it on investor panic? I think investors in that system have a very good reason to panic. I would be panicking too if I had any money in outstanding bonds in any of those banks on those charts.

Ron P.

Ron, the policial messaging is already going pretty strong. Evil socialist countries in Europe are hurting the Global economy. Remember oil is never the problem. Just socialists.

But it is all good, Ghung. BOA is cutting 30,000 jobs! Panacea reigns.


The new OPEC Oil Market Report is out this morning. OPEC production in August was 29,920,000 bp/d. That was up 76,000 bp/d from July but that was only after July production was revised downward by 225,000 bp/d. OPEC production is still down 1,752,000 bp/d since their high of 2008. But of course most of that is because of Libya. Remove Libya from the data and OPEC is down 69,000 bp/d since their high recent high of July 2008.

Also in this report they give the rig counts. I just picked the worldwide rig count for comparison.

	2005	2006	2007	2008	2009	2010	Aug-11	Change since 05
Total	2,785	3,130	3,208	3,456	2,402	3,069	3,698	  913
Oil	  980	1,124	1,242	1,432	1,222	1,701	2,369	1,389
Gas	1,746	1,947	1,903	1,950	1,125	1,325	1,280	 -466
Other	   13	   17	   20	   33	   35	   43	   51	   38

Notice the rig count for oil has more than doubled since 2005 while gas rigs have declined. Oil rigs drilling for oil have increased 141% while oil supply has remained on a level plateau. In fact it is this dramatic increase in rigs that have kept the world on the plateau. We are drilling over twice as much just to stay in the same place.

Revisions, revisions, revisions. Comparing last months OPEC OMR with the one just released today.

The August report-- World Oil Supply: Preliminary figures indicate that global oil supply increased 0.80 mb/d in July to average 88.33 mb/d

The September report-- World Oil Supply: Preliminary figures show that world oil supply averaged 88.09 mb/d in August, an increase of 0.69 mb/d from the previous month.

What this implies is that July production was revised downward rather dramatically.

Ron P.

If I'm reading things right, Louisiana Light is currently at a $3.30 premium over Brent.
What's up with that?

Rat - Demand. The Gulf Coast refiners love the sweet stuff and there ain't much left in the area. Essentially a seller's market.

I don't understand where you are getting that but I don't doubt it. Here is the only thing I can find concerning Louisiana Light.

The sweet/sour crude spread
The weakness in WTI caused by storage infrastructure constraints at Cushing and the widening transatlantic spread meant US spot crude lost ground with respect to other grades. Mars sour crude has been trading at a premium since December 2010 and this widened in August to $21.01/b from $14.64/b the preious month. The differential between Light Louisiana Sweet and WTI rose by $4.27 to nearly $23/b in August and reached $29/b on 6 September.

Ron P.

MIT study says Arctic ice thinning 4x faster than predicted


(Thanks to prokaryotes at realclimate for the link.)

Thank God for that. Without the newly gained (and gaining) access to hundreds of billions of barrels reserve in the Arctic we will never be able to keep enough of the liquid gold stuff flowing towards our dearest 4-wheeled companion.

Burn billions of gallons to gain access to billions more, how convenient eh?

Melt, Baby, Melt!

LOLLLLLLLLLL. An extra portion of Blue Bell for Styno.

Lines that will save us from our selves:

AGW - Melt, baby, melt
Rick Perry - Run, baby, run
Mitt Romney - Power point, baby, power point
Chevron et al - Drill, baby, drill
Backmann - Pump, baby, pump (that $2/gal gasoline)
Bernake - Print, baby, print
D Congress - Spend, baby, spend
R Congress - Cut, baby, cut
T Boone - Burn, baby, burn (NG)
Chesapeake et al - Frac, baby frac
M. Moore - Rant, baby, rant
US companies - Hold, baby, hold (onto their overseas earnings)
US banks - Hold, baby, hold (onto their capital)

Rockman, you print that on a T-shirt and I will wear it and send you a photo.

Oct - I'll try to find some of my old material. Used to make a lot of iron-on transfers back when my girl was young. Not sure if I can fit it all on anything other than a XXX T. I was hoping to inspire some creative thinkers on TOD who had other "life changing" catch phrases in mind.

If we can collect enough, who knows...maybe we can sustain BAU after all.

I am not too big. LOL. Only 175 lbs. Fine print. Need to add some other ones.

War, Baby, War.

Biofuels, Baby, Biofuels.

That sums up our struggle. Could catch on. You could become famous.

Obama - "The audacity of dope"

Great idea! I would add Goldman Sachs - Short, baby, short

That's the spirit gang. A bit of humor but more importantly gives some insight into how the various TODsters view our problem and some of the phony solutions thrown out.

Southern Europe: Strike, baby, strike
China: Build, baby, build
Japan: Glow, poppa-san, glow

Naw, that last one is for the cats. What an eerie photo.

Scientists create glowing cats


The Media - Spin, Baby, Spin

TOD: conserve, baby, conserve
Goldbugs: gold, baby, gold

Obama's new road song for the '12 campaign?

This study just points to the well known fact that there are weakness in the models used for sea-ice. The report is behind a pay wall as a paper-in-print and one needs AGU online access to the JGR to read it.

BTW, just thought I'd mention that the person known as prokaryotes hasn't learned about the limits of posting, as he/she put up an entire article on Real Climate. I noticed several errors in the article and it was from a dubious source as well...

E. Swanson

Yeah, s/he occasionally links to some good stuff, but that one was a stinker. I was a bit surprised, as were some others, that it got through.

The New Arctic Abnormal: Record Low Sea Ice Volume, Area and Extent*
Sep 11, 2011 at 10:22 am

AFP: The area covered by Arctic sea ice reached its lowest point this week since the start of satellite observations in 1972, German researchers announced on Saturday….


From the linked article, wr;

No one knows what this will do to Northern Hemisphere weather patterns in the short run, and what happens with the permafrost and methane clathrates in the medium to long run. I don’t find that a particularly comforting thought.

Presumably, one tipping point leads to another via the albido effect. But the timing, ah that is the next question.

I find it fascinating many people still think all of this can be chalked up to natural variability. Must have something to do with short attention spans affecting understanding of time intervals needed to alter temperature in the Arctic this much.

Re: How China dominates solar power, up top:


Want to know what's really special about the solar panel dispute story?

The development it's in was a poor neighborhood stolen by eminent domain and given to a private developer.

This lady is whining about the solar panels and ignoring the fact that she bought stolen property.

Small detail: it's whitewashed stolen property, you know, so she can sleep comfortably pretending not knowing. Oh, and complaining about her neighbor... what else you got to do with your spare time when your life is slipping into a nice quiet upper middle-class retirement?

Btw, if she's so fond of her urban developed view on Cincinatti, then why is she so upset about urban development (the solar panels)? It's like complaining about a newly erected windturbine spoiling the view on the coalplant' smokestack...


I used to live in CIncinnati. People are very conservative there in N. Kentucky, and while the lady may whine all day long. The panels are not on her property and a small piece of shrubbery or some vines would cover up her view.

In parts of CA, it is legal to have a neighbor with trees shading your solar panels, to have them cut down or trimmed to prevent shade.

LOL. A lot of whining in the media about these things. People are going to get buyers remorse in a few more years when they are trying to fuel up their subdivision-sized SUV with $8 / gal gasoline and paying $0.35 a kW-hr for electric power to cool and heat homes built with sub-standard code and excessive sprawl.

As Frank Lloyd Wright said, "Don't buy a house for the view unless you own the view."

'White' light suppresses the body's production of melatonin

Exposure to the light of white LED bulbs, it turns out, suppresses melatonin 5 times more than exposure to the light of High Pressure Sodium bulbs that give off an orange-yellow light. "Just as there are regulations and standards for 'classic' pollutants, there should also be regulations and rules for the pollution stemming from artificial light at night," says Prof. Abraham Haim of the University of Haifa.

Solution: Get out in the sun more.

Yeah. Guess what. When you are outside. The T.V. is turned off too along with the lights. Electric consumption reduced rather well. This is all hogwash anyway. No one tans under street lamps. LOL

Melanin is a pigment associated with tanning, melatonin is a hormone associated with sleep.

So... don't try to sleep with the light on...

By tanning I mean basking in the street lamps. I know the difference. I also know that small levels of light do squat to real people. It is a fear-mongering article that is worried that electrical consumption could __horror__ go down as a result of LED installation in municipal systems, when these very municipalities are faced with massive budget deficits. LOL.

Waste money on sodium lamps and charge the people more in taxes.


Actually, the gain in efficiency between a good HPS lamp and a LED is rather low.

You do not mean that the average working life of 5000 hours for an HPS compared to an LED at 50,000 hrs is a good idea. You think a cash-strapped municipality should fork over its funds to pay for light bulb replacements? Seems like a bad way to pay down debts.

Slow start-up, high voltage, yellow color, lead contamination -- all drawbacks to HPS street lamps.

I think you can save ~50% in electricity costs as well with LED over HPS.

What is the advantage of HPS?

Astronomers prefer them as the light pollution is a very narrow band that they can filter out. White light knackers them them up far more.

Errr.... apart from that everything else that I can think of seems to be a downside.

Actually, HPS lamps have a rated service life of 24,000 hours (30,000 hours in the case of Philips' Ceramalux HPS non-cycling lamps) which generally translates to be five to six years out in the field. LEDs should last, in theory, two to three times longer, but the replacement cost at end-of-life versus a $25.00 HPS lamp could be a killer. All street lights in this province will be changed over to LED within five years; the City of Halifax is converting its 40,000 street lights as we speak, so presumably the overall numbers pencil-out favourable (fingers crossed). The LED fixtures purchased by the City of Halifax cost $750.00 each and you can probably add another $300.00 to $400.00 per pole for labour, so the capital outlay is not insignificant.

Personally, I think Philips' Cosmowhite lamps could be a better option. Nice incandescent-like light at 2800K, a 70 CRI (versus 22 for HPS) and a 30,000 hour service life. These 60, 90 and 140-watt lamps can effectively replace 100, 150 and 250-watt HPS. The energy savings are not as good as LED, nor their rated life, but it doesn't require that you replace the entire fixture which could be a significant cost savings, especially for more decorative street fixtures as opposed to your standard, run-of-the-mill cobra head. And when the lamp dies, you simply swap it out for a new one. The City of Chicago had considered LEDs but ultimately decided to go this route.


Paul, great info as always. It sounds like the Halifax street lighting changeout may be more of a PR exercise, than an optimised energy (&cost) saving one?

There seem to be many cases where "politics and optics" get in the way of the best use of resources, even with resource conservation projects!

Hi Paul,

I have to be careful how I put this, but it's a Halifax based firm that is supplying the fixtures and you might say they're well connected... nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

The City's calculations seem somewhat tilted. For example, they claim that a HPS fixture must be re-lamped every three years. At an average of twelve hours per day, that works out to be just 13,000 hours. At 24,000 hours, you should be good for five years and at 30,000 hours between six and seven. And if you really want to stretch things out, you can go with GE's dual arc design which gets you to 40,000 hours (see: http://www.gelighting.com/na/business_lighting/education_resources/liter...) -- that's three times the life expectancy assumed in the City's financial analysis. [Note: It's the anticipated savings with respect to labour more so than energy that is supposedly driving the switch to LEDs.]

So, yes, I'm guessing there's more going on than meets the eye.


Wow those new HPS lamps are better rated than the web site I got the 5000 Hr number from.

I agree that replacing the entire metal housing/fixture is not a great way to go, but I am surprised places are big on paying for more frequent lamp replacements, when the Republican juggernaut is screaming anti-Union jobs rhetoric at every street corner in the city. I also would imagine that in some places (like California) where 7% guaranteed annual increases in the electric rate would translate more favorably for efficient lighting. Complex issue.

Complex, indeed.

A Philips 70-watt Ceramalux HPS lamp supplies 6,300 lumens and total fixture draw with ballast would be in the range of 90-watts. An LED Roadway SAT-72M LED fixture supplies 5,100 lumens and pulls 65-watts. Taking into consideration the difference in luminaire efficacy, the number of delivered lumens would be about the same and so our net savings work out to be 25-watts. Assuming 4,400 hours operation per year, we could expect to save about 110 kWh per annum or $11.00 at $0.10 per kWh. [70-watt HPS is commonly used in residential areas.]

If you're willing to accept a loss in light output, you could opt for a SAT-48S which generates 3,450 lumens and draws 43-watts. This bumps our annual savings to 207 kWh or just under $21.00.

At an estimated $1,100.00 per fixture (materials+labour), it's going to be tough to get the numbers to work unless you're willing to get somewhat creative.


So at the end of the day, LED is pricey yet for street lamps if you forgo the color characteristics of HPS.

Potentially, the instant-on feature of LED is a nice advantage. The Lamps could be better for motion-sensing applications to only light as needed (and save electricity), but that is more specialty I imagine.

But in business interior lighting, LED installations work out to save money and improve lighting quality and lower excess heat.

That's more or less how I see it. If you're using LED to replace halogen then you're miles ahead, but with respect to fluorescent, ceramic metal halide or high pressure sodium light sources, it's a little more complicated.

To illustrate this point: a standard 2x4 prismatic troffer fitted with a high efficiency NEMA Premium ballast and two 28-watt high performance T8 lamps will supply 5,104 gross lumens and draw approximately 49-watts (104 lumens per watt). Cost: less than $40.00. By comparison, a Philips 17-watt 800 series EnduraLED PAR38 supplies 930 lumens (55 lumens per watt) and sets you back $65.00.

At the risk of contradicting myself, we retrofitted a number of petrol forecourts originally illuminated with 400-watt metal halide lamps (455-watts with ballast) using 114-watt LED kits. I drove by one of these stations earlier this evening and it looked fantastic. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera so I'm heading back now to take a couple of pictures which I'll share with the forum. The old fixtures had drop lenses that blast light in all directions with much unwelcome glare, whereas their replacements direct light downward where it can be put to best use. The ability to fine-tune how light is delivered is where LEDs hold the upper hand.


What is the theory behind needing street lights? In my suburb, only intersections are lit, which adds some value for added visibility in a more complex environment with occasional pedestrians or cyclists as well as curbs and medians that those with poor eyesight and poor headlights might otherwise miss.

But nearing downtown all the highways are lit as well. Once in a blue moon the lights will illuminate a dog or such, but with controlled access and few complications I can't see a need for lights at all. Growing up in the country I was used to having nothing but moonlight and headlights to aid visibility, and that was on narrow two-lanes with many more animals.

Wouldn't just turning off the lights be reasonable? Or, with LEDs, adding proximity detection to only light the next few lights ahead of travelers? Actually, this would seem to be sensible for my suburban corners as well -- heck, why not turn off the traffic lights, walk lights, and all lighting if there are no vehicles or pedestrians around?

Hi Paleo,

Good questions and I'm not sure I can provide you with proper answers, but a few random thoughts come to mind. Street lighting in urban areas obviously pre-dates the advent of electric light, but electrical utilities were keen promoters as it allowed them to sell surplus electricity at times of low demand, and presumably the merchant class and city fathers embraced this as a way of extending economic activity into the evening hours. With the introduction of the motorcar and higher speed vehicular traffic and the risks that this presented to pedestrians, an increase in light levels was deemed appropriate. At the same time, technical advancements were helping to drive down costs, i.e., the move away from incandescent light sources to more energy efficient and longer life mercury-vapour and fluorescent (and in some cases low pressure sodium) and in more recent years metal halide and HPS. Moreover, electricity costs prior to the 1970's were falling in real terms which helped push things further along, as did concerns with regards to crime and public safety (no doubt spurred on in part by those who stood to benefit). Now that energy costs are escalating higher and municipal budgets are stretched thin, there's been a reversal of sorts, although there's still considerable resistance to change. Much of this as you probably know has been codified by the IES and it would be rather risky (foolhardy?) to ignore their guidelines, especially as it relates to pedestrian conflict.

In short, unless the IES relaxes their recommendations, I don't expect much change beyond the current drive towards more efficient light sources and luminaires.


Down here, they had a session of replacing the HPS fittings with one that had, the best I can describe it, a fluorescent doughnut in it. Don't know if they were fluorescent though. The light quality is way better. They changed out the entire head and that was a bonus. Although, at first glance, the head looked the same the old ones had the tube mounted lower with a glass dome. The newer ones have the tube well buried in the head and a flat glass plate. The light now goes where it is needed, down, not in your eyes, on the roofs (I could take photos up there it was so bad), in the sky etc. I doubt that it would have been a simple field update other than a whole head job.


What you're described is a cobra head with a full cut-off fitted with an induction lamp. They're a tad pricey, but the lamps are rated for 100,000 hours service.

The lamp itself could be round as in the image below:

Or elongated:


That's the one, the one at the top. They really improved the street lighting around here. They also seem to be more resistant to the local pond life turning them off with catapults so that they can hang around, in the dark, on street corners.

From your other comment

The old fixtures had drop lenses that blast light in all directions with much unwelcome glare, whereas their replacements direct light downward where it can be put to best use. The ability to fine-tune how light is delivered is where LEDs hold the upper hand.

This is a big plus as less light can be used for the same job as less is wasted. The difference can clearly be seen in these lamps as well, no more light in the eyes.


Pipeline fire kills dozens in Nairobi slum

At least 61 bodies have been recovered after petrol that spilled into an open sewer caught fire and sent a wave of flame through a densely populated slum in Nairobi, police said. Police said it was proving difficult to establish the exact casualty figure because some charred remains had been found in groups.

Residents said petrol spilled from a fuel depot owned by the Kenya Pipeline Company and ran into a sewage dyke under the slum, which is known as Sinai. The petrol ignited, causing an inferno.

Some stuff I found:


from which comes the following:

"in the case of oil the choice is whether to extract it now or leave it in the ground and extract it later. If you work through this story, the thing that rises at the real rate of interest is not the price but the difference between the price and marginal extraction costs, which may be much smaller."

So I google a bit and find:

( predicts oil at 151 2011 dollars to 165 2011 dollars over 2010-2030.

I haven't completely digested this, but I don't believe it takes into account changes due to the recent 2007 onward economic troubles, so it's high estimates for price are probably due to assumptions about demand that no longer hold. The paper doesn't speculate about recent events.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting.

Just watching the talking heads on CNBC. Almost everyone is predicting the collapse of the Euro. One guy says it will be par with the dollar by the end of the year. It is currently at 1.36 dollars to the Euro.

Ron P.

Worse yet, the Swiss National Bank is trying to create an exchange rate floor between the franc and the euro. If the euro starts plunging in value, the SNB will be selling francs and buying euros, trying to keep the value of the franc down. (An expensive franc means the Swiss have trouble exporting to Europe.) The collapse of the euro could very well take down not only the euro, but also the Swiss franc, formerly the soundest currency on Earth.

That is what they need to do, print more euros to pay off the bonds.

Exactly wrong. They need to default. Destroying the currency to repay bank loans will destroy the savings of ordinary people and degrade their cultures. The banks should die, not the people.

Where do you think the banks got the money to loan in the first place?

What is needed is a rational tax policy that doesn't favor the wealthy so much, but it is only the wealthy who can afford to bribe lobby governments to affect tax policy.

Can we apply this to the US also?

I hope so. Debt screws up a lot of mainstream economists. The Keynesian model says the amount of debt in a society is a wash, because every debt is someone else's asset. But that model misses who has the debts and who has the assets, and that makes a huge difference in an economy.

Rather than stimulus, we need a jubilee.

They (ECB) have already started doing it.

Despite the mayhem in the financial markets today, oil is curiously trading higher, as a matter of fact throughout the sell off over the last few weeks, oil continue to trade at a strong level; I am not sure if this is an indication of peak oil, a move into hard assets or it is perhaps pricing a geopolitical event in the mid-east; it also could be a combination of several of those factors, but one thing for sure I doubt the world economy will get the relief it got in late 2008 with oil collapsing to the $30s.


How many months was the oil down to the $30s over the last 3 years? Remember that ever present marginal barrel extraction cost. You can't go below that for long.

SPR releases are about over. This may have some impact on spot prices (as it was meant to do).


The Swiss devalued their franc last week to try to stem the flow of investors seeking safe haven from the falling euro.

The SNB decision to peg the Swiss franc to the beleaguered euro, thereby effectively devaluing the franc, stunned currency and wider financial markets.

It is one of the most significant currency interventions in modern history and led to violent volatility the like of which have never been seen in foreign exchange markets.

Incredibly and not widely reported the Swiss franc fell more than 7% against the euro, dollar and gold in just 15 minutes (putting gold’s relatively minor recent price fall into context).

Such volatility in currency markets was not seen during 911, the Lehman’s collapse or for any other major macroeconomic or geopolitical event in modern history.

The collapse of the Swiss franc in minutes greatly surpassed the collapse of sterling seen on “Black Wednesday” in 1992, when the British pound fell by 2.7% against the German mark on one day.

I expect the Fed to try and keep the dollar from gaining too much vs. the euro via QE3 (his hand will be forced, though Asia/China will be forced to respond as well, at some point). Currency wars and the race to the bottom.... it's getting ugly out there.

At the start of the year, almost everyone seemed to be negative on the Euro and I made a general statement - that the Euro would actually go higher in 2011. So far, it has.

This is mostly because monetary policy in the creation of new money over the last year is relatively tighter in Euros vs. Dollars. I am not saying that couldn't change, and in fact, in recent weeks there are a lot more Euros being issued after about a one year period (July 1 2010 to July 1 2011) where the ECB held the money base about steady.

Essentially what we are seeing now are currency wars. Right now, Europe may be issuing more money, but soon, it could be the Fed in the US. Relative exchange values may swing widely, but in general, most all currencies are losing their absolute value due to the fairly rapid increase in total money outstanding.

It's not clear where this is all going to end - but it doesn't look like the end to these currency wars is coming soon.

Currency war:

Currency war, also known as competitive devaluation, is a condition in international affairs where countries compete against each other to achieve a relatively low exchange rate for their own currency. As the price to buy a particular currency falls, so to does the real price of exports from the country. Imports become more expensive too, so domestic industry, and thus employment, receives a boost in demand both at home and abroad. However, the price increase in imports can harm citizens' purchasing power. The policy can also trigger retaliatory action by other countries which in turn can lead to a general decline in international trade, harming all countries.

Competitive devaluation has been rare through most of history as countries have generally preferred to maintain a high value for their currency; have been content to allow its value to be set by the markets or have participated in systems of managed exchanges rates. An exception was the episode of currency war which occurred in the 1930s. The period is considered to have been an adverse situation for all concerned, with all participants suffering as unpredictable changes in exchange rates reduced international trade.

History rhymes...

By that definition, I don't think we can classify the actions of the Swiss or Euro backers as engaging in currency wars. They are not trying to devalue the currency but trying to keep it from being devalued.

Right now, Europe may be issuing more money, but soon, it could be the Fed in the US. Relative exchange values may swing widely, but in general, most all currencies are losing their absolute value due to the fairly rapid increase in total money outstanding.

I don't think that's what ECB and Fed are trying to do. My take on this is that money supply stemming from fractional reserve banking is shrinking due to credit squeezes and slow growth, and central banks are doing quantitative easing, i.e. "printing money", to expand the monetary base to counter the shrinking. The idea (called monetarism) is that money supply changes affects growth, i.e. a shrinking money supply is bad for the economy and a barrier to achieve high resource utilization.

Basic measures of the US money supply (MZM) are now growing at an annual rate of 20% in recent weeks:


It looks like the Fed is 'winning' here.

Please note that I don't necessarily support what the ECB, Fed, IMF, etc., are doing.

And that will be exactly nothing at all.
Back in 2000 I remember one euro was worth around 0.75 or 0.80 US dollars. The sky didn't fall on our heads.
Now it is around 1,4.
And back when Mr Gordon Brown was Prime Minister a GB Pound was worth two dollars, now it is around 1,4 if I'm not wrong.

Of course when it happens to the Anglos it is OK, but the Mediterraneans, Europeans, socialists, that backward people. Some Spanish even go on parade with images of the Virgin Mary, and pray for rain, who can believe that, rain is just a meteorological phenomenon. It shows that they are totally illogical, you know, Catholic fanatics.

Don't believe the shills who write in the Torygraph, like Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, much beloved of Ilargi in TAE.

Are we Socialists?, where can I go ask for my Food Stamps in Spain, or benefits like in the UK? No such thing, Zapatero forgot about the s in PSOE.
Socialists you say, but in the store what they ask for is money.

And let me tell you about EU, that talk of war in Europe is like war between New York and Chicago.
Germany owns through its factories about 18% of Spanish GDP. The biggest hypermarket in Spain is French, so are the plants of Renault, Peugeot, Citroen and so on all over Europe.
Our economies are absolutely interdependent.

Not only that, France "the Hexagon" has mutual defense agreements with all the countries around its borders, the last one was signed with Spain a couple of years ago; although it is not a secret it wasn't much publicized just in case.
I understand that France agrees in lending their Nuclear Aircraft Carrier "Charles de Gaulle" to the UK, if they need it, and they train together.

Maybe Spain won't be able to pay just now for the Eurofighters, submarines, frigates and Leopard tanks they bought, well, the creditors will have to wait and that's that.
Time to switch off The History Channel, we have seen all those old movies of war in Europe.

£1 = $1.58

And its been around the same band for ages now.


For all the talk of significant currency changes, currencies have remained in the same band since the GFC, none of the usual suspects (£, US$, Euro) are really doing well, not compared to some other global currencies.

Problem solved! China's gonna buy Italy:

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Stocks finished a choppy session higher Monday, as investors who have been worried about a deepening European debt crisis pinned their hopes on a report that China is in talks with Italy to buy the cash-strapped country's debt.

Sporca miseria!
La Cina è Vicina China is near

Bellochio was a prophet.

Problem solved! China's gonna buy Italy:

I pity China!



Ha! Thanks Fred. I'll bet even Hugo would enjoy that. My sister went to Italy this summer (I tried to prepare her), and India the summer before. I think she's planning a staycation for next year ;-)

China, where all good debt goes and hides for a while...

What goes to China, stays in China! Certainly true for monwy!

The world is saved right? guys ... ? right

Question for Paul in Halifax,

We have several el-cheapo Lithonia low-profile, flush mount overhead lights in our 1919 house. We use both the basement and converted attic spaces as bedrooms and the head height is only about 6'4". These lights provide plenty of lumens of adequate quality light and have served their purpose. But the ballasts burn out once in a while and I have quite a collection of burned out CF bulbs that are waiting for a trip to our hazardous materials recycling station.

I'm wondering if there are any LED low profile solutions that you find attractive. I'm willing to spend more money for something that works but want a comfortable and diffuse light especially given how low the ceiling is. We want room lighting, not task lighting.

Near the top of the line I see something like the Phillips 37341 Ledino. I don't mind spending a couple of hundred for a truly excellent lighting solution but I can replace adequate for $30.

Do you have any low profile, flush mount solutions you would recommend for a low head height environment?



Hi Jon,

Unfortunately, as you likely already know, there's not a lot of choice at this time; the focus to date has been on recessed lighting.

I came across this on the web:


It's not a particularly attractive fixture, at least to my eye, but it's one third the cost of the Ledino.

Philips' Lightolier division offer's this: http://www.lightolier.com/products/index.jsp?CATREL_ID=36758&BLK=N&CAT_I... I'm afraid I no sense as to its cost but, aesthetically speaking, it's a step up from the Progress offering.

I don't know if this would work for you, but an LED pendant in a swag configuration might be another option.

See: http://www.lightolier.com/products/index.jsp?CATREL_ID=35193&BLK=N&CAT_I...

Good luck in your search !



As always, you're the go-to man for lighting questions. I certainly like the looks of the Lightolier Optimo fixtures in your second link and the larger, 20W round version probably puts out enough light. The color temperature for this one is 3500K which is probably fine. (I found this color temperature comparison picture to be helpful for lighting luddites like myself.)

The only problem is I cannot figure out whether Phillips or anyone else actually sells the Optimo fixtures. Do I have to order them through a lighting store?

As for pendant lights in 'swag configuration', I think anything hanging from our low ceilings would be a poor solution. My son's wild hair already brushes against the low profile lights.

Thanks again for your input.

Best Hopes for improved selection of LED fixtures.


Perhaps rethink the whole lighting idea and light from the edges rather than the centre. May give you a wider choice of light fittings and offset the cost of the change against the cost of a high price central fitting. Just a thought.


You're most welcome, Jon. Hopefully, you can source this product through a local distributor. You might try Lightolier's locator page at: http://www.lightolier.com/wheretobuy/us_locator.jsp I see All Phase Electric at 307 Westlake Avenue North Seattle is one of the locations identified (T: 206.622-2170).

With regards to the pendant option, this would only work if you can reposition the fixture so that it hugs one of the walls; it would still be feed from the centre point, but the pendant itself would be positioned over a desk, night stand or some other location where it wouldn't be struck.


notanoilman -- Excellent suggestion were I considering a larger lighting upgrade. But I'm trying to reuse an existing box in the center of the ceiling.

Paul -- Thanks again. Using the locator I find I can choose between All phase (2 miles from my house) and Stoneway Electric (1 mile away). I'll drop by one or the other (or both) on my bike ride home from work later this week.



Let us know how it goes. A HiH style before and after piccy? :)


Why is a Greek default bad? It will allow the Greeks to localize. They will gain jobs as they grow their own food, provide their own cloths, provide their own energy, build new modes of transport like sailboats. It sounds great for Greece.

I understand that some bank that make high risk investments in Greek bonds will go bankrupt but that is the capitalist way. Make stupid decisions go out of business (evolution for businesses). There will be no shortage of Chinese banks to take over the banking trade to name just one country.

Basically, Greece needs to go the way of Cuba. Localize, become green, become self sufficient. If they remained hooked on debt/imported oil/imported food/imported manufacture from China, it will only hurt more when it eventually does end.

"Basically, Greece needs to go the way of Cuba. Localize, become green, become self sufficient."

Greece seems like a country that could do it. And for sure, they know about boats!

Cuba did not grow all there food or become self sufficient. They continued to import most of their calories (grains)

Thats not what I've heard.

Can you provide a source?





What is your Source ??

also they imported commercial fertilizer

now (2008)...
Cuba imports about 80 percent of the food it rations to the public. Additionally, state-run television reports that half of the country's state-owned land is either unused or underused.


I couldn't tell you where I got the impression that the food situation in Cuba would be different. I think it was a article about Cuba here on TOD.
But it looks like edpell was under the same misconception as me.

Probably here:

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba's economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half – and food by 80 percent – people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the community and creativity of the Cuban people during this difficult time.

While it was true in that time period that 80% of the food ration was imported, the food ration comprised only about 20% of their total calorie intake. Monthly ration around the peak of their crisis was 6 lbs of rice, 20 ounces of beans, 6 lbs of sugar, one dozen eggs, and 15 lbs of potatoes or bananas. Children under 7 yrs additionally got a litre of milk.

Guys, this is the days of the internet. Just Google it:
Cuba represents missed wheat marketing opportunity

With a population of 11 million people and wheat imports averaging over 800,000 metric tons (MT), Cuba is the largest wheat importer in the Caribbean. While the United States could supply the majority of these imports, the longstanding embargo and other barriers inhibit trade between the two countries.

But what about historically?
Cuban wheat imports by year

I am not going to copy and paste the whole chart but Cuban wheat imports peaked in 1983 at 1.74 million metric tons. They are currently importing about .8 million metric tons per year.

Ron P.

Thanks, Darwinian, very useful.

They did import most of their grain. But if you are counting calories they exported more in sugar than they imported in grain.

From my personal experience, default is a good thing. The Russian default of 1998 was when the real recovery started. It was a bad thing for the elites, but small men like me got some breathing space and some opportunities. As the saying goes, better end in nightmare than nightmare with no end.

Russian oil production hit a low of about 5.8mb/day in 1998 and has increased substantially since then to 9.8mb/day. Suggesting the Russian partial default (which did not include most international debt) had much to do with the recovery seems unnecessary given that 4 million barrels per day have been added since then. The oil price has, of course, also increased substantially since about that time.

The oil price was in $20-30 range up until 2004. The growth in the production was a result of the recovery, not the cause.
Immediately after the default imports were slashed, exporters got a stimulus. The crisis was in August, and already by the end of the year my family-sized company registered record profits (in hard currency). And the reason for that was Localization, as I understand now.

The oil price was in $20-30 range up until 2004.

Have you forgotten it was less than $9 barrel in 1998 at one point and averaged under $12 for the whole year? The oil "problem" crashed Russia many argue. By the end of 1999 oil had more than doubled from the 1998 low into the range you mention above.

Yes, it was helpful. But still a far cry from windfall profits seen since 2005.
I just wanted to share my personal experiences. The fall and winter of 1998 was a very frantic time. I remember some brands changing their lettering from Latin to Cyrillic just to appear more local and not to lose customers. Primakov's cabinet, which was suddenly seen as competent and progressive, despite (or because of?) former and active communists in key positions. By the summer of 1999 Primakov became the most likely successor to Yeltsin. And the oil price was still $15.

There is a post on Our Finite World about Russian oil production that I never submitted to TOD. It has some more graphs--oil prices, oil consumption and electricity consumption. The name of the post is Fall of the Soviet Union: Implications for Today.

I will be talking in a panel with Dmitry Orlov at the ASPO-USA conference in November on a somewhat related topic.

Speaking of local food, an interesting article in today's WSJ:

An Apple Tree Grows in Suburbia
The hot trend in the suburbs is to mix homes and agriculture

In a movement propelled by environmental concern, nostalgia for a simpler life and a dollop of marketing savvy, developers are increasingly laying out their cul-de-sacs around organic farms, cattle ranches, vineyards and other agricultural ventures. They're betting that buyers will pay a premium for views of heirloom tomatoes—and that the farms can provide a steady stream of revenue, while cutting the cost of landscaping upkeep . . .

But some sustainability advocates say the new farm communities don't go far enough. Quint Redmond, a land planner in Golden, Colo., promotes a vision of what he calls "agriburbia," where suburbs aren't just built around a farm; they support food production at every turn. Why not line streets with almond and avocado trees, he asks, or replace shrubbery with cabbage and currants? Golf courses could plant their roughs with kale and corn. Lawns—where they must exist—could be edged with chives and herbs.

A Pear Tree Grows in the City

We have two pear trees and three apples in the planting strip around our 50 X 70 foot lot three miles from the very center of Seattle. This year we harvested a half peck shy of a bushel of pears and will pick about a bushel and a half of apples next weekend.

Developing existing farmland and packaging it as "agriburbia" is not the answer to our problems. Planting vegetable gardens and small orchards instead of lawns is -- wherever you happen to live.

Just do it!


Its a good idea, but I wonder how many communities are like mine - where fruit and nut trees are abundant, but nobody that I know puts them to use. The birds and squirrels benefit, and there's always plenty of rotting fruit around, but people only eat the shiny-clean bug-free varieties you get at the store.

That said, in a pinch, a whole lot of extra food laying about unused is better than the nothing that lawns and ornamentals would give us. A little bit of safety netting, just in case.

I've mentioned this before, but it seems to go nowhere.

A couple fruit trees in an urban setting like Seattle wouldn't seem to be a cause for harm, but wait till the neighbor catches the spirit. And the problem of fruit trees in suburbia is becoming a real menace. They are like tonsils, harboring diseases. Little islands of infection that infect the surrounding countryside. Rarely are they properly cared for, and often the home is sold to another who couldn't care less. Homegrown tree fruit and the care of the trees are a big problem, many western state have laws against transport of the fruit.

As gardening catches back on, I suspect the same phenomenon will happen here. People enthusiastically starting a garden, then giving up and letting the plot go to the devil. Next door, you find your gardening tasks increase each year, but don't have a means to get a handle on it.

The topic of disease spread by backyard fruit growers is one ag extension folks wrestle with all the time. I've heard some real draconian solutions. I hope they don't come to pass.

Locally the squash - type crops that have never been attacked by vine borers have been killed by them and the urban garderns seem shocked when you whip out the pocketknife and show 'em the vine maggot. Even Butternuts and cucumbers have been attacked.

30+ frass piles on one vine. And next year it'll be worse for the vine crops.

There are costs of course but what is the alternative? Many people do far more destructive recreational activities than gardening. I will not mention them. Ultimately just living is a hazard to the planet. So the better approach might be to train people in communities to care for their plants and deal with disease problems fruit trees, vines, maggots and so forth.

But from my experience while I see pests they are at equilibrium. I buy plants that are field tested as disease tolerant and they seem to mainly have bird pests and mammalian pests which do the most damage. If my fruit trees die, well that is not a big deal. I replace them. They are cheap compared to 80 lbs of apples or plums per season at $2 / lb. In my area there are tons of citrus trees and there are some worms but by and large there are no noticeable problems with worms.

It is complex but I imagine more people will garden if the economy stays in this pattern. My grandfather gardened after weathering the Great Depression. Hard to see people becoming any more dependent on their grocery stores for food this day and age. Burpee is having a heck of time keeping up with seed demand.

So I would advocate education.


I'm sure you are well meaning and conscientious, but it's not just education, it's work and vigilance.

Much of the traits of your forefathers used in gardening I don't see much in evidence now. And the mobility of people and their tools, food, pets, etc were greatly restricted in comparison. People are still in a buy mode, I can buy self sufficiency....seeds, tools, tomato hoops, but founder on the work.

I have a beef with "disease tolerant" fruit. Yea, the damage to that variety is minimized, but it's destroying the other, older varieties. And they usually lack anything close to taste. Spheres of cardboard. Not that my beef will go anywhere, the universities and nurserymen are working night and day to eradicate all but their cultivar. "If my fruit tress die, I replace them." You should look at what killed them, what you may be inadvertently creating. And your cost of $2/lb reflects only the finest fruit in the orchard. Many were culled to get you that specimen. Blemished fruit, or heaven forbid, one with a worm, are cents on the lb.

If you aren't having disease/pest problems, then you might thank others, or perhaps you are the first to grow that fruit locally. The apple in the west, esp the arid west, is a classic example. When it first came, it was golden. All the diseases were back east, in the humidity. Several generations later, and even in the arid areas, diseases and pests which never should have established are resident.

Yes I realized when I started my garden projects that my goal was to spend as little money as possible. I even maintain my seed stocks for fun. Lettuce and bean or pea seeds are cheap but why not go the full cycle route. I have all kinds of funny looking poles for my plants. Nothing pretty. Some are tied up with old underware ;-) Neighbors want to get rid of decking and I cut it down to make stakes. However, I see what you are talking about. People buy things -- amazing the money they have. Also People are not pruning, inspecting their fruit and removing worm tents and curled leaves or culling branches with too many apples touching one another. Basically, I see little green apple worms and I think they are typical pests but they are not too bad. We only throw out apples that have been decimated by the birds. The worms do not penetrate very often or maybe I was onto the worms this year.

Well on the bright side the trees do well in my climate, Santa Rosa Plum, Galla apple. Hope to try and keep them healthy for as long as possible. Would like to grow a fig or persimmon in the future.

...promotes a vision of what he calls "agriburbia," where suburbs aren't just built around a farm...

Bunch of idiots. People hate normal farming activities - dust, noise, spraying, nasty smells, etc. And, it's all done at a time of day when it impacts "normal" lives.

I'm in northern California and just about every county has a "Right To Farm" ordinance to stop people from bitching. Hell, I've even seen them posted at motels where there are surrounding vineyards.

Good luck finding the people who want to have this - forever- in their lives.


Don't complain about farms with your mouth full...

Even Barbie Farms such as the WSJ article describes?

Totally unrealistic fantasies. All of a piece with American discourse over the last 30 years. As George Carlin says - it's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.

Surely farming your home is not going to totally feed the world, but if you enjoy the sport of gardening, then why not do it? I have seen a few impressive gardens that do pretty well on cheap and in some cases free resources for soil amendments. People are being sort of called on to save money. Some will be inventive and do it themselves -- including home repairs, car repairs, day care co-ops, and gardening.

It is all part of the grand plan -- get frugal or accumulate debt.

Brooklyn, in da house! (Well, ON da house!)

My wife's boss up here in Portland just met the couple that I think runs the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm/CSA in Bkln,NY (linked).. they were a little lost on a bike trek, and he let them camp out in his yard in Cape Elizabeth, and they had a big breakfast with him today. Small world!

And don't forget Will Allen in Milwaukee! They're the inspiration for a LOT of urban growing initiates, and are TRULY worth a visit if you're in the area.

This link is to a 15 minute video -actually an award winning short film - about a family in Pasadena, Ca that turned their yard into a farm.


They manage to produce 6000lbs of produce a year from 1/10th of an acre! They have so much that they are selling surplus to local restaurants etc.

That is 1.5 lbs per square foot, per year - how many square feet of lawn does the average American house have?

The Media loves "fantasy stories" about folks "going back to the land " or growing there own food"

Not happening .... example ...


Giving the impression that they are growing their food

The Rules are simple.
For one year we will not buy food from a supermarket, convenience store, box store or restaurant starting October 1st, 2010 and ending September 30th, 2011.

Farmer's markets, our garden, friends, family, roadside stands, actual butchers, co-ops, CSAs, bulk grain suppliers, etc are permitted.

Well, now noone can eat their food, since you went and Peed all over it!

These guys were mentioned here recently, too.

I'm sure they're not perfect, but that suits me.. I'm a downright mess.

I agree I only buy 1/4 the strawberries from oh about march to november. It is pretty easy to manage the patch. Just walk out there and pick them and then eat them. No pesticides. I lose 5% to bird and bugs, but I like the birds so it is a deal. I bet in a year or two my patch will replace my strawberry expenses entirely. It is kind of fun for the kids to do too. They can be useful and pick berries. They also picked my apple for me. I dont even spray my apple. About 1/3 of the apples get a tiny little hole. We cut that off. About 5% of the apples we feed to the birds and worms and apple maggots. Oh well. Free food. ;-)

Folks are catching on. The urban fruit gleaning is more like a race ever year. It used to be free fruit falling on the sidewalk. Now, folks are getting in there and harvesting.

As for the all local food diet, sorry, not giving up black tea in the morning. There's enough great fresh chow around at this time of the year that there isn't much need to buy anything except cleaning supplies at the supermarket. It will be down to kale from the garden and sprouts from the sprouter by mid-winter, plus whatever squash has survived my basement un-root cellar. The un-root cellar is stacking squash in the basement in flat boxes.

People hate normal farming activities - dust, noise, spraying, nasty smells

Yup. Urban people complain about a smell that is only there for 2 days. The brewpup I get the spent grain from had regular complaints about the grain placed into the dumpster.

If you import finished compost and spend time making sure the stuff is trimmed like a lawn or presentation flowerbed - the HOA backed jackboot wearers will be kept at bay.

Depends on the neighborhood. I've lived in some where nobody was around from 8 to 5. You could've stolen whole houses worth of furniture and goods and nobody would have noticed.

Pressure for positive results puts science under threat, study shows

Scientific research may be in decline across the globe because of growing pressures to report only positive results, new analysis suggests.

Rockman will never reverse his position under any threat. But enough Blue Bell? That's another matter. Like I said before guys: nothing personal..just good business.

BTW: work for Big Oil (or any other public company) and you better not let any management hear you say a single negative. I know folks who have gotten memos from their Ivory Tower warning them against making any negative (i.e. true) statements about the future of the oil biz. In fact, just expressing such thoughts internally can hurt your future with the company. Of course, in my shop we thrive on the blessed thought of PO. Again...nothing personal.

Forget Death, Famine, War & Pestilence, the four horsemen of the coming apocalypse will be Politicians, Bankers, Lawyers and MBAs. All lie, but MBAs are the worst for preventing others telling the truth as well.

The underlying problem is many decades old. In the traditional one-ahead charade, actual research has been done almost under the table, with the hope that now and then it will throw off a sure thing that can be published, attract a grant, and pay for equipment and stipends. I.e. research grants have typically been obtained for work already done, since only rarely can they be obtained for work not yet done.

The "study" at hand merely highlights a new wrinkle on the old news that for decades now, hardly anyone has been willing to fund real research, since it is necessarily not a sure thing. For better or worse, taxpayers, legislators, and even foundations want results.

The "study" at hand merely highlights a new wrinkle on the old news that for decades now, hardly anyone has been willing to fund real research, since it is necessarily not a sure thing.

I realized decades ago that almost all real research is done with funds allocated for some other purpose.

A good example in the oil industry would be the invention of seismic stratigraphy by Peter Vail at Exxon. He persisted in his research even though he was ridiculed by his superiors and (according to some accounts) nearly fired for unauthorized work before the company realized his ideas had commercial value. Seismic stratigraphy is a key part of most petroleum exploration today.

An example from the computer world is the development of the C programming language and the Unix operating system by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and others at Bell Laboratories -- while they were supposed to be creating a text processor for patent documents. The current internet infrastructure (including this website), many computers (including Apples, Linux systems, and almost all supercomputers) and most smartphones (iPhones and Android) run on derivatives of the original Unix operating system, and most software is written in C or one of its derivatives, or in a language itself written in C.

"Real research"

That is how you cast it, but that is cherry picking the winners. 99 times out of 100 projects have to fail in science because it is new knowledge. New knowledge is not obtained free of cost. Do you believe in free energy? If new knowledge were obtained free of cost then we would not have an energy crisis or myriad other human problems.

To cast such as ill light on science as being "real" or "not real" is quite foolhardy. The same politicking was used recently by Palin and Michelle Bachman to cast some Americans as "real" and imply others are "not real."

A "black & white" perspective on science is poorly guided and probably part of someones political axe to grind imho.

PaulS, have you funded a major grant? If you did, then you would understand the problem. The problem is that a short grant, 12 pages in length, for example for the NIH R01, cannot detail 4-5 years of detailed science very well. Compound that issue with the issue of funding levels being 14% or so. If the funding level is 14%, then 86% are rejected. So who do you think will get funded? Those with proven track records and strong research proposals or those with weak -- words only -- proposals with little publication trail and a stream of negative results we knew already. I think the result of low pay-lines of 14-15% mean the grants have very strong support for those with previous publications and work from the research group seeking the funding. Any conservative would applaud this system, since it rewards those that are successful at their science. If you are an outsider, then you need to publish first and then seek grant funding for deeper studies because the work is critical to National interests.

Re: Mexico rescues seven oil workers drifting on life raft, up top:


UK wind turbines shut down due to an autumn storm - http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL5E7KC28820110912

They were not shut down due to the storm directly according to the article but because there was a surplus of regional generating capacity. Right this minute National Grid says wind accounts for 2.2GW of current UK demand (over 5% of total). There are many other generally smaller turbines apparently not recorded by the grid (they reduce apparent demand) which means the true figure is maybe about 3GW right now even with some wind-farms shutdown.

Shutting down due to surplus? That is crazy. There should be better grid interconnections, storage, and/or smartgrids with real-time pricing info so people could take advantage of cheaper energy.

There should be better grid interconnections, storage, and/or...

Storage? Yes I agree, they should find some place to store any excess electricity they generate. An energy silo would be nice, except for the fact they have not been invented yet.

Of course they could build a really big battery. Or a bank of lead acid batteries that covers a square mile or two. That is really not very practical idea however, in my opinion anyway. Of course you may think it is an excellent idea. ;-)

Ron P.

Several years ago, there was a proposal to build a wind farm a few miles west of where I live. There were to be something like 10 generators connected to a large flow battery installation. The flow battery system was designed by a British company and the installation was to be their first large commercial installation, as I recall. The NIMBY"s shot down the plan and, last I heard, the British company folded and was bought by a German utility. I've got a copy of the EIS stashed somewhere. Another lost opportunity...

E. Swanson

Of course they could build a really big battery.

Actually, the basic science for grid-scale liquid-metal battery storage has been solved by MIT's Don Sadoway's group. BTW, his group was the recipient of DOE's top ARPA-E funding out of 3600 applicants. Bill Gates and French energy co. Total are early investors:



With BG investing I would get nervous about the bugs in the system and fixing them in the next release would be kind of expensive when it is a battery storage system. The effects of a system crash with that much energy floating around could be quite spectacular. Blackouts would become blue outs.


There are actually many electric storage systems. I agree that they are expensive but they do exist. The cheapest is probably just pumping water back up to the top of hydroelectric dams. But there are flywheel systems, Li-Ion batteries, compressed air energy storage, etc.

Don't piss all over something before you spend a few minutes considering it.

Really, I was just kidding. However concerning the "pumping the water uphill" storage system, 70 to 85 percent efficient, works for dams, pumping the water in off-peak hours. Where do they have wind generators where they store electricity by pumping water to an uphill lake? I doubt seriously that there exist even one such place. Don't pretend that you can use oranges to fix an apple problem.

Flywheels and air compression are great, but only for small amounts of storage. To store megawatts of power over many hours... well flywheels and compressed air are just not a solution.

Batteries... not yet. Perhaps they will develop flow batteries, or some other such but they are not there yet to store really massive amounts of electricity. No system currently exist where massive amounts of unused electricity can be stored for long periods of time. And by long periods I only mean a few hours. It is simply not there, not for wind or solar anyway.

Actually I agree with you. They should be developing a storage system that can store many megawatt hours of electricity for several hours. But no such system exist now and it will likely take at least a decade to develop such a system. And I don't think we have that long.

Ron P.

They just need a bunch of these things:

Pumped Heat Electricity Storage

Isentropic has designed a system that uses the Isentropic heat pump to store electricity in thermal form ("Pumped Heat"). The storage comprises two large containers of gravel, one hot (500C) and one cold (-150C). Electrical power is input to the machine, which compresses/expands air to (+500C) on the hot side and (-150C) on the cold side. The air is passed through the two piles of gravel where it gives up its heat/cold to the gravel. In order to regenerate the electricity, the cycle is simply reversed. The temperature difference is used to run the Isentropic machine as a heat engine...

...The round trip efficiency is over 72% - 80%. Because gravel is such a cheap and readily available material, the cost per kWh can be kept very low - $55/kWh - and $10/kWh at scale.

Home grown, in the UK.


These are a relatively knew and lesser-known technology but potentially much less expensive and demanding of scarce materials and more practical for a large-scale, stationary application such as grid energy storage or smoothing of output from wind farms or other intermittent power generators than lead-acid or lithium-ion battery banks, and usable in places where geography-specific options such as pumped-storage hydro are unavailable (e.g. the Plains states). At this point penetration of wind and solar power in most places is so low that the demand for such technologies has not generated the economies of scale that might ultimately be needed, but a installations do exist in Japan, Texas and a few other places, with mostly promising results. That is not to say the problem of intermittency is solved, but these could be a substantial piece of an answer.

They should be developing a storage system that can store many megawatt hours of electricity for several hours. But no such system exist now and it will likely take at least a decade to develop such a system

Oh yeah? Use excess el_power from WTs or Solar and pump water uphill.

List of pumped-storage hydroelectric power stations >> http://www.enotes.com/topic/List_of_pumped-storage_hydroelectric_power_s...

The following page lists all pumped-storage hydroelectric power stations that are larger than 1,000 MW in current net capacity, which are currently operational or under construction. Those power stations that are smaller than 1,000 MW, and those that are decommissioned or only at a planning/proposal stage may be found in regional lists, listed at the end of the page.


The rechargable battery, which at 2,000 square metres is bigger than a football pitch and weighs 1,300 tonnes, was manufactured by power components specialist ABB to provide electricity to Fairbanks, Alaska's second-largest city, in the event of a blackout.

Stored in a warehouse near the city, where temperatures plunge to -51 degrees Centigrade in winter, the battery will provide 40 megawatts of power - enough for around 12,000 people - for up to seven minutes.

In reading this article one get to grips with the hardships humanity are facing regarding battery-storage holding MW-size potential electric energy.
Energy_content of the Fairbanks_battery is 4.7 MWh - or less than 1 hour of maximum output from one modern 5MW windturbine ... This is not funny!

Pumped storage is able to balance loads regardless of the source of the electricity. It is widely used already:
As usual not a complete solution, there are geographical and hydrological limitations.

There are flow batteries; big enough to be useful for wind power and local grids and perhaps integration with wider grids.
Can never scale-up to deal with current demand patterns, of course.

Storage? Yes I agree, they should find some place to store any excess electricity they generate. An energy silo would be nice, except for the fact they have not been invented yet.

It seems that the UK should be able to build something like this somewhere. They do have a lot of coastline.


The Ludington Pumped Storage Plant is a 1,000-acre site four miles south of the city of Ludington. The facility includes a 842-acre reservoir perched atop the bluff that is able to hold 27 billion gallons of Lake Michigan water.
When electric demand is low and the electric rates are cheaper, such as during the overnight hours, lake water is pumped 372 feet up to the reservoir. When electric demand is high and rates increase during the day, the water is released back down to Lake Michigan to produce electricity that has been “stored” in the reservoir like a giant battery.

Bit too late I am afraid we have already got a few in fact the Brits built the worlds first pump storage, complete with tropical plants. Enjoy


Okay guys, sure hydro power plants can pump the water back uphill into the lake during off-peak hours. They have been doing that for decades. However that is not the subject. The subject is storage for wind and solar power. That is storage for thousands of megawatt hours of electricity that is generated during windy or sunny hours and pumped back onto the grid when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining.

Okay, solve that one. Or has someone already done that? If so, where is it being done and what kind of storage do they use?

Ron P.

The City of Summerside, PEI is using electric thermal storage and domestic water heaters to soak-up excess wind energy. This surplus energy will displace electricity that would be consumed for these same purposes during peak hours or at times when wind output is low. Currently, about one-half of the city's electricity is wind generated and, once implemented, this system will greatly reduce or eliminate the need to operate their diesel units. The plan is to add more wind capacity and to use this technology to displace residential fuel oil demand, which will cut home heating costs in half.

The sleepy PEI community of Summerside is becoming one of Canada’s most innovative users of wind power.


To make better local use of any excess wind power, especially at night when the demand for electricity is much lower, Summerside plans a novel storage scheme.

It is going to provide financial incentives for residents to buy special furnaces or space heaters that can be “charged” when there is lots of power, with the heat released later when it is needed.


To provide pinpoint control of the furnaces, and allow them to be charged any time that there is excess wind power, Summerside is running fibre-optic cable into each home that signs up for the program, and will remotely govern each furnace’s power absorption.

“If we can take some of our load off the day, and put it on the off-peak [times], it will flatten our curve and allow a more efficient purchase of energy at all times,” Mr. Murphy said.

About 100 test homes could be online by the end of the year, he said, and in the following months the program will be expanded to many more, focusing on newly constructed homes or existing houses that now heat with oil.

See: http://www.ctv.ca/generic/generated/static/business/article1755871.html


Switzerland has firm plans to build 12 GW of dedicated pumped storage (plus holding back their hydro at 3 AM).

Driving force is buying French nuke power @ 3 AM and reselling @ peak. However, they are beginning to also buy German wind (transmission constraints to France + price).

All German and other solar PV has an on-line buyer (some across borders) so no storage needed yet. However, when Germany has 66 GW solar + 25? GW wind, they may be occasionally pumping a little water uphill at noon in Switzerland.

Best Hopes for Pumped Storage,


The simple answer is to just build wind powered water pumps!
Pump the water up into a lake for storage and run the hydro turbine on demand, simples!

No need to worry about where to put the "spare" electricity, just don't produce it in the first place.

Far fewer losses of energy in conversion from wind to electric to pump to lake to turbine to electricity.

Now it will just be wind to pump to lake to turbine to electricity

I agree, and perhaps to further your thought, wind mills are only good at a few things e.g. cutting wood, grinding grains, pumping water and pressing things. These tasks don't require wind mills to operate at a certain time or require them to produce at a certain power output level. Electricity requirement/usage today is time sensitive, consequently wind mill is not a good solution for generating electricity. We have been trying to apply wind mill technology to generating electricity for over a century now and we have little to show for it. And off course the techtopians on this board will adamantly disagree.

Dolan- I have been pitching the water windmill for many moons. Makes complete sense to me, for the reasons you give. I also like the same pump idea for solar stirlings. Stirlings dedicated to just pumping are VERY simple compared to those for other uses and also very efficient, because they can use hydrogen, totally sealed.

Nother thing- windmill water pumps need no gearbox- a big pain in the pocket, and the thing that fails.

"Or a bank of lead acid batteries that covers a square mile or two"
Something like this has actually been done at Eglin Air force base for star wars. Thousands and Thousands of Lead Acid car batteries discharging into ground rail gun to "fire" a plasma ball projectile. Every test shot dozens of Batteries would also vaporize. Energy has to get a lot more expensive before Battery Storage is economical, I hope I'm wrong, but it unlikely we shall see battery storage ever costing less than half the current cost, ~ 20 cents kWh. From an economic standpoint, pumped storage is about as ideal as a battery is likely to get.

If the UK can't even handle 2.2GW of wind power or 5% of total consumption, then their grid looks to be in a pretty terrible state.

The UK has a 2GW HVDC link to France and another 1GW HVDC link to the Netherlands, it also has a fairly high percentage of gas fired power plants, which should be fairly flexible. The UK also has some large scale pumped hydro storage plants like the 1.8GW Dinorwig plant.

So are there really technical reasons to shutdown wind due to over supply, or is it more that the coal, nuclear and gas power plants just can't be "bothered" to power down their plants to make room for wind? Is it more of a political question of prioritizing renewables in the grid?

In comparison Germany has quite a bit more installed wind capacity. And although Germany also occasionally has to shut down wind power due to regional grid stability issues, on windy days, wind power generates more than 20GW of power without too much down regulation of wind. It also now has to deal with PV generation.

E.g. on a typical day like today, around 14GW of wind plus 10.5GW of PV was powering the grid at 2pm, compared to 42.5GW conventional supply[1] i.e. more than 35% of total load.

[1] http://www.transparency.eex.com/en/

Scotland currently has a large surplus generating capacity which is normally exported to England, It might have been the case that the Scotland/England interconnects (or North-South) were at capacity. There is about 3GW of nuclear generating capacity in Scotland + multiple coal and gas fired stations (including the 2GW Longannet coal plant) as well as hydro and now about 3GW nameplate wind. The Scottish government plans to phase out nuclear (against the wishes of the UK government). The politicians are now arguing over whether this means Scotland will have any surplus at all to export after the phase out. All these things impact grid planning.

Currently though just two stations combined Longannet (coal) and one nuke) can supply the Scottish off-peak load all on their own and still have a surplus.Installed wind at full capacity would about meet the off-peak load as well. At the time of posting (just after midnight UK time) Scotland is exporting 1.8GW to England.

Yes we need more grid planning but that means the politicians have to stop squabbling as well.

By the way about 30% of the electricity used in Scotland is already generated by renewables - mainly hydro and wind. The Scottish government has set a target of 100% by 2020.

I don't really see why people hate nuclear so much. All of the problems with nuclear seem small compared to the problems caused by global warming, and it seems to me that it would be a lot easier to switch away from fossil fuels if nuclear power is used for base load.

"Hate" is really people with interests dont like another power source. For example, Natural gas folks do not like wind or solar. Green folks do not like coal and some do not like nuclear. Coal hates nuclear and hydro, hence the fact that no real substantial nuclear power was built in the US. Coal figured out how to get the sheep angry about nuclear. Coal probably funds "green" initiatives to block nuclear.

Personally, I like nuclear on paper. In practice, it is ugly because of the cheapened implementation. BUt I would support it given the alternative if they cleaned up their act and agreed to process the wastes carefully and store those carefully that could be stored.

But they do none of that and leave the waste for other people to worry about. Those are the problems with nuclear.

Did you miss the business up top about the French nuclear facility that just suffered an explosion?

One person was killed and four were injured Monday afternoon in an explosion at a nuclear waste treatment site in southern France, according to the French Nuclear Safety Authority.


Maybe you want this thing in YOUR backyard?

All of the problems with nuclear seem small compared to the problems caused by global warming

non sequitur. Going nuclear only compounds our problems, it does not prevent the combustion of fossil fuels. Nuclear may even allow us to burn MORE fossil fuels. There have been proposals to use nuclear power to replace natural gas in the processing of oil sands. (no it wont stop the burning of natural gas, the gas will simply be burned elsewhere)

Humanity just doesn't seem to be able to handle the responsibility nuclear reactors require.

Fukushima's struggles are far from over—and it looks like they may last even longer than anyone had expected. Today the Japanese government reported that higher than expected levels of radioactive contamination may keep areas around the Fukushima nuclear plant off-limits for human habitation for years, or even decades.


Going nuclear only compounds our problems, it does not prevent the combustion of fossil fuels

Simply not true. Germany shutting down it's nukes will result in burning coal or natural gas.

France burns minimal amounts of FF for electricity (and sells surplus to other nations, reducing their FF use). I believe that France has the lowest carbon footprint in Europe.


So the FF will last longer, doesn't mean they will stay in the ground. Concerning global warming and producing CO2; now or a hundred years from now doesn't make much difference.

Nuclear doesn't keep the carbon in the ground, I fear it might actually enable us to put more carbon in the atmosphere, by extending the Industrial Age.

Germany shutting down it's nukes will result in burning coal or natural gas.

And if they kept them running (with the small chance of catastrophe) Russia would sell the gas to someone else, and the coal fired power plants would have an extension until they run out of economic coal.

The idea is nuclear instead of fossil fuels, but I fear the reality is nuclear plus fossil fuels.

-Best hopes for carbon staying in the ground.

I think delaying burning carbon by a century will help Climate Change.

It will likely be past peak CO2, which means a lower peak Climate Change.

It will slow the rate of Climate Change, which will allow both humanity and nature more time to adjust.

Both good.

Best Hopes for Slower and Less Climate Change,


"Did you miss the business up top about the French nuclear facility that just suffered an explosion?"

Nope, didn't miss it. I just didn't seem like that big a deal. One death, no radiation leakage and according to them it was an industrial accident. People die all the time in stupid accidents. Does that mean we should stop doing things? People die taking a shower but I'm not going to stop showering. People die from falling of ladders, but I'm not going to stop using ladders. People die riding bikes, but I'm not going to stop that either. I'm not trying to be callous but we are all going to die eventually, but that doesn't mean we should stop living.

"Maybe you want this thing in YOUR backyard?"

Sure why not. Considering the number of nuclear related facilities in the world and the number of accidents I think I'd be safe enough, but even if I was wrong stuff happens. I'm not going to live my while life in fear of all the various things that could go wrong.

"non sequitur. Going nuclear only compounds our problems, it does not prevent the combustion of fossil fuels. Nuclear may even allow us to burn MORE fossil fuels. There have been proposals to use nuclear power to replace natural gas in the processing of oil sands. (no it wont stop the burning of natural gas, the gas will simply be burned elsewhere)"

I'm not sure that I believe that nuclear would make our fossil fuel problems worse. I think that nuclear can be used to replace coal, and coal produces a lot of CO2. I am a bit scared of the results of all the coal in the Us and China being burned. That seems like a much bigger threat then nuclear.

About your article it's terrible that so many people lost their homes, but how many more people are going to loose their homes if we burn the rest of the worlds coal? How many people have already lost their homes because of freak weather events brought on by by global warming?

This is from you article.

"Japan has already had to reopen expensive and polluting fossil-fuel power plants to meet the shortfall caused by shutting down many nuclear reactors for safety checks, despite the benefits of an unprecedented conservation effort that has sharply reduced the country's demand for energy:"

Is it really worth it to get ride of nuclear power? I admit that I might be wrong, but it seems like using nuclear power is a lot better then not using it.

"it was an industrial accident. People die all the time in stupid accidents."

Ah, the pro-nukers. Here is their non-stop mantra for decades:

No one has ever died from an accident in a nuclear facility.
No one has ever died from an accident in a nuclear facility.
No one has ever died from an accident in a nuclear facility.
No one has ever died from an accident in a nuclear facility.
No one has ever died from an accident in a nuclear facility.
No one has ever died from an accident in a nuclear facility.
No one has ever died from an accident in a nuclear facility.
No one has ever died from an accident in a nuclear facility...

Then someone does die in one, and their response is:

Hey, it was an accident. Accidents happen all the time.

The logic is simply impenetrable!

I sympathize, dohboi, but this absolutism isn't helpful. I was anti-nuclear until I discovered the scale at which coal is burnt, and its effect on climate. Reluctantly I was forced to the conclusion that nuclear is the least of the several evils facing us.

You seem to be most concerned about deaths. You could compare deaths in coal mining and coal-fired power plants and in the downwind population to the same for uranium mining, processing, power plant operation, and the downwind population -- taking global average figures, not cherry-picking. If you wanted to get fancy you could make estimates of future deaths, too.

Hydro, wind, and solar together won't support nine billion people in a developed-world standard of living, and telling six billion of them "no, you can't have this" isn't going to work.

So it's coal for maybe forty years and then nuclear, or nuclear now. With the nuclear now option, the frequency and severity of droughts and floods and snowstorms and hurricanes might stay survivable. And we might get to keep some coral reefs.

As I have said before, we don't get to choose between a nice option and an awful one. No Walt Disney happy endings for us. We have to choose between risky regionally, and bad regionally and globally.

"developed-world standard of living"

This is not a possible scenario no matter what direction we take.

I posted a detailed reply last night, but the server crashed and now it is gone. I'm not going to retype it all, but in summary:

One death, no radiation leakage and according to them it was an industrial accident.

I don't believe 'them'. The nuclear industry has a nasty habit of lying about releases and accidents. A furnace melting radioactive waste blowing up, and no radiation escaping just doesn't seem right.

I think that nuclear can be used to replace coal, and coal produces a lot of CO2.

In theory nuclear CAN replace coal. In reality, it doesn't stop the coal from being burned, it just slows the rate down a little bit. As far as climate change is concerned, now or a hundred years from now doesn't make a whole lot of difference. I.E. China. China is going all out coal, renewables, AND nuclear. The nuclear doesn't displace coal burning, it is in addition too coal burning.

I don't think the benefits of nuclear outweigh the risks and cost. The risk of losing hundreds of square miles for a 100 years or more is not worth it. The cost of storing spent fuel for thousands of years is not worth it. That is why I 'hate' nuclear. I don't feel humanity is responsible enough for nuclear power at this time.

In theory nuclear CAN replace coal. In reality, it doesn't stop the coal from being burned, it just slows the rate down a little bit. As far as climate change is concerned, now or a hundred years from now doesn't make a whole lot of difference. I.E. China. China is going all out coal, renewables, AND nuclear. The nuclear doesn't displace coal burning, it is in addition too coal burning.

I think that now or a hundred years from now does makes a difference because a hundred years from now people will be much more familiar with the consequences of climate change. Right now their is still a lot of denial going on in some places which is one of the reasons getting people to switch from fossil fuels is difficult. Also one hundred years is a lot of time for renewable energy technologies to developed. Maybe in one hundred years switching will be easier. I guess what I'm saying is that the longer the fossil fuels stay in the ground the more time humanity has to see the dangers in what it's doing and maybe change so that maybe some of the fossil fuels might remain in the ground. Perhaps this is just wishful thinking.

I don't think our views are that far apart. I was on the fence over nuclear until the Fukushima disaster. That disaster exposed the weaknesses in human institutions. Weaknesses we simply can't afford when the costs of failure are so high. I agree climate change will be an increasing problem. I fear that these changes will negatively effect nuclear plants. Nuclear plants must be located near bodies of water for cooling purposes. We know these bodies of water are going to be affected by climate change. It's more than just rising sea levels. We have seen how epic flooding has effected a number of nuclear plants in the US this spring/summer. Also consider French nuclear plants forced to throttle output because of rising river temperature.

There are no easy answers. Either way I enjoyed flushing out my views with you. I hope you also come away feeling like you've gained something even though we haven't changed each other's minds.

-Best hopes for keeping carbon in the ground.

Why don't you explain how Nuclear reactors will be deployed and supported in places like Iran, North Korea, Syria, and oh, Libya.

As examples.

All of the problems with nuclear seem small compared to the problems caused by global warming

If Global Warming is due to CO2, one can pull CO2 the CO2 out of the air via the charring process and then burying that char. How does one remove the radioisotopes from the biosphere that have been released via fission power?

(and if you are so worried about Global Warming - how much Biochar have you buried this year?)

There have been nuclear reactors in North Korea for many years.

North Korea has recently received favorable mention with regard to its unspoiled natural senic beauty. Apparently, very limited economic development has a favorable impact on the environment.


And Scotland is talking about finally throwing off the yoke of oppression and being a free and independent nation state. Not to mention the gold backed Scottish currency. I want to move to Scotland.

Speaking of solar, this is fun - third world solution for a third world problem.


Hi Kate,

Speaking of solar and third-world solutions.... now hear this:

Solar-powered hearing aids invented

Some experts are inventing new products for the poor, like a solar-powered hearing aid or a motorcycle ambulance, two inventions showcased at an engineering conference in London.


He said inventions like the solar-powered hearing aid could make a big difference in Africa. Experts estimate two-thirds of the 250 million people worldwide who have a hearing disability live in poor countries.

The solar-powered device was designed by Andrew Carr, a mechanical engineer in Cambridge, who noticed most hearing aids donated to Africa don't help because they treat a different type of hearing loss more prevalent in the West. The hearing aid Carr developed must be held close to the ear to work, but doesn't have to be worn inside.

Carr's device has an internal solar-powered battery and can be looped into a necklace or attached to a hat so it's next to the person's ear.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2011/09/12/medical-inventions.ht...


So many small but exciting developments.

Pretty cool. We used to put lightning bugs in jars, but the strobe effect gave us headaches ;-)

Ha - you too - I grew up in Iowa and we had the lightning bug jar capture down to an art form on summer nights.

The local ones here have a spot that is about the same size and colour as an LED indicator. When, in the dark, one of the lights on my UPS got up and started to move around I seriously questioned how much I had had to drink. Switch the light on and found a bug that was very interested and frustrated with the LEDs on my UPS.


Mass production of the Renault electric car Kango has started. It comes in showroom at the end of October. http://www.thegreencarwebsite.co.uk/blog/index.php/2011/09/12/electric-r...
‎In France it will be sold for 15000 Euro (before tax) after a 5000 Euro rebate, so the same price than the Diesel version. However, it does not includes the cost of the batteries, that will be rented for 75 Euro per month, including assistance. A batterie swap system is being set up to exchange a discharged one for a full one in around 5 minutes. It has an official range of 105 miles. Renault expect to sell around 20,000-30,000 of this small utility car the first year, mostly to business like the post office.
Note that the French goverement is quite involve in the story since Renault is partly own buy the governement... so is the Post office.

Rented batteries is a smart idea. Businesses care a lot about NPV while consumers care a lot about upfront costs. This way allows consumers to avoid some of the upfront costs while also allowing businesses to make a profit. I wonder if it would work in other places.

It's being tried in Israel, Denmark, and one or two other places: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Better_Place

Wikipedia says battery swapping was first tried in 1910-26, and the Better Place system can swap battery packs in under 2 minutes including payment -- less time than refueling with gasoline.

The key is making EVs cheaper to buy than ICEVs. Better Place have a plan for that, too.

Battery swapping is a VERY cool idea. Having fixed batteries in a car which require hours connected to the mains to recharge is a killer for anyone with "range anxiety". If you can pull in to a roadside garage and swap your flat battery for one they prepared earlier, in minutes, the problem is solved.

Hello guys,

Any recommendations on the best resource for knowledge of Qatar's oil and gas industry. I was recently assigned there and need to be aware of reliable background information.

C. Campbell used to produce a Country Assessment in each months newsletter. This link should take you to the archive for the newsletter where he covered Qatar.


Maybe we are at or past "Peak War". Perhaps the big wars of the 20th century (WW1, WW2, Cold War, Vietnam, etc. and Bush's wars etc.) were all based on ever increasing resources, especially oil. Now with those things past peak the wars themselves will be downscaled.

That is, until Pakistan or someone decides to lob a nuke into the capital of some adjoining country.

Nah, more predator drones -- remote controlled war -- computerized war -- all kinds of nonsense to spend money on

Predator/Warrior/Reaper/GORGON STARE - all efficient and rapidly improving means to kill remotely. I suspect they'll add prop driven attack aircraft to the inventory again and let some of the more advanced stuff slide. We could just leave that downed F-22 fleet parked, and an equal number of the little Super Tucano attack planes, and everyone would be happy except the air force.

You obviously know of what you speak.

By your name, I assume you are a Congressional staffer or lobbyist.

Witness the growth of ISR platforms based on the Beech (Raytheon?) Super King Air...




The daze of using F-16s and F-15s for lots of different missions, some ill-suited to a fighter aircraft, are waning. The military will, by necessity, continue to adopt less expensive to buy and operate airframes.

From Phantom Eyes to Reapers to Super King Airs to Tucanos to micro-UAVs...the pirates are being taken out of the loop. Persistence over speed...for many cases. LO has its place, but not on everything.

A few months ago AWST (I think) featured a comparison o0f the T-6A Texan light attack variant and the Super Tucano. I think the ST was judged better by a small margin.

In the same vein, I think the F-35 program will be scaled back from its original grand be-all, do-all , everyone buys lots plans. The STOVL version hopefully will be axed.

But beyond this, the bigger issue is to rein back our foreign military adventures, starting with those halfway around the globe.

Ideally, I would end all wars for oil, but realistically, the military is probably planning for what would work over Vz. Maybe the short legs on the F-35 will be usable after all.

My best hopes to end wars for resource control...

Those new systems, such as the Blue Devil blimp, sound great until one looks at the data flood.

The footage can easily overwhelm the people who have to watch it (not to mention the military’s often-fragile battlefield networks). Already, 19 analysts watch a single Predator feed.

Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a conference in November that he’d need 2,000 analysts to process the footage collected by a single drone fitted with WAAS sensors. And that’s before the upgrade to the next-generation WAAS, which uses 96 cameras and generates every hour 274 terabytes of information; it’d take 1,870 of the hard drives I’m using right now to store that much data. [emphasis added]

No worries, they'll just hire a bunch of gamers who think they are playing with other gamers, rather like the movie War Games...

E. Swanson

This is the type of warfare our current generation seems best suited for.


Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game is even closer.

Don't be cynical. The military will use computers to analyze the data, select new targets, and fire missiles without human interaction. ;-)

Alas I can not find the link - but a talking-head in the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Complex was claiming the new advances in computers would lead to better fire/no fire decisions in combat.

Sounds like we are steadily getting closer to Skynet

Skynet was a computer system developed by the defense firm Cyberdyne Systems for the United States Armed Forces. Skynet was first built as a "Global Digital Defense Network" and given command over all computerized military hardware and systems, including the B-2 stealth bomber fleet and America's entire nuclear weapons arsenal. The strategy behind Skynet's creation was to remove the possibility of human error and slow reaction time to guarantee fast, efficient response to enemy attack.

(Emphasis mine. )

Sounds pretty close to what we are hearing. Not a bad prediction for a 1984 movie.

I think it is a lot like Skynet, with the crucial distinction that it isn't machines that are doing the 'deciding' about killing people, but other people, people with shiny new buttons to push.

"The machines got smart.."

No.. sadly, it's a different problem than that.

everyone would be happy except the air force.

How could the Air Force recruit, without legions of boys signing up because they wanna be fighter pilots?

That is, until Pakistan or someone decides to lob a nuke into the capital of some adjoining country.

Agree with peak war being associated with resources like oil to fight the major conventional wars. What we need now is enough time on the oil production descent for those nukes to become obsolete, coupled with a reduced level of complexity to replace them. However, if the ratcheting up of world tension continues vis a vis rising costs of declining resources against a backdrop of rising demand from developing countries, then we might not get that time.

And if things seem tense now, just wait until Greece defaults, or the US eliminates enough entitlements to balance the budget and people start rioting due to austerity measures, or Iran vs. Israel gets going due to Iranian nuke program, etc. There are so many tense world situations right now, and as those resources continue to go up in price, the tension will become a tinderbox ready for ignition.

The Middle East has been in continous turmoil. The Israeli embassy was attacked in Egypt by mobs of protestors. There is lots of death and destruction in Bahrain, Syria, Libya, and other parts. Looks like Turkey just got serious.

"Turkey has developed a new identification system for its U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets, which will now allow them to fire at Israeli targets, the Iranian state-run news agency Press TV quoted a Turkish newspaper as reporting on Tuesday."


It was also reported at Press TV : http://www.presstv.ir/detail/198866.html

While most Western Media refuses to report it - attack on NATO convoys carrying fuel to Afghanistan occur regularly : http://www.presstv.ir/detail/194797.html

Today the US Embassy is under attack - in Afghanistan - which means NATO does not have control.


Unfortunately there is lots of war, lots of death, and lots of destruction going on. There is a resource war going on the Middle East - and it is at low intensity - but heating up. It is my opinion that NATO is in Afghanistan to block any Chinese move towards the Middle East - or at least give NATO the justification to use nukes if China attacks NATO forces there. It is a very dangerous game.

enicar - Along those lines a story on NPR the other day that NATO may not really be NATO any more per se. Even in the Libyan situation where it appeared most of the world supported the effort to help the rebels only 8 of the 16(?) NATO countries participated with Germany specifically refusing to provide any assistance. Even though the US wasn't in the visible lead we apparently provided NATO with much of the material support. In fact, after NATO ran out of the precision guided bombs we provided them. Also pointed out it was the US Tommy Hawks that took out the Libyan air defense system.

The take away was that as the NATO nations began to fractionate into various opposition positions who will "NATO" support if the conflict is between two NATO members? And if "NATO" has to butt heads with China at the same time some NATO members are making big deals with the Chinese...who is on who's side? Military conflicts are bad enough with being managed by committee...especially when members of the committee have conflicting interests.

The Chinese are slowly backing away from the Middle East - perhaps that is why they are making so much noise about the resources that lie in waters close to their shore -that they can control. China also has enough internal turmoil to keep it occupied.

For those that didn't know: "China has put the brakes on oil and gas investments in Iran, drawing anger from Tehran over a pullback that officials and executives said reflected Beijing's efforts to appease Washington and avoid US sanctions on its big energy firms." http://www.bedigest.com/NEWS/62567.aspx

So in the larger picture of things: China has been kicked out of Libya - a seemingly EU friendly Central Bank and Government have been installed - and energy shipments will soon begin - to EU countries. China has been warned away from IRAN - and has backed away. Chinas' effort to supply Ghadaffi with arms (200 million worth)under the table, despite voting for sanctions against Libya, shows it's true intentions.

China has just launched it's first Aircraft Carrier - and is intimidating Japan, and Korea to claim the hydrocarbon resources in the East China Sea.

"This paper analyses the political, legal, military and economic issues involved in the territorial and maritime border issues in the East China Sea (ECS) between mainly Japan and China but also with special reference to the Korean interests in the northern part of the Sea. The issues revolve around the dispute over the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands/Diaoyudao, as well as the delimitation of the Japan-China and the China-Korea maritime borders. It concludes that in the 1970s and 1980s some opportunities to achieve joint exploitation of the hydrocarbon resources in the ECS were missed, and Japan later sent misleading signals to China about the commitment to its economic interests in the Sea. A critical evaluation of the 18 June 2008 Japan-China agreement foresees many obstacles to implement it, which also does not augur well for a speedy delimitation of the China-Korea maritime border."


Meanwhile in the resource rich South China Sea, China is making large claims: "Sigh, we've been down this road before. Both the Philippines and Vietnam are severely unhappy over China's maritime claims in the South China Sea including sovereignty over the Spratly Islands. In fact, the Philippines is so fumed, it just announced that it's not even going to call it the South China Sea anymore. From now on, President Benigno Aquino explained, it's going to be known as the West Philippine Sea. (Erm, right. Good luck with convincing Google Maps to change over to that one). The name switch in all likelihood was due to a Chinese ship reportedly harassing a Philippines oil exploration vessel which the Philippines didn't take so kindly to or...a Chinese ship which was only clearly exercising its sovereign rights in Chinese-owned waters, depending on which story you prefer."


So we have, on the surface, China backing away from the Middle East under American pressure, while asserting claims in it's immediate sphere of influence - claims which it can, and most likely will, militarily enforce.

What will be interesting to see from the EU is who gets what of the Libyan oil bonaza. If any of the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain) are kicked out of the Euro and re-establish their own currency - at what rate will they be able to exchange them for petro-dollars. They can't afford their energy bill now - they certainly can't in the future.

Word yesterday was that China is offering to buy Italy's debt, easing pressure on the EU. Perhaps it's easier to play wait and see in the ME, while quietly buying what they want or making debt slaves of other states, ridding themselves of (doomed?) US treasuries. Not sure what they would want from Italy though.....

Ghung - knowing how the Chinese like to trade maybe they'll take Italian debt in exchange for right of first refusal on some of that sweet Libyan crude. There was a time in the oil patch that ROFR was almost as lucrative as owning the production itself. I suspect those days are coming back. It's never been stated but I suspect (heard inside rumors) that was part of the deal by China to fund Brazilian oil projects.

Enicar - Interesting details. Mucho thanks. From my limited dealings with the Chinese: the only time they feel ashamed of how they do business is if they don't take full advantage of a situation. Not really a slap at their morals but they honestly feel that if you allow someone to get the better of you in a trade you should be ashamed...not the folks that did the back stabbing. A cultural thing as much as I could understand. For them bribary is no different then paying a govt fee. It's just the cost of doing business. They can supply weapons to both sides...the conflict itself is none of their business.

It would be interesting if Turkey ejects the USAF from the Incirlik air base.

Was it ever a NATO mission?

From what Ive remember from the Bundeswehr report, the countries that attacked Lybia were those that imported oil from it, namely Italy and France. Germany, I think, wasn't that interested because the oil source is Russia, Norway and UK.

My take was always that the EU states had to secure their oil for themselves for the first time as the US was unable to project force. The US was too stretched out to fullfill their usual role, namely securing oil supplies.

I'm probably wrong, just adding my two cent.

Norway pushed their F-16s to the limit in Libya. Importing oil is not a motivation for them.


Quite a serious warning from Saudi Arabia

If Washington imposes its veto when the Palestinians seek to become the 194th member state of the United Nations then "Saudi Arabia would no longer be able to cooperate with America in the same way it historically has," former Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal wrote.

"The 'special relationship' between Saudi Arabia and the United States would increasingly be seen as toxic by the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims, who demand justice for the Palestinian people."

Saudi leaders would be forced therefore to "adopt a more independent and assertive regional policy," he warned, pointing to such incidents as Riyadh's recent military intervention in Bahrain.

full article:

The tension in the middle east continue to rise, in my opinion this is partially due to the waning influence and "prestige" of the US in the world and the region, having said that the picture in the mid-east currently is extremely complicated we have several fronts of conflict and potential catalysts for war over the next few months; I believe Saudi Arabia is growing more and more frustrated with Iranian interference in the Arab world, the Iranian domination in Iraq, the strong Iranian backing of the Syrian regime and the situation in Bahrain in addition to the instability in Yemen and the uncertainty in Egypt is waving an uncomfortable web around Saudi Arabia; meanwhile the nuclear threat presented by Iran continue to grow as the IAEA has confirmed in a number of recent reports, hence the increased risk of an attack by Israel on Iran; meanwhile the Palestinian bid for statehood in the UN is adding more fuel to the fire as Israel feel extremely threatened by increased international pressure against it should Palestine be accepted as a state; and of course all this is happening while the US is the verge of withdrawing most of its forces from Iraq by year end, thus possibly leaving a power vacuum and raising the prospect of internal Iraqi conflict (Shia-Sunni-Arab-Kurd); basically the situation all the way from Afghanistan to Libya is not promising; adding to this global resources scarcity and significant economic malaise in Europe and the US and we have a formula for major geopolitical event in 2012, perhaps the Incas were right after all.


Uh Ohh

If Washington imposes its veto when the Palestinians seek to become the 194th member state of the United Nations then "Saudi Arabia would no longer be able to cooperate with America

IMO, every single member of the Senaye is scared to death of AIPAC. They lose sleep over the thought they might the subject of a political smear campaign, not because of what US policy might do to others, or of any blowback that might come upon the country because of how the voted. So I predict statehood will be rejected in the Senate by a 100 to 0 margin.

It is not the US senate which matters to Saudi Arabia. What matters is how the US votes in the UN.

A veto in the Security Council is a given.
The US is committed to defend a Rogue State.

The US is committed to defend a Rogue State.

If you are referring to Israel then I can't see how it can be a Rogue State as the U.N. sanctioned it, and recognised it in 1947 and it a member of the U.N. If I remember properly the so called Palestinians were also offered there own state at the same time but refused it.

My wife is Jewish, and I'm a member of a Jewish Community Center, and am quite familiar with the political history of Israel.
Have you been paying attention?

Same thing here. My wife's family totally supports the 'Nation of Israel' and it's (their) people, but remain perpetually disgusted with Israel's politics and policies. They know that an inability to make and maintain peace with your neighbors can only end badly. I see it as yet another predicament, one of the oldest, in fact.

Never mind the Mayans and 2012, the Revelation of Saint John the Divine is bad enough, a self-fulfilling prophecy perhaps? :-0

I would be interested in knowing what Israel could do,other than to roll over and die, to make and maintain peace with their neighbours. Please enlighten me.

They could do a number of things.

They could avoid creating FAR more trouble for themselves by not treating an aid shipment like it's a commando attack.. at this point, they might find SOME way of using diplomatic language to accept responsibility for that attack and propose that they will deal with such things differently in the future.

Clearly, their fear and their pride (ie, 'Defensive Posture') forbids them from accepting any blame or guilt for that or many other actions which have been disproportionately punitive against non-combatants.. and since it hasn't apparently cost them much by way of American Aid Dollars or Public Censure, then they seem to have no incentive to try to learn from these mistakes and avoid making them Again and Again.

They don't HAVE to roll over and die, but their actions and statements for decades now is setting them up for exactly that conclusion.

The abuse they suffered in Warsaw and other places has turned neatly into the exact same abuse that they are now doling out in Gaza. It's terrible.


That "aid shipment" was let by an organization, the IHH, that idolizes the Chechen terrorists who committed the Beslan massacre.

The ship's hold had no useful cargo. And even if it did, Gaza receives 100 times more material in truck convoys every day than the flotilla had.

The shipment's purpose was to force a way open for other ships, such as the Karin A.

"Please enlighten me."

Surely you jest...or maybe you missed the part of my comment about "predicament". I'll go ask my wife, but I'm sure she'll LOL ...........................she did. Told me to fix her TV ;-/

OK, maybe it's just me, but when I see this I think the US put KSA up to it.

For a while now the US has been sending shots across the Israeli bows, telling them they will have to come to an accord with the Palestinians. Israel, in their typical form, have been arrogantly brushing off such statements and saying they won't, never, etc.

However things are coming to a head.

Particularly if the current Syrian government falls, the middle east is much more aligned with US policies/worldviews. Lots of newly democratic(ish) countries all around Israel. At the same time, lots of countries (particularly Europe) have been openly supporting recognition of Palestine. And the US government has been getting more annoyed at the way people like Netanyahu think the US is their poodle.

Israel isn't going to like it, but they are going to have to agree to a two state solution. One way or the other. And its not going to be on the basis of Israel building a wall. 1967 areas will be the basis, if not in the same place.

I see this as another chess move. At some point Israel will be told "Look, we cannot NOT side with the rest of the world against you if you give us nothing to work with. Read and sign this and we can head off the recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN, and probably stop Turkey blockading you, which appears to have just happened."

Israel signs or gets crushed.

AIPAC and their hold on the US political firmament, in those terms, is a sideshow.

This diplomatic musing is positioning a pawn to backup the general thrust of the attack - the chess game is being played 20 moves ahead.

Found this today. Appears to be a foregone conclusion.

Quite a serious warning from Saudi Arabia

The best thing that could ever happen to the US vis a vis oil supplies is for Saudi Arabia, or even OPEC in general, to "punish" us by cutting off or even just shorting global supplies. The American response will then be to increase North American production while simultaneously cutting consumption. About as win/win as it gets.

You got my vote Spock. Anything that lets me raise the price of my production to the American consumers is OK with me. And whatever response the oil patch can muster to offset a KSA production cut would take many years to materialize. Long after we've flipped our company and made an obscene profit. Ohrah!

increase North American production

LMAO !!!

Not much hope for further increases in NA Production beyond "what will happen anyway",


I would disagree, if only because of the potential contained within the Athabasca. I did say North America, not US.

As noted here before, Alberta tar/oil sands cannot be developed any faster than they are.

Every bottleneck is at capacity. An extra $1 billion = zero more oil by 2020.

Cutting KSA imports, and resulting higher oil prices, will not increase Alberta syncrude production.


Every bottleneck is at capacity. An extra $1 billion = zero more oil by 2020.

That's what is always claimed. Today. Fortunately, bottlenecks are born to be debottlenecked. Remember how much whining there was for the poor caribou prior to the construction of the Trans-Alaskan pipeline? The poor caribou! They will die! They won't be able to breed! They won't migrate! They will all lie down and die because of this pipeline thing running through their land! We must conserve instead, do something else, eat more rice, bicycle! Down with Big Oil! And then the price goes up and suddenly the caribou as bottleneck? No more bottleneck. Admittedly, not a capital investment bottleneck, but a bottleneck none the less. Amazing how bottlenecks suddenly...aren't....with the right amount of economic pressure.

Although, with peak gasoline in the US having apparently happened a few years back, maybe we will just shrink our way out from under any bottlenecks instead? Count me in, I'm still vying for the title of Mr First In The Neighborhood with EV.

Is a Nissan Leaf right for you Alan? They sell them in The Sportsman Paradise yet?

I made a mistake in responding to you.


The American response will then be to increase North American production while simultaneously cutting consumption. About as win/win as it gets.

"Another such victory and we are undone." - Pyrrhus

Turkey attempts to rally diplomatic alliance against Israel

Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that the Jewish state's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last year had been "grounds for war".

Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Cairo when he said this. Egypt also seems to be taking a hardening stance against Israel, with its embassy being attacked last week forcing the Israeli ambassador to flee.

Things don't seem to be going as well as hoped in Libya either:

Libya could fall into hands of extremists, Nato warns

Libya is in danger of falling into the hands of Islamic extremists if a stable government [aka. a Western backed kleptocracy] is not rapidly established, Nato’s secretary-general warned last night.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Islamic extremists would “try to exploit” any weaknesses created as the country tried to rebuild after four decades of Col Muammar Gaddafi’s rule.

Mr Rasmussen was speaking amid growing evidence of splits in the rebel leadership in Tripoli. His words will cast a damper over the euphoria sweeping Tripoli in the wake of the revolution.

His warning came as the head of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, told cheering crowds in Tripoli that Islamic shariah law would be the “main source” of legislation in the new Libya.

And a couple of weeks ago we had an Israeli general talking about the likelihood of war on multiple fronts.

and we have a formula for major geopolitical event in 2012, perhaps the Incas were right after all.

The Mayans. They are called the Maya.

So the Maya were the ones who produced that Hollywood movie?

So the Maya were the ones who produced that Hollywood movie?

I think you got it wrong it was Metro-Goldwyn-Maya if I remember properly.


Banks face radical overhaul – in eight years' time

They'll be lucky if banks, by then, aren't smoldering piles of debris: bones of banksters scattered around, being picked over by herds of angry sheeple.


The Obama proposed American Jobs Act of 2011 (PDF) contains numerous repeals of oil industry subsidies to take effect in 2013.


Not arguing for or against. Just figured folks should know the effects:

SEC. 431. REPEAL OF DEDUCTION FOR INTANGIBLE DRILLING AND DEVELOPMENT COSTS IN THE CASE OF OIL AND GAS WELLS. Significant decrease in the number of wells drilled especially those of marginal value. Thus may significantly reduce the number of shale gas wells drilled. Probable significant job losses and reduced domestic production leading to greater dependency on imported oil/NG.

SEC. 432. REPEAL OF DEDUCTION FOR TERTIARY INJECTANTS. Abandonment of an uncertain number of secondary recovery projects. A smaller job loss than described above but potentially greater production loss over time given that the average US oil well produces less than 10 bopd with many being sustained only by such EOR efforts.

SEC. 433. REPEAL OF PERCENTAGE DEPLETION FOR OIL AND GAS WELLS. Eliminate 100's of millions if not billions of capex investments. Again, job loss and production losses.

SEC. 435. REPEAL OIL AND GAS WORKING INTEREST EXCEPTION TO PASSIVE ACTIVITY RULES. Probably drive a significant number of investors from the arena.

SEC. 437. REPEAL ENHANCED OIL RECOVERY CREDIT. Significantly reduce the amount of URR from a large percentage of US fields. Probably eliminate the majority of new EOR projects under consideration.


But understand, from a personal perspective I'm all for most of these changes. Any govt policy that decreases US production and inhibits my competition is very welcomed. Being privately owned and well funded internally the positives of the changes far outweigh the negatives. Essentially when we eventually sell our company we'll make much more since the public will have no choice but to pay up.

As usual: nothing personal...just business.

As previously discussed, I just hope that the angry rioting consumers--who have been promised virtually infinite energy supplies by ExxonMobil, et al--don't torture the food & energy producers, before they shoot us.

Who wins and who loses will determine whether or not this part of the bill stays or goes. Many years ago I was a partner in a small 'hotshot' trucking outfit. We did jobs too small or time constrained for the big companies, using straight trucks to avoid weigh stations and "flying under the radar" so to speak. We were moving critical cargo like big bearings for power stations that needed to get there 'yesterday', and our customers were willing to pay alot (dedicated freight service). When the state revamped the regulations, they couldn't have been better written to put us out of business. Of course, the big guys in trucking were all for it or it wouldn't have passed the legislature.

The heating and air companies went through the same thing when CFCs were regulated; the small independent guys couldn't afford to comply, the big outfits made money.

My point is that, IMO, this won't become law if the XOMs and MROs don't benefit somehow.

Ghung - Actually XOM and Big Oil might not be as opposed as some would think. The tax angle in the oil patch is complicated and what might hurt small independents could benefit Big Oil. In general the tax laws were adjusted a while back to help the small guys much more than the biggies. But in the end those companies that survive, like ours, will benefit greatly from these changes. As in most cases, one size doesn't not fit all. The current tax laws were modified some time ago to take some of the advantages away that Big Oil had over Little Oil. It worked: Big Oil focused on overseas production which benefited those countries and not the US. Remember the bottom line: it's about profits...not tax laws. And increased prices for domestic oil/NG will likely outweigh any increased tax burden. And many oil companies will continue to develop oil/NG in foreign lands and shelter their income there. Good to remember that Big Oil companies are international players for the most part. They don't necessarially ever have to drill another well in the US to do OK.

But if it makes some folks feel better to think they are satifying their personal grudges against the oil companies it's fine by me...I'll just smile all the way to the bank. Just like the big truckers did when you got knee capped Ghung. Folks need to understand that it's OK if they don't want ExxonMobil et al drilling in the US. But they are going to still pay XOM et al for the oil they use. It will just be produced overseas where the royalties and jobs will go to another company. And we get a worse trade balance. XOM et al is going to make their profits no matter how the tax code is changed. Just a question of who gets the tax, royalty and pay checks.

The only question I have is will these changes be passed?

King - Just my WAG but no. Obstruction seems to be the rule of the day on both sides.

I would be surprised if it passes. House speaker Boehner said, “When you look at what we saw in the president’s pay-for’s yesterday, we see permanent tax increases put into effect in order to pay for temporary spending. I just don’t think that’s really going to help our economy the way it could.”

Rockman, we all feel better when the bad guys get punished. Wait, who are the bad guys in this fight? Poor economy is trying to eat itself.

A lot of us are of the view that a simple tax code with low overall rates, but very few loopholes is much to be preferred to an extremely complicated tax code with high rates and all kinds of loopholes.

past - I agree about simplicity. But that overlooks benefits. Let's drop oil biz out (too emotional for some folks). What if we can jump start solar/wind by providing tax breaks that would encourage investments in these areas that wouldn't happen without them? Of course that means the govt has too pick potential winners. Not a straight forward call.

Jump back to the oil patch. Years ago the govt allowed royalty relief (kinds like a tax break) for companies that went after Deep Water oil in the GOM. Worked well at the time given the high costs anf low oil prices then. But years later when the fields are coming on line prices had shot up and the govt lost a lot of revenue. Right or wrong? If the companies hadn't been given the royalty relief many/most of those fields would not have been producing during the high price periods: so little or no royalties and more imported oil. Right or wrong?

Easy to answer in hindsight. But predictions are difficut...especially about the future.

I agree about simplicity. But that overlooks benefits.

Oh my God! You want to put lobbyists and tax accountants out of business. OMG.

Check out this video of remnants of Katia that strike England. A car part roof collapses on a bunch of cars. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkZf38-u8DM

We have Katia here in Scandinavia right now. A bit windy. I am thinking of maybe wearing a hat when I go out from my flat in a coupla minutes.

Now I feel guilty for joking earlier about sending one of these hurricanes your way in tact :-o

Katia surprised us all and went westward without bothering to touch down anywhere along North America's shores.

Jedi, here's hoping you won't need a hard hat.

Yeah, it is windy all right. It is all "whooo" and "hhooowoowooo" around the corners. 23:20 in this time zone. Nice audio background when I am about to go to sleep.

Cheap Oil, Cheap Money, And Our Culture of Debt and Speculation:


The new IEA Highlights of the latest OMR is out this Morning.

World oil supply rose by 1.0 mb/d in August, to 89.1 mb/d, with non-OPEC production up by 0.8 mb/d.

However last month they said:

World oil supply in July rose by 0.06 mb/d to 88.7 mb/d with non-OPEC production up by 0.4 mb/d.

But the previous month they wrote:

Global oil supply in June increased by 1.2 mb/d from May to average 88.3 mb/d, with OPEC crude rising by 0.8 mb/d to 30 mb/d as Saudi Arabia boosted supply.

And I went back several reports and found that the IEA always overestimated their predictions by from .5 mb/d to 1 mb/d. And the OPEC Oil Market Report which came out yesterday said world oil production averaged 88.09 mb/d, in August, an increase of 0.69 mb/d from the previous month.

Ron P.

I think that we agree that the key thing to focus on is the annual data for C+C (EIA) and for total petroleum liquids (BP).

The EIA shows C+C at between 73 and 74 mbpd for 2005 to 2010, except for 2009. At the 2002 to 2005 rate of increase, we would have been at 86 mbpd in 2010.

BP shows Total Petroleum Liquids at between 81 and 82 mbpd for 2005 to 2010, except for 2009. At the 2002 to 2005 rate of increase, we would have been at 94 mbpd in 2010.

What are you trying to say? Plateau as usual?

What makes you think I am trying to say anything other than what I posted? Anyway, I am not trying to imply anything other that that the reporting agencies seem to be always overly optimistic.

Ron P.

found that the IEA always overestimated their predictions by from .5 mb/d to 1 mb/d

Systematic errors mean that a variable is not controlled in the system. Who could it be? Who could it be?

Is a Bicycle Really More Efficient Than a Car?

So bicycles can be much less efficient in terms of fuel cost than cars. Bikes are great. Provided that nobody runs you down, they’re great fun to ride terrific exercise and can be, in some cases, a practical alternative to driving, but in terms of fuel cost, they may not save you any money.


Maybe this website should be called "thepropagandaaboutcars". Clearly fuel is not the largest cost for a car, with depreciation, maintenance, insurance, parking,etc., all adding up to the IRS $0.51 per mile.
Even the linked article's stupid idea of fueling a bike ride with Big Macs has a per mile bike fuel cost of $0.28 (who does that? cyclists mostly fuel on grains {pasta, oatmeal, bread} at a much cheaper price per calorie). And of course the increased health from exercise outweighs increased risk from accidents about 20 to 1 from past studies I have read (for an order of merit, 1 million US citizens die each year from heart disease {basically inactivity deaths} while about 700 cyclists die in crashes). Bike cost for depreciation and all the other car costs is about $0.00 per mile, within rounding error.
So the article is really a better argument for not fueling yourself with fast food, no matter what activity (or inactivity) you choose. Of course car drivers eat a lot more fast food than cyclists. When was the last time you saw a bike in the BK drive-thru lane ??? But there are always obese drivers in obese vehicles in the drive-thru, and reading this article will make them feel good about themselves until the next cardiac infarction.

That reminds me of the day I took my bicycle in a fast food drive-thru and they refused to serve me because I wasn't in a car.

I registered so I could post a comment, then thought better of it..

It was just pure bait. Red Meat for another senseless argument, since, as you point out, it's the ICE driver who's probably eating the big mac as he idles in his car through the drive-in ... And then the 'alternate fuels' are Coke, RedBull and Pure Sugar?

It reminds me of the kids I met in a Trenton, NJ inner-city playground, while our video crew was waiting to start the day. I think I was drinking an Orange Juice or something and a friendly kid came up an inquired sincerely, "Mister, How come you're not drinking a beer?" Where do you even start? Answer: Somewhere else.

Ahhh! It's not the place to wage that battle.

Are they taking into consideration that you have to eat anyway?

Right - and breathe, as well, as far as CO2 'emissions' from one's lungs go. Tommyvee's got it right, nothing but propaganda in there. But what did we expect? 'Truthabout' anything rings as untrue as Clear Skies and Healthy Forest initiatives...

When you drive a car your metabolism shuts off to zero kilocalories burned and you stop breathing more or less. Some people's hearts stop when they see $50 to fill up their car too. Also people that drive cars do not go to the Gym or walk their neighborhood or burn excess calories. They are just couch potatoes.

The truthaboutwalking website will go further to say that people that walk are wasting energy relative to those that ride bikes. Someday walkers will pay carbon credits out to people that brave transport on their bicycles. I read that in the Onion I think ;-)

I think some folks are screaming bloody murder at us poor consumers and I mean poor in the literal sense. How are we supposed to pay for all this when are wages and benefits etc are cut each year? LOL. It aint gonna be pretty and many folks are selling snakeoil like this to the sheep.


Some bicycles in New Orleans are powered by ethanol :-)

The police do not mind unless they run down a pedestrian.

Best Hopes for Biological Consumption of Ethanol,


I loved the comments under that article about how dangerous bikes are.. any cars involved in those stats?

It's like my brother's fine line about bass-ackward relationship management..

"You never told me you couldn't communicate!"

Oh boy. Propaganda. I save ~$2000 to $3000 in gasoline, parking ($1k), and car repairs and oil changes.

I spend about $30 a year on tires and brakes, etc. on my bike.

Now onto food.

I bike say 1.25 hours per day or say 350 hours a year for say for 4200 miles per year. Call it 100 Watts on a bike or 35 kW-Hr in energy.

OK. So a car at 20 MPG for 4200 miles uses 210 gal of gasoline.

Some conversion math:
1000 watt hours = 3.6 megajoules
1.32 x 10^8 Joules = 1 Gallon of Gasoline [or 130 Jelly Doughnuts for Homer Simpson fans]

So lets see the bike is using 126 MJ. The car is using 27,720 MJ.

LOL. The bicycle is 220-fold more energy efficient not including the repairs and parking and insurance and fees and other shizzle taxed on cars.

Pure propaganda.

Bikes rule. But who cares? Do you know how hard it is to pedal up to 160mph on a bicycle just to sit up into the slipstream and have it try and rip you out of the seat? The extra energy is worth the thrill.

Well the other factor to consider is that food energy is well more than the food cals. The food is oil/ng and energy so the price of the food in energy is 10x more.

I agree driving is fun but not in grid-locked streets and parking garages looking for the last spot on a parking deck to then have to drive to the next deck and look for a spot. LOL.

Define fun. I tend to believe that biking is 10- to 20-fold more efficient even factoring in oil-petro-based foods.

But if you grow a garden and produce the additional load of calories required to bike, which is doable, then you have a tax free investment. ;-)

I agree driving is fun but not in grid-locked streets and parking garages looking for the last spot on a parking deck to then have to drive to the next deck and look for a spot. LOL.

That isn't driving, that is simply getting from point A to point B. That is all about efficiency, convenience, maybe cost.

I like bikes by the way, have about 6 of them in the garage, and they are massively efficient. But I'll still collect the EV when they get here, for the days I don't want to get sweaty on the way to the office. Who cares about the efficient use of food, if I don't use it efficiently, I use it inefficiently, and enjoy it in either case.

Rather a silly claim. My caloric intake is independent of how much riding I do. I either spend those calories riding or on maintaining and carrying extra padding around.

Here is an interesting discussion showing that if you bike you live longer and use about the same energy as a couch potato that only drives, but if you compare to a person that drives and goes to the gym, then you save 14 GJ/yr.



In an interview Monday with Egyptian newspaper Al Shuruq, Mr. Erdogan said the "Turkish Navy is prepared for every scenario – even the worst one.

Ah, more rhetoric. Love it

I think we can find some fun Israeli diplomatic New-speak to color up the other face of that coin as well, no?

Hmm, just trying to squeak past the 'Lieberman suggesting Arming the PKK to punish Ankara for Ousting the Ambassador after Israel refuses to apologize for attacking and killing 8 turks on the Aid Shipment.' ... to find some semblance of a defensive justification for the extremity of that raid.. but I really need to go work on an electric bike or another solar heater right now.. so I can't handle the quest.


PS. Ok, 'fun' was an inappropriate term, considering that Israel is in a very tremulous position right now, with it's Eqypt and Turkish relationships on the brink; and that sort of fear from a State with the only, albeit unacknowledged Nuclear Weapons in the region, and history of Aggressive behavior is anything but fun. God Help and Allah protect them all!

Well, actually, we can. There's international law, regarding blockades, and it happens to side with Israel for that incident.

As for arming the PKK, they are hardly the only Kurdish players. If the Turks keep acting like idiots they will wake up one morning to discover that Iraqi Kurdistan is a pen's stroke away from statehood.

Israel has the 'Neighborhood Bully' on their side on this, (USA), and maybe they can claim somehow that it was all 'perfectly legal'..(and I don't buy that argument personally.. the G7 can write whatever rules and decisions it chooses for itself)... but they have once again shown the world that they are willing to cut down unarmed people in the name of 'security', and yet have become clearly less secure than ever.

'Neither side has ever missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity', as the old saying reminds us..

This isn't about law, it's down to Physics, now. The chips are falling where they must. A period of consequences, indeed..

"'perfectly legal'..(and I don't buy that argument personally.. the G7 can write whatever rules and decisions it chooses for itself).."

It could, but it didn't. The San Remo Manual on blockades is what countries go by for these situations. Read it and be enlightened.

"but they have once again shown the world that they are willing to cut down unarmed people in the name of 'security',"

If you bring a knife to a gun fight, you are are outgunned, but not unarmed.

..and you continue to miss my main point, NONE of this is making Israel more secure.

Indignant justifications don't make their actions wise or useful.

Give it a rest, please. This topic has been beaten to death in the past, and at this point, is only going to generate heat, not light.

Fukushima nuclear disaster: PM at the time feared Japan would collapse

Japan's prime minister at the height of the nuclear crisis has said he feared the country would collapse, and revealed that Tepco had considered abandoning the Fukushima Daiichi power plant after it was hit by the 11 March tsunami.

"It was truly a spine-chilling thought," he told the Tokyo Shimbun, adding that he foresaw a situation in which greater Tokyo's 30 million people would have to be evacuated, a move that would "compromise the very existence of the Japanese nation".

Only time will tell if Japan needs to have large scale evacuations. It does appear to be getting worse - with time.


It's the same researcher who said several thousand becquerels/kg of neptunium-239 was found in the soil in Iitate-mura, about 35 km northwest of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. It seems it's not just Iitate-mura that got doused with neptunium, which decays into plutonium. Date City, about 25 km northwest from Iitate-mura and 60 km from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, also got a large amount of neptunium.

To recap, uranium-239, whose half life is about 24 minutes, decays into neptunium-239 with a half life of about 2.5 days, which then decays into plutonium-239 whose half life is 24,200 years.

Again, the reason for withholding the information is explained in the article below as "the research paper being peer-reviewed by a foreign scientific journal" - a make-or-break event, apparently, for a young researcher at a prestigious university in Japan - and as precaution against the possible Japanese government action to squash the information. The article was written by the same husband & wife comedian couple who first wrote about neptunium in Iitate-mura on their blog magazine in early August."


If you haven't seen the sites - I highly recommend them - of course, I am of the tin-foil brigade.



It should be remembered that a number of circumstances made the Fukushima disaster LESS severe, one of which was that the wind blew away from Tokyo during the worst period. If Tokyo had been seriously contaminated, which could have happened very easily, Japan would have been ruined.

Kan actually started pushing for a new approach, and ultimately I think THAT was his downfall. Notice what the new PM, Noda, said pretty much as soon as he got in office - "the country needs nuclear". I wonder where that came from?

Yair...a carry over from a previous thread. Darwinian mentioned that hydro could pump water back up for pumped storage but wind and solar couldn't. I am an old "prop it open" minded bushman living in a "gas strut" world and the statement goes against every thing I thought I understood.

Could some one set me straight...and perhaps clarify the concept?


Scrub, it is not a carryover, the subject is discussed up thread on this drumbeat. However...

There are a few, a very few, hydro plants that generate power from dams, that do pump water back into the uphill reservoir during off peak hours. I am very familiar with many TVA hydro dams and none of them do this. Some may, on the smaller tributaries to the Tennessee but I have no knowledge of them. You must understand that power companies that use both hydroelectric dams as well as coal and nuclear plants, just drop off production from their coal plants during off peak hours, they never have excess electricity from the dams. They save fuel by dropping off the coal plants during off peak hours and that is exactly what they do. The hydroelectric plants are always producing flat out. That fuel, falling water, cost them nothing.

I never said it "couldn't be done", only that it isn't being done. Think about it man, you would have to find a hydro plant, close by, that is already generating all the hydro power it can, then ask it to generate more just because you have excess energy when the sun is shining, and the wind is blowing, and then to generate more electricity when neither is happening.

Pumping water uphill with excess power from wind and solar plants, to generate power from an entirely different hydro plant is possible but not practical and is not done anywhere to my knowledge.

Ron P.

As the following link shows, Iberdrola already operates many MW of both conventional hydro and pumped storage. And both modulation of conventional hydro output and pumped storage are currently being used for many MW to adapt to fluctuating wind output, with many more MW of pumped storage for handling renewable fluctuation under construction.


"There are several existing generation technologies available to firm the variability of wind capacity. At Iberdrola, we believe the best operational option is pumped storage, which is always available and provides significant flexibility with regard to start ups and shutdowns. Iberdrola is building the 852-MW La Muela 2 pumped-storage plant for this purpose and is investigating construction of three additional pumped-storage plants with a total capacity of 1,640 MW."

"Conventional Hydro
Hydro plants have several advantages. First, they are the most flexible of the technologies in performing continuous start ups and shutdowns without a significant detrimental effect on the equipment’s service life. Second, their load variation speed is high. For example, it is possible to vary the power by about 100 percent per minute. Third, the minimum load is low, often less than 10 percent of the installed power. Fourth, their fuel cost is zero. And last, they do not produce any emissions of greenhouse gases.
The only limitation of this type of technology is its connection to the hydraulic management of rivers. This is mainly conditioned by the storage capacity of the reservoirs in the basin in which each plant is located. During dry years, the reservoir level can decrease significantly, limiting the hydraulic power available.
Conventional hydro is the most attractive option for firming the variability of wind capacity, for two main reasons. It is the lowest cost technology and the cleanest one, as its greenhouse gas emission level is zero. However, in developed systems, almost all the hydroelectric potential is harnessed. This makes it difficult to increase power to supply regulation services. Therefore, other technologies are needed to provide balancing services."

"Iberdrola has always sought to develop technologies that provide low greenhouse emissions. In fact, the company has about 10,000 MW of hydro capacity worldwide, including more than 8,800 MW in Spain. Of this 8,800 MW, more than 2,300 MW is pumped storage. Ibderdrola’s plants represent 47 percent of the installed hydro capacity in Spain. This large portfolio of hydropower plants has allowed Iberdrola to maximize the profitability of its wind turbine installations from the moment of their construction.
Because of its rapid development of new wind turbine installations, Iberdrola is continuously seeking to broaden its portfolio of pumped-storage stations. It can be difficult to find suitable sites that permit the construction of pumped-storage stations at a moderate investment cost. Even in systems where suitable sites are available, the investment cost of this type of station is very high, which obliges developers to assume a very high risk during the long periods of amortization required.
Iberdrola’s most recent activity to add to its pumped-storage portfolio involves expansion of the existing 635-MW La Muela plant with the installation of a second powerhouse. La Muela began operating in 1989. Construction of 852-MW La Muela 2 began in 2006 and is expected to be complete in 2012. The new powerhouse will contain four sets of generators (supplied by Alstom) and pump-turbines (supplied by Voith Hydro). Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, S.A. (FCC) of Spain is the civil contractor for La Muela 2, and a consortium of Alstom, Sacyr Vallehermoso, and Cavosa is supplying the penstock. Ingenieria y Construccion S.A.U. (Iberinco) is performing the engineering work for La Muela 2.
In addition to this plant currently under construction, Iberdrola plans to develop the Alto Tomega hydroelectric complex in Portugal. Construction of the 1,200-MW complex involves building four dams and four power stations, two of which will be pumped-storage facilities. The two pumped-storage plants will be 779-MW Gouvaes and the 112-MW Pradoselos. Construction on this complex is proposed to begin in 2010 and be completed in 2018.
Finally, Iberdrola is considering several other locations for pumped-storage facilities. Among these is the 750-MW Santa Cristina plant in Spain."

" They save fuel by dropping off the coal plants during off peak hours and that is exactly what they do. The hydroelectric plants are always producing flat out. That fuel, falling water, cost them nothing."

The above statement is simply incorrect. Hydro power is usually the fastest and cheapest to ramp up, so utilities world-wide modulate hydro output to accommodate changes both in demand and other production sources. Many rivers in Europe have warning signs about fluctuating water levels due to varying hydro energy production. So these hydro facilities are operated in a manner anything but "always producing flat out".
Probably the largest example of varying hydro power output to accommodate wind power is how Norway and Sweden adjust their hydro generation to match Denmark's wind power.

"The grid management challenge of wind power has been successfully met by Denmark, Spain and Portugal during the past 25 years. Denmark (about 20% PRODUCTION from wind, 9% is consumed in Denmark and 11% exported) uses hydro plants in Norway and Sweden to smooth its wind power. Spain, its grid weakly connected to nearby grids, about 13.7% from wind, uses its own hydro plants, some with pumped storage, and CCGT plants to smooth its wind power. Portugal, about 15% from wind, largely mimics Spain.

"The only reason Denmark’s high level of wind power production “works” is because robust connections exist to LARGE nearby grids that are willing to cooperate (by modulating the outputs of their hydro plants and pumped storage) and because the exported wind power is mostly sold about 5-10% below spot prices; i.e., a mutually beneficial arrangement. "

"In Spain (and Portugal and Denmark), hydro power plants is the preferred option to smooth wind power because:
- they are the most flexible of the technologies in performing continuous startups and shutdowns without a significant detrimental effect on the equipment’s service life.
- their load variation speed is high. For example, it is possible to vary the power by about 100%/min.
- their minimum load is low, often less than 10% of rated capacity.
- their fuel cost is zero.
- they do not produce CO2."


So these hydro facilities are operated in a manner anything but "always producing flat out".

In the context of hydro, "flat out" means you put energy demand as your top consideration for how you manage your reservoirs, (as opposed to recreation, irrigation, et cetera) not that you drain them completely.


The vast majority of hydroelectric power comes from storage dams that can run at peak as needed. They often have to release low volumes of "fish water" 24/7 to keep enough water in the stream below the dam to keep fish alive (fish populations drop with water 99.8% of the time).

A minority of the power comes from "run-of-the-river" plants where water is "use it or lose it. The largest I know is Niagara Falls. 4+ GW (more at night, less in the day, so tourists can see the falls). Any water not used simply goes over the falls.

Switzerland and BC Hydro import power at 3 AM (Montana coal and French nuke) and hold back their water. The water is released at peak and sold for 5+x the price.

Many storage reservoirs have times when their storage fills up and water is "use it or lose it". Most Springs in the Pacific NW are like that for a month or two. Hydroelectric in the Northeast after Hurricane Irene is another example.

The vast majority of hydropower can be scheduled as needed, but some cannot be. Fish water, run-of-the-river, spring melt water and heavy, flooding rains are not scheduled.

Best Hopes for more turbines on existing dams,


PS:BC Hydro added a 500 MW turbine to an existing dam last year. It allows more peak power and less base load - and captures water that would otherwise be split (more water than turbines) during a wet spring.

You must understand that power companies that use both hydroelectric dams as well as coal and nuclear plants, just drop off production from their coal plants during off peak hours, they never have excess electricity from the dams. They save fuel by dropping off the coal plants during off peak hours and that is exactly what they do. The hydroelectric plants are always producing flat out. That fuel, falling water, cost them nothing.

Ron, this may be the way the TVA does it, but it is certainly not the way all utilities that have both coal and hydro do it. While the water may be free, not all places have an unlimited amount of it. So where you are water limited, the optimal operating scheme becomes the reverse - run the coal plant 24/7, at its most efficient operating point, and run the hydro only during peak hours, when the electricity is at its most valuable.
This is the way the Snowy Mountains Scheme in Australia, which was actually modelled on the TVA, does it - operating only for peak power production.

Here in BC, BC Hydro, the provincial owned utility, operates all of the hydro plants in peak hours and exports to California, and shuts many of them down at night, to buy back cheap off peak coal/wind power from Alberta, Washington and Oregon.

Run-of-river plants, that have no storage, or dam plants with full (spilling) reservoirs, are run flat out, as any water over the spillway is wasted. But once you have storage and capacity to play with, the best way to maximise revenue is produce in peak hours and buy back in off peak.

There are quite a few places where you could add on a pumping unit to go back up, but there is no point in doing this until you have maxed out the ability to cycle on and off.

Yair...thanks to all folks who responded to my query. The situation is pretty much as I imagined.


Hydro plants sited along rivers (the typical situation) are poor candidates for pumped storage as they lack a source of water to be pumped back up into the reservoir. After all, once water is run through the turbines it just continues on down the river and isn't available to be pumped back up into the reservoir. An existing hydro facility could be adapted if there is a large body of water immediately downstream of the generating station. We should have lots of places here in Ontario where pumped storage facilities could be built, but at the present time our provincial government doesn't appear to have any interest in doing so.

Many hydro reservoirs have re-regulation dams below them that could be adapted to pumping back into the main reservoir above, but there are issues. Downstream water usage and quality require many dams to send the water on downstream. TVA often wants to maintain lake levels in summer months for recreation, balancing downstream needs with lake levels above. The upper tier TVA reservoir near me often isn't generating during summer peak hours despite being near full pool. They seem to alternate days with the other dams down river, depending on rainfall, etc.

There are some purpose built reservoir systems where the storage lake isn't part of the river system, TVA's Raccoon Mountain being an example.

Ron insists that he knows of no pumped storage facilities specifically tasked to store wind and solar production. Seems irrelevant to me; the grid doesn't care how the power is produced. As long as there is enough transmission capacity, they'll use excess generation to store energy in these facilities. I would suggest that their decisions as to which sources to utilize are mostly economic. If they can buy coal or gas produced watts from another provider cheap enough they'll do it. If the wind or solar producer offers watts cheaper, they'll buy/store that. It's all electrons once it hits the grid.

Contracts determine the source more than environmental considerations. If they recieve incentives to buy renewables, they will. TOU is secondary. If the power company is required by legislation to buy a certain amount of renewable production at a premium, that's likely all they'll buy, especially if they can balance their loads (or pump their water) with far cheaper sources. The bottom line rules.


I worked on this one ...


Each of the eight pumping-generating units has a capacity of 63,000 horsepower as a motor and 53,000 kilowatts as a generator. As a pumping station to fill San Luis Reservoir, each unit lifts 1,375 cubic feet per second at 290 feet total head. As a generating plant, each unit passes 1,640 cubic feet per second at the same head.

Installed Capacity 424,000 kW

Net Generation 126,409,000 kWh

Apologies if this has already been posted here.

NSIDC now has an update, but they are still not calling a new low. They are the only ones that haven't, as far as I know, but they do point out that the slight differences in numbers due to differing data collection techniques does not significantly change the larger picture:

"While the University of Bremen and other data may show slightly different numbers, all of the data agree that Arctic sea ice is continuing its long-term decline."


Whether or not it is a new absolute low doesn't worry me as much as the extent. It's the little thick ice remaining, and the projected onslaught over the few years left of Arctic ice.

Look at the Missouri. Mid September and still in flood. Most of the Dakotas and Nebraska have shown a green line on this page since May, it just doesn't leave. Well, N Dakota is finally getting back to normal.

It's wait till early October for a normal Missouri.

The runoff over the last four months has been immense. The volume of water runoff from May through August was greater than the total annual runoff in all but three years since the Corps began keeping detailed records in 1898: 1997, 1978 and 2010.


And the damage? It's just now that it can be assessed.

Add to that the east coast flooding, the drought of TX and OK, horrendous tornadoes......

NSIDC now has an update, but they are still not calling a new low.

I'm not surprised. The SIE has taken a noticeable uptick in the last two or three days.

In any of these various studies, I think it's important to understand the methodology. Because the threshold is 15%, a shift in sea or air currents currents can change the numbers in a short time span, perhaps compacting loose sea ice into a smaller area, or distributing relatively dense ice into a larger area, but still meeting the 15% threshold. This is quite different from a change in melting or freezing, as most people assume.

Personally, I would prefer a histogram, but the methodology has to be kept consistent, if the data are to mean anything.

IMO, volume is much more important but the PIOMAS model, while much improved, isn't perfect either.

All that said, it does look like the Arctic ice is not just declining, but accelerating at a rate that exceeds even pessimistic forecasts of just a few years ago.

Tipping points are not on the horizon, they are here now :-(



PS Contrary to previous thought, the eastern side of Antrctica is NOT is not stable. It is losing ice and accelerating at, IIRC, 23 Gt/yr2.

What is the big thing here is not weather or not the 2007 sept. minimum is breached. What matters is that we are back at the record low level again after just a few years. When we had the 2007 record low we were in a part of the chart that we had never seen before. This was an extreme event. Now we are there again. But this revisit indicates that this is not so very much extreme, it is normal. What was an extreme value 2007 is a normal value in 2011. We may see this ice extent again in 2015, but then it will be an unusually HIGH ice coverage.

Same with the record het of 1998. Since then, the last 6 years have had half of them at or above that temperature, meaning that what was an extreme temperature backin '98 is perfectly normal today. All trends are going the same way, and it is going fast.

And... MORE trouble in the final fight for resources:
"NICOSIA, Cyprus — U.S. firm Noble Energy will soon begin exploratory drilling to confirm oil and gas deposits beneath the sea bed off Cyprus’ southern coast despite Turkey’s attempts to prevent such a move, the island’s president said on Tuesday.

Dimitris Christofias didn’t specify a date for the start of drilling which officials have said will begin early next month. Christofias he said surveys have so far shown a “very great possibility” of hydrocarbon deposits inside an 800,000-acre (1,250-square-mile) area that Cyprus has licensed Noble to explore.

That area is close to large natural gas fields that Noble has recently discovered in Israeli waters.

Christofias says decisions on how the hydrocarbons will be exploited will be made once drilling confirms their quantity and quality."


Turkey is an up and coming power- well armed - not in bed with the EU - and will undoubtly act in it's self-interest - vs. NATO.

"Report: Turkish warplanes now able to fire at Israeli targets

Ankara's Star Gazete says country's new F-16 radar system modified to recategorize Israeli targets as hostile. Order said to come directly from PM Erdogan's office; naval, submarine radar systems to be changed next"


"Report: Turkey to defuse Israeli Navy weapons

Turkish newspaper claims Ankara ready to deploy three warships to Mediterranean Sea; instructs them to intercept Israeli navy vessels in international waters, neutralize their weapons system "


Don't worry - be happy. Western media only plays "Dancing With the Stars", "Jersery Shore" and Kim Kardashian.

They had a peacefull relation just a few years ago. Things are deterioating. Fast. Just about everything is developing the wrong way these days.

Did anyone watch the Tea Party debate last night? IMHO, Rick Perry walked out of the ring with many bruises. Huntsman accused him of making a treasonous comment. I was disappointed to hear no discussion of energy or AGW issues other than to eliminate EPA. And all kept their lips buttoned regarding $2/gal gas, oil shale or drilling in Everglades.

For those who didn't watch, here's an article called Tea Party debate turns into Perry pile-on

EDIT: Added link

Was it there that Ron Paul was getting boo'd for his 'Bring 'em home' stance on Afghanistan/Iraq?

Tough to tell the tough guys to do the really TOUGH thing, isn't it?

.. But good on you, Mr. Paul. Shame we don't agree on a few other things..

Ron Paul was boo'd for his 'blame America first' stance regarding 9/11 attack. Ron Paul did quite well and received many cheers. He was cheered for pointing out the successful Bush platform in 1999 included a plank against "nation-building". And how a Baghdad embassy bigger than the Vatican ignored this plank.

I laughed when Ron Paul said he coudn't offend Governor Perry because his taxes might get raised.

It looks like the folks in Texas are not concerned about fuel economy as Highest speed limit in nation takes effect.

The comments lead to a new phrase. These are the concerns of your fellow Americans. It Spells DOOM. ;-)

Speed baby speed (over the cliff)

4:24 PM on September 6, 2011
CA needs this same change AND no front license plate. Nobody wants to put the state's tin license plate on their beautiful luxury car. Texas seems to do everything right, and California everything wrong. I am so sick of driving my car and looking out the rear view mirror for the police 50% of the time. Raise the limits and let me enjoy the drive.

A similar sign of the times.....

Maserati SUV to be built in Detroit, unveiled in Frankfurt

Now we can go over the cliff in style.

What an abomination!

Storm related fall in gasoline demand falls to stem drop in US oil inventories

Per this evening’s release of the API weekly inventory report, oil inventories continued a down trend that had not even been stopped in recent weeks by releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The distribution of that oil was wrapped up before the US Labor Day weekend.

According to the API, crude oil inventories fell 5,052,000 barrels – a significant drop. However it appears now (to be confirmed in the EIA report tomorrow) that refineries stepped up utilization and produced more gasoline last week. Inventories of gasoline increased by 2,758,000 barrels, although diesel inventories increased by only 67,000 barrels. In the prior week, east coast refineries were adversely affected by tropical storms.

Per MasterCard’s survey of gasoline purchases, the volume of gasoline sales in the US continued to incrementally fall in the latest week. Tropical storms and fires in the lower portion of the Midwest and southeast were noted as reducing demand. Continued flooding in the northeast impeded travel and delayed the opening of school in many locations.

The nation’s largest pipeline, the Colonial Pipeline (which transports refined products from the near the GOM to the U.S. Northeast), continued to run its gasoline transport lines at nearly maximum capacity for another week. Magellan Midstream also reported shipments in the upper Midwest were about maximum capacity. Heavy rain in the Pittsburgh area closed part of the Buckeye Pipeline, affecting gasoline shipments in that area. To reduce the possibility of any supply shortage, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday approved a waiver for lower Reid vapor pressure gasoline to be sold in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania vicinity. Gasoline with higher RVP is normally used during the warmer summer months.

As usual, tomorrow’s weekly EIA will give us a more accurate representation of where the oil and oil product supply/demand trends are heading.

Sept. 13, 2011, 5:04 p.m. EDT
Oil supplies decline 5.05 mln in week, API says

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday crude-oil inventories declined 5.05 million barrels for the week ended Sept. 9. Gasoline stockpiles rose 2.8 million barrels, the trade group reported, while distillates inventories rose 67,000. The API report comes ahead of the more closely watched data from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration due Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Eastern. Analysts polled by Platts expected crude-oil stocks to decline 2.9 million barrels, gasoline stocks to go down 400,000 barrels, and distillates stocks to go up 1 million barrels.


U.S. Gasoline Demand Lowest Since February, MasterCard Says

U.S. gasoline consumption slipped 2.4 percent last week to the lowest level since February as a weak jobs market, a struggling economy and higher prices at the pump crimp demand, according to MasterCard Inc. (MA)

Motorists bought 8.53 million barrels a day in the week ended Sept. 9, down from 8.74 million the prior week, the second-biggest payments network company said in its SpendingPulse report. Demand last week was 3.5 percent below a year earlier.


EPA Grants Emissions Waiver for Gasoline Low Volatility Requirements in Pennsylvania on September 9 to Ensure Adequate Supply Following Shutdown of Buckeye Pipeline


Warning: The above PDF file may not open in some browsers.

Maybe MSM is getting it - recent comments regarding the 'New Normal' have recently been offered up as like some consolation prize. The 'New Normal' is very low if any to slightly recessionary growth, high unemployment, high fuel prices, and as links below corroborate; Dropping household income and increasing number of poor.

'Household income drops to lowest point since '96'


'Number of poor hit record 46 million in 2010'


Yeah, 'New Normal' - hey, MSM at least gets the result of higher oil prices.

Book suggestion for those wrestling with despair.

Hope Beneath Our Feet creates a space for change with stories, meditations, and essays that address the question, “If our world is facing an imminent environmental catastrophe, how do I live my life right now?”

MSM Alert and a note on complex systems, their fragility and perhaps a small taste of where we're headed: It seems Dish Network has lost it's primary HD satellite (#129):

HI Guys I'm an Agent with Dish Network LLC! I want you to Know that we are working Diligently to get services restored, currently we had a major Satellite #129 is completely down and that wiped the HD for the Country! So Please Do Not call into Dish We know whats going on and we will restore your service ASAP!!! If you have a HD receiver (722, 222, 622, 922,211) Please turn off you HD and you should be able to watch Standard television!!!! Thanks for understanding!!!!! Please tell everyone you know! we currently have no ETA on when it will be up!

I haven't confirmed that this message is authentic, but have verified through my system that this satellite is dark. This was one of Dish's newest birds. The sad thing is that I found this news on http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110913151359AAjiYLJ rather than their website (totally bogged down), or their 800 number (busy for hours), or even their non-HD info channels. One would think they would run a banner on some of their proprietary, non-HD channels. Not. Seems they were totally unprepared for this contingency. Their older legacy satellites are still transmitting non-HD channels, but the 129 was their HD workhorse.

One wonders what other more critical systems out there are as vulnerable to .... whatever happened (space junk, CME/EMP, plain failure, etc.), and what backup systems are ready to be deployed. Is this our future; failing systems that won't be restored?

Satellite down - bridge down, hey it's Tuesday.

Still down this morning. Yesterday afternoon I thought my 722 was going haywire. Climbed up on the roof tried re-aiming, cleaned connectors. Then got the news I need from Ghung and TOD.

With all the new OTA channels(RTV, ME, THIS, IONL) I'm watching less and less off the satellites anyway.

Sudden bridge-closing causes gridlock :-

Commuters got on the road earlier and chose interstates over side streets to shorten their drive times as they made their way around the closed Sherman Minton Bridge for a second straight work day.

BOEMRE has published draft rules regarding safety standards for offshore drilling operations. It's called Safety and Environmental Management Systems (PDF). The part of plan that caught my eye is requirement for independent third parties to conduct audits.

The addition of a mandatory independent third party auditor brings necessary objectivity to identifying good practices and any deficiencies that may exist in an operator’s SEMS program.

Is this a requirement for Rockman, Inc?

This would be fun to watch:

Massive default is best way to fix the economy

....mass Chapter 11 is, by far, the least obnoxious solution to our problems.

That’s because the real cause of our economic slump isn’t too much government or too little government. It isn’t red tape, high taxes, low taxes, the growing divide between the rich and the poor, too much government debt, too little government debt, corporations, poor people, “greed,” “socialism,” China, Greece, or the legalization of gay marriage. It isn’t, in short, any of the things all the various nitwits say it is.

It’s the debt, stupid.

We’re hocked up to the eyeballs, and then some. We’re at the bottom of a lake of debt, lashed to an anchor. American households today owe $13.3 trillion. That has quadrupled in a generation. It has doubled just in the last 11 years. We owe more than any other nation, ever. And for all the yakking about how people are “repairing their balance sheets,” they’re not. From the peak, four years ago, they’ve cut their debts by a grand total of 4%. And a lot of that was in write-offs.

More than a quarter of American mortgages are underwater. Many are deeply underwater. In states like Nevada and Florida the figures are astronomical.

The key thing to understand is that most of that money has gone to what a fund manager friend of mine calls “money heaven.” Most of these debts will never, ever be repaid in real money. Not gonna happen.

...and then we can start all over again. Better get your PV panels now. Put'em on the card.

What would a National Chapter 11 be? How is it done, what would it look like?

Is there a precedent?

Of course, Mr. Arends seems to be focused entirely, ideologically, perhaps, merely on DEBT, and we aren't treated to an interpretation of how energy works into this model.. but it does seem that some of the obstacles that are initially in our way might still be cleared by such a radical action.. such that you don't find yourself 'homeless in a town full of abandoned homes', or 'starving while silos and warehouses of food sit unpurchased, unpurchasable and perishing'.. it might be a start in the direction of averting that sort of waste and SNAFU anyhow.

I mean, already, we're in this fix that will require massive amounts of work in order to retool for a different energy reality, and at the same time, vast numbers of people are sitting home with 'nothing to do'.. we have a crisis in employment for teens and young adults, right when they could be getting trained and started in the very skills that are needed.(Take your pick which ones..)

Yeah I wonder about the politicking when private debt is much more massive than G-debt. LOL. They just want more private debt I imagine.

Anybody seen this site


A La 24 hour News Channel dedicated to AGW, I am not sure if this is a good idea.