Drumbeat: September 17, 2011

There Will Be Oil : For decades, advocates of 'peak oil' have been predicting a crisis in energy supplies. They've been wrong at every turn, says Daniel Yergin

Since the beginning of the 21st century, a fear has come to pervade the prospects for oil, fueling anxieties about the stability of global energy supplies. It has been stoked by rising prices and growing demand, especially as the people of China and other emerging economies have taken to the road.

This specter goes by the name of "peak oil."

The Quest

In Yergin’s lucid, easy prose, the 800 pages flow freely. There are some vivid character sketches, such as Marion King Hubbert, the brilliant, abrasive originator of the theory of Peak Oil: the idea that the world is at or close to the maximum rate of oil production it will ever reach.

There are also many wonderfully revealing observations and anecdotes, such as John Prescott, then Britain’s deputy prime minister and chief European negotiator at the 1997 Kyoto climate conference, being beaten down by his US counterpart to accept cap-and-trade as the sole global instrument for controlling greenhouse gas emissions.

Crude Oil Trims Fourth Weekly Advance in New York on European Debt Crisis

Oil slipped in New York, trimming its fourth straight weekly gain and longest winning streak since July, on concern that European plans to solve the region’s debt crisis may founder, threatening economic growth.

Traders Question Platts' Decision On Dated Brent Changes

North Sea oil traders Friday expressed concern that oil price assessment company Platts is proceeding with revisions to its assessment of dated Brent, the benchmark used to price more than half the world's oil, in early 2012 despite industry worries it is too soon for the market to adequately prepare for the changes.

Chris Skrebowski: An brief economic explanation of Peak Oil

The current failure of most western economies to achieve anything more than minimal growth this year (2011) is most likely because oil prices are already at levels that severely inhibit growth. Indeed, research by energy consultants Douglas-Westwood concludes that oil price spikes of the magnitude seen this year correlate one-for-one with recessions.

Iraq: Seeking Jobs and Electricity

Several thousand followers of the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr took to the streets in Iraqi cities on Friday, calling for the government to provide more electricity and jobs. Far fewer people took part in the protests on Friday than in previous demonstrations organized by Mr. Sadr, a Shiite. In the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in Baghdad, slightly fewer than 1,000 people protested for about 20 minutes immediately after prayers on Friday. In addition, about 3,000 followers of Mr. Sadr protested in Najaf.

Libyan rebels plot moves after setback

BANI WALID, Libya (AP) – Revolutionary fighters struggled to regroup Saturday outside the loyalist stronghold of Bani Walid after being driven back by fierce resistance from followers of Moammar Gadhafi, temporarily quieting one battlefield while a second offensive sought to capture Gadhafi's hometown from followers of his shattered regime.

Saudi Jubail refinery to open Dec 2013

(Reuters) - Saudi Aramco Total Refinery and Petrochemicals Company (Satorp)expects its new refinery at Jubail in Saudi Arabia to be fully operational in December 2013, the joint venture's chief executive said on Tuesday.

Pipeline to prosperity or channel to catastrophe?

Enbridge calls the project Northern Gateway, promising jobs, prosperity and expanded markets. Opponents, including nearly all of the first nations along its intended route, see it as an oil-spill catastrophe waiting to happen. Yet while pipelines are fast emerging as a flashpoint in the climate-change debate, so far the argument has been muted in Canada – a symptom of our conflicted feelings about the role our energy resources should play in our national destiny.

Nebraska Cornhuskers Punt Tar Sands Pipeline Ads Out of Stadium

Last Saturday, TransCanada, the company seeking approval for construction of this 1,700-mile-long pipeline that would carry tar sands crude from Alberta to the Gulf Coast, got booed and then booted out of the most important and influential place in the whole state. No, not the state capitol, nor the Berkshire Hathaway headquarters. I’m talking, of course, about Memorial Stadium, where the University of Nebraska’s adored Cornhuskers take to the gridiron.

Two Recession-Proof Secrets for Oil Investors

Over the last few weeks, we've talked endlessly about how the U.S. is setting itself up to receive more Canadian crude via the Keystone XL pipeline.

At first glance, everything appears as if it is falling into place. But that's because most people haven't caught wind of another pipeline in the works — a second project that hasn't even made U.S. headlines.

Colombia Oil Pipeline's Construction Delayed By Labor Strife

Workers hired to start building the Bicentenario oil pipeline, which, when completed in late 2012, will be Colombia's largest, have walked off the job due to a salary dispute, a representative for the pipeline company said Friday.

Top Offshore Drilling Regulators Named

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Friday appointed leaders for the two entities that will assume responsibility for offshore oil and gas development.

Michael R. Bromwich, the former Justice Department inspector general who has overseen the reorganization of the former Minerals Management Service, will temporarily take over the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, informally dubbed Bessie, until a permanent director is found.

Yanbu Cement Says Production Line to Be Delayed on Fuel Shortage

Yanbu Cement, a Saudi Arabian cement maker, said that a production line scheduled to open by the end of this month will be delayed because of a lack of oil and natural gas needed to power its output.

Mumbai reels from pricy petrol burden; angry customers allege hoarding

The sudden announcement of increase in petrol prices on Thursday evening created an ‘artificial’ shortage of the fuel at some petrol pumps.

Thousands of motorists were left standing in serpentine queues at petrol filling stations, causing chaos at many places in the city. There were reports of stone-pelting and roadblocking on Thursday night with buyers getting into skirmishes with petrol pump staff.

Robust Demand Boosts West Africa O&G Production

West Africa oil and gas production is expected to grow in the near-term as new field development projects come online and producers expand production from existing fields and continue exploration efforts for new reserves.

Plug-in hybrids are the future, but gasoline-driven cars aren't giving up yet

When one technology sees a rival coming over the hill, it does not ordinarily just lie down and surrender -- clunky cigarette-box-shaped cell phones persist despite the feverish popularity of the smart phone, for example. So it will be with electric-propelled vehicles. Plug-in hybrids look likely to start small, then make a serious dent in the vehicle fleet in the 2030s -- forecasters think that half to 70 percent of new vehicles sold in 2030 in China will be electrics of some sort. But that does not mean the disappearance of gasoline-driven vehicles -- makers of vehicles using the internal combustion engine are already cooking up devilish upgrades now that they see competition nipping at their heels.

Questions Raised Over Letting Another Lender Help a Failing Solar Company

WASHINGTON — The political brawl over Solyndra, the solar array manufacturer that received $528 million in government aid and then went bankrupt, shifted focus Friday to a decision by the Energy Department that allowed another lender to step in to help rescue the company.

That decision in February gave Solyndra a temporary reprieve and a chance to survive, but it also forced the government to waive its privilege as first creditor in the event of a bankruptcy — which then occurred at the end of August.

John Michael Greer: The Glass Bead Game

This is where Hesse’s future history bounces right off the rails of our expectations, into territory that may seem surprisingly familiar to regular readers of this blog. It’s worth remembering that science fiction of the more standard kind, with plenty of whiz-bang technology, was widely read in the central Europe Hesse knew. Nobody likes to talk much these days about pre-1945 central European science fiction, because a very large part of it enthusiastically pushed the aggressive authoritarian populism that got its lasting name from Mussolini’s Fascist Party and helped launch the metastatic horror of Nazi Germany, but there was a lot of it, packed with the usual science fiction notions of endlessly accelerating social change driven by limitless technological advances. It’s pretty clear that Hesse deliberately rejected those notions in his own work.

The future the busy scholars of Castalia create, rather, is a period of ordinary European history differing from earlier periods mostly in its lack of war. Technology, far from progressing, stabilized after the Age of Wars, and most modern machines seem less common than in our time. A trip by railway makes a brief appearance early on, but only that once. Automobiles exist, but only two of them appear in the story; one is owned by a wealthy and politically influential family, while the other is assigned to take a high official of the Castalian hierarchy to important meetings. Most of the time, when a character goes someplace and the mode of travel is mentioned at all, the trip is made on foot.

Cassandra's curse: how "The Limits to Growth" was demonized

In 1972, "The Limits to Growth" study arrived in a world that had known more than two decades of unabated growth after the end of the Second World War. It was a time of optimism and faith in technological progress that, perhaps, had never been so strong in the history of humankind. With nuclear power on the rise, with no hint of scarcity of mineral resources, with population growing fast, it seemed that the limits to growth, if such a thing existed, were so far away in the future that there was no reason to worry. And, even if these limits were closer than generally believed, didn't we have technology to save us? If we could reach the Moon, as we did, in 1968, what was the problem with such trifles as resource depletion and pollution? The future could only be shiny for ever and ever.

Against that general feeling, the results of "The Limits to Growth" were a shock. The future was not to be shiny at all.

A new view of work

Many of us have been raised according to the “Protestant work ethic.” That is to say, we were encouraged to work hard and thus become a successful and productive member of society. But what if this advice is wrong? As the economy reaches and breaches the limits to growth, working long hours causes market failures, giving weight to the idea that governments should intervene to reduce average working hours.

In the “empty world” of the past, hard work was a public good with few negative externalities on society. In today’s “full world,” work has become a common-pool resource, vulnerable to over-exploitation. In the absence of social or cultural norms to take care of this common-pool resource, governmental intervention is the best option for preventing market failure and encouraging an optimal amount of work. Unfortunately, our work ethic is worsening the situation.

Richard Heinberg: Gross National Happiness

One factor that is increasingly being cited as an important economic indicator is happiness. After all, what good is increased production and consumption if the result isn’t increased human satisfaction? Until fairly recently, the subject of happiness was mostly avoided by economists for lack of good ways to measure it; however, in recent years, “happiness economists” have found ways to combine subjective surveys with objective data (on lifespan, income, and education) to yield data with consistent patterns, making a national happiness index a practical reality.

Water, oil and food – a crisis for Saudi Arabia and the world

A water crisis is unfolding in Saudi Arabia that could have profound implications for both the Saudi people and for the rest of the world.

An excellent article from climate progress on the mismatch between the range of actual informed opinion on CC and the range of debate covered in the press (it even has a graph! ;-):


This is exactly a point I've been making here, that the position of the latest report on Intergovernmental Panel on CC is pretty far on the conservative side of informed opinion, and much of it was out dated and shown to be wildly conservative (understating the rate and degree of Arctic sea ice loss, for example) by the time or shortly after it was published.

But in the media, if it is mentioned at all, the IPCC report is seen positioned as the most extreme end of the CC spectrum. Meanwhile, the position of rightwing thinktanks, which don't have any place in discussions of the science of CC and GW, are presented as the other pole of the debate, with the 'experts' that the thinktanks regularly cite (9/10 of which are funded by ff companies) are seen as the middle of the road.

Belief is immune to fact and will not be swayed by the Reality

Arctic May Experience Ice-Free Summers Within 20-30 Years

... and there is an inevitable outcome to this failure to appreciate Reality

Nature: climate change leads to 67-84 percent intraspecific biodiversity loss by 2080 – Holocene Mass Extinction within this century

... A Nature study earlier this year has looked at marine and terrestrial biodiversity threats combined – and found for instance 75 percent of all mammal species to be at risk of extinction within 300 years, and defined such a massive loss of biodiversity as establishing the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event.

That would mean the combined effort of a couple of billion human beings, relentlessly producing and consuming over a couple of centuries time, would somehow have very creatively managed to outweigh the impact of the PETM methane clathrate bomb.

Thanks for the link (I guess :-/), I had not seen that article. 84% is a pretty high rate, even for mass extinctions. And that's just what is predicted for this century.

Every time I start to think that perhaps I'm being to doomy, and things won't turn out as absolutely wretched as I see them turning, something like this comes up and sets me right back on the doomer path.

Even here, though, note that the focus is just on the species extinctions caused by climate change. This will indeed be huge. But we were already in a mass extinction level event before the effects of CC/GW really had gotten going.

From over fishing (sweeping vast swaths of the ocean clean with massive fine netting), to introducing invasive species everywhere, to spewing tens of thousands of new chemicals never seen by the natural world before--esp. pesticides and herbicides, to sprawl and agriculture gobbling up habitat, to vast plumes of radiation spreading over oceans and land...the rest of life has been under rapidly increasing assault from humans, especially over the last century.

So it is one mass extinction event on top of another.

Oh, and they don't seem to consider the fact that we have already set of the next clathrate bomb, that by itself will represent a trigger for another mass extinction event.

Taken together, these could take us beyond even the 83% extinction rate, perhaps surpassing the P-T "Great Dying."


Meanwhile, Gore is in fine form in the grand finale of the "Climate Reality" event when up to 96% of all marine species went extinct:


I notice that, dire as his warnings are, he generally shies away from this level of reality--too grim for general consumption, perhaps.

There is already talk that we are entering a new geological epoch, the Anthropocine [sp?]. There are so many changes going on, caused by humans, that they will show up in the geological record.

Sorry to be so grim.


We also working hard to remove the coal from the geological record.

That would mean the combined effort of a couple of billion human beings, relentlessly producing and consuming over a couple of centuries time, would somehow have very creatively managed to outweigh the impact of the PETM methane clathrate bomb.

Really sad, and we are worried about stupid stuff like GDP and Rate of Interest. A truly wise species would know what really is at stake here.

Up Top: There Will Be Oil Everyone is going to have a field day with this one, both the peak oilers as well as the deniers. There are so many things to comment on that I don't know where to start.

Just in the years 2007 to 2009, for every barrel of oil produced in the world, 1.6 barrels of new reserves were added.

Okay, what does this mean? It means a lot of nations took a pencil and updated their reserves. Just under 30 billion barrels of oil was produced each of those three years or almost 90 billion barrels total. It was just so easy for OPEC nations like Iran and Iraq, and a few others, to take a pencil and add 140 billion barrels to their "proven" reserves. Yergin knows this and he is being deliberately deceptive.

I get so tired of this crap. World oil production has already reached its peak, or at least world oil exports are well past peak and that is obvious. OECD consumption is down over 4 million barrels per day since 2005 or about 8.3 percent. That is significant. It is not just the USA but all OECD. That is virtually every developed nation in the world. Talking about "added reserves" is just a smoke screen.

However despite his obvious deceptive writing I think Yergin really believes what he writes. He thinks "There will be oil" for many, many decades in the future. It is a mindset, a worldview and no data will convince him otherwise. All we can do is just read such nonsense and shake our heads in disbelief.

Ron P.

Everyone is going to have a field day with this one,both the peak oilers as well as the deniers.

Well, maybe not everyone, there are those who see finite fossil fuel resources and don't believe the sky is falling.

It was just so easy for OPEC nations like Iran and Iraq, and a few others, to take a pencil and add 140 billion barrels to their "proven" reserves. Yergin knows this and he is being deliberately deceptive.

Iraq's oil reserve estimates were increased based on studies done by major oil companies such as Exxon, Shell, BP and ENI as part of the oil bidding process.

Well, maybe not everyone, there are those who see finite fossil fuel resources and don't believe the sky is falling.

Right, there are a lot of people who simply have not heard the news.

Three years into global collapse, Wall Street still gambling

20 Signs Of Imminent Financial Collapse In Europe

The only question now is how and when the global economy will collapse

And I could post about a hundred more but you get the idea. Of course a lot of people are yet to make the connection between global economic collapse and the declining oil supplies that OECD nations have seen during the last six years.

Iraq's oil reserve estimates were increased based on studies done by major oil companies such as Exxon, Shell, BP and ENI as part of the oil bidding process.

Now that is the first time I have heard that one. You need to post a URL to back that one up. I know there were "in-depth studies by the ministry of oil" but they were no new geological soundings done.
They just declared "there is more oil here than we originally estimated so lets increase our original estimate.

Ron P.

Iraq's net oil exports are up over 2005, but they have shown year over year declines in net exports for the past two years.

And while Iraq was one of the top 33 net oil exporters showing higher net exports in 2010, versus 2005, note that 21 of the top 33 net oil exporters showed net export declines in 2010, versus 2005.

As proof for peak oil, its advocates argue that the discovery rate for new oil fields is declining. But this obscures a crucial point: Most of the world's supply is the result not of discoveries but of additions and extensions in existing fields.

I would like to see a comprehensive response to this point. The graph showing past discoveries vs. production history is compelling. But it is less so if the bars representing past discovery for any given year continue to grow in the future.

It's always interesting to read the WSJ these days, since I no longer pay for a subscription. The various articles which they put up without a pay wall are usually some sort of propaganda.

Daniel Yergin's praise of the oil industry's ability to find and produce more oil is another example. Yergin's long winded complaint that Hubbert didn't consider economics appears rather one sided when Yergin apparently doesn't consider the cost of all these new technologies for finding ever smaller pools of oil. Sure, there's lots of oil available now at $500 a barrel, but how many people can actually pay that much? Yergin doesn't distinguish between conventional oil and the much more expensive "unconventional oil". His statement of import fraction (60%) apparently ignores imports of products, which are refined from oil in other countries, then consumed in the US. Worse, he includes "bio fuels" in his chart of world production, which likely means ethanol is matched barrel for barrel with crude, glossing over the fact that there is less energy in a gallon fo ethanol than there is in a gallon of gasoline. In spite of Yergin's playing with the data, it's become obvious that the cheap oil is gone and the economy is in the dumpster with world oil prices above $100 a barrel. Stagflation for everyone to enjoy...

E. Swanson

Why would Hubbert "consider" a pseudo-science to formulate a science-based hypothesis since proven as theory?

"Follow the money" was good advice in the 70's and is still good advice today. Who are Yergin's clients and what do they want to hear?

My responses on the WSJ website:

Part One

The EIA shows that global annual crude + condensate production (C+C) has been between 73 and 74 mbpd (million barrels per day) since 2005, except for 2009, and BP shows that global annual total petroleum liquids production has been between 81 and 82 mbpd since 2005, except for 2009. In both cases, this was in marked contrast to the rapid increase in production that we saw from 2002 to 2005. Some people might call this "Peak Oil,” and we appear to have hit the plateau in 2005, not some time around mid-century.

Only if we include biofuels have seen a material increase in global total liquids production.

In the US, there are some good stories about rising Mid-continent production, and US (C+C) production has rebounded from the hurricane related decline that started in 2005, but 2010 production was only very slightly above the pre-hurricane level that we saw in 2004, and monthly US production has been between 5.4 and 5.6 mbpd since the fourth quarter of 2009, versus the 1970 peak of 9.6 mbpd. Incidentally, US net oil imports of crude oil plus products have fallen since 2005, primarily as a result of a large reduction in demand, because of rising oil prices (which Mr. Yergin predicted would not happen), but EIA data show that the US is still reliant on crude oil imports for two out of every three barrels of oil that we process in US refineries. 

However, the real story is Global Net Oil Exports (GNE), which have shown a measurable multimillion barrel per day decline since 2005, and which are measured in terms of total petroleum liquids, with 21 of the top 33 net oil exporters showing lower net oil exports in 2010, versus 2005. An additional metric is Available Net Exports (ANE), which we define as GNE less Chindia's combined net oil imports. ANE have fallen at an average volumetric rate of about one mbpd per year from 2005 to 2010, from about 40 mbpd in 2005 to about 35 mbpd in 2010 (BP + Minor EIA data, total petroleum liquids).

At the current rate of increase in the ratio of Chindia's net imports to GNE, Chindia would consume 100% of GNE in about 20 years. Contrary to Mr. Yergin’s sunny pronouncements, what the data show is that developed countries like the US are being forced to take a declining share of a falling volume of GNE. In fact, our work suggests that the US is well on its way to “freedom” from its reliance on foreign sources of oil, just not in the way that most people hoped.

And for more information on some of Daniel Yergin's prior predictions, do a Google Search for: Daniel Yergin Day. 

In the “Daniel Yergin Day” article, I highlight Mr. Yergin’s prediction, in a November, 2004 interview in Forbes, that oil prices would be back to a long term price ceiling of $38 by late 2005--because of a steady increase in global crude oil production. It turned out that Mr. Yergin’s predicted price ceiling has so far been the price floor. The lowest monthly spot crude oil price that the EIA so far shows for post-November, 2004 is $39. 

I suspect that just as Mr. Yergin was perfectly wrong about oil prices, he may be confidently calling for decades of rising production, just as we come off the current production plateau and just as an accelerating decline in Global Net Exports kicks in.

Part Two

You will find one of our articles if you do a Google Search for: Peak Oil Versus Peak Exports. 

In our "Peak Oil Versus Peak Exports" article, we show the 1972 Texas production peak lined up with the 1999 North Sea peak. These two regions, which accounted for about 9% of total global cumulative crude oil production through 2005, were developed by private companies, using the best available technology, with virtually no restrictions on drilling, and both regions have shown clearly defined peaks, with production declines that corresponded to rapid increase in oil prices. In other words, Peaks Happen, and global crude oil production consists of the sum of discrete regions like Texas and the North Sea. 

Incidentally, just like the overall US, Texas has shown an increase in production, but Texas Railroad Commission data show that 2010 production is still below one mbpd, versus a 1972 peak of about 3.5 mbpd.

Slowly rising global unconventional production will help, but Canada for example has increased their net oil exports by only 0.25 mbpd over the last five years. Over the same five year period, net oil exports from Saudi Arabia fell by 1.9 mbpd. In other words, we would have needed about eight Canadas just to offset the five year decline in net oil exports from Saudi Arabia.

Regarding Saudi Arabia, our work suggests that Saudi Arabia, in 2005, may have been at the same stage of depletion at which the prior swing producer, Texas peaked in 1972. In any case, Saudi annual crude oil production has been below their 2005 annual rate for five years, with four of the past five years showing year over year increases in oil prices. This was in marked contrast to the rapid increase in production that they demonstrated from 2002 to 2005. Our modeling work suggest that Saudi Arabia will probably be approaching zero net oil exports some time around 2030 to 2035, in 20 to 25 years. 

So far, the BP data base shows a 20% decline in annual Saudi net oil exports from 2005 to 2010, and if we extrapolate the Saudi's 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in their ratio of consumption to production, they would approach 100%, and thus zero net oil exports, in only 14 years.


First off all thanks for your tireless bell-ringing about declining oil exports. Your comments are always thought provoking. Logically, however, it is hard for me to accept the idea that a country like Saudi Arabia that is almost wholly dependent on oil revenue will allow consumption to continue to increase until they consume all of their resource and leave none for export. The economic opportunity cost of consuming every barrel will be tremendous. They will be a country that has oil and nothing else, including food and water. Instead, it is much easier to imagine that as their wealth declines because of ever decreasing oil exports, they will implement measures to conserve and continue to export so that they have money to purchase other things they desire. Iran, for example, has recently done this, increasing their cost of petrol and bringing down their internal consumption to have more oil available for export.

Thanks for your insights,
Stephen Hren

Saudi Arabia has a considerable amount of, so far undeveloped, mineral wealth. The investments to develop those resources are now beginning to be made.

The North Sea peaked in 1999, and I always point out that North Sea oil fields whose first full year of production was 1999 or later had their own peak of about one mbpd in 2005, versus a regional peak of about six mbpd in 1999. However, these post-peak fields only served to slow the overall production decline rate to about 5%/year.

A couple of points.

First, in terms of cash flow, because of rising oil prices Saudi Arabia has shown increasing cash flow from export sales, even as the volume of the net exports fell by 20% over a five year period. I call this a Phase One decline. In a Phase Two decline, generally rising oil prices can no longer offset the volumetric decline in oil exports, and their cash flow from export sales would decline.

Second, 21 of the top 33 net oil exporters showed net export declines from 2005 to 2010. So far, there was not a single case of an exporter cutting their consumption sufficiently so that their net export decline rate was less than their production decline rate.

Collectively, the 21 declining exporters showed a -2.3%/year rate of change in production, a +3%/year rate of change in consumption and a resulting -4.4%/year rate of change in net exports, from 2005 to 2010. If we extrapolate the production and consumption rates of change, the combined net exports from these 21 countries would fall from 25 mbpd in 2010 to 13 mbpd in 2020, almost a 50% decline.

Having said that, I generally, but not always, talk about when net oil exporters will "approach" zero net oil exports, but in any case I think that the first 80% decline in net exports is more important than the last 20% decline in net exports.

Incidentally, my favorite part of the essay was where Yergin credits rising US oil production for the 2005 to 2010 decline in US net oil imports of crude + refined products. This is partly true, but about three-fourths of the five year decline in US net oil imports was due to reduced consumption, which was largely a result of US annual oil prices averaging about $72 for 2005 to 2010 inclusive, versus Yergin's predicted price ceiling of $38, and post-2004 monthly spot crude oil prices have so far never been below $39.

So, he uses a decline in US consumption-resulting in a decline in US net oil imports, resulting from a price increase he said wouldn't happen--to refute Peak Oil arguments. It's certainly a novel approach.

As I said the other day, I am reminded of the old joke about a woman who walks in and finds her husband in bed with another woman. He denies that he is in bed with another woman, and asks, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" That is pretty much what is going on now among the Cornucopian Crowd. The data are there, but they don't want you to believe what you are seeing:

(Global Net Exports & Available Net Exports)

Thanks for your great points!

It seems important to consider the two phases as you mention. Once a country starts losing revenue from declining exports, then they're a lot more likely to do something about it, so I wouldn't be surprised if net exports declined at a slower rate as more countries pass this inflection point.

Saudi Arabia seems like a unique case because they have almost no (export) economy except for hydrocarbons and they will be one of the last exporters still standing, I suspect, unless the Arab spring engulfs them in never ending political turmoil some time down the line.

The case of Iran will be interesting, after the domestic market there has time to react to a rough tripling of gasoline prices.

And there is Denmark, which cut domestic oil consumption in half as their North Sea oil field came on-line. And they continue to try and reduce their oil consumption.


Yes but Denmark only initially cut its oil consumption by, at one point, a massive seven-fold increase in coal consumption followed later by a massive increase in natural gas consumption (2010 consumption was 45 times the 1984 figure). 2010 Danish coal consumption was still triple the 1972 low. The recent total energy decline may well be related to the migration of heavy industries towards low cost countries.


Countries need to find a way to decrease oil consumption without massively increasing coal consumption and preferably without increasing gas consumption either. How long either of these alternative fossil fuel options remain even possible on a global scale remains to be seen.

Denmark plans to be coal free by 2030.

Their 2010 oil use is less than half (between 42% and 46% from graph) of 1970 and trending down - as is their total FF demand.

NG just passed coal last year, and coal + NG = oil energy use per the graphs. Denmark is still an oil and NG exporter.

In an emergency, Denmark has the ability to reduce oil use significantly. And Denmark may be an ideal place for EVs.

They are making significant infrastructure developments to further reduce oil and overall energy demand.

Best Hopes for the Danes,


Yes, I am not saying it is all bad news by any means but I am saying that the initial Danish decline in oil use was achieved by increasing use of other fossil fuels. In fact the peak of fossil fuel usage came in 1996 - 24 years after their peak oil consumption. How much of the relatively recent reduction since then is due to efficiency/renewabels versus how much is down to off-shoring, I do not know. I do know the world as a whole has massively increased total fossil fuel use since 1996 though.

World C02 Emissions (Million tonnes)

1996 24090
2010 33158

By the way, I'm in Scotland and Scotland intends to generate the equivalent of 100% of gross electrical consumption with renewables by 1990.

Danish wind history

2010 saw another offshore wind farm come on-line. 21.9% of total generation (up from 19.3% in 2009). Another offshore wind farm in 2013 is expected to generate about 4% of current Danish electrical consumption.

With very modest net conservation, 26% to 27% of Danish electrical consumption will be renewable by 2013.

Wind turbine manufacturing has grown significantly in the last two decades - new heavy manufacturing. I am not aware of any significant off shoring of Danish heavy manufacturing.

OTOH, bicycling modal share has increased dramatically. Home and commercial energy efficiency has improved. Denmark leads the world in CHP - and I think 17% of CHP fuel is renewable fuels (wood chips, garbage, bio-methane, etc.)

A new subway in Copenhagen and another under construction.

Denmark = Increased Renewables + Increased Efficiency

Best Hopes for the Rest of the World catching up with the Danes,


Best Hopes for the Rest of the World catching up with the Danes,

Scotland with a population of about 5.2 million slightly less then Denmark's 5.5 million currently generates over 30% of its electricity from renewables - up from about 10% (mainly hydro) a decade ago. One day last week Scotland generated about 80% of its electrical consumption from renewables (mainly wind) and was exporting 1.8GW to England (population 50 million).

Best hopes for competition in renewable generation :-)

Scotland has much more hydro and wind resources than Denmark, and it is not an independent nation. Energy policy was not devolved to Scotland (the English are not that daft !).

Denmark went first, and has just about maximized the potential exploitation their on-shore - any further significant expansion will be offshore wind.

Scotland is finally, after a slow start, beginning to exploit what appears to be the EU's best wind resource.


Best Hopes for MUCH more Scottish Wind,


Scotland has much more hydro and wind resources than Denmark, and it is not an independent nation. Energy policy was not devolved to Scotland (the English are not that daft !).

Although that's technically correct, in reality the Scottish government has effective ultimate say over project planning. Until 2007 Labour ran the Scottish Parliament and Scottish energy policy basically followed UK national policy. After the Scottish National Party (SNP) took power in 2007 it immediately reaffirmed that it would not accept new nuclear power stations in Scotland but would continue to run the existing two until end of life. However major new projects were immediately started to attract renewable development at a vastly accelerated rate and the target for renewable electrical generation has been upped from 40% by 2020 under Labour to the current 100% by 2020.

Labour and Conservative argue that the SNP can not achieve these targets and risk "the lights going out" in Scotland as all existing nuclear and some coal/gas plants are shut down at end of life. The SNP plans to add a large amount of tidal and some wave energy to the mix as well and tells the UK National politicians that Scotland will continue to export a large surplus to England in 2020.

I am not a natural fan of the SNP but they do seem to have much more drive than other elected parties right now. I just hope they get the mix right. We do have some pumped storage in Scotland but not enough for an extended period.

Scottish energy policy has changed markedly since the SNP took control in Scotland, initially as a minority government, but since elections this year they now have an absolute majority in the Scottish Parliament.


Renewables revolution aims for 100%18/05/2011

The new Scottish Government's 2020 renewable electricity target has been raised to 100 per cent, First Minister Alex Salmond said today as he pledged to move "still faster and further" to secure Scotland's place as the green energy powerhouse of Europe.

Mr Salmond said:"Because the pace of development has been so rapid, with our 2011 target already exceeded, we can now commit to generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland's own electricity demand from renewable resources by 2020. By then we intend to be generating twice as much electricity as Scotland needs - just over half of it from renewables, and just under half from other conventional sources. We will be exporting as much electricity as we consume. So we will continue to work with industry and governments at local, UK and European level to build on what we have achieved. We will now move still further and faster to secure our place as the green energy powerhouse of the continent of Europe.

Unfortunately, Denmark is also a case history of how difficult it is to materially lower net export decline rates.

Their production appears to have peaked in 2004, and their 2004 to 2010 production decline rate was 7.5%/year (BP, total petroleum liquids). Their 2004 to 2010 rate of change in consumption was slightly negative, with a 0.5%/year decline rate. This resulted in an 18%/year net export decline rate from 2004 to 2010.

In simple percentage terms (from 2004 to 2010), Denmark's production fell by 36% and consumption fell by 3%, but this resulted in a 66% decline in net exports.

As noted up the thread, looking at the 21 of the top 33 net oil exporters that showed lower net exports in 2010, versus 2005, there is not a single case history of the net export decline rate being less than the production decline rate (or production rate of change, a couple of countries showed slight production increases, but net export declines). In other words, the 21 case histories show that net exports fell at the same rate as, or at a faster rate than the rate of change in production from 2005 to 2010.

Given an ongoing production decline in an oil exporting country, unless they cut their consumption at the same rate as, or at a rate faster than, the rate of decline in production, the resulting net export decline rate will exceed the production decline rate, and the net export decline rate will accelerate with time. So, for Denmark's net export decline rate to match the 7.5%/year production decline rate, they would have had to cut their consumption at 7.5%/year.

As we know, this presents some problems for oil importing countries.

If only the US had taken the money spent on wars in the Middle East, and spent it on your electrified rail plan, we would have saved thousands of lives and we would have at least been better prepared for what appears to be our path toward Freedom" from our reliance on foreign sources of oil.

Here is a different version of "Net Export Math." This reporter, and/or the Oil Ministry spokesman, must have been reading Yergin's stuff.

Iraq Crude Oil Output Rises to Highest Level Since 2003 War

Iraq was producing 2.75 million barrels a day of crude in July for the first time since 2003 and exporting 2.2 million barrels a day, Thamir Ghadhban, chairman of the advisory commission to the country’s prime minister, said July 13. Crude output will rise to 3.3 million barrels a day and exports to 7 million barrels next year, Oil Ministry Spokesman Asim Jihad said July 14.

In any case, BP data show two years of year over year declines in net oil exports.

Crude output will rise to 3.3 million barrels a day and exports to 7 million barrels next year, Oil Ministry Spokesman Asim Jihad said July 14.

Where is my misstake? The guy say they will export more than they produce. Or am I reading the text wrong?

They plan to reduce internal consumption by 3.7 million barrels?

Actually the Bloomberg quote is wrong. What Asim Jihad actually said was that export capacity would be increased over time to reach 7 million barrels per day and that they would eventually have a production capacity of 12 million barrels per day but would probably only produce 6 million barrels per day because of quotas and the fact that he says the world doesn't need 12 million bpd according to him.

Bloomberg got it right in an earlier report

Iraq Says Oil Output Capacity to Reach 12 Million Barrels a Day

“The planned production capacity is 12 million barrels a day, but we may only produce 6 million barrels a day,” Asim Jihad told state-sponsored Iraqiya television. “Iraq will produce in accordance with global crude market needs.”


Production will rise to 3.3 million barrels a day next year and reach 4.5 million barrels a day by 2014, Jihad said. Export capacity will be raised to 7 million barrels a day. The country plans to build four or five offshore export terminals in the south and more than 16 storage tanks to ease shipments, he said. Iraq has also reached agreements with Turkey and Syria on projects including two oil pipelines to Syria.

It appears to me that the current prices for installing solar PV (not to mention local employment erecting the panels) would be very cost competitive with burning oil to keep the air conditioners running.

Some reports say the annual average will be over 1.5 million b/day this year.

1,500,000 x 365 x $110 = *LOTS* of solar PV !

Best Hopes for Better Decisions,


Saudi Arabia 'faces oil, fiscal challenges', TradeArabia News Service

... oil is sold in Saudi Arabia at between 3 per cent and 20 per cent of the global price

Because crude oil is sold cheap in Saudi Arabia, alternative energy sources can not compete. To halt the rapid domestic growth, SA will have to raise prices for fuel and desalinated water which would create domestic fury.

Saudi ARAMCO (the oil company) could buy, install and give solar panels free to the Saudi Power and Water Authority (or whatever it is called) and make a profit. Less demand for oil at $15/barrel means more sales at $110/barrel (now or in the future).

But so far, it has not been done.

In 2010, Germany installed 7.4 GW of solar PV. I suspect China is willing to make some sort of solar for oil deal.

As an aside, since the Arab Spring, KSA is spending/investing 40% more at home to keep people quiet.

Best Hopes for Rational Behavior,



We all know that we are at peak and will soon see the back side of Hubert's peak. However, I seek your advise as well as Rockman's,if he's present on the board today, as to the recommendations they would give to a young person who is looking to petroleum engineering as his career path. Is there enough life left in this industry to provide a young person a livelihood? Do you think this would be a gamble at this point? I would appreciate your thoughts as my son is interested in going to Texas A&M for their petroleum engineering program.

Soleman – Kind of a tough call. But I’ll lay out some facts and opinions.

Facts: Upside - The oil patch is very old and gray. Lots of very experienced hands checking out for good in the next 10 years. TAMU well respected in PetE. Did my geo grad work at TAMU right next store to PetE dept. Lots of Aggie PetE’s out there…and they take care of each other. Will be a demand for PetE’s even in the US for a while: old fields don’t take care of themselves. As long as prices stay up the resource plays will need a lot of PetE’s. A PetE degree can translate to other fields to some level.

Facts: Downside – A degree gets you only so far. Takes 4 – 5 years of experience before you become a truly use full mammal. So job availability when he graduates is critical. Avoid the service companies if possible. Good training but if biz slows they’ll cut you lose in a heartbeat…especially if you’re young. Lots of time away from home. Sometimes work on a 7 day rotation…sometime 28 days if working overseas. I handled rotation well…many don’t.

Opinions: I have no freaking idea. LOL. Let’s use me as an example. When I decided in 1970 to major Earth Sciences (geology) there were very few jobs for geologists. But I was young and foolish and having recently gone through some near death experiences didn’t give a cr*p about such insignificant things like the future. LOL. But then when I get out of TAMU in 1975 the oil patch wanted as many geologists/PetE’s as they could hire. Then the 80”s came along and they fired us as fast as possible…just when many new graduates (many of whom got into for the money) were getting out of school Then it got better in the early 90’s. Then it got worse. And now it’s much better.

So now let’s predict the next 40 years or so. You first. LOL.

So a simple answer: Yes…if he’s drawn to it. Might end up regretting it but that’s life. The only other advice I can offer: put a lot of that big paycheck into savings. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Holditch seems to be in the ng will save us camp:


Hah. I don't know if you gave good advice, or no advice...

My daughter works in service, but in the office. HR. So she'll be doing the firing part. But she's in the service end.

How many sites are opportunites for horizontal and fracking in texas? I have no clear idea, so look to you for that. Still think she will do fine.


Craig - Right now the Eagle Ford Shale is booming in Texas. Other shale plays are heating up. I estimate around $2 billion going into the EFS every year right now. As long as oil prices stay up so will drilling. But only as long as there are locations left. Had a similar boom in the Austin Chalk play in Texas about 25 years ago...until they drilled up all the locations. That's why all the public companies are poking around all the shale trends to see what potential there maybe. But even if prices stay high eventually we'll run out of unconvential wells to drill. That won't happen anytime soon IMHO (as long as prices stay high) but eventually unconvention wells are also a finite comodity.

Probably your daughter's greatest danger of getting cut loose is via acquistion of her company more than a slow up in drilling. Lots of consolidation these last few years.

Not a whole lot to add to what the Rock said, but demographics is a very big factor. Most Oil Patch types are in the 55+ age group. And five years after graduation, people generally refer to Aggies as "Boss."

BTW, I don't know if the move to the SEC is a consideration, but here is a link to a discussion:


Perhaps another way to look at the question of college majors is to consider what the alternatives are. Following is a link to my general advice from four years ago, the "ELP PLan." Getting a degree in petroleum engineering would certainly classify as taking care of the "P" part of ELP. Just remind him that geologists' estimates of recoverable reserves are always right.



LOL, a little humor goes a long way. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my query. Who knows how long we can keep all the plates spinning. Personally, I thought the fecal matter would have met mr. fan already, but thing keep rolling on. I can't help feeling sorry for the kids coming up for the gigantic sh*t loaded bag we're leaving for them to deal with let alone making a living on top of that.

I had my kid read both of your responses, but he didn't seem too fazed with the downside arguments. I thought he made a fairly mature response by stating there's no guarantees in any career endeavor.

A couple of points.

The University of Texas graduates about half of the PhDs in Petroleum Engineering in the world and some of that carries over into the undergraduate program. Bright undergraduates are sometimes approached about going to grad school.

I recommend that almost every engineering undergraduate stay an extra year and get a double major. It can save a year of unemployment later - and can help in one's career. Chemical Engineering is a natural complement to PetE (they even share a building @ UT) and for tertiary recovery, ChemE would be a definite asset.

Best Hopes,


For decades, advocates of 'peak oil' have been predicting a crisis in energy supplies. They've been wrong at every turn, says Daniel Yergin

I can't count the number of times I've heard this quote, not just from Yergin but from people that I know personally. Its key point is that people who predict peak oil are going to be proven wrong because people people who did so in the past were wrong. In other words, peak oil won't happen because it hasn't happened.

But this statement doesn't explain why people were wrong in the past, and doesn't tell you why they'll be wrong in the future. So it's just empty words.

Logically oil production will peak because it's a finite resource, regardless of what has been predicted in the past. In fact, the longer peak oil hasn't happened, the further down the depletion curve and the closer to peak oil we are. Therefore, anybody predicting imminent peak oil today is more likely to be correct than in the past. This is the opposite to what the above quote says.

Yeah, it is a very specious argument. People that use it should be embarrassed. It would be like me noticing that my daughter has grown in height every year so apparently she'll be 100 feet tall eventually.

The fact that people would bring up such a weak argument kind of tells you that they don't have much else to work with.

I think that's a good way of putting it!

Surely this is somewhat of a propaganda piece, but propaganda works both ways. Some people who read this article might just be inclined to look up the facts for themselves. The Wall Street Journal cannot print an article like this without simultaneously awakening more people to the genuine problem of resource and energy constraints.

What's interesting about American propaganda is how futile it is. The Nazis and Soviets and many others throughout history were better at it. I suppose this is a good thing. Americans only care about getting richer, and when they can't get richer, no amount of propaganda will convince them that the nation is on the right track. You can't simultaneously have the American Dream and propaganda! The reason is that wealth is something tangible. When you're broke and gas is expensive, it's literally impossible for TPTB to tell you that it's in all in your head, that you are actually rich and gas is cheap.

Look at the polls these days, the vast majority of people are losing confidence in the whole charade.

Mind you I understand that gas is still cheap, but it's expensive in relation to the American suburban project and transportation infrastructure, and that's what counts. And it's only going to get more expensive in real terms.

The game is over, the jig is up, the fat lady has sung.

Look at the polls these days, the vast majority of people are losing confidence in the whole charade.

Here's a poll from CNN today... seems like there may be something rotten in Denmark Washington and maybe the sheeple are finally beginning to gag on the smell. >;^)

Should members of Congress get a pay cut as part of efforts to cut the federal deficit?
Read Related Articles

Yes: 94%

No: 6%
Total votes: 161272
This is not a scientific poll

Could the pitchforks and torches be coming out soon?

Fat chance, they're not called sheeple for nowt.

Shaun Chamberlin (aka @DarkOptimism) has just drawn attention on Twitter to this gem from David Fleming, from a lecture a decade ago:

The story of a boy who cried wolf

"I can't count the number of times I've heard this quote, not just from Yergin but from people that I know personally."

I would ask them to define crisis. It isn't exactly as if we are in a robust economy, partly attributable to high oil prices. For many people this is already a crisis.

I haven't yet decided whether the current economic crisis is a symptom of expensive energy (peak/plateau/low-growth oil) or is simply caused by too much debt/credit, which in turn is a symptom of unrealistic future expectations. There's so many things happening simultaneouly that I have trouble figuring out what the root cause of our current situation is.

And how will it all play out in the medium term, for example, what will Greece, Ireland, and the US look like in five years, and what about China, India, and Pakistan?

or is simply caused by too much debt/credit ... ?

Debt and credit involve making promises about the future.

Many of those promises implicitly involve making assumptions about the affordability of oil.

For example, one of the business plans may say:
OK we will ship raw materials cheaply from point A to point B by finding the lowest priced shipper and we will thus be able to undercut our main competitor on that basis and we will be able to pay back on our start up loans.

Do you see how the oil seeps out from, and saps out, that "business" plan?

On the WSJ piece: A frontal attack on the concept of "peak oil", yet the alternative proposed by the author is a "plateau" in which "...the world has decades of further growth in production before flattening out into a plateau - perhaps sometime around mid-century - at which time a more gradual decline will begin." ?? So if the peak is a few decades off, and stays level for a while, and then the decline is slow, it's really "plateau oil" and not "peak oil"? The article ends with "...on a global view, Hubbert's Peak is still not in sight." So forty years off or so is 'not in sight'? I guess that means we don't need to consider any of the ramifications until we are on the plateau. The author also defines oil as "the world's production capacity for oil and related liquids" (rather than crude + condensate) which makes the numbers look a bit better.

The article starts by attempting to discredit M. K. Hubbert, referring to his leadership role in the Technocracy movement, which put him at odds with economists (who along with politicians had caused the great depression). So he was not able to understand the economic incentives that would result in new technologies for exploration and extraction which in turn would allow ever increasing amounts of oil in place to be discovered and become economically recoverable. Whatever. But the bottom line remains that we are running on a finite resource that is steadily depleting, and we need to individually and collectively be making plans to transition off of it.

Walt – It’s not possible to discredit Hubbert’s or anyone else’s prediction of a global PO. Nor is it possible to prove it either. One is free to agree with a prediction or reject. The “proof” only comes in the rear view mirror. PO for the US was predicted for the early 70’s and that’s when it happened. We may be at/near the peak globally today...or not. Time will prove/disprove…not the current debate. There are those who argue that global PO is far off because we have plays left to drill and new tech to bring to bear. Of course the US had this same potential in the early 70’s and it did not change the course of history. One can even argue the US oil industry was more capable of doing so then the current global oil patch.

No one has proved/disproved a Hubbert prediction for global PO. But history has proved Hubbert correct re: US PO. Everything else is just opinion. IMHO, of course. LOL

Rockman - You are absolutely correct that the peak of oil production will only be known well after the fact, but that is not a refutation that the peak will occur. Even Yergin would agree that any continuous use of a finite resource will eventually deplete it. An oil peak will certainly occur sometime, and at the rate we use oil, the peak will be within years or decades, if it has not already occurred. In the not too distant future, fossil fuel use will reach such a low level that we could say that it has "run out".

Our real problem is the extremely shortsightedness of Yergin and others like him (most everyone). Energy use is so important to everything we do that we should be planning (collectively) in terms of centuries if not millennia.

A few years ago, an architect I was working with related a telling story. He had been asked to design the reinforced concrete foundation for a new religious temple near the seashore on the island of Kauai. One of the client's requirements was that this foundation be designed with a 1,000 year minimum life expectancy to match the life of the stone building that would go on it. The architect quickly found out that there were absolutely no guidelines anywhere in modern architecture for such a foundation. He speculated that he might have to study ancient buildings in Europe to find an appropriate foundation, most likely stone blocks. He worried that even if he came up with a plausible design, it would be unlikely to meet current building code requirements.

Not designing buildings for 1,000 year lifespans can possibly be justified by the belief that any such design would be "functionally obsolete" far before the end of its physical integrity. But human use of external sources of energy will become obsolete only on the day our we revert to a life of growing or gathering by hand, and eating uncooked, any food we can scrounge. Since we've never had a 100 year energy plan, much less one for a thousand years, that's what probably lies ahead for many of us.

The hydroelectric plant at Karahnjukar was designed for a 400 year lifespan. Renewal for shorter lifespan components was specified and designed for.

The new 58 km rail tunnel in Switzerland has a maintenance schedule with the major parts (track, electrical system, signals, all wiring, etc.) scheduled for replacement every 100 years. Tests on the walls of the tunnels are scheduled every decade (from memory).

Best Hopes for Long Lived Infrastructure,


Near the seashore?

1000 years?

Climate Change?

Sea-level rise?


The temple project was "near the shore" in the sense that it was subject to a coastal marine environment, which would have an adverse impact on reinforced concrete over time. I don't think it was at sea level. At the time (1990), global warming was just becoming a well known danger.

My point was that most people, especially politicians and economists, seem to have much too short planning time-frames and little sense of the vast sweep of history. Even architecture, which deals with some of the most long lived structures of our culture, has little sense of real durability, much less long term sustainability. Think of the many pre-fossil-fuel-era structures that are thousands of years old. And even when those structures weathered or decayed, the people who built them had every capability of repairing them with resources that would be available for millennia to come.

In contrast, I doubt that much from fossil fuel era will be visible in a thousand years, excepting perhaps some crumbling freeway interchanges in arid areas. Before it is forgotten entirely, people will remember this time as being like a shooting star; it burned brightly for a very short time and then quickly faded away.

Interesing thought... Yergin's people keep discovering ever more, and ever smaller, oil 'finds.' One sees the time when one of them is under my old Pontiac, and discovers the oil that has leaked out over the past 20 years!!! Drill, baby, drill!!!


I am reminded of Zeno's paradox where Achilles could never overtake the tortoise because the tortoise would always have moved a little further as well...

When he says, "oil," Yergin is referring to liquid fuels production (88 Mb/d) and not crude oil production. The definition if liquid fuels is adjustable and includes things whose production is not presently peaking. Don't be so confident that liquid fuels (oil) production will decrease as rapidly as crude oil production.

Yergin is an ass but he still gets listened to. So his argument appears to start out by denigrating all those who have predicted a plateau in the past but then carries on by, himself, predicting a peak (though he calls it a plateau) a few decades further out. If he's right (which is extremely unlikely) we'll have Daniel Yergin Mk II denigrating this Daniel Yergin for doom-mongering in predicting a peak around mid-century.

How does he explain the virtual plateau of C+C production over recent years?

Daniel is an anagram of Denial.

FWIW perpetual growth people will be listening to Yergin next week on Bloomberg SURVEILLANCE MIDDAY with Tom Keene (not sure if it's Monday or Tues. 12 EST).

My daughters seem to be growing every year, too, so I'm sure we'll be looking into cathedral ceilings before any plateau or such.

Regulars here will know that I am a believer in peak oil, if not now then within the fairly near future, and that I also believe we are headed for an economic and ecological collapse at some point within the forseeable future.

This said, it is only fair that we at least seriously consider the possibility that Yergin is not only in earnest but also (gasp!) but that WE just CONCIEVABLY might be the ones in error-at least in so far as the next few decades are concerned.

The next few decades are "forever" in terms of the arguments being made by the cornucopians;not even the most optimistic of them would deny at that at SOME point in the (far distant) future oil will be extremely scarce and correspondingly expensive.

So let us quit qiubbling and move on from discussing absolutes and consider the time frame the cornucopians use, and that just about every human habitually uses- this being the next few decades at most.

I cannot see , from an economic and business standpoint, that calling tar sands and other unconventional sources of oil "oil" is any big deal in the cosmic scheme of things, as it seems to be well proven that these unconventional sources CAN yield oil, and already do in some cases, at prices that have not as yet broken the worlds economic back.

Now the various shales and other "plays" may or may not yield "affordable " oil, and they may or may not yield up such oil within a time frame that will stave off an economic collapse due to crashing supplies of conventional oil.Personally my opinion is that they will not , as I don't think they WILL be ramped up fast enough.

But there is no way I can actually KNOW THAT for SURE.

Those who like to point out that industrial and social transitions , as well as energy transitions,have taken a century or more in the past seem to forget that the past is a damned poor yardstick for measuring how fast things happen these days;change is happening at an ever accelerating pace, in the opinion of many observers, and in my opinion.

It is possible that once the reality of shrinking supplies of conventional crude sinks into the public consciousness, and the day to day thinking of our leaders, political and financial, that an extraordinary effort will be made to clear the way for the expansion of unconventional oil production-the necessary resources being diverted from other parts of the economy.

Let us suppose for instance that the peaceful leftish liberal doves make political whoopee with the crabby stay at home right wing neanderthals such as myself, and we are joined in bed by big labor, etc, as well as all the parasites from wall street who smell money and we have a grand ole orgy something along the lines of the make work programs of the 1930's, but as souped up compared to that as a modern eighteen wheeler is to a Model A pickup.

I'm willing to join my horny old conservative flag and country and blood and guts hand to that of any fair and idealistic young maiden who just wants to keep our boys home where they can fight over her instead of that smelly nasty old oil.A quarter of that military budget would build a hell of a lot of roads and pipelines and probably leave enough over to divert a river or two to the places where there are unconventional oil deposits but no water.

I expect tar sands production COULD BE ramped up a hell of a lot faster, possibly several times as fast, as any of us might guess, since nobody here seems to have considered any potential for growth in the unconventional oil industry except by the bootstraps method.

Fast enough to postpone peak oil?


People like Yergin have a track record of one hundred years of being right to back them up.

No doubt they will be proven wrong-eventually, maybe even this decade, I am not disputing this possibility-this likelihood, actually.

But I have read The Prize, and I can say this about Yergin;he is a very fine wrier, with a great sense of history.

Anybody who really wants to APPRECIATE the history of the oil industry could make no better use of his time than to read it.

I have read a couple of thousand serious books over the last fifty years, and I do not make such remarks lightly.

I don't have time now to read much now for my intellectual edification, as I am once again a full time student, and have to do four or five hundred pages a week -about my usual weekly lifelong quota -as required by my classes.

So I won't be reading yergin's new book anytime soon, if ever.

It is a serious mistake to be so arrogant and self assured as to dismiss Yergin as a fraud or an incompetent.

I believe anybody who actually takes time to read The Prize will have to admit that , while he may be wrong about peak oil, Yergin is a man of very considerable intellectual accomplishments, and thus worthy of respect.

To condemn him as a fraud or industry mouth piece is to find him guilty without a fair trial.

Of course it is only human, having once made up our minds, to believe that anybody who disagrees with us is a fraud, an idiot, or an incompetent.;-)

Now don't all you folks who(m?) I happen to disagree with in respect to Yergin go off half cocked thinking I believe YOU are all idiots or incompetents;I am willing to give YOU something you have denied Yergin-the benefit of a reasonable doubt.;-)

Yergin was right? From this Oil Drum article:-

Yergin's price predictions

"his argument appears to start out by denigrating all those who have predicted a plateau in the past but then carries on by, himself, predicting a peak (though he calls it a plateau) a few decades further out."

Yes. And those few decades would make ALL the difference. The whole thing is about time and timing. At the rate that renewables are coming online and getting cheap, we only need an extra 20-30 years.

cera oil production forecast - Google Image Search. Pick one at your leisure. The TOD graph from 2006 suggests 2010 C+C at 82 mb/d; even with the recession that's way off the mark. AL is off the chart, 98 mb/d? They made the EIA/IEA look like pikers. Wonder if he reflects on this in his book, which I do plan to read, and put on the shelf next to Smil/Mills/etc. Do enjoy seeing what the other side has to say.

The message isn't in the content of the article but in its existence.

Germany: "Greece is not going to default."

Syria: "It's only a few hooligans."

The WSJ: "Peak oil is a myth."

We really have to start thinking like readers of Pravda. The fact that they feel they have to deny something means that there is a serious problem. If there wasn't cause for concern, there wouldn't be any article in the WSJ.

The truth is revealed by price and quantity, not by mouthpieces. All you need to read of Yergin's article is the headline.

You guys are making misleading arguments-I never said Yergin, or any of the cornucopians were right about prices.

I said the cornucopians have a hundred year record of being right about expanding production of oil-and the discussion is ABOUT peak oil , not about the price of oil.

You fail to notice perhaps that I happen to agree with peak oil theory myself, so maybe it should occur to you that I am talking about thinking for yourself.

Quoting the oppositions arguments, even though they may be or are in actual fact mistaken, does not refute those arguments.Such rhetorical tricks work very well on Joe and Suzy Sixpack, but they don't work here.

Refutation requires tearing down the oppositions arguments piecemeal or wholesale, and proving them wrong.

Perhaps I should phrase my real argument differently.

You have made up your minds, and are not likely to change them.

But suppose YOU GUYS were Yergin, and YOU were on trial , with your personal reputation and integrity in question.

Now wouldn't you want your lawyer to strike you from the jury pool as being obviously prejudiced beyond any hope of rendering a fair verdict?

I rest my case-my personal prejudiced (!!) opinion is that you are incapable of seriously considering the possibility that you might be wrong.

Such arrogant self confidence leads to disasters in all too many cases.

This example is not relevant in any direct fashion, but consider the recent nuclear disaster in Japan-dozens of mistakes were made which can be traced, ultimately, to someone being sure he was right as a matter of fact- whereas ultimately such "facts" proved to be only mistaken opinions.

So called fact-A tsunami of the power of the one that actually hit is unthinkable.

If I had all night I could type up a long list of such facts.

Turned out to be a mistaken opinion, didn't it?

Be humble, and remember what the great sage Yogi said about predictin', specially the future.

You guys are making misleading arguments-I never said Yergin, or any of the cornucopians were right about prices.

But the issue is about prices. In 1998 Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrere wrote the famous article in Scientific American "The End of Cheap Oil." It should be obvious to anyone who thinks that >$100/bbl oil is not cheap that they were right, and continue to be right. So, in effect, the peak of oil production is irrelevant. What matters is whether we can afford the stuff as the price stays $100/bbl or above on into the future.

The irony of this story (one irony among many) is that the 'cornucopians' are predicting that much oil will never get produced because we will simply segue into using some other form of energy (you know, the stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones, etc....). While what is beginning to look much more likely is that, with the aid of $100+ oil, the economies around the world will slow down to such a slow level (or actually go into reverse) that much oil will never get produced.

I'm beginning to realize that 'peak oil' is becoming more and more irrelevant as the worldwide economic situation, along with the environmental situation, agricultural situation, climate change, etc. etc. will swamp us regardless of the availability of oil we can't afford anyway.

Peak oil is not irrelevant. It is, however, just one of the limits that the world's economies are starting to bump into. However, it'll take a while yet for most to actually figure out that there are limits.

In Mark Twain's words, "What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so."

I have changed my mind and become more nuanced in my views in my years of following TOD. Rather than being a catastrophe, I now think that oil supply constraints will be a severe inconvenience. An inconvenience that we'll eventually get over, if we can avoid war and famine.

First a minor point.

I have not read Yergin's new book either, but the reviewer in The Economist seems to want to misdirect the reader:-

The digitalisation of oil production will make far more oil recoverable from any field. The complex deepwater drilling recently perfected by Petrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled company, has suddenly raised the prospect of Brazil becoming one of the world’s biggest producers. Refinements in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, whereby water and sand are squirted at high pressure into shale beds, have made massive reserves of American gas available—sufficient to maintain current levels of production for a century.

I don't know what is meant by digitalisation. Presumably it means better steerability and other drilling and production enhancements that make small finds economic to extract . . . at current prices. But costs are rising, seemingly inexorably.

Brazil is all potential. How much oil is really there, how much OOIP is resource, and how much of that can be extracted remain to be seen. There is much hyperbole.

There is serious doubt, doubt raised by knowledgeable people here on TOD and other places, about the claims being made for shale gas.

The reviewer, if not Yergin, is being unbalanced in coverage of these matters.

But I want to turn to a larger point.

Vaclav Smil has pointed out many times that previous predictions of energy supply growth have all massively overestimated.

I think that this tendency to over-predict still exists, and Yergin is prey to it. The fact that he continually predicts that the price of oil will fall is an illustration of this tendency, so Yergin's price predictions are just as relevant as his predictions about quantity.

I think that pundits underestimate the power of the market, and subconsciously misunderstand how it works.

Sustained high prices unleash the market. High prices kill demand and make people use oil more efficiently. High prices stimulate manufacturers to make more efficient vehicles. High prices nudge manufacturers into selling vehicles that don't use oil at all. High prices provoke farmers to grow corn, sugar cane, and cassava for ethanol rather than wheat, soy beans and rice for food. High prices cause the clearing of rainforest to plant oil palms, so we can have substitutes for oil.

But most importantly, high prices nudge consumers to change their ways. To use buses and trains. To live in different places. To telecommute. To demand more trains and safer cycleways. They nudge logistics companies to use trains rather than trucks or planes. To double-stack the trains. To demand more and better rail service. High prices nudge manufacturers to locate closer to their markets.

Oh, yeah . . . high prices also stimulate oil companies to increase investment. But, if they're smart, not too much. Certainly not as much as Daniel Yergin says.

The power of the market has been unleashed, and anyone who thinks that fossil fuel demand will continue old patterns and trajectories is almost certainly wrong. We may well see $60 oil again, in a couple of decades, maybe less, but if market forces work as advertised, we won't see 101 million barrels per day. We simply won't want that much.

That's my humble opinion.

Now, you might say I'm being inconsistent with the comments I made yesterday.

Yesterday I said that the USA is splitting into two populations: people who can afford to buy new cars, and people who buy used. For the first group fuel is still a relatively small part of the household budget, and so these people will buy vehicles for their status-enhancing characteristics. And since humans are visual, social animals, status comes from size. Electric vehicles have to be cheaper in sticker price than ICE vehicles with the same status-enhancing power, or they won't be bought.

There really is no contradiction. First, what I said yesterday is about the short run, and this comment is about the long run. Second, annual vehicle sales are down by about a fifth from the peak. Which way will they go in future? The long-run forces listed above are pointing in the downward direction. And third, the USA is last century's news. The new growth is happening in Asia, and Asians will invest in the things that make sense in today's situation.

Sorry that this comment is so long. I didn't have time to write a shorter one.


You can't use the argument that the cornucopians have been right for a hundred years because Yergin most certainly doesn't say that oil will never peak, though his opening remarks would tend to give that impression. His nonsense is that he chastises the peakists whilst, at the same time himself declaring a peak to come. As we can see from his prediction history, he doesn't have a good record on predictions about oil production and prices. In addition, you are defending him as an intelligent person and yet, despite his woeful record on predictions and despite over 30 countries being past peak, he wants us to believe him this time. This time, of course, he'll be right. If he is an intelligent man, he must know, surely he must know, that he has a good chance of being wrong on this. Yet he continues to beat the drum with regard to increasing production for the next 4 decades, when not even the IEA or many top oil executives would accept that. Is that the stance of an intelligent man? Heck, look at the projected chart of production that CERA has used - it is ridiculous to suggest that his company can forecast yearly changes of oil production decades out, and yet that is what CERA would have us believe (the chart has yearly ups and downs forecast for the plateau period lasting decades).

You earlier mentioned that tar sands can be thought of an an oil source, as indeed it can. But it can only do so profitably at high prices. Once that sort of oil becomes the norm, the production rate is going to be way down and the price will be way up (if it isn't, then the production rate will be even lower). Does Yergin factor that in? Of course he doesn't. All cornucopians like to give the impression that all oil reserves are equal, even if they know they are not equal. Their idiocy knows no bounds. As long as he's making money by telling lies, he's perfectly happy, while the rest of the world goes down the tubes.

Bravo. I agree 100% and was about to reply to above, but you summed it up pretty well.

Yergin may have some useful things to say, but WSJ is using him to perpetuate the idea that good times are just around the corner.

Agreed..the timing of this article is very important.

We are on the cusp of the 4th QTR...the most profitable time of year for retailers. From all indications (my personal observations), the 4th QTR retail of this year is headed south. I believe there are some large retailers that can not continue BAU in their current model if the consumer is not going to go into debt to buy their products (i.e. Best Buy) and will either have to drastically change that business model or pack it in. Look at what happened to Borders.

If consumer sentiment continues to plummet, there will be a continued drain on the US (and global) economic engine...there are many out there trying to paint the consumer psyche to a much rosier portrait than it actually is...Yergin is doing his part to pacify people.

Yergin says that oil production has increased in the last few years. Well yes, but that is only true because he has re-defined what is "oil". His new definition includes not only conventional oil, but also tarsands, oil shale, gas-to-liquids, and bio-fuels such as ethanol and bio-diesel.

The peak oil theory is for production of conventional oil. Why do you think we are now using so many substitutes for conventional oil? Well, because production of conventional oil has peaked and is now in decline. Why is it that production of tarsands oil is now profitable? Because the price of oil is so high and that is because conventional oil can no longer meet demand.

It was understood all along that post-peak there would be a scramble to meet demand with alternate sources. It is also very clear that these are temporary fixes and cannot continue to meet long term demand.

The trail to the origin of green house gas science and the predictions of global warming induced climate change has been exposed and followed to the origins.

The origins of the science, and the clear origins of climate change denial are not in doubt.

That the oil industry engendered the denial of peak oil with the hiring of the tobacco / cancer denial scientists is not really a surprise.

I mean, the peak oil deniers' use of the same script they developed during that time is no surprise.

The trail to the origin of green house gas science...

Tyndall, John (1861). "On the Absorption and Radiation of Heat by Gases and Vapours..." Philosophical Magazine ser. 4, 22: 169-94, 273-85.

Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927)
"On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground"
Roger Revelle's Discovery


Also see http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm , a history of the discovery of global warming.

During much of the early work, the research was focused on the question of why there were repeated periods of glaciation (ice ages), which made most of Europe quite unsuitable for human habitation. CO2 was thought by some to be a good thing because it might delay or mitigate the 'next ice age'. Only in the mid twentieth century has the worry shifted to a concern about vastly too much warming. This link is very thorough!

I digged out this usefull graph:


Didn't manage to get it to show up on my preview, you have to click the link.

The cooling effects of volcanic eruptions are quite clear there.

At this point, we just have to hope for none stop and ever increasing major volcanic activity from here on out.

--Bad for agriculture, but good for keeping the planet from overheating.

Vulcanos also give off a slight puff of CO2. In the long run, it would be a net warmer. Has happened before.

The cooling agents seem to fall with the rain; CO2 stays in the atmosphere for much longer. Hence, net warming from volcanic activity.

The Deccan traps in India, and the Siberian traps up in Asiatic Russia, both represented extended period of volcanic activity, creating huge CO2 uptakes and at least in the case of Deccan, a major, major die-off. Going from memory, posting from work so... if someone finds contrary please let me know.


No. You are right. Those vulcanos were both related to die-offs. The Siberian was the 4:th, happened 251 million years ago. The indian was simultanius with the meteor strike 65 million years ago, and was the 5:th die-off.

Yes, of course you guys are right. Thanks for the correction.

Got to love those socially responsible Swedes...

Burgers, fries, CO2 count share the menu at Max’s

Wander into a Max restaurant in central Stockholm and you’ll find all the usual trappings of a fast food chain: bright plastic furniture, strips of neon lighting, cashiers in matching uniforms.

The illuminated menu board is there too -- with one notable difference. Next to every burger, a large number indicates the carbon dioxide emissions associated with its production.


At Max, beef production alone accounts for 70 per cent of the firm’s total emissions. Packaging, on the other hand, produces just 1.6 per cent of emissions.


Max opted to offset all carbon emissions -- including those released during the beef production stage -- by planting roughly 89,000 trees in Africa each year. It began running its restaurants entirely on wind and solar power, eliminated unnecessary packaging like plastic lids and straws, and invested in ecological milk and coffee. But the chain’s most unconventional tactic has been its effort to entice its customers away from its biggest seller: beef burgers.

See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/international-news/glo...

A couple of tofu burgers to go, please !


Hi, Paul

This is unrelated to your burgers post but my question is directed to you since you are on top of LED developments. (I think this enquiry should be relevant to just about anyone who washes dishes....)

We've had a double 30" fluorescent tube light over our kitchen sink. One ballast died a few years ago and the second light is erratic (sometimes fires right up but increasingly does nothing).
I was about to buy two new fluorescents when I suddenly remembered TOD info re LED strip lighting, so I'm tempted to hold off until something is on the shelves. One would think that over-the-sink and bathroom vanities would be perfect applications for LED strips.

Is there anything available now (or coming soon)?

Hi Rick,

I don't know of any products that are well suited to this task. I've considered replacing the T4 fluorescent strip above our kitchen sink with one of these: http://www.colorkinetics.com/ls/essentialwhite/ewcovemxpc/

It's a great looking product, but a tad too pricey for my budget. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.


Hi Paul, best of the weekend to you. Here in BC we have our first rainy weekend in almost two months and my electric heat came on this morning - summer is "officially" over!

I have asked you this before, but just clarification - for the ductless heat pumps, the factor that really counts is the HSPF, correct? Friends of mine are looking at a Daikin mini split, and the model range goes from SEER 15 to 18 to 26, but, for the 15,000 btu models (that qualify for the fed and prov rebates) the HSPF on all those is 10 to 10.8.

Since these will never be run in aircon mode, I presume the HSPF is the factor to go one, and not the SEER. It is a $1k premium (on a $3000 project) to go from SEER 15/hspf 10 to SEER 26/hspf10.8, but I don't think that is at all worth it.

Related, we have just had the yearly increase in power rates from BC Hydro - we now pay a truly outrageous 9c/kWh! To paraphrase someone, the BC way of life is "not negotiable" and I think we should invade whoever we have to to secure the cheap electricity that we need - gotta keep all those baseboard heaters going - the SUV's of home heating!

"Here in BC we have our first rainy weekend in almost two months and my electric heat came on this morning - summer is "officially" over!"

Same here, but no rain yet. Had to reset the heat pump to heat mode, as it was 42 outside this morning. And the orchard across the street is still picking apples, having started two weeks late.

We had two weeks of summer, and they were a month apart.

From a climatological point of view, Fall begins on 1 September and winter on 1 December. Yesterday, the morning temperature here in the mountains of western NC, the temperature was in the mid 40's and again this AM, it was 44 F with rain. Fall has arrived, but that doesn't preclude some more warm days...

E. Swanson

No, that is the calendarical definition. The metereological definition based on temperature. Spring: average 5 degree celcius or higher, summer is I think 15 but am not sure, and winter is when it is colder than spring. Fall is the same as spring, but the other half of the year. These averages is for 2 days in a row.

Hi Paul,

As you correctly surmise, the HSPF rating tells us how efficiently these units operate as heating appliances, higher numbers being better (to calculate seasonal COP, divide this number by 3.4).

I can purchase a Fujitsu 12RLS with a HSPF 12.0 and all of the related hardware, wholesale, for about $2K. In the next couple of weeks, I'll have to decide whether I'll replace the older of our two units with a 12RLS or a Sanyo 12KHS71 to match the one on the lower level (9.3 HSPF). They're roughly the same price, but the Sanyo operates at 115-volts and thus requires only one breaker slot as opposed to two (I've maxed out my panel). That said, if I go with the Sanyo, I'll forfeit some 500 to 600 kWh/year in incremental savings, so the alternative is to double up some circuits.

The Friedrich is now in its seventh year and has logged some 20,000 hours of operation so far. It's performance has been flawless, but unlike the newer inverter systems that continue to operate to -20°C and below, this one basically calls it a day at -10°C; the ability to supply heat at these lower temperatures and a 1.7x improvement in energy efficiency is what's driving me towards this change-out. That, and the fact that NSP expects electricity rates to increase by 25 per cent over the next three years.


Are any of these units Do-It-Yourself?

There are lower-end units that are aimed at the D-I-Y market, but they really should be installed by a licensed refrigeration technician.


Yes and NO, There are many tricks for an optimized Install.

The manuals are quite good, but written for HVAC Techs. You can find on line, but in the US, Instillation is to be by licensed HVAC contractor, since you are dealing with CFC's and high pressure refrigerants. Proper placement of both the Inside and Outside units is critical. In most places the outside unit is best mounted out of harms way up on a wall with a special bracket. If used for Primary heat, best to mount on the south side of the building away from North winds.

If you have the tools, and electrical and mechanical skills and willing to spend a few hours studying manuals, you can install and have a HVAC tech pump it down and sign the warranty card as a service call. Best to not experiment on your 1st Install and get someone with experience to guide. Units are pre-charged, but special tools are required. Many HVAC techs that have not had training on these units will look at Inverter units and scratch their heads, there are not test ports on both lines, there is a 100 step expansion valve in the OUTDOOR unit. All lines must be very well Insulated.

Paul, I just installed a Sanyo 9KHS71 for a Solar App since the client has a single 120VAC Inverter with Power display. I like the Sanyo Remote better than the Fujitsu, but If I were to do it again, I would use an Autotransformer to boost to 240V and go with a Fujitsu 12RLS, it simply uses less power. The Variable Refrigdent Flow (VRF) technology in the 12RLS is higher efficiency most likely since it is a later design. IMO Sanyo lines need an update to compete with 25 SEER Fujitsu and the Mr Slims. I sure this is even a bigger deal in subzero temps. A 60A sub-panel is under $50 (not including Installation) would give you the future room.

I agree and I'm very much leaning in this direction. The only negative that I've heard is that the drain plug has a tendency to clog/freeze which can result in severe ice build up and, in turn, fan damage (this happened to a friend of mine in Montana and another friend in PEI has mentioned this as well). In colder climates, a drain pan heater makes good sense.

BTW, my friend in PEI sent this picture of the ice build up underneath his unit due to defrosting:

But then our Maritime winters can be somewhat harsh (his driveway mid-season):

One other thing he mentioned in his e-mail:

... And last night Feb 28 it was -21C and the heat pump was putting out 110-115 F heat.

So when someone tries to tell you that heat pumps don't work when it gets below 40°F, just nod your head and smile.


I would use an Autotransformer to boost to 240V and go with a Fujitsu 12RLS, it simply uses less power.

You better run the numbers on that taking into consideration the loss incurred by the transformer.

I did all the installation of my Mitsubushi up to the point of putting the flares on the copper pipes. At that point an experienced HVAC tech made the final connections and pumped down. Lots of the time consuming labor can be done by a DYI'er.

Also some tasks can be done with less speed and more care than someone who is rushing to keep overheads down. I might have to replace some of my pipework as I suspect it is buckled somewhere inconvenient.


Thanks for your prompt reply, Paul

Jeez, you'd think with all millions of kitchen sinks out there, this would be a no-brainer for the LED industry.
Any idea what Philips charges for their cove light?

Meanwhile, maybe I'll stuff a string of LED Christmas lights into the cavity, cover everything up with the lens, and wait a few years....


Hi Rick,

You're most welcome; glad to help. I dug up a recent quote from a local distributor. The 120-volt leader or feed is $21.09 and a 12-inch length is $45.13. The mounting track is an additional $6.45. These units are designed to snap together, so for a 2 ft. length your total cost would be $124.25. At 12-watts per linear foot, I couldn't save enough electricity to justify replacing what I have now, even though this fixture gets more use than any other.


Ask yourself what you need the light for. If it is not to light the whole kitchen then maybe some LED spots or floods may be better as work lights, check the different angles of illumination. Think about other ways to light what you do, you may get more choice of fittings.


I've been known to do a little casual lighting with LED Christmas strings as well.. but here's a cheaper and less-cheezy option.


These might be surplus, and the CRI, I believe amounts to squinting a little and saying 'That looks nice!' .. Anyway, I have a few stretches of these 12vdc SMT LED Strips, which are Peel-Stick, so you don't need much else to put them wherever you please.. and I really do think they are completely adequate sources for Under-counter, Closets, Task Lighting.

These are the Neutral White, which they are calling 4100k, like a nice, hot Halogen.. and their 'Warm White' is a bit yellow, but not overly so. At $1.75 for every 2", 3-led, 25ma segment (when you buy 10 to 99 of them), each foot-long stretch goes for $10.50 and draws 150ma (or 1.8 watts)

Might be worth a try. I've put a 2-segment piece into my car as the new Dome Light, and they'll work in my daughter's doll-house really nicely!

Thanks for that, Jokuhl

I'm curious about your car dome light: will these LEDs work off 12 volt DC as well, or do you have to run your dome light through an inverter?

These are stricly DC.. the household applications need a Transformer or a Solar/ Battery Combo..

Some LED low-voltage units are actually polarity indifferent, so they can accept AC or DC in either direction. Like these, which I use over my desk.. also 1.8watts.

(Though the pins on mine are at the rear, not on the side.)

(PS, they are so small and light, they're also excellent for Camping and Cabins!)

There are small, cheap 12VDC switched mode PSUs available in electrical stores for LEDs. Don't go to the consumer stores but the trade stores. Alternatively look on EBay as a lot of the Hong Kong stores have them, probably many of your local outlets buy them from there. Check current ratings for the number of LEDs you use.


I built my own using Cree LED "starts" and off-the-shelf power driver modules. Took a little time with pliers and screwdrivers to disassemble the tube-light unit, and an hour or so with thermal epoxy and a soldering iron to assemble LEDs into the old housing. The bezel doesn't completely diffuse the 'point source' effect of the LEDs, but the results are very usable, and after the first couple of days you don't even notice the uniqueness anymore.

Price-wise, you'd be better off going to Lowe's and getting a replacement tube light. My ballast was bad so I was a little more motivated, but it still cost maybe $100.

A couple of tofu burgers to go, please !

I fully agree with your sentiments but I feel obliged to point out that vegetarians can indeed have rich and varied diets beyond just tofu-based approximations of meat.

Robert Rapier Posted this about Indian cuisine on this very site a few years ago:

During the week in India, I had meat twice. The total I had was about 3 ounces of chicken on a pizza. I would have guessed that I would be constantly starving, but the food is very filling, and very good. I haven't had vegetarian like that in the West. At a typical meal, I would have a carbohydrate (usually a flat bread), a vegetable, and a protein. Rice was always part of the meal. But the meals were very nutritious and healthy, so I plan to incorporate some of these meals into my normal diet.

Hi BB,

I decided sometime ago to shift my diet away from meats for health and ethical reasons and as a way to reduce my ecological footprint. I still enjoy the occasional burger, but I'll happily opt for the veggie variety if given a choice.

Addendum: For fast-food addicts looking for better choices, see: http://veg.ca/content/view/714/107/


I cannot believe that Robert Rapier spent some years living in the UK and not encountered Indian vegetarian food. It is more or less the national dish of Britain, having supplanted fish and chips about 20 years ago. Admittedly, most of the UK version of Indian cuisine comes a poor second to the Indian version, but about one restaurant in 3 is Indian.

Ralph - The UK? Heck, I live in one of the more red neck/blue collar places in Texas and have plenty of Indian and ME restaurants we hit often for our veggies and nan. But I also grew up in New Orleans and just can't handle bland food.

I wish you people would stop discussing Indian food. I enjoyed Mughal Gardens in Baltimore onTuesday and don't want to return so soon, but I'm drooling.

The ironic thing is, is that the vast majority of them are run by Pakistanis & Bangladeshis and not Indians!

Being a vegetarian family for 4 years now, we'll enjoy Indian food at least once a week, at home or occasionally at a restaurant. A local Indian grocer carries MTR brand convenient pouches (MREs) of many Indian made dishes, simply boil for few minutes, serve over rice with or without naan. Rajma masala and Dal Makhani decent protein sources.

Got taken to an Indian restaurant by an Indian, run by Indians for Indians somewhere in the backs of London. Best I've tasted.


My 2 daughters were happy to see veggie burgers on the menu at our local banks recycling event today. Picked some freshly tossed coke cans out of their trash cans to place in the adjacent aluminum recycle bin. Asked one of the volunteers where they're recycling paper cups from the free coffee and they said they don't have a bin for that. Fret not, all the bankers looked really nice in their matching "green" sweaters.

For computer work and for desktop workspace illumination, would you recommend LED's or CFL's?

Whichever you use aim for either side of the monitor rather than above on the line through you and the monitor. To the side and very slightly behind you reduces glare in your eyes, too far behind increases glare on the screen. Lights either side reduce shadows. Windows to the sides not in front or behind. Urgh, had too many users complaining they can't see the screen.


At this stage I'm more inclined to go the LED route. My desk lamp is fitted with a Philips 12.5-watt EnduraLED A19 which is a 60-watt equivalent. It replaced a Philips 40-watt Halogená ES T60 (also a 60-watt equivalent), which in turn replaced a 13-watt Osram Sylvania CFL and a number of other CFLs prior to that. I like CFLs in theory but less so in practice, and this EnduraLED is the first non-incandescent lamp that works for me.

The next generation EnduraLED (i.e., the DOE's L-Prize winner) promises to be even better.

See: http://www.usa.lighting.philips.com/lightcommunity/trends/l-prize/


Their burgers are way better than on McD to. Always goes to MAX ahead of McD. Buger King is a close rival to MAX. Sibyllas hamburgers are not near any of those 3, but they have specialyties such as susages and mashed potatoes in thin-bread. Those are the 4 big franchaises.

Now I saved you some time and driving, if you ever need a burger in Sweden.

Yesterday, a Drumbeat comment linked to coverage of a speech by General Keith Alexander, director of NSA and Cyber Command. Although the original Washington Times article does not say so, Alexander's speech was presented to the Maneuvering in Cyberspace conference.

General Alexander reportedly explained the calamitous failure of a massive Russian hydro plant thusly:

Gen. Alexander said one of the dam’s 10 650-megawatt hydroturbine generators, weighing more than 1,000 tons, was being serviced and, by mistake, was remotely restarted by a computer operator 500 miles away. The generator began spinning and rose 50 feet into the air before exploding. The flood caused by the accident killed 75 people and destroyed eight of the remaining nine turbines.

I have not found a transcript of the speech, so I can't verify what Alexander said. So far, the Washington Times reporter is the only source I can find for the quote, which intrigues me because it contradicts other information about the disaster.

Investigating the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydro Power Plant Disaster

Wiki, 2009 Sayano-Shushenskaya hydro accident


Is Gen. Alexander accurate?
Is Gen. Alexander ignorant?
Is Gen. Alexander a liar?

EDIT: Did Gen. Alexander actually say what was reported?

Can't speak for Russian safety practice but if they are similar to N. America it is impossible to start remotely. Everything gets shut off/down and locked out - including remote control actuators,

If they did not lock it out before they will now. We had a fatality a number of years ago where a co2 fire suppression system was software impaired instead of locked out and it tripped during maintenance of a switch gear room. This killed one and hurt a few others.

Are the details of the accident available in the public domain? I have acquaintances that are interested in reliability and safety of software design engineering.

Aside from the Washington Times quote, I haven't seen anything saying #2 turbine was shut down/being serviced.

At the moment of the accident, which was 8:13 local time (00:13 GMT), its load was 475 MW and water consumption was 256 m3/s (9,000 cu ft/s). Vibration of the bearing was 0.84 mm which exceeded the values of other turbines by more than fourfold


No remote start, not in maintenance. They knew well beforehand turbine 2 was out of balance, and the bearings were failing.

Everyone in America who works in industry knows that if you see something with a red work tag on it, you don't touch it.

But 1. Russian industry is legendarily cavalier about safety, and 2. SCADA developers are often the same 15 year old code developers who really should just be writing new levels for Farmville. Combine both, and you can blow up a dam or two.

Re: John Michael Greer: The Glass Bead Game, up top:

I’m going to begin a series of posts next week that will talk about the relationship between peak oil and magic.

Verbosity and nonsense. John Michael Greer is full of it:


In Sweden at least, the traditional mythology was warewolfs as shape shifters. They were extremely violent. I just listened the first minute, then turned off. He was wrong on the first thing.

Actually if you breeze past the spiritual foo-foo Greer is pretty wise when he talks about how to get through the coming crises.

Greer is one of the most lucid thinkers and communicators about peak-oil related stuff & a systems perspective.

It's humanizing, then, that he's a trifle nuts in an entertaining & irrelevant way.

I think it's perfectly fine to appreciate his insights on the natural world & human history while cutting him slack on the subjective supernatural. His religion is no whackier than the larger ones. He may believe in demons; my relatives believe in talking snakes and that the universe is 6000 years old.

His life is probably a lot more fun with demons and funny hats than it would be sitting around being logical 100% of the time. I'm considering becoming more colorful myself; it's not like people understand or care what I ramble about anyhow.

He may actually wind up with more followers from the woo-woo stuff than people who recognize his systems talents and sharp mind. Which I suppose is valid if one wants followers. And his beliefs are well-suited to respecting the natural world, which is nice.

And in a world being driven to ecological collapse by immortal corporations with insatiable lusts and full human rights, I'd swap for demons any day...

What JMG means by "magic" almost certainly is not what most folks here are probably thinking. Check out his blog next week, and find out...

I'll absolutely check it out. My guess is that, per his usual, he'll describe something quite practical and call it magic. A re-branding of something more prosaic, perhaps more suited to human brains as they actually exist.

Still, if you listen to the linked audio file, he does profess that demons & the like are real.

Personally, I find Greer's goofy stuff not the least bit irrelevant. I find it dangerous and exploitative.

It perpetuates a fatal flaw in our culture-- that you can feel free to believe all sorts of crap you ain't got no right to. You can also expect--demand-- that other people treat your indulgent and often destructive fantasies with respect, which is pretty close to an act of violence. Now, I'm sure it makes his views more popular, as people like the luxury of thinking stupid things, but as far as I'm concerned that basic lack of contact with reality, or at least lack of integrity within one's own mind is core if not primarily causal to most of mankind's ills. Fundamentally, it's a lack of personal responsibility-- and from that, the death of a planet.

Now, for an utterly realistic take on appropriate technology in the future-- once the Koch Klimate Klan gets control. . .


Sorry 'bout that!

"that you can feel free to believe all sorts of crap you ain't got no right to. "

That's exactly what he doesn't perpetuate. I don't think you are that familiar with his work.

Actually, I read his stuff quite regularly-- and teaching practical ecotechnic living is my profession. At his best he's insightful, for sure. Still, there is a grave danger, 'tho a fine sales pitch, in allowing belief in a kinder gentler world view where dreaming about angels and devils and/or positive thinking somehow makes one's lifestyle or impact more benevolent. It does not. In fact, the luxury of doing so impedes it. Greer plays fast and loose enough with that motif-- and borrows heavily enough from guys like Crowley-- that I'm full well that he may will be just screwing with people. It may be his spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. The problem is, however, a lot of readers don't see it that way, and it re-enforces a popular desire to consider one's impact or value within the large systemic ecosystem a matter of "ideology" rather than practical fact.

Or that's how I see it. It's dangerous to pretend.

I'll be honest, I've never read anything of his other than the blog and the ensuing comments/discussions, but there I see none of what you are talking about. In fact, I see the very opposite. He's certainly not screwing with people. He's all about practical fact over ideology. I don't know where you're getting your impressions from, but it can't be his blog.

It's no big thing, really, and I generally come across harsher than I intend, so don't take it too seriously. Sure, Greer is fine.

My experience, however, again-- is that one of the single greatest impediments to any progress towards a sustainable future is "magical thinking." Which, roughly stated, in many minds, is the notion that if you "love" enough or some such you can "manifest" a new future and "transition" to a new "paradigm." So burn as much jet fuel as you want! As long as your heart is in the right place! It's a step in the right direction! We're all doing our small part. There's so much woo-woo crap out there already we hardly need another shovel full. Well, really, it's more a matter of just quantifying and cleaning up one's mess. This requires objectivity above all else, something people are loath to adopt, and I guess I think it's irresponsible to even playfully suggest otherwise.

I'm just wondering why you thing Greer advocates "magical thinking" as you define it. I don't have any problem with your judgement of it - I just don't think JMG espouses it. My impression is exactly the opposite, It seems like you saw the word "magic" and made this all up. JMG is constantly saying "don't just think happy thoughts - DO something". He just isn't in that "magical thinking" camp at all. Do you read his blog? He hammers on the idiocy of "magical thinking" (as you've defined it) practically every week.

Well, that's another Crowley ruse, actually. . .if you enjoy Greer that much Crowley is also worth your time. He also enjoyed talking very practical and then dressing up in funny clothes. I'm just not so much into the later. Again, it doesn't make him bad, and I'd have a beer with him. Maybe all that is fun, just not my style.


Pretty studly though. . .I guess.

Well, if that's the case, then I've been duped alright. Perhaps next week all will be revealed. Oh, and I'm not completely unfamiliar with Crowley. I don't do funny clothes, either, but some people do, and that doesn't really bother me :-) I'm really curious as to what ol' JMG will say next week...


Again, no big thing. I'm just a bit of a hard case and think people should spend less time on their headdresses, chanting, and coming up with wild names for themselves and more on reducing their carbon footprint. . .especially as the later is decidedly less popular and largely going undone.

You know, all you're saying sounds pretty bad when you're criticising Greer, who has done all the things you're saying need to be done. I fail to see how his beliefs, wacky or not, are leading him to ignore the environment - from what I've seen it's quite the contrary. And in fact, from what I've seen, the type of people involved in these sorts of "silly" things seem more likely to do SOMETHING, even if it's as mundane as have reusable shopping bags, bike, or eat vegitarian (meat as it is produced now has a very nasty carbon footprint). And you're sitting here insulting them all?

What exactly are you proposing here? That everyone become an atheist and think "logically"? The Ayn Rand followers are right behind you, and will tell you how going green is a waste of money. Stick to the religions of their parents? The dominant Abrahamic religions sure seem to care very little about the environment, mostly I hear them saying that the earth was made to be exploited by man and god (nicely created in man's image) encorages it.

If we are going to get beyond a society based on pure exploitation of resources to one that recognizes the value of natural resources, we are going to have to change our mindset. Some people don't see a spiritual aspect to this, and will change based on logical reasoning... But not everyone is like that. If they are are doing what needs to be done (like Greer), then what right do you have to criticise?

I agree. It is more important to do the right things than to think the "right things".


Hi Alan,

I'm not sure there's any disagreement on that.

Point is merely this: Doing the "right thing" isn't easy. "Right Action" is far more than just doing "SOMETHING" which can be will-nilly feel good and in fact quite destructive. To do the "right thing" in fact, for real, takes a great deal of conscious, deliberate effort-- and it's tough enough if you don't already have a proclivity towards believing silly things. Personally I'm pretty skeptical that people who lack the sense of responsibility to manage the integrity of their own thoughts will have much effectuality in their attempts to live ethically. But in fact, I've no idea how Greer lives his life, as verbose as he is he's pretty mum about that, and in fact I critique him mostly as we're guys of very similar temperaments. We both believe in planting trees. I just know I'll get a lot more tree planting done that he will because I'm not encumbered by the need to prance around every last one in funny garb. Or spend a bunch of time talking about werewolves and pixy dust. Or promoting myself as some kind of "master of esoteric knowledge." Or whatever. That, in the long run, may matter a great deal, as neither of us are doing as much as we need to. Seriously, I must know a thousand people who consider themselves "masters of esoteric knowledge." There's a glut there. Archdruids are a dime a dozen-- try to find an honest plumber! How many people do I know who have the life skills and integrity to prepare for the "transitional" world that these gurus are anticipating? Basically no body. . .

So no offense to Greer or the Greerites. I simply think the issue is deadly serious and distractions are needless. They do, however, sell fiction.

"I'm just a bit of a hard case and think people should spend less time on their headdresses, chanting, and coming up with wild names for themselves and more on reducing their carbon footprint."

Funny, I too 'wish' that folks would spend their decision making energies more pragmatically, but, considering human history and the role that magical thinking has played to this point in forming and driving societies and 'progress', to think that humans will change is, in itself, stretching magical thinking about as far as you can. You may as well run around and wave some anti-magical-thinking magic wand.

The problem with the pragmatists who, rightfully IMO, want to move humankind into a more sustainable mode, is that they haven't been able to cast the right magic spells to obtain their goals. That humans, en mass, are far more easily swayed by "magic" than logic is something the scientists and engineers haven't figured out how to deal with. That's something that makes the likes of Greer valuable. He gets it.

I don't see it that way at all. A lot of "transition" sites have that vibe, but Greer doesn't. His stuff is more "things are going to change whether you like it or not, and no one can predict how, so prepare to improvise."

He does have that emphasis on story/narrative, but he seems to view it as a flaw in the way we deal with reality, not something desirable.

I suggest that those who are criticizing, actually sit down and read his writings, don't just take a quick look. Read the discussions after the article and you'll find things like this:

Richard, you may be interested to know that I don't think magic can violate the laws of physics, much less make something out of nothing -- and you do practice magic, all the time; you just don't realize it yet.

And this:

I won't be talking about astrology next week, btw; I'll be talking about the art and science of causing change in consciousness in accordance with will, and why that's not what most people nowadays think magic is. From there, we'll proceed onward.

Know what you're talking about...

Likewise. . .

Maybe you'd enjoy reading the source material he's "borrowing" from here. You'll find links to all the rest of it if that turns your crank.


Not saying it makes anybody bad, I'm just more of a Occam's Razor kind of guy, and I think we've got more important stuff to concern ourselves with.

I'd be interested to know what makes you think that he is "borrowing" from Crowley as his source material. Is it because he mentioned the word "magic"?

Have you read his blog? I'm an Occam's Razor kind of guy, too, and never seem to have gotten these impressions that you are getting.

But I'm not here to defend JMG - he can do that quite ably himself. I'm just honestly wondering how we can have such opposite impressions. Do you read his blog? Are you confusing metaphor for statements of fact? Are you an offended Christian?

You'll find the above quotes directly-- it's straight up Crowley, no problem. The most modest google of any of that will suffice.

Nope, hard core atheist really. Familiar with Crowley, as he's a hoot-- and is well known for the quote "Magick is the Art and Science of making Change in Accordance with Will." as well as a lot of pithy stuff like "Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" -- the central maxim of his Thelema.

Seriously, I think the slightest investigation into any of that will flesh out the details. Greer has no need of defending himself in any rate, and doubt that he'd deny any of this. He's obviously a fan of Crowley, like myself-- maybe for different reasons, but I'd enjoy rapping about the "Book of Lies" or any of it.

Not sure that Greer could defend himself with Crowley very well, perhaps, as he loathed popularization of his ideas. . .but that's another issue.

"pithy stuff like 'Do what though wilt...'"

It's easy to be pithy when you steal all your best stuff from writers far superior to you. I thought that quote sounded familiar, and sure enough, it's from Rabelais, from which he seems to take much of his language and ideas.

I just hope he doesn't carry out some of the crueler pranks Rabelais describes:


"Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law"

That probably shouldn't be really be quoted without "Love is the Law, Love under Will."

In any case it would be surprising if Greer didn't echo Crowley to some extent as both claim(ed) to follow ancient traditions and their supposed modern successors. For example


Born into a wealthy upper class family, as a young man Crowley became an influential member of the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn


John Michael Greer, Grand Archdruid

Born in 1962 in Bremerton, Washington State, USA, John Michael Greer was raised in a nonreligious family but developed an intense interest in spirituality, mythology, and esoteric traditions in childhood. He began studying the Golden Dawn tradition of Hermetic spirituality in his teens,

Jayfwitz, I've been reading all of this with quite a bit of amusement, but this is a bit over the top. A fan of Crowley? Good gods, no -- the guy is to my mind very nearly the epitome of everything wrong with the modern magical tradition, and a pompous jerk to boot, and I've said so in print more than once. If you're going to tar and feather me by association with somebody or other, it would at least be polite to get your facts straight. Sheesh.

During the time I was in conversation with him, the person he was describing was clearly not you. I agreed with much of his critique of the sort of thing he was critiquing, but simply couldn't understand why he ascribed it to you. Oh well.

Hold on a minute... you're not pulling some sort of Crowleyan ruse on us, are you? :-)


Sharks patrol these waters. . .

Hi John, nice to make your acquaintance. Nice bait there-- sure I'll play. There's no such thing as bad publicity, no?

Sure, no insult intended in the slightest, hardly tar and feathers with any association with Crowley. I've a lot of respect for his iconoclastic ways and his radical independence of thought. Less so for his treatment of livestock. Can't say I admire his fashion sense much at all either. But your time and study of Golden Dawn tradition was obviously influential, and you use a lot of the same verbiage-- near identical in some cases, so I hardly think the association was unfair. Even if, from my perspective hardly derogatory.

As far as I'm concerned, in the day and age Crowley lived his deliberate and decisive efforts at broadening social mores may well be argued as constructive. Today? Well, we live in a different world, one that needs not so much broadening as unification, as the crises we face can only be managed by collective effort. As far as I'm concerned, fantastic personal world views tend towards discord, rather than unification-- I think that's worth considering.

Having a similar background, actually, as you, with an education in philosophy and comparative religion, I doubt we're very far apart on some of these views. As well, I live immersed in a culture where "magick" as you seem to define it is very much alive. This would be the Puna district of East Hawaii, and there's still a lot of Hawaiian religious tradition here. Mana'o is a fact of life, especially among taro farmers, like myself. It is difficult, however, for most people to bridge the gulf between the metaphysical/otherworldy bias of western tradition and the utter practical nature of "magic" in a culture such as this. The Hawaiians consider the kalo plant to be kindred. This is no metaphor. This is what they mean. They are connected to it as in the same manner as brothers and sisters, as it's lived--as in a case with a friend of mine here, in the same family, in the same household, for eight generations. When they(or I, as the atheist, I guess) speak of feeling a connection with the land('aina) or nature--that's what they mean, no metaphor, completely utterly practical without a hint of the otherworldly. In fact, objectively, they that still embrace those traditions nourish the land and it nourishes them, this is a matter of fact. Not fancy. This comes natural to me as my family(Mennonite) had very similar values. This, perhaps, an example of that-- http://sanityandsimplicity.blogspot.com/2011_08_01_archive.html This is a sane, practical world view. I like to say, spiritualism is for those too stupid to see the wonder in the ordinary.

But I'm too starting to sound like Crowley.

The issue is this: working with dozens of people and families over the last few years attempting to set them up with ecotechnic lifestyles: the otherworldly bias of the disconnected proves a huge obstacle to adopting the "real, authentic" engagement that allows for sustainable living. Mostly because it wants to preserve the privilege of the priesthood class, meaning you don't need to get your hands dirty, especially as there's an inherent "exceptional-ism" that comes from that mindset, suggesting comfortably that because one is exceptional or in possession of exceptional truths, one has the privilege of ignoring the larger mores or responsibilities of society. In our case today, that primary responsibility as I see it is good stewardship of the planet--and this inevitably involves personal sacrifice that's a bit of a bummer at times. On the other hand, some feel that because one is exceptional-- and possessed of a keener understanding of truth, those personal responsibilities apply to them especially. This, to my mind, is where we need to go-- but few get it, or want to, and there's hardly anything crueler than talking someone partway down a path that they're not capable of walking and abandoning them.

Most people want it half way. Be wary of feeding the beast. Even with good intentions. As I see it, the hardest thing in the world to be, is, in fact, to be, in fact-- good.

Your penultimate paragraph is like a summation of JMG's own arguments! ;)

Don't ALL religious people look and sound weird to secular eyes and ears when they are in full get-up and talkin' shop?

It seems to me you made a simple mistake any one can make, and were motivated by a good heart.

But it was a mistake. You are exactly wrong about Greer's philosophy, Greer's advice, and even Greer's affection/similarity to Crowley.

Whatever the utility of a spiritual world view versus a mundane one, you painted someone you don't know in a false light because of a mistaken association to someone you think you know and prior prejudice.

I'm not saying this to scold, but rather to prompt the question:

"Why not just admit the mistake and apologize?"

Well, that shouldn't be surprising as we share some similar views and backgrounds. I do apologize as my argument here is a bit nuanced for most readers, and may smack of typical radical atheism, which it isn't.

I think few others here "get it." Here's more from Greer himself that may flesh out a bit more of his world view. http://hermetic.com/greer/ None of this makes him bad. I find that kind of stuff idly interesting myself.

I pretty sure I understand Greer's philosophy, advice and even his relationship to all that Golden Dawn stuff just fine. Again, I really don't have any problem with any of it, per se. If Greer wants to clear up the minutiae of any of that stuff, well, that's his bit and I defer. That's not my point. Let's not be kneejerk here accusing me of just shutting him down because of some prejudice on my part. That's hardly the issue. I'm not one of those kinds of atheists that have to ploy around proving god doesn't exist. God does that just fine for herself, and that's not the issue. Neither am I one of those people who argues some strict logical world view. The world is too sloppy for that. I do, however, advocate, if not logical thinking, at least responsible thinking. Which, in fact, is a much higher bar, if you ponder it.

My issue with Greer is this--as carefully as I can word it, and please take the time do understand what I'm trying to communicate here: I see Greer, under the guise of offering esoteric insight into the meaning of life actually facilitating the needs of many to hide from what life in fact means. I think that's dangerous, and pandering to the desires of many(most) to absolve themselves of their responsibility to the here and now, to each other, and the planet. Bear with me, I understand he doesn't say such at all. In fact, he SAYS quite the contrary-- but in the facts of the matter, at the end of the day, does his message in fact alter the way anyone lives their lives? Or does it encourage a smug, enlightened complacency? Is he providing insight or escapism? It is worth asking the question-- and answer lies not in what I say or argue or advocate here, or what Greer has to say for himself, but whether or not, in fact, those that read his stuff are motivated to make real, meaningful, practical, authentic, measurable changes in how they live their lives to adapt/create a better future. And I guess I think not, largely.

Now I could be easily convinced otherwise, and would be pleased to do so, and would gladly offer an apology and a hat tip if wrong on that score. Being actually exactly the "green wizard" that Greer advocates and or claims to be himself, I'd love sharing tips with he and others on aquaponics, holtzman gas generators, winding low velocity alternators, building flex fuel vehicles, permaculture, wild-crafting, silviculture and all that other stuff, well, that's what I do all the time-- the only reason I've all the time to piddle around on the computer is that I'm suffering from a pretty severe case of flash-burned armpits and it's nice to hold my arms up and type while it cures. . .LOL,laughing, but it sucks. but you know, I'm just suspicious as I know how much time it takes to work out the carefully crafted essays he provides, and know that if he actually spent a lot of time under a welding mask he'd probably not have time for both. Again, that doesn't make him bad, and again, most people prefer the imitation to the reality. I, however, am becoming desperately anxious of seeing very little but talk being created, and think Greer would be vastly more effective if he ditched the magic wand for a plasma torch. It's like I said early on in this whole thing, kinda, you can't be going around believing stuff you ain't got no right to. As far as I'm concerned that pertains to werewolves, sacred geometry, stuff like that, as well as believing that writing or reading clever essays in itself, by itself, makes for any kind of better world. Not at this late date. Not if you actually do the math. But those who crack the math seldom are too much into werewolves. For Greer to be convincing, at least to those worth a Sxxt, he at least needs to appear that he's been convincing to himself. I expect he speaks to those more interested in being placated than convinced. I think that's a shame, and frankly a waste of talent. I'm assuming it isn't deliberate.

At the end of the day, not so much critiquing Greer in a negative way as positive. Greer! You've got an audience. As one Kahuna Ho'okalakapua to another: NUT UP! Let's take it up a notch!

Fair enough?

Bear with me, I understand he doesn't say such at all. In fact, he SAYS quite the contrary-- but in the facts of the matter, at the end of the day, does his message in fact alter the way anyone lives their lives?

I think it does, far more than any other peak oiler writer I can think of. Because he's practical. He says whatever preps you make have to make economic sense now, not just in your imagined future. Because of that, people are more likely to do them.

I especially like his Peak Oil Advice from German Poets. IMO, this is how to get people to actually do something. Small steps. Otherwise, it's just too overwhelming and they put it off..or blow it off.

I'm down with magic. I like Greer's definition of "causing change in consciousness in accordance with will". He's not about bending spoons through "mind power". Magic is about focusing emotional energy. Our brains are hunter gatherers, responsive to drum circles and caught up in the moment at political rallies . We focus better on change when it comes properly dressed in theater. Consider the soothing beige and overstuffed couch of the therapist's office. If your Aunt Sally just laid you out on the living room couch and gave you permission to quit smoking, it probably wouldn't work as well.

(You don't know my Aunt Sally!)

but as far as I'm concerned that basic lack of contact with reality, or at least lack of integrity within one's own mind is core if not primarily causal to most of mankind's ills.

I think we are on the same page here. However, its hard to blame the individuals, when the culture places no value on reality based thinking, and in fact celebrates, emotional and/or magical thinking. So the sheeple are mainly just doing what the culture encourages. The real failing comes in the public education arena, which ought to know better.


Which is why those of us who would shoulder the burden to advocate and demonstrate a better--or at least a viable-- way of living need to be especially cautious in steering clear of that kind of stuff. We need to boldy, heroically, face what we we're up against. Nothing else suffices.

I'm an atheist myself, but I think religion (or superstition, if you prefer) is something that is hard-wired into humans (probably all mammals, maybe some other vertebrates as well). We're not going to get very far trying to eradicate it.

Religion is also the way societies have traditionally dealt with resource constraints, and I expect it will again in the future. Doesn't it mean it will be the traditional religions we are now familiar with, of course.

Comforting to know that people proceed through life in a prewired condition, without the least curiosity or awareness of where those wires came from or where those wires are leading them. All of those primitive desires and fears lurking in the dark recesses waiting to be manipulated by one ponzi master or another. The only way to enthrall the Id is to promise it eternal life in a paradise of your own imagination and even this is not enough to keep it from eating the planet, but in a mostly civilized way.

A truly moral person will not need to be rewarded for good social behavior, will exist without egotistical excess, and won't need the frippery of modern commercial existence. Hope everyone can find some magical power today, maybe a Harry Potter rerun, because the real black magic that comes in a drum is getting harder and harder to come by.

Comforting to know that people proceed through life in a prewired condition, without the least curiosity or awareness of where those wires came from or where those wires are leading them.

I didn't say that. Humans are obviously flexible creatures, more so than most, with a great deal of individual variation.

But it's easier to work with our natural hardwiring than against it. If we want to limit population, telling people to give up sex isn't going to work. A stand completely against the religious/supernatural/spiritual is similarly doomed.

The bottleneck will occur. Some will put on their Nike shoes and take a ride on a passing comet. Some will devoutly pray for deliverance while knowing that all of the suffering and Armageddon were preordained in holy scriptures and that sensual pleasure awaits on the other side. Even though we are diligent energy utilizing tool-makers which is concordant with our desire to enrich ourselves, we are not flexible enough in our behavior to control our tendencies. Education only gives us the mental tools necessary to participate in this orgiastic feast which the religious organizations readily endorse as long as collections are up.

And yet...I think there's a reason why "superstition" is hard-wired into mammals like us. It's beneficial. Individuals that believe they have more control over their situations than they actually do are more successful than those who have a realistic view. Probably because they are more likely to try something different.

do you mean that "natural hardwiring" is or should be a serious biological notion or just a metaphor?

i guess the issue here is what is meant by "religious/supernatural/spiritual", and moreover how to characterize the complement of religious/supernatural/spiritual. what remains if one takes away religious/supernatural/spiritual? evidently there is scientific thinking. but this can only be applied to a small subset of all things one wants to think about. science deals with general statements. if a person thinks about his/her individual existence or his/her individual destiny (it doesn't really matter how to precisely define destiny), then science can never answer such questions. however, everybody of course wonders and thinks about personal matters. and then this thinking could be characterized as religious/supernatural/spiritual.

besides i think that taking a stand against the religious/supernatural/spiritual is in a way contradictory statement. taking a stand is in itself a moral act so i would say that it is in the domain of at least spiritual.

do you mean that "natural hardwiring" is or should be a serious biological notion

Actually, neuro-biologists have been seriously studying this question and have discovered in recent years that we are "soft"-wired by a process known as neuro plasticity to adapt to our perceived environment.

Community improves survival.
Churches are a source of community.

Note the large number of church resources brought to bear
on feeding and clothing the tornado survivors.

I don't see Christianity being displaced
as the American religion in the next many decades.
Even Mormonism has found it convenient to
grow closer to 'standard' Christian norms.
Change? yes. Displaced? no.

I could go either way on this. Christianity has survived (though much changed) a lot of crises. OTOH, collapse does lead to large changes in things like religion, as people find the old gods can no longer help them. I could see people turning to something new in the face of massive upheaval.

IOW, I think Greer's vision of a far future where burning coal is a sin against the goddess is not completely out in left field.

In Greer's on-line serialized novel, Star's Reach, the penalty for burning fossil fuels is being buried alive. A blacksmith, who either wanted to save the expense of charcoal or to reach higher temperatures and make alloys, is caught with a natural gas well inside a barn and suffers the punishment.

Chapter 25

WARNING: Still incomplete and only one new chapter/month :-(


I am very clear about differentiating between religion and spirituality. Religion is a fixed concept (although it can develop over time), while spirituality is an aspect of the human nature. We develop religions, becuse we are spiritual. Thus, religion serves as a container, or application of spirituality.

Spirituality in turn is all about connectedness. And the reason we destroy our ecosystems is? That we don't feel connected to them. It is okey to cut down branches you are not sitting on. Hence I am convinced spirituality is an essential part of the solution of the problem how we as humans manage to live with this world.

I wont go into the details of how this applies to the different religions of this world.

And the reason we destroy our ecosystems is? That we don't feel connected to them.


When people have no connection/concept to the (environmental) consequences of their actions, be it wasting food or energy, then they will increasingly engage in such behaviour. This of course, benefits the suppliers of these things they consume. And if the suppliers are then able to disconnect from the consequences (e.g. move the production offshore) then they can increasingly engage in such behaviour.

The best counter example is probably the farms before the widespread availability of fertilizers and off-farm sourced irrigation. Those farmers were excellent stewards of their soil fertility, and water. if they degraded their soil such that it reduced production, they lived with the consequences for years. Now, with enough outside fertilizer/water, they can alleviate (some of) the consequences.

Given that such a large % of the population lives in cities and do not see/suffer the consequences of the external environmental impacts their consumption causes, we should not be really that surprised at what is going on,or how hard it is to change this behaviour.

I agree that connection is important.

But how do we get urban dwellers to feel connection to the environment? Do we motor them out to (relatively) pristine environments? Won't that just teach them that driving hundreds of miles or more is somehow part of being ecological and 'in touch'? Can we foster enough refuges of something resembling nature in cities and encourage people to enjoy and care for these?

That's the big question, for sure.

I do actually think that an annual trip to the countryside, any country side, is good for city folks - just as an annual trip to the BIG city is good for country folks (I have lived as both).
Much more useful than a holiday to mexico, Disneyland, etc

But that alone is not enough. the urban gardens and parks are a good way to go - look at how New Yorkers value Central Park. The communal gardens where people can grow stuff is also good - though we are unlikely to get a majority of people involved in that.

I think a really good starting point is accurate place of origin labelling for food, oil, and electricity. We already have it for mfrd products, so people can show their disdain for made in China stuff - though there is often no alternative.

For food, it should be clearly stated where it is grown and processed - not just the address of the company. My local farmers market has a sign on each stand that says "this produce grown X miles from here". One of the local supermarkets, that supports local growers, has started doing that on their fresh produce. I think the trend happening, and my preference, is local is better than "organic" - I'd rather have locally grown tomatoes than "organic" ones from mexico.

For fuel and electricity, you have a trading system where people can buy the source they want - you can already buy "green power" - what is missing is telling people what the default is. So for fuel, the retailer can choose to buy domestic oil (or rather, production credits for domestic oil), and if not, then he has imported oil and has to label accordingly - showing the mix from ME, Venez, Cdn oilsands, etc

The first step, IMO, is knowing where stuff is com,ing from. The differences in env impacts from different places will become known once people know what the different places are - especially if their is a local alternative.

Then, getting people to consume less of it - well, I don;t have the answer to that one...

But how do we get urban dwellers to feel connection to the environment?

My parents separated 1982, so I spent most of the time with my parents one at the time. Mostly drawbacks with that (my anti-divorce rants that I do sometimes on other forums are not based on religion but on exprience) but there was one good thing; I get to do different things since my parents never needed to agree with each other on vaccation plans etc. So, thanks to my father I am bitten by the sea, and thanks to my mother I am bitten by the forests.

That is how it was done to me; I was dragged out in the woodlands. I didn't always enjoy it but I learnt to feel comfortable and at home there. Today I spend some time hiking about as much as I can, either day hikes or with night overs. The latter depends entierly on if I have duties in this world or not. I am litterally the guy who just need a few matches and a knife, and I am all set. Nature provides if you just know how to "log in" to the enviornment. I am never afraid in the forests. Why would I? It is a safe enviornment that takes care of you. And you are never alone. Just sit still, and the animals will come to you. Mostly birds but often our four legged friends. Sometimes when I walk about it happens I just stop and look around, trying to count how many usefull things I can see around me, and the number just keep ticking higher. And when I bring with me my books, I always never come home without having learnt at least one new thing.

If I am in a piece of forest that has been alowed to develop by itself for a longer while (counted the way humans count time) I will start feeling the Spirits. The strange thing is, I do not believe they are there. But I can still feel the spirit of the lake, of that forest, of the old tree over there. That feeling is a sure sign of great bio diversity in the area. Such places are sacred ground to me. I am very caresfull not to hurt or harm anything. The way I collect wood for fire, maintain it as long as it burns, and the way I set up my camp; I am there at the terms of those forest spirits, and they shall be respected. That feeling is something I rarely get in recently distured forests, and never in the city.

Anyway, the bottom line is; get those kiddos out there and start when they are young. Then teach eco systems, and the life cycle of different key species. And species recognition. Let them get wet and dirty, and know what different forest types smells like. That will teach 'em.

Now I am gonna have some mushroom sandwiches withmushrooms i picked a week ago. Actually of a kind called "Kantarell", pronounced just like the oil field.

I think it was John Muir who said being afraid of the forest is being afraid of your mother.

Atheist check: Roger.

I am curious, if a need for religion is hard-wired into humans, then how does one explain the existence of atheists?

There is thinking out there that the number of atheists (including agnostics..atheism is 'without belief' and agnosticism is 'without knowledge'...functionally equivalent to me) has been increasing in the U.S. (I can't speak to the rest of the World).

Additionally, there is thinking that a significant number of folks who claim religiosity in reality seldom attend services or read their professed religion's texts or pay particular attention to following their religion's strictures...they claim the mantle of membership to conform to what they believe to be their family's, friends', and society's expectations...to be 'in the club'.

I think that the more fundamental hard-wiring is for humans to belong to a 'club'/tribe/group, to seek acceptance and validation, and in some cases to satisfy an 'us vs. them' situation where 'us' can claim certain attributes which confer the claim of superiority to 'us'.

Be that as it may, tt seems that it is possible for some humans to 'turn off' their 'hard-wired circuitry' for religion.

As far as I know, I do not see any significant efforts to eradicate religion...many atheists seem to wish to keep religion as a private matter, and certainly keep religion from explicitly dictating public policy, and to keep people from imposing their will (the us. vs. them/control/lawgiver hard-wiring) on others based on religion. I would not interpret the recent speaking out of atheists as them seeking to eradicate religion...just to level the playing field.

I certainly acknowledge Ron Broberg's assertion that churches conduct community service, particularly notable when disasters (tornadoes, etc) occur.

Seeing that churches in the U.S. are exempt from paying property taxes, and their member's donations are eligible for tax deductions (if one itemizes/has more to itemize than the standard deduction, and one has receipts), it seem appropriate that they elect to provide such assistance to their communities.

Be that as it may, tt seems that it is possible for some humans to 'turn off' their 'hard-wired circuitry' for religion.

Some people are celibate all their lives. That doesn't mean humans aren't hard-wired for sex.

No, we're just darn unlucky on atracting females, and lack all social skills. Thats why!

And I am not biter...

but what does it mean to be hardwired, precisely? surely there are biological explanations about sex, but as far as i know you can't use these theories to discuss the emergence of religions. so it seems to me that you are using the word hardwired in 2 different senses.

Well, the way religion typically deals with resource constraint is to go massacre the next door tribe or neighbor who doesn't follow the same god and thus is unenlightened, subhuman, and so on.

It may be that "sustainability" maybe impossible to achieve unless we evolve away from magical thinking. This is worth some consideration.

Of the people I know who have made meaningful, effectual lifestyle changes that actually demonstrate future viability-- there isn't a one who isn't an atheist. Not that this commends atheism necessarily, but rather that atheism is at its core an ethical position, one that acknowledges that thinking matters, and one's thoughts must be responsible. This attitude has a tendency towards "right conduct."

Is it possible to form a sustainable community that stewards its resources fairly while it contains an element that 1) Has invisible friends 2) Reserves the right to think whatever they want to? I've come to doubt so, because at the core, the issue behind all that is a fundamental lack of integrity, and it's just a matter of time until God tells them to do something that they've wanted to do all along, just were to cowardly to do so, like take home an extra share of potatoes from the community crib because "their family deserves it, as they're the choosen ones" or some such.

I think it's well worth asking if "magical thinking" and "sustainability" are inherently incomparable.

Any takers on that one?

The magical thinking that admits Gods to the personal pantheon allows the most unrealistic optimism regarding technological possibility. Technology is not infinitely progressing towards any goal or able to unlock infinite amounts of energy. Technology's furtherance at this point would not result in humans living two hundred years, as many would hope, but rather in humans being eliminated after completion of their productive lives. The technological evolution could turn brutally inward to garner savings and cut fat from human freedom and enjoyment is rarely considered.

In short, God believers can also believe technology will provide infinitely more of everything and therefore living sustainably is not in anyone's interest. To believe that everything is "going according to God's plan" is damaging, especially when God's plan is really being hatched in corporate boardrooms where stock options and billion dollar bonuses elicit drool from the wolves mouths.

I don't buy your correlation at all, Dopamine.

I think 'Magical TECH thinking' is its own schism, and can be as fervently held by atheists as by the 'flock'.. I see it from 'Reality Based' (as self-described) people all the time. Atheist Cornucopians aren't rare.

It's really unhelpful describing the 'Squeaky Wheels' of, say, the Many Religious communities out there, as if you've got some kind of handle on ALL WHEELS.

Both varieties of believers and the mixed flavors in between share the same lack of worldly circumspection that would preclude their ridiculous views. The imagination can fill-in the great voids of empty minds with any construction, especially with those ideas conveniently supplied by others with an ulterior motive. Of one thing I'm certain, most people do not want to get a “handle” on reality if it relieves them of their comfortable delusions.

You're parading an awful lot of silly stereotyping and kneejerking in your writing on this thread. Take it easy, the reputation you save might be your own.

It seems that the way neighboring countries abuse each other for resources can just as easily be from Secular causes as Sacred ones.. Ever heard of the East India Company? Today, we have hundreds of its offspring 'Maximizing Shareholder Value' at great human and ecological costs, with the Seven Sisters leading many of the greatest charges.

Reputation with whom?

Well, the way religion typically deals with resource constraint is to go massacre the next door tribe or neighbor who doesn't follow the same god and thus is unenlightened, subhuman, and so on.

That's one way, but hardly the only way.

You say you live in Hawaii, so surely you are aware of the way religion can impact resource use. In ancient Hawaii, certain foods could only be eaten by certain people, thereby limiting resource consumption, and certain areas were sacred - meaning they functioned as nature preserves.

Indeed, food restrictions are a big part of the major religions. Sacred cows, abominable pigs, fasting, vegetarianism, etc. Traditionally, food was probably the biggest impact the average person had on the environment, so these weren't trivial.

Other ways religions deal with resource constraints: restrictions on sex and marriage, encouraging people to be celibate, glorifying poverty, caste restrictions, permitting only the elite to wear certain materials.

Marvin Harris argued that the rise of state religions was related to resource constraints. The old joke about how you find the chief of an Indian village (you look for the poorest man) had its roots in the fact that in societies like that, men become powerful by giving their followers gifts. The more they give away, the more influence they have. But as societies get larger, it no longer becomes possible to give gifts to everyone. Instead, they start telling them they'll get their reward in the afterlife.

I'm an atheist myself, but I think religion (or superstition, if you prefer) is something that is hard-wired into humans (probably all mammals, maybe some other vertebrates as well).

Whoa, whoa, there! Where the heck do you get the idea that religion or superstition could possibly be hard wired into ALL mammals and some vertebrates?! That is quite an extraordinary claim to say the least! Any chance you could provide some studies say from the realm of evolutionary science or cognitive neuroscience to that back this up?

I highly doubt that such a claim is even remotely valid for great apes, cetaceans, or elephants all of which are at least considered self aware and capable of exhibiting signs of mourning when members of their pod or tribe or family die.

As for this being valid for any other mammals, not a snowball's chance in hell! Other vertebrates? Fuggedaboutit!

Perhaps you have a different definition for religion?

When I talk about religion being hard-wired, I mean superstition. Or "magic," as it was originally put. Obviously, we are not hard-wired to be Christians, or Muslims, or Buddhists, since for the vast majority of human history, those religions did not exist.

There was an accidental experiment done with rats years ago. It was supposed to train rats to press a bar, rewarding them with food when they did so. Something went wrong, and the rewards were randomly distributed instead. And the rats were all trained to do different things: stay in a certain corner of the cage, spin in circles, clean their whiskers, stand up, etc. The reason was that when the random reward arrived, it rewarded whatever random behavior the rat was doing. So they did it more, thereby increasing the chances that they would be randomly rewarded for it again.

Sorry, you've completely lost me! The fact that we aren't hardwired to be members of a particular cult, sect, or religion never even crossed my mind. As for your rat experiment, what does it have to do with any of the above? Did the researchers actually conclude that these results were even remotely associated with the hard-wiring of religion? If so I'm flabbergasted. Do you have a link or further information on this study and its conclusions, I'd really like to read it.

maybe the study was published here...


They labeled it "superstitious" behavior. I remember it from college psych; I'll see if I can find a link.

I suppose the synthesis might be my own; seems obvious to me, but I realize not everyone sees the world the way I do. But the way I see it, one of the big reasons for religion is to give people a sense of control in an inherently uncontrollable and random universe. To me, this ties in with the studies that find healthy people assume they have far more control over their situations than they actually have; the only people with realistic views are the clinically depressed. And the various experiments with "learned helplessness" in dogs, etc. We need to believe we are in control, even when we are not.

I think this will become more and more important as things get worse.

in fact i still don't understand what you are trying to argue. for example one could as well say that more often religion is used to control people, not to give them control. on the other hand when people live in societies, they need to have some common ground, otherwise how could the society function? and then one could say that this common ground is the religion of the society (or magic or some other word).

"We need to believe we are in control, even when we are not.
I think this will become more and more important as things get worse."

why should we need to believe we are in control, if we are not? and in control of what? why should this become more important?

why should we need to believe we are in control, if we are not?

It's hard to answer that without going into the realm of "just so stories," but various studies have shown that mentally healthy people naturally overestimate the control they have over their situations, their own competence, etc. (Classic example: 90% of us think we're better than average drivers.) People who have a realistic view of their situations and their abilities are the clinically depressed.

and in control of what?

Their situations. The vagaries of life. For example, when a pilot crashes, other pilots immediately start saying things like, "He was a hotdog, always taking risks and showing off." IOW: It won't happen to me. I'm careful, not like him. You would think that female jurors would be most sympathetic to rape victims, but in fact, it's the opposite. They're more likely to be judgmental: she was dressed like a slut, she was asking for it. IOW: It won't happen to me. I don't dress like that.

why should this become more important?

I predict that this need for at least the illusion of control will be greater as times get tougher and less predictable. Even though I am an atheist, and content to be so, I sometimes wonder if atheism, like Monbiot's kindness and comfort, is a product of our recent energy surplus.

It won't happen to me. I'm careful, not like him.


This is a subset of the "I'm special/ exceptional" way of thinking.

Exceptionalism. Now where have we seen that concept before? A certain empire invading Afghanistan for the M-teenth time?

One persistent theme in many world religions is Humility. An acceptance of powerlessness. Now, I understand that the modern language for it has made this attitude one often shown of Servile Obeisance to 'Him', which rightfully rankles those in democratic societies who have worked to cast off what seem like the parallel shackles in the political world.. but that is where Spiritual Language "Mythos" has gotten tangled by both groups with Literal "LOGOS" language, that of daily reality and of Science and Fact. Submission to 'The Greater Mystery', whatever you call it, is actually very logical. Symbolically representing it as a Man, or as Shiva, or as an Elephant.. that's just the Manifestation.. It's why many faiths don't even want 'God' to be named, and so like the White Knight, they use 'The name of the name' instead, or 'What the Name is called'..

One of the central reasons for religion is to deal with the unknown, and what gets lost in the arguments here again and again is that we still face the unknown, we still face powerlessness, we are still very small in a universe and on a planet that is very large. It's bigger than us, and we will lose a wrestling match with any of it. We have to have psychological tools in place with which to handle that, to understand our coming death, to grieve the losses, to not become paralyzed and unable to help our family and community when the odds are weighed far against us.

Essentially, Leanan, I think you have a point.. but with mature religions and practitioners, what I see is not that they are pretending to be 'in control', but that they learn forms of self-control, emotional stability, personal daily practise.. and beyond that, simply come to terms with a very reasonable understanding of not insisting on control. It's not hard to see how others face extreme distress when they want to control a world spinning out of kilter, and let themselves expect that this is even their duty, their obligation.. and learn that such is impossible.

persistent theme in many world religions is Humility

Are you serious?
A Serious Man?

Of all the trillions of creatures on this planet, you believe the Big Man upstairs is going to listen especially hard to the noises you make to yourself at night but not to any other creature's noises (because they worship the wrong version of Him) and you call that "Humility"?

I believe Leanen is refering to a set of experiments on pidgeons. What happened is that the pidgeons tried to see the pattern of food release and how it related to themselves. They then ritualised the behaviour they thought worked.


It's likely though that this experiment has been repeated in other animals. Certainly in humans where as i recall most people never worked out that the effect was random and their rituals for getting the prize were worthless.

well one could interpret things quite differently. now the pigeons had a problem: why does the food appear? as intelligent birds they formulated different theories: some thought that turning their heads was important while others had different views. birds thus tested experimentally their theories, and tried to find which is the best model of "reality". unfortunately they couldn't solve it and hence there were many competing theories with no clear emerging paradigm in sight.

but perhaps the experiment wasn't carried out long enough! perhaps after some time there would have appeared a pigeon who would have chirped heureka, and understood that the only relevant variable was time... perhaps then it could have convinced other pigeons that all you have to do is to wait calmly.

so instead of superstition one could see a metaphor for scientific behavior. well i'm not entirely serious about this, but let's say that i think it is not very illuminating or useful to make farfetched conclusions about some simple experiments.

From what i recall, the only people in later studies to realise the reward pattern was random (hmuman participants, random time between rewards) used careful scientific type analysis. Nothing else worked as well.

He may actually wind up with more followers from the woo-woo stuff...

As a species we have a long history of believing woo-woo, there may be some neurons wired for it.

Count me in the crowd that finds JMG's writings to be a bit light-weight. He is into the woo-woo and the peak oil issue gives him a way to rationalize the Druid stuff as being better than industrialized civilization. He tends to over-state the decline and comes off as nearly apocalyptic. Balderdash. Between market forces and engineering, we will adapt. Yes, things will be more difficult but all people who use medicines won't all just die like he contends in one podcast.

I think peak oil is a serious issue for humanity . . . but I think the apocalyptic types like Greer, Ruppert, and others sometimes do more harm than good because they can have the issue dismissed as a bunch of cranks. I prefer hard data instead of emotion.

I prefer hard data instead of emotion.

You may get that in a month and a half.

A ship recently reported "boiling water" in the Arctic Ocean. A Russian research ship, with a number of Americans on-board, recently left on a 45 day cruise to measure methane releases.

A high # could well mean an irreversible positive feedback of Climate Change.

And at that point hard data will be as valuable as the date of execution is for a condemned prisoner.

Best Hopes for an Isolated Methane Release, and Acting before all the hard #s are in,


Yoiks. You may be right.

September 02, 2011
Moscow: A group of 27 Russian and US scientists has left on board a research vessel to study unprecedented emission of methane gas in the eastern Arctic, which could lead to acceleration of global warming.
The 45-day expedition will focus on the sea shelf of the Laptev Sea, the East Siberian Sea and the Russian part of the Chukotka Sea, where 90 per cent of underwater permafrost is located.
"This expedition was organised on a short notice by the Russian Fund of Fundamental Research and the US National Science Foundation following the discovery of a dramatic increase in the leakage of methane gas from the sea bed in the eastern part of the Arctic," the expedition leader Professor Igor Semiletov was quoted as saying by Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
As compared to carbon dioxide, methane traps about 20 times more solar heat.
"We assume that the leakage of methane results from the degradation of underwater permafrost...A massive release of such a powerful greenhouse gas may accelerate global warming," Semiletov said.

Scary as hell.

However, data is not that well-suited to convincing people.

What's needed is high-def video, maybe even take an IMAX camera along, charter a vessel to the area of boiling seas and light it. Ff it's really 'boiling' it could produce some testicle-retracting imagery, particularly at night.

The image of the arctic ocean on fire - if it's that bad - will penetrate much quicker, farther, and deeper into the zeitgeist than data could, taking the issue of climate destabilization out of the realm of abstraction.

Time's a-wastin'. Don't assume I'm kidding. (One hopes others are already on the way to do this, but I find that sometimes these "others" don't exist).

Volunteers? Fancy a sea voyage Alan? Dohboi? Rockman?

I am VERY well aware that, even with 6 billion of us, there are often no "others" doing what must be done.

However, I am at a critical time with the Sierra Club, the National Academy of Science, some retired state level politicians, an article for the National Security community and an initiative in Canada to actually get something built. Being cut off from the internet is not a great idea ATM :-(


Alan, you of all people are doing many things that "others" aren't.

As you may understand, my suggestion isn't facetious. Oh, it might prove impractical; even if the seas are "boiling", getting the right imagery would require being in place when the wind wasn't blowing, and ancillary problems like asphyxiation, possible loss of buoyancy of the vessel, not burning oneself up, etc.

There are few people I'd say this to, but your best use of time is probably just what you're doing; if would only be if you were burned out by that stuff that a sea voyage might attract you. If those images could be gotten, those who own them exclusively will be able to steer the zeitgeist a bit.

I have launched sea voyages before, against long odds, whose only goal was to capture a single set of images. Because of the way humans do and don't think. It can be quite effective.

This one would be tough to pull off, of course.

You're going to take a boat into a substance that will sink boats...and set it on fire.

You will make a wonderful martyr i'm sure.

I'd volunteer. I am a decent archer, could do the gas lighting thing. Also, CO2 is "better" than methane in the atmosphere, so it is good to blaze it. Burn baby, burn.

The imagery will probably be better if the "lighter" touches it off by hand and is in proximity to the flames. Some of the best footage my folks managed to get out after the Kuwait war, when there was a media clampdown and little else was getting out, included our campaigners for scale. Most of the globally-distributed imagery of the burning oilfields was initially set up or midwifed by our small team onsite.

And yes, there's at least a rationale for such lighting... I have a decade-old treatment for a fictional short-story I'll probably never write now since it's too close to reality, about a new sort of job: finding and lighting the largest methane leaks in a thawing arctic to lessen their immediate greenhouse effects. Realistically, of course, the aggregate of small leaks will add up to more than the big flammable ones, and the windiness of oceans will mean the conditions are seldom right.

One would hope Natl. Geographic is on it. I may check, though.

Speculawyer, I find that if the cornucopians dismiss me as an apocalyptic pessimist at about the same rate that the apocalyptic thinkers dismiss me as a hopeless optimist, I'm doing about right. So I appreciate the feedback.

If you think that hitting 50% between the various extremists makes your opinions correct then you simply still don't get it. The facts are the facts. It doesn't matter how many people 'vote' a particular way, that doesn't change the facts.

We simply are not going to devolve into an agrarian utopia/dystopia (depending on if you like that sort of thing). The market will adjust. People need to eat so they'll pay more for their food such that the oil gets to the tractors & farms. But our wasteful use of oil will shrink as we move to mass transit and cars shrink in size, become hybrids, become plug-in hybrids, and become EVs. We have no magic bullet solution in science and technology. But they are the best tools we have. If you want to see what America will change into, all you have to do is look at Europe. They have the same standard of living and get by on half our oil usage. We will probably use EVs more though since we are more addicted to personal transport due to our lack of a good mass transit and rail system.

We simply are not going to devolve into an agrarian utopia/dystopia. The market will adjust.

Imagine a future where the rate of change (decrease) of available oil exceeds our ability to adapt. Financial collapse followed by economic activity collapse followed by social collapse.

Dysfunctional policy coupled with a dysfunctional population.

Scenario - June 2015, Pres. Perry is faced with oil pushing $200/barrel (2011 $, nominal $290 as inflation is getting out of control). All subsidies for EVs and renewables have been cut so almost zero EVs or renewables are built or sold in the USA. Gas taxes are used just to repair roads - zero federal assistance for new urban rail or bicycling. None the less - many of the 22% unemployed bicycle around on old, rusty bikes.

The forecast is another, worse Dust Bowl summer in Texas and Oklahoma. Another 5 million are expected to leave and Gov. Perry has made housing and caring for the evacuees his top domestic priority, calling on compassion for the good hard working people of Texas and Oklahoma that need new homes !

"Fuel coupons" are issued to enable people to drive a minimum amount for their daily needs. Food stamps are reduced to pay for part of this essential program.

Then riots break out in Saudi Arabia and Algeria. Both nations cease oil exports. Venezuela makes a deal to send all oil exports previously shipped to the USA to China. Pres. Perry calls this an act of war and the USA invades Venezuela.

Canada protests (after a number of problems with Perry's "robust" foreign policy) and shifts some oil exports from the USA to other Pacific nations that need the oil more (and pay with gold - now $14,500/ounce).

What is left of the EU makes a deal with Canada for a new, third pipeline to the east.

An anti-war activist blows up a river crossing of the Alaskan pipeline, and makes restarting the old pipeline impractical. And Hurricane Alan runs a 21' hurricane surge up the Houston Ship Channel, but a minimum of rain, and takes 1/2 million b/day off-line and 40% of US refining. Later Hurricane Jeffery takes out New Orleans, another 25% of US refining capacity and 1 million b/day of production. Finally, Hurricane Leanan hits the East Coast and takes a couple of refineries out around Philadelphia.

Pres. Perry leads a Joint Session of Congress in a National Day of Prayer.

Recovery of lost production fails due to disruptions in the area where equipment in produced and installed in the Gulf Coast. Lack of water, workforce, electricity and working infrastructure prevent recovery in the hurricane hit areas. 35% of refining left means that the SPR has little value except to trade for refined products - and the rest of the world is unhappy with "that second Texas cowboy" and his invasion.

No efforts are made to ease a transition away from oil. Pres. Perry does what Gov. Perry did in Texas - he vetoes a federal law that outlaws "buzzing" bicyclists and requiring 3' (0.9 m) clearance when passing a bicyclist.

American grinds to a halt without a Plan B. Supply chains collapse and complex economic relationships break down.

The rest of the world "votes the USA off the island" and divides up the remaining oil without giving the USA a share.

We simply are not going to devolve into an agrarian utopia/dystopia. The market will adjust.

And it cannot happen ?

Best Hopes for Better Policies Now,


Pres. Perry leads a Joint Session of Congress in a National Day of Prayer.


I posted a few words yesterday about the Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam accident. Here is a bit more for those who are interested in complex systems failure.

Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam had 10 generators, 640 MW each. Of those, #2 was troublesome. It had excess vibration, within design limits, but still. But since spring 2009 the vibration had been constantly increasing. Nobody knew it at the time, but 49 huge bolts which held the turbine in place started to fail due to fatigue damage. There was no simple way to assess their state without expensive inspection operation. And you had to know what to look for to see the problem. The management was worried about the #2, but it worried even more about the cash flow.

Now, August 17, 2009. In early night hours there was a minor fire accident at the smaller Bratsk Dam (4,500 MW). Nothing serious, but the communication lines were shut down. At the moment Bratsk power plant was responsible for the load-following in the grid. After loss of communication, an operator in the grid control room assigned load-following task to Sayano–Shushenskaya power plant. ("a computer operator 500 miles away" moment the director of the NSA referred to.) Sayano–Shushenskaya always reserved one generator for this task. That night it was the #2. Load-following was pretty simple - go full throttle when there is a demand, go idle when there isn't. It never worked half-power, because this particular design of turbines had a high-vibration zone in the middle of its power range. It wasn't recommended to run it at 265–570 MW. But when it switched between the modes, it passed through this zone. It did so at least 10 times during the night. Each time the bolts experienced higher load than normal, bringing the disaster a bit closer. And at 08:13am they gave way.

So, what is the current state of the plant? 4 generators were repaired, 2,560 MW total. The then head of RusHydro holding company lost his position. 5 top managers of the plant are under criminal investigation. All 10 generators (including repaired ones) will be replaced by 2014. The first 3 new working wheels arrived last month after a trip through Arctic.
More photos: before, now.

Thanks for the info. Nothing is a simple as it appears in a soundbite.

US rebels have joined the global revolution and begun the fight against the kleptocracy oppressing the US people and are going to occupy wall street :)

LiveStream of Wall St. Occupation

Contemporary society is commodified society, where the economic transaction has become the dominant way of relating to the culture and artifacts of human civilization, over and above all other means of understanding, with any exceptions being considered merely a temporary holdout as the market swiftly works on ways to monetize those few things which stubbornly remain untouched. Perhaps the most pernicious aspect of this current setup is that it has long ago co-opted the very means of survival within itself, making our existence not an inherent right endowed to us by the simple fact of our humanity but a matter of how much we're all worth -- the mere act of being alive has a price tag. Some pay it easily. Others pay for it with their submission. Others still can't pay it at all. Regardless, though, like cars, TVs and barrels of oil, our lives are commodities to be bought and sold on the open market amid the culture of ruthlessness and desperation that has arisen to accommodate it. This is the natural consequence of a society built around entities whose purpose it is to always, always minimize costs and maximize profits. It is the philosophy of growth for the sake of growth, the same ideology that drives a cancer cell. An economy in a steady state is not healthy. It needs to expand, constantly, perpetually.

Wall Street is basically an empty shell. Since 9/11, most critical functions have been moved to other places. Rembember that at that time there were paper transactions in buildings that remained inaccessible for days. Since then, more workflows have gone electronic and can be done from anywhere. Data centers have been distributed with more than 200 miles between disaster recovery pairs.

The remaining business functions have Business Continuity Plans that can be implemented to shift operations to alternative locations.

To the extent this demonstration succeeds, it will be symbolic and for the benefit of the MSM only.

It's a start, but I think these people are fighting the right war with the wrong tactics. Wall Street is integral to the American experience. To get rich and have your money make more money is the essence of this country, especially in more recent times.

And history shows it's not a good idea to directly take on America. You'll fail. Best to fight back in asymmetric, nonconfrontational ways. Drop out of the rat race, stop being an idiot consumer of plastic junk, empty media and toxic food, concentrate on essentials, buy metals. Let the whole thing collapse in on itself, and avoid the fallout.

The symbolic value is huge, however. Federal Hall, in Wall Street, is where President George Washington governed from.

And, some of the apartment buildings literally on Wall Street are where a lot of financiers live. So the protesters can make their lives really hard if they want to escalate things. But I think they should first set up camp and establish that they're not leaving, and get some supply lines for food & cetera.

did you see what happened to the people in the Toronto protests? if any 'hint' is seen of them getting in any way what so ever serious the current mayor of new york in the name of 'keeping the peace' will have the city's police department physically haul them away. While the news media hype it up as a terrorist plot or the like.

Oh, ye of little faith.

yup. and that's a good thing. It allows me to be able to pick and choose my battles, to see if effort would be wasted doing thing A rather then thing B. trying to bring about change using protesting in that manner without a factor of 10 increase or more in numbers means only one thing. it will not work. you will be ignored.. in fact you have been. today is the 18th and i have no news articles about how wall-street has ground to a halt due to protesters.

As it stands right now with the way the system is set up, simple protesting except in the millions will be ignored by the media. when focused on by the media they will try to frame it in such a way to cast you in a negative light. you can't ignore them doing this otherwise they get to set the tone that everyone who was not there will see it in. Yet participating in trying to 'correct' them only drains your limited resources from you actual goal which is the point. The current system as it stands right now is analogues to the dinosaurs before they went extinct but after the mammals evolved. Sure the mammals were biologically better but they were forced to be on the fringes of ecosystem simply because dinosaurs were more numerous. the early mammals could not force them out of the better niches because of this even though they might be better fitted for the environment. it took a external force, the meteor in this case, to knock out the old system to allow the new one to take it's place. we need this now, the old system is too big, and too entrenched to be changed from within except for some window dressing here and paint color there(your choices are red or blue).

That is what we need short of a million man march carrying guillotines to chop off the heads of the people in power right now. And that kind of outrage in the united states is about as likely right now as the vulcans landing on the white house lawn to give us the answers to all our problems.

Merrill, what we have here is OSW (Open Source Warfare) tactics being used in the US to de-legitimise the corrupt government. The same as tactics used to remove other corrupt regimes in MENA. The purpose of the occupation is to create a "plausible promise", which means creating a gaol that everyone can agree upon (eg. bring wall street to heel). This has the effect of bringing together disparate groups that have little in common (eg. Left or Right wing groups) for a single goal seeking action they can agree on.

Regardless of whether the occupation succeeds or fails, what we'll see is rapid innovation by the open source community in advancing their objectives. I'm sure there are many people who realise change can no longer be brought about through voting or via the Government. All they need is something they can believe in to bring about change (ie. the plausible promise), something they can become a part of. Look how effective it was in Egypt, Libya, etc. and how fast it took hold.

Our Mission

On the 17th of September, we want to see 20,000 people to flood into lower Manhattan, set up beds, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months.

Like our brothers and sisters in Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Iceland, we plan to use the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic of mass occupation to restore democracy in America. We also encourage the use of nonviolence to achieve our ends and maximize the safety of all participants.

Who is "Occupy Wall Street"?

Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.

The American Dream is to be the rich guy, to be the one wheeling and dealing and oppressing. Not to be a punk on the street with a backpack and a cardboard sign.

The net effect of this "occupation" will be pretty much zero, you can count on it. Americans are too busy working for their fiat dollars, everybody trying to get ahead of everybody else in the quest for money, fame, and status.

That's why the conservative counterrevolution was so successful, and why it's pretty much complete at this point. This country is about getting as large of a piece of the pie as you possibly can, or "die tryin'." It's not about sharing the pie, even if people here wish this were the case.

Oilman, I don't doubt what you say. But open source innovation will eventually find the "plausible promise" that is required to create a successful revolution. Once the process has begun, it's just a matter of time. Occupy wall St, the Tea Party and religious fundamentalism are all part of the same process. Once people find something they can believe in and gives a good probability of success, change will spread like wildfire. History is full of such stories as well as today's news papers, the current system is creating disaffected people by the bucket load.

During the US civil war draft protesters in New York City were shelled by the US navy. These folks will be cleared out quicker than Tiananmen Square.

More likely they will just wait until they are tired, hungry, thirsty, cold, and smelly.

There are more people than these sleeping on the street in Midtown or 11th Avenue.

There were recent stories about people sleeping in the pedestrian plazas that had been created in Midtown, e.g. at Herald Square. They were trying to limit this by removing all the furniture at night. Eventually human services comes a long to inquire why they aren't in a shelter.

Based on the pictures that I've seen, the demonstrators do not appear to be nearly well enough clothed or equipped for extended fall camping. Temps have been in the 50s, so it is nothing too bad right now, but the predictions are for persistent precip later in the week.

Besides, the bottled water will probably run out before then.

It's unclear whether enough New Yorkers are involved to sustain this. There seemed to be a lot of out-of-town demonstrators. If there isn't enough local logistical support, it will fizzle pretty quickly. Reports were that there were 5000 last evening and 500 this morning.

Another unexpected expense of the 'new normal'

Many struggling families can't afford to bury dead

... Many coroner's offices report increases in the number of unclaimed bodies, according to a survey of members of the National Association of Medical Examiners. A little more than half of nearly 50 respondents cited an increase, according to the association's data.

Nevada's Clark County has recorded a nearly 11 percent increase in indigent burials and cremations over the previous fiscal year, according to public information officer Dan Kulin

As more bodies go unclaimed in bad economy, counties pick up funeral tab

DuPage County recently buried four people whose bodies went unclaimed and cremated a fifth unclaimed body. Two of the bodies had gone unclaimed for nearly three years — something that previously was unthinkable in the affluent suburban county.

Prior to that, “I can’t remember the last time we had one,” said Chief Deputy Coroner Charlie Dastych.

Don't worry; they have a plan

So, parks staff must bury dead from atom war?

The latest plan, Beier said, is about 3 inches thick and he doubts that more than three people have actually read it all.

“It met the standards, but it wasn’t functional,” Beier said. “Big plans look good, but no one sees them. They sit on the shelf.”

There's a solution for the unclaimed body problem:
Soylent Green

Oil industry placing profits over public interest in new National Petroleum Council report on North American fossil fuels

Yesterday, the National Petroleum Council issued a report on North American fossil fuels that places the interests of the oil industry above the public interest. This report is meant for the Department of Energy and includes recommendations that would deepen our reliance on oil for many years to come, disregarding the very real economic and other dangers of climate change.

Report: http://www.npc.org/Prudent_Development.html

Presentation: Realizing the Potential of North America’s Abundant Natural Gas and Oil Resources; A Comprehensive Assessment to 2035 with Views through 2050

Presentation: Future Transportation Fuels Study

S – “…that places the interests of the oil industry above the public interest.” And the point is what? As I’ve pointed out before we ain’t your momma. LOL. The oil industry has no obligation to the public other than to follow the rules and regs established by the system. The primary responsibility for safe guarding the public’s interest falls to the public. Secondarily their political representatives. The primary responsibility of an oil company is to make a profit. I don’t recall to agreeing to anything else. We’re not responsible for supplying the country with its energy needs at price of their choosing. We’re not responsible for the public using energy in a wise manner. You're talking to the wrong folks.

IOW the oil industry isn’t any different than Ford Motor, Starbucks or IBM. No people on the face of this planet have greater control of the energy business than Americans. And much greater control than almost all other societies. Don’t like the way we’re doing the job then change the rules. My Yankee cousins don’t want another well frac’d…have your politicians ban it. Don’t want us to drill wells anywhere….ban it. Don’t want to take a chance of another oil spill in the GOM…ban drilling out there. If there’s a problem it’s very easy to fix: shut us down. The KSA and many other counties have no privately run oil industry…the govt runs the hole show.

Stop complaining…go for it. LOL.

For the record the great majority of the oil patch (and all the public oils) does not indorse the previous statement. Not that they don’t fully agree but just lack the guts to say it out loud.

Would you agree that it can be just a tiny bit difficult to go head to head in a political battle with the most profitable companies since the creation of money? If you think that that $$$ doesn't buy them influence in congress and in the media, you are not as wise as you appear to be.

If you think that that $$$ doesn't buy them influence in congress...

Absolutely right dohboi. It's no longer By The People, but rather by the dollar influences from big corp. And in recent years those laws governing political contributions have been geared to allow pretty much anything. People can vote, but if every choice is a person bought and paid for, then it never really was a choice in the first place.

dohboi - Anyone can buy all the infuence they want. Does that make people vote for bad politicians? No...they vote for who they want elected. Do they buy cars with low mpg because of such influence? No, they buy what they want. Do they buy McMansioms that use more energy than a small African village because of this influence? No, they buy the house they want. Do they spport swapping blood for oil because of this infuence? No, they want to maintain BAU for their own comfort.

It's not difficult at all to go head to head against companies that try to influence politicians with campaign contributions. None of those companies get to vote. I'll throw it right back at you: how many incompetent/ignorant/dishonest politicians have you voted for because of corporate influence? None you say? So the majority of Americans are duped but not you? Sounding a tad elitist, eh? That's OK though. Don't many here, including both of us, go on about how we get it while much of the public doesn't? But isn't that laying it on the public's door step? That's exactly my point.

The American people have acted irresponibly election after election. The according to your logic I am correct: the American people have consistantly made mistakes by electing politicians who are influenced by corporations. So you agree with me: the Ameican people are primarially reponsible for our current situation. Thanks for the support. LOL.

Read my words again. I didn't say there weren't all kinds of influence that come to bear. I said the public is reponsible to sort it out and make the best choices. Corporations may have influence but they don't vote...the public does. If the public votes wrong it's their responsibility. To be honest I'm starting to get tired of folks making excuses for the public. We are where we are today because of the choices folks have made. And those choices were made to satisfy their selfish and ignorance based desires. I think it's called personal repsonsibility. Maybe some of don't like having to share some of that collective guilt. Too bad. We have met the enemy and he is US. And you and I are part of US...like it or not. LOL

"Anyone can buy all the infuence they want." No, only people with money can do that.

"Does that make people vote for bad politicians? No...they vote for who they want elected. Do they buy cars with low mpg because of such influence? No, they buy what they want. Do they buy McMansioms that use more energy than a small African village because of this influence? No, they buy the house they want. Do they spport swapping blood for oil because of this infuence? No, they want to maintain BAU for their own comfort."

So I guess all the hundred of millions of dollars spent on political advertisements and other means of influencing public opinion is spent by fools who should have kept their money because they have absolutely no influence on the public?

All the hundreds of millions spent on commercial advertisements to induce people to buy big cars and other crap are spent by fools because people are completely unaffected by such things and would be buying those cars and trucks anyway?

I suppose all the expense to whip the country into a war frenzy was wasted because we will always march straight to war no matter what?

I'm sorry to say so, but this sounds just a bit naive.

Yes, the public is ultimately responsible for decisions, but why do you want to let corporations completely off the hook? Do they, somehow alone of all entities, happen to bear absolutely no responsibility for anything they do or say or the enormous influence they wield directly on legislators and on the shape of the debate?

If it was discovered that Communists had secretly taken over all advertising and political messaging in the country and were heavily , would you hold them blameless for the misinformation they would likely purvey and the faulty policies that would result?

Well said Rockman! Its the disconnect between The People and their Elected 'Representatives' rather than any 'evil doing' by commercial interests operating within the law that is the big issue.

I believe some folk are gathering in Wall Street with some thoughts on that issue. On the face of it they too are targeting the wrong people. Wall Street too operates (roughly) within the law. Since its the law that needs to be changed and only the elected representatives can do that, it will be interesting to see if their shouts in Wall Street will reach the big house on the hill. Good luck to them!

But it all goes round and round, doesn't it.

Wall Street has enough money and power to dictate what the laws are. So saying 'they are just staying within the law' doesn't let them off the hook.

We certainly have to change the system, particularly to make it so that corporations do not have the rights of super-individuals, and so they are not required by law to put profits above all else. But those benefiting (for now) from that system are going to fight powerfully against any change in those laws.


Corps pegs '11 flood damage at $2B

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Army Corps of Engineers estimates it will cost more than $2 billion to repair the damage to the nation's levees, dams and riverbanks caused by this year's excessive flooding, a sum that dwarfs $150 million it currently has to make such repairs and that doesn't account for damage from Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee.

With La Nina back, expect a repeat next year

La Nina isn't back. Currently the model outlooks are split between predicting neutral conditions and the possibility of a weak La Nina. Emphasis at the moment is on neutral, but with the possibility of La Nina increasing (which is VERY different from saying its the most likely occurrence). Really, it's too uncertain to say anything with confidence.


However you'd never know that if you read the press...

The anomaly in Nino 3.4 is -0.6 right now so we are currently experiencing La Nina conditions, it will be official in a couple of months. The consensus of the models predicts that La Nina will deepen to greater than -1.0, so I think the one model you are pointing to is probably wrong.

It is an interesting discrepancy and I don't know why the Aussies are apparently giving out bad information so I need to dig a little further.

Check the weekly update for consensus models:

Inspired by a discussion in As Oil Declines, So Does America (The Nation, Michael T. Klare)

I decided to play around with Google's Chart API

Data from EIA IAO 2000

And the EIA International Energy Statistics

Well here is one mainstream commentator (from the generally very good Telegraph finance dept) who remains very bemused as to why the POO has not gone down as the US and Europe slip towards recession:


He just cant join the dots it seems........

There's been the combination of high inflation and recession - stagflation - before, in the 1970s.

1970s stagflation was caused by high prices for oil and many other commodities. It was fixed by the oil price collapse caused by North Sea oil and by the Green Revolution, which produced its steepest increases in food production in the 1980s, 15 years after it started. Reagan expertly took the credit.

This time around, the "fixes" are biofuels and GM soy, corn and wheat. Hurray.

(Actually, some GM has been beneficial, such as flood-tolerant wheat. But it's not increasing yields much, just partly offsetting the effects of climate change and ecosystem collapse.)

Watch this feed.



live feed hasn't been live for quite some time. will be interesting to see what happens on wall street. literally. massive middle east interest in the tweetosphere on it. Whether it stays or fizzles is a good gauge of unrest at home.

I found something interesting here on TED


Lauren Zalaznick in The conscience of Television dissects national psyche based on TV shows and ratings

With regards to doomer culture I think this has particular significance although it isn't discussed here, there have been plenty of shows and movies about doom and gloom lately which seems to suggest that it's on the back of everyone's mind even if everyone acts normally. There's also a plethora of Reality TV shows nowadays (discussed here) which again provide several pointers about society.


'King Crabs invade Antarctica'

According to the New Scientist, three years ago, scientists had predicted that this would happen, but they believed the earth would have warmed to this degree in the next 100 years.

The crabs live on starfish and sea urchins, and most of these animals are now gone, reports the Huffington Post.

The implications are terrifying, as Jen Doll from the Village Voice points out: "After millions of years of the crabs not being able to cross the cold water of the continental shelf...now they can."

Have you noticed a major by-product of Human activity is ever quicker reduction of biodiversity? Animals should have their own Sci-fi movie, called 'Invasion of Homo Collossus'. Adapt if you can to rising temperatures, but you'll never escape Alien species! Watch Sea Urchins and Starfish cling on hard while multi-legged hardshelled creatures come in to rip them apart!

Not sure if this has been posted yet...but it's along the same topic:

Jellyfish replacing fish in over-exploited areas


In some areas where fish stocks are declining, often through over-fishing or pollution, jellyfish are becoming the dominant species. These areas include coastal waters off Japan, Northeastern US, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean. The increasing numbers could change the nature of marine ecosystems, and in some areas, such as Japanese coastal areas, it is already causing problems for human beach-goers. In Japan, Scotland, and Israel, nuclear power plants drawing water from the sea have also experienced problems and have had to shut down at times through an over-abundance of jellyfish clogging water intake filters.

Bundeswehr study vs government inaction

Last Friday Chris Nelder and Jim Puplava spent 12 minutes discussing the Bundeswehr report on PO, David Strahan's observations on the ongoing inaction of the UK government, etc.
Chris provides an intro and various links to the audio:


The “Buffett Rule” will be all the talk for a while. New plan to solve the country’s financial woes. A little background: Warren said he and the other rich weren’t paying their fair share on their capital gains from their investments. They pay a lower rate than on regular income. So here’s a little reality check from the Congressional Budget Office according to CNN this morning. If Warren and his fellow fat cats had their capital gains rate increased to regular income rates it would increase govt revenue $19 billion over the next 10 years. Seems low but the talking heads repeated that number several times.

So raising the capital gains on everyone (not just Warren et al) would pay a whopping 0.07% of this year’s fed budget. The numbers still don’t seem right but maybe will get some confirmation in the next few days. But the bottom line remains: if the govt wants to raise taxes they have to go after the rich. But it would be good to remember who the “rich” are thy have to go after. It’s not Warren et al. They are small potatoes. The great majority of tax revenues come from the 8 million small businesses (less than 100 employees). These are the 5% of the population that pays almost 60% of the current tax income. These are the “rich” who will have to have their taxes increased. Of course, these are the only folks who can pull us out of the current unemployment slump by hiring more folks. If each small business hired just one more person unemployment here would drop to the lowest level ever recorded.

We just have to wait and see if how much they expand business after they get their new tax bill.

It only seems unfair for the top 5% of the pop to pay 60% of the tax if you overlook the fact that they have much more than 60% of the wealth.

I would think that those small businesses would be even more interested in seeing the super-wealthy, many of whom make their money by playing with other people's money in ways that has destabilized the entire financial system.

dohboi - I know you to have good analytical skills. Go to the CBO and Small Biz Administration web sites. As I pointed out below: tax you "super-wealthy" 100% and it doesn't make a dent. The only "wealthy" that can be taxed to make a difference are the small business owners. And they make up about 5% of the population. So doesn't it make sense that they own the majority of wealth in this country? What's the more realistic plan to become wealthy: draw a paycheck for a 40 hour week or own your own business? Or put another way: how many rich folks do you know that work for someone else? The average revenue of those 8 million small businesses as $2.3 million last year. If 5% of the population created the economy of this country shouldn't the bulk of the wealth belong to them? Or more simply: you ever get a paycheck from an unsuccessful person.

"the super-wealthy, many of whom make their money by playing with other people's money in ways that has destabilized the entire financial system" Those people exist. But they aren't the cornerstone of the economy. And they aren't the ones who will bare the burden of a meaningful tax increase. Just like that old bandit said when I asked why he robbed banks...because that's where the money is. Same reason why the only meaningful increase in taxes will have to come from the small business owners. Like I said: the numbers are available to everyone.

For the record, I think it is much more important to cut expenses than to raise taxes. The main expense that should be cut is the military. Incurring expenses from to many adventurous wars that then means you must over tax the citizens is the usual rout for the fall of great powers. We are in the midst of that.

As with many things these days, thanks do a series of very bad decisions by various sides (but one must point out that Bush's rush to war really put a huge hole in our finances), we now have no very good choices. And the best choices seem to be permanently off the table.

If we had saner and less lobbied politicians, perhaps they would see that, just like the British Empire in the 20th century, the American Empire is now an anachronism that should be dismantled with all due haste. Train the returning service folks to be teachers, farmers, and installers of insulation and solar panels.

But there will also have to be tax increases. These should fall primarily on those who have the best means to pay them. Taxing the wealthy at the highest rates is not just about bringing down the deficit but out of a sense of fairness in a time of universal sacrifice. In the same way, small businesses and their owners cannot be let off the hook. Frankly there are few businesses that we need at this point. Mostly we all need to figure out how to have satisfying lives with a whole lot less of most things.

"The economy" has mostly been a huge engine to produce masses of stuff people don't need so that people who don't have enough money can buy it to impress people they don't like. It's time to move away from that kind of economy. So being the cornerstone of the boomboom economy does not sell me. In any case, the economy has thrived (thriven?) with much higher tax rates on the relatively wealthy, so higher taxes alone is not what squashes business.

Ultimately, we need a new economics of energy decent to help figure out how best to allocate increasingly scarce resources in a maximally fair way. But that is unlikely to happen any time soon, even if we had a well developed theory along those lines.

Here is a graph showing top marginal tax rates over time. From 1946-1973, when the US had phenomenal economic growth, a broadening middle class, and consistently improving living standards at all levels of society, the top tax rate ranged between 70% and 91%. Since 1973, wages have been flat and the middle class has, at best, failed to grow. Top tax rates during this time have fallen to 35%.

Looking only at more recent history, the last real boom for the economy was in the mid- to late-nineties, when the top tax rate was 39.6%. That rate was lowered, and we had a sort of crappy economy with higher levels of unemployment than the 90s for several years... and then 2008 happened.

How do you square these facts with your theory that any effort to raise taxes on the wealthy will have negative impacts on the labor market?

Correlation is not causation. Either way.

I can argue just as well the '46 to '70 boom expansion was based on systematic elimination of everyone else's industrial capacity in WWII.

Or, more in topic, the expansion was due to unlimited cheap oil, and when the cheap oil ended in '73, so did the expansion.

Either way I can argue that tax rates were irrelevant.

The mid to late-ninetie were a bubble and proved not sustainable. It just happened to really benefit the big cities were the mass media are headquartered, so got a lot of play. My income went down a lot in that same time frame. It didn't recover until W's second term, and has continued to do well in Obama's term.

Yep, the main point (as I understood it) wasn't that high taxes on the wealthy cause the economy to boom. Just that they weren't the absolute impediment that rock seemed to suggest they were.

M – Easily. First, the tax rates don’t determine how much tax is collected. The TAX CODE does. When Reagan changed the tax code he also eliminated hundreds of tax deductions. The EFFECTIVE TAX RATE went up. That's why tax revenue INCREASED after Reagan changed the code. We ran deficits because they (the R’s and D’s) spent that much more. Not theory…facts. Check the numbers at the CBO…it’s all there in black and white. I know first hand: I paid a higher effective tax rate after the change.

“…with your theory that any effort to raise taxes on the wealthy will have negative impacts on the labor market”. I didn’t say that…read it again. What I said was that the only way to significantly raise taxes is to get it from the folks who pay the majority of the taxes now…American businesses. And you remember who they are: the folks who pay 96% of all the working people in this country. Like the small businesses that write more than 75% of all the paychecks and create 85% of all the new jobs. The small business we're waiting on to put those 14+ million Americans back to work. Here’s another hint for you as to where the truth is: revenues of the 8 million small US businesses (companies employing less than 100 people)last year was almost $14 TRILLION. Guess who was the single largest source of tax revenue was?

Again, I refer you the CBO, probably the most trusted source of info in this country. If we tax the “rich” (as you probably define them) at 100% it would have an insignificant impact on tax revenue. Whether you or anyone else realizes it the “rich’ is code for small business owners. They are the only ones with enough income that can be taxed to make any difference. Again, don’t take my word on is. Go to the CBO web site and study it for a while. Trust me: the world will look very different to you afterwards. No theories required...it's all in the numbers.

BTW: next time you're in some small business ask the owner how anxious he is to take on new emplouees with the propect of paying higher insurance costs for his employees. A great benefit for the employee for sure. Unless it's the employee who gets fired to make up for the companies increased costs. Also ask him, as a result of increased taxes, if he is planning on reducing his take home or will he just fire someone to make up the difference. It's not a theory: if businesses lose revenue to increased taxes and insurance costs they have less money to spend. Not difficult to guess where they'll cut IMHO.

Businesses are swimming in cash right now. That is not what is stopping them from hiring.

Big business maybe, but not necessarily small business.

Companies like Apple and GE that can make things in the cheapest places in the world, and sell them all over the world, are doing fine, as are companies that don't "make" anything at all, like Google.

But the small domestic business, that makes and sells domestically, be it a furniture maker, house builder, holiday resort, retailer, restaurant - anything other than finance, food and energy production, is struggling.

Apple is not going to invest in a new venture in, say, Spokane, Washington, so what of the small businesses there, or anywhere else in small town/suburban America?

Just like personal wealth is unevenly distributed, so too is business wealth, and both are increasingly able to move across international boundaries with ease. So the big multi nationals with the cash piles may not spend it here when there are better opportunities elsewhere. The oil majors being a prime example.

As a small business owner, I could use enough economic activity right now to justify recalling my technician back from layoff. Force me to buy mandatory health insurance and pay more taxes and it's more cost effective for me to fire the technician and do the work myself. I already laid off the young lady who was doing my back office. Washington State already has the Business and Occupation Tax, the most regressive tax in the country. Business owners get taxed on gross income. But hey, we have no state income tax, eh?

Rockman is correct, the small business owner is about to get skewered. Turnips, line up for the blood draw.

dohboi - I hear that too but hard to quantify. I'll see if I can dig up some facts. How many are cash rich, especilly small vs. large, would interesting. Not that my circumstances should be viewed as a meaningful metric but I'm sitting on every penny I take home. I could buy a car worth 4X the one I bought two years ago. I can afford a McMansion but own a comfortable but 36 yo town home in an industrial area that has the lowest real estate values in the greater Houston area.

And consider what I do for a living. But maybe having been laid off so many times during busts in the oil patch I'm paranoid about the future. I've been well off and not so well off. Lived on a $1 a day food for 5 weeks once waiting for a contract. OTOH I did need to lose some weight. LOL. Just speculation but if I were a small biz owner that depended on spending by the public I would sit on every penny I took in and wait. After all, how often do we talk about society not being able to maintain BAU. If yo owned a biz and held the same feelings how quick would you invest more money into your biz.

I know a few small businessmen, and have worked for some in the past. This year, one had a record year, on the heels of two very hard years. Did he re-staff to the peak "growth" year from a few years back? Nope. Did he replace the mildly-worn carpeting or buy new cars for the sales guys? Nope. Did he throw a big party for the staff? Nope. Did he repair the roof leaks and poorly-worked concrete in the warehouse? Absolutely.

The company cars used to be <2-year-old SUVs. Now they're <4-year-old sedans, except for an older still shop truck. He says their customer base wouldn't like it if they were being flashy with money anyway, so they're happily saving on gas, insurance, and payments.

But they are giving nice cash bonuses this year, to the hard-worked employees that made it possible. And he's sent the staff home a half-day early before a holiday or two.

The rest of the cash cushion they'll sit on, hoping to make enough to pay off the loan on the building before the next down-turn. Or maybe he'll sell-out and retire, weary of the battle.

I imagine this is pretty typical, and there is nothing you could do to make guys like this get into hiring growth mode, short of big upsides in revenue that drives hiring as lagging effect. They've got all the risk they want and then some, already.

6.8 quake India.


Earthquake Details

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

Magnitude 6.8

Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 12:40:48 UTC
Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 06:10:48 PM at epicenter

Location 27.730°N, 88.082°E
Depth 20.7 km (12.9 miles)

69 km (43 miles) NW (310°) from Gangtok, Sikkim, India
120 km (74 miles) NNW (343°) from Shiliguri, West Bengal, India
133 km (83 miles) E (94°) from Namche Bazar, Nepal
166 km (103 miles) W (278°) from THIMPHU, Bhutan

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 14.4 km (8.9 miles); depth +/- 7.4 km (4.6 miles)
Parameters NST=258, Nph=258, Dmin=369.6 km, Rmss=1.17 sec, Gp= 29°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=9

Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)

Event ID usc0005wg6

China: Villagers protest at Zhejiang solar panel plant:


Jinko Solar IPO video:


Making silicon ingots at Jinko Solar:


Single silicon Ingot production process:


The BBC should have some reporting on the scale of pollution, best and worse case emissions mass and type, I'm confused. No public emissions reporting in China? Like http://scorecard.goodguide.com

Lead Acid Battery production is listed there also, likely many more times more toxic than PV Production. Why don't they pick on flat screens or windows manufacturing? Likely because the scale-up of PV production is so gigantic, We talk Manhattan projects related to Energy, China executes. Good to see the rise of NIMBYism in the East ... a good thing for the Planet. PV prices may firm up or the decline may now level off.

"Good to see the rise of NIMBYism in the East ... a good thing for the Planet. "

Agreed. 10% budget cuts across the board for us next year. The big question is whether we can hold on until the Chinese ecosystem collapses and they are forced to clean up enough to raise their costs closer to ours.

The solution is a FIT. 90% of the worlds PV has been "leveraged" with a Feed in Tariff contract. At rates just need to be reasonable, perhaps a nickel over retail or the cost to build a new coal or production - whatever that is. Headway is being made and regulators are getting used to the idea. Not a single penny of Taxpayer money has to be involved. At panel prices where they are - A megawatt building or barn installed one pallet at a time is what many of my clients are itching to do.
Beats a 401k. FIT's catching on world wide, www.wind-works.org

Well, maybe no taxpayer $ involved, but the money for the FIT has to come from somewhere, so if not from taxpayers, then it must come from the electricity ratepayers.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the FIT rates are reasonable - the 5c premium you suggest sounds pretty good. Unfortunately, most of the solar FIT's are ridiculously high - up to 80c/kWh in Ontario, for example. This leads to inevitable finger pointing, and, IMO, represents an excessive transfer of wealth from those who can't afford panels to those who can.

The 5c (or so) FIT should apply to any renewable energy - wind, solar, small hydro, biogas, biomass.
I would add one more criteria to the FIT - the premium is only paid during the on peak hours - (possibly a higher premium for that reason.) say 8am to 8pm, or something like that.

There is value in encouraging on peak generation as it reduces loads on transmission lines etc, but there is little in encouraging generation in the middle of the night.

Solar is already there, and for small hydro, biogas etc, it would make it worthwhile to have a "night storage" of water/fuel, and do the generating in the day, when it has the most economic value to all stakeholders. Doing storage for solar is going the wrong way - it is already produced when needed, but doing storage for wind/water/biogas/biomass is worthwhile.

"Unfortunately, most of the solar FIT's are ridiculously high - up to 80c/kWh in Ontario, for example." Agree, a distorted giveaway. I think much funding came from the decision NOT to build CANDU's? Massive capital is allocated for central generation, but rarely for less risky Distributed Generation, A mix of DG is useful and does not continuously suck needed capital from local economies, IMO Centralized Solarfarms make no sense as long as free & empty roofs are in full sun. In the 1980/90's I managed a plastics molding operation in AR, We were paying ~$15 plus per kW demand charge PER MONTH to cover costs overruns from the Grand Gulf Nuclear plant in Louisiana. Each machine was > 200 kW. A real distortion since the industrial's were subsidizing couch potatoes sitting in AC watching Soaps. For political reasons, residential customers were shielded and had no reason to conserve .... I wish I kept those power bills.

"Unfortunately, most of the solar FIT's are ridiculously high - up to 80c/kWh in Ontario, for example."

I would agree.
In my view the purpose of the FIT was to help encourage the technological development to reduce the costs. Thats already happened now (and the Chinese are slowly taking over the manufacturing). So its time to wind back the FIT.

Our local electricity provider, for example, will now install 2kW systems for $3/W all in.

For the geeks here


Today Intel CTO Justin Rattner is demonstrating one of our latest research achievements - an experimental IA microprocessor capable of unprecedented low-power operation. This technology, which we call the Near Threshold Voltage Processor (codenamed Claremont), is a concept IA processor core that can tune power use so low that it can be powered off a small solar cell. This could lead to “greener” computing, more always-on devices, longer battery lives, and energy-efficient powerful many-core processors for use in everything from handhelds to servers and even supercomputers.

and more

The purpose of this chip is to advance near-threshold voltage (NTV) computing and to demonstrate the energy benefits of NTV designs, which promise better energy efficiency. Most digital designs operate at nominal voltages - about 1V today. NTV circuits operate around 400-500 millivolts - very close to the “threshold” voltage at which transistors turn on and begin to conduct current. It is challenging to run electronics reliably at such reduced voltages

Current ARM chips run at around 2W, so this (500mW) is a big leap forward. I am not sure how realizable it is though. Even the slightest noise will muddle the logic levels, and our world is awash with EM noise and poor power quality.

Poor power quality: Solution -> Grid Freedom computing. At subwatt power levels who needs to connect the grid antenna to funnel in the Corona mass discharges :-)
Possibly a big step forward in Resiliency

Current ARM chips run at around 2W, so this (500mW) is a big leap forward.

The ARM Cortex-A9 based processors draw <250mW per core at 1.0 GHz, and the A15s are supposed to be better. Texas Instruments is doing some interesting things with their OMAP multi-core line to pair up low-speed even-lower-power cores that do the work most of the time with A9 cores that kick in when that much processing power is needed.

In most portable devices today -- smartphones, tablets, even netbooks -- the biggest power sinks are the backlight for the display and the wireless communications chips. It's unlikely that NTV will help with either of those; LEDs in backlights already operate at pretty close to the minimum voltage drop possible, and wireless requires that you push some power in order to be heard.

If Intel can make NTV reliable, and implement more than just the processor with it, it could have a big impact in the server farms.

I was talking about total power drawn per processor not per core or the extension unit separately. As a complete unit nothing works at less than 250mW those are theoretical numbers or pure marketing gimmick. Even the video accelerators eat more power.

The Industry is now going down to 22 nanometers to cut down power and that is the atomic limit, beyond that you get quantum physics. Then there is the second challenge with the clock, with synchronous designs, you need to run the clock all the time and time everything with it, that in itself puts a barrier on how low you can go, although asynchronous circuits are possible they only exist in textbooks as of now.

Yes Texas Instruments is working on a lot of stuff though none work at these power levels.

Not to mention the architectural component of the chip is the original pentium(no word on if it's the mmx variant or not) so no matter how little power it will use. a arm will still use less as it will be running a shorter amount of time on the same workload then this chip.

Of Interest: Instead of a Chunnel - a Runnel

The U.S. and Russia have cooperated in space, and now the two countries are adding high seas to the mix, having set their minds on connecting the Eurasian and American continents via an underwater tunnel in the Bering Strait according to Russia Today.

Originally conceived in 1906, during the rule of the last Russian Czar, Nicholas II, the project had been deemed unrealistic by many, and put on hold by world wars and revolutions, but now seems to have recaptured the hearts of businessmen on three continents. The tunnel is expected to be twice the size of the Channel Tunnel connecting Britain and France. The 65 mile giant would be the key component of a 3,700 mile railroad reaching from Yakutsk, Russia to Canada’s British Columbia.

Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-09-13/home/30148364_1_underwate...

I guess this should come as no surprise...

Siemens to quit nuclear industry
German industrial and engineering conglomerate Siemens is to withdraw entirely from the nuclear industry.

The move is a response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March, chief executive Peter Loescher said.

He told Spiegel magazine it was the firm's answer to "the clear positioning of German society and politics for a pullout from nuclear energy".

"The chapter for us is closed," he said, announcing that the firm will no longer build nuclear power stations.

See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14963575

Toshiba next?


Sweden hit by 'substantial' oil spill: coast guard

A recent oil spill near the Sweden's southwest coast is the worst in the area in years and the clean up will take weeks, the Swedish coast guard said Sunday.

The coast guard has already collected more than 130 cubic metres (130,000 litres) from Sweden's southwest coast, according to the statement.

Substantial !?

Bitter LMAO.

We can show you what a "substantial" oil spill looks like, courtesy of BP.

Best Hopes for Continued Swedish Innocence,


That wasn't a spill, it was a leak. For beeing a spill, it was substansial.

Sounds like something that might happen in Nigeria, but it's here in the USA:

Father and daughter burned in alleged electrical theft

A father and his teenage daughter were in critical condition after receiving severe burns during an alleged attempt to steal electricity from high-voltage power lines in Inglewood, a police official said Saturday.

BAU around here, it doesn't help when they put up an aluminium ladder. The wise ones have the cables connected to a hook at the end of a wooden pole, oh, it's rainy season at the moment.


A father and his teenage daughter were in critical condition after receiving severe burns during an alleged attempt to steal electricity from high-voltage power lines.

I still don't understand why the sale of recycled copper wire is not regulated. Is it really that hard to require certification? Otherwise we invite a repeat of what happened to Somalia's infrastructure.

I still don't understand why the sale of recycled copper wire is not regulated.

I don't think they were trying to steal wire. They were trying to do a hot tap of the transformer to steal electricity. Looks like the father did not know anything about electrical work, or had a very low IQ.

Theft of copper from electricity substations and electrified railways is a daily occurrence in the UK. My local rail station was shut down last week when high voltage cables were dragged down onto the lines by thieves. Recently, someone stole the earth cable from a high voltage overhead pylon, running at ?200,000 volts? It is not unusual for the thieves to get fried.

Recently, a political decision was made to give a presumption of innocence if householder kills a burglar whilst protecting his property. In the last 4 months 3 burglars have been stabbed to death during robberies in one city alone. For the UK, these are changing times.

Ralph - True sad. Nothing like our body count in Texas but it was always nice to think of a more gentile Britain...even if the fantasy didn't match the reality too close. I suspect if economic conditions get worse more will resort to theft and more victems will feel greater pressure to protect what they have with deadly force. A well armed public in Texas doesn't seem to curtail theft much. As an individual I feel more secure being armed. It's my neighbors who concern me almost as much as the thieves.



Stocks: All eyes on Bernanke

Mr. Bernanke is first, front and center right now," said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group. "Investors think the prospect for a modified QE3 is already baked into the markets.

The Fed could try to pump money into the economy by purchasing bonds through a third round of quantitative easing, known as QE3.

But the modified version of QE3, dubbed Operation Twist, would mean the Federal Reserve would try to boost lending by swapping out short-term bonds in its portfolio with long-term Treasury bonds. The intended outcome: lower long-term interest rates without increasing the size of the Fed's balance sheet.

Looks like this latest slight of hand will soon be announced. If so, it's one more nail in the coffin of desperate acts to keep BAU afloat while growth remains elusive in the presence of high oil prices. How many three card monty ploys can be mustered up before the cat is out of the bag and people realise their fiat currency is worthless.

Chances of some form of QE are very high, we might get to see 150$ oil very soon.

150 for very long would spell lights out.

Problem is that inflation after a point is a runaway train. Once people realize that you can borrow on your card, spend today then pay later in worthless dollars the whole thing will be out of control. All kinds of debt would spike all of a sudden and money velocity would go through the roof.
Right now in spite of all the QE, money is either being hoarded or is stuck with the banks, that could change rapidly.

Here's a good explanation

indian - I understand the time value of money and NPV. The problem I have with "inflation will save our bacon" is that for the most part these aren't ballon payments. One thing to borrow $X and then pay it back in one lump sum in 20 years...obviously with much devalued $'s. But I don't know anyone with such a loan. Someone paying off an 18%+ credit card bill this month isn't using inflation devalued money...he's dishing out money at todays value. And if he just makes minimum payments he'll be making a lot of payments with $'s that have suffered little inflation depretiation. So maybe in 10 or 15 years he comes into a lot of money and pays the note off. Those $'s he uses to do that will be worth less than the original loan. But he has already spent a good many relatively undeflated $'s servicing the loan. And that, IMHO, is the big failing folks who advocated the inflation aspect: they don't address the loan service. Sure, if the US pays off $100 billion of Treasury notes 20 years out it will be with deflated $'s. But take a look at the current US budget and see what we're paying in interest on our debt. Those $'s we spend to service our debt are just that...a $'s that's worth a $ today. It's good for folks to remember we aren't paying off those T notes...we're refinancing them and doing it with today's $'s...not deflated $'s 20 to 30 years from now. I don't think many of my fellow citizens are thinking we really screwed those folks who loaned us money 20 to 30 years ago as they see 100's of $billion of their taxes going out in interest payments this year. And on top of that see us borrowing that same money again so we can see interest payments on that old debt start up again the very next month.