Drumbeat: September 26, 2011

Upside of economic worries: Lower gas prices

NEW YORK — Soaring gasoline prices are in the rearview mirror.

For the first time in months, retail gasoline prices have fallen below $3 a gallon in places, including parts of Michigan, Missouri and Texas. And the relief is likely to spread thanks to a sharp decline in crude-oil prices.

Crude Oil Rises From Seven-Week Low on Hopes for European Rescue Measures

Oil rose from its lowest in almost seven weeks in New York on speculation that renewed measures by the European Central Bank may alleviate the region’s sovereign debt crisis, supporting economic growth and fuel demand.

Futures reversed losses of as much as 3.4 percent after a euro-region central bank official, who declined to be identified, said policy makers are likely to debate the resumption of covered-bond purchases next week. Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, may cut production to prevent prices falling below $90 a barrel in London, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

Russian economy can survive low oil prices - Kudrin

The Russian economy will be able to function normally for a year, if global oil prices fall to $60 per barrel, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Monday in an interview with Russia Today international news TV channel.

"We expect this fall will certainly cause a decrease in our economic growth down to nearly zero or below zero, but in terms of the budget policy we'll be able to cope with this for up to a year," Kudrin said.

Gazprom says no gas deal with Ukraine yet

(Reuters) - Gazprom will continue gas talks with Ukraine later this week after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich failed to secure agreement at the weekend with his Russian counterpart, the head of Russia's gas company said on Monday.

Shell shuts in 25,000 bpd oil output in Nigeria

(Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell shut in 25,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil production from its Nigerian Imo River field in the Niger Delta from August 28, the company said on Monday.

Saudi Monarch Grants Women Right to Vote

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Sunday granted women the right to vote and run in future municipal elections, the biggest change in a decade for women in a puritanical kingdom that practices strict separation of the sexes, including banning women from driving.

Saudi women, who are legally subject to male chaperones for almost any public activity, hailed the royal decree as an important, if limited, step toward making them equal to their male counterparts. They said the uprisings sweeping the Arab world for the past nine months — along with sustained domestic pressure for women’s rights and a more representative form of government — prompted the change.

Libya resumes oil production

Libya has resumed oil production for the first time since the civil war, tapping 15 wells and producing 31,900 barrels per day.

Italian energy giant Eni said work had resumed at the Abu-Attifel fields, about 180 miles south of Benghazi. Other wells would be reactivated soon to reach the "required volumes to fill the pipeline" between the Abu-Attifel field and the Zuetina port.

Former Rebels’ Rivalries Hold Up Governing in Libya

As the former rebels in Libya try to assemble a government to replace the toppled Qaddafi government, the quiet hoarding of weapons and detainees illustrates the fissures of regional rivalry and mutual distrust that continue to impede progress.

Iran nuke effort hit by sabotage

WASHINGTON: Iran's star-crossed nuclear and energy programs have suffered a rash of setbacks, mishaps and catastrophes in the past two years. Assassins killed three scientists with links to Iran's nuclear programs. The Stuxnet computer worm that famously infected computers worldwide zeroed in on a single target in Iran, devices that can make weapons-usable uranium. Dozens of unexplained explosions hit the country's gas pipelines, and Iran's first nuclear power plant suffered major equipment failures as tec hnicians struggle to bring it online.

Iraq urged to reform financial system

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iraq's banking system is hurting the country's growth prospects and must be revamped in order to entice foreign investment and diversify the oil-producing economy, international lending bodies said on Saturday.

India, Vietnam to seek oil in West Philippine Sea

NEW DELHI - Shrugging off Chinese warnings, India’s state-run oil firm ONGC said on Friday it would press ahead with long-term partner Vietnam in exploring the disputed South China Sea for oil.

The plans have stoked concerns that the exploration could exacerbate tensions between fast-growing neighbors China and India, who fought a brief, bloody war in 1962 over their disputed Himalayan border.

BP Gulf of Mexico Drilling Plan Criticized by Environmentalists, Lawmakers

BP Plc’s plan to resume full drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico after the worst U.S. oil spill was criticized by environmental groups and lawmakers.

“We don’t think there is any way they can drill safely,” Jackie Savitz, a senior campaign director at Washington-based Oceana, said in an interview. “If we see an opportunity to stop drilling through litigation, we will seriously consider it.”

Developments show demise of oil greatly exaggerated

Turns out, though, that the demise of oil was greatly exaggerated, even in a state where oil production peaked years ago. Someone forgot to tell energy firms that oil was no longer noteworthy — or profitable.

An Energy Renaissance

At the same time that the US has increased production it has reduced demand. Peak oil demand in the US was reached in 2005. “We will not see that peak reached again,” said Burkhard, who further explained, “The great recession had a negative impact on oil consumption, but it is not connected to the fall in demand.” That has been brought about by higher fuel economy standards and carbon regulations that were imposed under President Bush in 2007.

“[President] Obama has increased the standards even more with a doubling of fuel economy standards over the next ten to 15 years.”

“The decline in demand is a global trend,” said Burkhard.

Peak Oil: Laherrère responds to Yergin

It is at present quite fashionable to talk of the “digital oil field” to impress investors. But to this day I have not come across any mature field that has significantly increased its reserves by the use of this technology. To pretend to be able to grow reserves by 125 Gb thanks to this technology amounts to nothing more than wishful thinking, and does not stand up to any serious study.

The Third Industrial Revolution: Toward A New Economic Paradigm (EXCERPT)

Our industrial civilization is at a crossroads. Oil and the other fossil fuel energies that make up the industrial way of life are sunsetting, and the technologies made from and propelled by these energies are antiquated. The entire industrial infrastructure built off of fossil fuels is aging and in disrepair. The result is that unemployment is rising to dangerous levels all over the world. Governments, businesses and consumers are awash in debt and living standards are plummeting everywhere. A record one billion human beings--nearly one seventh of the human race--face hunger and starvation.

Ford May Make Electric Cars in China: Mulally

Ford Motor Co. may make electric cars with its partner in China as the auto industry moves toward producing more fuel-efficient vehicles, Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said.

“As we move to more electrification, you’re going to see more hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric” cars, Mulally, 66, said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Sept. 24 in Chongqing, China.

Dubai plans big solar plant: DEWA CEO

DUBAI: Dubai is poised to unveil a big solar power plant as part of a push to get five percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, Saeed Mohammed Al-Tayer, vice chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Council of Energy, said.

Protect coal, wood options: Proposition 2 discourages potential good alternatives

Indeed, pollution in Fairbanks might be the worst of any significant metropolitan area in the United States, considering two of the few viable solutions to our extremely high heating costs are wood and coal.

This puts Fairbanks at the front line of the world’s energy crisis because, unlike almost everywhere else in America and even unlike the majority of the population of our own state, we heat with oil rather than cheap, clean natural gas.

Engineers can build a low-carbon world if we let them

One word sums up the attitude of engineers towards climate change: frustration. Political inertia following the high-profile failure of 2009's Copenhagen climate conference has coupled with a chorus of criticism from a vocal minority of climate-change sceptics. Add the current economic challenges and the picture looks bleak. Our planet is warming and we are doing woefully little to prevent it getting worse.

Engineers know there is so much more that we could do. While the world's politicians have been locked in predominantly fruitless talks, engineers have been developing the technologies we need to bring down emissions and help create a more stable future.

Chinese target Arctic with Iceland land deal: experts

A Chinese businessman's plans to buy a swathe of Iceland for a resort have sparked local scepticism, amid speculation it is a bid by Beijing to get its hands on Arctic riches.

The melting Arctic ice cap means lucrative oil and gas deposits under the seabed could soon become accessible, and shorter shipping routes between Asia and Europe will open up.

Groundwater greed driving sea level rises

SLOWLY and almost imperceptibly the seas are rising, swollen by melting ice and the expansion of seawater as it warms. But there's another source of water adding to the rise: humanity's habit of pumping water from underground aquifers to the surface. Most of this water ends up in the sea.

re article: demise of oil greatly exaggerated......

"The peak prediction is now sometime between this year and 2020. By next week that could change to 2025. Dire predictions about an oil shortage following an elusive peak have consistently been wrong. Between 2007 and 2009, 1.6 barrels of oil were added to the reserves column for every barrel of oil actually produced."

I cannot believe we keep seeing this 1.6 reserve figure over and over.

What is the quote? Methinks you doth protest too.....

I gotta look that one up.

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
Hamlet, act III, scene II

Hi, rovman -- I love it when you talk like that!

I see that BP is looking at the well head to see if it is leaking. With ROVs, I assume. I guess they have no obligation nor the will to show them to us anymore.

I MUST tell you how much your commentary meant to me as we watched our way through that whole "story." A lot. You and rockman and others with extensive experience ("outstanding" in your fields) were my guides, and it was like going to college at The Oil Drum.

Can you get a job working for those guys who are going to unload untold amounts of silver from the open hatch of the ship lying 30,000 feet under the sea? That would be special, I would think, for a rovman.

Best hopes for continued employment for rovmen. Take care,


Hi Lizzy, thank you for your kind words.

When I saw that there was a lack of understanding as to what was happening down there I was happy to pass on my knowledge so that others could benefit from it. Yes, there will be ROVs down there and we are not party to what they can see. Take heart in knowing though, that this will more than likely be routine work with nothing untoward happening. Similar work is ongoing and any number of locations throughout the world. Wells are capped all the time, wells are abandoned all the time. Small leaks happen all the time, and routine surveys are done all the time. It's bread and butter to us guys.

The story of the silver bullion certainly made my ears prick up, nice work if you can get it. Treasure hunting is a very niche part of our industry and most ROV pilots know that the real treasure lies in a steady job and maybe promotion to Supervisor or Superintendent.

Me? I took a road less travelled. Are you familiar with 'Pulp Fiction'? I am Winston Wolfe, but with ROVs ;)

As it happens, there is currently a shortage of ROV pilots and all the companies are taking on trainees right now. This is all because of the high price of oil of course, so we shall see how long that continues for.

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3.

I gotta look that one up.

You could take a listen/read of this one

The US, Jaffe says, could have 2 trillion barrels of oil waiting to be drilled. South America could hold another 2 trillion. And Canada? 2.4 trillion. That's compared to just 1.2 trillion in the Middle East and north Africa.

Jaffe says those new oil reserves, combined with growing turmoil in the Middle East, will "absolutely propel more and more investment into the energy resources in the Americas."

Russia is already feeling the growth of American energy, Jaffe says. As the U.S. produces more of its own natural gas, Europe is free to purchase liquefied natural gas the US is no longer buying.

I have heard this before..but I don't believe it is true....enough oil for the next four year? If there is so much oil was it not cheaper? Do your believe what oil companies say? I would not trust them.

Hey I just heard this story on NPR....peak oil is over! We have more oil than saudi arabia and russia! Bring back the hummer! "production of u.s oil wells is growing so fast that supply will far exceed demand in just three years!" I guess that Huxley had it right we will just confuse people with so much media that they will believe anything we want them to.

Do your believe what oil companies say?

If the organizational structure has been shown to lie in the past, why should they be believed now?

If there is so much oil was it not cheaper?

This question makes certain assumptions.
Like the price of the item is tied to how 'scarce' the item is.

I would not trust them.

Given the past, why should they be believed?

Do your believe what oil companies say?

Take note that it is not oil companies saying things like this, it is self-appointed media pundits. The oil company executives are not so stupid as to say something that will get them laughed at by the other guys in the Petroleum Club.

Peak Reserves 2025

I can believe that, maybe even much later.

In this USA Today article: Consumer buying may take long time to heat up

More cars were scrapped in the 15 months ended March 2010 than were sold.

I wonder if this scenario is continuing.

Back to "a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot" eh? One hundred years of progress, in reverse.

It was actually, "A car in every back yard", if you read the original quotation. The garage was optional in those days, and only rednecks parked on the front lawn.

And it was, "A chicken every week" when the King of France promised it to his peasants. The peasants went on to eat a lot of snails and mushrooms because it didn't really work out during France's many wars, but French chefs managed to turn it into fine cuisine.

The first thing I thought of for 'in reverse' was "Some pot in every garage and a chicken in every car".

Feels quite apt.

the funny thing is. the old model t's and a's get better gas mileage then many cars on the road now.. my self i plan once i pay off the used taurus i have now to get a smart-fortwo or similar very small vehicle. I have read a lot of the reviews and most of the complaints were people expecting v6 performance from the little 3 cylinder near motorcycle engine. Also since i also have a 60+ mpg motorcycle so i am used to dealing with the same transmission and acceleration problems they count against it. and at high 30's to low 40's mpg it is going to be able to be driven longer then most of the other cars will be when they start handing out ration cards or let price ration it..

My guess would be that the scrapage rate will come down. Cars can last a very long time if there is an incentive for them to last that long, and not being able to afford a new car is such an incentive. Just look at Cuba if you don't think cars can last. Of course the longer those old gas guzzlers are on the road...

Yes, cars can last a very long time in Cuba. No snow, no salt on roads, no potholes, etc. Here in New Hampshire USA, the Winter takes its toll on vehicles...

NO potholes on Cuban roads?!?! BWAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

Disclaimer - I haven't been to Cuba for 15 years or so, so it's just posible that they've diverted their resources to road-mending since then..... but I kinda doubt it.

Cuban drivers tend to stick to the middle lane for a good reason - it leaves two options for swerving to avoid (IIRC) "los huechos" the notorious potholes in their roads. It ain't the absence of potholes, just that 3rd-world drivers are good at avoiding them - thay have to be.

Just like drivers outside the developeed world are good at avoiding collisions with other crazy drivers. Try taking a taxi ride across Cairo or Beirut - and you'll see what I mean.

Regards Chris

Cars can last a long, long time in third-world countries because people, in general, don't have enough money to buy new cars, but they do have enough time on their hands to fix up old cars and keep them running. Everything gets recycled, they will tear down one old car and get enough parts out of it to keep two other old cars running.

The downside is that these old cars don't meet modern pollution or safety standards, so the air quality in third-world cities gets quite bad as a result and an awful lot of people get killed unnecessarily in accidents. Even if they have working seat belts they don't use them.

Given their suicidal driving styles I would not only wear seat belts but a crash helmet while driving in these countries, and maybe equip the car with a full NASCAR roll cage. The dashboard statue of the Virgin Mary just isn't adequate as a safety device.

Suzuki Swift equipped for third-world driving (joke).

I suspect that they don't drive anywhere near 15,000 miles per year either.

If you applied the UK MOT standard to the cars here my guess is that 90%+ would be straight off the road. However I would say that a far smaller percentage are really unsafe. Given the number of auto workshops and parts shops there is a booming trade in keeping the cars going (and stopping). Though there are many where I wonder how so many pieces of metal, rust and body filler can travel in approximately the same direction at a similar time. Despite the state of the local vehicle population I see many fewer accidents than I do in the UK, even with the crazier drivers here. The reason is simple, they really don't want to have accidents. A large portion of the drivers have no insurance, many have no license and many who have licenses simply paid the transitos to give them to them (especially true of the ladies, make of that what you will). Having an accident can be an expensive business when you have to pay damages, injuries, bribes etc out of your small pocket.

I learned to chill out in taxis after using them in Sao Paulo. Every one believed they were the incarnation of Ayrton Senna and drove in that image. The only way to cope was to sit back and chill out. It is like riding my bike here, it may seem hairy but those guys really don't want all the trouble that hitting you would cause.


Dear RMGuy
So: Poor people can't afford a new car, but have alot of spare time, to work on their three old cars, on blocks in their front yard, and they are responsible for air pollution, and their driving kills people, and are suicidal, and,and,
Oh, and ,it is Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, that we have on our dashboard. /*comma*/
Best wishes....


I'm just speaking from experience. In the Himalayas (in my experience) they sacrificed a chicken and dripped its blood on their fenders. It was equally effective in preventing accidents as having a statue of the Virgin Mary on the dashboard in the Andes.

Myself, I'd rely on a full NASCAR roll cage, seven-point safety belts, a crash helmet, and Nomex fireproof underwear if I was driving on their roads.

In the absence of such, I had to rely on the ability of the drivers, which actually was pretty darn good. Well, they were still alive, which is saying something given the quality of the roads.

Three cheers for that statistic!

Also car sales way down this year in Japan, off by about 20-30%. Also YAY!

I wonder if this scenario is continuing.

I wonder if the peak oil caused collapse will make it 'not possible' to return to a heated-up consumer?

Doesn't that period include the cash for clunkers program? A lot of still functional cars were scrapped.


A lot ended up in Mexico.


I don't know how fast cars are being scrapped , but I do keep a close eye on the local automotive scene for several reasons, the biggest being that our local lifestyle is very highly autocentric.

Everybody who has a job has to drive,often a long way,and most of the jobs don't pay very well.High commuting cost avoidance strategies have historically focused on driving an older, mostly depreciated out car "into the ground", or buying a new pickup truck useful for both commuting and taking care of all sorts of small business/rural lifestyle chores such as getting firewood or taking trash to the county dump.Such trucks are generally kept until they are worn slam out.Three hundred thousand miles and /or twenty years to twenty five is pretty common.

I might even say typical.

Recently, I have noticed that the older trucks, such as the full sized Fords,Chevys and Dodges are being retired at an astonishing rate.Hardly anybody fixes one anymore if it has a big v8 in it if it is old and raggedy-the first major problem results in its being scrapped.This trend is enforced by all time high new parts prices, and all time high scrap metal prices-an older pickup truck is worth around four hundred dollars just for scrap locally, often more.

The high price of scrap metal has resulted in the wrecking yards crushing thier older inventory on a much faster time frame than usual-thereby making it hard to find a door or fender or used transmission at all, let alone at a cheap price.

The few older large trucks still registered are used mostly just for chores requiring a truck now;just about everybody has switched to a compact truck, or purchased a small, often used but occasaionally new, car for commuting and car type errands.

These observations encourage me to think that perhaps the time frame estimates required for a turnover of the vehicle fleet are too pessimistic, in terms of reducing per capita oil consumption.As I see it, those who are able to purchase new are going to buy fuel efficient vehicles as a matter of necessity;before much longer such vehicles will be the only kind available.

As each one of thier current vehicles comes available on the used market, it will generally replace an older and less efficient vehicle. Drivers near the bottom of the economic ladder are often the ones who use the most gas due to the neccessity of an auto commute, and they are under great pressure to cut thier driving expenses anyway they can.Consequently they are willing to pay suprisingly high prices for such cars as old compact Hondas even if they have a quarter of a million miles on them.

The average fuel economy of the national vehicle fleet might increase considerably faster than most estimates suggest.

Lower gas prices up-top

Let's have some context

The lowest state average is $3.23

However it looks like someone/entity with lots of money to throw away might be playing in the gasoline futures markets. The Heating Oil front month is trading notably $0.22 per gallon higher than RBOB gasoline front month.

How does that context help to advance the bubble, I mean market?

I don't think you understand the definition of a bubble. Gasoline prices are definitely not in a bubble. They were not even in a bubble in August 2008 when prices reached $4.12 a gallon. And it was not a bubble bursting when they collapsed #1.61 a gallon two months later. 72 Month Average Retail Price Chart In 2008 we had a booming economy and demand on a limited supply of oil drove prices to historical highs. Then suddenly the economy collapsed and the bottom dropped out of oil prices because the bottom dropped out of demand.

It was all driven by supply and demand, it was not a speculative bubble. It was not then and it is not today.

Economic Bubble Definition

An economic bubble occurs when speculation in a commodity causes the price to increase, thus producing more speculation. The price of the good then reaches absurd levels and the bubble is usually followed by a sudden drop in prices, known as a crash.

Ron P.

I think eastex is suggesting that apparent "good news", about gasoline in this case, helps keep the stock market over-valued so let's not have reality intervene and send it back down again.

Well that is debatable. But a bubble?

Stocks May Not Be as Cheap as Many Pros Think The main driver in the stocks-are-cheap mantra is that the Standard & Poor’s 500 has a P/E ratio of just over 14, which is below the historical average near 16.

Ron P.

Well unless you expect BAU to continue no worse than it is now for at least the next 14 years (which most people do I suppose) then that is definitely a bubble :-)

It looks like the precious metals bubble is bursting, though the goldbugs may call it a "correction":

Gold suffers biggest fall at open, silver follows suit: NEW DELHI, 26 SEPT: Gold suffered the steepest single day fall by plunging Rs 1,540 to Rs 25,800 per 10 gm in opening trade here today on panic selling by stockists after a meltdown in global bullion markets.
In Asia, the metal tumbled about US$ 124, followed by over US$ 100 in the previous session, as equities and other commodities fell on speculation that European governments will struggle to contain the euro zone's debt crisis, threatening global growth.
In Singapore, gold tumbled 124 dollar to US$ 1,532.72 an ounce and silver by 9.70 per cent to US$ 26.07 an ounce. Back home, silver dropped by Rs 3,200 to Rs 50,800 per kg as the metal in overseas markets recorded its worst two-day drop in 31 years. Silver in Delhi had lost Rs 10,500 in last two sessions.

If gold drops to $1500, it will be back to where it was in the first week of July 2011. It is still up $300 compared to where it was a year ago.

I expect gold to find support at $1,478 (if not sooner).
So far, over the past five years or so there have been several (3 or 4) corrections of 24% in the gold market. We're not there yet (or even that close). If $1,460 support doesn't hold, then we'll be experiencing a unique decline since the bull market began ten years ago.

But nothing has changed so far. The Dow and S&P continue to lose ground relative to gold. Ten years ago it took 40 ounces of gold to buy one share of every stock listed in the DOW. Today, it only takes 7.5 ounces. The decline in the value of the DOW relative to gold has been steady, predictable and relentless; and it's still continuing.

My own expectation is that just as during the Great Depression, the DOW will eventually hit 1:1 against gold. Normally, during an "oil age" macro-cycle, this would be the point at which to sell all your gold and buy the stock market. But I believe that this time will be different. This time I'm guessing (yes, guessing; I can't predict the future and won't pretend to) that the DOW will sink below 1:1. Somewhere around that point I expect Nate Hagen's prediction to come true; the world's stock exchanges will close down..........for good.

Over the next few years (may be months?) it will become obvious to everyone that sovereign defaults are inevitable. I think at that point they will announce a massive devaluation of paper money and end the financial crisis by linking the $ and Euro to gold at something like $50,000/oz. At that price point enough money can be printed to pay all debts, meet all obligations and capitalize all the banks. Of course, this means poverty for many people since their purchasing power will be drastically reduced.

That is why I keep saying: invest in hard assets or paper assets backed by hard assets or burn in the fire of hyperinflation. It doesn't have to be dramatic like Weimar; a devaluation of paper money by 95% would do it. If this sounds far fetched, note that paper money has already been devalued by 85% in the last 10 years in terms of oil or gold.

But nothing has changed so far.

Nothing that YOU know of.

Perhaps a early screener of http://www.137films.org/The-Believers.aspx has some people dreaming of enough excess energy to extract the Gold from seawater while making Hydrogen.

I expect Nate Hagen's prediction to come true; the world's stock exchanges will close down..........for good.

There will be markets - even if its no more than paper and people trading stacks of actual paper (vs the Marshall McLuhan electronic wasteland) What "we" know today - it is doomed.

But until the American People get Dilithium crystals - there will be some from of stocks and some market in them.

But until the American People get Dilithium crystals - there will be some from of stocks and some market in them.

Yeah, I expect the price of Latinum to soar as well...

I sold 2 rolls of silver dollars in April at $40, planning to buy 3 back in Aug at $25. I think the debt limit fight messed up my timing.

Calling the top in gold while sovereign debt yields are being artificially pushed to 60+ year lows by central banks even as the risk on said debt rises?



I just can't for the life of me imagine gold bursting this time around BEFORE sovereign debt.

When Ben hikes rates to 20% like Volcker did and when Gold forms more than 1% of the money supply only then are you allowed to scream bubble. But even before that we must have a sustained inflation of 10-15%, which is yet to begin, so Gold still some distance to go on that.

Gold is not in a bubble. How can it be, with failure to resolve the debts and interest rates at zero?

I am telling everybody here with ears to hear to buy the metals at these firesale prices. In the coming years we will see gold to $5000, silver to $250, at least.

Or, you can buy Apple stock or a McMansion in Las Vegas or oil futures or 30 year Treasuries. Or, you could keep your cash in a bank earning 0%.

I'm partly with you here. Only that I say it IS a bubble. Bubbles grow, and then pop. This bubble will pop as well as the tulip bubble did. But this bubble is a big one. Very big. Maybe the biggest bubble of them all. This is the best speculation opportunity ever; Buy now, sell later at much higher prices. But don't forget that last part; to sell in time. Gold bugs will be very unhappy when the prices fall to and through the floor.

Then there comes a new speculation opportunity; when goldprices are below normal, but before they correct them selves to what they should be.

A bubble by definition a popular investment. Ask 10 of your friends if they can name a single gold mining company or the price of gold. Next, ask them if they own any gold bullion (wedding rings, etc don't count) or gold mining stocks. Gold is far from being a bubble. There will be a time to sell gold in the future. I am going to look out for the following signs:
1. They add NEM or ABX to the DJ index.
2. Gold mining company CEOs start appearing regularly on CNBC. Time or Newsweek do a cover story on how people are becoming rich by buying gold and gold mining stocks.
3. The Economist predicts that gold will soon go to $100,000/oz (LOL)
4. Your financial adviser recommends gold.
5. Agnico Eagle, Glamis Gold, Royal Gold, etc become a household names.
6. At parties people boast about how they doubled their money in 6 months by buying gold mining stocks recommended by their 10 year old kid who has a knack for investing (this really happened in 1999 with tech stocks).
7. At parties, heated arguments break out over whether Pan American Silver is a better investment than Silver Wheaton.
8. People believe that exploration companies which don't produce any gold are better investments than big producers who pay dividends.

My comment to your first point: I know few people who have ever invested in a bubble. The only thing I come to think about is when the government sold of its state owned telecom company and branded the stock as a sure and quick way to big profits. (Naturally the stock was at 80% 3 years later). And I don't actually know anyone who bought it. Also there was a bubble round the Ericsson stock a bunch of years ago. There I actually know one who lost money.

Frankly I don't give a bucket of horse piss for your definition[*]. If people are drawn towards a speculation bubble, then it is a bubble. The definition does not include that Joe 6P spend most of his free time with his computer monitoring echange rates. After all, most people don't even have anything to invest in bubbles these days.

[*]I'm not trying to be rude here, I am refering to that US vice precident who said his possition was not worth even that.

I was referring to the attempt to pump up the DJIA, not the oil price. I guess I make too many sarcastic remarks in fun. I will try to stick to facts or remarks that advance the understanding of the situation. Sorry.

Naw, no need of that, we all enjoy a little sarcasm now and then. Just make it clear what market you are referring to. We do have an oil market, a gasoline market, and a heating oil market... which are all part of a broader commodities market. One extra word would have avoided any confusion.

How does that context help to advance the bubble, I mean stock market?

Ron P.

Your chart is too short. It's was a bubble on a long term time frame. But gasoline was just a bystander. The real bubble was credit. The credit bubble caused bubbles in virtually every commodity, stocks, bonds, real estate, antiques, baseball cards... you name it. A starbucks on every corner.

A significant part of the reduction in outstanding debt is due to debt being writen off by creditors, rather than debt being paid down by debtors.

And I note the expansion of student debt which we are also seeing on a massive scale in the UK. Just as well there will be more and more highly paid jobs in the future to allow students to pay it all back...

Tow - Sarcasm? So unlike you. LOL. Some years ago I felt somewhat cheated by not having access to those easy college loans 40 some years ago. I worked crap part time jobs (including armed security in a very bad neighborhood) and slept on my grandmother's couch for 3 years to get my BS. And then a couple of years eating peanut butter sandwiches for supper while in grad school even though I did have a teaching fellowship. But I didn't owe a penny when I started working.

Can't imagine how depressing it must be to graduate now into the current job market with a huge non-dispensable debt. They'll report X thousands of new jobs created every month but typically fail to mention that there are 135,000 new potential workers coming into the market place every month. Explains the stat I heard the other day: record breaking number of young adults living back at home with mom and dad. And by most accounts we haven't even begun the tough part of the PO trails of tears. Hate to think about 6 years of colege leading back to grandma's couch.

I know plenty of folks who worked part-time, took out student loans, got good grades, and still ended up unemployed and back in their parents' basement. Part of this is Peak Oil, and part of it is the insanity of American business, which now requires a four-year degree to use anything more complicated than a cash register.

Tow - Sarcasm? So unlike you. LOL. Some years ago I felt somewhat cheated by not having access to those easy college loans 40 some years ago. I worked crap part time jobs (including armed security in a very bad neighborhood) and slept on my grandmother's couch for 3 years to get my BS. And then a couple of years eating peanut butter sandwiches for supper while in grad school even though I did have a teaching fellowship. But I didn't owe a penny when I started working.

Rock, when I went to university in the UK we actually got paid just for turning up. Granted it wasn't a huge amount of money but it was enough to get by and all course fees were also covered. Many (including me) had part time and/or summer jobs to boost the income so we could get drunk a lot. I'd hate to be a student in the UK now contemplating maybe $50,000 to $100,000 or more debt at the end depending on course.

had part time and/or summer jobs to boost the income so we could get drunk a lot.

A common hobby among students all over the world except the Muslim world i guess. Anyone have idea what they do in Muslim countries? Time for revolution? Arabic spring? I have seen pictures of Gaddafi body guard so I got an idea there but if I got it correct he is not particular popular in the Arabic world either.

They do the same thing as we do. Only they are good at hiding it. HIV is spreading among gay people for example.

Their system don't allow them, but why should they be different from the rest of us. Off course it is harder to drink for example when there are so many controll structures.

They will probably just do other drugs that aren't considered as illegal.


Arak is an Arab moonshine. It is the strongest moonshine you can get. 'nuff said.

Rockman, unlike you I did have access to easy college loans, and by the time I graduated I had HUNDREDS of dollars worth of student loans. After I belatedly got my first permanent job, it took me MONTHS to pay it all back.

Today's students probably have higher standards, though. After I graduated, it was years before I was comfortable sleeping in a bed again. Floors were all the same, so I would just doze off in my second-hand sleeping bag, but beds were all different and I just couldn't get comfortable sleeping on something soft. I still prefer a hard bed.

Similarly, it was years before I was comfortable buying clothing again, as distinct from wearing something somebody else had thrown out. I still have trouble buying clothes because it just seems somehow wrong to wear something nobody else has worn.

The job of armed security guard wasn't available where I lived because my brother and his buddies were free-lancing in the crime control field. They would cruise the streets at night, and if they saw anybody doing any crime, they would beat the crap out of them and tell them to get out of town and stay out or else. They would only call the police if the criminals required immediate hospitalization. As a result I had to make my money at grave digging and garbage collection.

Grave digging as a student job probably hasn't occurred to most students, but I can recommend it. Although the hours aren't good (mostly the graveyard shift, hahaha), it pays relatively well, and you get lots of exercise. You just have to avoid getting morbid reading all the headstones between filling in graves.

I probably ate better than you because I and many of my roommates had relatives who were farmers. Anything they couldn't sell, they gave to us. This didn't involve the best cuts of meat nor the most attractive vegetables, but with a little butter and garlic you can make anything into a tasty meal. Unlike my brother I never ate anybody's annoying dog, though.

Anyone know what would be a so called "sustainable" level (as a percentage of GDP; Gross Domestic Product) of total debt?

A lot more deleveraging is in the pipeline before consumers are willing to grow (total) debt again.

Rune - Just my limited circle so the stat doesn't mean anything: I know exactly zero folks taking on any voluntary debt. Some folks were talking about reducing debt a while back but lately the chatter is more about preserving what cash they have. IOW if matters get too bad it would be better to walk away from debt and thus better to have not paid it down more than required. And we're not exactly in that bad a shape in this part of Texas compared to other US cities. A good bit of pessimism abounds even here. And we're in the middle of the oil patch with prices still bouncing around $100/bbl. OTOH the oil patch understands the threat of PO far better than most of the population. Despite what you see in those Chevron ads.


Presently I believe most people's focus is on the economy and then primarily their own and developing strategies to get on.

Deleveraging (debt retirement) has that effect that it is not counted as economic activity (paying interest is though).

Default is destruction of capital and makes it harder for banks to grant loans or loans become more expensive which also will affect the oil patch.

Default is destruction of capital and makes it harder for banks

Or retirees who were counting on interest payments from bonds....


Some commentators have mentioned that the continuing pressure by central banks to lower the interest rate at 5 year maturities and beyond is actually having a dampening effect on the economy, rather than spurring economic growth as they intended.

This is because when 5 year and longer interest rates are depressed, people who depend on interst income anticipate that their future income will be comparably depressed, and they are cutting back further on current spending.

Insurance companies and pension plans need the higher interest rates.

Insurance premiums will rise if investment income is low. Defined benefit plans for pensions won't be able to pay out what they have promised. Defined contribution and 401(k) plans won't grow as much as hoped.

Even Social Security could at some point be affected, it seems like. Social Security holds federal government bonds that pay interest, and that interest is what allows the government to say that the program is funded for quite a few years in the future. If the interest rate paid on the bonds SS holds goes down, its funding adequacy would go down.

According to Social Security Statistical data, the Trust Fund holds $2.6 trillion in bonds. Last year, the Trust Fund earned $117.5 billion in interest on those bonds, implying an average interest rate of about 4.5%. If that interest rate goes down, Social Security will have to get its funding from some other source.

I don't think there can be a single definition in terms of a ratio, because it depends on at least three related factors -- the debtor's ability to pay the interest, the debtor's ability to repay the principal, and the debtor's ability to roll over the debt.

Strictly speaking, I would say a sustainable level of debt is that series of obligations where the debtor can make the scheduled interest payments and repayments of principal from the debtor's expected disposable income.

If this is not true, then the debtor is faced with rolling over or rescheduling his debt, and two things can happen:
1. the creditors will not roll over the debt, forcing the debtor into bankruptcy, or
2. the creditors will roll over the debt, but on a schedule of repayment and/or at an interst rate such that the debtor no longer has sustainable debts per the above definition.

Here is why some of the countries have unsustainable debt, and why some financial institutions are in a similar problem. In order to keep interest payments down, they have mostly financed their debts using quite short term paper in order to take advantage of the steepness of the yield curve. Consequently, they have repayments of principal over the next year or three that are too large to be payed out of their operating budgets. Consequently, they must roll over the debt, and they are at the mercy of creditors who can extract high enough interest rates that their future ability to repay is unlikely.

Individuals, businesses and governments should be very cautious about short term financing that must be rolled over. Banks necessarily take this risk because they are in the business of borrowing short and lending long in order to profit from the steepness of the yeild curve. But this is why bank regulations and deposit insurance funds are so difficult to manage properly.

Merrill, thanks!

You are right. I was more thinking of a "rough" ratio of total household debt to GDP. This will also be dependent of the countries taxes as well as allowable deductions.

I may have been a little influenced by all the talk of nations debt ratio's (like EU having a stability pact which says that (public) debt shall not be higher than 60 % of GDP). A shrinking GDP (as with shrinking wages) becomes thus a serious problem.

For households it all depends on as you point out; on income level, expected future developments of income and ability to service debt.

Rune L

In 2008 we had a booming economy and demand on a limited supply of oil drove prices to historical highs.

Revisionist! In 2008 we were already in a recession which had started at the end of 2007, and yet demand on a limited supply of oil still drove prices to historical highs.

I was wondering, much of the recent drop in consumption (in the US) came from some of the last manufacturing going overseas. Let's call it the low hanging fruit. Then at some point, the drop in consumption will have to take a bigger bite directly from the consumer. But, as population increases, this gets harder and harder. We would have to reduce our usage at a greater rate that we add new drivers. And if they ever get the housing thing going again, That is a lot of people making a lot of trips to Home Depot. I think people make the mistake that because they survived the last consumption drop without personally sacrificing, that the next drop will be the same.

From Leanan's link, Groundwater greed driving sea level rises above:

Konikow measured how much water had ended up in the oceans by looking at changes in groundwater levels in 46 well-studied aquifers, which he then extrapolated to the rest of the world. He estimates that about 4500 cubic kilometres of water was extracted from aquifers between 1900 and 2008.

That amounts to 1.26 centimetres of the overall rise in sea levels of 17 cm in the same period (Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1029/2011gl048604).

That 1.26 cm may not seem like much, but groundwater depletion has accelerated massively since 1950, particularly in the past decade. Over 1300 cubic kilometres of the groundwater was extracted between 2000 and 2008, producing 0.36 cm of the total 2.79-cm rise in that time. "I was surprised that the depletion has accelerated so much," Konikow says.

Surprized? It's reasonable to deduce that ground water depletion has accelerated along with population, fossil fuel consumption, atmospheric C02 increase, ....well..

One suspects that fresh water depletion will bite before sea level rise does, though those on the coasts need not worry as their aquifers get replenished with nice clean salt water. Nothing new here:

Salt Water On The Rise In Seminole

SANFORD — Seminole County is pumping too much fresh water from underground and must cut back substantially to ward off advancing salt water, a preliminary report says.

Because of development and drought, salt water has seeped under Sanford, Winter Springs, Longwood and Oviedo in the last 10 to 20 years, according to the report to county officials.

...That was 20 years ago. One doubts that the problem is being addressed any better than climate change, population, global debt, fossil fuel depletion, ....well..


groundwater net depletion will level off soon enough. The water table in most of these aquifers has been dropping rapidly, and it soon will be impossible to keep on pumping. Not much more sea level rise to come from this source. Of course the effect on food supply!!!

"Of course the effect on food supply!!!"

...not to mention drinking water, especially near the coasts where most folks live. Not hard to figure this one out. From the wiki article:

(The figure shows the Ghyben-Herzberg relation.)

Fascinating figure. I'd never even considered that relationship before. Love the stuff I learn here:)

It's a bit misleading, though. Slight increases in sea level can make ground water too salty for use far inland, especially when the coast is relatively flat far inland.

I doubt the picyre is to scale. It is just showing the concept.

The graph would be even more pedagogic if someone drew a well pumping water from the fresh water zone, and some arrows showing how salt water penetrates the rocks to fill the void.

You mean like this;

Saltwater intrusion has long been a problem in Los Angeles, and they started doing the barrier injection in 1953! They use treated sewage effluent as the injection water. After more than 50 years of doing this, there is no indication of health problems in the groundwater.

The annual water volume injected into the LA seawater barriers is 30,000 acre-feet, or about 100,000 cubic metres/day - equivalent to the daily water consumption of a city of 250,000 people.

As a hydrogeologist myself, I can appreciate the hydraulic and engineering aspects of doing this - would have been a wonderful project to work on.

As a peak oiler, it is a classic case of more complexity (and energy) to solve a man made problem!

I mean exactly like that!

And your last statement is just what I was thinking when I looked at the picture.

And your last statement is just what I was thinking when I looked at the picture.

And all this water that is being re-injected, is to make up for the groundwater that is being extracted, to have all those lush green lawns in what is naturally a semi-arid area!

A complex solution to the problem to allow continuation of an artificial living environment!

Couldn't find a definition of "potentiometric" anywhere.

Edit: Found it "Potentiometric surface"

North American Water And Power Alliance, (NAWAPA) is a timely engineering solution.

Ground water recharge is a priority of equal urgency with rebuild of the US Branch Line Rail matrix as espoused by James Kunstler (see book THE LONG EMERGENCY) and Christopher C. Swan's "ELECTRIC WATER" (new Society Press, 2007. If America embarks on one last large scale engineering project as we enter the Oil Interregnum, let it be NAWAPA...

Please, let the High Speed Rail boondoggle rest in peace; recharge the water tables. Railway enthusiasts, look at rebuilding the 1000+ dormant branch lines to assure victuals distribution and assure Societal & Commercial Cohesion! Military rail logistics units can help here.

"America" might just want to check with "Canada" before doing the NAWAPA project - it is all about moving Canadian water south, but we'd like to be asked first.

After all, we might decide to ship the water to China instead, like we seem to with every other raw resource...

From the report you linked to :-

"In the mid-1960s, this giant engineering project in water management was seen by leading figures in the U.S. Congress and elsewhere as the next great undertaking to which the United States should commit itself as a nation, comparable in scope and benefits to the NASA space program and the rapid and widespread development of nuclear power."...

"For political reasons, the NAWAPA proposal was not acted on by Congress when originally presented. But no one has reasonably challenged estimates of the plan‘s feasibility."

I think your water is pretty safe...the US Congress can't even agree on funding disaster recovery...


Hey, was Putin talking about Russia surviving a year on Oklahoma crude priced at $60, or the actual price he sells to Europe?

Russian Urals Spot Price

Latest $103.48

From Russia Sees Stalling Economy, Ruble Plunge at $60 Oil Price it is clear the $60 reference was to Russian Urals price. It would have to fall a long way to reach that.

EDIT: From Bloomberg, on the 28th September 2010, Urals: $77.64, WTI $76.18

The WTI price appears to be trying to pretend that "oil" is now back to about the same price it was this time last year. As the chart up-thread shows of course US gasoline prices don't agree.

Kudrin, not Putin. The guy has to defend his legacy now.

Re: Russian economy can survive low oil prices - Kudrin, up top:

Oil price comment is at about 10:30.


Well that was quick.

Today Dimitry Medvedev demanded that his government's Finance Minister resign by the end of the day.

The shock demand came after Aleksei Kudrin told journalists in Washington D.C. that he would not work in a government with Medvedev as Prime Minister.


And now he's gone.

Russia's Kudrin pays price for going off script

(Reuters) - Vladimir Putin's strategy for a smooth return to the Kremlin appears to have gone off script with the departure of Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin.

The removal of such a trusted ally on Monday is unlikely to have been part of Putin's plan when he announced on Saturday that he wanted to reclaim the presidency in an election next March after nearly four years as prime minister.

Although nothing can be taken for granted in Russia's Byzantine political system, feuds like the one that broke out between Kudrin and President Dmitry Medvedev are rare at such a high level, pointing to personal rivalries as much as the differences they cited over policy.

The revolt opened up cracks in the unity that Putin and Medvedev had portrayed in their plan, but there is no sign of anyone else dissenting in the upper echelons of power and Kudrin's removal is intended to deter any further resistance.

"Experience with Putin's Russia suggests that most political events are closely 'managed' ... That said, I find it difficult to imagine that the manner of Kudrin's departure fits into a managed script," said Tim Ash, emerging market economist at Royal Bank of Scotland.

Re: Peak Oil: Laherrère responds to Yergin, up top:


'Tolled' you so! Drivers shun NYC

Thousands of cash-strapped motorists are saying no way to the whopping new Port Authority toll hikes enacted last week -- opting to ditch their cars in favor of cheaper mass transit.

Thanks to the hikes, buses are now packed to the gills, NJ Transit and PATH trains are standing-room-only, and dust is gathering in Manhattan parking garages that used to be filled with commuters’ cars.

“I used to bring my car in twice a week. But I won’t do that anymore, because it’s too expensive,” said Peter Wrona, who commutes from Morris County, NJ, to Manhattan and now takes the bus.

Peak-hour tolls jumped on Sept. 15 to $9.50 for E-ZPass users. And people who pay cash -- about 25 percent of bridge and tunnel users -- must now fork over $12.

This is just the first step. In 2015, cash tolls will jump to $15 and E-ZPass tolls will jump to $12.50 just to cross from NJ to NY (it is free in opposite direction). Tolls are the same on all bridges and tunnels from Tappan Zee to Outerbridge Crossing. If you drive on the Turnpike or Parkway, those tolls are extra.

It costs a lot of money to rebuild the World Trade Center.

Merrill - Good news and bad I suppose. Saves some oil but cuts their revenue. Many years ago a clever bureaucrat in Texas decided an easy way to raise some more bucks for the state was to raise the price of vanity license plates. First year the state took in $300,000 less than the previous year. I'm sure that's not what the plan looked like on paper. At least they found out what the choke point was.

I recall that the stated intent of the increased tolls was to keep more cars out of Manhattan, not necessarily to raise revenue. It seems to have succeeded.

I'm sure that was a consideration, but the toll hikes were mostly sold as needed to finance the Port Authority.

Port Authority Raises Tolls on Bridges, Tunnels to New York

The additional money will fund the agency’s 10-year, $25.1 billion capital program and help pay for rebuilding the World Trade Center. The fare increases are smaller than the $6 increase over four years that the authority proposed Aug. 5.

“Toll and fare increases are essential if the Port Authority is to have the financial capabilities necessary to drive this region forward,” Chief Financial Officer Michael Fabiano told board members prior to the vote.

If keeping cars out of Manhattan were the actual objective, you wouldn't have to increase tolls on the bridges between NJ and Staten Island. Furthermore, there were no increase on MTA bridges and tunnels to Manhattan to cross the East River.

See London congestion charge. Fees and fines to travel in certain areas. From Wiki.

In this case, NJ Transit can raise bus and train fares and drive people back to cars.

It's unclear at what point NJ residents will stop working in NYC or move across the river. There is already a significant incentive to work at a NJ location, and not pay NYC and NY State taxes on those days.

I tried living in a town in Japan that was designed for cars. The distances between things was far compared to more traditional older towns in Japan. I din't like paying for bus fares and I didn't like having to ride my bike so far for simple necessities. I hate cars so buying one wasn't an option either, depsite being heavily bullied by my mother-in-law for not buying one.

I also didn't like the big roads and the car-centered infrastructure, so dehumanizing.

So when the opportunity presented itself (in the form of a ghastly nuclear accident which is not the bast way I would have chosen to leave, by the way), I did leave. I knew about smaller more manageable towns and I could find one and it is a terrific money-saver to be able to walk or bicycle most places.

My conclusion is don't bother with paying for commuting or having a car and needing to drive it a lot. Find a place where this is not necessary. Of course you might have to do a simple job. Kunstler is right about small towns being the answer.

28% of the households in New Orleans do not have a car. New Orleans leads the nation in fewest miles driven by residents - 13.7 miles/day (NYC is #2 at 16 miles/day).

And we have more to do than most small, and large, towns :-)

Best Hopes for New Orleans,


Yup. And the city itself is a physically small area.. I can ride from the west end (say, Audubon Park) to the east end (the Marigny) on my bike in 45 minutes, and that's at a pretty casual pace.

And to affirm the uniqueness of Nawlins, Rockman didn't get his driver's license until he was 25 yo...after returning to Nawlins and working for Mobil Oil for a year (took the bus from one end of town to the other...1/2 hour ride). Thought I grew up in a big town. And then moved to Houston...I was wrong...so wrong. LOL

"Kunsler is right about small towns being the answer" I don't think he's thought that through small towns need 98% of the stuff they need trucked in /small volumes high price/ and many that live in small town travel more miles but maybe less in time diving because their work maybe in a larger town or cover an area for their work.But then again his definition of a small town maybe several hundred thousand souls.

Though it does appear that Kunstler likes small towns, from what I have read, he does not expect most of the major cities to go away during the Long Emergency/Descent (save maybe Las Vegas). Most of the major cities in the United States, he points out, are where they are at because they are in favourable locations for trade at lower energy intensities. Sites with good harbours and along major rivers, for example. However, he expects cities to contract during the energy descent and operate on a smaller scale. Maybe become more like New Orleans in some aspects.


The fates of cities will vary a lot as energy consumption decreases. Cities which grew before WW II, will probably do fairly well. Some of the cities which grew mostly during and after WW II will probably do quite poorly. Phoenix is based on a logical place for a fairly small city, but has grown to be a major metro since WW II. That is likely to be reversed. Los Angeles is also highly dependent on imported water and may be quite different in the future.

Kunstler does say this, and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I would expect large, dense cities to do the best in the future. Take New York City, which Kunstler sometimes talks about as being unsustainably enormous. Why can't it do comparatively well in a post-peak world? Because food will have to be trucked in from so far away that it'll become prohibitively expensive? But there will be people willing to pay a premium for that in order to live in a place that has the amenities of NYC. As it is, people in NYC pay huge premiums in cost-of-living, especially housing costs, in order to live there. Perhaps the future will see more of this premium directed towards higher food costs and less towards high housing costs. But nonetheless some equilibrium will be found, and I would expect NYC to continue to be a successful city in the future, especially given its extensive mass transit infrastructure and walkability.

NYC has the most sustainable water supply of any place I know. Pure gravity feed water up to about the 6th floor.

A massive (and now growing) urban rail investment. Just signed on for an extra 1 GW from HydroQuebec (plus some of Niagara Falls).

Excellent harbor as well.

Mayor Bloomberg seems to be making some good steps in the right direction (pro-bicycling for example).

There will be far worse places post-Peak Oil.

Best Hopes for the Big Apple,


With Railways, the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean (ie, the entire Eastern Seaboard for starters, and a still fantastic, sheltered harbor), NYC has a number of solid options to keep themselves fed and supplied, and to continue to be a conduit for food and goods for others as well. That's cities for you!


My prediction for a major trend in the next 30 years is for artists, then young entrepreneurs and finally middle and upper class folks to rediscover the urban core of great American cities that had their heyday before the onset of auto-centrism but are currently down-and-out. I'm thinking Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, St. Louis. (Check out this list of largest US cities by decade.)

These are places that had everything going for them before auto-centrism begain:

  • access to water
  • access to shipping
  • access to agricultural lands
  • rail infrastructure
  • civic aesthetics -- beautiful buildings, parks, housing stock, sidewalks!, etc.

These are the same features you will want in an era of expensive transportation fuels and it won't be long before young people start figuring this out.

If I were rich and wanted to make a 50 year investment I would buy up swathes of old buildings and run down housing stock in urban St. Louis and create the kind of artist-friendly environment that always starts off these trends.


See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentrification

Often the leading edge of gentrification is movement into an area by the gay and lesbian community, since they often do not have a concern about poor uban schools. They form a permanent core to stabilize the community and young adults, DINKs, and then couples with kids follow.

The point about schools is a good one.

All the young, independent people mentioned here do not (generally) have kids.

So they are not worried about schools, do not need backyards for them to play in, are not as worried about being in a rough neighborhood, etc.
Also, they can easily live in studios, garages, 1 br apts etc that are less than suitable for a family.

Once the area has people there long enough to start having families, then there is the need for schools etc, or those people leave, and move to the 'burbs, to be replaced by other childless people.

There are many more options for frugal and self sufficient living when there are no kids involved.

I am pretty sure that by small town he means as big as you can walk across in half an hour. So about 1.5 miles end to end. There will of course be outlying farms as far as four miles in each direction. The twon will consume what it can make and a very small amount of imports (i.e. salt, fish).

I do not feel we will fall this far. I do expect rationing, carpooling, house sharing.

I find it is quicker by bike, especially if I take parking into account. I had to use the bus the other day and it was painful compared to being on the bike, took ages as I had to go back and forth and would have taken half the time on my bike. Going by car would have been a total wreck due to needing to spend ages parking then ending up nowhere near my destinations. On the other hand my bike was being worked on so I got the bus to the vet easily. The bus system here is best for A-B-A. When I need a heavyside shop I walk to Costco then get a taxi back. Where I am finding the bike the biggest help is when I have to go here and there and on on short errands. I shudder at what a car was costing me when all I really needed it for was 1 time a month. Now it is B3 all the way: boot, bike, bus. Plenty of exercise too:)


He should have taken a lesson from here. The state wanted more revenue so they decided that there was to be a new background design for the number plate. Everyone had to change their plate to the new design. Yep, you had to buy the new plate or put up with the police nabbing you.


Beautiful. Looks like Bloomberg is getting his congestion tax after all.

Lets give it 6 months and see if things are then as they are now.

Americans "love" their cars. Remember the up-tick in bus riding when gas was going from $3 to $4? That uptick didn't last.

I'll wager (but no $ backing it up?) that some will stay away. But, that some will come back as well. If it actually decreases congestion, it could make driving into the city more worthwhile, i.e. you might be able to get somewhere, and it might be possible to find parking. Maybe a $4 increase in the toll, results in parking being $2 cheaper because of a decline in parking demand.

some will stay away.

Yes, some will. They may have been marginal drivers in the past and a few will decide to do continue the new pattern of behavior because it backs their belief that CO2 emissions is an issue.

So you'd have to find someone else to be on the other side of the bet.

Tappan Zee tolls have not changed at all. The Tappan Zee bridge is controlled by the NY State Thruway Authority while the NY City crossings are controlled by the Port Authority. I have not heard about any plans to increase Tappan Zee tools. As it happens, I just drove to work (eastbound) across the Tappan Zee this morning and traffic was about the same - no obvious impact from the increase in PA tolls.

Sorry about the error. You are right, and the cash toll for the Tappan Zee is still $5.

You might find this piece interesting as to why the Tappan Zee is controlled by NYS Thruway Authority and not Port Authority:


Interesting. I would have thought that they put it there because the Hudson was shallow and you could cross with two long causeways and a relatively short center span.

The Hudson is quite a big river, gouged out by glaciers and tidal all the way to Albany. The GWB, at a narrower spot downstream from the Tappan Zee, was the longest main span suspension bridge in the world when it was built.

Fun fact: the Tappan Zee was located where it was (at a broad part of the river, well to the north of NYC) precisely so that it wouldn't fall under the regulatory aegis of the Port Authority.

For those that do most of their work via work issued personal computers and telephone, try to advocate for telecommuting.

- Very small cost to the business of providing a RSA key, or equivalent, and VPN software, and a work cell phone.

- Very large savings to the worker, not having to physically commute to the office (as often, or at all).

Also time lost to the commute is extra time to work, or more time for family and personal time.

Strange. I just took a bus in NYC from the George Washington Bridge station to Piermont, and was totally shocked. This bus terminal was always a little sketchy, but at 2 PM on a weekday it was almost completely abandoned. No information window, no ticket window, surly young drivers who did not know the neighborhoods and seemed unfamiliar with the vehicle.

And, most conspicuously, nearly empty buses and empty platforms. The buses do run, and they are cheap, but the vibe was much more forbidding and dangerous than, say, in the late '80s.

I thought the decay in the city, from empty storefronts and to the crawling E trains, was also pretty shocking. Basically, it's almost reverted back to the early '80s. There was also a major power outage on Amtrak in Newark... people on the train behind mine were stranded for hours.

Few of the natives seemed particularly concerned.

Rifkin uptop:

I am so tired of people pushing their great programs to keep BAU going. Aside from the reality that BAU has been going down the tubes for quite a while, it wastes time and resources that should be applied to cushion the collapse.

Incidentally, the Sept 19th issue of Chemical and Engineering News had an editorial that mentioned a report I had not heard of: Viewing America's Energy Future in Three Dimensions http://www.rti.org/publications/EnergyFuture.html (114 pages). I haven't looked at it yet. "The premise of...is that energy technology and energy economics are necessary, although not sufficient, conditions for solving the energy conundrum; the sufficient condition derives from the societal dimension."


But "BAU" has the power of Propaganda.


BAU will continue until the reality overides the Propaganda.

It may interest some Carbon Offset entrepreneurs to hear about electric streetcars in various US locations that can be used to advantage. In St Charles MO, Whittaker Real Estate development Co. has 6 1945 PCC (President's Conference Committee) streetcars in a scrap yard. in South Lake Tahoe and Colfax, CA, there are a few others from Toronto Canada and San Diego.

Carbon offsets are a mechanism to allow a carbon intensive development in trade for creating a less carbon intensive development (CO2 emitting) as a trade-off. Electric streetcars vs. diesel buses may be an example, if the electric generation for powering the streetcars amounts to less total CO2 emission. Something like that.

Or, using an electric streetcar line as a shuttle in a locale instead of lots of cars. These scenarios play out in a more robust way in a situation where a public-private partnership may use some legacy streetcars as lead-in to a transit-oriented development with a large component of vehicle miles traveled VMT can be switched from cars to the electric trolley service. As we all know, voluntarily using wheels besides our personal cars does not come naturally...

Kunstler's page this morning is not encouraging but it does give some talking points to those interested in proceeding to the post-oil phase of American commerce. Which is to say, proceeding with all due haste instead of waiting for forceful agents of change! Electric trolleys shall be mass produced in America in this decade. Another important element is the inventory of dormant railway branch lines waiting for rebuild.

Over 1000 local rail corridor connections await the right financial condition and economic incentive to be rebuilt to freight movement. The British firm spv.co.uk supplies US Rail Map Atlas volumes, helpful to our 3000+ County Planning Bureaus faced with dealing with Federal Executive Emergency Orders for motor fuel allocation (rationing). TOD journeymen are in the vanguard of people with knowledge of railways as Guarantor of Societal and Commercial Cohesion.

The US Postal Service 130+ year association with the railway systems of America will be reinstated as the Oil Interregnum makes old things new again. The US Railway Post Office methodologies look feasible again as trucking tastes Peak Oil in larger doses. The US Congress Act of July 10 1838 mandated ALL RAILROADS as "Post Roads" -the first really substantial act of privatization in compliance with the US Constitution Article I Section 8 duties of Congress...

Service men & women returning from trucking materiel in the Oil Wars may expect to be utilized in reformed Army/Guard Railroad Operating & Maintenance Battalions tasked with getting the dormant rail branch lines back to operating status. These military railway units operated in the US in disaster recovery role and in theatres of war from Civil War to the VietNam Era. Will entrepreneurs see opportunity in being at the ready to bid on the nascent rail branch line project(s) as they reach operating status?

All is not lost in spite of the doomer brigade and childish conservative efforts to destroy the US Postal legacy. Ignorance. The tea party has done more to Balkanize the Union of States than any foreign enemy could dream of accomplishing. Patriots?

Keep 'Em Rolling

Even railways don't appear to be bullish on the future of rail. Canadian Pacific are as I write this, in the process of tearing up their track up the Ottawa valley. This was part of the original transcontinental line and still provided the most direct route from Eastern Canada to Western Canada. Now all their traffic is routed via Toronto.

CP is not keeping up with their peers in revenues/costs.

The more a rail line is used, the cheaper it is per unit - up to capacity.

This effect is stronger than sending some % down the shortest line.

CP is doing what rail lines have done since the 1950's, reducing track miles. Double > single track and removing duplicates.

IMHO, a mistake because volume will increase and they will need extra track capacity soon enough.

A corollary is that the economic costs of rail transportation/unit will drop the more we ship by rail.

Already rail is cheaper than trucking. 18 wheel trucks carry fewer ton-miles than rail and burn about 700 million barrels of refined diesel/year.

The total billings by rail will be just above $60 billion this year.

Rail can match truck speed and reliability with appropriate investments - and at much lower unit costs.

Best Hopes for Rail Investments,


Canadian Pacific may be tearing up its tracks in the Ottawa Valley, but it is expanding them in Western Canada. This is an indicator of where they think economic growth will be.

However, they are suffering from competition from Canadian National, aka CN Rail. CN has tracks extending all the way from the Northwest Territories to the Gulf of Mexico, which gives it an advantage in terms of strategic location. CN is positioned to haul oil all the way from the Alberta oil sands to refineries on the Gulf coast, and oilfield equipment back the other way.

Leibowitz feels it's not just the US and its Tea Party:


In spite of the best efforts to get Europe's economic crisis under control, it's looking more and more like we're approaching the latest act in Europe's long retreat from anything resembling prosperity, optimism, strength, purpose, progress, and order. In other words, entropy can only be held at bay for so long, before it completely overtakes any given system.....

...How long will it take for these new radicals to start looking for others outside of their borders (or within, for that matter) to blame? How long will it be until one leader or another decides that the only path for national survival is to seize things that someone else has?

Much has been made of the ominous possibilities that might follow an American collapse, but looking overseas probably demands as much attention. In either case, the cause is still the same -- a population that assumes that the lights will never go off or the oil wells will run dry, led by people who realize that the person who speaks truth will be lucky to keep their head, much less their elected office. When we think that somehow, even if our own nation and sphere of influence implodes, that there will still be pockets of learning and civilization elsewhere in the world, we should remember that when collapse comes, it is not going to be local and limited, but global and profound.

Not sure that he shares your thoughts that we'll have the wherewithal to rebuild thousands of miles of rail lines and such. I, too, fear that these opportunities may be mostly in the past. Our societies have procrastinated too long, are procrastinating still, bargaining away what's left of any chance at creating major societal shift rather than being victims of it. Nothing new there.....

...have procrastinated too long, are procrastinating still, bargaining away what's left...

Procrastinating, bargaining away - sounds like too many holding on too tight to BAU. When a progression turns into a routine, turns into an expectation of the same growth ad infinitum, collapse is required to start anew.

If a thousand elephants came to the same watering hole day after day, year after year, decade after decade, even though it was depleting they would still keep coming back until it was empty. Humans are no different. BAU must go empty before anything else can replace it. The question then becomes, how many will make it to the next watering hole and how many will it support?

Steam-Powered Video (the British firm that produces the rail atlas volumes) has an excellent product for anyone interested in the historic railroad network in North America. I've taking the volumes along on long distance Amtrak trips, and it really opens up another world. Rand McNally used to include railroads in their atlases, and a few state transportation departments will show active rail lines on state highway maps. However, the SPV maps are the best for identifying "lost" rail corridors and tracing ownership. Find an old Official Guide to the Railways from 1952 or so on Ebay, add theSPV atlases, and realize what an incredible transportation system this country allowed to disappear in the years following WWII.

Multibeam Sonar Can Detect and Map Deep Sea Gas Seeps, NOAA Says

... The objective of the expedition was to test the sonar’s ability to map [methane] gaseous seeps, not oil, as oil is more difficult to acoustically detect with the multibeam sonar. Techniques developed during this cruise are intended to help scientists better understand detection of gas seeps which may in turn better inform scientists who are working on techniques to map oil in the water column.

S - Good catch. Been a lot of speculation over the years as to how much methane is being released subsea especially in the GOM. Given it's a much worse GHG offender it could have big implications if they eventually do a global survey.

Rock. Apparantly methane released under deep water has a strong propensity to dissolve and oxidize. So most of it will (is being) absorbed by the water column. But I do agree about the need for good survey data. Especially if we start having (or fearing) climate change induced losses of the methane hydrates.

Interesting EOS. Mother Earth doesn't like us unraveling her mysteries too easily, eh? Part of where all those unintended consquences come from.

They need to get that thing up into the Arctic, pronto.


In the Arctic were found higher emissions of methane
Monday, 26 September 2011 16:50

Joint Russian-American expedition found a large release of methane in the Eastern Arctic in the north of the Bering Sea and the Laptev Sea. According to Professor Igor Semiletov, which is the leader of the expedition, the methane in large quantities in the ocean comes from the cracks in the crust on the bottom, a sign of amplification of seismic activity in the Arctic. Methane emissions result in higher average temperatures in the Arctic, because of what the area is reduced Arctic ice faster, than in any comparable period over the last eight thousand years. Joint Russian-American expedition sailed on the ship "Akademik Lavrentiev" from Vladivostok, Russia in early September 2011, takes part in the expedition about 28 scientists from Russia and the United States. Until mid-November 2011, scientists will conduct research in the Chukchi Sea, Bering Sea, East Siberian Sea and the Laptev Sea.


Until recently, it was believed that underwater permafrost, 90 percent of which is located in the seas of Eastern Arctic, is stable and blocks the ascendant movement of any gases or liquids. But that is not exactly the case, Russian scientists found out, estimating that the region’s sea shelf spews as much methane as registered in all other seas taken together. Even this data may be lower than reality and needs to be verified. For this purpose, the key objective for those involved in the expedition is to examine the entire shelf of the Laptev Sea, the East Siberian Sea and the Russian part of the Chukotsk Sea. This is the widest and shallowest shelf of the World Ocean. The thickness of its sedimentary strata accounts for nearly 20 kilometers, while the hydrocarbon potential of this area is equal to three or even five Persian Gulfs, Igor Semiletov goes on to say.

We are living through a warm period, whereas during the Ice Age, the global ocean level is known to have been about 120 meters below what we have today. This means that it used to be a mainland tens of thousands of years ago. Temperatures inside that permafrost were 10-12 degrees higher than now. At the beginning of the warm period, the ocean level was constantly rising, eventually flooding this up to 800-meter-thick permafrost. In the course of time, it started coming to a thermodynamic balance with bottom water temperatures standing at about 1 degree below zero. Underwater permafrost is supposedly degrading nowadays, with a number of islands being formed on it. There are no doubts therefore that gas migration canals do exist after all, explains Igor Semiletov.

The Arctic shelf contains billions of tons of methane. Any massive emission is fraught with catastrophic consequences for our planet’s climate. A jump in its concentration will lead to considerable strengthening of the greenhouse effect. The scientists’ attention is therefore locked on the Arctic. The EU is even creating its own alternative program to study the Russian Arctic shelf. According to Igor Semiletov, research conducted by the present-day expedition will help the world estimate all potential threats and possible development scenarios.

Webster Hubble Telescope has a response to Yergin's new book at DailyKos. Would like to hear more from him here but apparently he's been banned from TOD, something he also comments about in another recent DK post.


I actually miss WHT's comments and have added his RSS feed. Very few people analyzing Peak Oil have used mathematics as appropriately and consistently as he has.

Thanks for the update on WHT. I was wondering where he's been. I know he was pushing his POV/agenda pretty hard here, but...jeez.

Pushed his POV pretty hard?

He was insufferably arrogant. I don't miss him. He was besotted with numbers. Could do marvelous calculations and statistics, for sure, but GIGO.

I had wondered why he wasn't posting. His account appears to still be active - http://www.theoildrum.com/user/webhubbletelescope

You normally get an error when attempting to check the profile of a banned user such as - http://www.theoildrum.com/user/memmel

I have argued that TOD's strange banning policy is over the top on many occasions. To me it looks like someone at TOD has a particularly sore head one day and just loses patience with a long term member and it's "off with their head". I would not be surprised if I just "vanish" one day.

"I would not be surprised if I just "vanish" one day."

Yeah, I've been dumped from a site before (imagine that)...POOF! Very dehumanizing. They don't even hand you your hat and show you the door :-/

That said, TOD's policy has usually been reasonable and fair compared to less 'enlightened' sites I've visited.

That said, TOD's policy has usually been reasonable and fair compared to less 'enlightened' sites I've visited.

That's the strange thing. Suddenly people who have been frequent, and therefore tolerated, posters to TOD for years just vanish with no chance of appeal. How about a 1 month ban/cooling off period if it is genuinely felt by TOD management that action must be taken against someone who has contributed for years?

I'd like to remind everyone that a combination of Firefox 6.x, the Greasemonkey plugin and the todban Greasemonkey script gives you personal control over "disappearing" posts from authors whose comments you don't wish to read.

I use it because it also hide previously read comments, allowing me to skim much more efficiently.


I have noticed the disappearance of a couple of regulars whom I miss, and a couple more I miss like a toothache.

My personal impression is that the site has been pretty liberal in allowing us to post so long as we avoid one or two topics adjudged by tptb to be too controversial in terms of the fairly obvious personal beliefs and cultural values of those same powers.Very,very few of my comments have ever been deleted, although some of them are pretty radical according to the tastes and the culture of the sort of people who tend to hang in a forum of this nature.

After all, when all is said and done, it is "their " site-they do the work, the rest of us enjoy their sweat.I believe a conscious, deliberate effort is being made to put the site into a form that is a little more staid and respectable, a little less wild haired and tie dyed, as it gains recognition and influence with the broader public.My impression is that this effort is going well, although I personally really miss the freewheeling discussions we used to have nearly every day.

It has occurred to me that it would be great fun to set up a separate, non affiliated site where we could just grab the ball in play, click and run with it.Have two windows open, one showing this site, one for those of us who want to get a little louder could post whatever comments we please, or start new off topic threads about whatever interests us most.In some ways, the old Campfires were the best part of the site.Unfortunately, I have neither the time, money, or skills top pull it off myself.

it is "their " site-they do the work,

It needs repeating - this is not a public place, this is a private space with the TOD leaderships rules. If one doesn't like the those terms - one can go elsewhere.

It has occurred to me that it would be great fun to set up a separate, non affiliated site where we could just grab the ball in play, click and run with it.Have two windows open, one showing this site, one for those of us who want to get a little louder could post whatever comments we please,

This has been done as VC ventures - adding comments via a backchannel to other web sites. And as far as I know, none of these VCed efforts are alive today.

Perhaps see if the domain name theoildrumunderground.(net|org|info) has been taken, and purchase it.

Then an inexpensive hosting site (powweb or such) and easy software (wordpress, drupal, or ?).

Then voila!

(and the domain name has some nice multiple meanings and puns)

My personal impression is that the site has been pretty liberal in allowing us to post so long as we avoid one or two topics adjudged by tptb to be too controversial in terms of the fairly obvious personal beliefs and cultural values of those same powers.

Thing is I generally agree with you on that. Just there seem to be exceptions to this rule where people just vanish when it doesn't seem to me to be justified and a "cooling off period" would probably have sufficed. That said, if the choice is between "just accept our decisions" or "no TOD" then I'll accept "their" decisions. Having run or moderated online forums on and off (mostly off these days) for about 30 years, I like to think I know something of what I'm talking about.

It's not a sudden ban with no chance of appeal. Usually when someone has been banned, it's after repeated warnings, suspensions, and comment removals. Sometimes they're so offended at a warning or suspension they leave in a huff, but that's their choice.

WHT has not been banned. So far as I know, he just left in a huff because he wasn't sufficiently appreciated here.

Thanks for the clarification. However WHT does state explicitly on his blog that

I was recently banned from the Peak Oil site http://TheOilDrum.com (TOD) for responding to a climate change comment made by a skeptic. Apparently I didn't follow the rules and reposted the comment after it was deleted by a moderator.

If he is not actually banned then perhaps a comment could be added to his blog from someone at TOD responding to his claim.

Re-posting a comment after it's been removed is idiotic. Hard to see that as anything other than hostile intent. However, he is not banned. I'm not unhappy that he's gone, but he has not been banned.

Not unhappy he is gone? Well I can understand that feeling on the basis that he came across as arrogant, but if he was arrogant it would appear to stem from the fact that he was generally right!

After some time away from TOD I have been following again recently, and was sad to see that WHT was no longer about, but what really saddened me was that his work appeared to have had no discernible impact. Still the same old talk about bell curves and linearisation etc.

I cant help but think that the baby got thrown out with the bathwater on this one.

"..but if he was arrogant it would appear to stem from the fact that he was generally right!"

A sketchy bit of logic, I'd say. And he was frequently divisive and nasty to certain people. I know we all have our spats here, but it seems to me the people who have been 'driven out', either by the Ed.s or the Flock are done so not due to their conclusions and viewpoint, but from their inability to maintain a few minimal social norms in order to keep things mostly civil.

This place is heaven compared to the Comments I see at almost any other big blog.

It wasn't logic, it was an observation and a stereotype to be honest.
Throughout my life I have observed some people who are very intelligent and knowledgeable, and unashamedly so. They don't hide their lights under bushels and probably wouldn't get employment in the diplomatic corps. They are the sort of people that most ordinary Joes would not tire of punching. Now I don't know the guy, and we've never met, I only have what he has written to go on, but I stereotyped WHT as one of those people, rightly or wrongly. I suspect he just didn't fit in around these parts but I still find it disappointing that his work appears to have gone completely unnoticed given that one could probably safely throw away every other peak oil projection and quote his work instead. If there's one bunch of people in the whole world who should sit up and take notice of it, it's this one.


I hear you, and didn't mean to be crass myself.

I'm an artist, and spend time with others in 'communications', believe me I know how many of us are isolated by similar personality and communications issues, even when we work in 'communications'.

Such results aren't really anyone's fault.. but it's why the Poets and Playwrights came up with the form of "Tragedies" way, way back there.

'Everything is Character.' ..said one of the Greeks, I think.

"The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred."

- George Bernard Shaw

Is it possible that he fell into the corrupt database blackhole that occured last month and took it to mean that he was banned?

No. He left long before that.


I've been mailed a few times by Leanan who was asking me to stick to the subject and not rant to much. Fair and balanced, as far as I am to judge. Alhough one or two comments deletions have been quite questionable, IMHO.

There will always be questionable calls. The very few posts that I've had deleted by Leanan, well, let's just say I was glad she did it :-)

I think the folks here do a good job at letting conversations develop. At some point, they have to think of the face that TOD is putting forward. There are comments I might have pulled the plug on myself that have gone through.

Yeah, most of the post she deleted falls in the I'm-glad-she-did-it cathegory. But some of them I can still not see the point in deleting. But; the standard on this forum is higher than average, and that is mostly due to the work of the moderators.

I think the moderators here do pretty good job - the rules are pretty simple - keep comments on topic, and civil.

They have shut down threads about climate change, religion, politics, Bin Laden etc, and these are all off- topic. As they often say, if you want to debate climate change etc, there are plenty of other places to do that.

Keeping the focus here on energy is what makes this site as good as it is. Other things like climate change, politics etc are related to energy, but the line has to be drawn somewhere, and just where that is, is their call.

You only have to look at lesser/unmoderated forums to see the difference.

How in the hello can you responsibly talk about energy without including climate change?

"The Australian scholar Hamilton sought to explain why in his 2010 book, "Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change."

In an interview, he said he found a "transformation" from the 1990s and its industry-financed campaign, to an America where climate denial "has now become a marker of cultural identity in the 'angry' parts of the United States.""


I'm sure that's understood, which is why a certain level of CC talk is kept in the mix.. but at some point, the extended detail-debates on just CC issues should go to sites where that is their Speciality..

And by that reply, TOD should be all oil. None of this pv, lighting, economics-Kunstler, Mish, wind, railroads, you get the point. There would be about 5 posters on the board. And the top stories of Drumbeat would shrink in half.

We can talk all day of extraction and its "real" costs, just don't mention those externalized ones.

Which is why I linked the denial article above. As a nation, we just won't get it. It's the modern day flat earth.

I didn't say anything about detailed discussions on other topics. You extrapolate too much.

In particular, many of those things you mention are energy sources and energy applications.. and that's right in the topic line.

Climate Change grows into Great Tumor-threads of Competitive Breast-beating, which undermines the quality of the interchange, and the EDs have said they will draw the line when it goes overboard.

How in the hello can you responsibly talk about energy without including climate change?

And the money system along with even other health concerns are also a factor.

In the drumbeats you have a shot at being able to cover those kind of topics, so be thankful for that.

Leanans world.


Bow before my awsome graphic skills.

And if someone would like to tell me how I post the picture as a picture and not as a link, I'd be happy. No, it is not the img-tag. Tried that.

Post it on a sharing site like photobucket.com (you have to make an account, it's easy). After you upload and open the picture in photobucket you'll see a list of sharing options. Copy the html code for that picture and paste it into your post,,,,and keep it small.


<img src="http://utsikten.blog.se/files/2011/09/Leanans-world.png">

If you type the above line it will work like magic and show the image. I've cheated so it doesn't

Ack! I was using start and stop tags, like you do with the blockqoute tag. So I am supposed to put it inside just one tag? Okies.

And if you're really persnickety you'll close the tag with '/>'. Hyper-web nerds will also be sure to leave a space before the '/>' as some older versions of Internet Explorer required that. So:

<img src="http://utsikten.blog.se/files/2011/09/Leanans-world.png" />

I'll also comment that the "Leanan's world" graphic actually has some very interesting stories in it:

  • Science and Religion are less connected overall than Economics, Politics, Climate and Energy.
  • Apparently, the only way science can influence politics is indirectly through either religion or energy. (No surprise there.)
  • And I am a little surprised that there is no connection between Religion and Climate.
  • Finally, as we all knew, Science and Economics have no direct connection.

It might be interesting to add some arrows to this diagram as some of the connections appear to be unidirectional IMHO.

Excellent thought piece, nevertheless. And a very valuable visualization of the model! ;-D


And economics is the bright hot center of the universe.

That might not be true all the time, but in the current situation, it probably is.

I delibertely chosed to not connect science and economics,
for obvious reasons :c)

Religion is conected to climate via science and economics that are used as a proxy.

And your 2:nd bullet: Yes, because since when did ever politicians listen to scientists? Or the other way around.

If you like pasta forlunch, you can always add psychology, sociology, media and some other blocks to the diagram, but thats for someone else...

But some of them I can still not see the point in deleting

And some ego's can't tolerate deletions of what they have to say or have a case of "hey, I said that X time ago - why is this poster getting a comment and I didn't".

memmel got banned? When did that happen?

WHT always failed the sniff test for me, seemed never to go beyond playing with maths to check if it was physical and answer the 'so what?' question.

With all the Monty Python-esk 'splitters' we could do with a meta site that collects/connects the germane and intelligent from across the field of enquiry. Seems as if many get up to speed with what's happening, post some interesting thoughts, then disappear again when they realise what the final destination is.

memmel got banned? When did that happen?

Earlier this year. He was apparently banned for postings which were deemed too long after having been warned to shorten them - or at least that's my understanding. He's by no means the only frequent poster to have been banned relatively recently.

Oh yeah, now I remember. Those posts were legendarily long. Print it, and you need a roll of paper, not sheets.

I don't know what opinion he had on things, I never mustered to read his elaborate postings.

For years on TOD it said in his bio that he had a form of dyslexia which made it difficult for him to write in the same way as others. After TOD removed the ability to say a little about yourself this disappeared and from that point on it seemed to me that people cut memmel less slack.

I for one loved reading his postings and I know many others did. Some disagreed with that strongly - ironically WHT being one of the most vocal anti-memmel voices.

Just as a matter of curiousity-

What is to stop a banned poster from opening a new membership, so long as it is associated with a new address not easily traceable to his old one?

Now of course a few people who are missing would never be able to change thier stripes enough to disguise themselves.WHT never posted anything except his math theories, Memmel had a rambling style recognizable at a single glance, and another person who I will not mentioned posted evidently just because he enjoyed insulting everybody coming and going.He would not be able to change his stripes either, as doing so would destroy his primary reason for posting.

But most of us could just sign up from a new location, thru a different ISP, etc, and truck right on, unless we happened to have to loud and smelly a personal signature.As far as that goes, I believe there are ways to send your posts thru a second address, which forwards them for your, hiding your own, if you know how.

I could never really make heads nor tails out of WHT's posts, although I do understand that he did have a point to make about putting sound math theory into place whereever possible.

Memmel often had a good point to make, or an interesting insight from a different pov into a problem, but I must admit that his stream of thought style made digging out the nuggets a chore.

I was sorry to see Airdale go-I'm not sure if he was banned, or just dropped out, or perhaps even died , due to being disguisted with the lack of tolerance of his cultural and religious views.

I occasionally post something trying to put religion into a serious , scientifically oriented context here, so tht those who know very little about it, will appreciate that it exists for reasons best understood thru the application of the biological and social sciences, and that it is not nearly so big a hindrance to cultural ans scientific progress as those who exhibit a reflexive opposition to it believe it is.

For instance, in spite of the teachings of the fundamentalist preachers around here two decades ago , in the deepest and darkest part of the fundamentalist jungle, the women show up today at services in nice makeup, high heels, nylons, and, if they are capable of pulling it off, fairly short skirts and dresses, or pants.The preachers no longer say anything about this , as if they were to do so, the congregation would shrink noticeably next week, and they would be sleeping alone, because their own wives dress the same way.

They couldn't whip rock music, so they simply incorporated it into services-and truth be told, some of it is pretty decent music, in terms of rythmn, melody, lyrics, execution,etc, even if it is mostly about Jesus.

I hear about the world being created in six days, but I have not heard a preacher, personally, say that they were six literal days within the last two decades-they have televisions too, and have come to recognize that the world is old.

I have never heard a preacher mentioning the world as being six thousand years old, personally, and nobody I know has heard a preacher say this, except on radio or tv.They have better sense, generally speaking.

I don't know of a single young Catholic woman, ( I know more than I can count on my fingers and toes thru school, where this was discussed in class lecture r/t public health) who expects to have more than three children, and most plan on one or two , max. The Pope can rant, and he can rave, but they simply tune him out in this respect-just as they have in Brazil, Poland, and Ireland.

Somebody like airdale is needed to constantly remind us that the vast majority of humanity does not share the world view of the typical member of this forum.

If anybody knows how airdale can be contacted, I would really appreciate them forwarding a message for me.

Somebody like airdale is needed to constantly remind us that the vast majority of humanity does not share the world view of the typical member of this forum.

Airdale is still alive and well or was earlier this year. I know this because I saw a post from him on a new account (but identifying himself clearly as airdale) before it was rapidly removed a few minutes later.

Just for the record, I got an email from Airdale yesterday...and, yes, he was banned. He said he tried to set up a new account but without success. I won't go into the rest of his comments.


He asked us to ban him. In fact, he demanded it. Repeatedly. He got what he wanted.

What is to stop a banned poster from opening a new membership, so long as it is associated with a new address not easily traceable to his old one?

Nothing. You don't even need a new address, to tell you the truth.

And if you behave in your new incarnation, I will let it go. There are people posting here now who have been banned in the past, sometimes multiple times.

But if you behave in the same way that got you banned the first time, the results will be the same.

Airdale did exactly what you said and re-registered as passingby. That account may have been banned as I can't access it.

The youth leader of my church is a literal 6 day 6 milennium young earth creationist. I am a full fledged evolutionist. We have some interesting discussons at time. But respect each others views. Great guy, btw. Our pastor is an old earth creationist. So I guess any view on that aspect is wellcome in our church.

When my mother was a late teen ager there was a mandatory hat rule for women in our church (as within that dominiation). Not as much a rule as a cultural thing. This was not popular with the young. So one sunday service they made a coup; the girls should sing in a choir. They all smuggeled in large hats, the biggest they could find, to the church in advance. Then went to church in their ordinary hats. When they were to sing, they went in to a little room some place and changed to the big hats. Sung their songs. Went down. Nobody brought up the hat issue ever since. But I still remember from chilhood all the old ladies wearing hats in church.

Societies with class structure expand faster than egalitarian ones, researchers say

Arguably the worst feature of societies with class structures – the disproportionate suffering of the poor – may have been the driving force behind the spread of those stratified societies across the globe at the expense of more egalitarian societies. During hard times, a society in which the bulk of the suffering is borne by the poor can survive and expand into new territory more readily than can egalitarian societies.

Another example of how old habits - that have served us so well in the past - will fail us in the future. This is the same reason why cancer has it's advantage.

Feldman and his colleagues determined that when resources were consistently scarce, egalitarian societies – which shared the deprivation equally throughout the population – remained more stable than stratified societies.

In stratified societies, the destabilizing effect of unequal sharing of scarce resources gave those societies more incentive to migrate in search of added resources.

A pretty good explanation of where we're at and why we're in the ME (and everywhere else that oil is).

WebHubbleTelescope could probably explain this

No more tasty surprises: Calculating the probability of extreme events

It had to happen: the property bubble burst and the global financial market experienced its biggest crisis in the last hundred years. "...At that time, almost all the economic models and forecasting tools for loan losses failed because they did not pay sufficient attention to extreme dependencies.

... Up to now, when statisticians estimated the probabilities of extreme events, they usually calculated with dependencies between the outliers of statistical series. The outliers, however, make up the smallest part of a data set, e.g. the largest 100 out of 3,600 data. That means they ignore the dependencies of the bulk of the relevant data set, namely 3,500 data, and thus take the risk that important information is lost.

Paper: http://projecteuclid.org/DPubS?service=UI&version=1.0&verb=Display&handl...

S - "...did not pay sufficient attention to extreme dependencies." Extreme dependencies? Hmmm...let's see. Lowest mortgage rates in decades...hundreds of thousands of folks with marginal incomes putting 3% or less down on houses...one of the more robust inflation rates for housing in a while...and all starting during relative good economic growth periods with near record low unemployment. Oh yeah...these condistion will certainly last a good 20 to 30 years. Oh yeah...just like we've seen such a stable economy for the last 30 years.

What could go wrong, eh? One in a million chance things could go bad. I'm sorry...this isn't just 20/20 hindsight. Not that I would have predicted the melt down to be as bad as it was. But an "extremely low probability" of anything going wrong? Give me a break. LOL.

I could bring up the subject of flipping a coin heads 20X in a row but that caused such an uproar last time I won't. Oops..I just did.

Ha! Here's my chance to put in my 1.5 cents on that long-dead discussion. Long ago and far away, my math prof set us up with a problem just like that, and asked for a probability. We did the usual and came up with the usual result.

He then said, "You guys are a bunch of suckers. What I said about the initial conditions was a lie. Of course the flipper was flipping a two headed coin. What you always have to do is think of what hypothesis would most likely explain the observed facts. Here, it's a THC." We were deeply offended of course, by the prof's treachery, but didn't forget it. I have since then got a lot of right answers where the others got wrong ones because they assumed preconditions unlikely to produce the observed result.

wimbi - You missed the little fire storm I brewed up. My first stat teacher did exactly the same (was yours at the Un. of New Orleans?) Some folks could't get their heads around the point: it wasn't whether there was some probability (1 in 16 million/or whatever) that it could be done but what was the probability they would ever see it happen: virtually zero since no one would not sit and watch someone flip a coin millions of time.

The ultimate point I tried to make with that example was that there's ofeten a big disconnect between what COULD happen vs. what WILL happen. TODster often off solutions/reactions to PO that COULD help the situation but are very unlikely to happen. An extreme example: raise gasoline tax to $6 gallon. That would certain cut back on consumption. And, IMHO, is just as likely to happen as my seeing 20 heads flipped in a row.

Yeah, that was a good one, ROCK.

To be able to get a 'Coin Flip' thread up to the level of a Religion or Population discussion.. that's almost High Art, in my book.

It was worse than that.

The whole securitisation of mortgages relied on the Black-Scholes equation for pricing the option and hedging the risk. However, Black-Scholes was specifically only valid for multiple independent events - the risk of one part of the set defaulting was supposed to be independent of others doing the same.

Anyone with half a mathematical brain looking that that requirement and the mortgage market can see the flaw.

Those carrying out these trades were either criminally negligent, or actively fraudulent. Either way, they should be behind bars - it was always going to end the way it did when a bad recession hit.

Or to give it the popsci metaphor; it was a bus than was primed to explode once the speed went below 55.


IMPACT: A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field at approximately 12:15 UT on Sept. 26th. The impact caused significant ground currents in Norway. Also, the Goddard Space Weather Lab reports a "strong compression of Earth's magnetosphere. Simulations indicate that solar wind plasma [has penetrated] close to geosynchronous orbit starting at 13:00UT." Geosynchronous satellites could therefore be directly exposed to solar wind plasma and magnetic fields.

I was trying to do a little DXing on my shortwave this weekend. Our location is usually pretty good because we're buried in the mountains with limited interference. No joy this weekend. From the spaceweather.com link:

Active sunspot 1302 has turned the sun into a shortwave radio transmitter. Shock waves rippling from the sunspot's exploding magnetic canopy are exciting plasma oscillations in the sun's atmosphere. The result: Bursts of static are issuing from the loudspeakers of shortwave radios on Earth.

Here's an amazing photo of 1302. Looks like some planet-gobbling malevolent entity from Star Trek.

I was thinking the 'Balrog' in LOTR

I've got a view of the sun surface as a widget on my tablet - and that's been a very obvious and very conspicuous sunspot region for about a week now. However it seems to have quietened down in the view which shows the eruptions/magnetic fields.


Cancer cost "becoming unsustainable" in rich nations

... "We are at a crossroads for affordable cancer care, where our choices -- or refusal to make choices -- will affect the lives of millions of people," said Sullivan, who presented his report at the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress (EMCC) in Stockholm.

"Do we bury our heads in the sand, keep our fingers crossed, and hope that it turns out fine, or do we have difficult debates and make hard choices?"

The bill for the industrial age is coming due; I'm betting on choice number 1.

All the more reason to get your Vitamin D level checked (should be 50 to 70 ng/mL, according to Dr. Cannell, Vitamin D Council). Many diseases, and perhaps most cancers, are primarily symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency, especially because of the "T Cell Connection."


"This is like the Holy Grail of cancer medicine; vitamin D produced a drop in cancer rates greater than that for quitting smoking, or indeed any other countermeasure in existence."

~ Dennis Mangan, clinical laboratory scientist

Another reason vitamin D is important: It gets T cells going:

Firm commitments to carbon capture and storage are needed from governments and industry - IEA Deputy Executive Director

Speaking at the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum’s Ministerial meeting in Beijing, China, on 22 September, Ambassador Jones stressed that firm commitments to CCS are required from both governments and industry.

... Ambassador Jones stressed that if global warming is to be kept below two degrees Celsius increase, current policy efforts from governments around the world are not enough.

Labour conference: Jack Dromey says UK nuclear 'safe'

Shadow minister Jack Dromey has hailed UK nuclear power as a "sunrise industry" and dismissed safety fears.

"The possibility of a Fukushima-type accident in Britain is as remote as me getting hit by a meteor," he told a Labour conference fringe meeting.

The MP urged ministers to ensure British firms benefited from plans to build a new generation of reactors.

But anti-nuclear campaigners said the industry was guilty of "false promises" on cost and safety.

Don't worry, the last person to be hit by a meteorite in Britain was in about 1950... and we didn't have nuclear power then.

Another week, another record for US coal production. Up 1.1%.


Another note: Scanning the headlines to make sure I'm not being redundant, w/o having read the comments yet (working), I see a headline on "Peak Demand" F*$%#ing economists! Sure, we reached peak demand of $150/barrel oil. We surely haven't reached peak demand of $30/barrel oil. Those lying bastards!

"It's not peak oil, it's just peak demand..." AT WHAT PRICE!! You lying scum....

Eh? Where do you get "record for US coal production" from? Yes the 52 week running total is up 1.1% on last year but that's nowhere near a record.

A quick eyeball fact-check with the Energy Export databrowser says that US production was in a plateau between 1998-2008 while consumption highs were seen 2004-2008. The economic downturn whacked both production and consumption down pretty hard.

(Looking at pictures is so much easier than looking at tables of numbers.)


Although of note the BP figures are million tonnes of oil equivalent and the EIA figures are in short tons. As the mined coal quality drops this difference obviously becomes more important as it takes more weight for the same energy content. However, in terms of short tons as used by the EIA, production dropped from 1,171,809 to 1,074,923 thousand short tons between 2008 and 2009. The current EIA preliminary 52-week running total is 1,073,862 thousand short tons which is a long way short of 2008's total.

Thank you for the corrections.

I thought I had heard that we recently were at a record level of US coal production (to go along with the world's record CO2 emissions), and thus any increase, as my weekly update indicated, must therefore be a new record level of production.

Should have gone to the Energy Export databrowser, obviously!

Meltdown: The men who crashed the world

In the first episode of Meltdown, we hear about four men who brought down the global economy: a billionaire mortgage-seller who fooled millions; a high-rolling banker with a fatal weakness; a ferocious Wall Street predator; and the power behind the throne.

Chevron approves A$29bn Australia LNG project

... Analysts predict the Wheatstone project and others already planned will enable Australia eventually to become the world’s largest producer of LNG, eclipsing Qatar, currently the number one.

Wheatstone will initially have two LNG processing trains with combined capacity of 8.9m tonnes a year but Mr Kirkland said Chevron had already secured government approval to extend the project to 25m tonnes a year that would host five processing trains.

Syria seeks cutback in oil production because of E.U. embargo

Syria has told foreign oil companies to cut production as a backlog of crude fills its storage capacity because the government has been unable to bypass an embargo on exports imposed by the European Union.

The production losses compound the fine balance of supply and demand in the Mediterranean and European region, home of four of the world’s 10 largest oil-importing nations: Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

Italian Company Resumes Oil Production in Libya

Production is currently at about 31,900 barrels per day, Eni said, adding: “In the coming days, other wells will be re-activated in order to reach the required volumes to fill the pipeline connecting the field to the Zuetina terminal.”

Cars will consume more corn this year than livestock and poultry

USDA projected in its August crop production and supply demand estimates that ethanol plants will use 200 million more bushels of corn than animals will consume.

...“Critters have to eat, so many farms will have to downsize and that is reflected in the reduced forecast for meat production next year. You have to go back to 1995 to find a smaller amount of corn to be fed to livestock in the United States.

The very, very tight carryover is why corn prices are going to be record-high this year,” Plain said. “We really need to plant more acres to corn next year than this year, and this was the second most acres planted in 67 years.”

Aiming for a 13.5 million corn crop every year may not be a high enough goal, especially when any kind of weather problem can threaten supply. To rebuild stocks, the market will ask for a record corn crop in 2012.

Too bad they're not making land any more.

related Next Drought Victim: 2012 Wheat Crop?

Farmers know better than to seed in totally dry soil, yet insurance requires them to sow a crop if they expect to get reimbursed. Damned if you do damned if you don't.

Well, you might say they are. If prices get high enough, less useful land may be employed. The trouble is that the equipment that can work great and cheaply on the flattest land doesn't do so well elsewhere. I suspect the result will be either dropping the ethanol requirement or pork and chicken will become much more popular. Chicken only needs four lb of grain to make one lb of meat, with cattle it can take something like 12. We might even see peak human weight as a result of the high corn prices.

We might even see peak human weight as a result of the high corn prices.

Only if it affects the price of Twinkies and Coke (the black fizzy liquid one).


Reportedly 10% of the average American diet comes from HFCS.

Corn sweetener to cost 30% more next year, Cargill warns

Jim Rogers says buy agricultural commodities now. Oil later.


Never eat grain fed beef.
You are contributing to a Industrial Ag system that is raping and scraping ecosystems, depleting topsoil and fossil aquifers, and creating dead zones in the oceans.
Grass fed beef sequesters carbon, and tastes much better.
And it is local in my world.


A nice noble idea I agree with, but one very hard to market. I had 50 lambs, all grass fed, no antibiotics, that I had to take to the regular livestock auction this summer. No premium there. In fact, there was a substantial penalty. Fat, conventional Suffolks fetched almost a dollar higher. I saved a bunch more for fall market, but it looks they will go the same way. Just no buyers. I imagine what grass fed beef I have will go the same way....so some of your grocery store meat will be grass fed. (It won't be high end restaurants, they take the highest grades, probably end up Mcburger. With the retail chain groceries taking the lowest grades of meat to perpetuate their sales, it's a wonder people still buy meat. There's such a spread in taste and quality between what is available to most consumers via grocery stores, and grass fed.)

Do without, if that is your only option. Grain fed beef is not good for either--too many Omega-6 fatty acids, too few Omega-3s.

The Economics of Tail Events with an Application to Climate Change

One way to think about tail events is to note that you can be extremely surprised by an outcome when a process has fat tails. This “surprise” can be measured by asking how deviant of an observation might turn up when you have many observations. For example, suppose that you have looked at housing prices for fifty years and observe that they have never declined. So, you place your bets on housing prices continuing to rise. But then you get a draw from a fat-tailed distribution and housing prices fall—not just a little, but 20 or 40 percent. This is what happened in the U.S. housing market after 2006.

Now, suppose you were in the oil market in the early 1970s. Suppose further you were a trader who eschewed any economic theories and just looked at historical data (which is not an absurd approach given the unpredictability of oil prices). Oil prices had been pretty stable, and the “sigma” was about 5 percent on a monthly basis. But then, in 1973, we had, by historical standards, a thirty-seven-sigma event (see Figure 1, which shows the high-sigma stock market and oil price surprises events on a monthly basis). No wonder many people thought the economic world as we knew it was coming to an end in 1973. If we could have a thirty-seven-sigma event, then we can rule out almost nothing (except phenomena inconsistent with the laws of nature).

We might have thought that the “spikes” in Figure 1 were near-zero-probability events, and perhaps never even contemplated that such tremendous changes in stock or oil prices could occur. But it turns out that our implicit, standard statistical reasoning was wrong. Thus, we were “surprised” because rather than the distributions being normal, they had fat tails. This means that the probability of the “way-out” events occurring was much greater than predicted by the normal distribution.

Economy at edge of new recession — Roubini

... "There is growing inequality all over the world. We have already seen middle-class unrest in Israel. Germans have smashed fat cats' cars," Prof Roubini said.

He predicted there would be protests as well in the world’s largest economy . "As we go into another recession, there will be unrest in the US."

9/25/2011 Protest Song... We are the 99%

Michael Moore At Occupy Wall Street (VIDEO)

It's time to make them pay. Tax Them. Tax them. Tax them. How much? Not enough. How much? Still not enough.

EDIT: Added Michael Moore

Don't miss this audio interview with Richard Heinberg:

Richard Heinberg, The End of Growth
Adapting to Our New Economic Reality

Economists insist that recovery is at hand, yet unemployment remains high, real estate values continue to sink, and governments stagger under record deficits. The End of Growth proposes a startling diagnosis: humanity has reached a fundamental turning point in its economic history. The expansionary trajectory of industrial civilization is colliding with non-negotiable natural limits.

Richard Heinberg’s latest landmark work goes to the heart of the ongoing financial crisis, explaining how and why it occurred, and what we must do to avert the worst potential outcomes. Written in an engaging, highly readable style, it shows why growth is being blocked by three factors:

Resource depletion
Environmental impacts
Crushing levels of debt


From SkyTruth

Fire Reported in Gulf of Mexico

"This just caught our eye on the SkyTruth Alerts: multiple aircraft flying over the Gulf late last night reported seeing a fire about 60 miles southeast of the tip of the Mississippi Delta, in deep water about 20 miles south-southeast of BP's failed Macondo well."


shark - Multiple possibilities from unimportant to very serious. Noble is drilling in that area: could be a burning rig that blew out to NG being flared on test. If it's a bad situation we'll hear something from the Coast Guard this morning.

An article on flaring of NG in North Dakota

In North Dakota, Flames of Wasted Natural Gas Light the Prairie

All told, 30 percent of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is burned as waste. No other major domestic oil field currently flares close to that much, though the practice is still common in countries like Russia, Nigeria and Iran. With few government regulations that limit the flaring, more burning is also taking place in the Eagle Ford shale field in Texas, and some environmentalists and industry executives say that it could happen in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Ohio, too, as drilling expands in new fields there unlocked by techniques like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

More on why this is being done

The oil companies say economic reality is driving the flaring in the Bakken, the biggest oil field discovered in the United States in four decades. They argue that they cannot afford to pay for pipelines and processing plants to capture and sell the gas until they actually drill oil wells and calculate how much gas will bubble out of the oil. And reinjection of the carbon dioxide, commonly done in conventional oil fields, is more difficult and expensive in less permeable shale fields

ROCKMAN and all...is all this really necessary or are people just cutting corners citing economics ?

wi - "...until they actually drill oil wells and calculate how much gas will bubble out of the oil." A fair bit of BS in that statement. They have a very good estimate of how much NG will come from each well. And that's exactly why they flare. It is all about economics. It could cost 100's of $million to $billions to lay all the NG pipelines to gather all the associated NG. And the nature of these shale plays makes it even more difficult but they don't want to bring that aspect into discussion...won't help stroke their stock price. Pipeline economics typically require a long life to justify the investment. Typically takes 5+ years just to recover the initial investment. But the decline rates of these wells is very high. The Eagle Ford wells have clearly exhibited an 80% to 90% DR. Thus even though there are major NG transport lines in the play laying a short p/l to an individual well isn't economic since it won't produce long enough.

Reinjection would be a nice conservation alternative but the same economic road block if not worse. Besides laying gathering lines to collect the NG more infrastructure/pipelines need to be built. Certainly a horrible waste but it's a simple choice: waste the NG and increase oil production or give up the oil. There is one possibility that I researched years ago to monetize stranded NG: small portable NG fired electric generators. But that would require a power grid tie in to each well. Cheaper than a p/l but not cheap. But the NG would still be burned so the same level of GHG production but it would produce power.

There is one possibility that I researched years ago to monetize stranded NG: small portable NG fired electric generators. But that would require a power grid tie in to each well. Cheaper than a p/l but not cheap. But the NG would still be burned so the same level of GHG production but it would produce power.

Good idea. Maybe someone will figure out a way to store that excess energy in portable format economically, like hydrogen or compressed air. You'd be familiar with that tech already.

wi - Would be nice but there's still the same basic probelm: scaling up. Collectively it's a lot of NG but a relatively small amount per well. Any system would have to work on multiple wells sequentially and have a fairly local end user. Again, collectively $billions of NG to be harvested, but per unit cost is high. Frustrating...frustrating. I've left NG in the ground and abandoned wells for the same reason. Frustrating...

One would think that a small, portable unit could be built which would separate the liquids, such as propane and butane, from the methane and store those for truck transport out of the field. Propane appears to be a rather valuable product, which is still used for dispersed heating needs. Lately, there seems to be a growing demand, with the result being higher prices to the consumer. Use some of the methane to run the separation process and inject the remainder back into the formation or use it to make methanol...

E. Swanson

I think the hydrogen sulfide is the real deal killer out in the field. It has a way of crapping up most catalysts.

Separating propane and butane from methane is a physical process, requiring no catalyst. That's the result of the fact that propane condenses to a liquid at a much higher temperature than methane. Decompress the remaining methane by running it thru a turbine and use the turbine outlet to partially pressurize the incoming mixture. Use the heat released by condensing the propane to heat the methane as it passes thru the turbine, perhaps between stages, recovering some of the energy which would otherwise be dumped into the surroundings. A small version could be built on a trailer with a diesel engine powered by the methane running the compressor. To be sure, hydrogen sulfide would be a problem, but solutions to that one should be well known by now...

E. Swanson

Sorry BD - my bad

The H2S and catalyst comment went with the methane to methanol rxn. Thx for the gas separation explanation, though

Your solution would have to be truck (or train) portable - able to fit in a shipping container or series of them so it can be moved to the next site.

I'm sure there's a tax incentive in there somewhere.....

I think there are some catalytic reactions to convert methane to methanol that would efficiently convert it to a liquid fuel thats conpatible with most ICE.

Feasible use of methane as a raw material

Scientists finely control methane combustion to get different products

S - Someone comes up with a patent to make economical use of that flared NG they would be a bilionaire overnight. For one thing, the state would manadate it so they would get their cut of the revenue stream. And the minerlas owners would require it for the sake of a royaity bump.

Easy, Feed it into some large diesel engines/generators. It is what they do with gas from landfills.

Mount same on flatbed of 18 wheel truck. Connect to nearest farm line (usually in 10 kV range - most are rated for at least 12 MW).

Where's my check ?

Best Hopes for Lunch @ Commander's Palace,


Alan - you get your check when you build the transmission lines to that farmer and get him to promise to pay for all the e- generated.

That's the big problem I think: you can generate a lot e- at the well sire cheap given that the NG is "free". But you have no use for 99% of your output at the well site. Something akin to producing 3,000 acres of wheat but doing it from 3,000 one acre tracks that are seperated by many miles. That dang economy of scale again. Like I said: frustrating. Over my career I've probably left more than $40 million of stranded NG in the ground due to the logistics road block. Collectively the oil patch has probably left many $billions behind. The huge ME and Asia fields can justify those very expensive LNG trains. Did you see Chevron's proposal for a $29(Aussie)BILLION LNG train down under? Got to sell a lot of LNG to make that capex back.

The farmer's homestead has a transformer and connection to the grid.

Use short poles and 10 kV cables to run from the well site to the nearest line - rarely much over a mile away in farming country and often much closer (one homestead/section i.e. square mile when REA electrified area in 1930s and 1940s). Sell power to local co-op.

I strongly suspect this arrangement is economic but overlooked because BAU in the oil patch does not consider this option.

Best Hopes for less wasted energy,


PS: "Someone" should set up a flatbed based generator that can generate at the most common distribution voltages.

This should fit the bill. Easy to operate (minimal ground crew).

Skygas Natural Gas Transport Dirigible the SkyCat-1500 SkyGas will lift some 2.5 million cubic metres of natural gas (NG) in gaseous form at a time straight from the well-head and discharge it directly into the end-user delivery flange.

Do I get a finders fee LOL ?

Pretty tight margin

Low cost: SkyGas can transport NG at a cost of approx. $1.00 per 1,000 cubic feet over an A-B distance of 1,000km and approx. $3.50 per 1,000 cu. ft. over 3,000km.

Natural Gas $3.82 Oct 11 5:14PM EDT

Easy, Feed it into some large diesel engines/generators. It is what they do with gas from landfills.

Taking landfill gas and oxidizing it inside an internal combustion engine is not "easy". The raw gas has all kinds of things which become acids - acids which react with the engine metal.

A few thousand hours later - scrap metal.

A majority of landfill gas goes to diesel generators. Some is flared, some goes to brick kilns, perhaps some goes to turbines, etc.

Austin Texas gets# a steady 4 MW from it's primary landfill for example.

# Twenty year old data.


I think these guys are on the right track...


They have an aqueous phase, single step, non- catalytic, process to make methanol from methane No syngas production required. The only thing it does need is an oxygen plant, which is part of their design.

Their units are portable and are designed to operate at the wellhead -from 50k cu.ft of gas/day to 30m cu.ft/day, and produce a water based solution containing mostly methanol, some ethanol and formaldehyde. When the well is done, you pick it up and move it to another one.

There would be some post- processing required - like distillation - to extract the M and E but that is no big deal.

Seems like a good idea to me but the company is not getting much interest from the oil co's or VC's, so they don't have much capital to go any further. A few government $ here would be much better use than Solyndra ever was.

Now, whether this is a better value proposition than just hooking up a landfill style generator is a different question - but it does produce two liquid fuels (methanol and ethanol) that can be blended into gasoline, today. So, if implemented, these units can reduce oil imports, while generating electricity does not.

Paul - very interesting. But is there a catch? These guys are selling the equipment...not offering to do the conversion. If the project were economical why wouldn't an operator in one of these trends do it? If I can buy/lease such a unit and net an extra $500/month from each well why wouldn't I? Heck, the feds might even give me a carbon credit on top of it. I have $50 million in my budget I won't spend this year. If the unit can make a decent rate of return why wouldn't I throw the whole $50 mill at it? For that matter why wouldn't ExxonMobil throw $500 mill at it? They and the other Big Oils are chocking on cash right now. Chevron just announced they were going to throw $29 BILLION (Aus.) at an LNG plant down under. The monies are there.

Maybe the same problem I had with mobil NG fired e- generators in KY. I had one potential low volume well right next to a big Alcoa aluminum plant and couldn't get the economics to work selling to them at retail rate. They even had to shut down at times for lack of e-. Looked good on paper at first until the "details" killed the economics.

I suspect the killer was a high voltage transformer - they are pricey. Aluminum smelters usually buy power at high voltages.

Local distribution is usually in the 10 to 22 kV range (from memory). Old REA lines would likely be at 10 kV or so.


Rock - there are two issues for this system, at present;

Firstly, these guys have developed it, and have an operating pilot plant, but need capital and/or a customer to build the first production unit. They have had some discussion with some of the larger oil co's - who have refused to sign NDA's, so they are very wary about their technology being stolen.

Second issue is the product - they don;t have a buyer for the raw product, and the methanol companies who could process it aren't interested in such small volumes, and aren't operating in the Mich/Dakota area.

I think they need to partner with an oilfield service company, who then would lease the unit to you, and would likely be able to find someone to post process the stuff. Refineries could use the M&E but the formaldehyde is a different matter.

But, with stranded NG worth zero, and methanol at the equivalent of $18/mmbtu, there is certainly a good spread there. It all comes down to the ROI on their equipment.

They aren;t even looking for $50m. I have had some contact with this company, but I am an interested observer, but can;t help them. Right now, they are looking $2m to build the first production unit - and someone willing to turn their flare gas into M+E.

They have had no interest from VC's because they are too small, and the VC's only seem to be interested in leveraging gov funding to cash out, not getting into the boring business of producing stuff!

it's kinda odd, because if you distil the product to get the M+E mix, (and make it anhydrous) you can blend that directly into gasoline - which can be up to 2% methanol - so there is certainly a market there.

If you are interested, or know someone who might be, they would be very happy to hear from you/them.

There are a lot of wells flaring gas out there, and landfills too...

It is all about economics. It could cost 100's of $million to $billions to lay all the NG pipelines to gather all the associated NG. And the nature of these shale plays makes it even more difficult but they don't want to bring that aspect into discussion...won't help stroke their stock price.

Just thought this comment deserves highlighting.

North Dakota doesn't seem to have a lot of regulations to limit flaring gas. In Alberta this would attract a visit from inspectors from the Energy Resources Conservation Board, who if provoked, would put a padlock on the production facility and order them to install a gas gathering system before they produced any more oil. Companies usually avoid provoking them because they know they have the power to shut in an oil field.

Alberta does, however, have the largest rural natural gas distribution system in the world, built with considerable government support. This is the other side of the coin - if you are going to conserve the gas, what are you going to do with it? Selling it to rural consumers seemed like the best choice.

Rocky - Texas used to be a lot more restrictive re; flaring NG. But they've loosed up the rules a good bit for the Eagle Ford. Such a waste but with the EF not being the most profitable play around pipelining requirements might kill much of the drilling.

Alberta had a bad experience during the 20's and 30's when oil companies flared off about $20 billion (at current prices) worth of gas at the Turner Valley oil field, which at time was the biggest oil field in Canada (or, for that matter, the British Empire).

At that point in time, Canada was importing 90% of its oil from the US (something of a reversal of the current situation) and oil companies were only interested in the oil. But Turner Valley was primarily a gas/condensate field and they had to flare an awful lot of gas to get the condensate.

However, people in Calgary could see the flames in the night-time sky and smell the gas, and they were mighty upset about it, because they knew they could use the gas to heat their houses if only someone would deliver it to their door. It was a lot cheaper than fuel oil.

Some epic court battles ensued in which the Alberta government proved beyond doubt that it could pass legislation faster than the oil companies and the federal government could strike it down, and eventually conservation legislation was established and enforced.

However, many people are still sensitive about the issue. One company I know of had a thriving business building flare stacks in which the pilot light was invisible, because if people saw the pilot light, they would call up the government and complain that oil companies were wasting gas.

The ND Industrial Commission(NDIC), like all oil and gas regulatory commissions - as i am sure you know, are charged with preventing waste and protecting correlative rights.

The NDIC has repeatedly concluded that they are preventing waste by promoting waste. The logic they have used boils down to the fact that the value of the oil is much greater than the value of the gas. How did the NDIC arrive at this conclusion ? Operators present testimony to that effect.

The NDIC rules on the testimony they are presented with and if no-one is there to object, they bend over and rule in favor of the operators. Sort of like re-inventing the wheel every time.

Last month leader of the opposition in the UK, Labour Leader Ed Miliband, was spotted reading Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet

Is more economic growth the solution? Will it deliver prosperity and well-being for a global population projected to reach nine billion? In this explosive book, Tim Jackson, a top sustainability adviser to the UK government, makes a compelling case against continued economic growth in developed nations.

No one denies that development is essential for poorer nations. But in the advanced economies there is mounting evidence that ever-increasing consumption adds little to human happiness and may even impede it. More urgently, it is now clear that the ecosystems that sustain our economies are collapsing under the impacts of rising consumption. Unless we can radically lower the environmental impact of economic activity – and there is no evidence to suggest that we can – we will have to devise a path to prosperity that does not rely on continued growth.

He is about to make his annual speech to the Labour Party Conference - interesting to see if his speech reflects anything in the book.

An earlier draft of the book is available for free at http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/publications.php?id=914

Thanks for the link. Looks interesting.

Interestingly the response of the current Tory/LibDem government was to close down the Sustainable Development Commission as part of its cuts programme.

Ed Miliband's speech went dead on all channels. "All contact with Liverpool lost" reported - BBC has just finally restored an audio only feed. Disaster - what was the single point of failure for all networks and all channels for about ten minutes? Someone should be sacked for that.

Edit: Video finally restored. Wonder what we missed? Will have to read the transcript.

BBC now reports failure was due to a "massive power failure". No it wasn't, it was due to massive incompetence by all broadcasters - don't they possess a single UPS between them? Notably the power did not fail in the conference centre itself.

Study finds benefits of plug-in vehicles depend on battery size

... "Current government policy provides larger subsidies for vehicles with larger battery packs, assuming that larger is better," said Michalek, an associate professor of engineering and public policy and mechanical engineering at CMU.

"While larger battery packs allow plug-in vehicles to drive longer distances on electric power instead of gasoline, they are also expensive and heavy, they are underutilized when the battery capacity is larger than needed for a typical trip, they require more charging infrastructure and they produce more emissions during manufacturing."

"Because vehicles with larger battery packs are more expensive, fewer of them can be subsidized, and that can result in lower total benefits," said Michalek

Battery size is a very important issue. Ideally, you want the battery to be the smallest size necessary to handle your driving to reduce costs. Of course, we don't all drive the same distance and we don't all drive the same distance each day. So how do you handle this? The two big EVs on the market take 2 different approaches.

Volt PHEV Approach - put in a battery just barely big enough to handle a typical driver's day but include a gas engine as a back-up. In this manner, most miles driven will be electric. (In fact most Volt drivers are going hundreds of miles on electricity per gallon burned for gas miles.)

Leaf pure EV approach - Put in a battery big enough to handle more than typical daily driver's needs. However, when a driver needs to drive long distances, they'll need an alternate vehicle (2nd car, rental, borrow, etc.)

Although it is impossible to really know what is going on since the supply of vehicles are limited, I think the Leaf model is doing better right now. Probably because for the price of a Volt, you can buy a Leaf and decent used gas car. But I think both models are useful and fill a need. I hope both models enjoy continued success.

"Current government policy provides larger subsidies for vehicles with larger battery packs, assuming that larger is better,"

That is misleading. The current policy provides a tax credit that requires a minimum of 4KWH and goes up until it hits a maxium at 16KWH. That is exactly the size of the GM Volt pack (certainly not a coincidence). So the Volt gets the same tax-credit as the Leaf which has a larger (24KWH) battery pack. Thus, the current policy does not really favor larger packs.

The current policy provides a tax credit that requires a minimum of 4KWH and goes up until it hits a maxium at 16KWH. That is exactly the size of the GM Volt pack (certainly not a coincidence). So the Volt gets the same tax-credit as the Leaf which has a larger (24KWH) battery pack. Thus, the current policy does not really favor larger packs.

Sure it does - it certainly "encouraged" GM to put 16kWh in the Volt.
But what if a carmaker came up with small, innovative, efficient, two seater EV - something akin to the original GM EV-1, that only needed 12kWh of battery to get the same range as the Leaf?
Should it not deserve the same subsidy?

Any car designer can add batteries to get more subsidy, but the real challenge should be to have the car designer earn his subsidy by getting more range per charge and/or kWh (under standard test conditions). Then the designer really has to start optimising things, maybe even reducing excess weight by eliminating luxuries like electric windows, power adjustable seats, etc. So then they have a minimalist model that gets maximum tax credit, and if you want to pay for the range-reducing luxuries - be it power windows or four seats - then you can also afford a lesser tax credit.

I actually think the Volt approach is more appropriate today, when many people are not ready for the inherent range limitations of pure EV. BUT, you are correct that GM has simply made the Volt too expensive. People who want an economical GM car are buying the Cruze, and if they can wait another year, they can even buy the diesel version of the Cruze.

So the Volt is a classic case of a nice idea pricing itself out of the market. If it was $10k cheaper, I expect it would be selling well.

In the case of the EV, the future is with small, and that is something that most Americans are not willing to pay for.

CMU Researchers Find Natural Gas a Better Low Carbon Fuel in Electricity Sector Than Transportation Arena

... The researchers suggest that acknowledging uncertainty in life cycle analysis is becoming more critical, especially when the results of these analyses are used to inform climate policy design. In this paper, they suggest that there is a higher probability of reducing current GHG emissions if natural gas is used to substitute coal for base-load power, instead of using it as compressed natural gas (CNG) for transportation.

"The probability of achieving GHG emission reductions by using natural gas instead of coal in efficient power plants is almost 100 percent. If CNG were used for transportation instead of gasoline and diesel, the emissions reduced would be much lower. There is even a 10 to 35 percent probability that GHG emissions would increase with CNG vehicles...

Pickens plan may not be the most efficient use of NG

Portland as a "Resilient Community"

... Through my involvement with LEAP I have concluded that as a society, we are energy illiterate, which in turn helps cause chaos. When people throw out terms like "energy independent" it is pretty much nonsense, considering the sheer gargantuan amount of energy necessary for our society to function. Instead, a better discussion to have is to identify the minimum amount of energy necessary for our society to function- and then figure out how to insure that we have that.

This seems to be "Going Viral" - more than 40,000 plays in less than a day.

BBC Speechless As Trader Tells Truth: "The Collapse Is Coming...And Goldman Rules


That's because Glenn Beck just featured it on his radio show.

Zero Hedge featured it as well. BBC confirming the trader, Alessio Rastani, was genuine and not an imposter as some have suggested. Many media outlets now picking it up.


"...millions of people are going to lose their savings, and this is just the beginning... The time to protect your assets is now.."

No suggestions on how to do that. Cash? It's likely this guy positioned himself well, before dropping this little bomb.

I'm not sure it is all crashing down as Rastani claims. Why? Because they are talking about forgiving 1/2 of Greece's debt.

So when push comes to shove, humankind keeps finding fancy fiscal ways to avert disaster. Amazing, however won't these forgiven loans as they pile up devalue currency? Are we still not headed towards some sort of collapse by way of lost confidence in currencies?

Man! If I could just get Angela Merkel to tell me what she was going to say next, I could make 3% every week.

Forgive 1/2 of Greece's debt? Who holds that debt?

Central banks? Forgiven debt = socializing these losses.

Pensions and retirement funds? Again = socializing these losses.

Private megabanks (already at/near insolvency)? What happens to all of those CDS and derivatives?

I wonder what the banker bonuses will look like, for "averting this crisis".

The downsides of vapor capital.....

TAE, today:

Ilargi: The latest greatest plan to save Europe, or the Eurozone, or the Euro, whichever sounds better, involves taking the present legal authority and financial clout of the EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility), which due to become the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) in 2013, and expand them greatly, something like this (Reuters' David Lawder and Daniel Flynn quote a "top EU official"):

Europe aims to beef up crisis fund:

"We need to find a mechanism where we can turn one euro in the EFSF into five, but there is no decision on how we could do that yet" the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Ilargi: You take an X amount of money and then you leverage it by a factor of five and claim it's actually worth 5X. Something like that. And this in a supra-governmental kind of "fund" (whichever of the two) that carries the term "stability" in its name.

If "leveraged stability" is not already considered an oxymoron, it should and will be from now on in. All these people, from Merkel to Geithner to Lagarde, will tell you that this stuff is aimed at "restoring confidence -in the markets-". Like the markets don't understand what happens when €1 becomes €5 at the mere stroke of a keyboard.

...and a related article showing that there is historical precedence that this could work: Feeding the multitude

Because they are talking about forgiving 1/2 of Greece's debt.

Perk, I admire your optimism about the prospect of the Europeans doing anything about Greece.

What about Italy? What about the other PIIGS? Every time the EU has announced a game plan, it has unraveled in days. Usually done in by the markets.

When we say BAU is over, an element of that is the inability of sovereign authorities (the political class) to solve the fiscal conundrum. Goldman Sach has managed to profit from each of the down turns so far. A bear market is driven by the same force as the bull, greed. Who to say traders or the key brokers will always want an expanding market? The game may be up and the smart money may be banking on it.

Maybe it explains this ...

Federal Reserve Bank of New York Sentiment Analysis and Social Media Monitoring Proposal

Federal Reserve Bank of New York (“FRBNY”) is extending to suppliers an invitation to participate in an Sentiment Analysis And Social Media Monitoring Solution RFP bid process.

The intent is to establish a fair and equitable partnership with a market leader who will who gather data from various social media outlets and news sources and provide applicable reporting to FRBNY. This Request for Proposal (“RFP”) was created in an effort to support FRBNY’s Social Media Listening Platforms initiative.

... Here are some of the services it can offer:

o Track reach and spread of your messages and press releases
o Handle crisis situations
o Continuously monitor conversations
o Identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers
o Spot emerging trends, discussions themes and topics

The solution must provide real-time monitoring of relevant conversations. It should provide sentiment analysis (positive, negative or neutral) around key conversational topics.

and we think 'No One Listens To Us!'

An RFP to be the eyes and ears of Big Brother!

Wonder what Orwell would make of all the "social media" and google monitoring today - it seems like we are getting close to some of his predictions?

For the record, I never meant any of those things I said about Peak Oil. Actually, I was never here.

Re: Be Seeing You ...

Senate Intel Committee Blocks Report on “Secret Law”

The Senate Intelligence Committee rejected an amendment that would have required the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence to confront the problem of “secret law,” by which government agencies rely on legal authorities that are unknown or misunderstood by the public.

The amendment, proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Mark Udall, was rejected on a voice vote, according to the new Committee report on the FY2012 Intelligence Authorization Act.

“We remain very concerned that the U.S. government’s official interpretation of the Patriot Act is inconsistent with the public’s understanding of the law,” Senators Wyden and Udall wrote. “We believe that most members of the American public would be very surprised to learn how federal surveillance law is being interpreted in secret.”

The Senators included dissenting remarks, along with the text of their rejected amendment, in the Committee report.

“It is a matter of public record that there have been incidents in which intelligence agencies have failed to comply with the FISA Amendments Act, and that certain types of compliance violations have continued to recur,” Senators Wyden and Udall wrote. “We believe it is particularly important to gain an understanding of how many Americans may have had their communications reviewed as a result of these violations.”

related Sen. Wyden Decries “Secret Law” on PATRIOT Act

and Wyden: Patriot Act Secrecy is “Intolerable”

Who is this Peak Oil? Never heard of him! Sounds like he should be banned.

Wonder what Orwell would make of all the "social media" and google monitoring today

I would think The Activist Post Co-Founder (Not Michael Edwards, the other one) would have an opinion.


(Interestingly one of the latest posts was on the FED when they were shutdown - thus early reporting tied this FED RFP to the shutdown. )

The game may be up and the smart money may be banking on it.

I'd guess more likely, re: european "debt crisis", the game may be up and the smart money is causing it.

Should have posted at least one link earlier for the copy of the post (reposted at bottom). Confused yet? :)

Here's one: http://www.cnbc.com/id/44668269

Austria: 'Greek debt forgiveness last resort'

VIENNA - Austria's finance minister says she considers forgiving Greece part of its multibillion euro debt only a "very last" option for eurozone nations.

From an earlier post of mine higher up on thread:

I'm not sure it is all crashing down as Rastani claims. Why? Because they are talking about forgiving 1/2 of Greece's debt.

So when push comes to shove, humankind keeps finding fancy fiscal ways to avert disaster. Amazing, however won't these forgiven loans as they pile up devalue currency? Are we still not headed towards some sort of collapse by way of lost confidence in currencies?

Tow, "Going Viral" indeed. More than 366,000 hits and rising at:


Obviously what he is saying is striking a cord. Allesio Rastani is a typical trader, willing to sell his mother for a quick buck (and he may not be entirely disinterested in the reaction he's causing), but is upfront about how shallow the smoke and mirrors charade of political action really is. When he says Goldman Sachs rules the world he is merely repeating a fairly broadly understood perception: not only is the Emperor not wearing any clothes - the apparel has been pawned by the unscrupulous tailor.

Tow, "Going Viral" indeed. More than 366,000 hits and rising


I wonder if this will show up anywhere on the MSM here?

That poor newsreader looked like she dirtied her shorts.

Sounds like he's channeling Michael Ruppert, or Robert Hirsch from last years ASPO conference.

I don't think we'll have to wait 12 months though.

New Study – Traders are worse than Psychopaths
The University in St. Gallen, Switzerland (how appropriate) has come out with a study that compares traders with psychopaths. The surprising result was that not only do traders act like psychos, they’re worse. I’m not surprised at this at all. From NZZ:

The study reviewed the direct comparison of results with an existing study of 24 psychopaths in German high-security hospitals and a control group of 27 "normal" people.

The “normal people” that is referred to are 27 traders. Stock guys, FX/commodities traders and derivative types were the “normal' people that were stacked up against the actual crazies in the German nut house.

Even the experts were surprised by the result. They attest to the stock market professionals with a penchant for immense destruction.

The performance of the 27 dealers is even worse than the psychopaths.
"It's like beating one of the neighbor’s expensive cars with a baseball bat with the sole objective of owning the most beautiful car in the neighborhood."

Perhaps psychopaths are drawn to the idea of power and money in the stock market. In fact, worse, these would be the psychopaths allowed to continue being that way... or even told to continue and be encouraged by others.

His recommendations on dealing with a market crash are perfectly logical and reasonable in the context of making money. If he's really smart he will have a book deal by the end of the year.

I used to think that I was a psychopath, it turns out I'm just a bus lane.

(Sorry about that, but it's my favourite joke at the moment and couldn't resist).

It my be an adaptation as opposed to a disorder, link. Quite a few traders, politicians, lawyers, televangelists and such seem to have some shared traits with psychopaths that are behind bars.

Lake Mead is at 50% capacity for the first time since Mar 30th 2008.

Mead and Powell combined are at nearly 61% with Powell at 72.5%


..............Mead Powell
9/2010 1085' 3634'
9/2011 1115' 3653'

Not sure what you are trying to say.

From New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) (Some interesting stuff on this site)

Scientists flag global food pricing too hot to ignore

The paper, “The Food Crises: A Quantitative Model of Food Prices Including Speculators and Ethanol Conversion,” was prepared by the New England Complex Systems Institute in a study partly funded by the U.S. Army.

The results show that the dominant causes of price increases are investor speculation and ethanol conversion. Models that just treat supply and demand are not consistent with the actual price dynamics. ...Using direct tests and statistical analysis, the paper pinpoints what is going on in global food pricing today. The authors discuss the motivations, techniques, and impact of commodity speculation, weather, development, and additional factors that are rounding out the pricing puzzle—exchange rates and energy costs.

Manuscript is available at: http://necsi.edu/research/social/food_prices.pdf.

related http://necsi.edu/research/social/foodcrises.html

No surprise there.

Producing ethanol from corn has linked food and fuel together in the market.

U.S. solar panel maker’s bankruptcy reveals poor policy


"By limiting the government's role to the initial policy decision, the enabling legislation and the annual revision of rate schedules, Germany instead has largely put the market in charge. Maybe the Solyndra experience will help American politicians see the light."

Link from the Feed-In-Summary at :


Yeah, the way you implement a government move into a market can make a big difference. Just picking companies to give money to doesn't seem to be a good idea. But having a broad tax-credit for solar energy allows all the solar companies to compete evenly for those tax-credits.

The same is probably true for electric vehicles. Just giving loans to EV company X is probably not as good as the $7500 tax credit that allows all the auto-makers to compete for those $7500 tax-credits. The problem with the $7500 tax-credit though is that the car companies are not competing against each other for them . . . they all get a slice. Thus, this is allowing car companies to drag their feet and wait until the battery prices are lower before jumping into the market.

Hmmmm, I wonder who sold them to Kadaffy Duck in the first place?

"Surface to air missles. Get your surface to air missles! Come on folks these prices won't last long. Now who wants a surface to air missle?"

Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel hit by 6th attack

Gunmen Tuesday blew up a pipeline that supplies gas to Israel and Jordan. Egyptian officials say the attackers arrived at the Sinai Peninsula facility in two pickup trucks before dawn. A loud explosion then rocked the pumping station, sending an orange plume of fire into the sky.

also http://thedailynewsegypt.com/egypt/egypt-gas-pipeline-to-jordan-israel-s...

and http://www.jordantimes.com/index.php?news=41754

Here's my post on the background context:

Egypt's Natural Gas Trends and Potential Impacts with an updated list of links to articles.

or the Oil Drum version of the same with TOD comments.

Very comprehensive. Knew Egypt was hurting for water, and by extension, grain. Seems they are in the nut-cracker regarding O&G, also.

Recall a piece by the VOA a while back that suggested the potential for a large reserve in the desert. One problem. It was the site of major WWII offensive. Estimated half a million unexploded ordinance.

Who put the ordinance there? Shouldn't they pay to remove it?

Who put the ordinance there? Shouldn't they pay to remove it?

General Monty and General Rommel

Knew Egypt was hurting for water, and by extension, grain.

KMO over at the C-REALM mentioned only 3% of the land grows grain in Egypt.

What can you say? they are tired of supporting people who would rather shoot and kill them rather then help them.

Interesting show, may not be news to a lot of people on here though.

The 'Worm' That Could Bring Down The Internet


I can't help noticing a new trend in some reporting. What's bad is really good, or part of "the plan".

Upside of economic worries: Lower gas prices


“The great recession had a negative impact on oil consumption, but it is not connected to the fall in demand.” That has been brought about by higher fuel economy standards and carbon regulations that were imposed under President Bush in 2007. - Yeah, a GREAT recession wouldn't affect demand.

I can't wait for the article on how Climate Change will mean everyone left can have a house that overlooks the ocean. Mmmm nice.

Well Saudi women might be allowed to vote in totally meaningless elections in four years time but their campaign to be allowed to drive is being literally whipped into reverse.

Saudi woman to be lashed for defying driving ban

A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a woman to 10 lashes for breaking the country's ban on female drivers.

The woman, identified only as Shema, was found guilty of driving in Jeddah in July.

Women2drive, which campaigns for women to be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, says she has already lodged an appeal.

In recent months, scores of women have driven vehicles in Saudi cities in an effort to put pressure on the monarchy to change the law.