Drumbeat: October 1, 2011

The Transition movement: Today Totnes... tomorrow the world

Its founder believes it is our best hope for a future after the worldwide banking crisis. Now, it seems, a growing number of people are starting to agree. The "Transition" movement has grown eightfold since the recession hit three years ago and is now operating in 35 countries around the world.

When the first Transition town was established five years ago in Totnes, Devon, the "experiment" was simple. Like-minded people would work on creating a more sustainable community to reduce their dependency on oil. By 2008, there were 100 registered initiatives in 11 countries. Today, there are more than 850 Transitions in three times as many countries. More than 300 groups have signed up in the past year.

Unconventional gas production costs in Gulf too high: Saudi Aramc

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco is keen to develop unconventional gas resources to meet rising demand in Saudi Arabia, but production costs are still too high, a senior company official has said.

In its 2010 annual report published in June, 2011, Aramco said it has started evaluating tight gas and shale gas resources, with an initial focus on the North-West area of the world's largest onshore oilfield, Ghawar, as gas infrastructure is already in place.

Chinese regions face severe winter power shortage-NEA

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's southern and central regions, which depend heavily on hydropower, will face a power supply squeeze this winter due to low water storage and strong demand growth, the country's top energy agency said on Thursday.

PM feared riots over power crisis: WikiLeaks


Problems in LPG supply

KUWAIT: Public unhappiness is growing in Kuwait at a shortage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders widely used for cooking, especially since Kuwait does not yet have any mains gas supply.

Turn in US-Saudi ties

Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's richest and most powerful state, is once again at loggerheads with the United States, its longtime patron, oil customer, and weapons dealer. The current split opened with the US abandonment of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in January and widened as President Barack Obama's administration haltingly embraced pro-democracy demands from the Arab street - a trend the kingdom staunchly opposes.

Blast kills four at Kuwait’s largest refinery

Four workers were killed and three firemen injured in a gas pipe explosion on Saturday at Kuwait’s largest refinery of Mina Al Ahmadi, an industry source told AFP.

Turkey ends gas deal with Russia

Turkey decided to terminate its 25-year old deal with Moscow on natural gas supplies, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz was quoted by CNN-Turk as saying.

The minister expressed hope that private companies would be allowed to tender for the gas.

Spain Denies Repsol’s Request to Probe Increased Pemex Stake

Spain’s energy regulator won’t investigate Petroleos Mexicanos’ increased stake in oil producer Repsol YPF SA (REP), denying a request from the Spanish company’s management for a review that could have lasted months.

The other Keystone debate

THE popular impression of the fight over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands to Texas, is that it is a clear-cut battle between greens and the energy industry. But in Canada the involvement of a third group blurs this dividing line: those who support development of the tar sands but don’t want the pipeline built.

Putin's gamble: a bet on high oil prices

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's decision to reclaim the Kremlin is a bet on high oil prices.

U-Md. ‘WaterShed’ home wins Solar Decathlon

A green home designed and built by University of Maryland students took top overall honors in this year’s U.S. Energy Department Solar Decathlon, which aims to showcase innovative and affordable solar-powered homes.

Energy Secretary Chu defends loan program for solar, renewable energy projects

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s energy chief, facing increased pressure over the failure of solar panel maker Solyndra, defended on Saturday a loan guarantee program that has provided billions of dollars for solar energy and other renewable energy projects.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said a stimulus law program that expired Friday will help develop the world’s largest wind farm in Oregon, several large solar power farms in California and Nevada, and the installation of solar panels on 750 rooftops in 28 states, among other projects.

Argentina: Change Energy Models Or Underpin Current One?

In Argentina there are positive signs and concrete steps toward a transition in energy production that leaves oil behind, but there is a risk of innovating without addressing the underlying problem. One key is to discuss why energy is needed: to satisfy the enormous demand from a consumption-based society, or with the hope of changing the energy system and social model, looking to consume less? The debate is just starting.

Kurt Cobb: The trouble with apocalypse

The great energy crisis of the 1970s passes and is followed by an era of cheap energy lasting more than 20 years. The great run-up in energy prices in recent years is followed by a collapse in prices, and then another run-up (and perhaps another collapse?). The “worst economic downturn since the Great Depression” is followed by a ceaselessly heralded recovery. The much feared Y2K computer bug was either fixed or of little consequence on January 1, 2000. A modern plague has been in the wings for years, first as SARS and then as avian flu. Now that the H1N1 virus is here, it doesn’t seem like the civilization-destroying event it was advertised to be. Even such events, despite the drama they propagate, create a certain cyclical continuity making them seem not all that remarkable. Once the worst is over or the predicted crisis fails to materialize, the fear that most people felt fades from memory.

Our Panarchic Future

A theory that explains the evolution of ecosystems may apply to civilizations as well-and it says we're approaching a critical phase.

John Michael Greer: A preparation for philosophy

Thus we’ve arrived as a society, and at a very late stage in the game, at the same point that classical philosophy reached after the execution of Socrates, when it became uncomfortably clear that having a small minority of people passionately interested in asking and answering the right questions was no guarantee against catastrophic levels of collective stupidity. The Neoplatonist answer was a personal answer, the development of a toolkit to make clear thinking and decisive action possible for anyone with the self-discipline, patience, and persistence to put the tools to work, and it’s as valid an approach now as it was in the days of Iamblichus—though it’s only fair to say that there are other ways of getting to the same place, some similar, some very different.

Surprise! U.S. might meet its climate targets

Back in 2009, at the global climate talks in Copenhagen, the United States promised to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. The conventional wisdom is that there’s no way we can possibly hit that target, especially after the Senate killed a cap-and-trade bill last year. But David Hone, the climate change adviser for Shell*, has a worthwhile analysis suggesting that the combination of the steep recession, new EPA rules on power plants, and low natural-gas prices might actually let us meet those goals, after all.

When food prices rise, some blame investors

Earlier this month, the German news magazine Der Spiegel published an in-depth article, called "Speculating with Lives," looking at what’s driving up food prices.

The authors argue that while some of the factors we hear a lot about, such as global warming, biofuels and population growth, are small contributors to rising food prices, they aren’t the main culprit.

Instead, the article points a finger at investors who have increasingly fled the financial markets and started trading in commodities such as silver, gold and, yes, food.

When Will We Admit that our Corn Ethanol Policy is Immoral?

Having just returned from a trip to Eastern Nebraska, I feel as if I participated in a movie set for "The Road" or its equivalent. It's all about ethanol in this region of the country and it's not a pretty sight. Because of our unbridled and unquenchable thirst for liquid fuels, this policy is creating a vast environmental ruin not so different from that of the tar sands areas of Canada. In recent years, this land which was a prairie a short one-hundred-and-fifty years ago has become a region that produces primarily only two industrial agricultural crops, corn and soybeans.

Nebraska, of all places, should not be producing large volumes of ethanol, since it does so largely through the use of irrigation using Ogallala aquifer water. Using irrigated corn further lessens the energy return on energy invested of already low EROEI corn ethanol, since irrigation requires large inputs of generated electricity. Yet, it is the nation's second largest ethanol producer, turning out about two billion gallons per year.

BIO: Advanced biofuels can be commercialized rapidly for military use

Advanced biofuels can be commercialized rapidly for military use, on military timelines, with adequate support and coordination of efforts by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense and Energy. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today submitted comments to the Air Force's Request for Information on the commercial status and market for advanced drop-in biofuels.

Biofuels May Push 120 Million Into Hunger, Qatar’s Shah Says

Biofuel policies in countries from Australia to the U.S. may push 120 million people into hunger by 2050 while doing little to halt climate change, said Mahendra Shah, an advisor to Qatar’s food security program.

So-called first-generation biofuels produced from commodity crops compete with food for land use and fertilizers, resulting in higher grain prices and increased deforestation, Shah said at the MENA Grains Summit in Istanbul today.

Hawaiian Electric disappointed by PUC's biofuels ruling

The PUC said Thursday that the contract price for the project is “excessive, not cost-effective and, thus, is unreasonable and inconsistent with the public interest.”

Oil Falls, Caps Biggest Quarterly Slump Since 2008 on Bets Demand to Drop

Oil capped the largest quarterly drop since the 2008 financial crisis by tumbling to a one-year low as signs of slowing growth in China, the U.S. and Germany heightened concern that fuel demand will weaken.

Futures dropped 3.6 percent after China’s purchasing managers’ index fell for a third month while German retail sales declined in August and U.S. consumer spending slowed. Prices tumbled 17 percent from the end of June, the biggest quarterly decline since the 56 percent plunge during the last three months of 2008.

Gasoline Cargoes to U.S. Set to Gain as Refinery Maintenance Crimps Supply

Gasoline shipments across the Atlantic Ocean will be at the highest level since June over the next two weeks on declining production from U.S. refineries and excess inventories in Europe, a survey showed.

Shell in Customer Talks After Fire Shuts Its Biggest Refinery

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc is in talks with customers about the supply of products as it halts all units at its largest oil refinery after the worst fire at the Singapore plant in 23 years.

Oil and water don't mix in Nebraska debate over pipeline

(Reuters) - The old adage that oil and water don't mix is proving true in Nebraska, where hundreds of people filled a small town gymnasium to protest a proposed oil pipeline they fear could pollute a major U.S. drinking water source.

Let Canada's oil flow

With oil at any price over $50 a barrel, Canada's economically viable oil reserves are greater than Saudi Arabia's and Canada could be reasonably relied upon not to lead an exploitive oil cartel, as Saudi Arabia has, raising oil prices to extort money from the West and Japan; rolling prices back only on the rare occasions when the United States made purposeful noises about emerging from its flaccid torpor and increasing domestic oil production and reducing demand for foreign oil. Fortunately, Canada has supplanted Saudi Arabia - soon by a margin of two million barrels per day to one million - as the largest foreign supplier of oil to the United States.

Analysis: Debt, dividend fears crush Canada's oil stocks

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - A combination of falling oil prices and debt levels better suited to headier days is hammering Canadian oil and gas shares as investors fret that growth prospects are shriveling.

Agency overseeing oil, gas exploration gets shakeup

The Obama administration fulfilled a vow made just after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to reorganize and revamp the beleaguered agency that oversees the domestic offshore oil and gas exploration and production.

Boosting Bakken Reserves

Twenty billion barrels of oil.

That's only six billion barrels behind Saudi Arabia's Ghawar oil field, making it the second largest reserve in the world.

U.S. Energy Boom: Peak Oil Postponed

Energy exploration activity is booming in all across both North and South America. From the Alaskan Arctic, to the the tar sands region in Canada, along with booming North Dakota and many other locations, North America is once again an energy hotspot. In South America, important new fields are being discovered in Brazil, Colombia and even Argentina. These new discoveries may well offset the conventional wisdom that all the big oil fields have already been discovered.

Q&A: Daniel Yergin found surprises while writing ‘The Quest’

Yergin talked to FuelFix recently about surprises he found while writing the book, the obsessive individuals at the heart of energy innovation, and what stories he had to leave out.

How politics fail America's need for energy independence

No less than eight presidents and multiple congressional sessions said they would put America on the path to energy independence. All failed, here’s why and how that can change with the NAT GAS Act.

Ireland: A blot on the landscape? Depends how you look at it

The proposed national landscape strategy itself sets high objectives, including preparation “for the known and suspected changes to the landscape that will arise from climate change, peak oil and the need to reduce our carbon footprint”. One begins to see, indeed, why mere good taste in landscape is of rather limited use.

Nuclear Electricity: A Fallen Dream?

A string of energy-starved developing countries have looked at nuclear power as the magic solution. No oil, no gas, no coal needed – it's a fuel with zero air pollution or carbon dioxide emissions. High-tech and prestigious, it was seen as relatively safe.

But then Fukushima came along. The disaster's global psychological impact exceeded Chernobyl's, and left a world that's now unsure if nuclear electricity is the answer.

Trustee Is Sought for Records of Solyndra

The Department of Justice asked a federal court on Friday to appoint a trustee to oversee the bankruptcy of the solar panel maker Solyndra because its top executives asserted their Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination before a House subcommittee.

U.S. Closes $4.75 Billion in Solar Power Loans on Final Day

The U.S. Energy Department approved $4.75 billion in loan guarantees for four solar energy projects on the final day of a 2005 program funded by the stimulus act.

Shell hopes to break the ice on Arctic drilling

LAROSE, La. — A ship taking shape along the balmy Gulf Coast will have to sail a long way to do what it does best.

The vessel has the power to break through thick sheets of ice. It can operate at temperatures as low as 58 degrees below zero.

Those conditions don't come up much in the Gulf of Mexico, but the oil exploration support vessel nearing completion in Larose has a mission in waters thousands of miles north, as Shell hopes to ramp up a search for oil in the Arctic.

The Threats to a Crucial Canopy

Trees, natural carbon sponges, help keep heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. But insect and human threats are taking a heavy toll on them.

An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces

In this post, I will summarize what the recent scientific literature says are the key impacts we face in the coming decades if we stay anywhere near our current emissions path. These include:

● Staggeringly high temperature rise, especially over land — some 10°F over much of the United States

● Permanent Dust Bowl conditions over the U.S. Southwest and many other heavily populated regions around the globe

● Sea level rise of around 1 foot by 2050, then 4 to 6 feet (or more) by 2100, rising some 6 to 12 inches (or more) each decade thereafter

● Massive species loss on land and sea — perhaps 50% or more of all biodiversity

● Unexpected impacts — the fearsome “unknown unknowns”

● Much more extreme weather

● Food insecurity — the increasingly difficulty task of feeding 7 billion, then 8 billion, and then 9 billion people in a world with an ever-worsening climate.

● Myriad direct health impacts

Remember, these will all be happening simultaneously and getting worse decade after decade. Equally tragic, a 2009 NOAA-led study found the worst impacts would be “largely irreversible for 1000 years.”

A couple of points bright and early this morning:

First: “…where hundreds of people filled a small town gymnasium to protest a proposed oil pipeline they fear could pollute a major U.S. drinking water source.” The hype is becoming foolish IMHO. This is not arguing for or against the new pipeline. But if folks want to worry about pipeline spillage they might want to focus first on the hundreds of thousands of miles of existing MAJOR pipelines carrying hydrocarbons thru every state in the country. And most of those lines are many decades old. And that doesn’t include hundreds of thousands of miles of local distribution pipelines.

Why aren’t we seeing demands to shutdown any of those lines? Maybe because folks aren’t as willing to give up their supplies as they are willing to prevent others from improving their supplies. If you are going to argue against building a 3,000 p/l that will be done with the highest specs and closest scrutiny of any p/l ever built then why not argue first to shut down 100,000 miles of aging p/l’s that probably weren’t built with as good a quality?

Second, re: “US PO” the article is so misleading. The US has passed PO decades ago. That can’t be denied. And not even the most pie eyed cornucopian is predicting we’ll ever reach that peak again. Also, no one that I’ve ever read, even the biggest doomer, has said there are “no more big fields” left to discover. Just not as many as we need to replace all depletion. Just one more lame straw man argument.

Arguably, the bigger threat, as posed above, is the depletion of the Ogallala reservoir from growing corn and soybeans, especially to produce Ethanol. The real "spills" that are threatening are all the spills that occur everyday from all of us. It is really burning carbon based sources, but you get the idea. And then there is all the carbon dioxide that won't be taken up because of the beetles which are a positive feedback from warmer winters. We used to have winter here in the mountains of Colorado beginning in September. It is now October and summer isn't really over yet. I am looking out over the beetle killed forest as I write.

For some of us, the debate over peak oil just diverts most people from the real problem, which is burning the stuff and other carbon sources. The cornucopians conveniently ignore the fact that we need to cut way back on burning regardless of whether or not there are all these new great sources.

In any event, I am so sick and tired of all the mendacity. More like sleight of hand. As you say, increasing production a bit after massive investments does not change the fact that the peak that occurred in the 70s will never be matched again.

You beat me to it Rockman. I was also going to mention that there are hundreds of thousands of major pipelines in the ground in the US, much of which was put in many decades ago and is now getting very old and very badly corroded. It's no wonder the press is always reporting about some new pipeline break.

As for the Ogallala reservoir, the people of Nebraska should be more worried about depleting it through agricultural consumption, and contaminating it with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Crude oil is not very toxic compared to some of the chemicals the farmers are using.

Unbeknownst to most people, oil is biodegradable - when we had an underground leak we sometimes used to just put oil-eating bacteria into the ground and use observation wells to make sure it disintegrated before it reached the nearest stream.

The Alberta government inspectors, who were much more knowledgeable about it than the federal ones (Canadian or US) were much more concerned about water leaks than oil leaks. You can mitigate an oil leak with oil-eating bacteria, but a brine leak can damage the soil fertility permanently.

Greetings, Rockman,

re: "Why aren’t we seeing demands to shutdown any of those lines?"

Because people don't know about them?

Aren't the DHS trying to keep the location and data for the pipes secret for 'security' reasons? Maybe people won't hear about this.


Re: Boosting Bakken Reserves, up top:

Frackin' the Bakken near Williston:


Please note the water usage which is much bemoaned in the anti ethanol article up top. Water used to grow corn is recycled through evaporation or sinks into the ground. None of it disappears.

Water used for fracking is combined with toxic chemicals and pumped 2 miles under ground never to be seen again. It is for all practical purposes destroyed.

Warren Buffett gets his cut as a 165 car BNSF crude oil unit train heads east out of Williston:


Jobs are easy to find, housing not:



Evaporation won't save the aquifiers. I guess oil doesn't disappear either; it just takes a different form.

This is not surface water; it is fossil water, deposited in the Ogallala Aquifer 10 million years ago in the Pliocene. Water is being extracted much faster than it can be replenished. If it is drained it would take more than 6000 years to refill.


The change in Williston is remarkable!

I wonder if the developers have razed the semi-ghost town of Wheelock, ND, which isn't too far from Williston?





Some of my buds and I went on a great ghost town tour between Minot and Wheelock and back before I hung up my spurs several years ago...very interesting and unique.

I wonder how much of this new oil-boom-related construction may be in a similar condition 50 years from now?

Please note the water usage which is much bemoaned in the anti ethanol article up top. Water used to grow corn is recycled through evaporation or sinks into the ground. None of it disappears.

X you know better than that. Why do you post stuff you know is untrue? Water pumped from the Ogallala Aquifer, as far as human beings are concerned, disappears forever.

The Ogallala Aquifer Is Drying Up Which Means The Great Plains Could Soon Turn Into The Great American Desert

In fact, Dr. Mulligan estimates that at peak times it is being drained at a rate of 800 gallons per minute. Not only that, but they have also determined that many areas of the Great Plains that are dependent on the Ogallala Aquifer will run out of useable water by the year 2030.

But aquifers in India and China are already running dry. Groundwater Drawdown

Even though we often hear mostly about the Ogallala Aquifer and the present conditions of Mexico City, groundwater is being depleted at high rates elsewhere in the world. About one-third of the global population depends on water from groundwater supplies. India, China, and North Africa are also feeling the effects of groundwater depletion. In some areas of India, the water tables have dropped as much as 70 centimeters (approximately 25 inches). Up to 25% of India’s agriculture may be threatened by the depletion of groundwater resources. In areas of northern China, the water table has been dropping as fast as 1.5 meters a year for the last ten years.

I could post dozens of URL depicting the water problems around the world but you get the idea. Many towns in India have all their water trucked in because the underground water has disappeared. The Aral Sea, who's fisheries once fed millions, is now a dried up salt bed due to the rivers being diverted for irrigation. Now salt buildup in the fields are killing the crops. It was, in the end, a lose-lose situation.

It is all because of overshoot. We have far more people on this earth than we can support without massive irrigation and massive inputs of fossil fuels.

Ron P.

Ron,I am with you on this.People say water evaporates and is recycled as rain.OK,agreed.But if it evaporated from the Ogallala aquifer and the rain landed in the Sahara or in the salt flats or in urban areas where it is all concrete and only goes into the sewer system ,then what?We do not control the rain clouds.The water table situation in the wheat belt in India(Punjab)is terrible.Was there last year the farmers are in despair.Then the question how much did it rain?You need minimum 9 inches depth of wetness in the soil to plant.If the land is dry and it rains but not enough to soak the soil enough it is wasted.Of course we are in overshoot and in denial also.

Okay. Everyone has had a chance to make their case that I am wrong.

Now here is the evidence:

This is a map of Nebraska ethanol plants:


Here is map of the Ogallala aquifer showing the change in water level:


Please note that in the area of Nebraska where corn is grown there has been no change in the aquifer water level with some spots even showing and increase.

Apologies will be accepted.

"Apologies will be accepted."

You first.

Your map of the aquifer is irrelevant since it only goes to 1995.

I have nothing to apologize for. I am simply stating the truth which apparently other commenters choose not to believe.

Here is more evidence:


Nebraska holds 65 percent of the water in the Ogallala aquifer. The water level in Nebraska is rising. The idea that corn/ethanol is depleting the Ogallala aquifer is false.

If anything it is causing the level to rise, if the data is correct.

The Ogallala aquifer is not a like a lake. There is not one level for the whole aquifer. It is more like a sponge that soaks up available rainfall and recycles some of the water withdrawn for irrigation.

It seems to me that irrigation increases the humidity in the air. When that happens it is more likely that summer storms form. Nebraska receives more rain than the rest of the Ogallala aquifer region.

It is clear from the data that Nebraska is replenishing its portion of the Ogallala contrary to the myth that growing corn is draining it. Critics have applied the depletion that is occurring in other less plentiful areas of the aquifer to the whole of it. This is wrong.

The water does not seek a uniform level in the aquifer.

The Nebraska aquifer is owned by the citizens of Nebraska and they may choose to do with it as they please just as oil plays in Texas are developed as Texans see fit.

If owners of the Nebraska Ogallala choose to grow irrigated corn for ethanol to make a living that is their right. People who posture as moral superiors stating lies as in the anti ethanol piece up top are wrong.

I find it interesting that they are defended on TOD. Water is not oil. It recycles just as I stated in my first piece. Unlike oil it falls out of the air.

It is oil fracking that is removing clean water from the environment, mixing it with toxic chemicals and pumping it underground never to be seen again. But I guess that is okay.

So long as people do not use their own replenishing resources to help reduce our dependency on imported oil.

X, you have made a number of factual errors in your postings, of which two are that the water used from the Ogallala Aquifer will be replenished from rainfall, but that water used in hydraulic fracturing is lost forever. Neither is particularly correct.

From the Wikipedia article on The Ogallala Aquifer

Present-day recharge of the aquifer with fresh water occurs at an exceedingly slow rate suggesting that much of the water in its pore spaces is paleowater, dating back to the last ice age and probably earlier. Withdrawals from the Ogallala are in essence mining ancient water.

Now, the northern portions of the Ogallala in Nebraska may be replenished by rainfall, but the southern portions in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas certainly aren't. We'll have to wait for another Ice Age in order for that to happen. In reallity, the Ogallala is being depleted like a non-renewable resource, and that will be a huge problem for future generations of American farmers.

It requires about 1000 tons of water to produce 1 ton of grain. There are huge subsidies to US farmers for irrigation water, because otherwise they couldn't afford to irrigate. Hold that thought in mind when talking about fuel ethanol.

The claim that water used in hydraulic fracturing is lost forever isn't true either. Oil companies can recover the water, although that isn't particularly helpful because it is contaminated with oil from the formation. They could also clean it up and recycle it, but they will only do that if governments force them to because it is expensive.

Yair...good morning folks. Is there any one on here with any knowlege of the amount of water being produced by coalseam gas wells in the Surat Basin (Australia).

Information such as this and depletion rates for wells seems to be state and company secrets.

We are told the salty water will be reprocessed by reverse osmosis and reinjected into shallower aquifers or offered to farmers for irrigation...the heavy brine resulting from the process will be stored on the surface in plastic lined earth enclosures and processed for industrial products "sometime in the future".

Some of these brine impoundments are acres in area and I have to wonder, given the costs involved, if it will ever happen...like I mean to say, just how much profit is there in CSG?


Where I am, in the Canadian province of Alberta, well water and gas production are public information. They may not be readily available to the public, but they are available, and the companies can't keep them secret.

The coal seam gas formations here are relatively dry and the wells don't produce much water. The companies are required to properly dispose of it, which normally means injecting it into deep formations. The sedimentary rock is about 5 miles deep here, and there are a lot of ancient oceans down there to put salt water into. I doubt that subsurface Australia is quite as favorable for salt water disposal.

They don't store brine in ponds here.

"They could also clean it up and recycle it, but they will only do that if governments force them to because it is expensive."

I have read that most of it is recycled, because it is far more expensive to try to clean it up and discharge it anywhere. I saw an interview recently with Chesapeake's CEO (I believe) who said that over 90% of the water and chemicals they use are recycled.

The depth and amount of water available is clearly greater in Nebraska than the other states that share the aquifier. For what ever reason, Nebraska seems blessed, at least for now.

So much misinformation in your post.

Relatives are well-drillers in Nebraska. Over the years they have had to drill deeper and deeper....over and over for repeat customers due to the aquifer depleting. Yes, this is in Nebraska. The farmers are mostly conglomerates, now, regardless, none of them like to waste money drilling for a 'just in case' or because it is fun.

They have a desperate need for water and spend thousands a year satisfying it.



"So much misinformation in your post."

Keep in mind that you are arguing with a corn farmer who has benefited immensely from our corn ethanol policies. He has never, ever acknowledged any problems as a result of those policies, and is prone to spreading misinformation. So you are trying to educate someone who has no interest in being educated.

"I have nothing to apologize for. I am simply stating the truth which apparently other commenters choose not to believe."

No, you should apologize for once more attempting to mislead people by selectively using information. From your own link:

The main problem with groundwater in the Western Northern American Region of the world is that water is being withdrawn from aquifers at a rate much greater than the recharge rate. Specifically, the Ogallala Aquifer is being recharged at a rate of approximately 22 - 25 mm/year (Kromm, 2007) (U.S. Geological Survey, 1966) and experiencing net overdraft of 54.864 mm/year (McGuire, 2007).

So your own link says that the Ogallala is being depleted. The Nebraska data from your link was in 2004; the vast majority of our corn ethanol capacity was built after 2004.

The other part you didn't address is that if you look at the USDA surveys on corn ethanol energy balances, states that have to irrigate have energy balances that hover around 1 or even lower. So even if the Ogallala was a non-issue, the energy inputs required to irrigate make it a foolish waste of energy.

"If owners of the Nebraska Ogallala choose to grow irrigated corn for ethanol to make a living that is their right."

If I have to subsidize it, then I have a right to criticize it. It isn't just their business when they are taking my tax dollars to enable it.

x - You left out one important piece of information that explains why Nebraska can appear to sustain groundwater discharge greater than groundwater recharge - aquifer depth.

The depth of the water below the surface of the land ranges from almost 400 feet (122 m) in parts of the north to between 100 to 200 feet (30 to 61 m) throughout much of the south. The aquifer is deeper in Nebraska vs Oklahoma/Texas. Source

As Daniel Day Lewis put it in 'There Will Be Blood'... It's called drainage, Eli" ..."I drink your milk shake"

Recharge of the aqifer is insufficent to sustain discharge even in Nebraska. Recharge in the aquifer ranges from 0.024 inches (0.61 mm) per year in parts of Texas and New Mexico to up to 6 inches (150 mm) per year in south-central Kansas. Source

In Nebraska, total corn water use ranges from 28 inches per year in the southwest to 24 inches in the east. On a long-term average, corn grown on a deep silt loam soil in southeast Nebraska requires about 6 inches of net irrigation, central Nebraska requires about 9 inches, and the Panhandle of Nebraska requires about 14 inches of net irrigation per year (Department of Natural Resources, 2006). Nebraska: Irrigation Management for Corn

Thanks for all the brain cells. Stop the insanity.

re: Warren Buffett gets his cut as a 165 car BNSF crude oil unit train heads east out of Williston:

That's a pretty impressive train. Lets do a little quick math on it. Each car is probably 100 tons and holds 600 barrels of oil. 165 carloads of it would be about 99,000 bbl. If oil on the Gulf Coast is trading at $100/bbl (a lot higher than in ND), that would be worth about $9.9 million at the coast. It's nearly a $10 million shipment.

Now, Warren Buffet probably charges something like $15/bbl to move the train from ND to the Gulf, so his share might be $1.5 million/train. The oil traders who put the deal together might have a $30 margin between ND and the Gulf, so after paying Warren they also might also make about $1.5 million/train.

Bill Gates is doing a similar thing with CN Rail, the company formerly known as Canadian National, moving Canadian oil sands bitumen to the Gulf Coast. The margins on that are even better. I tried investing it, but apparently if you can't ante up $1 billion out of the spare change in your pockets, you can't play in this game.

Who says you can't make money any more being a railroad baron? Apparently, until the pipelines get built, it's going to be a license to print money.

RM,John D cornered the rail movement from out of Pennsylvania to force the oil producers to sell out to him.Never realized the importance of logistics since I started working as a "courier on demand"in Benelux. Charge is Euro 0.40 per km to and fro.Not important if I carry cargo on return.Some interesting cases:
1.Carried lifesaving medicines that can only remain unrefrigerated for two hours over 150kms.
2.Carried female eggs and male sperms in special refrigerated boxes that must be plugged into your cigarette lighter socket.
3.Carried parts for a CAT used in loading scrap steel in furnace.The guys were calling me every 10 minutes for a one hour trip.
4.Carried refrigeration parts for a meat packing plant.Value of parts Euro 20.Charge Euro 200.The guys were so happy to see me arrive.Took me out to lunch.
5.Carried parts for a power plant.Cost of parts Euro 100.Freight paid to me Euro 250.
6.Carried electric motors for a factory making nuclear centrifuges.Cost them Euro 320 in freight.
I could go on an on.The questions that come to my mind are always:
a)Is this JIT business model sustainable?
b)When I visit the big plants steel,power,bio fuel, construction etc and see the imbedded energy input required to run them I freak out.How will these run in a constrained energy world?
Buffet and Gates have made wise investments.In a gold mining operation it is the guy who sells the shovels that makes money.Better look at the Koch brother business.They own the pipelines.

I've been on the receiving end of a "hot shot" or two.

1) You can't stock everything you might need in a modern industrial plant anymore.
2) Sometimes you have 2 in stock, and you break 3 practically at the same time. This is happening more and more as lead times for simple valves can reach 6 months.
3) The cost of downtime for one unit of the small plant I work at can reach $60,000 per hour. Your freight cost is trivial. Enjoy it guilt free.

As to how to run heavy industry in an energy-constrained world, I think it's back to the future. Industry will locate next to water power. Light manufacturing you could run on solar, as those factories typically startup every morning anyway. Startup for us is a three day process, and it takes a week to "level out". To run us through one night without the grid would take 16 of the Presidio, TX sized batteries. And then you would have to recharge them the next day from you windmills or PV. Currently our power comes from mostly hydro and the local nuclear plant.

PV,I like you have been at the receiving end of many similar situations and for me UPS/DHL were life savers.My point is that can this business model survive for say ,we have petrol/diesel rationing? or some other control that would limit my kilometers.That is from logistics point.
Regarding running light mfg on solar,I have my doubts.You need a base load when you start a motor on a machine and I don't think solar can provide that jerk load.Can you run an induction hardening machine on solar?Maybe could work for simple assembly lines or simple repair work where light boring,tapping or chamfering is needed but not for hard stuff like power presses,CNC Lathes etc.Regarding relocating next to water,yes possible for the new plants but could take quite a sum of money to move from an existing location.Also locals are jittery about putting up industry next to water sources due to pollution issues,at least that is the way it is in Europe.But the question is that if in a constrained supply situation the big plants get priority(because of their imbedded needs) on resources what does the general public have to go on.

I'd suggest the issue is more one of the fragility of the entire supply chain x the number of key parts x probability of each going out.

For an existing plant the two last items aren't going to change, but the first is going to become a problem.

Imagine there were 10 key steps between raw materials and the part being at the plant in question in time. They could be requirements in manufacturing, transport, storage, anything. At the moment, say the probability of any of those steps, including you, failing to work is <1%, which puts the whole JIT chain success probability and >90%. In general, JIT works.

Now imagine that one of those steps has problems, the probability of failure rises to 10%. That pushes the chain success probability to 80%. JIT is getting to be an issue.

In a post peak world, we could expect have most stages to double in failure rate to 2%, and several rise to 10% - still in a situation where things hadn't collapsed. Aggregate chain success probability falls to 60%.

Those levels are a real problem. Plants take time to get going again, down time costs money, pushing up the price of outputs at a time the people can't afford it. Since outputs=inputs, the cost of plant's inputs also rise - inflationary spiral.

To counter that, plants HAVE to increase stores and holding to offset the increased failure rate in the supply chain. The efficiencies of JIT, which were capital and work-in-hand based, fall away as JIT dies.

Either way, far from the drive being deflationary, the problem as you try to keep things running is inflationary (in the real rather than monetarist sense). When that inflation hits an inability to pay, companies close - themselves cutting parts of that supply chain in half.

Rules of thumb for businesses that want to survive:

  • keep the total supply chain short, with limited stages, and preferably within your control
  • keep lots of stores as buffers in your process, and for key items that fail often and would stop you, keep a mountain. Its safer than having the money in the bank anyway.
  • engineer resilience in your processes so one failure DOESN'T stop everything, even without a replacement. Graceful degradation.
  • engineer resilience in your business model. If you are on a knife edge, you will be cut.

The system we have built is brittle and irresilient. Businesses that were resilient got out-competed because lean was best. We've built a monoculture, dependent on low risks to build complexity. That's why peak (or even just plateau) in oil can collapse civilisations - they are all exposed to the same disease, with small changes in probability scything through wide swathes at the same time.

In a post peak world, we could expect have most stages to double in failure rate to 2%, and several rise to 10% - still in a situation where things hadn't collapsed. Aggregate chain success probability falls to 60%.

Wouldn't the supply chain for something important be inherently more stable than something unimportant? The supply chain for getting your book from Amazon.com delivered is something altogether different to the supply chain for a diamond tipped drill head on an offshore drilling platform. Furthermore JIT fabrication and development gets better every year so some of the supply chains can be shortened considerably, peak or no peak oil. Finally the cost of transportation increases for every step in the chain. In a post peak world the number of steps in a supply chain would be expected to shrink, so even if the failure rate increases the number of steps in it would decrease and that would likely result in no real change in overall failure rate.

Actually, no.

The supply chain for that diamond tipped drill head is probably less robust than the one for your Amazon book. For a start, its a single item that needs shipping. If you are using a small charter aircraft to rush it to a remote site, your require that that charter airline hasn't gone to the wall. But they are heavily dependent on the price of fuel and utilisation - and at the best of times they are on a knife edge. Come a post peak world, most of them are bankrupt.

Add to that the company that made it is probably not going to be identified as 'key' in a rationing sense, and there aren't many of them - and there's a good chance the supply line will break entirely.

Amazon in contrast have volume and inherent scalability.

As for JIT supply lines getting shorter - just think of the large degree of outsourcing to china that's gone on. Longer and more obtuse I'd suggest.

Finally, in a post peak world the time for adaptation is likely to be too short to change the supply lines appreciably in the time available. There is a set of feedback terms in the collapse that accelerate it over a certain tipping point. So you get disbelief, right up until that point, then general collapse.

Well explained and interesting viewpoints.Thanks;

The best hot shot I was involved in was when I was working in Angola, doing some time in the office. There was a need to get a part for the main block for one of the cranes urgently as there was a planned heavy lift in a few days.

DHL our normal hot shot supplier couldn't do it in the time required and we didn't have anybody coming from Houston. The only way to get the part in time was for someone to go fetch. Due to visa requirements, yellow fever shots, not many people are in the position to do this a moments notice. So that was were I came in.

So Tuesday I took a charter flight to Luanda then to Paris then onto Houston,
Checked in to the Marriot at the airport at 3.00 pm, took a cab to NOV, picked up one part, back to hotel by 5.00. I had another part delivered to me by the manager of the supplier just as walked in the door, and my work was done for the day.

Following day, I flew to London and onto Luanda, charter plane to oil field base, helicopter to the rig delivered the parts Saturday. Then had lunch, hopped on a helicopter back to the base, and before I left the crane was working and ready to do the lift which was that night.

The cost of the parts was $2000, I flew business, so that cost was $20,000, and the rig day rate was $200,000. Everybody was happy.

I am not sure if this is an example of JIT working or not working, but it does goes to show how critical logistics are and the need to have the correct parts where and when you need them and it got me out of the office for nearly a week.

Regarding When food prices rise, some blame investors, and other posts this morning mentioning food as fuel and food insecurity: I went to the big box grocery yesterday and, as usual, was impressed by how much foods in all categories have increased in price, especially staples. Whether it's speculation, fuel costs or competition for grains from the biofuels industry, one feels that one has little control over food costs in the mainstream food industry. I'm looking for suggestions along the lines of "the best way to win this game is to not play (or reduce one's participation as much as possible).

My list so far:

Bypass the 'industry' by growing your own and dealing directly with local growers.

Buy storable goods in bulk.

Eat out less or never.

Reduce waste.

Be more efficient in one's diet.

...and something I'm going back to lately:

Hunt, trap and fish more. Something I discovered lately is that, in some states, folks who qualify for food stamps can get a license waiver for fishing and hunting. In our state I think they call it a "subsitance waiver". I expect to see more folks buying hunting/fishing licenses as food costs, especially meats, continue to increase (or as affordability drops).

I've decided to take a deer or two for the freezer this year, something I haven't done for a decade or more. We've also been having trouble with wild boars (again) who root up the pastures and foul our springs. As of yesterday, our state has removed wild pigs from the 'Big Game" list and they can now be hunted any time....

Anyway, I built a trap last week, not really expecting much success,,, and now have two fine wild boar (cross) sows (about 120 pounds) to fatten up for the freezer and sausage, etc.. It seems my local subsistance plan is going well so far....though I expect that this currently abundant resource will be under increasing pressure as we stumble down the next step. So it goes. I'll post pictures (links?) of our new food/energy source later.

Have you ever tried to do an honest accounting for how much per pound that game meat in your freezer really cost you?
Factoring in the cost of the firearm, including storage and maintenance (you do clean and care for your weapons, don't you?),ammunition expended, (including target practice- necessary to being prepared for an opportunity).
The cost of the license, any fees paid to hunt on private land, all of the wardrobe and accoutrements.
Then of course there is the fuel cost, as most people do have to drive a considerable distance to find habitat where game is likely to be found.
Then there is the opportunity cost for an unsuccessful hunt.

Many of the items on your list are more statements of values than strict economy, and they seem more like Unabomber values than practical suggestions for surviving collapse scenarios.
Most people will be more reliant than ever on cooperation and community, which entails shared meals and, yes, "eating out".
Supporting friends and neighbors who prepare and serve food can be considered every bit as practical as buying a box of shells.

Jeez.... as folks in this area say; "You ain't from 'round here, are ye?"

Funny thing about them city folks, they haven't a clue about life in the country. We all gotta eat and if you eat meat, you are paying for someone else to kill and process the animals to satisfy your hunger.

I signed up for a Lifetime Sportsman's License last year ($15 here in NC, since I'm over 65). Last muzzle loading season, I had my gun loaded and ready when one morning, as I was about to go to town, I looked out my window and saw three deer standing there munching acorns. I got all excited and grabbed my rifle, then eased out the back door then pointed the gun at the doe. Then I realized, sure enough, what would I do with the critter if I killed her, as I was really intending to go to town and I don't own a freezer. I let her and her 2 babies go, even though my neighbors would have helped me deal with the carcass. Of course, I never had another clear shot opportunity after that, even though the deer were all over the place.

My neighbors were able to kill quite a few from their front yard and this year the bag restrictions have been loosened. Some people (especially the insurance lobby) think deer are a nuisance, particularly on the roadways. It's a real thrill to drive around a blind corner after dark and confront a deer standing in the middle of the road...

E. Swanson

"It's a real thrill to drive around a blind corner after dark and confront a deer standing in the middle of the road..."

....or take a hike in your woods and confront a group of these, intent on defending their offspring:


"Help! We've been captured! It's an awful thing; the trap we've been caught in is made from salvaged junk fencing and cost the farmer zilch to construct; the corn he's feeding us costs just a few cents per pound; and the bullet that will turn us from a distructive, invasive, non-native, overpopulated species into a food source only cost about fourty cents.....How degrading! He thinks he'll roast us up for only pennies per pound. We guess he's not considered the damage we've done to his gardens this year, or how we've turned his sweet, clean springs into hog wallows, now suitable for,,,,,,well, hog wallows. Got to factor in those costs, ya know? He must think we're Asian Carp or something. Can you help??"

I was gonna mention I could get deer, turkey, and quail from my deck, and there were a few ducks on my small pond this morning, but, in keeping with the thrill theme, I just saw a flock of Canadian Geese grazng in a field next to town. I've never seen that before. Flying over, sometimes, but never on the ground. Had to turn around and drive by for a second look.

Canada Geese have become permanent residents here in the last decade or so. I could plink one anytime, though they are a game species, only legal during goose season. The golf course near me is overrun with them; quite destructive to the greens (cry me a river). They hired a guy to chase them off with dogs, with little effect. There's over a dozen on our pond as I type. More prospects for sustenance, though I've heard they're not that tasty.

FREE BAAAYCUN! YUM! Well, almost free, but still, a pretty decent bang for the buck.

And they are tasty. I like them much more than the farm raised ones. The meat is less fatty.


A very hearty well said sir!!!

I just found three more of our young peach trres eaten down to bare nubby branches.Spent a week already putting wire around NEARLY all the younger trees.

My old shotguns and deer rifles APPRECIATE in cash value every year;furthermore they are treasured family hierlooms.

A new rifle purchased a couple of years ago will go to a favorite little sprout of the family tree who comes and visits his old Great grand pa regularly (my Dad)and it will go to his son, with the family history,eventually if things work out well for him.

The very limited amount of time I am able to spend hunting is the next thing for me to a religious experience-close communion with nature.

Now some people do have VALUES that they like to flaunt, as they enjoy feeling superior to those of us whom they percieve as less enlightened,less compassionate, less intellectual, less worldly......well less everything that allows them to them to go round feeling "holier than thou".

Some of them also have a lot of money.

It takes me about four hours to go from a very dead deer-I'm a good shot and take only dead sure close range shots with a more than adequate weapon-to fifty to seventy five pounds of prime high protein low fat organic meat in five to ten pound cuts in the freezer.

At different times in my life I have earned a lot of money-nowadays,I earn very little, and that fifty pounds or more of meat frees up a few bucks for the collection plate at my family church (yes, I'm a hypocrite and a darwinist, but I honor my Father by going with him)where by my request my modest check is forwarded to a church supported school/orphanage somewhere in one of the deepest and darkest parts of Africa, I forget where exactly.

Now people with VALUES most likely think I am contributing to doing those " noble savages" an ill turn by introducing modern evils th such as polio vaccine, antivenom for snake bite, and misquito nets into their pristine and unsullied lives in their tropical Eden..

As Kilgore Trout puts it, Maybe so.

It is not within my power to keep change out of that part of the world; but it is within my power to help ensure that the people there get a share of the good aspects of change.

Somehow when it comes to being looked down upon as culturally or morally or intellectually inferior, my general reaction is to smile, laugh, and feel sorry for those who need to build themselves up by putting me down.

Drop me an email, you should have my address.

I'll treat you to some prime homemade cider and slow roasted venison-the BRP is especially beautiful this time of year, and you can take it to within five minutes of our place.

F'n deer took out my strawberry patch the other night.
Wish there was a way to take deer in suburban neighborhoods.

In a suburb of Austin, people I knew would put out a hanging hammock as a deer trap. When a deer became entangled, they would take a pistol out and put the deer down - and then slaughter it.


In some cities here in NC, there is an archery season and crossbows are allowed. Newer crossbows are said to be highly lethal and accurate. The fancy ones can cost more than a good rifle...

E. Swanson

Crossbows sound like an endrun around the whole reason for having an archery only season. It supposed to be hard and sporting to take game with a bow. The hunters I knew back in Wisconsin considered themselves very fortunate and skilled to get a deer during bow season, and unlucky and unskilled if they didn't get one during gun season. So If crossbows level the playing field, it would probably mean the end of bow season -or of allowing crossbows to count as bows. Otherwise the resource (deer or whatever) is likely to be unsustainably harvested.

My Pap transitioned from the bow to the crossbow when he became too old to reliably draw the bow anymore. He kept hunting with his crossbow for several more years. Now, at 98, he is finally much less active (but still in good shape, considering).

Judging by the proliferation of deer and the lack of predators except us, I am not too worried about hunting deer to extinction. We talked to folks who saw a lot of deer quite regularly in Falls Church, VA, around the office parks, storefronts, and residences.

Crossbows are often completely illegal to use hunting, or sometimes they count as rifles. It depends on the state.

Accurate and silent, they are often regarded as a poacher's weapon. This is unjustified IMHO, but that's the stereotype.

But with advertising like this, what are you supposed to think?


In my deer-infested neighborhood, 15 miles north of the U.S. Capitol building, we now hear a couple of shotgun blasts at night a week.

They are not followed by police sirens, so the neighbors aren't too unhappy with the idea.

Thanks, Mac. The original article I started this thread from has to do with food prices and how a complex system of industrial farming combined with speculation, is increasing the cost of feeding one's self, etc. My response was more about pushing back a bit, maintaining some food dignity in a culture which drives wedges between people and their sources of basic sustenance. Whether it's fuel/electrical energy, transportation, or simply food, folks have been freed from having to fend for themselves, free to do other things besides providing for their basic needs. The price is that they are increasingly being held hostage to a system of mass production and profit, removed and disconnected from their sources. Out of sight, out of mind, one wonders how they'll fair when things start running short.

Predictably, the thread quickly moved to the 'survivalist loner' vs. the 'urban interdependant', both inviable choices going forward, IMO. We, rural folk, are likely more dependant on our neighbors, for more things, than urbanites who often don't know most of their neighbors. Nowadays, these same urbanites and those in the suburbs have the advantage of combined purchasing power that supports a system of production, transportation, marketing, processing, and speculation that I submit is as brittle as the go-it-alone suvivalist meme; both forms of isolation...and I remain focused on avoiding both of these traps. Seems to make sense,,, at least it does to me.


Your remark attempting to compare Ghung's hunting and trapping forays to values held by Ted Kaczynski (AKA the Unabomber)is a baseless character assassination and worthy of contempt.

My apologies.
I was searching for a shorthand for the values of a person who makes a conscious decision to cut oneself off and pursue a survivalist strategy.
Combine 'never eat out' and 'start hunting for your food' and it is a path I would discourage, as I believe it leads to creating isolated, deluded individuals.


Thank you for apologizing, many folks are unwilling to do that anymore, especially on Internet discussions.

Please note that I referred to your remark as worthy of contempt, and not that you were worthy of contempt.

Your comment leads me to believe that you made your remark out of fear of the unknown and different, fear of change from what you consider to be normal, fear of ideas which threaten the comfortable status quo and invoke images of future chaos and suffering.

Although I fear that the future likely holds for people an increased amount of chaos and suffering, I do not correlate that to some folks wishing to hunt and trap wild animals for sustenance.

I have had many meals of wild turkey, and venison as well. My Pap (grandfather) was a fine hunter who continued to bag dinner into his early eighties, transitioning from gun to bow to crossbow. He was (and still is, at 98) an intelligent, pacifistic gentle man, holding little regard of warfare, police states, and death penalties....and he is a crack hunter.

If you have the chance to try some wild turkey (if you eat meat), I believe you may find its taste superior to the dry, fairly tasteless Butterballs you can pick up at Albertsons on the cheap.

Don't get me wrong, I do not hold absurd notions that the 7B folks in the World (or even the ~ 309 Million in the U.S.) can all (or even mostly) subsist through hunting and trapping and such, but there are certainly opportunities for some folks to do that.

H - Your turkeys must be feeding on something tastier than mine. Now you want something with a uniques flavor? Ever try coon? Now we're talking unique. Unique...not good. LOL. Had my first bite of coon over 30 years ago and still trying to get the taste of my mouth.

I ate muskrat once. Once. If the last plate of meat on Earth was muskrat, I'd become a vegetarian one meal early.

Wild turkeys were reintroduced to Howe Island (one of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence) about 15 years ago. The guy who hunts them on our farm is very generous and has given us several. The meat is dark and I thought it would be tough & maybe oily like duck.
But every one of them has been tender and flavourful.

I never tried coon (and hopefully never will). But I will tell you the story of eating porcupine when I was 12.
It was at a Boy Scout camp at Teft Pond, NY. We were told to respect wildlife, etc. but a couple of boys came upon a porcupine and started hitting it. We came upon them and the porky was already rather smashed in the snout, etc so we thought the honourable thing to do was to finish him off, which we did.
Our Scoutmaster heard about it and was furious. He said, "You killed, you eat it." So while the other kids got a proper supper, we were made to eat some of the porky, which was boiled but was was still the most foul, disgusting thing I have ever tasted. Some of us threw up... like you, I can almost taste it a half-century later.
None of us ever forgot that incident.
The camp badge for Teft Pond 1963 had a porcupine as the central feature, and none of us were cruel to wildlife again (as far as I know).

These days a Scoutmaster would probably be in serious trouble for responding that way, but our parents were in full support.

Rick - Same lesson I've taught my 11 yo daughter: you don't kill for the sake of killing. And if you kill for meat you take a good shot...no wounded animals. And you always find the game...even if you look all night. Told her it didn't matter to me if she wanted to ever hunt or not. But if she did the rules would be followed. She got her first dove last season. Now I have a problem: she likes to eat dove as much as me.

I don't fault anyone for not wanting to kill any animal for any reason. But folks who don't acknowledge they enjoy eating meat as long as someone else does the harvesting do bother me some. Vegans I can respect for their beliefs. But not hypocrits.


Comon up to southern PA, between Cumberland, MD and Bedford, PA, thereabouts...Tom Turkey's meat was always tasty! Went well with the home-made smashed taters, stuffing, and applesauce etc.

sl - It's OK. There's a small percent of folks as you describe. I've seen guys pay $5,000 to shoot a deer and not take a pound home. I'd love to guide guys like that...free meat. LOL. But I don't think Ghung was talking much about survivalists going after cheap meat. How much per pound? Just a rough guess: $0.15 to $0.25 per pound for the larger game. I’m not a country boy but I know many farmers that we’ll let me take down wild hogs for free. The state of Texas leases lands from folks and we can hunt them for free.

Costs? My deer rifle is a Swedish Mauser (manufactured in 1917) that I bought for $89. My 6.5X55 ammo costs $7 for box of 50 and would last about 5 or 6 years. I hunt in blue jeans…the pigs, rabbits, and turkeys don’t really care. BTW: wild turkey tastes just like store bought…kinda disappointing actually. Gasoline is probably one of the biggest costs but I’ll drive out to the country just for relaxation and shoot game with a camera. Was even cheaper when I was going to university in New Orleans: catch the bus to our Big City Park, shoot friendly little squirrels looking for a handout with a pellet pistol and make the greatest tasting stew you ever had LOL. Transportation was still the biggest expense…about $1 r/t of the bus.

There's a wide range of circumstances. You and Ghung are just describing the two extremes.

Wild hog trapping has become quite an industry in your area Rock. There's a processing plant in Devine that pays top dollar for live wild boar. Supplies the high-end restaurant demand. The trappers sometimes catch a dozen or more at a time in corral type traps with one way trap doors. Hogs check in, they don't check out. This was the basic idea for my trap. These trappers provide a service to land owners and sell the hogs at a good profit.


Ghung - Yep. Most sell thier deer lese and take the pigs for their meat source. How many pigs? About 10 years ago a 35,000 acre ranch in Goliad Country brought in 3 choppers to shot them from the air and a bunch of trucks on the ground for processing. Took several hundred a day...for 6 weeks. Not sure if they took the pigs to a dog food plant or Mexico. But that was a lot of pork. Given the small population and the amount of land that pigs thrive on: the folks in S Texas will never go hungry. Just need to keep enough cattle running to make my Blue Bell and I'm good forever. Which won't be long given the clogged arteries.

Urban deer have thrived here. I have nearly smacked into one three times, always at the same bend in the arterial, always at night. Then last month, I hit a big doe smack on the rear end with the bumper of my Mazda. The deer did a Kung fu roll and strolled off unconcerned.

Lease laws are strictly enforced and it is illegal to discharge a weapon within city limits. Makes sense, but the south end of the city abuts a state park, and we just get overrun with four legged cabbage eating vermin. You hunters know that deer seldom range farther than a mile from where they are born, so the handsome two prong buck and the doe with the twin fawns who come by regularly to see what I have planted in my garden were born right here in the city.

Cost? I could drop one from my deck. But then it would probably run for a half mile and bleed out in some vegan's back yard and there would be heck to pay.

Oh well, the deer constitute a mobile protein reserve. If times get really rough around here, the deer population problem will go away.

When I first moved here 60 yrs ago, no deer. Then they started to get numerous. So I bought a muzzle loader (didn't like 12 gage kick) and it took me a while to get good with it. I then started sneaking around in the woods, and got at least one deer a year. But then I noticed they were getting really thick and a road hazard, so I started writing op-ed pieces on why people didn't just eat more of 'em. For whatever reason, people I knew did start eating more, and asking me how to shoot a muzzle loader.
Then I noticed that going around in the woods, while pleasant, wasn't at all necessary, All I had to do was keep my gun in the purpose-made gun slot in my shop, and zap what walked by at fatally close range, so no running off and dying under a thorn bush in the gloaming.

We have lots of turkey also, and whatever they eat around here makes for real good eating- taste a lot better than store-bought. We haven't bought meat for years.

Cost? Close to nothing but the couple of days butchering a year.

As for pigs, no pigs yet, but getting closer. Ground hogs are good, too. Like shooting a teddy bear.

I've seen guys pay $5,000 to shoot a deer and not take a pound home. I'd love to guide guys like that...free meat.

In parts of the Caucasus poaching have virtually gone extinct: there is no way you can make asmuch money killing a deer or mose off the record as you can make letting a for example german tourist shoot the animal.

I would say that survivalists in some ways represent the canary in the coal mine of society. They are effectively a version of modern hermits. Essentially these people are hyper sensitive people whom go too far in response to the way society operates. Sure they're deluded but at the same time what percentage of us here would actually say they are wrong that society could go through a period of upheaval. They simply live the worst case scenario as if its going to happen.

Maybe some folks are just broke, or tired of paying $3.49/pound for greasy, hormone and antibiotic filled hamburger, or buying peppers two for 3 bucks. With so many people complaining about costs of living going up while disparaging those who have, and avail themselves of, other options, it's no wonder some of us prefer a somewhat hermit-like, quiet, low energy lifestyle. I'd rather be called a "survivalist hermit" than a lemming :-/

Considering all of human history, who's more of an aberration; the "survivalist/hermit" who makes his way, at least in part, by hunting/gathering and local agriculture,,, or the urban, nut-to-butt, eat out and shop at the local Wonderfoods with magic vapor money, "modern" industrial age consumer? Just askin'.. Who's deluded and who's the realist?


What you, I and others talk about is self-reliance and resilience and this is long gone from the American vocabulary. There won't be a transition to a new paradigm because the vast majority of people simply cannot envision that there are other ways of living.


Yup Todd, "self-reliance and resilience". You won't see it. It's much to easy to belittle those values than to live them. Takes some "Grit" we don't see much of these days. It's easier to sit on the internet and endlessly debate how high the wave is going to be when it hits, than actually getting the boat ready.

Don in Maine

A transition to a new paradigm is underway. Not sure where it will end.

This is a message from Anonymous to the people of New York City, Wall Street and members of the protest. We are a crowd in your streets. We are filling its veins. This might be painful but you will not open your eyes so we have been forced to dilate them. This is your protest. Welcome your new neighbors, for they choose to sleep on the streets for you. They choose to open their mouths when you are too exhausted. They are your brothers. They are here for your benefit. They are young. They are the children of the internet. They are Generation 0. They are taking their future back into their hands. They are reviving the country you have long left to drought and wither. Never forget this. Treat them with kindness. Nod your heads in respect to them. Give them water. Shake their hands. The smallest gratitude will incite them. Wall Street, four years ago you saw the country was brittle. You saw it was ripe for the taking. So you did. You shattered the country. And you collected the fragmented pieces to line your pockets. We stand here united and strong. Four years later we stand before your butcher block. Before your slaughtering house. Did you think that the people would not come to know what you have done? You sit before your screens waiting for your analysis. You are the players of the game and you play very well. You rig the game even better. You care very little for the lives of average Americans, mere pawns. But you have strongly misread the world. Your complete lack of compassion for your fellow man has left you with a grave error. The game is over, Wall Street. You forget that a poor man will slit your belly to eat what you have already eatin. Can you hear us Wall Street? Can you hear our racket, Goldman Sachs? Can you hear the defiant beating of our drums? Keep trying to belittle us, pundits, you lapdogs of the elite. Keep trying to sum up this movement in a soundbite. This is a cultural crisis and you are simply too stupid to understand it. We cannot be frightened by all the kings men for we are the court jesters. We will consume everything you throw at us and grow from it. This is our Arab Spring. This is our time. Protesters, savor the smell of tear gas. Savor the feeling of pepper spray. Rejoice to your bruises and your tears. You are our generation's counter-culture. You are our martyrs. Clench your fists and grind your teeth. Do not be moved and you will have fire breathed into you. Smile at the police. Ignore the pundits. The worse it gets, the stronger you become. The more hopeless your movement looks, the closer you are to success. You will be written into history. You will be backed up. We will not let your cries go unheard. We will not allow your fire to be smothered. We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forget and we do not forgive. Expect us.

A message from Anonymous (VIDEO)

What powerful words and emotions. I'm not really sure what they stand for, but they speak very passionately. Everything is so complicated and I cant really figure out exactly how things 'should' be, and there are so many different beliefs, thoughts and ideals that it's impossible to keep track of them all. It's good that people want change(I think), but I wish I know what kind of change they wanted. If there was one clear message things would be a lot simpler. I personally don't have that clear a vision of how I want things to be. All I know is that I want things to be a lot less doomed, or to at least feel a lot less doomed.

I don't grasp their vision either but we could start by taxing gains by hedge fund managers at ordinary tax rates. We have done a good job of getting our brightest students to choose finance as a career. Duh. That's where the money is. I think a country needs a lot more than just finance to prosper. How about some brilliant farmers? Second, we could break up the financial industry into much smaller pieces. The amount of aggregation we have right now has been shown as dangerous for everyone else and will continue to be so. Unfortunately, it is hard to deal with all the problems related to the financial industry on a bumper sticker.

I agree with you that way too much talent has flown into the financials industry. It is especially a problem when those talent individuals start getting creative. The financial industry is not a good place for innovative new ideas. I wish it was regulated more thoroughly, but lawmaking doesn’t seem to attract very talented individuals so maybe that is too much to hope for. Also I'm getting the feeling that lawmakers and the financial industry are a little bit too cozy together. Money is power and that power has become very concentrated.

One prediction. The financial industry will win the next election. They will contribute heavily to both parties. Follow the money. Protests on Wall Street are necessary because the electoral system is a corrupt joke.

There has to be some way to use the internet to get third party candidates elected. I know about one group that is already working on it. Surely with the level of communication that is available to people now it should be possible get people organized.

I started researching the Anonymous group when I found out they are associated with Occupy protests planned throughout the country. All I knew before is they've been in news regarding infiltration of computers managed by large corporations and governments.

I would guess the actual members are extremely computer savvy. I have no direct experience with group, however, I did have a conversation with a member a month or two ago. I'm a computer guru myself, considering I built my own computer by soldering chips to a motherboard 20+ years ago, and such groups would want my assistance. The company I work at contracts all computer maintenance to another company and my conversation was with a young bright-eyed computer guru who arrived to install a few computers I needed. In conversation he asked me if I knew about Anonymous. I knew about the hacker activities but I didn't want to alarm him so I just played dumb and said I didn't. He went on to explain he was involved with them and enjoying it very much and encouraged me to give them a look. I didn't give the conversation much thought till now. This young guy has administrator access to many computers where I work and I work for one of the largest banks in US. I now wonder how many other Anonymous members have administrator access to computers in large corporations and governments.

Anyway, I am very impressed with what I've found about group so far. They are pro-democracy and anti-violent which are traits dear to my heart. They are not trying to dictate what should be done to fix problems and are very much against any form of centralized leadership for their group. One worthwhile goal I've read about is they want a constitutional convention to add amendment that gets corporations out of politics.

This young guy has administrator access to many computers where I work and I work for one of the largest banks in US. I now wonder how many other Anonymous members have administrator access to computers in large corporations and governments.

Exactly, companies don't really appreciate the power of a BOFH.



I don't disagree that the financial system is despicable, same with government. But the reality is that these hordes of people don't have skill-sets worth crap, are waiting for someone else to provide their jobs and, basically, don't know jack $hit about life. IMO the hippies had it more together than these people - the hippies survived by their own wits. Sure it might have been panhandling and dumpster diving but they lived some place and didn't starve (although many used food stamps). They lived low on the hog which is going to become a reality for lots more people.

Let's talk about skill-sets: Take my area of the boondocks where just about everyone can weld, build a house, overhaul a motor, grow food, fell a tree and hunt game. What do these protesters have to offer? As far as I can determine, many have useless degrees in a non-productive area of the economy or else worked in areas where they didn't actually produced physical goods/services. I'm certainly not against education; I have a degree in chemistry. What I am against are education programs that stress cute crap.

On to jobs. My guess is that had all these people pooled their money that any number of businesses have been started providing real jobs. They may be bitching about the "system" but I believe that the only way they'll win is divorce themselves from the system.

That's enough for an early morning rant.


I grew up in boonducks myself so I certainly agree with your words. My neighbor and I worked together to take down a tree between our houses that would potentially hurt someone if a storm took it down instead. And I grow a delicious crop of butter and sugar corn here in Florida.

Regarding jobs, I'm very concerned with off-shoring. Going back to the 70's, many manufacturing jobs were sent abroad. And I'm just as guilty as others as I once managed using a maquiladora in Juarez, Mexico. In the last 10 years or so, off-shoring has begun with highly technical folks. I personally resent training foreigners to do jobs that could be done by Americans. Not to mention, the headaches I get from trying to understand the heavy accents.

I find it interesting that many of you guys on TOD have this attitude of helping, sharing and community, 'worked together to take down a tree'. The Americans I meet here seem to be the very opposite and leave me with a very bad impression. This thread leaves me that feeling of wishing I lived close enough to visit and is very much closer to what I grew up with than what I see here.


NAOM - I don't know how representative Texans are of the rest of the country. And this is a generalization, of course: we may seem to have dual personalities. A Texan might drive 30 miles out of his way to bring home after your car breaks down. Same guy might mock you for the miserable condition you find yourself in if he thinks you brought it on by your foolish choices. They can be very generous and very unforgiving in the next breath. And it's not "tough love": if they think you deserve what you got there ain't no love there at all. When folks up north starting taking shots at Texas when energy prices shot up those "Let the Yankees freeze in the dark" bumper stickers weren't just a joke...many meant it.

At least that's MHO after becoming a TBC...Texan By Choice...over 30 years ago. And yes...native born Texans do make that distinction. LOL. But if you do make the trip I would recommend visiting Texas first. Like the ads say: "We're a whole other country"


That's one of the post peak fault lines in the US. Texans will be protective of 'their' oil. They will expect the fuel for their SUVs, no rationing, no high prices. Those in the north, west and east will require that they take their fair share of the pain. Its not 'their' oil, it 'ours'.

Eventually it's likely to come to blows. Blockades begat military intervention begat gun based disobedience begat open warfare.

As and when the US splits apart, expect texas et al to be one of first blocks to UDI.

gary - Actually the oil beneath the state does belong to "us". As almost all the oil/NG under every state belongs to the citizens of that state. More specifically the mineral owners own the hydrocarbons. The oil/NG under a state's mineral leases belongs to that state. Companies obtain the right to produce the hydrocarbons and allocate a percentage of the production (usually around 20-25% royalty) to the land owner. Not well known but some large mineral owners have the right of first refusal (ROFR) on the sale of the oil/NG. The mineral owner can match the fair market value of the production and then resell it to any buyer they choose. If in the future enough mineral owners include such a clause in their new leases then a number of Texans can control, to some degree, how much oil/NG is shipped out of state. I know a number of mineral owners who now take an amount of their royalty NG in kind instead of the cash. They use it for agricultural and industrial business. In fact the largest privately owned air field in the country uses its royalty NG to fuel their generators. They sell what they don’t consume to a manufacturing facility they lease space to. They make much more money since they sell their NG closer to retail prices which are almost double well head prices these days.

You can extrapolate this reality to a future country dealing with a worsening PO situation. Oil/NG in Texas does not belong to the govt nor the citizens of the USA. Just as the NG in the Marcellus doesn’t belong to anyone other than the mineral owners of those few states. And if those mineral owners require a ROFR in order to lease their lands they’ll be able to sell that production to however they choose. And if they chose to sell to utilities that only distribute within the state it will be their right to do so.

This won’t be new territory. After the oil embargo of the 70’s ROFR became a major negotiating factor. I worked for Transco Pipeline at that time. We had a number of east coast utilities joining a joint venture drilling program with us. Part of the trade: they had their portion of the production shipped directly to them through our pipeline system. That NG was never available on the market to any other end users other than the citizens of the states those utility companies served. Needless to say these arrangement weren’t advertised to folks in other states who saw some of their business shut down for lack of NG.

How soon and to what degree might we see an expansion of such a system is anyone’s guess. But there is a precedence. It bothers me greatly to imagine the strife this would cause. But human nature being what it is it will likely happen. It already happened in 1978.

Everything you say maybe legally correct, but I'm reminded of the joke about the US and Saudi Arabia "What's our oil doing under their sand?"

Somehow, post peak, I think those ROFR terms will be worth less than yesterday's newsprint. Hell, we aren't post peak yet and see the general sentiment towards oil companies based on little evidence. How much worse would that be if they really were trying to limit 'our' oil...

Kind of why I said fighting would come about, together with the attempt to declare UDI - neither side is likely to play nice.

gary - You missed the main point: it doesn't matter what the public thinks of oil companies or what the companies would want to do. They have little to no say in the matter. In the situations I described it's all in the hands of mineral owners. It belongs to them and thus they have the right to do with it as they chose. You know...it's one of those dang constitutional rights thingy.

And remember I'm not talking theoretical. Such arragements, though not widespread now, are in place and in effect today. And have been for over 40 years. This is just the first time you and most of the TODsters have heard about it

The constitution is a piece of paper.

When oil gets short, it will go to the organisation with the most effective weaponry. That may be Texas, maybe not...

Ralph - I think you might have missed my point also: the oil/NG in Texas doesn't belong to Texas. It belongs to the private mineral owners and the companies that drill/produce the wells. All this oil/NG (including the Marcellus et al production) will go to whoever the owners of the production will sell it. At the moment, no one including the feds have the right to direct those sales to any particular region. The only such control the govt has is production from federal leases.

And, once again, this isn't a theoretical possibility. Though not wide spread at the moment, such arangements are in place right now. And this system has been effective for at least 50 years. I'm not offering a new oil/NG distribution protocol. It's almost as old as the oil industry itself.

Rockman, just to elaborate on the ROFR concept, I'd like to mention that the Alberta government has a ROFR clause on all the oil and produced on land it leases to oil companies.

Since the Alberta government holds the mineral rights on 85% of the land in Alberta, and 95% of Canada's oil reserves are in the Alberta oil sands, this means the Alberta government has a ROFR on about 80% of the oil reserves in Canada. In the final analysis, including oil sands, this will be oil than Saudi Arabia owns.

This is the first big hammer the Alberta government has. The second is the take-in-kind (TIK) option on all of the leases. It has the option of taking its royalties in oil rather money. At the moment, this isn't so big because of the BPO/APO nature of the royalties As an oil man, you will understand this, but for others - before payout (BPO), i.e. before all the development costs are paid, the oil companies pay one royalty rate, and after payout (APO), i.e. after all the costs are paid and it's all gravy, they pay a higher rate.

The royalty rates on oil sands plants are 2% BPO but 25% APO. The Alberta government is already exercising its TIK option and taking the bitumen rather than the money, and their long term objective is convert it into diesel fuel. They're subsidizing construction of an oil sands "upgrader" that upgrades oil sands bitumen direct to diesel fuel, with a 50% diesel cut.

At the moment, with oil sands production at 1.5 million bpd and a 2% royalty rate it isn't so impressive, but when oil sands production hits, say, 4 million bpd and all the plants are fully paid for, the Alberta government are going to be selling over 20 million gallons per day of diesel fuel.

I'm not sure that it's such a good plan from a revenue standpoint, but it certainly ensures that Albertan's won't be short of diesel fuel for their trucks.

True, but I don't have problems with that though. A lot of what I see here is they wouldn't go 30 feet to get you home but expect you to dig them out of whatever used pasture they got themselves into. My only experience of Texas was a very brief stop over at Dallas/Ft Worth and that was ok, not there long enough to sight see though.


Greer wrote an essay that touches on this. It was about why fraternal organizations are in decline in the US. He argued that it was because they were no longer needed. Before, they were like insurance. If something happened to you, they took care of your family. If you needed help, they would step up.

Now, we don't need that community. We pay for insurance, and for other help we need. We are wealthy enough that we don't rely on community the way our ancestors did.

I, personally have noticed that people tend to be a lot more neighborly in poor neighborhoods. Have car trouble in a middle class neighborhood - people will blow right by without giving you a glance. Have car trouble in a poor neighborhood, and people will stop, push your car out of the way for you, offer their cell phone so you can call someone, recommend a garage (where they will often make small repairs for free), etc.

I have a great story.
Earlier this year a guy knocked on my door. I spoke with him and he said he was a neighbor and asked if I'd help him. He was an elderly man so I said sure. He said there was a turtle in my yard that was heading for the street. It was a huge turtle, with shell about a foot in length, that somehow got into my front yard. I often see these turtles in my back yard but not in the front very often. So I just picked it up and walked back behind my yard and put it in a drainage ditch filled with water. Not sure if that's what the turtle wanted, but my neighbor was very appreciative.

Too true. I'll give you a reverse example of what I get. I was getting into the car and a gringo couple asked me where Costco was. I told them to just follow the road and they would get there. I offered a lift as I was going there myself and it was a bit of a way. Oh no, they leapt back in horror. Drove off thinking about how much they would enjoy a kilometre walk in the tropical mid-day sun..


I once was staying with my GF in an old lock-keeper's cottage on a small canal. 11pm one evening, a knock on the door. A couple had just had their small pleasure boat sink in the canal and they were stranded.

We had no room to spare, so we drove them home, 100 mile round trip.

They were back a week later to organise the recovery of their boat, they didn't even knock on the door to say thanks.

"here here..."

We have lived that way for years. Most of our lives. If the cougars have taken the deer pop down, we don't eat venison because unless we can shoot it on our land, we won't drive around to hunt. Instead, freezers full of salmon, sheep, veggies, fruit, etc. Most often, we look over our table and remark, "you know, we have grown everything we are eating today....and the meal is a feast. Wine...homemade bread....whatever.

I wish we had the boar, although the damage is scary. Next cougar in the yard goes in the freezer as opposed to a hole in the ground or the river. They are supposed to taste very good. We have the highest pop of them on the planet and they are worrisome.....killing pets, all game, and attack the occasional kid or adult.

Want to live like this? Turn off the tv and make it a lifestyle. In fact, as soon as the tide drops and the river goes down in an hour I am going to try and pick up just one more coho. I lost one yesterday and most have already gone upstream in high water. What else would I do on a Sunday morning? Play golf? Watch football? I don't think so.

Cost....free labour. Maybe 5 gal gas per year for boating the cod, halibut, and prawns.....salmon free. Bullets? 1 dollar per year....load my own. Or, use .22. For the house we buy tools, building materials, clothes, shoes and toiletries...that is all. A few staples like flour, sugar, rice, spices....although we grow most of those, too. Healthy and fun...satisfying.



You said, "I wish we had the boar, although the damage is scary." No, no, no, you don't even want to think about pigs. They are destroyers! Seriously, they make a mess of everything rooting and if they get in your veggies, it's all over. They wipe everything out. A few years ago they got through our garden fence. I shot them and every darn thing else but they still destroyed everything.


PS I feel the same way about deer. Only city people think they deer cute.

The farmers in the UK tolerated them while hunting was allowed. The money from hunting made up for the damage. Once hunting was stopped the deer population suddenly declined.


Most deer in the UK are Munkjacs. Invasive Chinese species, very destructive to crops and wood coppice. Native deer do much less damage. There is talk of re-introducing wolves as a natural control.

We can lend you some of our local Canadian Rockies wolves if you want. We loaned some to the National Parks in the Western US and they are doing a fine job of reducing the elk and buffalo population there.

The only thing is that they are also good at reducing the sheep population, and any dogs left loose could become part of the food chain as well. However, contrary to popular folk tale, Grandma and Little Red Riding Hood will be relatively safe. Wolves don't like people very much, even as food.

Used to dodge too many of those in my motorbike days:) The local park gamekeepers were fed up with people reporting they had knocked one down so they just let the attending police take them away. Apparently the local police had a good relationship with the local butchers.


"Considering all of human history, who's more of an aberration; the "survivalist/hermit" who makes his way, at least in part, by hunting/gathering and local agriculture,,, or the urban, nut-to-butt, eat out and shop at the local Wonderfoods with magic vapor money, "modern" industrial age consumer? Just askin'.. Who's deluded and who's the realist?"

I would say both are deluded and both are realists in about equal measure. The delusions may be different but I could hardly say one is more deluded than the other. With the former you have people deluded that they can separate themselves from everything and the latter people are deluded that the status-quo can sustain their lifestyle. Whether you're one extreme or the other you cannot run away from global issues by either hiding in a corner or ignoring them. The challenge of survivalism is that they are still significantly dependent on the global economy for things they cannot make themselves but they cut themselves off from the ability to produce economically valuable things in exchange for them and if/when prices rise they will be just as screwed as the city dweller.

I would say that the reality of the situation is that humanity never takes the breaks that technology gives us from our own problems. Every time there is an improvement in in the quantity of energy available per capita or an improvement in energy efficiency we simply use it and contrive further problems for ourselves. Peak oil is just one issue we've run into in a whole long list of issues and even if it gets 'solved' we'll just increase energy consumption per capita or increase our population until we run into yet another until either we learn or run into an issue we cannot solve which forces us to either learn or comply with natural limits. We can't 'solve' the problem of 'peak oil' until we can 'solve' the fundamental problems which brought us here in the first place. Feeding the addict with more drugs only solves some issues in the short term but brings about much larger issues in the long term.

Even if we don't finish ourselves off and even if we do solve the problems we created for ourselves we can't really call ourselves secure given the fact that Ultra-Plinian and Supervolcanic eruptions occur at a rate of one every 1,000 years and 10,000 years respectively.



I would say both are deluded and both are realists in about equal measure. The delusions may be different but I could hardly say one is more deluded than the other.

I think this is probably correct. Survivalism is a peculiarly American thing, probably stemming from our relatively recent frontier past. It's spread a little bit to other English-speaking countries, but in general, the rest of the world finds it pretty crazy. Including people from places that have undergone the kind of disruption we are supposedly preparing for.

Go Ghung!! I agree with you.

Not to worry, I'm always crazy. It takes about five years for a noticeable number of people to acquire the same craziness. By then, I am on to something more bizarre. It started many years ago, with pickles and square foot gardening. Lately, I've been breeding beets and heritage corn.

A friend of mine helped me weed the corn patch recently. The whole time, he tried to persuade to get a Costco membership (such awesome deals!), use herbicide on the weeds instead a hoe, and check out the amazing BBQ sauce at Trader Joe's. He clearly thought I was crazy. The whole time, I was thinking he was completely nuts. I barely shop in supermarkets, and usually it's for things you don't eat, so why on earth would Costco have anything interesting. It's a rented organic field, so even if trying use herbicide on heritage corn wasn't a non-starter, what part of no chemicals is unclear? BBQ sauce? I make excellent BBQ sauce. BBQ sauce is various concoctions of sugar, vinegar, tomato paste, soy sauce, seasoning and whatnot. Why should I pay someone extra to put it in a bottle for me, ship it 2000 miles and leave it on a shelf for six months?

As I was planting, weeding and then harvesting soup peas, corn, potatoes, dry beans and squash from my rented field, it occurred to me often that five years from now, I may be teaching people in the city how to dig up their lawns and plant calorie crops.

Survivalism is a peculiarly American thing,[...] in general, the rest of the world finds it pretty crazy.

Exactly. These "Bear Grylls" type conversations are so common on TOD I've come to understand it's a bit of an American thing, but yeah, I personally do find it pretty out there.

Saying that, I kind of like the 'I can kill my own meat' thing. And my kids love Bear Grylls, he's coming to Australia soon, might even go and see him...

Speculative investors are always looking for something that can be monetized into a lucrative bubble. Tulips, real estate, internet, oil, gold. It's all the same game to them, just like the trader in the article admits. Now that there is a climate of fear and greed developing in regards to food, the time is right for profiteers to take advantage of the situation.

Does this mean that the hunters, fishers, farmers and growers of the world will suddenly become wealthy? Not so much. The big money has traditionally been made in the marketplace, not in the field. However, as the definition of wealth slowly starts to shift back towards real things, the fortunes of food producers will improve.

Cheap fossil fuels have made it easy for the inhabitants of the industrial world to forget that food is precious. Soon everyone will have to relearn what the traditional growers and hunters and non-industrial peoples have known all along ... that the most reliable source of food is from the effort of your own hands or those of your neighbors.

Yair...just after we moved down here to 'civilisation'I made the mistake off crossing the highway and sniping a couple of rabbits on a warren in a neighbours paddock.

Being from the bush and all I never gave it a thought when crossed in front of a car with the little Fieldman .22 and a brace of bunnies.

Cops arrived about ten minutes later and said we should stay inside as they'd had a tripple oh report about some bad looking bastard getting around with a gun...they are real handy technology those blasted mobile phones.

bad looking bastard

Boy, I've had some good laughs this morning. I just can't seem to match you to that description :)


In Sweden we have milk shortage. I went to the grocery to buy butter,but they didn't have any. Not of the cow-kind. Veggie butter but most brands of cow butter was gone. Talked to the guy in the store. He toldme there is supply constrains in the country. Buyers don'tpay farmers even for production costs of milk. So they go backwards, and one mil farmer after another close down. But buyers refuse to raise prices, and since they have a practical monopoly they, and not the farmers, set the prices. And now we are out of milk. And the buyers refuse to raise prices.

Much the same in the UK. The major supermarkets control 90% of the food supply. Farmers sell at the price the supermarket will pay. Many diary and pig farmers are shutting up, supersized intensive farms are the only ones making money.

There is a strong backlash for local produce, farmer's markets in rural areas, but these are luxuries largely funded by the wealthy, middle/upper classes.

Milk is bought from the farmers at less than production cost, (not least because UK welfare standards are very high, and the buyer can easily ship product from eastern Europe, where labour and welfare are both much cheaper).

The supermarkets have huge advertising campaigns about supporting the British farmer, but they will cut his throat for a penny a litre.

On the flip side, a decade ago, there were huge surplices of dairy and pigs due to EU subsidies and guaranteed profits for the farmers.

WSJ version of Bakken oil idiocy:

How North Dakota Became Saudi Ariabia

Harold Hamm, discoverer of the Bakken fields of the northern Great Plains, on America's oil future and why OPEC's days are numbered.

Harold Hamm, the Oklahoma-based founder and CEO of Continental Resources, the 14th-largest oil company in America, is a man who thinks big. He came to Washington last month to spread a needed message of economic optimism: With the right set of national energy policies, the United States could be "completely energy independent by the end of the decade. We can be the Saudi Arabia of oil and natural gas in the 21st century."

. . .

How much oil does Bakken have? The official estimate of the U.S. Geological Survey a few years ago was between four and five billion barrels. Mr. Hamm disagrees: "No way. We estimate that the entire field, fully developed, in Bakken is 24 billion barrels."

I wonder how many hundred years it will be to remove that oil. How much fracking would it take? Where would all the water come from?

Harold Hamm is quite an impressive tap dancer.

He goes from USGS's 'technically recoverable' to CLR's 'recoverable' to 20 Billion 'Reserves' in a few quick and nimble moves. Tap a tap, tap tap, tap tap a tap.


He seems to violate SEC reserve reporting rules with every tap.

Speaking of tap dancing, I would mention the article's claim that Harold Hamm is the discoverer of the Bakken fields of the northern Great Plains.

The Bakken Formation was discovered in 1953, when Harold Hamm was a small child. It is just the recent high oil prices, combined with technological developments in horizontal wells and hydraulic fracturing, that have made it economic to develop it.

What is this, really? 3 1/2 years worth of crude for the US? And that is assuming that there is actually 24 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Am I missing something?

I've never heard that 24 Gb figure, but I have heard 500 Gb, I think that was on Rush Limbaugh. At this time, the USGS's 4 Gb 'technically recoverable' is questionable, despite what the NDIC, Harold Hamme and Rush Limbaugh claim.

The Bakken is a ways off from 1 Gb cumulative. Production from 60 yrs production in ND is 205 million barrels. Parshall field peaked more than a year ago, indicating an ultimate of maybe 100 million barrels. Sanish has probably also peaked with a similar ultimate. I don't see that many Parshalls being found anytime soon, although there are some impressive 'sweet spots'.


From WSJ:

Japan Discovers Plutonium far from Crippled Reactor

Trace amounts of plutonium were found as far as 28 miles from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant, the first time that the dangerous element released from the accident was found outside of the immediate area of the plant.

. . .

The government also reported a rare detection of strontium, another highly dangerous element, far from the crippled reactor, in one spot as far away as 50 miles. Most of the radioactive material discovered to date in the communities surrounding Fukushima Daiichi has been cesium or iodine.

Little by little the Japanese Government is letting this info leak out. Just slowly enough not to cause a panic.

I don't mind if they manage to avert panic. I just hope they don't avert people connecting the dots and making responsible decisions going forward. It's amnesia I'm worried about.

It seems this event, in a small but modern Island Nation has the potential to form a coup-de-grace for Fission Energy as it's been for the last few decades..(While I still support research on Nuclear power..) Now that we have this in conjunction with the lessons and the info/disinfo campaigns we've gotten with Chernobyl and TMI, etc..

Radioactive water found under Ga. nuke plant

... While the size of the leak was unknown, it was enough to raise the water table in the wells about five feet. Both reactors at the site were functioning normally and showed no other signs of water loss.

"We really don't know what the rate is," Madison said. "We know it's more than a drip."

The contours of the ground would tend to move the tritium away from the nearest private well, which is roughly a mile from the site, and toward the river... In 2006, the company replaced piping and made other repairs to fix or prevent tritium leaks near where the problem was discovered this week.

Man, oh man!

As one of my hats is as a landlord, the potential for leaks just in two little houses, Seven Baths/Showers and Toilets.. is so continual, I am forever surprised that anyone is surprised at the number of leaks, known and newly discovered that we get from Nuke Plants.. with these reassurances that they'll get better as we move into the future.

Tell that to the grand canyon.

The prevalence of underground piping in a chemical plant was a surprise to me when I started this job. In mining the rule was no process piping underground. Potable and fire water lines were allowed to be buried, but not process fluids.

The good news is they are burying less than they used to. The cost of digging up the leaks is soaking through to even the most capital-spending averse accountants.


Tritium is only a low energy beta emitter - a good way to test for a leaking pipe but a very, very low risk.

On the other hand Americium 241 is an alpha and gamma emitter. Americium 241 is a component of spent nuclear fuel. It is capable of sustaining a chain reaction and producing useful heat. It is on sale at WalMart.
Our society really has me shaking my head sometimes. The public does not grasp relative risk or often fact check and many organizations will take advantage of this. Every time I see the media take a shot at the nuclear industry and try to scare the public with a tritium story I wonder why I've never seen a story on what happens when a smoke detector is burned in a trash to energy incinerator such as the one in Biddeford. Smoke detectors are absolutely everywhere, the ingredient that makes them work well is a hard core nuclear material if ever there was one, yet both the public and media exhibit unquestioned faith in their safety and utility. No one talks about burying old smoke detectors thousands of feet under the Nevada desert. No radiation control protocol required to go walk down the aisle with the detectors. The inconsistency is puzzling. Of course, we don't want smoke detectors to cost so much they don't sell, eg several hundred to dispose of, let alone buy. And nuclear plants sell so darned much power they have been able to support an immense overhead of bureaucratic inefficiency. Can't have them substantially under selling fossil fueled power, anyway.

Call your representative in Washington! We need a new regulation! (Seriously)...

E. Swanson

A high deposit is all that is necessary, returned when the detector is disposed of properly. That was clear when the product was brought to market, however industry lobbyists preferred the current regs - detectors can be sold cheaply, then manufacturer responsibility ends. But tire, lead acid battery, and even soda manufacturers can deal with redemption regs that result in proper recycling.
I can change regs sometimes at the state level, and have, but am not paid, whereas lobbyists are highly paid. They also represent organizations that contribute to reelection. I don't think in our current system of government it is that useful to contact our representative, I can only contribute good reasoning, which is already available.

I don't see your point. Sure, Tritium is mild, and Smoke Detectors are generally unappreciated as bearing Radioactive sources.. still, the question is about how many Fission Power systems are out there aging, with overstuffed spent fuel pools that depend on reliable plumbing and power, with unclaimed or misremembered underground pipes that are gradually wearing down near key freshwater sources (VT Yankee and Indian Point to name a couple), with Seismic Activity ready to undermine support structures.. etc.

No matter how hazardous Smoke Detectors are, they don't do much to upstage the dangers posed by Fission NPPs in the US.. Like coal, these are an ADDITIONAL problem, not an alternate one.

At least Tritium has a half-life of ~ 12.3 years...roughly 5.7% of Tritium decays into Helium each year.

Word out there from folks who work with it is that if you breathe some Tritium, drink copious amounts of beer for a few days.

I live downstream from several aging paper mills that spew dioxin from unclaimed and misremembered pipes. I am not allowed to eat the fish from the river I grew up on (does an Androscoggin trout sound good to you?). The chemical and elemental toxins we emit into our environments also can have very long half lives in the environment. My point re smoke detectors? Americium 241 is a component of nuclear waste, indeed it is nuclear waste, high level waste at that, except it is useful and saves lives. A simple deposit law would take care of what risk the material has, as I really would not want to breath an incinerated aerosol of it. But I am very comfortable with it in my home. Nuclear materials are not the bogeymen they are usually made out to be. Just don't walk up to a spent fuel assembly until its cooled for awhile.
What's really unique about nuclear power is not risk - chem plants and refinery explosions kill regularly - remember Bhopal? A Union Carbide plant that immediately killed more than Fukushima ever will. Heck, a dam failure in China in 1975 killed 171,000 people or so downstream and left 11,000,000 people homeless (see the Banqiao Reservoir Dam disaster). No, what is unique about nuclear power is the political paralysis that accompanies it. Overstuffed fuel pools? Mandate dry cask storage. The casks are safe and cost effective. Concerned about old plants? I am too - old paper mills, old pesticide plants, old coal power plants. I agree it is important to replace old infrastructure beyond a certain age, and blocking such replacement adversely impacts public safety.

I grew up in Bethel, on that same Androscoggin. I don't think I'd eat one of those Trout just yet, but that river is at least far better than it was 30-40 years ago. We would wake up smelling either Rumford or Berlin, NH, depending on the weather..

But you're drawing the same false choice. The chemical waste that has started getting cleaned up with Nixon's freshwater act, etc, is not somehow 'OK', while I voice my objections to the potential disaster awaiting us with these masses of active and spent reactor fuel around the country, and reactor sites with continually aging parts that are less and less affordable to replace. Both are serious problems, and must be addressed.

Sure, dry casks seem better. How much so, and really for how long, we've yet to see. But Maine Yankee's old fuel is in Dry Casks, sitting there in Wiscasset, under the watchful eye of the Chewonki foundation and others who were vocal and persistent enough to see that the site remediation was handled properly.. but around the rest of the country, we have spent fuel pools that are far beyond their rated capacity, and these are NOT getting even that treatment.. what are the odds that they will, law or no law? Will declining oil and overall EROEI make it more likely that this will be taken on in these economically perilous times or not?

The early Industrial Toxins were spilled openly, and we eventually made ourselves put an effort into cleaning them up when the offenses became overwhelming, and rubber boots melted if you stepped into our rivers, and ice couldn't even form on the hot sludge.. although too many industries are still being protected from having to take real responsibility for their Brownfields today. But now, since we've had our Nuclear Age, we've only just started seeing the way these new hazards can and will break down.. Read the (now Radioactive) tea leaves from Japan. Rust never sleeps.

I work for a small organisation that has been getting smaller progressively for the last 8 years. We are down to a third of the staff, we are constantly on the brink of folding.

We are not a hazardous waste organisation, but even office equipment and infrastructure needs to be maintained and disposed of correctly with health and safety standards. We no longer have ths staff that know these standards, or even that these standards exist. We may or may not have the paperwork documenting what needs to be done, but we don't know there they are filed, and can't afford the staff hours to search the files, physical or electronic.

I would complain to management, directors or even the trustees, but the management were fired, all but one directors resigned, and the trustees board was dissolved .

This is what the back side of Hubbert's peak will be like.

Re : "An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts"

'A Climate for Change:' A Presentation by Katharine Hayhoe


Interesting presentation - well worth listening to all of it, including the Q&A. Useful to use to present the science in a clear and reasonably acceptable form to lay people. Deals with a lot of the hype and misinformation in the media, particularly, in a clear and concise manner.

Tries to, and largely succeeds in, dealing with the politically slanted aspects.

Thanks for the link spring_tides

Nice presentation

SEC Says Large Rating Firm May Have Leaked Pending Rate Move

... SEC inspectors have examined whether meetings between Standard&Poors staff and certain investors to discuss the possible rating cut violated rules that prohibit confidential information from being disclosed selectively to some market participants, according to the person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Blackrock Inc., Western Asset Management, and TCW Group Inc., which oversee almost $4 trillion, were visited by Standard&Poors after the firm's July statement, according to people briefed on the conversations who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meetings were private.

related: S.E.C. Faults Credit Raters, but Doesn’t Name Them

I am shocked — shocked — to find insider trading going on here!

Blackrock Inc. Background

More on the Rastani video from Aljazeera ...

'Goldman Sachs rules the world'

William Cohan wrote the book Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World.
NPR Diane Rehm interviews William Cohan

And I am shocked - shocked I tell you to find that someone who's embarrassed the US establishment is finding that law can be set on them for not playing ball.

Link up top "Advanced biofuels could be commercialised rapidly for military use"

What a joke.

The linked article says;

Advanced biofuels can be commercialized rapidly for military use, on military timelines, with adequate support and coordination of efforts by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense and Energy.

"adequate support" means, of course, unlimited funding. And all this despite the fact that work on advanced biofuels has been going on for decades, and yet, today, there is not one commercial producer of cellulosic ethanol, or oil from algae, or jatrohpa, etc.

There has been a parade of companies claiming they can produce fuel; for $2/gal or $50/bb/, IF they are just given a few hundreds more for development, and, so far, not one of them has gone into full production, at any price.

The closest is where the US Navy has paid upwards of $50/gal for sample quantities of these fuels for testing. Now that they know they work, it is up to the industry to then deliver them in a meaningful quantity AND at an affordable price.

so far, they have achieved neither, and I am sure the military is not basing any major plans on a reliable supply of biofuels.

Not directly connected to the East Siberian Shelf Methane Expedition but ...

HIPPO proves atmospheric heavyweight

... The researchers also discovered that the powerful greenhouse gas methane is escaping into the atmosphere from the entire Atlantic sector of the Arctic Ocean – and possibly the entire Arctic Ocean – not just from along the continental shelves. HIPPO's principal investigator, Steven Wofsy of Harvard University, US, reported that although ocean scientists had known that Arctic surface waters were supersaturated with methane, HIPPO made the first direct observations that the gas was entering the atmosphere from the ocean surface.

"The amount that actually reaches the atmosphere depends very much on ice cover, so as ice cover is declining in the Arctic, this source of methane to the atmosphere is increasing," Wofsy said. "So it actually looks like there's a climate feedback going on here." In short, "as we reduce the ice cover in the Arctic due to the warming of the atmosphere, more methane is coming out of those surface waters into the atmosphere and contributing to warming". Wofsy said it was too soon to quantify the effect of Arctic methane, but he thought that the results, when analysed, were likely to be "interesting and significant".

in other words the effects will happen much much faster then the wildly conservative ipcc report.. not a surprise. i wonder what the news shows will make of it in the next couple of years when the arctic is ice free in the summer.

"... effects will happen much much faster ..." - It would seem.

"... wonder what the news shows will make of it[?] ... - stay tuned for a new edition of 'Dancing with the Stars', followed by our finalists on 'American Idol' and the 'X-Factor'. Coming up next our 24/7 courtroom coverage of the 3rd retrial of Michael Jackson's doctor but now our fashion correspondent will tell you what 'hot consumers' are wearing to look 'perky' in our balmy 100 degree cold spell.

Whether you want em or not, hybrids are coming

... Tim Taylor ... bought a 2010 Prius last year and said, "I'm not sure I'd do it again" because the vehicle was expensive and he isn't making that up in savings by buying less gasoline.

...(Gasoline- and battery-powered hybrids, such as the Chevrolet Volt and the luxury Fisker Karma, as well as the all-electric Nissan Leaf and the pricey Tesla Roadster, will make up less than 1.6 percent of the market by 2015, J.D. Power estimates.) The low percentage of hybrids to overall sales begs the question as to whether Americans have accepted them, Doggett said.

At this rate it's going to be hard to meet Obama's fleet expectations by 2020

It would seem the buyers don't want 'em...

According to this article from USA today back in June,

Sales of high-mileage, high-value conventional compacts such as the Hyundai Elantra (shown above), Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze are hot, while hybrid sales have stagnated.

The hybrid share of U.S. auto sales peaked at 3.6% in July 2009, Edmunds.com says. Last month, it was 1.6%, depressed also by production cuts for some models due to the Japan disaster, but not enough to account for all the drop.

So, it would seem that small is beautiful, for both the car, the fuel consumption AND the price tag. Hybrids don't make the cut on the price tag, and unless you drive more than 20,000 miles/yr, you don't get your money back.

An alternative to buying a car from the BBC

Paris launches electric car-sharing scheme

Paris is launching its first car-sharing project as it aims to clear its traffic-clogged boulevards.

The Autolib system is intended to build on the success of the Velib bicycle-rental service, similar to that operating in many European cities

Whatever the other merits or demerits of the scheme, how is changing the ownership pattern for cars supposed to improve traffic congestion? If anything, by making casual, occasional use easier, it might increase congestion a bit, just as Velib probably increases bicycle traffic a bit.

This is just another way to rent a car. Renting a car is not done on a whim but when nothing else will do.
This may result in less people owning cars and just using them when they really have to. My personal experience is if you don't have a car, you naturally use other forms of transportation, including biking, walking, trollies, light rail, subways, trains,etc. Cars are just a once in a while thing.

It could at least help the parking situation. There would be less cars that are more efficiently used.

and why would you spend so much on them when you can spend less and get one of these in Europe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BlueMotion

or a smart for two here in the states and get the same mpg.

GE, Nissan join hands on electric cars

... GE can help Nissan make EVs easier to use and more consumer friendly... We want to get into this space in a big way."

"As the US and world move toward electric vehicles, the automotive sector is forming new industry connections that extend well beyond the traditional (parts maker) space," he said.

"One of the biggest connections being made is with companies that generate and provide electricity.

Nissan engineers are developing methods to make the car a more integrated part of the home's energy equipment through a two-way power flow between the vehicle and the house.

"Nissan engineers are developing methods to make the car a more integrated part of the home's energy equipment through a two-way power flow between the vehicle and the house."

I wonder how that would change the economics of the plug in hybrids and all electric cars. Essentially if they're used as a battery backup they can serve a double/triple use of easing demand spikes in the evening as well as providing a way to keep the power on if supply gets cut and finally serving as a way to fill up your car with electricity vs gasoline. I know it's way more complicated but how does it effect the break even period if you can count on more than just transportation from those batteries? Does anyone dare to do the maths on it? I know I couldn't.

There is a dream of having the utility company pay EV owners for the right to access their EV for frequency regulation and for some peak power needs. Thus, the utility would pay you when they draw power out of your EV. But I can't see anything like that happening anytime soon. Perhaps someday where there are many more EVs out there and the V2G (vehicle-to-grid) protocols are all standardized.

Here is a V2G pilot project:

I don't understand these V2G proposals. My EV battery life span is cycle limited. So why would I want the power company cycling my very expensive batteries? Surely a bank of stationary lead acid batteries would work much better for the power company then the expensive mobile batteries in my EV?

You'd want them cycling them because they were very expensive and they would help pay the costs. Depending on what they pay, it may be well worth allowing them to draw out some power now and then. Sure, it will be some wear & tear . . . but the payment should be enough to cover wear & tear.

A bank of stationary lead-acids is definitely much cheaper . . . but it isn't easy for the utility to have them all over the place. Sometimes you just need a little extra power in a particular area of the grid. EVs will be scattered around so they act as little local capacitors that they can drop into the system as needed. I'm not a electrical power expert but someone was explaining to me how the smart meters have helped utilities to locate trouble spots where they can just add some batteries/capacitors to fix local issues. Otherwise they take a brute force to the problem by dumping a lot of excess power onto to the grid which is wasteful.

You'd want them cycling them because they were very expensive and they would help pay the costs. Depending on what they pay, it may be well worth allowing them to draw out some power now and then. Sure, it will be some wear & tear . . . but the payment should be enough to cover wear & tear.

No, not at all. I paid a ton of money for specialized batteries to give my EV as much range/utility as possible Every time you cycle my car batteries you are stealing a little bit of the already limited utility of my EV. The utility (range) of my car is worth far more to me than what the power company could possibly pay.

A power company will pay me for the Kwh used. But what they are really doing is using up the utility of my EV.

I've seen proposals for V2G that are based around EVs with lead acid batteries. Those batteries are calendar life limited. So it makes sense for me to let the power company cycle my batteries and pay me for the Kwh used since under that scenario they are not taking away from the utility of my EV. In that case they are paying me for battery capacity I would otherwise let go to waste.

Another possibility would be to have the power company own/lease the battery in your car. You buy the drive-train they supply the battery - it get amortized on your electric bill. They can handle charge/disposal/recycle.

I don't understand these V2G proposals.

There was discussion about this very matter on greentechmedia just this week. Unfortunately its dropped off their page already. But, the claim/presumption, was slow charge/discharge in the 60% to 80% of battery capacity range has almost no affect on battery life. Supposedly deep discharges, and rapid charges/discharges have much more effect on battery life. This sounds reasonable, although I'd like to see some real data on battery wear. In any case, there might be a combination of battery charge regimes, and time of use rates that meet a drivers criteria of being worth it.

It makes a lot of sense since the major cost of power production is in peak demand. If demand were more steady there wouldn't be a need to cycle up more expensive 'peaker' plants which cost a lot more to run than standard base load power stations. It'd also make renewables like wind cheaper since you wouldn't need as many backup plants in case the wind doesn't blow and it certainly does seem to relieve the need to build transmission lines to accommodate the 6PM peak in electricity consumption. The big question is whether this would offset the wear on the batteries in EVs tasked to perform in this manner?

Does buying low and selling high make economic sense compared to the initial capital cost of the batteries and inverter infrastructure? I have no data to back it up but my intuition tells me that it only really makes sense if coupled with already pre-existing solar installations since the cost of the batteries and inverter can be amortized with the benefits of also having local solar panels using the same infrastructure. So effectively plug in car + inverter + controller + solar panels in my opinion is the best use case scenario for this kind of technology and application as they are all complimentary with one another. The only major hurdle is that the capital cost of the above is probably in excess of $40,000 U.S.D.

... Tim Taylor ... bought a 2010 Prius last year and said, "I'm not sure I'd do it again" because the vehicle was expensive and he isn't making that up in savings by buying less gasoline.

Well if you got rid of an old paid-for gas guzzler to buy a brand new fuel-efficient Prius and expected to save money then you simply don't understand economics. The NEW fuel-efficient Prius is much cheaper to operate than a NEW conventional car.

At this rate it's going to be hard to meet Obama's fleet expectations by 2020

He had an inspirational goal of 1M plug-ins on the road by 2015. They are not going to meet that but it was just an aspiration goal. You can make people buy things, nor should you. You can only do a bit to make them more attractive.

I think EVs are going to have a tough time for the next year or two because:
1) If we go into an other recessional dip then consumers lack the money and confidence to buy an expensive plug-in; and
2) A recession dip will push oil prices down thus reducing the advantage of getting off gasoline.

But in the big picture, they will be a growing part of the future as gas prices rise.

high-efficiency vehicles will likely be a tough sell for Joe American short-term memory though...those who 'live in the now'...

Gasoline in Albuquerque today ranging from $2.95-$3.14/gallon.

Gas in Falls Church, VA and surrounding ~$3.49 or so when we were there last week...

That price at the pump is what most Americans gauge the oil supply situation by....and not even...if they think it is too high, then out comes the blame for the speculators, the big oil companies, OPEC, the enviro-Nazis, and so forth...

Will Ms. Bachmann's dream of 2-buck a gallon gas come true?

Probably not...and if it does, I think the corollary would be an 11-12% U3 rate.

Sadly, you are very correct. People are not good at making longer term economic decisions. They'll continue to buy traditional gas cars even when hard number economic analysis will tell them that the hybrid or EV is cheaper over all. Why?
1) Evolution biology of us taking short-term views;
2) Lack of credit;
3) Fear of the new/unknown
4) We are really bad at math. (And even when people try to do a decent comparison, they for to account for gas price increases.)

Etc. EVs will be a slow growing biz . . . but it will eventually hit a tipping point.

I wonder a bit about #3...lack of credit and/or too high a price for a hybrid car such as a Prius.

According to the WSJ, as of May 2011 the average transaction price for a private vehicle in the U.S. was $29,817.


While this site (truecar.com) states that at this time in Albuquerque, NM, a new Prius costs $25,399 (average cost paid). This is more than the sticker price.


Interestingly, truecar.com lists the average price paid for a Ford F150 today in Albuquerque as $22,519. less than the sticker price:


The F150 gets 17 mpg in the city cycle, while the Prius gets 51 mpg in the city cycle.

Thus, all things being equal, a fleet of Prii would use 1/3 the gas of a fleet of F150s. Recall that if a large-scale change to higher mileage vehicles were to occur, society could choose to raise fuel taxes commensurately to maintain the same out-of-pocket fuel costs to people, short-circuiting Jevon's paradox.



According to this site, the U.S. market is on track to sell ~ 13M light vesicles (<~14K pounds) in 2011. Someone has the money in the U.S to buy ~ 13M vehicles with an average transaction price of ~ $29K.


And we do not have to restrict our analysis to EVs or even to Hybrid vehicles...there are smaller, lighter vehicles which are pure ICE-powered which get ~ 29 mpg in the city cycle, such as found here:


I think your list should include a nod to marketing and cultural attitudes...when gas is ~ $3 ducks a gallon, a lot of folks (who are told to understand that the World is awash in oil, FFs will last us a hundred years, doing with less/smaller is an evil socialist plot) will choose to wrap a lot of steel around themselves, sit high off the ground, have the ability to carry rocks, concrete block, lumber, etc like the studs on the commercials, and be able to mash the accelerator and zoom, and tow a big camper or boat to boot, rather than drive around lower and slower in a wussy econocar.

Back to the point...there is no other signal about oil scarcity than pump price to the vast majority of folks. Eventual falling off the production plateau, climate change, EROI, oil spills, hidden/shifted costs of Middle East military adventurism, all that is barely the slightest static on the 'good times roll' stereo playing in their preferred vehicles.

So the party will continue as long as it can...

Recall that if a large-scale change to higher mileage vehicles were to occur, society could choose to raise fuel taxes commensurately to maintain the same out-of-pocket fuel costs to people, short-circuiting Jevon's paradox.

Nothing would be short-circuited. Someone would burn the gas in another country, probably China or India.


I was scoping my comment to the potential effect of U.S. drivers increasing their vehicle miles driven per year in response to greater fuel efficiency. Within that context, Jevon's would be negated by appropriately higher gas taxes.

Hypothetically, if the U.S decreased its oil demand through doubling vehicle efficiency and implementing ride sharing and trip avoidance/trip bundling and greater use of mass transit, biking, and walking, perhaps a state could be reached where our oil supply could provided internally, and the law would prohibit selling U.S.-mined oil abroad. However, achieving such a state would require rather steep fuel consumption taxes in the U.S. and an investment of capital (transferred from the military and social spending) to pay for the alternative (non-car) transit systems, , with an accompanying change in mindset in the American people, so we shant worry ourselves about this scenario.

It is silly to attempt to plan for a future circumstance known in advance (the declining availability of oil), so we can sit back and chomp on our hot buttered popcorn and watch Thelma and Luise drive over the cliff holding hands!

I seriously doubt there is anyone in the real world trying to decide between buying an F150 or a Prius. The potential Prius owner is comparing it to a Corolla or some other mid-sized sedan. Pickup drivers are not potential Prius drivers.


I understand your comment as valid, and I propose that it makes my last point: Transitioning a large portion of the U.S. light vehicle fleet from larger, low-mpg vehicles to smaller, higher-mpg vehicles is not constrained by design or production technologies, costs, or rates, but is constrained by our mindsets.

Over 8 out of 10 pick-em-up trucks I see in Albuquerque have zero items in the bed.

Further, I have noted that there is a somewhat higher probability of seeing cargo in a private pick-up truck correlating to its smallness...smaller, cheaper, and generally older pick-ups seem to be used to haul things more than the much larger show-pony pick ups with the heated and air conditioned seats, super-surround stereos, etc.

I know a guy with a loaded F150 with the air conditioned seats etc. and uses it to commute ~ 70 miles a day to and from his house/work. Never has anything in his bed either...

And when gas was in the low $4 range he mentioned to me 'Wow, it costs a lot to fill my trick with gas'.

No $_!t, Sherlock...

"generally older pick-ups seem to be used to haul things more than the much larger show-pony pick ups"

LOL, you noticed that too? If you pay $40,000 for an uber-truck you don't want to risk getting it dirty by using it now, do you?

On the other hand, if it's 21 years old, and one side is dented from when the irrigation ditch won a scrimmage, and the skid plate is dented from that fine piece of granodiorite in the alleged road, and the paint is peeling (1990 Ford metal-flake blue does not bond to the primer properly) and so on, then the potential damage done from hauling whatever is not very important in the scheme of things.

Actually I think uber-trucks are up to $50,000 now, I haven't looked lately.

PVguy, your guess is on-target!

According to the Ford site, there are currently 11 trim lines for the F150, their base prices ranging from $22,790 for the XL to $48, 505 for the Harley Davidson trim line.

Since the top-o-the-line HD was loaded, I didn't have much to add, but I did manage to max it out at $53,854 'net price'.

Of course there is the Super Duty line, with the F-250, F-350, and F-450.

For grins I picked the top of the line F450, the 'King Ranch' and added everything I could to it: $74,460

Build ur own...


I friend of mine I used to fly with always had a nice big truck to commute from his house to the local AFBs where we were stationed...he said that he got a nice tax break on his trucks because he declared them as farm use vehicles...don't know how that worked...he said something about taking leave to drive the truck to his family farm in Nebraska for a week or two a year to legitimately claim his good deal tax write-off.

The same fella was an avid free market proponent who hated government interference in folk's lives and lamented any tax-supported programs for the poor such as 'food stamps'.

I also knew numerous folks in the Air Force who drove their big trucks with their Alaskan plates...made the annual pilgrimage up there for the min time required to justify their oil fund booty (and lack of state taxes)...invariably all these folks hated big government and any programs to help the poor. Keep in mind these folks were/are government employees pocketing tax-payer (and debt-based) money. Oh yea, they hate big government spending in general too. Except for the military/Homeland Defense/intelligence agency blank check...do not ask for any discussion or audits or cost/benefit analysis, or you will be branded as a leftist anti-American scumbag.

These folks will endlessly beat the drum about the Solyndra deal but will be huge apologists for Enron, big banks, etc...the Solyndra deal is but a pimple on a flea on the rump of the MIC 'no real oversight' elephant.

The hypocrisy is jaw-dropping.

Over 8 out of 10 pick-em-up trucks I see in Albuquerque have zero items in the bed.

Probably more like 9 out of 10 in Anchorage. And 9 out of 10 Suburbans and other large SUVs have 1 person in them.

Anchorage gets very snowy and icy in the winter, and parts of town are quite hilly. Having a 4WD or AWD vehicle makes a lot of sense to many people. The only glimmer (a glimmer at best) of hope I see is that Subaru and other small AWD cars seem to be getting slighly more popular as gas prices have gone up. However, big empty pickups and big SUVs with only one person aboard are still by far the most common vehicle one sees. I suspect gas will have to be > $7 a gallon to make any significant change in that.


My actual estimate based on my observation was going to be 9+ out of ten, but I adjusted it down to account for the potential ones with loads I do not see...I try to keep my assertions conservative to account for what I don't see.

I certainly can see where FWD would be useful in snowy, icy, hilly terrain. Best hopes for more small AWD vehicles adopted by that market segment.

In a related vein, I will relate my observation from years of Interstate and other highway driving in winter weather that the great majority of vehicles that I have seen spin out and/or roll-over were SUVs and Jeeps. Clearly all these folks I witnessed were driving way too fast and felt fairly invulnerable to road conditions, and didn't understand that 4WD is not a fool-proof defense against icy patches. Of course the high CGs of these vehicles were not taken into account by the drivers either.

My good friend who retired and lives and works at a Northern-tier base went way too fast on a divided highway, got distracted by an aircraft coming in for landing, hit a pack of black ice, and ended up upside down and backwards in the opposite lane, after ~ 10-15 rolls. He was hanging upside down in his seat belt, and managed to unbuckle and crawl out the busted rear window.

He was/is one of the most safety-conscious, procedure-driven folks I know, but he got over-confident. I can recall his wife going on about hating government-mandated safety features in vehicles...now she is very grateful that the seat belt saved her hubby's life. They found it remarkable that the much-maligned (by them) steering wheel air bag did not deploy and injure her Hubby...I said of course it didn't, because the accelerations were lateral and not axial...it did its job by staying put.

My friend bought another SUV, since he values the idea that all that steel protected him...

One of the problems of black ice, is that you might not detect it. Everything seems hunky dory, as long as you don't exceed the very small static coefficient of friction. Only if you become suspicious and try a test braking every now and then -or start sliding for another reason will you realize it.
One safety argument I had for 4WD, is that you can go slower without risk of getting stuck, i.e. for any vehicle in challenging conditions, such as snow/ice sand mud, etc. there can be a speed that if you get below, you won't have the momentum needed to overcome a locally harder patch. With 4wd, that is unlikely, unless things get really squirrely, so you can crawl through the tough patch. But, thats not how the things are marketted.

"4WD is not a fool-proof defense against icy patches."

Nor does it help you stop. You always had 4 wheel brakes after all.

I never said that 4WD or AWD will help you maintain control if you are driving too fast for conditions. It won't. In AK, studded tires are legal in the winter, and help a lot. Of course a lot of people just use studs as a reason to drive faster.....with predictable results.

AWD or 4WD is a big help, however, when you need to get up a small (or not so small) hill. A stop light on a modest hill is a good example. A 2WD car stops at the light. When the light changes they can't get going again. Pretty soon there is a whole line of angry drivers backed up behind said 2WD car.

In regards to loads in pickup trucks, when I do see something in the bed of a truck, often as not it is a few sandbags over the axle to improve traction.

I just chalk it all up to life in a northern city. ;-)


I'm with you...my first car was a 1969 Ford Fairlane which I drove on the snow and ice in /very/ hilly Altoona, PA...put on my studded tires every winter and had sand bags in the trunk over the rear axle.

The big problem with SUV's is their tendency to roll over. If you lose control of a low-slung car on black ice and do a 270 degree spin (I've experienced this several times when other people were driving - Mustangs and Corvettes are particularly bad for this), you can just hit the brakes and it will skid to a stop sideways. In an SUV (at least the American ones built on truck chassis), the center of gravity is too high and it will roll over. Most people killed in SUV's are killed in roll-overs.

Most people who drive SUV's don't know how to drive on ice, either. If you know how to drive on ice, when the car hits a patch of black ice and gets a little bit sideways, you just steer it out of the skid and keep on driving. Other than the screaming of the passengers it's not that exciting.

I used to practice driving on glare ice when I was younger, after the first snowfall and melt/freeze of the season. I'd take the car out to an empty parking lot, put it into a skid, take it out of the skid, put it into a skid, take it out of the skid. It's useful to get your reflexes tuned up for winter, and it's a lot of fun, too.

4WD (my current car is 4WD) is useful from a traction perspective, and can keep you from getting stuck, but it doesn't really help with turning or stopping. You will still crash into the car ahead or skid off the road the same as with a 2WD.

Pickup drivers are not potential Prius drivers.

Except that some drive both. I used to drive a PU and a tiny Saturn (later replaced by a Prius). But a PU need an small economy car need are not interchangable. Although with the back seat folded up, it is surprising what can be carried in a Prius. I've hauled rocks, and nursery trees for instance. If you can afford both, you have the best of both worlds.

I had a window salesman bring a large selection of window samples to my house in his Saturn.

I also have carried ten-speeds, large CRT TVs, stone pavers, lumber, etc. using a car with fold-down seats (Mazda 323).

What happened to the small PU trucks such as the old LUV and B2000?


Hey, I'm not arguing for pickups. I like hatchbacks, personally, and I'll rent a truck the once a year I need to actually move something. My point is that pickup drivers either a) need the truck for work or b) are driving it for looks and status, not utility. Neither market will be looking at hybrid sedans.

No stones coming your way from me!

I agree with your post above.

I think that market segment 'b' dwarfs market segment 'a'.

Pickup drivers are not potential Prius drivers.

Why not? I have one of each. The right tool for the job, some say.

"The right tool for the job" My "new" tool is an old (95) Jeep wrangler. Picked it up for just under $2,000. Took some work, but they are some easy to work on. It's my new utility vehicle. With some fine tuning I'm up to 24 mpg in 2wh. I was sick of replacing struts and exhaust systems due to the road conditions up here. We are close to the stage where we would be better off just ripping up the existing blacktop and grading the gravel. One nearby town did finally allocate some $$ to the roads, they purchased "Rough Road Ahead" signs. Now I don't have to worry about the road conditions or if there is a road at all.

With a small trailer, haulng hay, manure, etc is a breeze and I can get right to it. It gives me 4wd for the winter slick as needed, and in 4wl she twitches some pretty fair sized logs out of the woodlot and best of all is a real stump puller. Small enough to maneuver around most anything. She hauled tons of rock down to our back field this summer for the rock bed base of our new solar greenhouse and never whimpered once.

A real "utility vehicle !!

Don in Maine

high-efficiency vehicles will likely be a tough sell for Joe American short-term memory though...those who 'live in the now'...

I think that's right. With gasoline in the $3 to $5 range, with no supply problems, and with the latest non-hybrid cars pushing towards 40 MPG, the economics of hybrids is not particularly compelling.

The big question is, how long will there be no fuel supply problems? War in Iran? We lose the ability to bring new production on as fast as mature fields are depleting and fall off the production plateau? The weather goes so crazy that the governments of the world take emergency action to restrict fossil fuels?

Whatever the cause, I doubt that we will make it through this decade without some sort of fuel supply disruption. Whether this shows itself in the domestic gasoline market as shortages and gas lines, or price spikes, or formal rationing, or some combination, I can't guess. Whichever way, plug-in hybrids and pure electric cars will be really hot.

My best guess is that the car makers see the situation similarly, and are developing their electric and hybrid lines in anticipation of changed market conditions.

-- Andy

The ROI argument is a poor excuse for not doing the right thing. I bought a hybrid 5 years ago and I'm pretty happy getting 45 mpg city driving (in warm weather, anyway).

Sure, it cost me a bit more than the regular model, but no more than adding XM Radio, special tires, custom license plates and all the other bells and whistles people regularly add to the bog-standard models.

I watched a really interesting documentary the other day about the 2008 crash, and how people's financial decisions are not really made by cold, hard, rational analysis, like the "free market" advocates claim, but are more based on the emotional responses of the "old brain".

Why else would there be bubbles and crashes ?

Mind over Money (NOVA)


The ROI argument is the one fostered by the folks who just don't want to change.

See the heat being generated by the prospect of raising the UK motorway speed limit for 70 to 80mph.

Oil is still way to cheap if more than half the population (by opinion polls) want the opportunity to increase their fuel bill by 25%.

Got 102 mpg (UK) on my trip computer , driving 10 miles behind a truck on at a steady 50mph last week. Standard small diesel, not hybrid, costs $15,000 new, excluding taxes. (£12,000, including taxes...)

Hairy, crazy ants invade from Texas to Miss.

... they're on the move in Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. In Texas, they've invaded homes and industrial complexes, urban areas and rural areas.

They short out industrial equipment. If one gets electrocuted, its death releases a chemical cue to attack a threat to the colony, said Roger Gold, an entomology professor at Texas A&M. "The other ants rush in.

A computer system controlling pipeline valves shorted out twice in about 35 days ... "We're kind of going for overkill on that particular site because so much is at stake," he said. "If that shuts down, they could literally shut down an entire chemical plant that costs millions of dollars."

Stuxnet au naturel?

+1 erainh2o

Nature is responding in other ways to ...

Flowers bloom for a second time this year

UK plants are flowering for a second time this year because of the unseasonably warm weather.

With temperatures soaring, plants such as foxglove and cowslip, which usually flower in the spring, are in full bloom six to eight months early.

... "It is a very unsual year...I've been gardening for 30 years and have never seen anything like this," said Wakehurst Place's head Andy Jackson.

"We are increasingly seeing that plants are not synchronised with what the weather is doing," he added.

"We are increasingly seeing that plants are not synchronised with what the weather is doing," he added.

Shouldn't that be: The plants are sychronised with what the weather is doing. The seasons are no longer synchronised with what the weather is doing?

I noticed yesterday a field of colza (rapeseed, canola) flowering. Normally colza is overwintered and flowers early spring. Not sure whether the farmer is trying to get an extra summer crop or whether he planted it a little too early and the unusually warm weather has brought it to flower 7 months premature.

It's really weird, it's autumn, leaves are falling and yet temperatures are getting up towards 30°c. There are flowers everywhere. If you weren't aware it's the 2nd October you'd think we where in July. I've even noticed some baby rabbits running around and you can almost see the grass growing, its that fast.

Same here in Belgium.Autumn has arrived and I am wearing Bermudas,T shirt and a Aussie hat.

I saw lingonberry flower yesterday. It does happen warm autumn days though.

Technical analysis of a river basin-based model of advanced power plant cooling technologies for mitigating water management challenges

Thermoelectric power plants require large volumes of water for cooling, which can introduce drought vulnerability and compete with other water needs. Alternative cooling technologies, such as cooling towers and hybrid wet–dry or dry cooling, present opportunities to reduce water diversions. (FullText)

related How Energy Drains Water Supplies

re: "Daniel Yergin found surprises while writing ‘The Quest’"

One guy has been on a quest of his own. Look at this series of five posts that really questions the entire book:

I did a review of just his recent WaPo opinion piece here, having not read the book yet:

Yergin may be a Pulitzer Prize winner but his consulting company CERA is part of IHS which sells fossil fuel consumption information to companies, and then the seemingly neutral IEA (International Energy Agency) and EIA (Energy Information Agency, the DOE’s service) incorporates these records into the global updates. And this information is expensive! It cost thousands of dollars to get a yearly subscription to the IHS services. The info from the agencies are merely roll-ups. So it is comical that Yergin can’t even get the numbers correct, putting down 92 million barrels per day instead of 87 million barrels of oil per day for consumption in 2010. At the end of November 2010, the International Energy Agency reported the world production of all liquids was 87 million barrels per day. Yergin’s book has been in the planning for a long time and I bet he took one of his old projections and assumed it would be correct, but it came out 5% short. If cheap, plentiful, and convenient energy sources equates to industrial productivity, that is 5% lower productivity that the world’s economy didn’t have access to.

What surprises me is how much credibility Yergin has. I know "The Prize" was a very good history. However, he is sloppy with facts, mischaracterizes other's arguments, and his reasoning seems off. Other than that, he is great. I think he is given credibility well beyond his expertise, which is history. While he berates others for incorrect predictions of the timing of peak oil, his record of predictions is weak at best.

But is that 92 million barrels of oil per day(mbpd) Yergin's "oil production capacity", not oil production.

I don't think that is a measurable number.


Why does it cost so much to suscribe to these sources for info? (IHS) The information will come out publicly, eventually.

Just curious

There is more to it than just that. Apparently, you get all the supporting data from what this says:

Climate fix technical test put on hold

A pioneering test of a climate "tech fix" planned for October faces a six-month delay as scientists discuss the issues it raises with their critics

SPICE Project: http://www2.eng.cam.ac.uk/~hemh/SPICE/SPICE.htm
and http://www2.eng.cam.ac.uk/~hemh/climate/Geoengineering_RoySoc.htm

thank you reason and common sense. it will be cheaper and less destructive to adapt to the changes and try to stop further emissions then yanking the lever back the opposite way harder and faster then we have been indirectly and more slowly(compared to this) moving it in the current direction.

I've read articles that contain studies to indicate soot, particulates, aerosols cause ice melt.


'Arctic Soot Causing Rapid Ice Melt in the Area'

On the other hand they also cause global cooling, but as stated below the effect is short lived, whereas CO2 remains in the atmosphere for the long term.


'Pollution From Chinese Coal Casts a Global Shadow'

But the cooling effect from sulfur is short-lived. By contrast, the carbon dioxide emanating from Chinese coal plants will last for decades, with a cumulative warming effect that will eventually overwhelm the cooling from sulfur and deliver another large kick to global warming, climate scientists say.

I suppose if the release of aerosols into the atmosphere is not connected to CO2 emissions then maybe it can help. But what about when it lands on ice and causes melt, which then leads to a darker surface for solar to be absorbed?

The best geo-engineering idea I ever heard was to use a shield at the Lagrange, the gravitational mid-point between the Earth and the Sun to reduce incoming solar energy to counteract increased GHG's.


'Pies in the Sky: A Solution to Global Warming?'

At the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) meeting last fall, Roger Angel, an astronomer and optics expert at the University of Arizona, produced a highly detailed – and highly futuristic -- proposal for a sunshade huge enough to cut incoming sunlight by 1.8 percent. That, he says, should counteract the warming expected from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The advantage is it could be remote controlled for moderating Earth's climate, almost like a thermostat.

I think Geo-engineering right now, is probably the best we can do but there will be consequences.
Ocean acidification, species extinction, ozone depletion, aquifer depletion, soil erosion, population expansion, environmental destruction etc, are not held in check simply by halting temperature increases, if we continue to increase CO2.

Will the shade mean we simply continue our merry way into overshoot, or will it be an opportunity and give us the time we need to mend our ways.

Knowing us I think we would more than likely f*#k it up.

Geo-engineering our climate problem is the equivalent of the financial industry trying to cure too much debt with even more debt. Humans just don't have sufficient wisdom to use science and technology without creating unmitigated disasters. If there are aliens out there watching us, they'd surely be amused watching our incompetent antics and our habit of creating ever more advanced technologies for shooting ourselves in the foot.

About the only climate engineering I approve of is increasing the carbon captured in forests and soil.

Work with nature and not against.


Some other climate engineering that (perhaps) might help:

Someone on here once commented on an idea of floating wind turbines powering air bubblers to aerate the (hypoxic)dead zones in the ocean... the oceans are so badly polluted I don't see much harm in that one although I don't have the engineering background to figure out if that is feasible. Perhaps some offshore windfarms could switch on aerators on the days when there is an excess of electricity generation?

I have read articles about reforestation of desertified areas using swales for rainwater harvesting combined with a succession of bush and tree species starting with hardy pioneers and working towards native species that are ecologically and economically helpful. That idea could be combined with assisted migration of tree species to help cope with climate change. Supposedly when done on a sufficiently local scale that community stakeholders can be the protagonists and micromanage all the details it can be very effective.

Oh and my favorite climate engineering proposal: creating conditions where one of the planet's most toxic species reproduces less virulently. Devices like women's education and empowerment, accessible birth control, and "one child is the best family size" publicity campaigns could be deployed.


I very much agree with the species management proposals :-)

Kerala India is debating a mandatory two child policy - fines and prison for more.


According to sources, the benefits include a cash incentive of up to Rs 50,000 to women who marry after the age of 19 and have their first child after the age of 20.

The Commission has also proposed that parents choosing to have a third child should be penalized and jailed. The expectant father of a third child will face three months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000.

Too little, too late for India, but it will mitigate the horror of the "default population control" policy of Nature.

Best Hopes for Fewer People,


Here in the U.S., we have presidential candidates who brag about how many children they have. I find that obscene.

I read somewhere that in China the publicity campaigns were more effective than the laws and regulations. I suspect that good advertising will have a lingering effect where as fines and jail will be difficult to implement.

I agree that it important to avoid the "too late so why bother mentality" If you're on a bike going along and a car backs into your path you try and brake even if you're going to hit it anyways. The impact at 7 km/hr is way better than the impact at 30 km/hr

Thus my comment that it will mitigate the horror of the "default population control" policy of Nature.

Best Hopes for Mitigation - Often that is the best workable policy option,


Populaion control was tried in India in the 70s. It was a disaster. Men were tricked into sterilisation, huge political blowback.

It will take more than advertising to change the traditional Indian attitude that a large family is blessing from the Gods.

A decade ago, they ran adverts showing two families, a poor one with six kids, and a wealthy one with lots of consumer goods and only two kids. The line was that they had the same income, but you can afford luxuries if you don't have to spend so much money on food, etc.

The feedback was that people felt sorry for the couple who were cursed to only have two kids.

And yet...the fertility rate has fallen, even in India.

There were a lot of mistakes made back in the '60s and '70s. It wasn't really understood, what worked and what didn't. They thought just providing access to birth control would be enough. It isn't.

What does work: educating women; urbanization; political stability; health care/sanitation.

The birth rate in Kerela is down to 2.3 children per woman. I think the reason that they can even consider penalizing people who have a third child is with a 2.3 birth rate people having three children is an outlier.

Female literacy is held by some as the prime reason for the lower birth rate.


Female literacy is held by some as the prime reason for the lower birth rate.

I doubt it has anything but a token affect.
There are many reasons but you must primarily look at the drop in infant mortality. Water quality, sufficient food, vaccination, disease control, medical care and knowledge, international aid and communication and because children are "expected" to survive into adulthood, couples can "family plan".

All of the above could be taken away in a relative instant. The current check in the population explosion is tenuous at best, made possible by cheap energy and accessible modern technology. Of course the resource rich Earth will never again be able to sustain a population expansion without disastrous consequences.

And most of the factors that work towards reduction in fertility also imply a large increase in the footprint of each child.

Resource use per capita - it's not just the "capita", it's also, importantly, the "per".

Lost of research seems to indicate that education affects fertility rate. Also, in comparison with some other methods (like jailing and fines) education has other positive effects on society.

Here's an interesting article on the link between women's education and fertility rates:


With education, women become much less fatalistic regarding their family size. As Cochrane [(7) P: 104-5] notes in a study of fertility in Nigeria, only 10 per cent of the women with education beyond the primary stage believed fertility to be determined by God', whereas 50 per cent of the totally uneducated women held that belief. In most research studies it has been found that desired family size becomes smaller with the increase in women's educational levels . However, the strength of relationship varies from culture to culture, depending mainly on the degree of gender stratification in the society under study. Education has less impact in highly gender- stratified societies than in relatively egalitarian societies. Education affects desired family size through all the five forms of autonomy that it brings about .

Take a look at September National Geographic. There is an interesting article on that there.


"I doubt it has anything but a token affect."
Based on...??

I'll try to give it my best shot.

What does educating women imply. That they are smarter? Educated in what? Do they once "educated", determine that the world is overpopulated and they'll have just two children?
Education comes with the rise of the middle class. As I said there are many factors which have contributed to the declining fertility rates.

The most telling is that infant mortality rates have declined markedly over the last sixty years. Men and women have been educated as to the benefits of clean water, immunization and good nutrition but that is not enough in itself, those facilities must be made available and cheap energy is a major contributor.

What would "educated woman" have to contribute if their children still succumbed to polio, malaria, scarlet fever, small pox etc, what if food was of poor quality and not plentiful, what if health care was unavailable. I could go on and on. What is important is that technology has improved the overall quality of life. When children survive parents can care for them and plan their future and that includes less children.

What does educating women imply. That they are smarter? Educated in what? Do they once "educated", determine that the world is overpopulated and they'll have just two children?

No. What "educated" women learn is that they can tell their husbands "Enough is enough. The oven's closed."

Certainly knowing your children will live matters as well, but among the wealthy - say, in Brazil or Saudi Arabia - this wasn't really an issue. Their children would not starve. Typically in these patriarchal societies, men wanted lots of children, while women did not. Women bear the larger burden, after all. Educating women gives them the standing to make their preferences stick.

I'm afraid you don't get it. Humans have always bred more than the 2.2, that's why populations expanded. It is the industrial revolution, access to clean water plentiful food, sanitation and technology which exploded the population growth. It is routine for six week premature babies to survive, they are operated on in the womb and even terminated if needed. Family planning can begin with a test tube, it's all about technology.

The old ways of continuing to breed until the mother died or became infertile continued long after the infant mortality rate dropped, it took time to trust that your children had a good chance of surviving.

Affluence and the rise of the middle class enabled family planning. All the education in the world would not matter one whit if children did not survive. Education is not a separate entity it is part and parcel of the exploitation of fossil fuel.

Women have the option to decline to bear more children if their perceived quota survives. If their children's survival cannot be "guaranteed" they continue to bring more babies into the world. It is easily correlated with infant mortality rates over the years.

I would dispute that "the wealthy" have fewer children, I think it is the exact opposite. It is simply the expanding middle class having fewer children, it is an economic decision, the wealthy don't consider the "cost" of many children.

Perhaps The Ultimate Peak Oil Song? Chris Rea's -> The Road to Hell
Images of the M25 (London loop) during Jam up.
"This ain't no technological breakdown Oh no, this is the road to hell"

Excellent... thanks LT

Good song.
There is an old and appropriate proverb that exists in many languages. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". This proverb is social wisdom recognizing the emergent action of society solving problems but creating worse ones for itself as it does so. This proverb is almost a kind of distillation of some points Tainter maikes about problems solving leading to reduced marginal benefits then costing more and more...kinda like Fukushima, for example!

For PO songs, I also like Tears for Fears "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"---there is the line: "turn your back on Mother Nature..."

Some for freedom, some for pleasure, nothing ever lasts for ever...

My ultimate peak oil song from the Talking Heads, (Nothing but) Flowers.


From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?
Now, it's nothing but flowers

There was a factory
Now there are mountains and rivers
We caught a rattlesnake
Now we got something for dinner

There was a shopping mall
Now it's all covered with flowers
If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower

Talking Heads are an awesome band. I found some interesting lyrics from a group called the Raging Grannies. This is song Got Gas?

From Kuwait and Venezuela
The Arabian and Caspian Seas,
We will pump out all the planet’s oil
Just to fuel our SUVs.
We can get ten miles per gallon
As we guzzle gasoline.
Since we’ll always need a lot more oil,
We’ll just call out the Marines.

We will pave the way for Texaco,
For Standard, ARCO, too,
And Exxon, Shell and AMOCO—
But the cost is paid by you.
And some foreigners will lose their land
And their lives when we invade,
But we’ll get gas for our guzzling cars,
And enemies that we’ve made.

From Honduras for United Fruit,
To anywhere for our banks,
We will conquer anyplace, anytime,
Until we run out of tanks.
So we cultivate our image
As we dominate the skies—
Not to protect rights and values,
But big business enterprise!

Another cornucopian article, ostensibly from a political "left" perspective. No mention of the twenty plus million barrels used daily in the US. No mention of Net Energy or the fact that lower grade pseudo-oil is marketed as high quality, high EROEI oil. It confirms my dislike of "Counterpunch."




Goodbye “Peak Oil” Hello Glut

I’ve never had much time for “peak oil” (the notion held with religious conviction by many on the left here, that world oil production either has or is about to top out – and will soon slide, plunging the world’s energy economies into disarray and traumatic change.) In fact there’s plenty of oil, as witness the vast new North Dakota oil shale fields, with the constraints as always being the costs of recovery. Oil “shortages” are contrivances by the oil companies and allied brokers and middlemen to run up the price.

Does the author not realize that the last sentence in the passage above is not congruent with his next-to-last sentence?

His next-to-last sentence admits that higher prices are necessary to extract more-difficult-to-extract oil, while his very next sentence tries (in so many words) to say that higher oil prices (surely what he meant as the result of 'shortages' or scarcity) are contrivances...

Well, I guess supply and demand is a contrivance?

Or does this person expect oil companies to spend more to produce each unit of oil whilst maintaining the price the same, taking the difference out of the profit line? Really?

The author (A. Cockburn) is also a Climate Change Denier. Don't let facts get in the way of a good argument. It's more fun to point out the greed of oil companies than to look at the systems it takes to keep things powered.

As we pass Peak(ed) Oil there will be lots of propaganda like this to obscure facts, similar to the flares emitted by military planes under attack by heat seeking missiles.

Well, I guess supply and demand is a contrivance?

Or does this person expect oil companies to spend more to produce each unit of oil whilst maintaining the price the same, taking the difference out of the profit line? Really?

I find this a lot, people wanting it both ways without ever realizing they've contradicted themselves.

"...the notion held with religious conviction by many on the left here". I see such statements tossed out occasionally and it just tickles the heck out of me. As many here know I'm an oil patch conservative who makes no apologies about it. And then I get lumped in with the “left wing wackos”. And given that ever hand I know in the oil patch understands PO and has for decades. So I guess the oil patch (excepting the PR folks at the majors) re flaming closet liberals.

Just tickles the heck out of me.

re flaming closet liberals.

In a hyperpartisan environment, you're either with "us" 100% on every issue, or you're wanna them! As afree thinker I've come to accept as normal that both sides consider me to be the enemy.

Rockman, usually liberals claim that peak oil is a conservative idea and conservatives claim it is a liberal idea. If you look in the House of Representatives, you have Udall (D) and Bartlett (R) who have some understanding of peak oil. Overall, it seems that no significant political party has an understanding of peak oil, certainly not Republicans and Democrats.

Overall, it seems that no significant political party has an understanding of peak oil

Bill Clinton (former USA President) has explained a number of times that Peak Oil is not "a voting issue", meaning that politicians who talk about PO are wasting their time and energy because voters do not respond to that issue; they do not change their votes on account of a politician raising that issue.

Many politicians and political hacks (i.e. heads of DOE) know very well about PO.

For them, it is no different than for the non-political rest among us who try to talk to our friends and family about Peak Oil. Their eyes glaze over and you get a feeling they are staring back at a crazy person.

Rockman- you strike me as a conservative not a right wing nut. I think all too many people are unable to recognize the difference.

crazy - And there's the problem with trying to pigeon hole most of us. Am I a right wing nut or a flaming liberal *sshole (as they are called in Texas. LOL). Just depends on the issue. In one circmstance I could give someone my last dollar. In another I could put a bullet in their head without hesitation. So am I a socialist or a gun lovin' nut? I've taught poor folks how to read and permanently disowned all my siblings. So again: a nice guy or an unforgiving *ss?

I don't think I'm that different from many folks. BTW: the answer to the above questions: Yes.

You may find the 'peak oil accepter' = 'not far right wing' thing as funny.

I find the 'liberal' = 'bad' as hilarious. Being liberal in your outlook, accepting others as they are, thinking there is something valuable in society is about as positive a statement about someone as you can make - but the far right in the US have convinced people it's an insult.

Time to reclaim the term, maybe?

Then you have liberal conservatives. What box do we put those in?

"Liberal" doesn't mean the same thing in the US as it does in the rest of the world, which often makes for confusion. Liberal in the US is probably what they would call "socialist" in Europe, while "libertarian" is more what "liberal" means in Europe.

Actually Liberal in US terms isn't really socialist. I get the feeling socialist is so far beyond the pale an american couldn't really recognise it, let alone differentiate between socialist, marxist, communist, etc. True left just gets viewed as an amorphous blob.

Best translation I've come up with for the US term 'liberal' = everyone who's not far right. Really, it's something of a badge of honour.

And libertarians aren't liberal. They are the far right's version of marxists - nice and pretty theory that they adhere to independent of facts; not even close to practical or realistic in this real world.

Real liberals laugh at libertarians, they are more pragmatic than that.

Liberal can also mean 'generous' or 'copious'. as in 'liberal quantities'.

Socialism is a dirty word for many in the UK these days, but many European political parties are called 'social democrats'. The full name of the Liberal part of our right wing government coalition is 'Liberal Democrat', they are a merged party of the 'Liberals' and the 'social democrats' who were a right wing splinter group from the old (socialist) Labour party.

The Nazis called themselves socialists.

I once met a former member of the UK communist party. He was wearing a suit and tie and worked for IBM.

Political labels always become so abused and degraded as to become meaningless. They are used to shut down intelligent debate, like the sheep in Animal Farm.

I've had back and forth arguments with Cockburn.
Reality is getting in the way of ideology, like most of the left clinging to a BAU world.
His climate denial is pathetic, as it disrupts classic power relationships, and adds another layer to class struggle.

I've come across "undiscovered recoverable reserves" on more than one occasions (talks and articles). I would think the SEC wouldn't allow this term use in public energy company reports. Can anyone clarify, expand and more importantly put this word into context, for me?

a definition from a website: Those economic resources of crude oil and natural gas, yet undiscovered, that are estimated to exist in favorable geologic settings.

Cinch - Here are some details for you:


Essentially the SEC has rules for the use of very specific terms: proved, probable, etc. Public companies have to follow those definitions closely. OTOH terms like "undiscovered recoverable reserves" are not defined. Neither are "pie in the sky don't bet your butt reserves" and "not in your wildest dreams reserves" are regulated by the SEC. Any public company can describe the world any way they want as long as they don't misuse that very specific set of terms regulated by the SEC. Essetially that nasty ole free speech thingy. LOL.

Thanks RockS for the clarification and insight.

Various US government agencies seem to like the phrase "Undiscovered Recoverable Reserves". I don't know if an oil company would use it. If you haven't discovered it, you can't really call it a reserve, and how do you know if it's recoverable or not?

The Society of Petroleum Engineers has a Petroleum Resources Classification System which is more likely to be used by in the petroleum industry. In the SPE system this would be referred to as Prospective Resources and would be evaluated using a Low Estimate, Best Estimate, and High Estimate to indicate the range of uncertainty as to whether it exists or not.

Here's an explanation from the SPE Web Site of Petroleum Reserves & Resources Definitions

Police Arrest Hundreds of Protesters on Brooklyn Bridge
Occupy Wall Street protesters shut down Brooklyn Bridge. NYT's reporter Natasha Lennard arrested.

Youtube video states US military is going to Wall St to protect protesters. The Marines are Coming

EDIT: Added Marines

It's on You tube, so it must be true (sarcasm). No one ever posts stuff onto the internet that isn't true ...

It's much more likely the Marines would be sent in to protect Wall Street from the protestors.

A protest organizer at Liberty Square just announced in general assembly to entire group that 15 Marines were on the way to protect them. I think the youtube video implied these were retired veterans, not active duty.

Thanks for the link. It sounds like there's a lot of support from the military. I still haven't seen Marines appear in livestream feed. A lady was just arrested at Liberty Square and that ignores a warning posted earlier by Anonymous to not interfere with protesters. Next step for Anonymous is to disable NYPD web-attached computers. We'll see if they follow thru.

I'm no longer in active duty or in any way contractually indebted to the military. Nor are any of my friends that are joining me.

To the officers' of this thread: I'm aware of the potential, maybe inevitable trouble I can get in. So too are my friends.

The person has passion to stand for what he believes, but I think he mis-underestimates the power of the US Government.

I think that there may be US Code and DoD 'regulations' (now called 'Instructions') which dictate how and when the uniform may be worn.

This site has several posts which quote Air Force Instructions and passages from the USC (U.S. Code of laws).


As does this site:


I am not hopeful that these folks can wear their military uniforms to protest events without being harassed, fined, detained, etc. by the 'thin blue line'.

I once found a web site which detailed a five-tier U.S. conflict/national emergency/wartime mobilization plan...everything from a modest recall to WWII-style 'turn-the-car-factories-into-tank-factories' 'all-in' deal, with a draft and all that jazz.

I did find this regulation from 1986...don't know how different it is today:


E5.1.1. For a worldwide multi-theater conflict, assume that:

E5.1.1.1. The Congress will declare a national emergency. The Department of
Defense will implement a full military mobilization. The possible need for implementing
a total mobilization will then be considered by the Department of Defense.

E5.1.1.2. On M-Day, the Congress will authorize Selective Service to resume

E5.1.1.3. On M-Day, all terms of service (definite and indefinite) will be
extended for the duration of the conflict plus 6 months.

E5.1.1.4. On M-Day, all Reserve component units and personnel will be
mobilized. Ready Reserve, active duty retirees, Standby Reserve, and Retired Reserve
will be recalled as required.

You can check out any time, but you can never leave...

We can reflect upon the opinion of Smedley Butler:

"I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism."— Smedley D. Butler - 2x Medal of Honor Recipient

We live in interesting times...

It appears you've detected a hoax: TRR: Screwball Hippies think the Marines are coming

RE: Agency overseeing oil, gas exploration gets shakeup

Article states BOEMRE will be split into two entities, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). BOEM will regulate leasing of offshore blocks and BSEE will regulate permitting and inspections. I would guess BSEE will manage evolving draft rules regarding safety standards for offshore drilling operations. It's called Safety and Environmental Management Systems (PDF). The plan includes requirement for independent third parties to conduct audits.

The addition of a mandatory independent third party auditor brings necessary objectivity to identifying good practices and any deficiencies that may exist in an operator’s SEMS program.

An independent auditor could be a good thing for safety if done right. I hope they are allowed to audit both implementation of processes along with documentation for processes.

brit - We'll just have to wait to see if the verbage matches reality. First, the revenue side and the safety enforcement side have always been seperate departments. They're changing names on the organization chart. The same folks still have their same jobs and responsibilities. The question still remains: will they be doing their jobs any better?

Second, there is no need for new regs. There have been very detailed regs numbering in the many thousands for decades. How detailed? Every empty 5 gallon bucket on an offshore operation has to have a permanent lable identifying the company, drill rig, maker of what was in the bucket, etc. Thus if it falls over board its origin can be traced. No lable when a fed inspector shows up...big fine. The problem has never been a lack of regs but lack of forcing companies to follow the rules.

Third...auditors? Not clear what they will do. If they are going to use 3rd party field inspectors (ala Rockman Inc.) who are experienced hands with no political shackles on them: now you're talking, baby! Lots of folks would find it difficult to accept that former insider oil fields hands would come down hard on the companies. They are so wrong. There are very few of us who haven't had our bodies, and at times, our lives, put in jeopardy by some company's careless policies. I could put a group of consulants together in a month or so that would scare the heck out of offshore operators. And given my near manic obsession with safety I would truly be their worse nightmare. LOL

Bottom line: rules and regs are of no value unless they are enforced. There have been good regs in place for decades that haven't been taken to heart by the industry because they knew the feds weren't enforcing them. Companies know what proceedures are risky. BP knew the risks they were taken and took them for specific reasons. Nothing transpired at Macondo that didn't fall into the "could happen" category. So now we have to wait to see if there really will be a change or if it's just a PR announcment designed to make folks think there's been a change.

Thanks for the illumination. I'm very familiar with reorgs since I work for a TBTF. I think the manager 3 tiers above me has changed something like 5 times in the last 5 years while the department I'm with has stayed the same.

We'll just have to wait and see what happens with the independent auditor thang.

Battered by Economic Crisis, Greeks Turn to Barter Networks

"Mr. Mavridis is a co-founder of a growing network here in Volos that uses a so-called Local Alternative Unit, or TEM in Greek, to exchange goods and services — language classes, baby-sitting, computer support, home-cooked meals — and to receive discounts at some local businesses."

Following the real definition of money, as a facilitator of transaction exchange, or store of value.

"Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context." - Wikipedia.

David Stockman On Peak Oil:

I think that is being totally ignored. It is another one of the headwinds or constraints that we’re facing along with the demographic time bomb of this huge generation retiring. And if you look at all of these, there’s no reason to expect much economic growth for the next ten or twenty years, even if you had a healthy monetary and fiscal situation. But given the situation that we’ve described and given the massive excess private leverage that was built up in the thirty-year debt spree, we have sort of added insult to injury. We have maybe an inevitable question of the rising real cost of the BTU being added to the demographic question being added to the totally distorted world labor market that the central banks have produced, which is another whole topic. But when you put all those together, the headwinds are truly frightening.

This is where I've been for some time now. Taken alone, rising energy costs, lead by peaking oil, seem solvable to many folks, but will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I don't agree with Stockman, that "it is being totally ignored", though it's critcality in the overall scheme is being ignored or discounted. Virtually everything, globally, has been leveraged against finite and declining resources for which there are few viable substitutes. The consequences of this leveraging have been repeatedly kicked down the road. What we are witnessing is the end game, when the extraction of resources can no longer support the interest on these multi-generational debts. "Truly frightening", indeed.

What's going the way of the Dodo is the idea that money can "work" while people sit flipping channels on their TV remotes, or driving their little golf-carts in circles.

People, many of whom have forgotten how, are going to have to find ways to do productive work. Value-added work.

Ok, maybe there will always be a few rulers that somehow skate by without doing anything of real value except sending thugs to keep the masses down, but, for the most part, we're slowly returning to a world (the so-called "First World" anyway) where muscle-work generating real output will be required.

s-t: I think that's the point folks like westexas keeps making: the Chinese et al will be able to out compete many countries for the remaining resources since they can more readily apply significant manpower to generate those value added end results you refer to. Again, back to my favorite example: Starbucks. I don't look down on their employees...they're just folks trying to make a living the best they can. But what's the real added value? A Chinese worker who spends the day polishing the aluminum edges of a solar panel with a hand brush probably isn't as educated as the average Starbuck coffee server. But he's part of a process that leaves much of our service industry in the dust. The Chinese can afford to pay more for the oil used to make that solar panel than we are willing to pay for the oil to make a $5 cup of coffee.

And no...I haven't a clue how to reverse this situation anytime soon.

I think the solution is to buy that solar panel given the fact that the average insolation in the United States' southern states is quite a bit better than China. The issue isn't with the solar panel maker or the coffee maker, the issue is in what the United States buys from China. At the moment America is getting in debt to buy flat screen TVs with an obsession for the retail culture. The service economy is vapour and its the first to go to the wall whenever any economic strife hits because it's the most easily substituted part of the economy. One of the first things you'd give up if you started running low on money or you believed you could run low on money is that coffee from Starbucks!

Isn't the most important factor in the modern way of life the quantity of mechanical energy and especially energy available per capita? It is a well known fact that the overall productivity of labour doesn't rise significantly with increasing the length of the working week. Many Americans are working too long for no gain and then being forced to rely on outside 'services' to do things they ought to be able to do themselves. A lot of the extra money in education, health, food services, cleaning is simply spent because people come home from work and have no energy to teach their kids or cook for themselves or exercise so they plop on the couch with some takeout and veg because thats all they have the energy for. Probably the most simple thing to do to reverse this is the 32 hour full time working week.

If everyone worked four days per week or 6 hours per day there wouldn't be nearly as much congestion because people could align their work day with the school day or only work four days in a five day week. It'd solve congestion because people wouldn't all be trying to leave at the same time nor would there be as many people going to work in the first place. The problem with society is people all making bad choices because other people make bad choices, this is the hazard of a market which only regulation can solve.

Some people like to say that China is going to overtake America, those people will only be right if America lets China do that. It is a tragic waste to raise someone and let them only have the opportunity to make coffee at starbucks for a bob above minimum wage. It probably costs about $500,000 to raise a child to do that. It is more productive to spend $500,000 on solar panels than it is to add another American to America. Think about how much additional resources could be diverted to economic prosperity if the American population stays static or even falls! You wouldn't need more highways, more houses, more schools, more teachers, more doctors and considerable resources could instead be diverted to energy. If America has more energy and more energy per capita than anyone else then China will be buying Americas flat screen TVs, Americas solar panels, Americas plastic kids play sets etc. America just needs to buy energy production instead of TVs for a few years for that to happen.

I agree.
It would be better to buy Chinese panels than to try to make our own UNLESS we used labor that is cheaper than the Chinese, that being advance machine automation (to make batteries as well). Then we could create for ourselves "unlimited" installation jobs... and cleaner air.

Stockman is essentially, but not literally, correct.

There is TOD, ASPO, and other small communities which are aware of the issue, but the vast majority (I will guestimate that as 95%+) of U.S. folks are unaware, and/or have blind faith that 'they' will figure something out, be that continual new oil discoveries, 'oil shale', Mr. Fusion, etc.

The 'Awash in oil' crowd is clearly dominating the mind space of U.S. Americans...I do not know what people in other countries think.

Climate change
Ocean acidification
Depletion of fish stocks
Farmland destruction
Ground water depletion
Peak oil
Peak coal
Debt bubble
Isolated high consumption life styles
New versions of fascism

Peak phosphate.
Accumulation of methylmercury.
Consequences of pesticide use.
Introduced species.
Depletion of high grade ores.
Volcanic eruptions with an index above 7. (100-1000* larger than the MT St Helen's eruption)

The Hatepe eruption (named for the Hatepe Plinian pumice tephra layer;[1] sometimes referred to as the Taupo eruption) around the year 180 CE was Lake Taupo's most recent major eruption, and New Zealand's largest eruption during the last 20,000 years. It ejected some 120 km3 (29 cu mi) of material (rating a 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index scale),[2] of which 30 km3 (7.2 cu mi) was ejected in the space of a few minutes. It is believed that the eruption column was 50 km (31 mi) high, twice as high as the eruption column from Mount St. Helens in 1980. This makes it one of the most violent eruptions in the last 5000 years, comparable to the Tianchi eruption of Baekdu at around 1000 CE and the 1815 eruption of Tambora). The resulting ash turned the sky red over Rome and China.[3]

By my count its a herd of elephants. Which ones the matriarch?

Affordable access to space
Thorium fuels reactors
Artificial intelligence
Electric transportation
Democratic rule in a few northern European countries
Low debt after debt bubble bursts
Local farming
Local production of goods
Well insulated houses
Reproduction rates below replacement among people of European genetic background

Sixth great mass extinction = decimation of the living world

(Plant and animal species are now having to move 20cm/hour on average to stay in their growing zones/climatic habitats. Those that can't move any further north or south (or up, if they started on a mountain), are out of luck and out of life. Of course, the mass extinction was well underway from the wide variety of disruptions and predations by humans, before GW effects really got underway.

4.8 meters a day.
115 meters a week.
1.5 KM a season.
6 KM a year.
173 years before species which can only survive at the bottom of the UK move to the top.

To be honest I was going to question you on these numbers but they make perfect sense in that context.

So for something like a tree that would be too far.

You somehow managed to miss the gigantic white woolly mammoth taking up 95% of the middle of the room... the uncontrolled growth of the human populatation! All the others are just a bunch of baby Hyraxes

Population growth is only 1.14%. The other issues are becoming problems at a much faster rate. In any case so long as the rest of the world lives in relative poverty it doesn't matter as much how many of them there are.

Population growth was caused by cheap oil/gas via the so-called "Green Revolution" in agriculture, as is clear from the correlation between world oil production and global population. It is therefore not a primary driver and will go away with cheap oil, which is why I left it out.

I agree that population growth will not only go away but will most likely crash, however we are still adding about 80 million people to the planet every year. That is a very significant driver in terms of exacerbating overall resource depletion. I'm from Sao Paulo Brazil population of greater Sao Paulo is now`approaching 20 million inhabitants so we are adding about 4 Sao Paulos per year... There are a lot of Paulistas who are very poor and have very low ecological footprints but in aggregate still very significant!

The long-term drop in the world death rate may be stalling at about 8/1000/yr and is scheduled to start rising, just from demographic reasons.


Meanwhile, after stalling for a few years at about 20/1000/yr, the global birth rate is dropping at a rate of about one per three years--now at about 19.


With now increase in death rate and the birth rate continuing to fall at the rate of the last three years, it would take over 30 years to get to zero population growth.

Here's hoping for a much faster drop in birth rate and some increase in death rate for demographic reasons. Then we could reasonably expect to get there in benign ways in about ten years.

Correlation is not always causation, and is rarely the whole picture. Increases in medical knowledge has played a part as have other factors. China's population increased rapidly long before they used ffs in any significant way.

Long List of Secondary Consequences
1) Population bomb
2) Peak Oil
3) Deforestation & Climate Change
4) Globalized capitalism
5) Yaddah ...
6) Yaddah ...
7) Yaddah ...
99) The irrational human brain which was incompetently designed by evolution to procreate un-endingly and plunder the planet with maximum efficiency, including rapid depletion of oil reserves if that helps to hasten our crossing of the end game finish line

#1 and 2 can easily be dealt with if it wasn't for #3 and 4.

God would not have put all these resources (and combinations of technology) together on a single planet had there not been a way to continue... into whatever we shall evolve to become. It is rather interesting... that there was always a way to grow despite articulate skepticism!

The invention of coal combustion prevented massive deforestation. Natural gas made it possible to reduce CO2 emission by over half virtually overnight. Now, these FF's allowed us to "invent" lithium batteries which is in abundance enough to barely provide about 10 billion people with mobility "all by itself". The fossil fuels allowed us to invent the nuclear closed cycle (which is meltdown proof and far better than the LWR we rely on today). FF's allows us to continue research on that dense energy source which should provide for 10x the population (delete the image of 10x freeways, though!).

We can even "go backwards" and rely upon the diffuse sources. There is no reason why we can't build robotic factories that mass produce GaAs solar fresnel arrays and the LiFePO4 (or better) batteries. These machines would work for free and would most probably consume less energy than well fed slaves! These machines would also create the potential for 500,000 square miles of install jobs for people. That is the amount of land needed (~1%) for the 30% efficient NASA style cells to power 10 billion at a slightly reduced western standard.

To me, that's real productive work! Leds, electric cars, insulation, and passive solar building siting should reduce energy requirements a considerable large fraction. So shall hydroponics and locally grown foods.

From there, extra energy could be found to distill water from the oceans. All the other stuff we need must also be recycled.

It is imperative that we use FF's now to build the machines that can make the solar energy future a reality... or at least get them LFTR's and IFR's up and running.

The choice is clear, mandates toward machine made renewable energy parts industrialism (and closed cycle nuclear), or gruesome fossil fueled depletion into an over heated world.
This links to a quick dramatization... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpVoO60N6mg

Apologies for not considering a solution to what the central banks have done...
In this sense, I have little hope because "they" apparently will not allow any of the tech solutions.

... there was always a way to grow despite articulate skepticism!

Wasn't it a young Neanderthal lad who said that back in 65,000 BC?

(p.s. They went extinct despite belief in a God of their own image and unbridled optimism)

((p.p.s. Suggest some study of basic industrial technology: How is cement made? How is iron/steel made? How is glass made? How is semiconductor wafer made? Etc, etc.))

Russian September Oil Output Rises to Record, Exports Surge

Production reached 10.3 million barrels a day last month, remaining at the highest level in the world, according to preliminary data from the Energy Ministry’s CDU-TEK unit sent by e-mail today. That is 0.2 percent higher than the previous month’s 10.27 billion barrels a day and 1.2 percent higher than in September of last year.

Crude oil exports surged to 5.47 million barrels a day, 7.2 percent more than in September of last year and 5.7 percent more than in August of this year, according to the data.


Russian production appears to hold pretty well..


Russian production appears to hold pretty well..

That's true. Years ago I remember seeing chart projections suggesting Russian oil would soon start a steep decline, but that hasn't happened. I even wrote posts questioning how anyone could be sure of the timing, or angle of descent.

This example shows just how difficult it is to project oil flow, and should provide caution for any such projections. The tale of the tape is what actually happens. We just have to be patient and see where it goes.

Russia is the only one of the (2005) top five net exporters that is falling at Sam's 95% probability limits, and Russia did hit a new post-Soviet high in 2010, up to 10.3 mbpd (BP, total petroleum liquids). However, net exports have been on a plateau for four years, after a period of very rapid increase. At the 2002 to 2007 rate of increase in net exports, Russia would have been net exporting about 8.8 mpbd in 2010, but that is not what happened. Following are the 2007 to 2010 net export numbers for Russia (BP):

2007: 7.1 mbpd
2008: 6.9
2009: 7.1
2010: 7.1

So, from 2002 to 2007, net exports increased at 7%/year (on track to double in 10 years), but from 2007 to 2010 the annual rate of change in net exports has been zero.

And of course the key problem that they have is the very old production base in Western Siberia.

In any case, if we sum the output from the top five, the combined net export numbers are falling within Sam Foucher's 95% probability limits. Note that the 2010 top five net export number fell to 20.8 mbpd (versus 23.7 mbpd in 2005). Actual data through 2006 shown, along with Sam's projections (actual data for 2007, 2008 and 2009 circled):

And incidentally, Sam's most optimistic projection is that by the end of 2014, the (2005) top five will have net exported half of their post-2005 Cumulative Net Exports.

Arctic Ozone hole confirmed:


During a recent taxi ride in D.C. my cabbie went on and on about how he hated the EPA and the current administration, and declared that the Antarctic Ozone hole was a complete work of fiction. He said that the cows in Argentina got cataracts not due to increased UV but because they were old. I am not versed on the cow/cataract allegations...

This guy had an opinion on everything, and they were all 100% correct, just listen to him say it.

He also muttered some other stuff...this dude is a crusty 60-something retired USMC chopper/gunship driver. I changed the subject to get him to tell some flying stories...

Do you think I mentioned LTG or PO to him?


Today's Intrade market for R Presidential nominees shows:


and the list of other folks with sub-5% probabilities.

You seem to have a good handle on knowing about Governor Perry...will he get er done? Even if Christie jumps in?

H - IMHO he was going to have to be near perfect to overcome that "Oh no...not another president from Texas" thingy. From the bits and pieces I've seen he hasn't come close.

He had a disastrous debate performance where he rambled somewhat incoherently while attempting to attack Romney. You could sort of see where he was trying to go, but it came out as word salad. If I had been Romney, I would have ceded my time for a rebuttal back to Perry to let him dig it just a little bit deeper.

Cristie may have issues as well.

I can imagine that each and every time he says anything about reigning in big government and making it more efficient and effective, cue the video clip of him flying in the $3K/hr NJ State Police helicopter, landing at his son's LL game, and taking a limo for the last 100 yards to the bleachers...then reversing course to leave in the 5th inning to meet with R donors to discuss the possibility of a Presidential bid.

He paid the state back in the end, but only after being harangued by the media and first trying to float his weak 'family values' excuse (if he valued seeing his son in the game, why then leave in the 5th inning after going to such extraordinary means to get there?).

And then Palin keeps her flame alive to jump in...most likely she is fanning her flame to secure book sales and TV show gigs.

Back to Perry, there was a story yesterday about the alleged name of his /his family's hunting camp in Texas. Significant enough to prompt Herman Cain to violate the R '11th commandment'...Thou shalt not speak ill of other Republicans...

Time to pull Jeb Bush out of the Bull Pen?

H - haven't seen the detailed account but AFAIK Perry family didn't own the property but leased it for hunting. And at some point long ago had the offensive word painted over. Cain, playing the race card, going after Perry on this may have it blow up in his face. Don't know if it's spin or truth but there are some old witnesses that say Perry actually had a nasty argument with the land owner over that sign. If that can be substantiated Cain may have a lot of crow to eat.

From what I've seen the R's are pulling out all the strings to help President Obama get re-elected. My bet still remains though: the price of gasoline during Nov 2012 may have the greatest impact on the next POTUS election.

Does anyone know if comments are going to be enabled for Tom Murphy's post "Got Storage? How Hard Can it Be?", posted this morning?