Drumbeat: October 8, 2011

Al-Naimi Says World Oil Market Is Not Oversupplied as Demand Fluctuating

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al- Naimi said there’s no excess supply in world oil markets and that the kingdom has been adjusting output to match fluctuating demand over recent months.

“There is no oversupply in the market right now,” he told reporters in Dhahran today.

The country, OPEC’s biggest producer, will keep pumping at current rates even if Libyan output returns to the market this year, as long as customers are in need of the oil, the minister said. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meets next on Dec. 14 in Vienna to decide whether it needs to alter production targets.

Crude Oil Futures Advance Most in Seven Months on U.S. Employment Growth

Oil rose in New York, capping the biggest weekly gain in seven months, as larger-than-forecast U.S. jobs growth eased concern that the economy is slowing.

Futures rose as the Labor Department said payrolls climbed by 103,000 workers in September and 57,000 in August. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey called for a gain of 60,000 in September. Oil climbed 4.8 percent this week, the most since March, as U.S. supplies fell and European central banks announced stimulus plans.

China Cuts Gasoline and Fuel Prices for First Time in 2011 as Oil Falls

China cut fuel prices for the first time this year after crude oil costs plunged as the global economy slowed.

Oil’s Most Accurate See No Reverse of Worst Run Since 2008

Oil is falling as Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest exporter, pumps crude at near-record levels and Libya revives production just as the economic slowdown shows signs of sapping demand. Consumption, which typically climbs toward the end of the year as the northern hemisphere’s winter approaches, will rise 4 percent this quarter, about half the levels of 2009 and 2010, according to the International Energy Agency.

“The outlook is deteriorating more and more, and the velocity is somewhat alarming,” said Eugen Weinberg, the Frankfurt-based head of commodities research at Commerzbank AG who predicts Brent may average less than $100 a barrel in the fourth quarter. “The risks to forecasts right now are to the downside, and not just on demand. Libyan production is coming back sooner than expected.”

Shell Keeps Singapore Refinery Shut as Firefighters Withdraw; Diesel Drops

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) will keep its biggest refinery shut until investigations into a fire last week are completed, it said as government firefighters withdrew from the Singapore offshore site.

Gasoline Cargoes to U.S. to Slide 35% on European Refinery Maintenance

Gasoline shipments to the U.S. from Europe will decline over the next two weeks as refineries on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean enter a maintenance period to prepare for accelerated winter fuel production.

Keystone XL pipeline becomes a political headache for White House

The question of how best to handle the federal permit for the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline extension — which will transport crude oil 1,700 miles from Alberta to Texas — has evolved from a backwater process at the State Department to a high-profile political headache for the Obama administration.

Pipeline Review Is Faced With Question of Conflict

The State Department assigned an important environmental impact study of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to a company with financial ties to the pipeline operator, flouting the intent of a federal law meant to ensure an impartial environmental analysis of major projects.

Keystone pipeline: Why the oil sands conduit will get built

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Jobs and energy prices will ultimately push the Obama administration to approve the controversial Keystone pipeline, analysts say, despite the protests and environmental concerns over expanding production from Canada's oil sands.

European Salvo Worries Pipeline Advocates

In another wrinkle in the Keystone XL pipeline debate, the European Commission has given initial approval to a measure declaring that fuel from bitumen, the tar in oil sands, is higher in carbon dioxide emissions than conventional oil.

Pemex CEO Says It’s ‘Ridiculous’ That Repsol Partnership Hasn’t Paid Off

Petroleos Mexicanos’s chief executive officer said it’s “ridiculous” 30 years of partnership with Repsol YPF SA (REP) hasn’t paid off, and the oil producer is undaunted by hostility toward its increased stake in the Spanish company.

Energy debate continues in Kazakhastan

“The country itself established big investment possibilities to develop our searches (for oil). And we are looking to the next decade to implement it to the industry development of our country.”

Kazakhstan will become one of the world’s top five oil exporters and when this happens investment in innovative technology will be crucial. This Kashagan offshore oil field will prove invaluable when it starts production in 2012.

Libyan fighters launch all-side assault on Gadhafi's hometown

Revolutionary fighters have assaulted Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown from all sides in what they hope will be a final all-out offensive to crush resistance in the most important bastion of regime loyalists.

S.Africa's govt says no decision yet on nuclear contract

(Reuters) - The South African government on Saturday said it has not made a decision yet on the number of nuclear power stations that will be built or which vendors would be used for such projects.

Tepco Starts To Eject Hydrogen From Fukushima Plant - Kyodo

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501.T0), operator of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said Saturday it has started to discharge hydrogen with high concentration levels from a pipe connected to a reactor containment vessel at the plant, as a measure to prevent an explosion.

U.S. Colleges Get More Power From Sun to Reduce Carbon Emissions

The capacity of solar panels installed at U.S. colleges has more than tripled in two years as schools seek to cut their carbon emissions and energy bills.

E-Mail Shows Senior Energy Official Pushed Solyndra Loan

WASHINGTON — A senior Energy Department official pushed hard for the government’s $535 million loan to the now-bankrupt California solar energy company Solyndra even after he had disclosed that his wife’s law firm represented the company and he had promised to recuse himself from matters related to the loan application, according to e-mails provided to Congressional investigators by the administration.

Weaker Brazil Currency Jeopardizes World’s Cheapest Wind Energy

Energy developers in Brazil that have agreed to deliver some of the world’s cheapest wind power may have trouble building new projects as a plunging real drives up their costs.

In Iowa, Ethanol Can Still Trip Up a Candidate

Even in Iowa, King Corn is not all that it used to be. But can it still make a presidential candidate waffle?

Few major presidential aspirants have declared themselves an enemy of corn-based ethanol quite like Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. Three years ago, he unsuccessfully tried to bulldoze a federal law that, in effect, forces billions of bushels of corn to be converted into ethanol and added to gasoline. He argued that this law forced up the price of corn used to feed cattle and chicken, adversely affecting Texas livestock producers. These included powerful campaign donors like the East Texas chicken tycoon Lonnie Pilgrim, who had pressured Mr. Perry to fight the mandate.

How Suburban Sprawl Works Like a Ponzi Scheme

Charles Marohn and his colleagues at the Minnesota-based nonprofit Strong Towns have made a very compelling case that suburban sprawl is basically a Ponzi scheme, in which municipalities expand infrastructure hoping to attract new taxpayers that can pay off the mounting costs associated with the last infrastructure expansion, over and over. Especially as maintenance costs increase, there is never enough to pay the bill, because we are building in such expensive, inefficient ways.

The Hubbert hurdle: revisiting the Fermi Paradox

So we arrive now to nuclear fusion, the poster child of the Atomic Age. Fusion can use hydrogen isotopes and hydrogen is the most abundant element of the universe. The idea that was common in the 1950s is that with fusion we would have had energy "too cheap to meter", so abundant that we could have had week-ends on the moon for the whole family. Well, things turned out to be much more difficult than they seemed to be. In more than half a century of attempts, we have never been able to get more energy from a fusion process than we pumped into it. Even “fusion bombs” are actually fusion enhanced fission bombs. Maybe there is some trick that we can't see now to get nuclear fusion working; maybe we are just dumber than the average galactic civilization. We might also maintain, however, that there simply isn't a way for fusion to be obtained with an energy gain outside stars. Of course, we can't say, but the Fermi Paradox could be telling us, actually, "look, controlled nuclear fusion is NOT possible."

E.P.A. Panel Issues Plan for Gulf Coast Restoration

A year after its creation, a federal-state working group on Wednesday released a preliminary strategy for addressing long-term environmental problems along the Gulf Coast, including the disappearance of wetlands and a seasonal dead zone caused by runoff from the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico.

How That Food You Throw Out Is Linked To Global Warming

It's funny how some people are embarrassed by the state of their refrigerator perhaps because it's full of beer and condiments and nothing else.

For me, it's the guilt of seeing off-color sausage or slimy lettuce disintegrating in my refrigerator drawer. Sadly, I am just another American prone to wasting food. Collectively, we waste about 55 million tons of the stuff a year, or 40 percent of the food supply, researchers estimate.

Chinese climate sceptics view global warming as US conspiracy to sell green technology

Beijing, Oct 8(ANI): Chinese climate change sceptics view global warming as an elaborate American conspiracy amid their country's soaring carbon emission levels.

Poll reveals increase in climate change concern

EUROPEANS BELIEVE the dangers of climate change represent a more serious problem than the current financial turmoil, according to a major new poll.

The Eurobarometer poll found the majority of the public in the EU consider global warming to be one of the world’s most serious problems, with one-fifth saying it is the single-most serious problem.

The Amazon Dieback Scenario

The notion that the Amazon forest could stop taking up carbon dioxide around 2050, die back, and then start emitting carbon took on new urgency after major droughts in 2005 and 2010.

Yemen president 'to step down'

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh has announced that he will leave power in the coming days after the country has been largely paralysed by nearly nine months of mass protests against his 33-year rule.

"I reject power and I will continue to reject it, and I will be leaving power in the coming days," he said on Saturday in a speech on state television.

Appears the Arab spring (autumn?) has claimed another casualty.

"I reject power and I will continue to reject it, and I will be leaving power in the coming days,"

So emphatic, yet it took nine months of massive protests to get him to say that.

It'll be more interesting when Western leaders are forced to step down. That is if anyone even gives them enough credence or importance to even warrant the effort. After all, they're just the democratised front men for the underlying corporatocracy that really runs the show. Why waste time on the political straw-men?

Occupy Everything (the Western insurgency growing out of Occupy Wall Street) is the way to go and seems to be gaining traction as it develops a "plausible promise". A global reboot. Take out the command and control system, better known as the financial system which is already struggling to keep equilibrium due to its own failing internal dynamics.

No ordinary demonstration.

I'm sure if the OE movement starts to seem too strong TPTB will find some pretext to up the violence and intimidation level.
Bottom line: things seldom change without some level of violence.

I am not sure what the 'Occupy Everything' movement's goals are...

...or how they propose the country should implement them...do they have action plans?

I suppose I will consul the Hitchhiker's Gu...err..Google right now and see what can be found out about those questions....


'Occupy Wall Street' goals per Wikipedia:

-President Obama "ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington".

-This protest represents a variety of demands with a common statement about government corruption and the excessive influence of big business and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans on U.S. laws and policies.

-Raising taxes on the rich, raising taxes on corporations, ending corporate welfare, support for trade unionism, and protecting Medicare and Social Security in their traditional forms are expressed by some participants.

-Occupy Maine is asking for an investment in public transportation infrastructure and the return home of Maine National Guardsmen from wars overseas.

-Other protesters are calling for an audit or elimination of the Federal Reserve, affordable healthcare, dismantling the military-industrial complex and to end all wars.

From the 'Occupy Everything' web site:

Occupy Everything is an anti-capitalist platform—established in 2009—dedicated to militant research, critical pedagogy and public practices that include mediatic intervention, feminism and the anti-enclosure movement.


Compared to the Tea Party:

-Taxed Enough Already'

-General desire to shrink the size and role of government (Except for their own benefits, the Military, or the war on drugs?)

-Hate President Barack Obama, want to see him out of the Presidential office ASAP.

I do not see, at this time, much of a future in the OWS/OE 'movement'.

Their Goal statements too vague and they have no action plans.

Maybe Electing Ron Paul (and don't forget about the necessity of electing, at the same time or soon thereafter [by the next election cycle], ~320 staunch fellow travelers in Congress) would give each side (OE/TEA PARTY) some of what each say they want?

That would be an interesting experiment...

And then there's the Deep Green Resistance movement.

This all looks to be shaping up to make the fall of Rome or the Aztecs or whatever look like a picnic.


I read the top-level pages of this site, and These folks have tripped the tripwire, rung the bell, etc. of aspiring to be a terrorist organization which wishes to use direct military action against organizations, including governments, including, presumably, the government of the U.S.

I will have nothing to do with any organization or movement which espouses violence against this society's Constitution, infrastructure, organizations, and people to achieve its ends.

These folks would seek to precipitate a calamity and they sound like anarchists to me.

Assuredly the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring their activities and these folks will end up imprisoned for any acts of violence (or nascent plans thereof) they undertake.

They can organize political parties, lobby for a Constitutional Convention, post bills, proliferate web sites, stage sit-ins, and any other peaceful means that does not seek to violently overthrow the government of the United States of America if they want...

...However, their stated goals on their current website indicate that they are advocating violence, and therefore are an illegal organization.

"I, _____, do solemnly affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me me."

Although I amended the last word to be congruent with my lack of belief in a supernatural being, this is my oath.

Must be tempting for security organizations to infiltrate and possibly even run some of these sites.

In any case I suspect you get on a list for regularly visiting that site.

No kidding.

Rest assured that this site is monitored.

No, I am not one of 'them'. But 'they' exist.


When people, despite their best and peaceful efforts 'within the system', witness their very lives/livelihoods continuing to be threatened/destroyed, whether via corporatocratic, oligocratic, unethical or whatever-have-you means/interests/systems, things can start to warm up.

Heisenberg: Along with diverse and varied forms of resistance/revolt/etc.-- peaceful, subversive, organised, etc.-- there is such a thing called ethical violence.
Call it 'self-defence' if it makes you feel better. It's probably right there in your own laws/Constitution-- for what they're worth these days...

Speaking of violence/terrorist organizations, America is the number one weapons dealer on the planet, and perhaps the number one in so-called 'private security' deals-- payed for by the public I suppose. Old hat-- like funding both sides of a war (Externalities? Aiding and abetting murder?).

It is argued that the so-called US gov't doesn't actually represent the population it purports to...
So/And through its foreign policies/activities (often held in secrecy [Democracy without transparency? The right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing?]), it creates the dynamics that create a more dangerous situation/world, and yet still all in the name of the population, a glorified fenced-in herd as some would say.

Yes, murder, emprisonment, torture, genocide/ethnic-cleansing-- apparently all part and parcel of the demonstrated range of tactics of the US-- are scary. Those, along with ideological propaganda, etc., are what's counted on to maintain control of the "herd".

Of you.

Deep Green Resistance - Strategy to Save the Planet Part 1 of 7

Here's an obvious question. What would you do if the President and/or the Military establishment were working to subvert the Constitution? Given the pervasive shield provided by the many levels of government secrecy, how would you know that what you were ordered to do was actually intended to support and defend the Constitution?

E. Swanson

Its an obvious question, but the situation in which this occurs will like be complex and non-obvious.

Not all (or even most) military folks (active/separated,or retired) are,by any means, robots.

And the question you pose is not limited to present/former/retired military members...I would suppose that most U.S. citizens would claim to stand by the idea of supporting and defending the principals in the Constitution.

Two weeks ago my wife and I toured the Holocaust Museum in D.C.

We were numbed, even though we were aware of the history.

If a U.S. government were to subvert to something such as the Nazi movement, whilst attempting to maintain a sham claim to following the Constitution, then people will follow their conscious. And it would not even require actions as heinous as the Nazis engaged in to provoke/inspire people to follow their conscious.

When I flew, I was trained in LOAC...the Law of Armed Conflict, per the Geneva Conventions, etc.

If I was ordered to bomb an orphanage or hospital and kill non-combatants, my duty would be to disobey, as this would NOT be a lawful order. Nor would I torture, or even mistreat, prisoners of war.

Understand that I was, and am, deeply troubled and disappointing in U.S. actions in the past ten years wrt extra-legal detentions and torture. IMO the prior President and Vice President have skated away without any consequence from their deeds. I am extremely disappointed that the current President and Congress has chosen to maintain Gitmo, maintain the Patriot Act, etc.

I lay the blame in the militarization of the U.S...and that is why, I could almost overlook Ron Paul's lack of environmental consciousness, and his alleged homophobic and racial comments/attitudes, and his willingness to jettison any social safety net, to vote for him...on the basis that he is the only candidate who says that he will seriously scale back the military war machine/complex.

All it would take would be for enough people to break free from the Matrix and vote for someone such as him to upset TPTB applecart and enact substantial changes.

Of course, if one wished a leader who would reign in the MIC and be a conscious steward of the environment, one could have elected Ralph Nader.

There is plenty of room for maneuver through the power of the ballot box...folks need to free their minds and think differently in politics and elections far before they think about Second Amendment Remedies'.

What is it with some folks in The U.S. champing at the bit to pick up a gun whilst having no patience or energy for grass-roots organizing and politics to effect change?

What about the famous psychology experiment where they took some students and grouped them into "guards" and "prisoners" and had to call off the experiment after a week because the guards got so brutal?

You may still insist that you would never personally let yourself be manipulated by the govt to commit immoral acts against others. But most people can be easily made to do things against their own morals in this fashion. In real world practice most people will obey the orders coming from the top of the herd until they are well beyond their own ethical limits.

Two weeks ago my wife and I toured the Holocaust Museum in D.C.

Although I personally am the offspring of a concentration camp survivor, I do not "blame" the German people.

Every human being is capable of becoming a Nazi.

... and if I recall properly, one philosopher admitted that when it comes to how we treat animals (the non-human ones and even the human ones), we are all Nazi's.

The truth is that the human mind is easily manipulated.

This is its strength as well as it weakness.

What happened in Nazi Germany can just as easily happen here ... and maybe it is already happening.
Maybe we are already beginning to hate and blame the strangers amongst us (a.k.a. non-human "aliens")?
Maybe we are already launching blitzkreig (drone) attacks against them that deny us "elbow room"?
Maybe we too will be rolling wheelbarrows to the grocery just to buy a loaf of bread?
Does it seem so unrealistic and far off in the future?


And Step Back, I am aware of the past experiments such as the staged (fake) application of electric shocks by people when commanded by an authority figure etc.

I seem to remember the assertion that U.S. Americans were either the most blindly obedient to authority, right after Germans, or maybe it was asserted that we surpass the German in our propensity to blindly follow authority.

EVERY human being is highly susceptible to brain washing and thought twisting.

The evidence is all around us.
We swim in it just as much as the fish who suck in the ocean each time they breathe.

Need we list the many ways?
1. brainwashed into believing in religion
2. brainwashed into believing in fairness of current "economic" system and wisdom of an invisible hand
3. ...

You have to be able to empathize with them in order to really understand them. The person who will follow through on any of these plans isn't necessarily a 'bad person' doing bad things. The most scary organization is always one which is a bunch of good people doing the 'wrong things' because its the 'right thing to do' to them for whatever reason. When you get to a point where a bunch of intelligent and morally centered people start taking drastic action, not only is it difficult to stop but you have to really ask yourself why they were pushed to that particular edge. Their number would be recruited or found on sites like this one, they wouldn't be your average everyday bloke.

The thing with your constitutional oath is that they could recite the same words and blow up an oil pipeline. All you have to do is declare the president the enemy and suddenly you're defending the constitution. These guys are


because they see the death of everything they love so they have nothing to lose to fight to stop it. They are dangerous because when you get people who have nothing to lose armed with above average intelligence and sense and they don't even have to make their actions overt, they could easily make their actions appear to be accidents. We could have more than one member on this site who is slowly gleaning information about oil, coal, natural gas working out where to strike and how to make it look like an accident. Reading here one would know for instance that the Keystone pipeline is vulnerable to corrosion so leaks would be expected.

Unlike buildings you don't need a lot of explosives to take out oil infrastructure. How do you defend something which will blow itself up? If the U.S. can't defend the Texas border then how will they defend the Keystone pipeline which is probably the #1 target right now for anyone wanting to sabotage it. How do you defend an offshore oil rig if one of the oilmen is more than sympathetic to the cause? There are probably a number of ways you can take down an offshore oil rig to make it look like an accident if you try hard enough. Noone is going to be looking for thermite if the whole rig sinks, will they? What can the oil industry do if someone like Rockman (not looking at him personally, just as an example) wants to make the public as scared of oil extraction as nuclear plants?

In the end it's probably better to acknowledge these people and to make concrete steps to change towards a better future than it is to try and defend all the dispersed and highly flammable oil infrastructure if these threats are credible.

Here is food for thought for you: I share 100% of the underlying analysis the dark green resistance have made. In fact, if I have any political colour at all, it is dark green. I agree with everything they say. However, I believe in one other thing. I am a christian, and mean that this destruction of the earth is predicted in the Bible (see Isiah 24 for an example) and I also believe that after all this S hit TF and the Great Suffering has been passed, God will restore his creation once more. Hence, no need to kill anybody.

Now, assume you would manage to convert me to an atheist. I would still share the belief of the DGR, but no longer have the hope that God would restore His Creation. (No, i am not a creationist in that sence, I am an evolutionist). If I lost my christian faith, I would have no reason not to join them. I would then have lost all hope of any kind of future for any living beeing for the next 10 million years. Knowing this, would you argue with me in favor of atheism?

"Knowing this, would you argue with me in favor of atheism?"

Yes. Because there is no god, and the Bible is metaphor.

But if you find comfort in your faith, well, so be it. You weren't argued into it, and you won't be argued out of it.

But God isn't going to restore "His Creation" - people are, or nobody, or perhaps time... after we stop messing up.

The facts are grim, and there's only us.

I am an atheist, and although I despise the ruination of the environment, I will not be party to a group that espouses violent solutions, such as DGR.

Your reasoning in your post seems one-dimensional...I could imagine some Christians who would participate in DGR or some similar violent movement, perhaps believing that they are part of God's plan to enact the end times.

OTPH, there are atheists such as myself who mourn the environmental destruction but do not espouse violent actions. Then there are some atheists who care and would be violent. And some atheists who do not care about the environment or believe that the situation is bad...and on and on.

Many more branches and sequels than you posit in your post.

I do not advocate violence.

But you (and I) despise the ruination of the environment. Screw that - "the environment", as if it's something out there and separate. You (and I) despise the ruination of Our World. The Earth. The whole world is being f-ing destroyed right before our eyes, on every level, and both you and I know it. Right?

But as we do not go in for violence, I guess we will just watch it go down. Because the powers of the Earth-eaters totally, absolutely go in for violence.

Let's just admit it. That's why the real bad guys always win in the end - they stick at nothing. Good guys are too nice.

This is just me thinking out loud... cognitive dissonance, anyone?

Many more branches and sequels...


I do not understand your semantic passion.

Of course 'the environment = the Earth = our World

Who possibly cannot grok that?

Question: Did the Brits leave India?

Why? What techniques were employed by the resistance?

Hell, in the U.S., close to half the folks who voted seriously entertained electing Sara Palin as VP with angry old establishment reactionary John McCain...

If one says Obama is little better, then why was there no support for Ralph Nader or some other 'not establishment' leader?

We have seen the enemy, and they are us...

You don't understand? OK, let me try again...

My point was simply this, Let's say you honestly believed that Our Earth is going down due to the workings of the system as it is currently constituted.

1) Do you honestly believe that our current syetem of "democracy" can usefully address this fact?

2) If not, what do you propose? Sitting around feeling bad?

As far as the rest of your comment, you simply made my point.

This is not in any way like the Brits leaving India.

BTW, what you call my "semantic passion" is nothing more than trying to avoid weasel words like "the environment". It is importatnt. You see there isn't this human world here, and over there is "the environment". Surely that is part of the problem?


OK, we can move beyond the discussion of synonyms (Environment=Earth=Our World)...got it.

Let me reflect your question #2 right back at you: What do you propose?

I will ask your question #1, but that answer is subsumed in your answer to your question #2.

I will add a question #3: Suppose you have a plan to re-imagine the U.S. government into something optimum (please provide details on what that is and how we get there)...what is your plan for changing the rest of the World to an optimum state? Please elaborate in detail.

Without actionable plans, you and I and everyone else are blowing virtual Internet hot air around.

I like the idea of someone like a Ron Paul seriously downsizing the military, and I can make the sacrifice of him (or someone like him) cutting the social safety net spending commensurately, but the deal with his Devil would likely be letting the corporations run wild...although, w/o the MIC business, I wonder how much industry the U.S. would have left? The corollary would be that what environmental protections the U.S. now has would likely be rescinded or watered down as to be worthless.

My point from my first post on was not to suggest a way saving the country or the world. Nor was it to approve of violence. It was to try to understand what might make people feel so backed into a corner that they felt like they had no choice.

And to say that you can't make a useful point without proposing detailed actionable plans is absurd. You can elaborate the most detailed, actionable plan in the world, but it's just blowing virtual Internet hot air around if people don't wake up and see the need for it.

I think many of us might sympathize (hold not too dissimilar a worldview) as DGR. Some, might actually think violence is sometimes warranted. However, I for one, think violence usually seriously backfires, and reactionary groups like DGR, can set back the very causes they purport to be supporting. So we are stuck with less spectacular ways of getting our message across.

That's easy to say, but DGR backs up its contentions pretty well, using historical examples and so forth.

Somehow I doubt that if someone broke into your residence and attacked you, you'd lay limp without a struggle and just let them injure you or take out your life.

Nevertheless, in any case, DGR are not advocating violence/force alone and there are other movements as well with similar goals, if with differing methods to achieve them. So there seems something for everyone.

Hopefully, everyone actually does something.

"I for one, think violence usually seriously backfires..."

Agreed... isn't that what climate change and biotic collapse is all about? the serious backfiring (or blowback) of epic violence? what else (other than epic violence) can we call the accelerating extermination of species, the clear-cutting of entire forests, mangling of complex food webs and watersheds, dispossession/massacre/enslavement of indigenes both nomadic and settled, poisoning of rivers/streams/lakes, and need I go on with the dismal litany? Violence on a scale that boggles the mind.

As Jensen says, 90 percent of the large fish in all oceans are now exterminated. When do we get angry enough to stop this? at 99 percent? Can we even comprehend the magnitude of the violence of this "achievement", of exterminating 90 percent of an entire stratum of the food chain?

I think Jensen's point -- and it is a difficult point to dodge, godnose I've tried -- is that the violence is already happening, has been happening for a long time. Against less-privileged humanity as well as against the whole biotic world.

Another way of looking at it:

...think of someone you love. Then recall that if you were to reduce a human body to its elements—oxygen, carbon, phosphorus, copper, sulfur, potassium, magnesium, iodine, and so on—you would end up with a few dollars’ worth of raw materials. But even with inflation, and allowing for the obesity epidemic, this person you cherish still would not fetch as much as ten dollars on the commodities market. A child would fetch less, roughly in proportion to body weight.

Such calculations seem absurd, of course, because none of us would consider dismantling a human being for any amount of money, least of all someone we love. Nor would we entertain the milder suggestion of lopping off someone’s arm or leg and putting it up for sale, even if the limb belonged to our worst enemy. Our objection would not be overcome by the assurance that the person still has another arm, another leg, and seems to be getting along just fine. We’d be likely to say that it’s not acceptable under any circumstances to treat a person as a commodity, worth so much per pound.

And yet this is how our economy treats every portion of the natural world—as a commodity for sale, subject to damage or destruction if enough money can be made from the transaction. Nothing in nature has been spared—not forests, grasslands, wetlands, mountains, rivers, oceans, atmosphere, nor any of the creatures that dwell therein. Nor have human beings been spared. Through its routine practices, this economy subjects people to shoddy products, unsafe working conditions, medical scams, poisoned air and water, propaganda dressed up as journalism, and countless other assaults, all in pursuit of profits.

If we see people with authority, responsibility, and power doing things which accelerate the violence and exacerbate the blowback, directly threatening our survival let alone the survival of the next couple of generations -- possibly the survival of our civilisation (such as it is) -- is the appropriate response to convey polite, diplomatic criticism but take no action to defend ourselves? This is the moral dilemma Jensen poses, and I find it does make me quite uncomfortable. He challenges my detachment. I find his logic difficult to fault; and yet it's threatening.

I think the shunning/denial reflex I felt while reading DGR frontpage was due to a frisson of terror -- because we know in our hearts how brutal, cruel and savage is the repressive force of wealth and power. After all, people were beaten to death in N America not so long ago simply for demanding a 40 hour work week, basic workplace safety, the vote; all of these threatened the privilege and sense of entitlement of wealthy men. If we were to demand a complete reset of the money/profit system, redefining wealth and privilege (twawki) entirely, sabotaging the very methods of extraction and profiteering that maintain the rentier class in mind-boggling luxury (and ourselves in a pale ersatz imitation of the same)? jeez, will they perhaps revive public crucifixion? Skimming the front page of DGR I felt afraid. Not of what they might do, but what might be done to them, as an example to the rest of us.

DGR's platform troubles me not because Jensenites, DGRs etc are such dangerous people... but because they throw into sharp relief the terrifying fact... that the truly dangerous people are the crew currently in charge. Their criminality, and our complicity, are on a scale that (imho) may, might, could reduce the Nazi atrocity to a mere historical footnote. They are working as hard as they can on crashing the Holocene. Even from a strictly anthropocentric POV, could there be any greater crime, any greater violence?

Cold Evil by Andrew Kimbrell discusses the ways in which slow violence is disguised and rendered acceptable in a technocratic culture. Somehow I think it bears on the discussion...

Walking downtown recently I saw a new "vanity truck" on a car lot. The badge on the fender proudly proclaimed it to contain a 7.something litre V8. That truck is an act of violence -- against both the present and the future. Walking past it and doing nothing to express my disgust felt somehow shameful. It's at moments like these that I understand -- though I haven't the courage to "join up" -- the DGR.

Sorry this has turned into a bit of a rant. I'm much perplexed of late by the eternal question "What is to be done?"

You write well...your conviction and confliction seem to me to be authentic.

The one thing I will point out to numerous folks here is that there is not just a relatively small number of men (and women) behind the curtain pulling the levers...well, there are, but they are backed by legions of folks...not only all the Fox News and 700 Club etc viewers, but the majority of folks who watch CNN and even MSNBC as well.

If windows start breaking and SUVs and pick up trucks and buildings start burning, we can kiss good-bye any hope of educating formerly potentially teachable/reachable folks with the messages of our downward spiral and the ways to do things better.

We will end up with a maximum Police State which will make the current situation seem like Sesame Street. The 'Security Moms' will help the police state win the struggle.

I wonder if Netflix rentals of V for Vendetta are spiking?

Rootless, that was great.

Ultimately, I don't know if the question comes down to 'whether to oppose it violently or non-violently'.. friction is friction, undermining is undermining, and if enough people catch the idea, as their base-interests in life and as their world is eroded beyond the 'Just Keep Doing' illusions of this game, the armour is not impervious.. mostly, it is vulnerable to economic disruption, it seems. Why rip and break things? That's possibly just a business writeoff, an insurance hit? Anemic Sales can be real suffocation.. (and boycotts are maybe not the only way to go there.. but the Birmingham buses seemed to work.. still takes dedication and real sacrifice..)

Remember in the 'Art of War', one of the first jobs is to work to disincline the enemy from fighting. (Yes Men?) Throwing things and yelling might be satisfying at some gut level.. but a little thought can start more meaningful strategies.

Yes, economic disruption is a strategic tactic of the non-violent protests. And even when it happens, it is rarely discussed. I find it hard to believe JP Morgan budget included giving $4.6 million to NYPD. The article, JP Morgan Chase Donates $4.6 Million To NYPD On Eve Of Protests, fails to mention this impact.

Budgets are normally complete by end of September in preceding year. Changes to budget within year require taking funds from one bucket and moving it to another bucket. IMHO, JP Morgan's BAU has been disrupted.

One thing I forgot to reemphasize is that when you resort to violence, you are very frequently both incentivizing AND justifying the other side to respond with equal and opposite force.

Non-Violence often ALSO can enrage the other side, but it doesn't justify it, and even the enforcers are quickly aware that they are in the wrong. Yes, people can shut that out, for a while, but the costs catch up with them.

One thing I forgot to reemphasize is that when you resort to violence, you are very frequently both incentivizing AND justifying the other side to respond with equal and opposite force.

'Very frequently', as you suggest, is not 'always', and maybe not even half the time, so it seems a little misleading and to play on fear to boot.
Also, being violent in defence against an already-violent force makes concerns for the kind of response from the 'other side' almost moot.

Sorry this has turned into a bit of a rant. I'm much perplexed of late by the eternal question "What is to be done?"

It isn't a rant if you make every word count. :-)

What scares me about the whole system in general is the failure of almost all people in it to even consider the consequences of their actions. I personally don't want to get to the point where historians considered the NAZI party to be the dry run for something even worse in the future. One logical conclusion for a world or even a nation wanting to pull back quickly from severe ecological overshoot is to reduce their numbers quickly. On the other hand it'll probably be much more humane than letting nature deal her hand for species which overshoot their particular niches. What scares me is that either now or in the future, over population makes anyone expendable and it makes any action to avert future crisis justifiable. If I shaped my entire mindset around the idea that the world is going to hell and that people are causing it, would I even think twice about using biological weapons for instance? I think a war is starting and it's going to get messy very quickly.

I assume you're talking directly to me:

Well personally I would tell you that Jesus said: "What you do for the least of my children you do for me" and everything I try to do is for the least of his children. Then I would ask you if you would do as Jesus would do given that he considered all men his brothers.

Is that what Jesus was thinking when he drove the bankers (money changers) out of the temple?

To be honest I don't know.

What was he driving?

'VW. Drivers Needed.'

What would Jesus Drive?

Good example of a green reformist campaign coming out of a faith-based coalition.

There's a huge schism w/in religious congregations in N Am (Christian, Jewish, probably Muslim too) between those maintaining the fundamentally positive and subversive message of the confessing faiths (forgiveness, charity, sharing, kindness, empathy) and those trying to re-write scripture to justify BAU. Nothing new there -- Constantinian Christianity's a shining historical example of a dissident faith co-opted and re-engineered into a state religion of privilege and power. Some of those identifying as Christians in N Am today are hard for an outside observer to identify as such: supporters of foreign wars and mass slaughter, fans of the death penalty, despisers of the poor, conspicuous consumers and wealth accumulators. Constantinian Christians. Or Pharisees if you like -- lots of them out there, nothing new in that.

But the Pharisees get all the media. So most people in the rest of the world think that N Am Christians are, en bloc, a bunch of SUV-driving, rifle-toting, warmongering, homophobic/misogynist climate change deniers. It's a shame because some of the best and brightest among the new agrarian movement are theologically-inspired writers (I'm thinking Fred Kirschenmann here, but there are quite a lot of others). If you take the core message of the Gospels seriously ("even as ye have done unto the least of these" etc) then "reduce, re-use, recycle, restore" becomes not only an urgent practical priority but a spiritual/moral calling; and vandalising God's Creation becomes a sin. I can work with that.

WWJD? I suspect the eccentric rabbi from Galilee would have ridden a bicycle, if they had been available at the time :-)

If you whack a wasp's nest with a stick, they'll likely have a go at you.
If you grab a dog's tail and yank sufficiently hard, it might do the same thing.
And so on...
Life is dangerous enough as it is without helping it along, but that's what governments and corporations are doing. They're whacking the proverbial wasp's nests.

In the end it's probably better to acknowledge these people and to make concrete steps to change towards a better future than it is to try and defend all the dispersed and highly flammable oil infrastructure if these threats are credible.

*Ding-ding*! We have a winner.

I would never swore such an oath. A state is not a country. A country is the Nation + the State. The Nation is the land and the pople who live there. The State is the political system, regulated in most cases by a constitution. The State is created by the people (in democacys) for the purpose to serve the people. If the state cease to fullfill this purpose, then screw it, scrap, recycle, and make a new one. If I think my government hurts my country, or that the constitution fails to protect it, it is my right AND DUTY as a citizen to replace these structures with those that beter serves the cause. If a citizen swear allegiance to a constitution, then the King could as well swear allegiance to his servants.

I took that oath as a condition of becoming a military member.

Now that I am retired, the third portion of the oath (obedience to the President per the UCMJ etc) is N/A, unless I am re-activated.

The first two parts of the US Military Officer oath pertain to living by the principals of the Constitution (our nation's ideals) and defending those ideals from citizens or foreigners who, by force of arms, would seek to change/eradicate those ideals and the ability to live by them.

Note that the allegiance is NOT to the State, but to the ideals embodied in the Constitution.

Not to the Congress...not to the Supreme Court...not to the President, but to the Constitution, which is supposed to be written by the people, and be for the people.

It gets tricky...obeying the laws written and passed by the Congress, and signed by the President (and in some cases enforced by executive agents such as Department of Justice), and adjudicated as Constitutional by the Supreme Court is living the ideals of the Constitution.

To wit, if one does not like the laws, one can move heaven and earth legally to recruit, fund, and campaign for folks who will represent one's values...or one can campaign to be that person who represents.

Further, if the appropriate number of states or Congress folks approve, a Constitutional Convention could be called to re-write the whole document.

It is a shame that all this structure and process alienates and annoys some folks, some of whom are more spring-loaded to take up the sword.

It is our right and duty to effect change when the government is not representing the will of the people...and there are structured, peaceful ways to go about doing that. Oh, and public servants do take an oath to uphold the will of the people and obey the Constitution, as for your King/servants remark.

Democracy is messy and seldom pleases many people...what is your alternative?

I agree with OE's goal of removing the money from the wealthy few from politics...but then we would need publicly-funded elections, 100% through and through. I would vote for that.

I would also vote to eliminate the U.S. Electoral College and implement one-person, one-vote.

I would also outlaw electronic voting machines, and select citizens to serve as polling proctors and vote counters the same way folks are summoned to serve as jurors in criminal cases. I would have three groups: One to count the votes, another to re-count/check the votes (each of these groups of folks would be tasked to monitor the others' counting) , and a third group to videotape the results and post the entire process on YouTube. The media should be allowed to witness as well.

I would also cease this criminal dis-enfranchisement of voters being perpetrated largely by Republicans in the U.S.

I would love to see preference voting, but I am afraid that too many folks would not be able or be bothered to understand the math.

I probably made it as part of the security clearance process, its been so long ago, and so long since I've had an active clearance, but something like that, plus a determination to not give up any secrets was done. So yes, many millions of people have gone through that.
I do find the whole thing somewhat at discord with our countries founding -the declaration of independence, and I think the preamble to the constitution were truly revolutionary documents, which state that when a government becomes too oppressive it is the duty of the citizens to overthrow it.

And then there's the Deep Green Resistance movement.

My solution: C4 + Ras Tanura. Hit Enter. Go home and take care of your family. The End.

Ummm...I thought you said you wouldn't be tempted to violence?

Can we please not go down this path, folks? If you want to post anything that might be seen as a threat of violence...do it somewhere else.

Heisenberg, its an open source revolt, not a political party. Think of it more like the disparate Iraqi groups who couldn't agree on anything and whose animosity towards each other was almost equal to their animosity towards the US occupation. Yet they developed a system where they could work together to do the one thing they could agree upon; attack the US forces.

"Occupy" is an open source revolt and its goals will be the "plausible promise" that binds the disparate groups to act together. I'd say the "plausible promise" is developing as it goal seeks the inclusion of as many people as possible and is loosely to put an end to the tyranny of the financial system before it destroys us all.

As an open source system it is open to anyone to amend, innovate and implement new methods to move the revolt closer to its goal. An example of this is FLO Solutions Working Group which is working on an open source currency for Occupy Wall Street (OWS). The disintermediation of the dollar and other ways to remove dependencies from the system that is to be brought down. Incidentally, by targeting wall street, OWS are disintermediating the Government and taking them out of the loop. Presumably because they realise that changing the Government changes nothing.

OWS has the right idea by occupying Wall Street as the source of the control of our government is Wall Street and the large corporations which have a stranglehold on our politics and our government. First, take the money and the corporations out of politics. That act alone would set the stage for a progressive revolutions which could deal with many of the other problems identified by those within the OWS or OWE movement.

The key word here, of course, is "occupy". This movement seeks to occupy the mind space which is the first step towards meaningful change. Right now the mind space is occupied by Wall Street and the corporate power structure.

I am not sure what the 'Occupy Everything' movement's goals are...

Charles Eisenstein has a very good essay on this topic:



Thanks for the link...this guy can write well. Worthy of a bookmark.

The OE movement needs some folks like him to eloquently make their case...if they do not, they risk being dismissed by even more liberal folks as a bunch of shiftless freeloaders/anarchists.

I like his emphasis on non-violence...not only is this the right thing to do, it will lessen the probability of a police-state backlash, and increase the chances of making a connection with a wider audience.

I like his emphasis on non-violence...not only is this the right thing to do, it will lessen the probability of a police-state backlash, and increase the chances of making a connection with a wider audience.

I've heard that that's in part what the (police?-)state relies on for fear and control-- police-state backlash-- another internalized result of the chilling effect expressed-- and the manufactured ideology of non-violence across the board.

Resistance/revolt/revolution comes in many flavours. All mixed together.

We've already seen it with the MENA uprisings.

Ethical violence has its place. (Which includes or is the same as ethical force.)


Maintaining non-violence is very disruptive to the police. It's the best PR the movement can get, and the worst the Police can get.

If you can take the early hits, the later ones are from a weaker and weaker foe. They don't lose their guns, they lose support, they lose the will to fight. Kent State knocked a lot of wind out of the 'Kill the Hippies' sails.. admittedly, there had been some violence on the protest side, bottles, rocks thrown at police, etc.. but it was the shooting of unarmed protesters, the bayonetted rifles.. that has been what that event meant to the nation.

This PR of an arrest on the Brooklyn Bridge is a great example.
You cannot arrest an idea. The world is watching.

Mother nature has been called violent. Our very existance is owed in part to the elements created in supernovae. There are tornadoes and hurricanes and earthquakes and dangerous animals. Like us.
New islands are formed from violent volcanic activity.
The 'application of force' is encoded into the very fabric of our universe-- us.

It also helps to define/discuss what we mean by violence/force, (and such as how much of it is applied, how far, and of what kind, etc..) and maybe come to a consensus...
Do we mean against a fellow human being (and what are they doing to warrant it? and can it include 'mere' kidnapping?); do we mean against a non-living industrial structure, like a roadway, dam or soon-to-be-filled oil pipeline that goes through sensitive, human-life-sustaining habitat?

Most already agree with violence as self-defence. And that force can be fair and reasonable.

Maintaining non-violence is very disruptive to the police. It's the best PR the movement can get, and the worst the Police can get.

One could argue the inverse or reverse too; that non-violent protests get you video-taped, pepper-sprayed, arrested, fenced-in, imprisoned, clubbed, punched, and even shot, etc., by the police-- essentially, for many, the thugs of structural violence that is the state. Against you and your natural right to life and liberty.

One could argue that witnessing some of the above "state-structural-violent" acts may serve to intimidate and lead some to a sense of fear and paralyzation toward no action at all.
To stay home, do nothing, and hope it all goes away.

For Gandhi, there was nothing more disreputable than cowardice...

If you don't have it in you to be non-violent, don't go running away and using [it] as a pretext that you're non-violent... if you're being insulted and you're being abused, then you have an obligation to hit back and hit back hard. That's the real Gandhi, not the Hollywood Gandhi.

Fred. Keep up the good work. I sent this one to all my friends--and relatives, esp the wall st. billionaire, who does in fact look at it as a parlor game that he happens to be good at.

The link Occupy Wall Street Media has English and Spanish PDF's of the 1st edition of The Occupied Wall Street Journal.

Denninger posted a guest post that arguing that Occupy Wall Street is "all the things that were in the original Tea Party, but were steadily ignored as the TP became a Republican booster club." It's by a Libertarian.

Sounds like it might also then be described coming in from the other end as 'all the things we hoped for from the Obama administration, but have steadily been ignored as the White House regained its focus as a Wall-street Booster Club.'

I will offer some thoughts on the whole "demands" issue, if you are interested, there are several articles out there that attempt to do the same.

Here's why I think there's no "list of demands":

- it's a grass roots movement just shy of 30 days old, unlike the tea-party, there is no major backing, no large think tanks, no professionally printed signs, no elected officials making stump speeches, no national radio and television hosts providing wall to wall coverage and no handy lists of talking points provided to stenographers and video news talent.

Will the "movement" be co-oped by the "professional left"? Too early to tell, but they've tried and failed so far. The union support appears welcome, but it's a dangerous road for the movement to take.

The most enlightening part about this whole thing is how dumbfounded the establishment appears in the absence of demands. This indicates we may have our first open-source movement in the US. Only time will tell. I suspect they'll get co-opted or too cold. I sure as hell hope not. A "list of demands" will be a sure sign things are going indoors or going dark, compromising the movement.


But there are demands, vague as they are...read the articles posted by Leanan and Fred and others.

Without goals to achieve, without a desired end-state and a proposed path to get from current reality to the desired future reality, then these folks are nothing more than a bunch of people standing around...I am at a loss as to how that accomplishes anything...except making any future movements be dismissed out of hand by john and jane six-pack.

Without goals to achieve, without a desired end-state...

One of the big assymetries that have hurt leftish causes in the US has been a lack of organization on the left. It used to be provided by labour unions, but those have been seriously diminished. It is possible that this will evolve into some sort of semi-robust organization to support leftish (or even centrist) policy changes. I think this is the real reason that the US right is paranoid over the possibilities that might be emerging.

Heisenberg, I see you're struggling with how an open source revolt works. There are no demands, no negotiations, they're not asking for anything, there are no leaders and no ideology, what it is they're doing is setting up a revolt to weaken the existing system sufficiently to allow change. That's it. It's an open invitation for people to innovate new ways to remove a harmful system and allow the evolution of new systems which better match the peoples needs.

In Egypt the revolution was to remove Mubarak, that was it, nothing more, nothing less. Once Mubarak was removed the process ended.

The "plausible promise" is simple; if you have a grievance against wall st, the financial system or those who protect its privileges, then join OWS and there is a good chance of success you can change things. It doesn't matter if your Left, Right, Green or anything else, if you agree that something must be done about the financial system then there's an open invitation to join in. In this way disparate groups of people, who normally wouldn't agree on anything, can be motivated to work together for a single task.

The whole thing was energized by the (partial) sucesses of the arab spring. Like it or not, we have entered a period of potential revoltion throughout a large part of the world. Perhaps internet plus cell phones, have changed the dynamics of protest enough that the worlds political/social systems have crossed some sort of phase change. If your only experience was walking on ice, and the temperature has gradually increased and is now 31.9 degrees, you just won't be prepared for the future.

"I reject power and I will continue to reject it, and I will be leaving power in the coming days," he said on Saturday in a speech on state television.


Is it just me or is it kind of odd and funny the way he put it? Maybe it's just the way someone gets after 33 years in that particular scenario.

Anyway, the semantic implication of the word power seems, in a sense of the context of a true democracy, misleading, since those in power are merely representatives-- essentially marionettes.

That said, it makes me wonder how those in "power" interpret the word and if its interpretation is common and potentially problematic/dangerous in attracting those with a questionable notion of it.

Believe it or not, language influences thinking.

Well, I doubt he said it in english, so you have an unfamiliar perspective and local metaphor or phrasing, combined with the skill of the translator.

It probably sounded better when he said it.

You again... If memory serves, your devil's advocation of some things like nuclear energy and this is curious.
Maybe you're in for some kind of (self-imposed?) philosophy degree and this is part of your "hazing"...

In any case, when some people talk-- perhaps especially those who've been in power for 33 years, never mind your average politician-- it doesn't always sound all that great.

Up top, Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali Naimi said Saturday OPEC's top crude producer had reduced output in September versus the previous month, to 9.393 million bpd from 9.8 mpd.

Note that despite the move in KSA output up to between 9.6 and 9.8 mbpd from June to August, KSA did not increase oil exports at all. While it is likely that seasonal factors (such as air conditioning and water processing) largely explained how 0.6 to 0.8 mbpd of increased output was used, keep in mind that per oil tanker tracker, Oil Movements, not only did KSA not increase exports but OPEC as a group did not increase exports what so ever to make up for the loss of oil exports from Libya. Libya in the last few weeks may be exporting up to 100,000 bpd, accounting for the recent marginal improvement in OPEC exports.

OPEC Exports Stagnate on Weak Global Demand, Oil Movements Says
October 06, 2011, 11:52 AM EDT

OPEC will export about 22.72 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Oct. 22, little changed from the 22.74 million a day shipped in the month to Sept. 24, the Halifax, England-based company said today in a report. Shipments usually rise at this time of year as refiners prepare to boost production of winter fuels. The figures exclude Ecuador and Angola.

“It’s very weak by seasonal standards,” Roy Mason, Oil Movements’ founder, said by telephone. “Western demand is bound to be weakened by the economic situation, but the slow growth in eastbound shipments from the Gulf is more puzzling. The tanker market is dead and digging deeper.”



“Petroleos Mexicanos’s chief executive officer said it’s “ridiculous” 30 years of partnership with Repsol YPF SA (REP) hasn’t paid off”. First, the obvious: if your partnership hasn’t really paid off the first 15 to 20 years you think you might not go along for another 10 years.

For those unaware in the early 20th century Mexico not only nationalized the oil industry but made it illegal for any foreign company to drill there. There is a clear boundary in the DW GOM between the U.S and Mexico recognized by both countries. Years ago U.S. companies began developing the DW just inside the boundary. Mexico was free to do likewise but moved very slowly. So far I haven’t seen reports of any significant success especially with oil. By technically classifying Repsol as a sub of PEMEX they tied to circumvent their laws. Apparently the lack of success and remaining potential has Repsol looking to other areas. One commenter to the report states the situation well:

“Mexican approach to oil is similar to Americans approach to the Constitutional right of buy and posses firearms, so for decades Mexican politicians has been trying to modify the legal status that has destroyed Mexico´s oil industry with success, the only "legal" possibility of doing that using Repsol (which is 5X bigger) as a "subsidiary" so they could be allowed to drill for oil in "unpolluted sovereignty" of Mexico waters. The only problem is that for unknown reasons PEMEX took as partner a very troubled Spanish company creating a mess in the board of Repsol.”

Logically one would think PEMEX would have turned to U.S. companies that had the capital, expertise and proximity to partner up. But political animosity between the two countries would not allow it. And IMHO I don’t see the situation improving. In fact with the growing influence of the drug cartels and worsening political climate it’s difficult to imagine the situation improving.

Logically one would think PEMEX would have turned to U.S. companies that had the capital, expertise and proximity to partner up. But political animosity between the two countries would not allow it.

It's more than political animosity.

The US declared itself the undisputed master of the Western Hemisphere with the Monroe Doctrine. Since then, the US has invaded countries all over Central America and the Caribbean, including Mexico itself. It has done so to protect the interests of rich Americans who had mining and agricultural interests. Those interests were often bound up with colonial or deeply corrupt post-colonial governments. Everyone in Latin America and the Caribbean knows about the long history of US imperialism in the Western Hemisphere, while most Americans have a vague notion that we had a war with Mexico a long time ago.

What Mexico was doing was trying to avoid another United Fruit Company incident, by keeping the American corporations out of the Mexican oil. It may not been the best option for maximum oil development, but when you've got a violent megalomaniac next door, you build tall fences and get a mean dog.

Logically one would think PEMEX would have turned to U.S. companies that had the capital, expertise and proximity to partner up. But political animosity between the two countries would not allow it.

Mexico do not use the surplus it is going to U.S. so it would only be useful if they could get a good profit themselves. Maybe they do not want to deplete a natural resource just to make a rich neighbor happy. The day no good prospects are left in the U.S. part of the gulf and the companies are desperate for for new prospects it might a much better option. Unless of course military or legal power is used to force Mexico to give up their natural resources for free or very cheap.

That's part of it....

American companies did invest in Mexico and even owned land in Mexico before the revolution of 1910. However, one of the things revolutionaries wanted to do was throw out American companies and purge American influence in the country.

All the land and power were concentrated in the hands of a few rich "Criollo" Mexican families and foreigners....

Half the masses were working someone else’s land in a semi-feudal indentured servitude system....

The U.S. supporting the old Mexican system....

Maybe Mexico will soon get desperate enough to amend their constitution.....

That would not be popular with the average Mexican, they need to become desperate first....

How That Food You Throw Out Is Linked To Global Warming

Unbelieveable this is still going on. Surely, wasting food is also wasting scarce dollars in a family home. If you are rural, feed 'off' food to chickens, or give it to someone who does have chickens. Compost. If you are an urban dweller then it is possible to shop more frequently and buy smaller quantities.

I was brought up it was sinful to waste food. At the the very least it is stupid.

I guess you can't fix stupid, like they say.

I think you actually can fix stupid, though.

Getting off obscene levels of cheap energy will give us incentives to fix a lot of stupid. At the moment, we're just badly spoiled at many levels.

I doubt it;;; Try this on for size

"You can cure ignorance, but you can't educate stupidity"

I confess, I'm terrible about wasting food. Sometimes I think it would actually be cheaper and better for the planet if I just ate out all the time. Or bought frozen dinners, excessive packaging and all.

Me too, today a whole head of broccoli went into the compost :( And that is despite the fact that I walk by a grocery store on the way to work and shop frequently.

In my case eating out is far too expensive, but I certainly need to organize my schedule so that I have the energy to cook well.

Me three. It was difficult enough when my wife was still alive, but now cooking for one is far more difficult. Nothing gets sold in small enough portions to allow a varied diet. I do freeze and otherwise divide to cut waste but still always end wasting. Find a quarter lettuce recently?

I can afford to eat out but that also causes waste --- I'm not eating nearly as much as when I was 20, so ... Northern Europe, less so Southern, offers half portions on their menus if you ask. That hasn't become a norm in NA where 'more is always better' seemingly is the marketing pattern.

Solution: organize a gang of "food buddys".

Things are not all doom and gloom everywhere.

Canada outshines U.S. with stunning jobs growth

Canada created six times as many jobs as expected in September, once again outshining the United States with an economy that is humming along even as other rich nations struggle with debt and slumping confidence.

Adjusted to take account of the relative sizes of the two economies and slightly different statistical methods, Canada's stunning gain of 60,900 new jobs, reported by Statistics Canada on Friday, would be comparable to half a million new U.S. positions.

And 'Stunning' job rush continues in Alberta

Alberta continues to churn out jobs at a frenetic pace amid what one analyst described Friday as a period of "blockbuster" employment growth across the country.

The province's unemployment rate dipped to 5.4 per cent in September - from 5.6 per cent in August - following a fifth straight month of job gains, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

The federal agency recorded 8,600 new jobs, bringing to almost 98,000 the number of new jobs created during the past year.

Robert Kavcic, an economist with BMO Capital Markets, said job growth in Alberta continues to separate itself from the rest of the country.

"Private-sector job growth in the province was up a massive 8.8 per cent year-over-year in September, the strongest growth since 1981 and even outpacing growth seen at the height of the energy boom in 2007."

There's something to be said for living in an energy-rich, agricultural-land rich, fresh-water-rich country with solvent banks and financially sound governments in a world where those things are increasingly rare.

By the way, the Alberta government is estimating that Alberta might have to import about 75,000 American immigrants in the next few years to meet labor demand if the oil sands projects go ahead as planned. They don't think there are enough skilled workers in Canada.

Alberta is booming, yes, but the job figures for Canada are mixed.

Canada Unemployment Rate Falls as Economy Adds 60,900 Jobs

The monthly gain was led by 38,400 new jobs in education services, and a 35,600 increase for professional and scientific services. Public sector jobs rose 36,900, while employment in the private sector was down 14,900.

Employers recorded the lowest quarterly job gain over the past three months since the fourth quarter of 2010.

The report was “better than expected for sure, and I’ll take that,” said Stewart Hall, a currency strategist at RBC Dominion Securities in Toronto. “But a game changer? I don’t think so.”

Finance Losses

The finance, insurance, real estate and leasing industries saw 35,300 jobs lost in the month. Construction companies added 11,600 new jobs during the month, while natural resources firms hired 17,100 workers.

Incidentally, over half of those 61,000 job gains were in the province of British Columbia where there was a net increase of 35,000 workers in September.

The Canadian economy remains robust in the Prairie Provinces with unemployment at 4.6% in Saskatchewan, 5.4% in Alberta, and Manitoba coming up close at 5.5%. BC at 6.7% is just under the national average of 7.1%.

There is a cry for workers in the oil patch and this demand will probably increase. The one caveat, however, is that the prosperity on the resource rich prairies is contingent on vigorous commodity prices. Take that away, and along with the anemic industrial and financial sectors elsewhere, Canadians, even Prairie Canadians, are vulnerable.

The one caveat, however, is that the prosperity on the resource rich prairies is contingent on vigorous commodity prices. Take that away, and along with the anemic industrial and financial sectors elsewhere, Canadians, even Prairie Canadians, are vulnerable.

This is true, but at least the prairie/western provinces have the commodities, regardless of the prices for the,. The maritime provinces depleted many of their commodities - e.g. fish - long ago, and other ones, like the Churchill Falls hydro, they gave away for next to nothing.

And Ontario has no commodities at all, really, they just consume, or produce "arts" and the like, and that's the wrong side of the fence to be on these days.

The major commodities being produced in the west - energy, food, and metals/minerals, are subject to price fluctuations, but I can't see any of them falling through the floor. As long as we want food, shelter and transportation, those commodities will be worth something to someone.

Today's commodities of value are energy and fertilizer - leading to a demand for products from Alberta (petroleum) and Saskatchewan (petroleum and potash). The nature of the world economy has given the region a competitive advantage, at least for now.

Fifty years ago and more, when the industrial heartland of the world was the North American northeast, Ontario had nickle and Quebec and Newfoundland copious quantities of iron. A hundred years before that the age of wooden sail meant the Maritimes boomed (as well as the St. Lawrence and Ottawa River Valleys) as timber was in high demand for the Royal Navy and Britain's growing merchant marine. The merchants of the Maritimes were flushed with cash during the War of 1812 and then the American Civil War as these ports were major importing/exporting entrepôts for the lucrative West Indies and European trade triangle (& the American seaboard was blockaded out of full participation). It was the rich coffers of then "have" Maritime Provinces of the 1860s which in part subsidized Canadian confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald's National Policy and the opening up of the Canadian northwest.

The Maritimes industrialized early and experienced rapid de-industrialization during the 1950s and 1960s. Ontario, once the center of Canada's automotive and commercial equipment manufacturing, is currently suffering as its base erodes to cheaper products from Asia. Globalization has hit some regions particularly hard and others with lucrative profits. I think many Canadians appreciate that we live in a sufficiently large and diverse economy to weather some of the shocks that these sea changes bring.

The prairies provinces of Canada ought to enjoy their moment in the sun as should Quebec as it finds leverage from its abundant hydro electric reserves. Party hardy. Like everything else these glory days won't last forever.

Ontario still has quite a lot of mining and timber activity. Just not in the areas where the people mostly live.

To add, Ontario has the best agricultural land in Canada and that is in the area where most people live. That was why the towns and cities took hold in the first place.

And in all fairness to the good folks of the golden horseshoe, there are 13 million people in Ontario. Some produce "art" and the like but I venture to say there are many more engaged in producing other and more practical things, too :-)

Ontario has the best agricultural land in Canada

I thought Prince Edward Island has the best agricultural soil & climate of any Canadian province.

True ?


Yes, Alan, alas true, but P.E.I., the Garden of the Gulf, is about as big as a sprawling Toronto suburb.

But at least it looks better!

Tom, appreciate your comments and history of eastern Canada. I agree that the fact that eastern Canada has a lot of good agricultural land (and water) is a great asset, and I expect to see more use made of that in the future.

What i am not so sure about is the future for the urban centres, as the de-industrialisation continues. The stored wealth is being consumed, and there are fewer opportunities for young people.

I agree wholeheartedly with your comments below about western optimism - though some parts of BC, including the particular town where I live - anywhere that was dependent on lumber and/or pulp processing, are exceptions.
That caveat aside, there are "opportunities" aplenty in the west, and, generally, governments that want to allow people to chase them (again, BC is often an exception here).

If we face a future where we return to more of the basics, and less of the luxuries, then the western provinces, being net exporters of energy and food, with relatively low populations will continue to do well. For the east, with relatively high populations, the question of how to pay for their energy imports will continue to be a drag on their economies. And the parts of the urban economies based on retailing of non-food items, or luxury services will suffer even more.

The cities have been the biggest beneficiaries of the boom years, and I think they have the most pain to endure.

I am seeing an encouraging trend in a resurgence of small scale farming here, and, in small scale energy production (the area I am working in). While neither are technically as "efficient" as large scale corporate production, they do offer opportunities for entrepreneurial individuals, and that is a great source of optimism.

Much better than worrying about how to pay for the Vancouver house!

For the east, with relatively high populations, the question of how to pay for their energy imports will continue to be a drag on their economies. And the parts of the urban economies based on retailing of non-food items, or luxury services will suffer even more.

Paul, good observation. I think you've nailed a chief concern for the future happiness and well-being of humanity in general. Urbanization and the scale of complexity required to provide for city living has come hand-in-hand with an economy based on the internal combustion engine and cheap abundant fossil fuels. As cheap fuel becomes scarcer, urban life will undergo the death of a thousand cuts.

Mass migration to the countryside? My only thought on that is that the divide between town and country is wider today than ever before. I'm not sure city slickers would know what to do even if they got the chance to work a farm or take to the woods. The antics of Green Acre's Oliver Wendell Douglas would pale in comparison.

The transition may prove to be easier in the third world since urbanization has only occurred there fairly recently. But once again, without the props of the green revolution and amid an ever warmer climate, look for famine's familiar face to be smiling back at us.

And on that happy note, as mentioned below to Paulo, Happy Canadian Thanksgiving ;-)

Urbanization and the scale of complexity required to provide for city living has come hand-in-hand with an economy based on the internal combustion engine and cheap abundant fossil fuels.

Without using historic examples - consider Copenhagen 2020.

50% of urban trips by bicycle, say 15% by walking, 20% by urban rail. A move towards very efficient housing, powered by renewable energy + a mix of renewable & FF for CHP. EVs make up a decent % of the urban car & delivery truck fleet.

All in planning/implementation.

And then extrapolate towards an almost sustainable Copenhagen - say 2035 - with further wise investments.

Best Hopes for Good Planning,


Leave it to those pesky Scandinavians to spoil even a doomer's wet dream ;-)

And who'd just finished saying it was Canadians who had hopes moving forward into the future. Northern latitudes and optimism must go well together.

Copenhagen is in a much better position to do this, as it has not invested in urban sprawl nearly as much as Cdn and US cities.

I'm not saying the transformation you propose can;t be done, just that it will be harder/more painful/more expensive in many places here. And when the suburb dwellers, not corporations, constitute the "legacy interests", what are the chances of the city governments being really aggressive?

I think the innovative cities, like Calgary (which is actually a sprawl) will do this first, but others will be dragged kicking and screaming, or they will be left behind. People might find it is easier to move to a better place than to make their place better. Especially for those who are unemployed, you might as well be so in a better/more hopeful place, hence the westward migration in Canada.

I am seeing quite a few young hopeful people moving out of Vancouver to take up farming {gasp!} in the areas around here - better than sitting on ones hands in the city!

I see America's largest city (north of the Rio Grande) New York City making a number of good moves - just too few and too slow.

Can they accelerate good changes as things spiral down ? And what of the suburbs ?

Some Hopes,


You forgot how to plan for those raising sea levels. Copenhagen is on a very flat costal plain you know.

BTW; the Falsterbo peninsula on the swedish side of the Öresund strait this week got a gouvernmental ban on new construction of houses for the entire peninsula until the municipality came up with a "better plan" for how to protect hoses in the future from raising sea levels. (The peininusla is made of sand, and very flat).

Interesting to note is this place is populated with rich people. Ordinary guys like me could never afford to live there. Guess that will change in a coupla decades.

Ordinary guys like me could never afford to live there. Guess that will change in a coupla decades.

Or maybe it will become even more so? I can imagine new regulations forcing houses to be put on stilts, or otherwise be protected from the effects of X meters of sea level rise. That might mean that only vey expensive retorfits or expensive new construction techniques can be used.

According to "Jutlands Posten" the Danish Newspaper of cartoon fame states today that the surplus on balance of payments, should be 115,3 mia. kr.32,3 mia. kr. more than last year.I wonder if the reason for that is that they have been turning to renewable energy for the last 35 years and they have the largest windturbine maker in the world and 11% of its exports are in renewable technologies which are booming at the moment.

It has been some time since I read it, but a British gov't official (memory is vague beyond that) reported a casual conversation with a couple of Pakistani generals (after India atomic bomb - before the Pak one) to wit:

There would be less suffering if most Pakistanti villages and cities were wiped out in a blink of an eye. The struggle to live is too hard and getting harder - there are too many and not enough to go around.

We cannot copy China with one child so another way needs to be found.

Beyond Chilling,


There's something to be said for living in an energy-rich, agricultural-land rich, fresh-water-rich country with solvent banks and financially sound governments in a world where those things are increasingly rare.


Right! At least until you destroy your environment, pollute your waters and financially over extend yourselves by following the same stupid greed mongering practices as your big brother to the south! I for one, am definitely unimpressed by what is happening today in Canada. They are just heading over the same cliff that we in the US are but perhaps a step or two behind us. Canada is just one more 'Lemming' country in the BAU herd and will ultimately face the same consequences as the rest of us. Don't they know that we all live on the same finite planet, eh?!

Canada has more land area (and several times as much fresh water) as the US or the EU, and fewer people than California or Spain, so there is quite a lot of natural environment to destroy, and not a lot of people to do it. In addition to that, Canadians have never really been into destroying the natural environment.

In my visits to the US I've noticed that Americans get extremely excited whenever they see a bald eagle. I've always been rather blase about bald eagles because where I live, we have more bald eagles than rats. That's quite literally true because, unlike the US, we have never killed bald eagles just for the fun of it, and when Norwegian rats showed up we whacked them all because they didn't belong.

Some people think that you can't just kill all the rats, but you can and we did. OTOH hand, there hasn't been a mammal species that has gone extinct here in Alberta in the last 10,000 years.

And, speaking of lemmings, it is just a myth that they do suicidal jumps off cliffs into the ocean. I have seen the documentary evidence that in the Disney movie that showed lemmings jumping from cliffs, they didn't jump, they were pushed. It was all special effects - they actually put them on a turntable and spun them off into the water. The film was the Hollywood version of the nature, the reality is quite different.

And, speaking of lemmings, it is just a myth that they do suicidal jumps off cliffs into the ocean.

Yes, Rocky I'm quite aware of that. I wasn't trying to do a dissertation on lemmings per se. However despite what you say about Canada, it is still very much on a BAU path to ecological destruction. Granted, as you say it still has a lot more intact ecology to destroy but a very few people with a lot of technology can do a huge amount of damage in a very short time.

Best hopes for radical paradigm change.



Do you have a cite for the "there hasn't been a mammal species that has gone extinct here in Alberta in the last 10,000 years."

That seems rather doubtful.

Canada will do well until the real estate bubble bursts, as it inevitably must. The consequences will be bad, as it doesn't have quite the labor market flexibility that the U.S. has. What are all those people buying overpriced condos in Vancouver, a second tier city laughably called the "best city in the world," going to do when they are underwater and have no income?

Why Canada allows continuing mass immigration to a country with only a small amount of habitable land, relative to its size, is beyond me. Unless this is a long term play, as the land opens up due to AGW? But then be careful what you wish for, as you have a country to your South with 300 million increasingly poor and desperate people. Illegal Americans migrating North! Who would have guessed but anything's possible in our increasingly bizarre world.

Canada has turned into a resource colony for the U.S. and China, and history shows that resource colonies don't do particularly well, as corruption sets it and innovation slows. Although Canada's cities are much better positioned for peak oil than American ones, there still is no incentive in Canada to abandon the cars, and there won't be for quite awhile.

I'd much rather be in Canada that the U.S., that's for sure. But it's important to bear in mind that nobody's going to be untouched by the global depression. There's nowhere to escape, that much should be clear in a settled, interconnected world with 7 billion people who all want the good life.

The people buying overpriced condos in Vancouver tend to be Chinese businessmen setting up a base of operations in North America.

Vancouver is the largest port on the West coast of both North and South America. If you sit and watch the unit trains from Canadian Pacific, Canadian National, and Burlington Northern roll in with loads of coal, fertilizer, grain, and other commodities, and then watch the unit trains of containers labelled Maersk or COSCO (Chinese Overseas Shipping Company) or or NYK (Nippon Yusen Kabushiki) roll out the other direction, you can get a feel for what is driving the whole economy of the city.

Canada's agricultural land may be small relative to its land area, but it is huge relative to its population. And, having been in Northern Alberta and looked at the land up there, I would say that if Alberta 100 million people, it could feed them all as long as they were willing to live on cabbage roles, potatoes, and perogies (which I for one would have no problem with).

Of course, with global warming they might all be able to live on pineapples and coconuts. We can only hope. I'm going to Baja California Mexico tomorrow morning to get a feel for what it might be like, because the weather here has been cold and wet all summer and its getting worse now.

I've heard that climate-change is more accurate or descriptive or something than global warming and is in any case, unpredictable. I've heard for example that it can affect such things as large ocean currents like the Gulf Stream. This is serious stuff, and it doesn't necessarily stands to reason that Canada will suddenly be climatically able to grow certain palm trees (aside from the sad-looking ones on English Bay) or pineapples.

I also doubt it stands to reason that we'll forever have a nation called Canada or that the States will be forever united.

Ostensibly, the Alberta tar sands project is already an environmental disaster.

While there is no guarantee of growing more palm trees here in BC (the ones at Davis Bay on the Sunshine Coast are actually quite healthy, and a neighbour of mine has a banana tree, though it has never fruited), the general trend expected is to be warmer, not colder.

The interiors of large continents like north America are much less affected by ocean currents than coastal areas (like western Europe), so my gues is that if the climate warms, they will warm.

AS for the oils sands, I'm not sure by what measure you can call it an "environmental disaster". The whole area is, effectively, a natural oil spill. The stuff seeps out of the banks of the Athabasca river. The mined areas, will of course, have less bitumen in them than before, which buy any "environmental standards" is deemed to be a good thing. If any city property had bitumen levels in the soil even close to what the oil sands have, the local/state/federal government would slap a clean up order on there in the name of "protecting the environment" - I used to do just such projects for a living!

The dead zone off the Mississippi delta is an environmental disaster. The burning of Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests to grow palm oil is an environmental disaster. The terraforming of almost every hill in china, like this, is an environmental disaster.

The Alberta oil sands are merely an oily project happening in the middle of one of the most oily areas on the planet. The only difference in the "after" landscape is that it is usually a better ecosystem than before.

Of course, given that much of the oil produced is supporting American car culture, and thus American sprawl, I would agree that that is an environmental disaster, but that is hardly the fault of the oilsands.

Yes, the trick seems to be in looking downstream, both literally and metaphorically.

These reclaimed areas are getting fed from still-pristine upstream and ambient, natural sources, plus the financial benefits of these handsome energy profits.. while the other 'beneficiaries' of these energy and waste flows inherit externalities that will have to be paid for out of pocket, like air, water and soil pollution, and of course, buying the fuel..

I understand that the general trend is expected to be warmer, but so what.

You have a general trend of rapid warmth interacting with a complex system that is planet earth.

The ones going about it as though they understand it or as though there's no tomorrow may find there is no tomorrow, because it has been externalized off the planet.

BTW, and also with regard to your points embellished with an image; apparently, peak wood happened some time ago, and it, along with other peaks, maybe like peak species, seems to be catching up to us.

Climate-change has happened before industrial civilization. And it has happened many times even if you limit yourself to the time period from the end of the Wisconsin glaciation (Wurm if you are in Europe) to the industrial revolution. Even back in those lightly populated times it had major effects on humanity.

For some useful perspective, go to the library and read "The Long Summer" by Brian Fagan. It's very readable, and has about 170 references if you want to go further.

I haven't read Fagan's book, so I don't understand your point. Here's a comment from the publisher:

The "long summer" of the title is the Holocene warming trend of the last 15,000 years, which has coddled humanity throughout recorded history.

The quote from the publisher is incorrect, the timing is different and the trend over the recent past isn't warming, but a slow cooling since about 8,000 years ago. The Holocene, which began about 10k years ago, has been a period or relatively stable climate with almost nothing like the extremes seen in the record the preceding Ice Ages except for the short 8200 BP event. We've learned quite a bit about paleoclimate, especially the relatively recent period of Ice Ages which began some 3.3 million years ago. We've also found that the past 10,000 years (mol) have been relatively stable, which allowed civilizations to appear and flourish, however briefly.

If you are saying that climate fluctuations are not unusual, I agree, but it's the rate of change which appears to be most unusual. If we shift into a new climate pattern of greater extremes of temperature and precipitation, our civilization will experience much greater stress, which makes keeping civilization going much more difficult. The point is that Global Warming is a change on the same order as that of the shift from true Ice Ages conditions to the Holocene, perhaps a warming of 5 to 6 C over a span of about 100 years. We can't ignore the possibility that the outcome will be seriously negative...

E. Swanson

The book covers the last 15,000 years, including the tail end of the ice age as well as the holocene. The Younger Dryas is covered as well as the 8200 BP event.

And the key point is "relatively stable." And even with that relative stability, the outcomes of previous climate changes were often negative for the societies of the day.

All true, although every country sells to everyone all of the products they can muster up. Yet, Canada has always had a lower standard of living than many over consumption countries...and I won't even name the one I am thinking of:-) Recent immigrants with money live like kings as does old money folk, but mostly the field is more level than not. Yes, there is a bubble in west coast housing, but only because people want to live there. When the prices get too high the sales drop.

Way too expensive and out of line for sure. Normal wage earners cannot live in Victoria or Vancouver....at least if you are just starting out.

A big difference in Canada is that Union is not a dirty word. Some places are a little reactionary, but most Union folk carry pride and support into work. It is also why we still have a middle class that can keep/afford their homes. Canada Pension Plan has made some adjustments to ensure stability, but it is not under attack or called an entitlement. If any politician meddled with CPP they would be fed to the wolves.

Soft landings.....Paulo

Mr. Sachs, what you say may prove to be true. Destitution could be a mere bubble burst away. The smugness of the Canadian prairie dweller and left coaster could very well be in for one nasty comeuppance.


I spent much of this past summer on a road trip through Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories, my first venture into the Canadian interior in over a dozen years. One thing that really stood out for me, and was viscerally palpable, was the confidence and optimism of the people. It was refreshing to visit places where youth is prominent, where there is still faith in a better future, and to see the cockiness that comes with knowing that one's place is assured in that promising tomorrow.

This "can do" attitude and "I've got the world by the tail" was common everywhere a generation ago. For many Americans, Europeans, and other Canadians for that matter, the years have knocked the stuffing out of these longings and has left us cynical and jaded. This dourness, however, has not yet punctured the buoyant spirit of bustling western Canada.

Yes, there are many problems. Some with dire consequences and few solutions. We talk about them all the time. Yes, doom and gloom may be a more realistic approach than pie in the sky. But I do have a renewed sense and appreciation for what Rocky Mountain Guy, Paulo, Paul Nash and other western Canadian contributors have to say. They live among colleagues and neighbours who don't only have possibilities open to them but who see those possibilities and act on them. The prosperity around them is tangible. The pluck is contagious.

Confidence means an end to old ways of thinking. Contradictions abound. Calgary, presumably the redneck oil capital of Canada centered in the heart of the Alberta bible belt, has extensive electric urban transit, is clean and green, and just elected Naheed Nenshi, a Toronto born Muslim of South Asian parentage, as its mayor. Wind farms harness energy in a province noted for its roughnecks. Diamond mines, serviced by intrepid ice road truckers and hoary bush pilots, have won international acclaim for their engineering prowess and awards for their environmental sensibilities.

North of the U.S.-Canadian border, real power, wealth and people have been shifting westward for the better of a generation. For the past two decades, the trend has accelerated. Picture the promise of California in the 1960s and move it forward 40 years or more. That's the perspective of today's western Canadians. It's exciting. It's smug. It's can be downright exasperating. But don't dismiss it. We can learn much from people who don't freeze in fright over demons not yet realized.

That was a very good post. Lovely and well done, Zadok.

I had supper with 15 folks last night. Talk ranged from home built aircraft, pv systems, grid ties, pelton wheels, snow boarding, the weather (of course),tractor re-builds, log homes, the issues of living in a flood zone, rural stuff, food, etc. One lady thought how awesome it was to be able to find work up north and in Alberta for her newf relatives and our friends and children. How refreshing. How normal. Nary a word spoke about the economy or collapse. No politics.

It reminded me of the way things used to be. I suppose it was optimistic, in a word. I got home and felt great about just looking around at what we have built/building.

It was a night of possibilities. It was Canadian.


It was a night of possibilities. It was Canadian.

That would make a rather good bumper sticker.

Btw, Paulo, on an appreciative note, Happy Thanksgiving!

I am going to a neighbour's thanksgiving dinner tonight, and I hope/expect a similar conversation.

The dinner, btw, is a "you must have grown/made/caught it yourself dinner", so we are having veggies grown in peoples gardens, some Chinook salmon that my neighbour caught in the inlet in front of his house, home brewed beer and home made wine and apple pie made with local apples and the pastry from locally grown and milled rye, and sweetened with syrup from the West Coast maples! It is only the cooking oil and herbs/spices that are from more than 2 miles away. Lighting will be by locally made beeswax candles. Not having a veggie garden myself, my contribution is that I collected and cut all the firewood for the fire that will be used for roasting potatoes.

I think this is what the thanksgiving dinner was intended to be, not a frozen turkey grown in factory farm half a continent away...

Best hopes for local food and company.

Bonne appétit!

Likewise, the produce for our Thanksgiving dinner is local (from the Annapolis Valley) although I have no idea where the turkey was grown. It's a Maple Leaf product so I'm assuming the bird's Canadian. Not that the poor creature would see any advantage to that.

Here Is The Audacious 'Strong Towns' Essay That Called The Suburbs A Ponzi Scheme

At Strong Towns, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization I cofounded in 2009, we are most interested in understanding the intersection between local finance and land use. How does the design of our places impact their financial success or failure?

What we have found is that the underlying financing mechanisms of the suburban era -- our post-World War II pattern of development -- operates like a classic Ponzi scheme, with ever-increasing rates of growth necessary to sustain long-term liabilities.

Since the end of World War II, our cities and towns have experienced growth using three primary mechanisms:

1.Transfer payments between governments: where the federal or state government makes a direct investment in growth at the local level, such as funding a water or sewer system expansion.
2.Transportation spending: where transportation infrastructure is used to improve access to a site that can then be developed.
3.Public and private-sector debt: where cities, developers, companies, and individuals take on debt as part of the development process, whether during construction or through the assumption of a mortgage.

Very interesting indictment of the doomed US suburb model, which backs up what Kunstler has been saying all along.

Saudi beheading of eight Bangladesh workers condemned

The latest beheadings bring the total number of executions in the country this year to 58, more than twice the figure for the whole of 2010.

It says many of those executed in recent years have been foreign nationals, mostly migrant workers from developing countries.

David Patrick Moynihan once observed, "complaints about human rights abuses in a country happen in exactly inverse proportion to the human rights abuses within a country." In other words, the more terrible the regime the more likely its people will acquiesce in silence.

The message is clear: SA is tough on disobedience, dissident and foreign monkey business will not be tolerated. Nothing like a bonus round of executions to quell murmurs of discontent or agitation at home.

Makani's Flying Windmills Win Breakthrough Award (w/Video)

The airborne turbine takes off and moves like a plane, designed to reach winds that blow stronger and more consistently. This ability to reach the stronger winds is no small feat. The system bears an advantage over traditional wind turbines, unable to reach stronger winds that are over one thousand feet above ground. Wing 7 can reach heights of 1,500 feet. The device is said to be able to generate nearly double the energy of conventional turbines. The Wing 7 has a wing span of 8 meters, weighs 56 kg and has a rated power of 20 kW.

A composite of fifty-six images of a 10 kW prototype wing in flight under autonomous control.

... This flying turbine would carry an unsubsidized real cost that Makani says is “competitive with coal-fired power plants,” the current benchmark of the lowest-cost source of power.

Plans are to have these systems to market by 2015.

also http://www.makanipower.com/

Here we go again. That robot plane/wind generator is being hyped beyond belief. For example, the latest design is rated at 20 kilowatts, nowhere close to the megawatt size of the other usual designs with blades and a generator on the top of a tower. That the plane only weighs 56 kg sounds great, but it's dragging 1000 or even 2000 feet of copper cable to move the electricity down to the ground. The plane must provide enough lift to keep both itself and that cable aloft and some of the lift is directed toward overcoming the drag on the cable as the plane circles at altitude. There's no mention of the drag from the cable on their web site.

OK, so they are having fun with their student project. It may get off the ground, but I doubt they will produce much electricity with this gadget under real operating conditions...

E. Swanson

I think its a pretty long shot. There goal appears to be a megawatt plane, the 10/20 KW guys are just to gain experience.
Still it seems a bit underwhelming, assuming they get megawatt planes flying, they will have to be widely spaced. And the stated altitudes 300-600M, aren't all that much higher than modern WTs. BTW, it looks like they are testing in the California Delta area only about ten miles from where I live. But I compare there future megawatt plane, to the 2.3MW traditional turbines going up on the hills nearby, and it seems pretty unlikely these flying turbines will ever come close.

No way this can be scaled up.Another pie in the sky

I'm not so sure. Maybe not to MW stage, but possibly more than it is.

Notice the striking resemblance between their plane, and the electric planes such as this Taurus electro:

These things have a40kW motor, plus a sizeable battery pack, to get them up to 4000ft, and then glide at 40:1. Add a tether cable to this plane, and fly in a good wind, and I could see the prop overspeeding the motor to act as a generator.
If the motor is made high enough voltage, that tether cable will be quite thin.

Also, it would likely be made of aluminium, rather than copper - it is lighter and stronger - that is why utility overhead cables are made from it.

Not saying this thing will be cheap, but then neither are massive towers and the foundations needed to support them, and the roads needed to get these large components to mountaintops etc.

This system is a "low infrastructure" system, and for that reason alone, I am pleased to see them pursuing it.

There has been much more money spent on much less promising projects than this...

This system also intrigues me as a possible wind powered source for ocean cargo ships. One of these flying off the ship would allow it to sail directly into the wind, with the plane displacing some of the diesel power required. In fact, it would be most efficient sailing directly into the wind!

Paul, I think you are missing something here. These guys make a comparison on their web page with a wind turbine, showing the craft orbiting a large circle and the tips of a wind generator, implying that the physics is the same. Trouble is, the relative speed of the air at the tips of a wind turbine is quite high, approaching the speed of sound. To achieve similar power this design would need to fly rather fast, likely greater than 700 mph. The drag perpendicular to any cable tethering the craft to the ground will be massive. The structural loads at these velocities become quite large as well. This design simply won't scale up very well.

As for using this system to provide motive power to a ship, remember that there is also a large tension force on the tether cable, which also increases with the relative velocity. Without doing the numbers, I really doubt whether the power available would exceed the effect of the tension force on the cable...

E. Swanson

I agree their comparison is a bit hopeful. The tip speed ratios for the big wind turbines are about 10:1, so those blade tips are moving at 200mph in a 20mph wind. I don't expect this thing to get close to that, partly because of the wire drag, which will increase as the square of that tip speed ratio.

But if they get the thing moving at a TSR of 3:1, then the props on the plane are "seeing" a 60mph wind, and even a small diameter turbine can produce a lot at that wind speed.

I agree there are likely to be some scale up issues, but that doesn't mean the concept is not viable, it may end up being better at a smaller scale. It might work well in areas, like shallow offshore/lake, where the cost of a tower foundation is extreme, but the cost of a secured buoy is minimal. Make the plane a "flying boat" and landing is no problem either.

As for the ship concept, that would be a good one to run the numbers - it might need to be then where the plane is not circling, but is just flying the same course as the boat - kinda like parasailing, or circling very slowly - TSR 2:1 to keep that tension manageable. The "parasitic load" of the cable tension is not an issue on land, but agreed that for a boat it is a big deal.

Of course, for a ship going downwind, this tension is a plus, so you would want the plane circling as fast as possible - the pull from the cable tension might exceed that created from the electricity generated! In this regard, it is an interesting alternative to the Skysails concept.

I am not willing to write off this concept yet, though I suspect an implementable end product may be different from what they envisage today.

"No Way?"

I think you need to back that up a bit.. and wait till there are some results from these experiments.

I can see a number of distinct advantages this has over Towers, which are immovable and in so many ways rigid. Like Birds, this is premised on more lightweight structures, and various parts of the airframes, skins and tethers will probably be treated as sacrificial, or regularly refreshed components.. but the overall material flow of this concept could still be very light, and the crash scenarios can be designed into the operating controls and into the kite design to incline it towards fairly non-devastating landings.

The fact that you have ground-level access to all the parts anytime you want to land the thing would be a huge savings on maintenance and upkeep, and the potential for the higher altitude winds yields far more stability both for flying consistency and for power generated.

One of the bigger worries this poses in my mind is that a bunch of these would create a modern equivalent to the Barrage Balloon Wires of WWII.. a net of wires going through the Migratory and other flight areas?

I just read that some Geese average around 3000', but have been seen at Alt's up to 30,000' .. but I'm sure this varies as widely through varieties and species.. Perhaps there are ways to make the wires Visible/Audible and so, avoidable.. (Fly 'Hawk Shaped' runner kites on the tethers at approp. altitudes for local bird/bat activity?)

Just like EROI for some projects, I am going to presume that a flying and orbiting platform will have low MTBF (mean time between failure), as it seems a pretty complicated system in comparison to a traditional pole mounted wind turbine, stationary PV, or even single-axis tracked PV.

Related to the Amazon Dieback Scenario [Drought]. The weird weather continues ...

Worst monsoon flooding in decades Thailand latest Southeast Asia nation hit hard by floods

also Thai prime minister warns floods threaten Bangkok

Dust Storm in Arizona Victim from I-10 dust storm crash identified

Dust Storm in Australia Another dust storm on the cards, but with a silver lining

Last year [2010] 182 floods affected 180 million people, almost double the annual average for the last decade. Here are a few: NASA: It Rained So Hard the Oceans Fell

“I suspect that crazy weather years like 2010 will become the norm a decade from now ...

Regarding the Ocean Levels and Aquifer Levels, it just had me wondering if areas of the country with depleted aquifers could use their wells in reverse to put water IN when they have deluge situations. I know, the potential to be putting in polluted waters of various sorts would be a big problem.. but it was just a thought about other ways to restabilize with storage when we're under inhospitable extremes.. and thoughts about how to recharge aquifers got me wondering about using drilled wellpipes in reverse.


This is actually done in many areas - though not, as afar as I know, the Ogalalla aquifer, which is where it is most needed! putting water into underground storage needs some energy, but the evaporation losses are zero.

good description here of how they do it in Arizona.

Had the system been in place, a lot of Missouri river water could have been used for this this year!

Is ground compaction an issue? I thought I’d read of some aquifers that once depleted could only absorb a fraction of what they once held.

That can be true. Some aquifers are not mechanically strong enough, without the water pressure they will get compacted, and for all practical purposes destroyed.

You read correctly. For sand/gravel aquifers, as the water pressure declines, the "effective stress" on the sediments (the pressure of overburden minus the water pressure) increase and the sediments are compacted (more accurately, "consolidated"). When you recharge water, increasing the water pressure, the effective stress decreases, and the sediments will "rebound".

There are two modes of this compression process - elastic and inelastic. Elastic compression is the compression of the soil grains themselves, and this follows the same curve on expansion.

BUT once you increase the effective stress to the point where it is greater than it ever has been before, called the "maximum past pressure" or the "preconsolidation pressure", then you start to compress the structure itself, plate shaped grains that were end to end get moved to be face to face, and the pore volume decreases accordingly. This cannot be reversed and this water has been "mined". A good analogy is a pile of shredded paper - press lightly and it will spring back to where it was. Press harder, such that you start making creases in the paper, and it will spring back a little, but nowhere near to where it was.

if the aquifer layer is compressing, then the surface above it will subside by the same amount.

A good example of this occurred in the city that is known to have a few people that like to drill and pull stuff out of the ground - Houston - where the surface subsided by up to nine feet!

Rockman probably knows this area.

An even more extreme example of soil structure 'compaction" would be the collapse of a house of cards, and some types of post glacial clays actually come close to this structure - destroy it, and they turn to liquid! There is a spectacular video of this happening in Rissa, Norway in 1978

...though not, as afar as I know, the Ogalalla aquifer, which is where it is most needed!... Had the system been in place, a lot of Missouri river water could have been used for this this year!

The closest the Missouri approaches the Ogallala is near the very NE corner of the aquifer (see map). Most of the worst drawdowns have been in the western and southern portions. Any recharge from north to south is going to take (at least) hundreds of years. Proposals have occasionally been made to build a very large irrigation canal (several times the size of the Central Arizona Project) from somewhere in the Dakotas to the Texas Panhandle, but the construction costs have always been prohibitive.

MC, thanks for the clarification. I was thinking about the northern part - it would be quite and effort to get it to the south, though it might just be worthwhile.

looks like some areas, in the NE and SE are actually recharging, but in Westexas, well, the depletion is indeed fairly severe:

And this map is from 2001!
Good description, including this map, from Texas A&m university here

In some cases they are used as reservoirs. Despite all the claims that fish protection for the California Delta was cutting water pumping, a record volume was pumped south this year. Much was banked into the San Joachim valley aquifers, which had been badly depleted the past few drought years. Of course a lot of energy is consumed pumping this water into/outof the ground.

Solar Heat – Large Scale

...large-scale solar, feeding heat to community-scaled district heating networks.

This approach is sometimes called ‘grouped solar’, with individual housing blocks or terraces sharing a large solar array and large heat store. But to do this on a larger scale you have to have district heating pipe network , and that adds to the capital cost. Although once installed the running is low - and if its solar fed, the heat is free. There are few conventional district heating projects in the UK, but many elsewhere in northern Europe. For example, district heating (DH) networks supply 60% of Denmarks heat at present, much of this from fossil sources, although some from straw burning.

For more: www.solar-district-heating.eu

Pinpointing geothermal energy's water needs

Generating electricity from geothermal resources uses more water than any other form of electricity generation. But development of new cooling technologies and advanced energy-conversion techniques could reduce the stress on water resources, say researchers in the US.

Geothermal electricity generation uses three types of water – the water that is underground and used to extract the Earth's heat (geothermal fluid); degraded water to top up the geothermal fluid; and freshwater for cooling. The technique has the potential to provide as much as 10% of US baseload electricity demand by 2050 but its large use of water is often seen as a stumbling block.

Report: New England power grid facing challenges

The report spells out several challenges facing the region in the next seven years. It says the region is increasingly relying on natural gas for both heat and electrical power, and must build capacity to handle simultaneous spikes in demand for both uses.

Meanwhile, a full quarter of the region's electricity generation capacity is tied up in plants older than 40 years that are likely to soon be retired.

Also, renewables like wind must be increasingly integrated into the grid.


Thanks for posting these five articles...read 'em all!

I live in New Mexico, lived 9 years in North Dakota, and am from Central Pennsylvania.

I think that the Northeast is going to have a much harder time meeting its energy needs than the Midwest, West, and Southwest...probably the Southeast will have a hard time as well.

Out west we have a lot of wind resources, and a lot of sun in the Southwest, and a lot of land to put solar/wind generation systems on. Hydro in the NW.

Perhaps the Atlantic seaboard and the Great Lakes can implement off-shore wind farms...but off-shore wind is more expensive to build and maintain.

The shale gas revolution may be a fairly short-term abundance.

They are already blowing the tops off of mountains and filling in valleys in the East in their quest for coal.

There is a reason that most of our nuke plants are in the East...maybe the East should lead the way in conservation/energy efficiency efforts.

Thanks H -

I think that the Northeast is going to have a much harder time meeting its energy needs ...

I think your right. Except for the hydro/tidal in northern NE and the Maritime Provinces, we're an energy desert. We've been pushing conservation and it's gotten some traction - but it's a hard slog.

One of the reasons ISO-NE is so twitchy about NG is because they nearly ran out of NG back in 2005. Came within 8 hrs of shuting off some residential customers. (Kinda like what happened to Texas/New Mexico this past winter - though different cause)

Here is ISO-NE presentation on it's 2011 Natural Gas Study

What is missing from the Public Report is the Contingincy Assessment of the impacts from hypothetical gas sector interruptions (basicly the scary stuff) i.e. ...

1) Loss of regional pipeline capacity
2) Loss of regional LNG supplies
3) Loss of regional offshore gas supplies

In looking up some of the links I ran across an interesting link from ISO-New England Scenario Analysis Project: Long Term Forecast of Oil, Natural Gas and Coal Prices In New England

Checkout their Peak-Oil Scenario starting on pg 12. They're price forecast is uncanny (Probably took it from the TOD)


Thanks for more good links to info worthy of a read!

I imagine the 'scary stuff' analyses are not going to be found very much in the open literature any more post 9-11.

I am sure these scenarios are looked at in a national 'Department of Critical Infrastructure' or some such organization, perhaps a subset of the Department of Homeland Security?

Best hopes for staying warm and keeping the lights on in the Northeast, and keeping the lights on and staying cool in the Southeast...at least the east has adequate water supplies.

I think that the Northeast is going to have a much harder time meeting its energy needs...

The urban corridor from the suburbs north of Boston to those south of Washington, DC and within 100 miles of the Atlantic coast is home to over 50 million people, and they're short on all sorts of local resources. Also, hemmed in by the Appalachians and handicapped by a lot of very old infrastructure. They need, IMO, to maintain very large energy and transportation networks to bring resources in; localization will be difficult.

Aging infrastructure ? In some areas yes.

However, with the third water tunnel largely completed, New York City has the most sustainable and durable potable water system around.

The urban rail network has deferred maintenance issues - but the basic structure is in place and heavily used.

Sprawl is an issue - but MUCH less than more recent cities.

Water transport has historic potential.

Best Hopes for the Northeast,


Hydroelectric imports from Quebec are growing.

Between Rivers, Rail and the Atlantic Ocean, I think we could put together a pretty ready set of supply corridors.

I'd be more worried about the Midwest, tho they have a good bit of wind and the great lakes and ol' Miss.

This is a useful discussion, and the question of supply corridors is important. But not, I think, in the sense that you are considering it. (Note: I know I'm taking a rather extreme position, but it's for the purpose of discussion.)

My starting point is, when you look at the NE urban corridor, how much of their food supply comes from the Midwest and Southeast (and points farther west, as most US wheat is grown west of the Missouri)? How much of their electricity supply comes from outside the region or from aging nukes (including indirectly the large amounts of NG and coal that is "imported")? The answers to those questions tell you which corridors are necessary. I'm not arguing that such corridors can't be built and operated, simply that they tell you the scope of the problem.

I will argue that just because the corridors can be built doesn't mean that they will actually deliver the food and power to the NE. What goods and services will the NE deliver to the distant areas in exchange for food and energy? Today, the NE corridor is disproportionately about financial services and federal government: too much of the taxes paid to the federal government stay in Washington; too much of the savings and investment in other parts of the country stay in NY and/or Boston. Is that sustainable? For even another 20 years? A considerable number of commenters at TheOilDrum will certainly say it is not.

Finally, some of those supply corridors also go to areas where there's competition for the resources. If Ontario and the US NE both shut down their nukes, will Quebec power flow to the US NE or to Ontario? As Gulf Coast oil and NG production decline, how much of the remainder reaches the US NE and how much of it is bought up by the time the pipelines reach Atlanta? Well over half of eastern US coal reserves are in Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio; will power generation based on that go to the NE or to Chicago? Will agricultural production in Ohio and Indiana flow to the US NE or to Chicago?

Appreciate the questions, but afraid I have no time to think or reply.. had the little one out all day, now dinner.

To be continued, to be sure.



Can Americans work with the speed, efficiency and determination of French bureaucrats ?


This is a "no brainer" rail line. A semi-circle connecting both branches of the Red Line and the Orange & Green Lines. Should be extended to connect with the under construction Silver Line @ Tyson's Corner in Virginia.


21 years in planning, hopefully operational in 2020, at costs over 4x French average costs/km.

Best Hopes for France - Less for the good ole USA,


I really enjoy the Washington Metro.

When I was in town two weeks ago I had to endure a cabbie spout off about the Silver Line being a waste of money, big government, etc. Of course the cabbies don't like it, but too bad, too sad.

The Purple line makes a lot of sense...hopefully it gets built ASAP (hopefully Phase 2 of the the Silver Line also gets built)...for the sakes of the D.C.-area folks as oil supply declines in the future.

Looking at the costs of some of these rail projects...~ $2B for the Purple Line, another ~$2B for MARC improvements through 2030...good gravy, the DoD and DOE lose track of more money than this every year...for a measly $2B I can show you some U.S. military kit that is being built that will never be used, and will have no deterrent or persuasive value whatsoever...but it will be built because of the bureaucratic inertia in our system and our citizen's almost total lack of inquisitiveness about how much money they spend on DoD and where it goes and whether we are getting proper 'bang for the buck', or whether it is white-collar welfare'.

Perhaps a special money train can stop under the Pentagon to get loaded up with bags of cash!

Having ridden on over a dozen subway systems around the world I agree that the Washington Metro is very nice on balance with one serious problem. I can accept the utilitarian design without too much grumble but the minimalist lighting in the stations sure becomes hard on my old eyes.


I'm not there yet with my eyes, unless I wanted to read small print in a book or magazine in the station...

But I would pay dearly for access to a pay toilet!

The speaker systems (and the marble-mouthed train drivers) in the trains made trying to understand the verbalization of the next stop unlikely in many cases. Good thing the station signs are visible from the windows!

AN application for a smart phone providing the scheduled current train and bus arrival times would be handy, perhaps with a trip time estimate calculator.

I don't believe there is a single subway that has a speaker system that works as it should;-) If I remember correctly, most, not always working, of the Metro trains also had an electronic display informing the next stop.

Yup, we all have different concerns. My eyes might be going but my kidneys work exceptionally well -- I'm a camel in reverse and never thought about toilets. I really should after an experience some years ago in Cardiff when my wife couldn't get into any of the public toilets since they were all locked at the train station blamed on vandalism --- took me an unconscionable time to find someone with a key.... up and down stairs and everyone claiming it wasn't their job.

Bah. Those guys in Maryland are mere pikers. It's taken over 80 years (from 1929) for the Second Avenue subway in NYC, and only an insignificant little piece is even under construction, to open, maybe or maybe not, in 2016, after 87 years. {sigh} indeed.

Good to see them making progress at last.

Well, Paul, considering that we have 1st, 2nd and 3rd avenue and Crosstown Buses, and connections to Trains at Lex/Park across to the rest of the system, it's not like they were actually trying to dig for 80 years.. there has simply been an ongoing debate about whether the added capacity was warranted or not.

Having lived for 9 of my 18 years there at 1st and 62nd, I can tell you that walking over to Bloomingdales to hop on the 6 Train was really no big deal.

But don't let that stop the endless stream of 'Oh Dear' comments about that hopelessly broken system.

By incorporating tunnels dug in the 1970s (stopped by financial crisis), the first section will operate on 2nd Avenue from 125th till 63rd Streets - 62 blocks - and then merge with the current Q express line on Broadway and continue deep into Brooklyn.


Phase 1

A very useful line. The biggest drawback I see is that is does not parallel the most congested section of the Lexington Avenue subway line. However, it should pull enough riders off Lexington to relieve congestion somewhat. Lexington carries more riders than any other subway line - over 1,300,000/day on 4 tracks.

And this despite Lexington Avenue using the smaller IRT cars (smaller diameter tunnels). The Second Avenue subway will be two tracks of the larger BMT/IND type.

Best Hopes for less crowding on the Lexington Avenue subway,


'Minor' radioactive leak at Dounreay nuclear plant

Radioactive material has leaked at the site of the former Dounreay nuclear power station in Caithness, it has been confirmed.

..."These events underline both the complexity of the decommissioning processes and the possibility that errors may still be made.

"Nuclear energy has no place in a safe Scotland."

Some TODers might be interested in this.

First UK-built bamboo bike unveiled (w/Video)

The first UK-built mountain bike made out of bamboo has been unveiled at a major cycling exhibition.

...He explained that one of the main challenges was finding the right sort of bamboo.

...He explained that one of the main challenges was finding the right sort of bamboo.

Especially growing in the UK.

Growing Controversy over Molycorp’s Plans to Mine Rare Earth Elements

On Tuesday, the New York Times ran a story stating Molycorp, currently America’s only operating rare earth materials producer, will soon announce a heavy rare earth metal deposit right near its Mountain Pass operations. ... Technology Metals Research co-founder Jack Lifton had this to say about the announcement.

“…Let me get this straight: in a solvent exchange (SX) plant not yet built, not yet proven in, or run up to capacity after the proving-in bugs are worked out, Molycorp is going to run process leach solution (PLS) from an ore concentrate that it has not yet determined can be produced, with an extraction efficiency that it has not yet determined to be economical – this additional HREE-containing PLS will be run simultaneously or on top of the PLS derived from the Mountain Pass bastnaesite concentrate – which has not yet been run in the new plant. All this in a year … This is complete and utter engineering and chemical nonsense.

Other than that – it’s a great story.”

From Earth-Policy Institute: Lester R. Brown

U.S. Gasoline Use Declining: Keystone XL Pipeline Not Needed

As the debate unfolds about whether to build a 1,711-mile pipeline to carry crude oil from the tar sands in Canada to refineries in Texas, the focus is on the oil spills and carbon emissions that inevitably come with it. But we need to ask a more fundamental question. Do we really need that oil?

...Four key developments are set to further reduce U.S. gasoline use: a shrinking car fleet, a decline in the miles driven per car, dramatic mandated future gains in new car fuel efficiency, and the shift from gasoline to electricity to power our cars.

New York City is moving to natural gas to replace heating oil. It expects to get the gas from the fracking in the southern tier of New York State but it will be illegal to frack in the New York City water shed. It is as if they are saying "we got ours you red necks out in the rural areas we do not care about".

Re: In Iowa, Ethanol Can Still Trip Up a Candidate, up top:


What a jerk.

Iran reactor disaster warning from whistleblower

IRAN'S first nuclear power station is unsafe and will probably cause a "tragic disaster" according to a document apparently written by an Iranian whistleblower.
The Bushehr reactor is likely to cause the next nuclear catastrophe after Chernobyl and Fukushima, says the document, passed to The Times by a reputable source and attributed to a former member of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran's legal department.

It claims Bushehr, which began operating last month after 35 years of intermittent construction, was built by "second-class engineers" who bolted together Russian and German technology from different eras; that it sits in one of the world's most seismically active areas but could not withstand a major earthquake; and that it has "no serious training program" or a contingency plan for accidents.

Sami Alfaraj, head of the Kuwait Centre for Strategic Studies and an adviser to the Kuwaiti government, said an accident at Bushehr would be a "total calamity for the world", in which nuclear contamination would spew across a wide region.

Persian Gulf Rail Network - $30 billion, 2,117 km


the rail way will stretch nearly 2,117 km, starting from Kuwait and traversing Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE to end up in Oman

Rail lines are being expanded in Saudi Arabia - up to 3,900 km there - new build elsewhere.




The system,, as planned, will be isolated from the rest of the world.

Short connecting rail links could be built to Iraq and Syria. The old Haj rail line (built by the Ottomans, blown up by Lawrence of Arabia) will be partially reopened.

Best Hopes for Reduced ELM,


A big second to these best hopes.

In addition to perhaps slowing the growth of their internal oil demand, we can hope that at some point, the fact that these folks, with their vast oil resources, are building out rail for the future should start sinking in to more and more folks over here in the U.S.

Is KSA building (or planning or thinking about building)PV and/or CSP as well?

"Chinese climate change sceptics view global warming as an elaborate American conspiracy"

Dang CIA got caught out again! Rackem-frackem incompetent varmints.

"EUROPEANS BELIEVE the dangers of climate change represent a more serious problem"

So either the Europeans are more gullible, or their spies are much more competent, or they expect a handsome profit.

Do our Chinese brothers and sisters also believe that their shrinking rivers, dropping water tables, desertification, and bad air pollution are some U.S. conspiracy to keep them down?

Perhaps the fact that China has been a going concern in one way or the other for thousands of years leads to their own brand of exceptionalism?

Sorry, but no. About 1 Billion of your Chinese Brothers and Sisters, think the U.S is some distant Planet, in a Galaxy, far, far, away. "Dropping Water" on a table, is bad manners, "Desertification", comes after the Fish Plate, and "Bad Air" is a stinky fart.

One must remember, about a Billion Humans in that area, live on about $3 dollars a day. More than that, have no Electricity. They will trade all of the above, for that extra bowl of rice, and be grateful to get it.


The somewhat educated point of view, some in the U.S. hold, is meaningless for that vast majority on this Planet.


We can bring these facts up the next time someone laments that the Chines are taking over the World.

Not really, because while what our friend Satsun, says is probably true, it doesn't change the reality that the there is a small minority of Chinese elite in power who don't give a rodent's rear end about their own people, let alone the global environment.

And it is this elite that is taking over China and probably has designs on the rest of the world as well. At the end of the day these people are just as delusional and megalomaniacal as elites tend to be everywhere else.

The current Chinese growth bubble is still unsustainable!

These are interesting times in a cursed Chinese sort of way...

From WikiLeaks

Local Court Orders Shutdown of Nuclear Reactor

1. (SBU) On March 24, 2006 the Kanazawa District Court ordered the Hokuriku Electric Power Company (Rikuden) to shut down operations at Unit Two of its Shika Nuclear Power Plant due to safety concerns over its ability to withstand powerful earthquakes. The court ruled that there was a real possibility that the plaintiffs might be exposed to radiation if there was an accident at the plant.

The unit was built to withstand a magnitude 6.5 earthquake. The court argued that Rikuden's estimates of potential earthquakes in the area were too conservative.

5. (SBU) An official at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) explained ... that the case in question was a civil lawsuit and that the ruling did not require immediate implementation of the order to shut down the reactor. Had the ruling directly questioned the validity of the national regulations themselves through an administrative lawsuit then Rikuden would have been obliged to shut the reactor down. Given the legal differences, however, the official said that Rikuden could continue operating as is.

The Perry Punishment comes to the upper Midwest:


Most of Iowa is now very dry. The rain stopped on July 15th around here, about the time Governor Perry was praying real hard for rain.

All we've had are dribs and drabs that don't do the job. Yields on my corn are way down from last year. The poorest soil yields about half of 2010. In the past week we have had 80 degree days with high winds. This has dried the corn down to levels I have never seen in my 36 years of farming. Corn is coming out of the field at 12% moisture. The standard is 15%. There will be big savings on drying again this year. The crop is even drier than it was last year.

But the corn market doesn't care. Prices have dropped by about $1.50. Burning corn is now cheaper that wood pellets again. I had switched to heating with wood pellets when corn went over $6.00.

Wood pellets are around 10 cents a pound now, same as the local cash price of corn. But I have to pay 7% sales tax on them. I grow my own corn and don't pay the sales tax on it. So it's back to corn.

Corn use to buy 2 gallons of gasoline. Not any more. Many years ago when gas was around 33 cents and corn sold for $1.00, a bushel of corn bought 3 gallons of gas.

People who complained about high corn prices have had their prayers answered. Perry's prayers for rain just increase the punishment.

So corn is at $6/bu, and the ethanol makers get about 2.7gal/bu. At current ethanol prices of about $2.50/gal, that bushel is worth $6.70 as fuel, plus another $1.50 or so of ddg's.

Seems like an expensive heating fuel to me - $6/bu works out to $235/ton, and one ton, at 15% moisture, is about 16GJ (or 16 mmbtu), so you are paying $15/GJ, or $14.50permmbtu. THAT is expensive.

If you are paying 10c/kWh for electricity, then a good heat pump will deliver heat for about 2.5c/kWh, or about $6/mmbtu.

There are much better things to do with corn than burn it for heat, but clearly, plenty of people do - this guy burns 14 tons of corn per winter to "keep his house at a comfortable temperature"


That makes ethanol look like a sensible use for corn!

But in x's situation the corn is practically free, increases his resilience and with the added benefit of depriving the corrupt system of raw materials and revenue. So in the individual case it makes sense, which is really how we have to start looking at things. The future is going to be complicated as entropy makes our world increasingly chaotic and rational decisions become increasingly opaque to outside onlookers. Like people burning corn and wheat to keep warm, rational to those doing it, but bizarre to people elsewhere seeing it.

"free" yes, but there is a very real opportunity cost. If X needs to burn 14 tons for the winter, that is $3300 in lost corn sales. Since he is still in the farming business, not the self-sufficiency game, I think it makes more sense to sell the corn and buy a cheaper heating fuel. Especially if that is a local firewood cutter.

BUt agreed, we will see more unusual/irrational acts as time goes on - performed equally by governments and people!

From the WSJ this afternoon: Saudis See No Reason to Raise Oil Production

A senior oil executive said Saudi Arabia is unlikely to proceed with plans to raise its oil output capacity to 15 million barrels a day, as expansion plans in other producing countries such as Iraq and Brazil should be enough to satisfy world markets.

"There is no reason for Saudi Aramco to pursue 15 million barrels [of output capacity]," Saudi Arabian Oil Co. chief executive Khalid Al Falih said in an interview Saturday.
"Our objective is not to grow our production for the sake of growing our production," Mr. Falih said, "but to be there for the market if the market needs it, and we are waiting to see what happens on the supply side as well as how demand stabilizes."

Is this a nice way of saying that the Saudis CAN't raise production?

E. Swanson

Maybe THAT IS what they are saying. No Oil and No Gas. From a State Dept cable ...

Saudi "Gas Prince" Controls The Kingdom's Industrial Development

¶11. (U) Though Saudi Arabia is estimated to have the fourth largest gas reserves in the world, about 60% are associated with oil. Therefore, the amount of gas produced in Saudi Arabia is closely linked to the amount of oil produced.

Since Saudi oil production topped out at approximately 9.7 million barrels per day (mbpd) in July 2008, Saudi Aramco has cut production by roughly 20% to a reported 7.8 mbpd in February 2009, thereby significantly reducing associated gas production. In order to make up for this decline in gas, the country has increased its use of fuel oil as an alternative to natural gas in its power plants. As a result, Saudi Arabia halted fuel oil exports three months earlier than it usually needs to in order to cover the annual spike in summer electricity demand.

In fact, Saudi Aramco announced earlier this year that it would import more than 10 million barrels of fuel oil from Japan and India for the power generation and transportation industries.

...¶12. (U) Recent efforts to find new large, commercially viable non-associated gas reserves have been unsuccessful (ref F). (Note: "Non-associated gas" is found in reservoirs that contain only gas and insignificant quantities of oil. End Note.)

The originally high expectation of finding non-associated gas in the Empty Quarter of southeastern Saudi Arabia (Rub al-Khali) looks bleaker with each passing day.

Also, to date, most non-associated gas reserves are ethane-poor, which is fine for power generation (high methane content), but bad for the petrochemical industry, which primarily relies on the ethane molecule. Saudi Aramco's largest non-associated offshore gas field, Karan, is scheduled to come on stream sometime in 2011, ramping up to eventually produce 1.8 billion scfd (1.84 trillion)

Unconventional gas production costs in Gulf too high: Saudi Aramco

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.

However, in Saudi Arabia, the $ 0.75 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) industrial gas sales price -- a remnant from the days when Saudi had plenty of practically free associated gas coming from its vast oilfields to meet modest internal demand -- is still below the current cost of unconventional gas production in the advanced North American industry, making Saudi unconventional gas prospects unattractive for now.

And also this from link up top:

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al- Naimi said there’s no excess supply in world oil markets...

Wonder if this is just a way of saying that they have no spare capacity?? What happened about all the talk about being able to produce 12.5 mmbpd.

This is big news. Saudi officials might as well be saying that peak oil is here now.

I don't think they're trying to be subtle. They're “long term, strategic aim" is looking after Number One.
Saudi Aramco, Dow Chemical announce $20 billion joint venture

A new petrochemical venture based in Saudi Arabia will focus on the local Saudi market, rather than the business of foreign exports, as part of its “long term, strategic aim,” the head of Saudi Aramco, Khalid al-Faleh, said.

..."I think the recent economic problems [in Europe and America] will have no impact on the venture. Our strategic goal in the long run is that our product is consumed entirely by the local market, and we have already signed agreements with local consumers.”

Al-Faleh said he hopes the local market will consume 20 to 30 percent of the company’s production during the first three years of business.

""There is no reason for Saudi Aramco to pursue 15 million barrels [of output capacity],"
"Is this a nice way of saying that the Saudis CAN't raise production?"

You can take it two ways. They can't for physical reasons, or they can't for economic reasons. The latter includes that they can't actually fill the pipeline, or if they can now, they won't be able to for long enough to pay for the construction costs.

What are the best ways at a grass roots level to spread the ideas about peak oil and that real action needs to be taken to avoid overshoot? Its so hard to overcome the propaganda from the media and politicians! I get the distinct feeling that nothing substantial will ever get done to avert the upcoming problems and if/when something does happen I get the feeling that people will turn around and get angry because 'we didn't say anything'. So what can I do aside from make my home ultra energy efficient and driving an energy efficient car? How does one start a social movement to change the world over the objections of people who perceive it'll cripple their way of life? This isn't the same as civil rights because giving freedom to people with year round great tan doesn't impinge on the rights of people who need to work on theirs. So are there any ideas of what I/We as people can do?

Hey, Sq;

Not like I know 'the answer' either.. but I think that firstly, as you have, making your own preparations for living in a post-oil economy and lifestyle, and making them publicly visible and explained are pretty key. If that comes with some challenges or disparagement, that is part of the price or sacrifice that is probably required.. but it is also part of the 'teaching opportunity' as well, and how it is met will show others who you are and how they will come to regard what you are doing.

Second, I have been very impressed with our local Permaculture community as a productive avenue for connecting some of these ideas to the people beyond your own fences. They focus more on food and growing, but surely have both 'transition' and clean, affordable, responsible living as part of the mandate as well.. and they seem to be very actively teaching and meeting and 'gitting 'er done', unlike the Peak Oil Group that had been meeting. As a balanced component of a greater lifestyle vision, I think energy can in this case somewhat ride the apron-strings of a series of more pressing daily tasks. "The Garden won't wait, the kids have to be fed.."

Otherwise, as a topic on it's own, I think that Peak Oil and Energy has about the intrinsic Appeal as Baseball Stats does to an Opera Fan.

The paradox I have is that none of the 'greenies' I know are interested in energy and none of the 'business' types are interested in sustainability. The 'greenies' seem more interested in saving the pandas and the whales and other cute animals and they have less than zero interest in saving anything which isn't cute. I call them teddy bear environmentalists. Some of the business types lament that they can't find a 'trend' or 'wave' to hop onto for easy money but the idea of investing in green anything is like suggesting that they recycle their own pee by drinking it! The only people who are even receptive are those who've already come to the same conclusion I have. It isn't enough to just convince people who've already come to the same conclusion themselves, that's about as useful as chopping down a tree twice.

What is really frustrating is that I live in a country with some of the best hydro sites, wind sites, geothermal sites, farm land, climate, water, fisheries and the ability to ramp up our energy per capita to > U.S. levels on renewables alone without exceeding environmental limits and yet... It's incredibly frustrating. All we have to do is stop growing our population and turn the resulting money saved to improving existing infrastructure and within 20 years we'd be in the top 5-10 wealthiest countries in the world per capita and sustainable at that. So the real question is how to step off the population growth ponzi scheme.

At the moment the fossil fuel based economies have a huge 'I'm with stupid' above the heads of the people whom are tasked with deciding the best course for the future. So how does one turn 'peak oil' and 'environmental overshoot' into something which resonates with the masses? Even the slightest hint of population control is met with anger from people who think their right to have children supersedes the rights of those people who must bear the cost of those children. How do we tell the protesters on wall street that unless they step away from the idea of everyone having 2.1 kids their kids will experience an even worse future because whether the quantity of energy increases per capita the reality is that mechanisation will mean fewer employees are needed and thus push down wages or the quantity of energy decreases per capita productivity losses will drive down the wages per capita.


Check out this friend of mine's blog


If you are interested in joining a private discussion among a circle of online friends drop me a line at my posted email address and I'll introduce you to the circle.



I've had similar experiences with folks who call themselves "environmentalist". I call then "garden club environmentalist" in that they appear to want everything near them to look nice and to preserve their local forests and critters, but won't want to face their own responsibility for causing the problems. Few of these folks would seriously cut their own consumption by quitting their high paying jobs or giving away their wealth to some poor folks. Your typical NIMBY might fit the same mold, but with a more conservative political outlook.

What makes most people become environmentalist is some situation or event which impacts them personally. For me, it was the construction of an interstate on my childhood front yard, compounded by living in Northern California during the late '60s when the air pollution made me ill. My interest in air pollution led me to learn about all sorts of other issues, including solar energy, Global Warming and ecological limits. Perhaps my concerns for the environment resulted in my years of unemployment and never marrying or producing children. However, I still find that I'm not living a truly low impact lifestyle, as I have to drive 10 miles to town to buy food as I don't grow any. While I agree with your perception of "greenies", I think one must not demand identical rigid ideological purity from everyone as a precondition for success. Turning this Earth ship around before it hits the rocks is a worthy goal, but it may not be possible, given that there are 7 billion individual actors out there, each trying to stay alive however they can...

E. Swanson

I think the people whom express mental illness from depression to mania to psychosis are the canary in the coal mine of societies ills. It's like a bunch of miners down a mine trying to treat their canary for looking sick without thinking about the cause of the problem in the first place. Society is sick but rather than looking at the overall structural causes for these people to come down with mental health issues they put a band-aid on the problem. My problem is that I am angry, im very angry at people whom I told all about the limits to growth but continued to buy products without question. Im angry at people whom hate the idea climate change but still make the same choices as everyone else and im angry that I've been raising these issues for years without anyone even batting an eyelid and we're long past the point where the solutions are easy. The worst thing of all is that I know that if millions starve to death in a world with abundance then billions will starve to death in a world without abundance and even then it's still likely that grain will be fed to cattle in order to maintain our 'lifestyles' and push the price of food above the average income for billions in the process. The anger feels right to me.

It's always an awkward question when asked what I do for a living. Sure I have a job but I always say 'trying to save the world from ourselves' or some variation. My issue is that I don't accept that anyone has to die. Im not willing to tell people whom I will never meet that they have to die because they were unlucky to be born in a poor country.

So here I am considering unleashing my considerable contempt on the 98+1% whom heard the warnings and did nothing unless it effected them personally. Im seriously considering standing alone against the 98% holding a sign which says '98+1% website = facebook.com 1% websites: Theoildrum.com Realclimate.org SkepticalScience.com etc. Another sign will read something like 1972 the limits to growth the book you never took seriously.

I think a lot of clinical depression is really situational depression. What's not to be depressed about?

There is a big difference between mental illness, and being angry at society. The first condition has a significant biological origin, and is only partially affected by environmental conditions. The later is a risk to anyone sensitive/intelligent enough to examine some of the ways we may be going badly wrong. People with acute cases of the former, cannot actually function normally while their illness is in an acute phase. Those who are angry/ upset at society etc. can still function normally, and would respond favorably to a change in their environment (see reason for hope that society can be made to correct the wrongs).

Now, I suspect, that there are a lot of people who may be marginal for mental illness, and stress caused by for example being upset with society might make the diference between minor mood swings and clinical presentation of their disorder.

I wasn't saying there was a small difference between anger and mental illness. I simply acknowledge that others may suffer mental illness at the cost of the way society functions, given the fact that I am familiar with the effect on others. What im saying is that the clinical presentation of mental illness is linked to disorder in society itself. The people who fall ill with mental illness are merely the first cadre of a wide reaching and pervasive problem with how society operates.

Pretty much agree with jokuhl and peak earl. At some point in time the numerous problems we face are going to press upon people and they will be fully aware of the situation. They'll then start looking for answers to help them survive and they'll look around at those least affected and start to emulate their way of living if possible. So having working examples of living and thriving in a non-BAU world will be key to educating people, not simply making them aware.

I also think people jump onto the "let's make everyone aware" bandwagon in the hope that by motivating the masses to do something, the solution will be forthcoming without having to do anything personally. They'll probably find this results in an epic fail that leaves them living in a cardboard box under a bridge.

Our civilisation has no solutions to the storm that's already engulfing us, other than to make things worse. That doesn't mean as individuals there aren't any solutions, there are, but it means taking individual action independent of the failing system around us. Successful innovations will be copied, people will have to take action as the systems they currently depend upon fail them. We're in a predicament, there will be outcomes not solutions.

What are the best ways at a grass roots level to spread the ideas about peak oil and that real action needs to be taken to avoid overshoot?

You can lead a horse to water... The point is most people only accept peak oil or climate change on their own terms and when they are good and ready. In other words, the information is out there and if people want to find out about it they will.

Personally I never talk to anyone about the topic, because it's like talking about religion. They just don't want to believe anything except what's already rattling around in their head. They have to find the water trough and drink from it themselves.

If you're an American, I would wait till the Occupy movement hits the nearest big city. Print out a couple of westexas' Export Land Model posts. They're easy to find since he spams them in every other Drumbeat. Collate a few, put THEOILDRUM.com at the top, and make a crapload of photocopies. Head to the local Occupation with a few thousand copies and hand them out to people from a folding table.


I appreciate WT's information.

Your idea may very well get the PO issue some media attention, but perhaps doing it in this manner would stigmatize the PO community (even more than it already is).

Im a New Zealander and if I turned up it would be to stand alone and protest the protesters. I will have a sign which reads "they are your immorality maginified" and various others. It'd be an excellent way to get peak oil into the news.

I attended the Occupy Jacksonville event today. There were about 100-200 people. It was a very mixed crowd and wasn't dominated by younger people as much as I had expected. They have this thing called a General Assembly where anyone who wants to, says anything they want, for as long as they want or until the crowd gives the exit stage signal. Close to 20 people got up to speak. The people who can hear the speaker, repeat what the speaker says. There was only one person between me and the speaker so I heard all the speakers quite well. There were a few times when speakers went on an inappropriate tangent. The crowd just voiced its disapproval. After Assembly, we marched down a few streets on the sidewalk for 15 minutes or so and returned to park. There were a few police, not too many, directing traffic to ensure marchers had right of way crossing streets. I have about 2 hours of HD video I'm trying to figure out how to get on web.

The event will continue next Saturday. And I expect to attend again. My experience with saying the words Peak Oil is I received the words Keystone XL pipeline. IMHO, it would be better to get far more basic and just try to get subject added to discussion because it is currently missing.

I've been working on a few words for next week and here's what I have so far.

Let's talk about energy.
Let's talk about fossil fuels.
Let's talk about crude oil.
Will cheap crude oil last forever?
Gas ran out in the 70's.
Gas lines in the 70's.
Gas rationing in the 70's.
Will cheap crude oil last forever?
Oil tankers run aground.
Oil spills in the Gulf.
Oil explosions in Texas.
Will cheap crude oil last forever?
Gas prices go up.
Milk prices go up.
Corn prices go up.
Will cheap crude oil last forever?
State governments run out of money.
State services are reduced.
State agencies are cut.
Will cheap crude oil last forever?
Let's talk about crude oil.
Let's talk about fossil fuels.
Let's talk about energy.
Yes, we will.
Yes, we will.
Yes, we will.

Remember the GA rules. Everything said will be repeated by the entire crowd from memory when speaker pauses. Any help would be appreciated!

I've put the video of the General Assembly on youtube. The sound quality is very good since I was 5 feet from speakers. I converted video to lower quality to reduce filesize and increase upload speed.
Occupy Jax 1st General Assembly - Part 1
Occupy Jax 1st General Assembly - Part 2
Occupy Jax 1st General Assembly - Part 3

EDIT: Added videos and change in speaking plans

I paid a couple visits to the Boston site, and there at least, I saw that just about everyone knows we have a problem with oil depletion. There were no people there with specific views of what to do about it, which doesn't surprise me given that engineers are the one demographic not suffering from pervasive unemployment in the country right now. I'm planning to go back, but only after I've gotten over the cold I have right now. (What's worse is that the Boston site has attracted enough homeless men that at this point anyone who spends much time there should really get TB tested.)

On Ugo Bardi and Fermi. I prefer the short simple answer which I posted before:


Enrico Fermi asked a famous question- “Life in the galaxy must be common, but we have heard nothing and seen nothing at all from other intelligent life forms. Where is everybody?”.

The answer is now obvious.

A planet forms in a life-permitting zone around its star.
Life soon appears, and spends a few hundred million years taking carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it in the form of gas, oil, and coal
Intelligent live evolves
It discovers fossil fuels, and, in the ensuing orgy, burns up several hundred million years of stored carbon in an eyeblink of time.
The planet cannot take the shock, goes into runaway, ending as a venus - far too hot for life.
End of life. No recovery. Once done, done for good.

We don’t hear or see intelligent life because, while it arose many times, it immediately self-destructed in a carbon-fueled frenzy, and so, during our own brief time of ability to listen, we have almost no chance of hearing anyone. And we never will, since we ourselves are in the final stages of that same process of self-destruction, as is obvious to anyone who cares to look around.

well, life on the planet doesn't need to be extinguished in the process for the argument to work. they just need to stop transmitting radio waves, presuming they ever started. aren't radio waves really the only way we have of detecting intelligent life on exoplanets?

We could potentially examine the frequencies of light coming from the planets in question as well. Various chemicals have a light signature. For instance an alien civilization might notice a shift in the frequency of light emitted from this planet and come investigate.

The aliens may well be sending an emissary to make contact, travelling at the speed of light it should arrive in a hundred years or so. Be disappointed to find nothing but an inhospitable planet, traces of a failed civilisation, no intelligent life left so goes home again. :)

In some ways that wouldn't surprise me that they find it devoid of sentient life but I suspect even if every single nuclear weapon was unleashed at once it wouldn't be devoid of all life. Give it a few million years and something will crawl back out of the ocean to repopulate such a big niche. If anything the plants and insects may be the only living things on the surface but there will be life.

Our atmosphere, containing as much free oxygen as it does, is in obvious chemical disequilibrium that an alien spectroscopist would notice immediately.

No, they would not notice it because it is impossible to get the spectrum of a distant planet circling a distant star. You cannot because you cannot see the planet, you can only see the star and detect any planet, or planets, by the slight wobble in the star. Or if the planet is massive enough, a slight dimming of the star can be detected as the planet crosses in front.

No optical or radio telescope can see a planet circling any star. They can only detect the star and glean from the data coming from that star as to whether or not it has a planet or planets. Ditto for the light spectrum. But any reflected light that the planet might be emitting would be drowned out many thousands of times over by the light from the star.

Ron P.

NASA Scientists Detect Spectrum of Planets Orbiting Other Stars

For the first time, scientists at Goddard have obtained a spectrum, or molecular fingerprint, of a planet orbiting another star. Using spectroscopy, scientists were able to identify silicon dust in clouds on a gas-giant planet called HD 209458b. That planet is located 150 light years from Earth.

...One way in which scientists can study the properties of extrasolar planets is using spectroscopy, which refers to spreading light into its different colors (similar to a prism). For these observations, the team used NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, which operates in the infrared.

The team took advantage of the unique geometry of this particular planetary system. It is a so-called "transiting planet," meaning that the planet crosses in front of its star as seen from Earth. By measuring the spectrum of the planet and star together, then subtracting the spectrum of the star alone (when the planet is hidden behind the star), scientists can figure out the spectrum of the planet.

Richardson and his co-authors found that the extrasolar planet's spectrum revealed the "signature" of silicate (an element found on Earth) dust in clouds high in the planet's atmosphere.

NASA's Spitzer First To Crack Open Light of Faraway Worlds

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured for the first time enough light from planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, to identify molecules in their atmospheres. The landmark achievement is a significant step toward being able to detect possible life on rocky exoplanets and comes years before astronomers had anticipated.

"This is an amazing surprise," said Spitzer project scientist Dr. Michael Werner of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We had no idea when we designed Spitzer that it would make such a dramatic step in characterizing exoplanets."

Okay, I stand corrected. A gas giant 2.5 times the mass of Jupiter, that was detected because it passes directly in front of its home star. The radius of the planet's orbit is 7 million kilometres, about 0.047 astronomical units, or one eighth the radius of Mercury's orbit. And it orbits close enough to its home star that it is almost in the corona. Hardly conditions that would support life.

By measuring the spectrum of the planet and star together, then subtracting the spectrum of the star alone (when the planet is hidden behind the star), scientists can figure out the spectrum of the planet.

That is they are looking at the star + giant gas planet, then star alone. I can see how that would work. But the earth transiting the sun viewed from 150 light years away? They would be lucky to detect Jupiter transiting the sun because it is so much smaller than HD 209458 b.

So could they detect earth's spectrum? Not unless they have advanced so far that their technology almost violates the fixed laws of physics. I doubt that.

Ron P.

Ron, from my reading, such a feat is possible without violating the known laws of physics.

Such as feat is much more achievable than the 'possible' when used in the context of developing a practical nuclear fusion reactor, and even much more feasible than building arrays of huge space-based power satellite systems.

It doesn't require the invention of warp drive, unobtanium, or some incredible sustained manufacturing and logistics effort (such as SPS would require).

It requires better (IMO) prioritization of NASA's budgets.

It is a shame that we squandered $100M+ on the white elephant International Space Station (ISS).

We could have spent that money on a series of large space (and terrestrial) telescopes covering various wavelengths, and could have advanced our knowledge of the Universe immensely, including taking spectrums (and even 25x25 pixel images, sufficent to detect ocanes and continents and clouds) of numerous exo-planets.





Challenging, but very do-able.

Great advances in optics have been made by the national defense sector ('spy satellites' and ballistic missile defense applications).

Though I lean toward the biology side, I am also heavily involved with astrobiology. Obtaining spectra from terrestrial exoplanets is the holy grail for every "remote sensing" ABer I know. I've attended dozens of talks on this topic, and can only imagine how many more my astronomer and engineer colleagues have seen. All of them are convinced we will be doing it successfully in the coming decades and have laid out numerous schemes and ideas already.

(Of course it doesn't even occur to them that peak something/anything/everything might intercede, but "scientist myopia" is a whole other topic that I've ranted about before.)

Yep, and that will be a marker for possible life on other systems.
Nature has explored this in several papers.

We could potentially examine the frequencies of light coming from the planets in question as well.

Well, you just can't do that. First you can only detect whether the star has a planet or not by the wobble of the star. A star, on the most powerful telescope, is still just a point of light. No diameter can be detected, only the magnitude and light spectrum.

Second what is received via any radio telescope, must be gleaned from the total of both star and planet. And since a star puts out all frequencies, any tiny emission from the planet is likely to be drowned out.

Third, you do not "come to investigate" over such vast distances. A trip to the closest star that is likely to have a habitual planed is likely to be at least dozens of light years away. Such a trip would likely take hundreds, even thousands of years.

Ron P.

I read, some decades ago, that human radio emissions from earth were more than the rest of the solar system, including the sun.

The recent jump in radio emissions is at frequencies and with characteristics that are decidedly unnatural.

Anyone that scanned our star 120 years ago (adjusted for speed of light) would be in for a rude shock just 50 years later.

But add time for receiving a reply. Time to analyze and decide to respond + light years back.

My guess in that human radio emissions became noticeable sometime in the 1920s.

Time to scan our specific star, analyze and make a positive decision to respond would take an unknowable time. But assuming just a few years to scan and decide to respond - the likely maximum distance for our radio emissions to provoke a response we could hear would be about 40 light years.

There are very few good candidates within that volume.

OTOH, the chances of us picking up the radar scans from a long dead civilization 138,000 light years away are actually pretty good.

The volume of space where we could hear "us" - a civilization like the only sample we know - is quite large. Even if we emit for only 150 years there are billions of possible worlds.

I personally expect Earth to still be emitting significant radio waves from isolated spots for many centuries.

Best Hopes for SETI,



Planet detection technology is advancing very fast. In addition to looking at a star's wobble from gravity they are finding lots of planets by looking as they transit across the star. The kepler program is finding lots of new planets (24 confirmed).

The science keeps getting better, they likely will find a way to do the necessary spectroscopy even on earth sized planets. Here is a catalog of the over 500 planets that have been found by kepler and others. http://nsted.ipac.caltech.edu/

It does look like intelligence is fatal, maybe it's not always fossil fuel and climate change, but the universe should be full of intelligent life by now unless they all died off.


Besides FF-driven climate change, there are always the nuclear war and biological war options.

There was a cool Twilight Zone ep where a family barely escapes their planet in an experimental flying saucer right before their civilization self-destructs in a spasm of nuclear holocaust...their destination is Earth...

My previous response to Darwinian had several links to space-based telescope potential projects; here is one terrestrial potential project:


Perhaps impending LTG decline of the World ecosystem and humanity will close the curtain on future astronomical discoveries...

aren't radio waves really the only way we have of detecting intelligent life on exoplanets?

I often wonder if it is more a way of detecting unintelligent life.


A lot of things here I don't quite think are right.

(1) It wasn't a few hundred milion years, life had about thre illion years at a fairly low ebb, until the Cambrian explostion. Presumably much neccessary evolution of biochemistry, as opposed to multicellular organization was going on during this period.

(2) AGW, won't send the planet into a runaway to a Venus like state, solar radiation at our distance from the sun is not enough to enable runaway heating of a steam atmosphere. We are creating the sixth great extinction event, not the end of life on our planet.

(3) We don't know how much fossil fuels are avialable on other life supporting planets.

(4) If our planet was a bit further from the sun, the longterm CO2 (silcate/carbonate) thermostat would have us at CO2 concentration several times higher than current. If we had been lucky enough that this were the case, the sensitivity of the climate to a given amount of additional CO2, would be many times lower.

I rather think of it as "intelligent life?". Our sampling of planets with complex life gives us zero intelligent species per one planet. I claim we ain't intelligent, but rather just foolishly clever. Maybe true intelligence, which would include the wisdom to respect our place in the ecosystem, is a very unlikely outcome of evolution. Then in the rare cases it does arise, does physics/geology support the sort of space faring civilization that would be detectable?

zero intelligent species per one planet

Are you sure @ cetaceans ?

Best Hopes for Evolving Intelligence,


Are you sure @ cetaceans ?

Cetaceans, are not generating technology, and hence won't be detectable in the sense that Fermi meant. It is possibly that a truly sapient land species might not create the sort of civilization that is detectable in the Fermi sense either.

There are number of species that are "close enough" to evolve into intelligent life - including us - in a few million years.

Elephants, dogs/wolves, other apes, HS, cetaceans, swine plus "other types" of intelligence such as insects (ants/bees) and Cephalopods.

So if we do not devastate the environment too horribly (disturbed environments do promote rapid evolution), an intelligent species can evolve.

Now will this species also chose to develop radio emitting technology on a many MW scale ?

The world of 2400 in "Star's Reach" by Greer still has radio, but on such a limited scale that it would be drowned out by natural radio emissions. Apparently similar message volume comparable to the telegraph in the 1800's. And humanity does appear to be evolving towards greater intelligence.

A wild guess is that a small minority of intelligent species will chose to emit enough radio to be noticed.

Perhaps Doppler weather radar will be their greatest radio emitter - and other civilizations will detect that.


IIRC, I read that the U.S. Ballistic Missile Early Warning System radars and PAVE PAWS and PARCS and their Russian counterparts have been our brightest radio beacons since the 1960s.


Mutual Assured Destruction

A clear contra-indication of intelligence.


I am familiar... :)

I agree with your assessment.


What Did the United States Spend?

From 1940-1996, the United States spent a minimum of $5.5 trillion on its nuclear weapons program.[2] The lack of data for some programs and the difficulty of segregating costs for programs that had both nuclear and conventional roles mean that in all likelihood the actual figure is higher. This figure does not include $320 billion in estimated future-year costs for storing and disposing of more than five decades' worth of accumulated toxic and radioactive wastes and $20 billion for dismantling nuclear weapons systems and disposing of surplus nuclear materials. When those amounts are factored in, the total incurred costs of the U.S. nuclear weapons program exceed $5.8 trillion.[3]

Of the $5.8 trillion, just seven percent ($409 billion) was spent on developing, testing, and building the actual bombs and warheads. To make those weapons usable by deploying them aboard aircraft, missiles, submarines, and a variety of other delivery systems consumed 56 percent of the total ($3.2 trillion). Another $831 billion (14 percent) was spent on command, control, communications, and intelligence systems dedicated to nuclear weapons. The United States also spent $937 billion (16 percent) on various means of defending against nuclear attack, principally air defense, missile defense, antisubmarine warfare, and civil defense.

The amount spent through 1996—$5.5 trillion—was 29 percent of all military spending from 1940 through 1996 ($18.7 trillion). This figure is significantly larger than any previous official or unofficial estimate of nuclear weapons expenditures, exceeding all other categories of government spending except non-nuclear national defense ($13.2 trillion) and social security ($7.9 trillion). This amounted to almost 11 percent of all government expenditures through 1996 ($51.6 trillion). During this period, the United States spent on average nearly $98 billion a year developing and maintaining its nuclear arsenal.

And the bad news is...the beat goes on...I figure that the U.S. wants to spend somewhere North of half a trillion dollars on modernizing its 'strategic systems' over the next twenty years. Operations and Maintenance is extra $$$.

I can show you huge swaths of VERY nice housing paid for by this spending.

Military utility of this spending = nil.

Contribution to species sustainability = very negative.

Probability of any significant number of U.S. Americans questioning this (and other military) spending = verging on zero.

Discussion of any substantive reductions on U.S. MIC spending has been effectively fire-walled from U.S. citizens' consciousness.

You would have a better chance of eliminating tax-payer spending professional baseball and football stadiums in the U.S.


I was surprised several years ago to read that Earth was not indeed in the sweet spot/middle of the 'Goldilocks zone', but that we are orbiting rather close to the inner bound of the habitable zone...5% closer and Earth would be as Venus today.

Since the Sun is slowly brightening over time, life on Earth has perhaps ~ 1B years left vice the ~5B until the Sun becomes a Red Giant.

In a related interesting note, I have read that, previous to the overlying effect of man's GG emissions, the amount of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere was steadily dropping over time, and that the rends would result in Earth's plants becoming starved of CO2 at some point in the future, perhaps prior to the solar heating limit.

I have also read about schemes to alter the orbit of an asteroid follow a highly elliptical orbit which closely intersects the orbit of Earth numerous time over tens or hundreds of thousands of years, in such as way as to gently nudge the orbit of the Earth further from the Sun to outrun the solar output increase.

Of course there would exist the need for a space-faring technological civilization to exist over this time to make the minor adjustments necessary to the asteroid's orbit, and, if by accident or design, those adjustments were incorrect, we would have an extinction event.

Sorry...I don't have the references right now...I wonder if I got some of that from 'Rare Earth'...good book.

Sounds pretty close to my understanding of it. I have that Rare Earth book on a shelf. I wasn't so convinced about th need for a large moon, seems that climate instability probably pushed evolution along on our planet. This isn't an endorsement of our current "experiment" in climate instability, thats occurring orders of magnitude faster than would changes in the rotation axis that would happen without a large moon.
Not so sure about Jupiter either. Supposedly it protects us from comets. But, it also diverts stuff like comets inwards. Its not so clear what the time rate of large impacts would be in a different solar system.


I agree that many of the ideas proffered by Ward and Brownlee are theories, up for debate.

I have their sequel to 'Rare Earth', The Life and Death of Planet Earth' on my shelf as well.

Both are keepers....I find their writing style accessible.

Great fun to read all this good thinking. But-but, with all that, we still have Fermi's question. What's the answer (s)?

The simplest answer, to me, at this time, is that Ward and Brownlee's 'Rare Earth' hypothesis is operative.

A second (IMO fairly probable) is that, even given thousands of intelligent species in existence during the same time domain of our existence, the hurdles of even slow interstellar travel have proven insurmountable.

A third theory, fun to think about, but IMO improbable, is that we are under quarantine as some kind of wildlife refuge.

Earth got very lucky and is probably a one off.
Plate Tectonics, a Moon (night light and tides), spinning core and Van Allen Belt, Earth's tilt and seasons, favorable stable star, water, "Goldilocks" Zone, position within the Milky Way, no nearby supernova, Jupiter to collect comets................

Intelligent life requires many unique circumstances to evolve as does most evolution. Probably plate tectonics and the associated volcanoes, earthquakes and ice ages contributed the most. Above all evolution required lots of time, time no longer available for Earth. All described in the Rare Earth book.

I like a variant of the wildlife refuge idea. In that case, there's hope. They let us get to the edge of the cliff, which we are approaching ever faster, and then, to keep the fun going, they snatch us off of it, and point us on another track to see what we will do. I used to do that with my sister's kittens.

But Hansen says we are off the cliff. Enjoy that free airy feeling---.

"we are orbiting rather close to the inner bound of the habitable zone"
I dunno, at least about the bit about the "middle" of the zone. If the Earth were even 1% further out, mightn't it have become permanently an iceball? Seems like it just barely emerges from the ice state even now.

A fascinating question, worthy of research.


It is interesting to posit the interplay between stellar luminance, planetary orbital distance and eccentricity, planetary composition and mass, etc.

Then we can define what we are talking about wrt life/habital zone: liquid water on the surface? Liquid water under a crust of ice, maintained liquid by tidal flexing and/or radioactive decay in the core/mantle? any life, multicelluar life, sentient life, or habitable by humans?

Rare Earth is a nice into to these parameters.

That wasn't a true icestate (referred to a snowball earth). There is geological evidence that the arth may may had multiple episodes of snowball earth -essentially fully ice covered, equatorial temps -40C or lower etc.). Gradual acculumation of CO2, was sufficient to bring these episodes to an abrupt end*. Basically, enough CO2 to end the snowball state causes a severe overshoot in the opposite direction, once the ice-albedo feedback is reversed. The reason for the CO2 accumulation, an imbalance between weathering, which removes CO2 via silcate weathering, and volcanism, which releases CO2 (from deeply buried carbonates) into the atmosphere.

* The evidence isn't unequivocal, so there is scope for experts to argue over snowball episodes actually occurred.

We might also maintain, however, that there simply isn't a way for fusion to be obtained with an energy gain outside stars. Of course, we can't say, but the Fermi Paradox could be telling us, actually, "look, controlled nuclear fusion is NOT possible."

From the article on the Fermi Paradox is the above suggestion that a net energy controlled fusion power plant may not be possible.

I was wondering if the Tokamak design was using the wrong flow, i.e. linear. Didn't Edison try DC, which was a linear flow and was beat out by Tesla's AC, an undulating flow in which the front of the flow pushes the back of the flow, greatly reducing size of line and energy needed to move the flow.

Obviously an undulating flow will not work, but what about a tight twisting flow? Set up the magnets to twist the flow 9-10 times per rotation, and accidental collisions of nuclei (similar to what happens on the Sun) should occur providing fuse points with less energy applied than with a linear flow.

Peak Earl,

To my limited understanding, Tokamak designs do employ a twisted or helical magnetic field.

I looked at the concepts behind the earlier Stellarator magnetic confinement fusion concepts, and some of them seem to use a helical magnetic field as well, invoked by a different mechanism.

The Tokamak, was pretty much the brute force toroidal field approach. It has a small Beta (ration of plasma pressure to magnetic pressure). Mag field doesn't come free, it represents a lot of energy. There have a lot of other configuartions proposed, although none have had near the level of research done on them. Partly the politics got in the way. With limited research budgets, the big boys with the Tokamak programs got enough political power that they were often able to kill off the alternate concepts that threatened to take away some of the funding pie.

ELM on Steroids

Dubai car registrations up 20% this past fiscal year - one car for every two people


And this despite a second Metro line opening a month ago.

Pretty Hopeless,


"Hopeless", maybe, from a certain sort of bossy "planner's" perspective. But - reality check - the place is a furnace for half the year. And at least one end of most people's trips will likely take them fairly far from those metro lines.

Really, in that furnace, who in their right mind wants to walk even half a block, never mind a couple of kilometers, or wait outdoors for who knows how long for a bus transfer, when, apparently, they can travel instead in nice, comfortable air-conditioned cars?

Most of the Metro stations have a/c connecting walkways with buildings, malls, parking. And apartment buildings are the dominant housing form.

About 4 months, not six, are the "Texas 2011" like months.

Given the rapid growth of population in the Emirates, and particularly Dubai, and the hazards of driving there, one would think that offices and apartments connected to Metro would be the focus of development. Perhaps they are (some evidence of this).

However, the population is NOT growing by 20% annually.


Breaking News: Immune system meltdown (JAPAN)

According to the data of National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the count of variety of the diseases is spiking up this year compared to last 9 years.

Going to the source at http://idsc.nih.go.jp/idwr/kanja/weeklygraph/index-e.html

I see the following.

Acute Hemorrhagic Conjunctivitis reported per sentinel weekly

Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease cases reported per sentinel weekly

Mycoplasma Pneumonia reported per sentinel weekly

Erythema Infectiosum reported per sentinel weekly

All of these are well outside of the 10 year range.


Fascinating and alarming.

Has there been a spike in such diseases associated with populations exposed at vary levels to the Chernobyl incident, or any other larger-scale radiation exposure incident?

This phenomenon reminds me of 'Non-Specific Sclerosis Disease', an immune-depressive disorder written about in the novel WarDay, a novel describing life in the United States after a limited exchange with Russia (~50 weapons each).

In the novel, the NSD condition manifests itself in population which have a moderate-to-mild exposure to fallout, and much less so in areas of either negligible or high exposure.

Well Yablokov et al ( http://www.strahlentelex.de/Yablokov%20Chernobyl%20book.pdf )show what they say is clear evidence of an enormous disease and mortality spike across the worst hit Chernobyl fall-out areas. Critics of their work don't deny there has been a huge mortality and disease spike but put it down to absolutely anything other than radiation. "Radiophobia" being one of their terms. Or that the population all got severe mental problems after the break-up of the USSR and drank themselves to death.

Great link, I saved the book/PDF on my HD.

We in the U.S. need to have a conversation about the risks and rewards of nuclear power, including the proper life cycle management of our current reactor population.

Reviewing the links provided on this post to some writings from the OE movement, I saw one of the authors mention 'transparency'.

I agree with that goal whole-heartedly...the people need to demand transparency from their government, to include piecing the veil of proprietary information when required for the common good.

Yablokov goes to the other extreme from the denialists, however, attributing all the additional fatalities in the region to Chernobyl when there were clearly many reasons for increased deaths and health problems in the region at the time. This is similar to attributing all the tsunami deaths in Japan to Fukushima.

The WHO report makes some reasonable estimates, ones that both nuclear opponents and cheerleaders find dissatisfying because it says that there was increased disease and mortality in the region (dissatisfying to the most vocal nuclear advocates), and yet also saying that it wasn't an epic disaster (which appears to dissapoint most nuclear opponents).

These reports out of Japan seem much more in line with WHO than Yablokov, indicating increases in certain diseases but not a devastating impact.

I expect to see more data come out over the next few months showing similar increases in both radiation and stress related conditions for the period immediately following the Tsunami and nuclear accident, as well as notable spikes in conditions related to exposure to various industrial chemicals that were released from proper containment during the tsunami.

Of course, this would have nothing to do with their having a major natural disaster with hundreds thousands affected by a tsunami? ;)


These are all Japan figures and the number of Tsunami affected is dwarfed by the total Japanese population. However, just like at Chernobyl, there seems to be no attempt to answer the questions by the Japanese authorities.

Yesterday, I noticed that gasoline prices here in Vancouver, BC, have climbed back to $CAD 1.418/liter ($CAD 5.49/US gallon). This is as high, if not slightly higher than, the prices we experienced in April/May of this year, during the recent oil-price spike (apparently related, in part, to the Arab Spring). Oil prices, even world oil prices, are considerably down from Apri/May highs, by a factor of roughly 20%. Yet gasoline prices here are unchanged (they did drop about $CAD 0.10-0.15/liter over the summer, and are now back up). I do not believe that Vancouver has experienced another gasoline tax hike this year--though we will next year to help pay for the new Evergreen light-rail line and other mass-transit related items. Given the dates (April/May & Sept/Oct), I am not convinced that this is simply the result of summer blends verses winter blends.

Maybe it has to do with seasonal blends, but the above-noted situation has led me to speculate that perhaps gasoline price could decouple from crude-oil price under certain situations (this, of course, has happened during disaster-related shortages--those times when people scream, "Gouging!"). Given that refinery capacity is a potential bottleneck, and the end product of the refining process is what gets used for fuel (not the raw crude) in automobiles, it seems possible that gasoline prices could spike on their own accord, without a corresponding equal-magnitude oil price increase.

In any event, though gasoline prices have lowered in some parts of North America over recent months, Vancouver, BC, has not been of those locations.


Check the US Dollar/Canadian Dollar Exchange rate. The Canadian Dollar is worth about 10% less today than it was on July 26th.

Undertow, thanks for the great observation.

I noticed that gasoline prices here in Vancouver, BC, have climbed back to $CAD 1.418/liter.

Ouch! graywulffe, that is high. Regular gas price yesterday at the pumps in Nova Scotia (in Windsor, outside of Halifax) was $1.23 /liter. And on the east coast we import all our oil from offshore, namely Venezuela.

Even with the greenback/loonie differential, $1.41 doesn't make sense.

Could the fire at the refinery in Regina the other day be affecting the west coast already? First impression, seems a bit too far and a bit too fast.

Gouging? By whom? Government? Retailers?

You and your neighbours are right to make further inquiries.

And the Metro Vancouver mayors are about to add another 2c/litre gasoline tax to fund the next Sky train Line. I live outside of the Vancouver area, so my fuel is actually 10c/l cheaper, BUT I don;t have the convenience of the Skytrain - I get the ever increasing BC Ferries - a different kind of tax!

So fuel is expensive, as is everything else in V except the rain - anyone who came should have know this, and for those who were born here (a surprisingly small proportion) well, they have grown up with it. It dopes make it amusing to watch the Americans having coniptions about their gas prices going over {gasp} $3/gal when we are paying $5 for the same. At least our money is staying in the country and not going to Venz/ME etc...

Zadok & Paul,

Vancouverites pay the highest gas prices in the country, if I recall correctly. This is largely due to taxes to support various mass transit systems, as noted above. This in part explains the magnitude of price differences between Vangroovy and the rest of Canada. I use the Skytrain and bus system regularly, and do not mind paying the higher taxes on fuel. And I am an American who moved here in 2008. To me, $5.50/gal still seems rather cheap, given the usefulness of fossil fuels.


graywulffe, at $1.41/liter I think it's safe to say Vangroovy is at the top of the price pile. No doubt, all for a good cause.

Here's to a future of safe, clean and reliable urban transit.

Van city transit is one of the best deals I have personally experienced... all the way from Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal to the airport (I hasten to add that I was escorting my elderly Mum onto a plane, not flying myself) for, I think, about $7 or $8? I forget the details but it was a lot of miles for cheeeeap. Express bus to Skytrain. Clean, crowded, cheerful and convenient. I love seeing a transit system well used, not empty buses disconsolately passing unfrequented stops as you see in some large US cities.

It was a bit more expensive coming back because of a surcharge on arriving tourists from YVR into town. Standing on the platform I was gobsmacked, as I sometimes am, by the sheer achievement of industrialism -- what an *amazing* thing it is, this transit system. All the manufacturing and engineering ingenuity, the elegance of design, all the cumulative expertise of generations. It is rather heartbreaking to think how pathetically dependent all this achievement is on a single resource, and that starting to become scarcer and more hazardous to extract w/each passing year.

To me a functioning, timely, clean transit system is a reassuring signature of social cohesion -- like a clean well-run library or a pleasant, well-tended public park. It's these public amenities that define the livability and (imho) prestige of cities, not the head count of billionaires in residence or bizarre monumental architecture...

Speaking of bizarre architecture, EB recently ran a thought-provoking piece on Architectural Myopia: the enforcement of a machine rather than human-scale aesthetic on the entire field of architecture. I think I am seeing the fallout spreading into home-scale building now as I see more and more bespoke homes, architect-designed, that look just like business premises: a home that looks like a dental clinic, a home that looks like a steakhouse, a home that looks like a car showroom... fits with a theory of mine that parvenu architecture always apes the homes of the powerful. When we were ruled by feudal landlords in castles, the striving middle class built "mini-castles" with imitation greenswards and curved driveways and "carriage houses" (detached garages). The mandatory suburban front lawn apes the "parkland" of the old barons. Now we are ruled by corporations and the striving middle class starts to build homes that look like corporate HQ :-)

Sorry about the digression. Anyway, the transit system of Vancouver is one of civilisations's many great achievements. How I wish it were not predicated on so many centuries of conquest, liquidation and profiteering... the paradox of civilisation... (brain starts to hurt badly, must retreat to considering some more tractable problem)

It was a bit more expensive coming back because of a surcharge on arriving tourists from YVR into town.

There's actually a way to avoid the airport surcharge as it only applies to cash fares. Next time, go down to the bottom level of the terminal -- a 7-11 store is hidden somewhere down in this dungeon. There, you can by a booklet of ten transit tickets or a daypass. These prepaid tickets are not subjected to the airport surcharge and are sold at a discount to cash fares. I don't think this is mentioned on the transit authority's website.

Petrobras production hurt by ‘global bottleneck’ for rigs

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, will finish 2011 at the lower range of its production target after a “global bottleneck” delayed rig deliveries, said its chief executive officer.

Petrobras will be within 2.5 percent of its 2.1 million barrel-a-day target for domestic crude production, CEO Jose Sergio Gabrielli said today in an interview at the Global Economic Symposium in Kiel, Germany. Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras received seven of the 13 drilling rigs it expected this year from international suppliers, he said.

“The ramp up takes time and it very much depends on the drilling capacity we have, and drilling capacity requires drilling rigs,” Gabrielli said. “It’s a global bottleneck.”

States with lowest gasoline prices:


Funny, no mention of NM.

I am paying $2.96/gallon right now, and that is from a previously high-est price station in ABQ.

$2,96 is less than any state price in the article.

As far as population numbers go, Albuquerque /is/ New Mexico.

Slashdot is running a story about US Oil: http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/10/09/1340211/oil-may-be-finite-but-us.... Most of the comments seem to fit right in with views on TOD.

Over 400 comments on an oil supply article -- it appears many folks have learned about peak oil over the last couple of years.

I'd not be surprised if most of them also read TOD. Thus also explaining the similarity of ideas.

Saudis See No Reason to Raise Oil Output Capacity

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia—A senior oil executive said Saudi Arabia is unlikely to proceed with plans to raise its oil output capacity to 15 million barrels a day, as expansion plans in other producing countries such as Iraq and Brazil should be enough to satisfy world markets.

"There is no reason for Saudi Aramco to pursue 15 million barrels [of output capacity]," Saudi Arabian Oil Co. chief executive Khalid Al Falih said in an interview Saturday.


Isn't the IEA counting on them to go to 15m Bpd in their 2030 energy outlook?..


more oil assets gobbled up by china:

Sinopec International to buy Daylight Energy in deal valued at $2.2 billion Canadian


The deal is done at 120% premium to Friday's closing price; just shows how cheap those oil assets are trading for.


The deal is done at 120% premium to Friday's closing price; just shows how cheap those oil assets are trading for.

"Cheap" is a relative term. Look at all the Tarsands stocks like CNQ and SU, down 50% from highs only 6 months ago, and we are nowhere near a bottom yet. What the market is saying is that oil will go below their cost of production due to lack of demand.

"What the market is saying is that oil will go below their cost of production due to lack of demand."

The market often gets it wrong.


Nawar - So true. And folks need to remember that each vote for the economy/stock/commodity moving in one direction is balanced with a wallet betting the opposite.

And my picky point again: the market may be saying oil will go below FINDING cost and thus reduce the number of NEW WELLS drilled. But won't be going below most production (LIFTING) costs. In fact it's typical for many producers to increase lifting rates as much as possible in the face of declining prices.

Container ship with 1700 tonnes of oil runs aground 12 nautical miles off coast of New Zealand. Officials are worried ship may break up.
New Zealand: Crews race to pump oil from stricken ship