Drumbeat: October 15, 2011

Saudi energy demand to double by 2028

Riyadh: Saudi Aramco has forecast that the kingdom's daily energy demand will reach an equivalent of 8.3 million barrels by 2028, more than double the 3.4 million barrels equivalent in 2009.

Currently, of the 8.3 million barrels daily in oil production, more than three million barrels are consumed by the domestic market mainly to fuel national industries.

World’s top energy provider is beginning to look beyond oil

The energy world is changing and so is Saudi Aramco, the world's leading energy supplier.

Despite not having the Crystal Ball, yet one could say with certainty that the global dependence on crude is undergoing a major metamorphosis. It is definitely going to change, if not evaporate, over the next few decades. While the global economy already is in tatters, being kept in an oxygen tent as the capitalistic model is under threat all around, crude intensity is changing too and is changing fast and for good. More efficient machines — from cars to airplanes and refrigerators to industrial equipment — all are attempting to reduce energy consumption. This would have a major impact on the global energy demand.

IEA chides MENA producers to increase output capacity

The International Energy Agency, responding to statements by officials of Saudi Aramco, said it is “very important” that oil producers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) continue to invest in increasing their oil production capacity.

“In the next 10 years, more than 90% of the growth in global oil production needs to come from MENA countries,” said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol. “There are major risks if this investment doesn’t come in a timely manner,” he said. “Oil demand is set to increase.”

The worsening oil crisis and views of a German military think tank

While the problem of credit remains the main focus of economists, there is also another factor to consider that many seem to have overlooked. The world is running out of affordable oil. The International Energy Agency stated in its 2010 report that the world saw an “all-time peak” in the production of conventional crude oil in 2006. While it delivered an optimistic scenario with respect to the discovery and utilisation of unconventional oil sources, such as tar sands and deep-ocean oil, there are still some problems when it comes to the ability to supply the global economy with these sorts of fuels.

Yergin's new book reflects a different world

The intent of The Quest, which is divided into five distinct parts that stand alone, is to help the reader understand how much energy the world will need, the costs and time involved in developing the resources, the effect of environmental concerns on the future of energy development, and what energy security looks like today - especially in light of the continued unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.

Daniel Yergin: Enormous resource requires ingenuity

Oilsands production more than doubled from 600,000 barrels per day in 2000 to almost 1.5 million barrels per day in 2010. By 2020 it could double again to 3 mbd - an output that would be higher than the current oil production of either Venezuela or Kuwait. Adding in its conventional output, Canada could reach almost 4 mbd by 2020.

The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin – review

Forget Lehman Brothers and Greece. The oil-price spike of 2008 caused the crash and the surge in crude markets since the beginning of 2011 is bringing the world's economy to the brink again. In just four years, oil prices rose by more than 300% to their peak above $147 a barrel in the summer of 2008. The spike meant the big consumer economies of the west were transferring an extra $700bn a year to cover their fuel bill, a colossal cash transfer from high-spending economies to high-saving oil exporters such as Saudi Arabia. Soaring fuel costs ate away disposable incomes. Triple-digit oil prices are stunting the recovery now.

Daniel Yergin discusses global politics of oil

Q: How high an oil price do we need to have for those oil shale plays to pan out?

A: Probably these new resources need a $50, $60 price to support them.

Q: So if we are going to have that kind of boom in oil production, is that going to bring us back to an era when we'll see $2 or below for gasoline?

A: I think in the foreseeable future that would only happen with a big downturn in the global economy. We are just at a higher floor. And one of the points I make in "The Quest" is we entered this new era around 2004, when it became clear that China was not just a source of cheap manufacturing and a lid on inflation but, it in fact was a huge market in itself. The dynamism of the growth there offsets what we call peak (oil) demand in the developed world. Last year, 11 million cars were sold in the U.S. and 17 million were sold in China.

Energy and the Future

Why does the global energy system work the way it does and what will it take to meet our energy needs in the future? We’ll find out this hour with Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates and author of the new book “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World” (The Penguin Press, 2011). Yergin will speak to the World Affairs Council of Dallas Fort Worth on Monday, October 24th.

The Tuesday Podcast: The Future Of Energy

On today's show, we talk to Daniel Yergin, one of the world's most influential thinkers about energy.

Keystone XL ‘terrific’ for U.S. energy security: Daniel Yergin

Energy guru Daniel Yergin says the Keystone XL pipeline is “terrific” for U.S. energy security, and refutes the argument that the pipeline’s development is ‘game over’ for the environment.

Uganda To Expedite Oil Laws As Key Deal Hangs In Balance

KAMPALA Uganda -(Dow Jones)- The Ugandan government will expedite the enactment of laws to regulate its nascent oil sector as a key deal involving U.K.-based Tullow Oil PLC, France's Total SA and China's Cnooc Ltd. hangs in the balance following a parliamentary resolution to delay its approval earlier this week, Uganda's energy and minerals minister said Saturday.

NISA secretly calculated Fukushima meltdown risks / Agency considered worst-case scenario of 'China syndrome'

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency secretly calculated the possibility of a worst-case meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 power plant, it has been learned.

The agency was working on the calculations just as TEPCO was saying the nuclear fuel in three reactors at the plant was "slightly damaged."

Is the Fukushima moratorium over?

Seven months after the Fukushima disaster, numerous countries including the United States and China are reviving suspended or moribund nuclear power programs, suggesting a thaw in a broadly imposed freeze on the construction of new reactors.

More Americans than Chinese can’t put food on the table

The number of Americans who lack access to basic necessities like food and health care is now higher than it was at the peak of the Great Recession, a survey released Thursday found. And in a finding that could worsen fears of U.S. decline, the share of Americans struggling to put food on the table is now three times as large as the share of the Chinese population in the same position.

Mexico's newest export to US: Water

SAN DIEGO — Mexico ships televisions, cars, sugar and medical equipment to the United States. Soon, it may be sending water north.

Western states are looking south of the border for water to fill drinking glasses, flush toilets and sprinkle lawns, as four major U.S. water districts help plan one of two huge desalination plant proposals in Playas de Rosarito, about 15 miles south of San Diego. Combined, they would produce 150 million a day, enough to supply more than 300,000 homes on both sides of the border.

Citizens’ Testing Finds 20 Hot Spots Around Tokyo

TOKYO — Takeo Hayashida signed on with a citizens’ group to test for radiation near his son’s baseball field in Tokyo after government officials told him they had no plans to check for fallout from the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Like Japan’s central government, local officials said there was nothing to fear in the capital, 160 miles from the disaster zone.

Then came the test result: the level of radioactive cesium in a patch of dirt just yards from where his 11-year-old son, Koshiro, played baseball was equal to those in some contaminated areas around Chernobyl.

Occupy protests spread to cities around the world

People rallied in Europe, including the cities of London, Zurich and Rome.

In Japan, about 200 people marched through Tokyo carrying various signs, including "No More Nukes and "Free Tibet." The crowd included children jumping and skipping behind the adults. Some protesters wore costumes -- including a giant panda.

Oil prices rise near $87 as recession fears ease

NEW YORK – A series of encouraging economic reports sparked oil prices Friday, pushing the benchmark to the highest level in nearly a month.

Investors shrugged off declining oil demand forecasts that came out earlier this week and focused instead on growing U.S. consumer spending, a rise in bank lending in China and a meeting of world leaders to discuss Europe's debt crisis.

"You're seeing one big sigh of relief" across world financial markets, independent analyst Jim Ritterbusch said. "Three weeks ago, it looked like we were definitely headed for a recession."

When will volatility in commodity prices end?

Concerned over soaring oil and commodity prices resulting in high inflation, India today asked G20 member countries to evolve a mechanism for stabilising the volatile price movements.

"The best way to cool soaring prices is to boost output with better technology, more competition among more producers and better information," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors on commodities and energy.

US gains 11 rigs

The number of rigs drilling in the US rose by 11 this week, raising the total in the country to 2023, according to the weekly report by Houston-based oilfield services giant Baker Hughes.

Reliance Profit Rises to Highest Since 2007 on Refining Boost

Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), India’s biggest company by market value, posted its highest quarterly profit since 2007 as earnings from turning crude oil into fuels offset a drop in natural gas output.

China's oil demand growth slows further in Q3 - NDRC

(Reuters) - China's apparent oil demand growth slowed further in the third quarter, largely in line with economic growth in the world's second-largest economy amid domestic policy constraints and global uncertainties.

Electricity council predicts 16-mln-kw power shortage in central China this winter

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- Central China is expected to face a 16-million-kilowatt (kw) power shortage during the coming winter, the China Electricity Council said Saturday.

The forecast lent some support to an earlier report that predicted a 30-million-kw shortage for the winter, as coal supplies for thermal plants are expected to fall short.

Energy companies' profit margins soar

Britain’s big energy companies are making profit margins of £125 a year from every household in the UK, up from just £15 in June, according to Ofgem, the energy regulator.

The eight-fold increase follows recent above-inflation rises in household energy bills and has led to accusations that the energy firms are profiting from consumers’ misery.

China and Vietnam to strengthen military ties - Xinhua

(Reuters) - China and Vietnam have agreed to strengthen military cooperation, increase contacts between high-ranking officers and establish a hotline for the two defense ministries, in a bid to cool tensions between the Communist-ruled neighbours.

Russia's Medvedev Casts Gas Problems With EU As Security Threat

MOSCOW -(Dow Jones)- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev raised the stakes for Europe's energy markets Friday by portraying recent natural-gas troubles with the European Union as a potential threat to be reviewed by the country's Security Council, which is led by the former chief of the KGB's successor agency.

"Unfortunately, in recent days a whole series of events have occurred that are creating problems for gas cooperation," Medvedev told the council, which includes Russia's ministers of foreign affairs, emergency situations and defense, as well as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

‘Pak-Iran gas pipeline to bring industrial revolution’

LAHORE: Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mashallah Shakari has said Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline has great geo-political value and it was bound to bring industrial revolution in Pakistan.

New oil leak from CNOOC oil field found in China’s polluted Bohai Bay

BEIJING — Chinese offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC Ltd. says it has suspended operation of an oil platform after finding a leak in one of its oil fields in the Bohai Bay.

It is the latest in a series of offshore spills in the Bohai Bay that have raised an outcry among fishermen and environmentalists.

Gas Boom Aids Pennsylvania, but Some Worry Over the Risk

The gas boom is transforming small towns like this one (population 4,400 and growing) and revitalizing the economy of this once-forgotten stretch of rural northeastern Pennsylvania. The few hotels here have expanded, restaurants are packed and housing rentals have more than doubled.

“There’s been a snowball effect due to the gas companies coming in,” Mr. Diaz, 33, said recently at his bustling empire near here.

But the boom — brought on by an advanced drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking — has brought problems too. While the gas companies have created numerous high-paying drilling jobs, many residents lack the skills for them. Some people’s drinking water has been contaminated. Narrow country roads are crumbling under the weight of heavy trucks. With housing scarce and expensive, more residents are becoming homeless. Local services and infrastructure are strained.

Bank of England's Quantitative Inflation Bankster's Paradise Inflationary Depression Economy

Now if you disagree with my analysis, then before you start emailing me about why debt deflation must happen, then first read my Inflation Mega-trend Ebook (FREE DOWNLOAD) because the sum of the whole analysis includes climate change, scarcity of resources i.e. peak oil, changing demographics, and the rise of Chindia - ALL contributing to the perpetual Inflation mega-trend.

Monetary fallacies

Higher energy costs will affect other aspects of our lives, and nowhere is this more important than in the production of raw materials, particularly those that are mined. A paper published on ZeroHedge last Monday analyses the impact of energy costs on silver mining. The message is clear: Peak Oil also means Peak Silver, and Peak lots-of-other-things as well.

It is against this background of a growing imbalance between falling supply and static demand for energy and raw materials that central banks are injecting large quantities of new money. It matters not whether the process is done formally through QE, or informally through an open cheque book; the effect on prices for basics from this winter onwards is potentially explosive.

Transition Times – Peak Oil & Climate Change

Peak Oil and Climate Change are set to be the defining issues for our civilisation and society in the years ahead. These issues will lead to a paradigm shift in geo political, social and economic relations on a local and global level and will inevitably lead to a more localised world.

Ghana: The World's Fastest Growing Economy in 2011

● Energy still remains a major key and will continue to play a key role. We expect this trend to continue with the advent of “peak oil” and the continuing upward trend in oil and natural gas prices. Countries like Qatar and Azerbaijan with their huge natural gas and oil reserves will continue to boom.

● Rapid population growth is a key factor in economic growth. The countries with some of the highest rates of population growth in the world dominate the growth chart. As their economies mature, expect to see this trend slow down somewhat for these countries.

Khosla Raises Bet on Clean Technology With $1.05 Billion Investment Fund

Vinod Khosla, the billionaire venture capital investor, is increasing his bet on clean technology.

Khosla Ventures, the venture capital company he formed in 2004, will steer as much as 65 percent of its new $1.05 billion fund to support businesses developing renewable sources of power, energy-efficiency technology and LED lighting products, Khosla said.

House Panel Examines Details of Solyndra Deal

WASHINGTON — The Energy Department may have made a decision without precedent when it allowed Solyndra, the now bankrupt solar technology company, to restructure its loans so private investors — not the government — would have first call on its assets in case of liquidation, two Treasury Department officials acknowledged Friday before a House subcommittee.

Another White House Description of Solyndra

Among the insights to be drawn from the unfolding Solyndra scandal is that the flavor and texture of political scandal has changed in the digital age. The leaked Pentagon Papers consisted of mostly dry academic prose. The written reports submitted in the Red Scare investigations of the 1950s varied in tone from sinister to bombastic.

But most of the recent disclosures about government missteps in handling federal loan guarantees about Solyndra, the solar equipment manufacturer that declared bankruptcy six weeks ago, have been e-mails, private and conversational in tone.

Solar plant may tower over desert

A new solar energy project proposed near Blythe would place hundreds of thousands of reflective mirrors on a desert mesa along with three mammoth towers that would stand more than twice as high as the region's tallest building.

Unlike Solyndra, other California solar projects appear on track

Reporting from Sacramento— As Republican lawmakers pound the Obama administration for pouring a half-billion dollars into now-bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra, a much bigger federal government bet on green energy looks to be quietly paying off for California.

Six large solar power plants to help the state meet its ambitious clean electricity goals are proceeding on schedule, according to their developers. Like Solyndra, these projects carry federal loan guarantees — $7 billion worth in total — which are considered key to attracting private investment in alternative energy.

GE Solar Panels With 14% Efficiency Rate May Surpass First Solar

General Electric Co., the world’s biggest maker of power-generating equipment, said it will produce thin-film solar panels that convert at least 14 percent of the energy in sunlight into electricity and may surpass products offered by First Solar Inc.

International Power Rejects U.K. Sea Wind on Need for Subsidies

International Power Plc (IPR) said the engineering challenges of building offshore windfarms in the U.K. and their overdependence on subsidies make them unattractive compared with other types of generation.

Monsanto Sorghum Seeds to Yield Brazil Ethanol During Cane Break

Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed company, will sell enough sweet sorghum for 20,000 hectares (49,400 acres) of plantations in Brazil this year as sugar cane mills struggle to meet demand for ethanol and are seeking an alternative source of the renewable fuel.

The plantations may generate enough sorghum to produce 80 million liters (21.1 million gallons) of ethanol, said Jose Carramate, St. Louis-based Monsanto’s sugar cane leader.

Electricity plants to close if floods threaten

Three power plants of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand are at risk of being hit by flooding.

Texans Face Billions in Water Works Bills as Drought Saps Perry’s Economy

Allan Ritter pushed a bill to make 25 million Texans pay an extra $3.25 a year to help provide water for decades. Then, with a record drought devastating farms and ranches, the state representative’s party leaders waded in.

“We couldn’t get the votes,” said the Republican from Nederland who heads the Natural Resources Committee in the House of Representatives. Lawmakers who run the chamber sought to oblige Governor Rick Perry’s pledge not to boost taxes instead.

Recent weather proves climate crisis, Gore says at Wayne State

Reacting to a cool-off in concern over global warming, former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore was unbowed and unrepentant in blaming recent storms, droughts and wildfires on climate change.

Gore, speaking Thursday in Detroit, reeled off statistics about huge downpours in Pakistan and Colombia, wildfires in Australia and drought in Texas the past year that he said are clear evidence of the looming climate crisis.

The Arctic Sea may be free of ice in ten years

The melting of the Arctic sea ice is progressing much faster and more dramatically than earlier estimated, according to new research by the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI).

This means that the Arctic Sea could be free of ice in the summer in ten years time, rather than the 50 to 100 years estimated earlier.

An interesting new book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman, will be released on 10/25. The book would seem to have some bearing on the ways in which many people contemplate Peak Oil and Peak Exports:


“The mind is a hilariously muddled compromise between incompatible modes of thought in this fascinating treatise by a giant in the field of decision research. Nobel-winning psychologist Kahneman (Attention and Effort) posits a brain governed by two clashing decision-making processes. The largely unconscious System 1, he contends, makes intuitive snap judgments based on emotion, memory, and hard-wired rules of thumb; the painfully conscious System 2 laboriously checks the facts and does the math, but is so "lazy" and distractible that it usually defers to System 1. Kahneman uses this scheme to frame a scintillating discussion of his findings in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics, and of the ingenious experiments that tease out the irrational, self-contradictory logics that underlie our choices. We learn why we mistake statistical noise for coherent patterns; why the stock-picking of well-paid investment advisers and the prognostications of pundits are worthless; why businessmen tend to be both absurdly overconfident and unwisely risk-averse; and why memory affects decision making in counterintuitive ways. Kahneman's primer adds to recent challenges to economic orthodoxies about rational actors and efficient markets; more than that, it's a lucid, marvelously readable guide to spotting--and correcting--our biased misunderstandings of the world.” —Publishers' Weekly

Here is a question, in a positive WSJ review of the book, that Professor Khaneman frequently asks:

“A bat and ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?”

From what I remember the 'system 1' is also running about 30 microseconds ahead of 'system 2'. This is why people with psychotic episodes struggle to control their impulses because the impulse has already happened by the time they are aware of it.

Thanks for the tip Jeff. This looks like something that I would love to read. I have just pre-ordered the book. The mechanism and causes behind the way people think have always fascinated me.

The ball cost a nickel but I had to think awhile before I figured that out. The first impulse was to say: "Why it cost a dime of course."

Ron P.

You are correct sir!

From the WSJ review:

The Science of Irrationality
A Nobelist explains our fondness for not thinking

Here's a simple arithmetic question: "A bat and ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?"

The vast majority of people respond quickly and confidently, insisting the ball costs 10 cents. This answer is both incredibly obvious and utterly wrong. (The correct answer is five cents for the ball and $1.05 for the bat.) What's most impressive is that education doesn't really help; more than 50% of students at Harvard, Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology routinely give the incorrect answer . . .

The biases and blind-spots identified by Messrs. Kahneman and Tversky aren't symptoms of stupidity. They're an essential part of our humanity, the inescapable byproducts of a brain that evolution engineered over millions of years.

It helps to write it out as an equation:

X = cost of ball. Y = cost of bat. Y = X + $1.00

X + Y = $1.10

So, X + X + $1.00 =$1.10

And, X = 0.05

Of course, writing out an equation takes time, so our brain seeks a shortcut, which is the point that the professor is making.

One of my pet peeves regarding "Net Export Math" is that people routinely make a qualitative objection to a quantitative argument, to-wit, exporting countries will reduce their consumption and that will take care of the problem. But they don't do the math. Given a production decline in an oil exporting country, unless they cut consumption at the same rate as the rate of decline in production, or at a faster rate, the resulting net export decline rate will exceed the production decline rate, and the net export decline rate will accelerate with time.

And which is why students should be rigorously trained to check their answers.

Although $0.10 seems like the obvious answer, it rapidly falls apart when you think ball $0.10 plus bat $0.10 + $1.00 equals $1.20.

My first instinct is to always test an obvious answer: 1.00 - .10 = .90, took about 2 seconds. 1.05 - .05 = 1.00 took about 2 seconds more. Testing one's assumptions seems rare these days.

Most folks are lost without their calculators and spell checkers. It especially shows in the numerous mistakes I see in supposedly mainstream articles. Spell checkers don't catch stuff like "there, their, and they're" or "too, two, and to". One wonders if these 'authors' ever actually proofread their own work.

I generally don't use spell checkers (likely obvious), because I learn so much using my old Webster's (affect vs. effect, etc.). My old dictionary never gets dusty. OMG r kds r sooooo scrood....

Those "there/their","affect/effect" errors are so pervasive in TOD that they often distract me from the otherwise fine thinking that I come here for.

Throw in "than/then" and "its/it's", and I'm right there with you...

I second the motion!

Don't forget "lose/loose".

Your correct! :-)

Color / Colour really ticks me off.

The latter being correct. ;)

Now I actually like spelling it with a "u". But, here the practice varies across the anglo world. In the Western hemisphere we don't use the "u", and would probably have been marked off in school English class if we did.

The ones that bug me:

But, in the modern world, with so many people with English as a second( or third ) lanquage people, we have to expect and be tolerant of a lot of mistakes.

I do a lot of CSS/HTML work and have gotten used to spelling it without the 'u'. Sometimes I slip up and leave the 'u' out in normal writing which raises eyebrows of the more traditionalist gentlemen I work with. Usually the eyebrow raises and a quiet muttering can be heard: "you're not bloody American!"

But then again, maybe I should not complain. I nearly threw the remote at the television the other day. Was watching some crappy Holywood offering and the villain shouted to his side-kick: "run toward the building!". Really hacked me off. Not that they were running towards the building, just that they left the bloody 's' off.

I suppose that what with the world economy falling off a cliff, peak oil and climate change I should really sort my priorities out. It's just that if civilization is doomed we should at least try to go down using correct English!!

Where's Holywood?

Coming from the Western Hemisphere, I would have been marked down, in English class, if I had not used the 'u' ;)


I never do there/their wrongly. And I am non-native english speaker. In my experience the error is made almost only by natives. We who learnt it at school from when we were 12 or older typically know how to do this. Also, if you see spellings such as "a oak" (instead of "an oak") you can also be sure you are reading the writing of an amerikan, UK or australian author,most likely US.

There are similar cases in swedish were the natives are doing simple mixups were those who learnt it in schooloften are better. Learning when to say "den" and "det" is, however, something only natives can manage.

I am reminded of an infamous 7th grade spelling test. We had a French foreign exchange student. She was the only one who got a hundred percent. The average score was frankly alarmingly bad. (And this was from one of the better upper middle class areas/schools).

I failed the bat and ball test. But I have an excuse. When I was studying calculus at the gymnasium (for american readers, gymnasium is a place for the advancement of the mind, not the body, in parts of Europe, IE a school, year 10 to 12) the ferry "Estonia" sunk, killed 852 people including my brother. Then, when I was reading even higher maths at the university, my father died in a heart attack. In both cases I tryed to be a "good boy" and do my homeworks. Burnt out my math circuit (weather it is actuall brain damage or just psycological is beyond me) and when I now see matheatical formulaes, it just become a blur. So I take every short cut there are. These kinds of test always fails when I do them.

Some rough hits, Jedi. Ouch.

I try to read every book I can on the subject of how the mind works. I tried to read Steven Pinker's "How The Mind Works" but I could only get through about half the book. I found it incredibly boring. However another of Pinker's books "The Blank Slate", on basically the same subject, was a real page turner. I just could not put it down.

But the very best book I ever read on the subject was Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. Several new editions of this book have came out since I read this one however. Another great book on the subject is Obedience to Authority By Stanley Milgram. That book will just blow your mind. By that I mean it will shock you what people will do simply because they are told to by some "authority".

I also liked "The Mind's Past" by Michael S. Gazzaniga but it was a little difficult. Nevertheless I have also pre-ordered his latest book Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain Being a determinist, I must read this book.

Ron P.

When reality is distorted or recreated by our minds, things can get crazy. The brain sees what it wants to see.


When I first heard you say that an exporting country could cut its consumption, and still have its net export decline rate higher than its production decline rate, I thought there was no way. It doesn't make sense. If consumption is dropping, then net exports should fall more slowly than production, right? I figured that your NEOD* had finally gotten the best of you, and fried your brain.

So I opened an excel window, and did the math, and found that you were right! It's counter-intuitive, but the math works. Even if a net exporter cuts its consumption, net exports decline faster than production. And not only that. Even with consumption dropping, the net export decline rate ACCELERATES WITH TIME. Talk about counter intuitive. In fact, even this acceleration accelerates with time.


Exportistan: Production 3.5mpd, Consumption 2.0 MPD. Production decline rate = 3%, consumption decline rate 1.5%.

Net export decline rate = 5.0% in year one, hits 6% in year 11. (Exportistan becomes a net importer in year 36)

*Net Export Obsessive Disorder

*Net Export Obsessive Disorder

Guilty as charged.

One of the other curiosities of "Net Export Math" is that given increasing production in an oil exporting country, the rate of increase in net oil exports will exceed the rate of increase in production, unless the rate of increase in consumption is the same as, or greater than, the rate of increase in production. Our 2002 to 2010 Global Net Export (GNE) data base shows this. From 2002 to 2005, production increased at 4.6%/year, but net exports increased at 5.1%/year. From 2005 to 2010, production was basically flat, down 0.1%/year (well within the margin of error of course), but net exports fell at 1.3%/year from 2005 to 2010. But look at the 2005 inflection point. Globally we went from up at 5.1%/year to down 1.3%/year, which I think was quite a shock to the system.

The big question on everyone's mind is when will the fall in net exports of oil finally make people actually notice? What will actually happen? Will it be business as usual price spikes like we've seen in the past or are we also talking about shortages in addition? Is there a threshold of pain in the markets?

The big question on everyone's mind is when will the fall in net exports of oil finally make people actually notice?

They wont ever notice. A year ago I would have given a different answer but things have made me change my mind. Oil prices will likely stay high unless the economy gets so bad that it knocks them down. Either way the economy will not recover.

Of course it is obvious to you and I that oil prices are so high because of a decline in imports. But the general public as well as the talking heads on TV and even most economists will blame it all on something else. They will never ever connect the general state of the economy to a dearth in the oil supply to developed nations.

They believe, because of people like Yergin and publications like the Wall Street Journal, that peak oil is a myth. There is simply a glut of oil, they believe, therefore a lack of oil in the supply line cannot possibly be the cause of any economic problems.

Ron P.

And the three causes, will be, in order of how often they will be shouted are" speculators, speculators, and regulators.

Maybe when they hang 'out of service' over the pumps at service stations around the world? I think only an actual shortage of oil will get people to take a look at the cause. A rise in the price is simply Rockman et all conspiring against the regular Joe who just wants to fill up his truck without it costing an arm and a leg.

For the average guy who takes a slight interest, he only sees new discoveries and new oil wells producing in various countries. He doesn't see rising demand in producing countries and he doesn't see the unreported decline of existing wells.

I know this is a peak oil site but how are the other two fossils doing? How does production, export, price etc stack up for coal and natural gas? Are coal or natural gas having any supply problems?


If you take a look through some of westexas's graphs, it looks like the real pinch will start coming in the mid 2020's. The decade from 2025-2035 is when the world will be approaching zero net exports. Of course, as WT himself points out, we will probably never reach zero net exports, but it shows that the strain on the system will be immense.

As Darwinian points out above, this does not necessarily mean that people will take notice at that point. The issue might be discussed as one minor consequence of the global depression that started for unknown reasons.

Take a look here:


Here is a draft of a Net Exports slide for ASPO in early November. What we are showing is a "Hierarchy" of consumption, based on 2005 to 2010 consumption patterns. First, consumption in oil exporting countries. Second, net oil imports by the Chindia region. Third, net oil imports by non-Chindia oil importers. 2002 to 2010 is based on actual data. For 2010 to 2020, we simply extrapolated the 2005 to 2010 data, to-wit, virtually no change in Top 33 production, Top 33 consumption increases at 2.7%/year. Chindia's net imports increase at 7.5%/year:

Note that the conventional wisdom folks would just focus on the top line curve, total petroleum liquids production by the top 33 net oil exporters, but if we extrapolate the top 33 consumption and Chindia's net imports, Available Net Exports (ANE) would decline from about 40 mbpd in 2005 to about 21 mbpd in 2020.

In other words, if we extrapolate recent trends, which assumes virtually flat production by the top 33 net oil exporters, for every two barrels of oil that non-Chindia importers net imported in 2005, they would have to make do with one barrel of oil in 2020.


Do you have a link to this?

The graph is being cropped on the right in my FF browser...


Edit: I would dearly love to see this graph, and your graph comparing the output over time of both the East TX (IIRC?)oil fields and the North Sea oil fields, and some of your other graphs, used to force the Presidential Candidates (and the Congressional ones as well) discuss this issue...live, on TV...

Thank you, good sir!


Edit: Do you happen to have a graph that goes further back in time?

Also, is graph is C+C?

Do you have a similar one or ones which include NGL? Does the given graph include oil from 'oil sands' and other 'heavy oil' such as from Vz?

It's total petroleum liquids, principally BP data base, with minor input from the EIA for some smaller countries, and I just went back to 2002. I wanted to look at net export trends, given a general increase in oil prices. Seven of the eight years after 2002 showed year over year increases in annual oil prices, and all post-2005 annual oil prices have so far exceeded the $57 WTI annual price that we saw in 2005.

WT, thank you for the explanation, and please keep up your great work.

Right Click>View Image


I've shown the classic Export Land model graph (as shown on the Wikipedia page) to people, and then said "Okay, now imagine that China has come in and contracted for 200,000 bpd from this exporter." This can be modeled as a yellow line running parallel to the blue production line but 200,000 barrels lower.

Notice that if you did draw such a yellow line, it would mean after 5 years (instead of 9)there would be no oil available for export except to China - and an even steeper percentage decline rate.

Imagine a purple line of Net Oil Exports Available to Non-China (NOEATNC) - it would start on the left at 200,000 bpd below the ELM's red exports line and hit the horizontal axis at 5 years.

Another aspect that could be drawn into the model is the decline in net energy per barrel - ie, old fields of 50:1 EROEI are now being replaced by new fields of 20:1. I think that effect is small, but somebody with more experience than I in the oil business should come up with the factors for that one.

Now I don't know how China's contracts are written - if they are for constant amounts or a percentage of production, which would flatten the slope of the imaginary yellow line I described above.

But either way, I agree: We's (the US) scrood.

My answear: When GNE start dropping real fast, entire markets will be left without oil. They will afford to pay it, but have no suppliers. In other places in the world people will buy oil at prices they can afford, but no tankers will arrive to their ports. Those buyers are buying at high prices on fixed delivery contracts. The free market is gone for ever.

To avoid this from happening, politicians in the world will gather and centralize world oil trading. Since oil trading is The Economy, banks will be involved, and thus the big banks in the world will get a degree of power never seen before. However I guess they will in turn be regulated by states. And thus, oil will be sold on qouta, and those qoutas will decrease all the time.

What the world leaders will do to sell this completly unavoidable deal to their voters is beyond me, but I guess a big global economic crisis will help.

well yea on a pure math basis. but lets add another country to the mix. this country is a major importer, it also has a major military and does not like the other country. lets call this country X, and the other one Y. if country Y is left alone while doing it's best to reduce domestic demand to free up supply to export then your math model will be correct, but country X knows this. country X though figures out that if they can cut country Y's internal consumption overnight though they can free up a ton of oil for export and thus they can buy it up. country X invades country Y and by inaction encourages Y to internally self destruct, this causes their consumption decline rate to skyrocket past the production decline rate. end result is what would of been a net importer in a short amount of time will stay a exporter for a bit longer despite the damage to country Y's extraction infrastructure.

I believe you are showing the strength of the ELM model, not its' weakness.

In your simple scenario, ELM leads to declining net oil exports, which leads to war. If you add a few more variables to your thought experiment, you can see how this plays out: what if country Z, also a major importer, tries to "liberate" country Y from X's occupation (to secure imports for itself)? Result: huge war, possibly cutting off imports. What if partisans in country Y destroy the oil producing infrastructure ahead of country X's advance? Result: reduced net exports.

Nobody expects the ELM to play out in exact mathematical precision (especially as we approach zero net exports). What it shows is the pressure that is being applied to the system by the combination of declining production in exporting countries along with rising, flat or slowly declining consumption in exporting countries.

This does not work if the country export near 100% of its production. Say they export 99%, then what happens on the consumption side is vastly ignorable. If on the other hand they export 10% of production, a 1% drop in production is a 10% drop in export. Then, if reducing production with a few percent, nothing realy changes, export still drop like a rock.

Take home from this is; percent is non intuitive, absolute numbers is king. If you want to explain ELM to JSP, then use absolute numbers, not %.

percent is non intuitive, absolute numbers is king. If you want to explain ELM to JSP, then use absolute numbers, not %.

Seems you have a lot more math understanding then you give yourself credit for.

Could it be that system 2 uses more energy (and time), or is that too simplistic? Perhaps system 1 has a higher evolutionary priority, so it occurs first in our 'stack' of procedures. Overcoming our hardwiring takes practice it seems. Easier to just watch football :-/

Hey hey Ghung,

Quite right, system 1, the limbic system, does have a higher priority. It governs the fight or flight response and is part of the 'reptilian' brain that wants to eat now and avoid getting eaten. System 2 is the prefrontal cortex and it does the thinking.

The interplay of the two systems is also why we have hyperbolic discount rates. The limbic system only understands the present and near future, it heavily discounts the future. The prefrontal cortex can think long term. Choices made about the future only involve system 2 but choices with a current component use both systems and system 1 rates the present over the future.


correct. our ancestors who used system 2 tended not to survive due to falling victim to false negatives. is that rustle in the grass wind or a predator, well the wind is blowing in..*eaten*

Perhaps this could also be summarised as "shoot first and ask questions later", something that seems to happen more and more these days.

This is important information if you manage to become a survivior after the Zombie Acopalypse: Lower brain do important things like breathing and heart beat. Higher brain make stuff like designing rockets or writing poetry. So when you shoot at the zombie, aim for the nose or even the mouth. You are not helped by reducing the zombies ability to perform calculus. Besides the virus already took that away from him.

So there won't be a ZA. Right. But it is fun to see in movies how they always nail the guy in the forhead. That is to high. If you want him dead, shoot low.

But it is fun to see in movies how they always nail the guy in the forehead.

Probably because it has a lower cost in makeup and special effects to do the forehead than the actor's eyes/nose/mouth area.

Most horror and thriller flix tend to have small budgets.

System 1 arose because in nature there often isn't time to think something out. But also you'll notice in conversations with people in say a group of 4-5, any intellectual argument is usually won by the person using 1, because they respond first and most adamently, offering the others to bellow their agreement to what was said and quickly walk off. This leaves the person using 2 to realise the error, but find its too late to win the argument with the group. By the time you've brought up the argument again to the 1 person, they'll look at you like and say, "Not that again - give it a rest - we've all moved on." Any further attempt to clarify the correct answer is met with looks of disgust and ultimately the person using 2 is ignored.

Watch this occur over and over again in political debates or on TV debates. The person bellowing the fastest and loudest wins, and if they realise a #2 is being pulled on them, they will either interupt or change the subject. The attention span of most people is so short the person with the ultimate right answer is lost in the shuffle because of the greater time needed to think the situation out, even though it only amounts to a brief moment.

My usual response is "Prove it!. Back it up." This can open the door to a 'system 2' discussion, or at least plant doubt as to the veracity of the system 1 claims. Folks love to see a (system 1) bully challenged; gets their attention.

System 1 and 2 in the saturday science seminar.

I set a type 2 problem to the preteen self selected smart kids in my seminar. I offered real money TO THE GROUP for the right answer. The response was always the same pattern:

Loud little boys instantly started shouting out wrong system 1 answers.

The really smart kids- usually quiet little girls- started muttering the logical sequence needed to get to the right type 2 answer, but were drowned out by the loud wrong ones.

Pretty soon the right answer was written on the blackboard by one of the quiet ones. ----Dead silence-- while the awful truth sank into the heads of the loud ones.

Then I divvied up the $20 among the mob, EQUALLY TO ONE AND ALL.

Then they started the real part of the session --

Hey, what’s fair here, loud or right?

I sometimes could not resist interjecting my own thought- If your problem is a leopard in the grass, quick is best. If you want to solve the general problem of leopards, you have to start thinking about projectile weapons, or poison, or domesticating a wolf, or something else, and then try it out.

So, maybe FOR THE INDIVIDUAL type 1 is best, but for the GROUP, you gotta do the type 2.

In rare instances, some one or other of the kids would make this point all by herself.

PS- I gave the batball problem to my careful phibeta wife, and she hesitated and said "gotta be 5 cents" So there to me. She gave Ghung's answer- check it out before yelling.

That is really cool wimbi. I will try it with my "nontraditional" students.

I highly recommend the sat sci seminar. Best return on the dollar I have ever got- by far. And humbling too, since of course good young brains unhindered by knowledge or experience tend to use without any inhibition what they have -fast logic and photographic short term memory- and beat us geezers more times than I wish to think about with any problem having high logic content.

I gave the bat-ball problem to someone with mild Asperger's. it took him a very short while to come out with the correct answer. the ball is 5 cents the bat is 1.05. i know it's not scientific to draw a hard conclusion from this, though i would find it interesting if such people relied on system 2 more then system 1.

the whole discussion though tends to make me think that we are not biologically wired to live in such large groups. And doing so will always set us up for failure. maybe if we took a few million years to ascend the civilization ladder rather then a few thousand, our biology would of caught up with sociology providing a more stable civilization. most of our problems now seem to stem from the system 1 - system 2 divide either by sheer chance or by design from a some smarter individuals. for example all modern marketing and propaganda target system 1, from car ad's to the latest alleged terror plot that reads like a movie script..

I gave the bat-ball problem to someone with mild Asperger's. it took him a very short while to come out with the correct answer. the ball is 5 cents the bat is 1.05. i know it's not scientific to draw a hard conclusion from this, though i would find it interesting if such people relied on system 2 more then system 1.

As the dad of a great kid with Aspergers, who also happens to be a math whiz, that very though occurred to me as well.
Interestingly people with Aspergers tend not to socialize easily, there is not much doubt that their brains are wired differently from 'Neuro Normals'... to be clear my use of that term is intended to be tongue in cheek.

Loud little boys instantly started shouting out wrong system 1 answers.

The really smart kids- usually quiet little girls- started muttering the logical sequence needed to get to the right type 2 answer, but were drowned out by the loud wrong ones.

Pretty soon the right answer was written on the blackboard by one of the quiet ones. ----Dead silence-- while the awful truth sank into the heads of the loud ones.

Love this anecdote, thanks for sharing :-)

How I wish this were/will be a description of our transition past Peak Oil. The loud little boys have been shouting out wrong system 1 answers for a couple of decades now: abiotic oil! geo-engineering! more nukes! cold fusion! biofuels! tar sands! 'clean' coal! deny everything! blame the scientists! blame the enviros! blame the A-rabs! growth at all costs! technology will save us! invade some more countries! drill baby drill!

The smart kids -- quiet little girls and some of the less aggressive boys -- have been writing on the blackboard for quite some time now too: more complex, lateral-thinking type answers like relocalisation, permacultivation, polyculture, demand reduction, steady state economy, appropriate tech, etc.

I keep praying for that moment of dead silence when the awful truth sinks in to the heads of the loud ones... :-)

when the awful truth sinks in to the heads of the loud ones

In the experiment that was easy, the teacher served as an authoritative arbiter. Our problem is we don't have one who is accepted by the loud ones. (I know, I know. Nature bats last. But that is reveled only by the lack of success of the loudone's plans, and they won't accept that they were wrong.)

Thank you for this wonderful example.

I will also pre-order this book.

It was sobering to think of how easily one (in this case me) 'instantly' came to the wrong conclusions because I didn't write the problem out.

The real sobering thought for me is the many folks conducting analysis in my workspace to decide which option to choose to spend billions of dollars, when many of the variables are inherently impossible to quantify, 'fast and funny' pseudo-stats are being discussed, and politics (from the customer, middlemen, and supplier) and profit motives from our suppliers are legion and rule the decision-making process.

These decisions are to spend our U.S. tax dollars (and debt dollars).

And this analysis is child's play compared to modeling the current and future energy and climate situations, and the effects of our various possible responses to these.

A current issue crying for analysis is Mr. Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan.

Here is one analysis:


So to recap the results:

Poor Peter used to get $8K from the government but now pays about $3K
Average Joe used to pay $6K but would now pay $9K
Well Off Willie used to pay $35K but now would pay $20K
Executive Eddie used to pay about $2 million but would now pay only $1 million

This is an interesting outcome (note that the effects of purchases are left to the reader to ponder).

I saw and have read other analyses which stated that the 9% business tax was actually a business-to-business VAT, and not a 'conventional' business tax....making the consumption taxes equal 18% in this plan.

From the POV of someone who thinks that we have overshot our limits to growth, a plan such as this featuring a large consumption tax component may be seen as a good thing, in that consumption would be suppressed and savings would increase. Cain would also constrain or reduce US government spending, but my beef with him on that aspect is that he would likely leave the military industrial spy complex unscathed.

If many or most people's snap judgements about an incredibly simple question such as the 'ball and bat' are so wrong, one cringes at the snap judgements on much more complex systems dynamics issues.

Hence jingoism and sloganeering rule the airwaves (and fiber and copper cables).

Hats off to folks on TOD such as but not limited to West Texas and Jonathan Callahan (hope I spelled that right) for posting data in well-made tables and graphs, and presented logical hypotheses.

how easily one (in this case me) 'instantly' came to the wrong conclusions

Actually, this is one of our delusions, the idea that ideas come to us "instantly".

In fact, a part of your subconscious brain was busy parsing and dissecting the text that you were "reading".

When it came to the text, "$1.10" it came up with a translation; basically, Hey I know what that weird sequence of symbols "means". It means "one dollar plus ten cents".

So you see, the answer was already subconsciously present in the text-reading part of your head and it did not come "instantly". It merely seemed to a "you" part of your head (a delusional part) that it came that way.

Agreed, Sheldon!

Reason help me, I knew my use of 'instantly' would invoke this comment from someone. I was too lazy to write more formally...

Hi Heisenberg,

re: "I was too lazy..."

Translate: "I was too efficient..." :)


I like your thinking!

That link left out the effects of removing SS and Medicare taxes.

And the Employer's share of SS would be replaced by the 9% tax on the wages paid, as wages are no longer a deductible expense.

And the $106,000 limit on income subject to SS taxes also ceases to exist. That does not favor the rich.

It still shifts more of the tax burden on the poor from what I can see, but it's not as draconian as being portrayed in some places.


In this text I thought you were saying that the Cain plan would remove or do away with SS and Medicare-specific taxes (to be replaced from revenue from the 9-9-9 taxes?)

That link left out the effects of removing SS and Medicare taxes.

But then you said this a few lines later, implying that there would still be discrete taxes (beyond the 9-9-9 taxes) on SS:

And the $106,000 limit on income subject to SS taxes also ceases to exist. That does not favor the rich.

Which is it...the Cain plan will have discrete SS and Medicare taxes in addition to the 9-9-9 taxes or it will not? (if it will not then I do not understand your statement about the $106K limit on income subject to SS taxes not favoring the rich).

It seems that Cain himself has stumbled and fumbles recently when asked to explain his plan in any detail...I wonder if the consultant(s) who thought this plan up told him that he wouldn't have to work the math in any detail in public?

Speaking of SS and Medicare, I have not heard whether he plans to privatize/eliminate them, scale back the benefits, or what.

I read this piece, and I am not as sanguine about the effect on the modest and lower income folks:


This means that the 47 percent of tax filers who now pay no federal income taxes will pay 9 percent on their total income. And elimination of the payroll tax won’t even help half of them because the earned income tax credit, which Mr. Cain would abolish, offsets both their income tax liability and their payroll tax payment as well.

Additionally, everyone would now pay a 9 percent sales tax on all purchases. No mention is made of any exemptions from this tax, so we may assume that it will apply to food, medical care, rent, home and auto purchases and a wide variety of other expenditures now exempt from state sales taxes. This would increase their cost of living by 9 percent while, at the same time, the poor would pay income taxes.

Phase 2 is merely a transition to yet another fundamental tax reform. In Phase 3, the United States would adopt the so-called Fair Tax, which would replace all federal taxes with a 30 percent sales tax on all goods and services.

More about the 'fair tax':


and this:


Some thoughts from politifact...


Cain needs to provide all the details, including all the math and assumptions from his 'independent research firm'.

The Kid Glove Treatment Ends For Herman Cain ( The GOP Frontrunner) Now - He Wants To ABOLISH Social Security
As Herman Cain Surges, Corporate Media Ignore His Koch Connections http://www.alternet.org/story/152740/as_herman_cain_surges%2C_corporate_......

Cain makes his money by being visible by getting gigs as a motivational speaker. Win or lose, he wins. He is not serious about being President as he doesn't even understand his own plan which he touts hourly. This year, the Republicans seem to have an unlimited supply of flim fam men and women. Romney is boring but he will prevail which is probably bad news for Obama.

Yes. There is lot of long to be made on the rightwing circuitcircus. Speaker fees. Books. Near instant celebrity. If you happen to make it to the top job, well thats just gravey.

Long ties to Koch brothers key to Cain's campaign


That AP same story also showed up on the NYT web site this morning, as well as on the CBS News site:


The Koch Tea Party takeover of the US government is moving on the next level, according to plan. Remember too that Cain was a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, holding the chairmanship in 1995 and 96:


Now that Cain is seen as a serious contender for the R's candidate, expect lots of interesting stories to appear...

E. Swanson

I would be ok with getting rid of income tax and using what I would call a purchase tax. But it can't be just the purchase of retail goods. It should also be the purchase of capital goods and services. If someone buys a house, they pay a tax for the purchase. If a company buys another company they pay a tax for that purchase. If a company hires a contractor, they pay a tax on what is paid to contractor. If someone hires a lawyer, they pay a tax on what is paid to that lawyer. It seems this scheme would bring tax rates down considerably. The fair tax is not fair and will lead to a concentration of wealth. IMHO, it is best to prevent concentration of wealth because that leads to concentration of power in the hands of too few.

I'm not sure how to treat bankster transactions. I would think if a greedy bankster buys oil and parks the oil in a tanker for 6 months and sells it at a hefty profit, someone should be paying a tax.

“A bat and ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?”

In reality what happens is that the average person sees $1.10 and says that's the out the door cost - I can afford this today.

But in the real world, the bat was made from a ash tree cut from a forest that is not being sustainability grown, cut by lumberjacks who are not getting health insurance, and the ball is hand stitched in Haiti by children making a starvation wage.

Our problem is not that we can't work the math on our internalized costs -- it's that we haven't got a clue as to what the external costs are.

....and if the bat is aluminum ......

Or plastic?

Or Rubber?

And made out of recycled materials?

It's a very good question in my opinion. Although your calculation is wrong, Westexas. There are no two balls; you include two X's in your calculus.

Merrill's phrasing is most apt thus far:

"Although $0.10 seems like the obvious answer, it rapidly falls apart when you think ball $0.10 plus bat $0.10 + $1.00 equals $1.20."

I've read Kahneman's book before, it's a shame that his view on economics is not spreading faster, although they have been gaining currency lately.
I've never bought into the myth of the Economic Man.
Most people are far more moved by emotional topics of revenge, idealism and utopia than how much money they will make. Kahneman captures a part of that thought process in his books.


Was this you pulling our legs / being sarcastic concerning your '..you include two X's in your claims' statement??

Sometimes it is hard to tell on a list such as this.

A male with one ball may not need a bat.

thanks for that, I had to laugh

You just have to be slightly comfortable with algebra:
cost of ball==B, cost of bat ==T
B+T = 1.10
T-B = 1.00
substitute the second equation, as T=B+1 into the first and you get:
which can be solved for B=.05.

But, most people only remember that they ahted (and sucked at algebra), anything to get out of the unformtable position of having to do it -or admit you can't. So we usually grab the first answer syst 1 throws out. A few will at least test the result, and find it wanting and try to correct it.

The problem, is that for a lot of modern world problems, syst 1 isn't very reliable. But syst 2, requires mental discipline to use (and to learn). So in your TV debate, those who shout "no, wrong wrong wrong, any expert can figure it out thusly ...", is voted off the show. We all wanna believe we can be instant experts, because our syst 1 gut is soo great. sys 2 thinkers are dismissed as impolite elitists.

As noted, I was of course using substitution to solve for "X," given two algebraic equations.

I have always liked Daniel Kahneman and highly recommend
Edge Master Class 07
Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford, CA, July 20-22, 2007

As for the the little word problem, the solution becomes trivial if we use grade school algebra.

Um ,

[(1+x) + x] = 1.10
1 +2x =1.10
1-1 + 2x = 1.10 -1
2x = 0.10
x = 0.10/2
x = 0.05

The ball costs 5 cents.

How hard is that?!

Edit: Seems like a lot of you beat me to the punch on this one. There is a reason math, not Shakesperian English, is the language of science. 2B or not 2B?

I suspect part of it is how much math people have studied. If they go far enough, everyone eventually gets to things that they know they can't reliably guess, or even solve in their heads. So they develop the habit of writing down the equation(s) and solving, rather than guessing.

The internet is also a big distraction nowadays, people involuntarily skip the words in between.

Hi Jeffrey,

This looks good.

I've heard a couple of terrific author interviews recently and will share (despite not having read the books). They may add to the topic.

1. The first is about power. Rings true in my experience:


The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics [Hardcover]
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita
(Author), Alastair Smith (Author)

2. And this one - I was impressed with the Q and A I heard with the author.


3. And this is one of my all-time favorite articles. It's by Robert Sapolsky, primate researcher.


@westexas (way up above), RE: Kahneman's book and the System 1, System 2 view.

There is growing evidence for a 3rd system which is responsible for competent (tacit knowledge-based) intuition and judgement. Kahneman and the bulk of the Heuristics and Biases crowd are mostly looking at the relationship between limbic-driven effects on otherwise conscious decision making. The latter is characterized in the traditional rational thinking mold. But it turns out that the research in wisdom (c.f., The New Executive Brain by Elkhonon Goldberg as an example, or, Widsom: Its Nature, Origins, and Development by Robert Sternberg) is focusing on the way the brain acquires and manages tacit (non-conscious) knowledge to influence decisions from above (possibly overriding the limbic influences). People with greater wisdom have better (more veridical) intuitions and judgments than others. Most people are probably not equipped for accumulating the kind and amount of tacit knowledge needed to actualize wisdom. That would explain our current predicament I think.

I have some working papers on the brain science underlying the phenomenon of wisdom at: http://faculty.washington.edu/gmobus/Background/seriesIndex.html should anyone be interested. References included.


Aniya & George,

Thanks for the links.

Thanks, George.
Do you have a reading list for those who wish to know more, but don't want their reading to get too technical? A lot of us want to know more, but aren't up to understanding the research literature.

The books I mentioned are for general readers with strong science interests, not too technical. I have other books listed here but I haven't designated which are technical and which are for general readers. If one sounds interesting feel free to shoot me an e-mail (in my profile) to ask.

Thanks George, great stuff!


Do you have any info on the supposed characteristics of this 3rd system ?

In particular, do you have any references to the connection between it, tacit knowledge, and conversation as a mechanism for communication of tacit knowledge/wisdom?

My working papers (link above) try to characterize it. I posted my (almost complete) bibliography link up thread (in reply to enemy of the state. Many of these are in the wisdom psychology, neuropsychology (general and prefrontal cortex functions), and the judgment/intuition literature. I don't recall any that specifically address "conversation" but Stephen Pinker has covered the evolution of language and it appears to me that that evolution (specifically of the functions of Wernike's and Brocca's areas are tied with the evolution (rapid increase in size and complexity) of the prefrontal areas, particularly the polar-frontal region labelled Brodmann area 10. This covered in the working papers. Also, Robert Sternberg's Wisdom, Intelligence, and Creativity Synthesized has a lot to say about interactions between wisdom-based knowledge and intelligence, including how it is communicated, as I recall. Hope this helps.

US Mall Vacancies Climb

Strip malls climbing to 21 year high


Best Hopes for Less "Drive Everywhere to Everything" Lifestyles,


Things like this probably don't help ...

Gap to Slash Its Store Count

... Gap, which also owns the Old Navy and Banana Republic chains, said Thursday it will shrink its network of Gap stores in North America to 700 by the end of 2013, down 189, or 21%, from the 889 stores open at the end of June. The company has been paring back its North American store count over the past few years, but hadn't previously disclosed it planned such deep cuts so quickly.

... or maybe it does

S - Don't know if it's mentioned in the link but on NPR they also added that the GAP was also going to triple it's store count in China. The irony, eh? Maybe that could be on fix for our unemployment: cheap US labor to supply Chinese consumers. Might be a while yet before we reach that stage. But does give pause for thought, eh?

The 2011 holiday season growth in online sales should be about 12% or around $3.6 billion, which will mostly come out of strip mall and regional mall sales. Any bricks and mortar growth will probably be in the high end stores.

Apparel is one of the fastest growing online categories.

Occupy Wall Street: Uprising a Response to “Bought and Paid for Politics,” Davidowitz Says


Winter Wheat Planting in Texas & Oklahoma dismal



What planting there is seems driven by either the need to qualify for crop insurance and/or desperation.


Or maybe positive thinking, "plant it, and it will rain".

Doesn't Winter wheat require, you know, winter?

Yes, although it's complicated. Enough cold weather to allow the wheat to flower in the spring. Enough snow cover at the right times to protect the wheat from extreme cold or drying winds. Not too much snow cover, or at the wrong times, because it can encourage snow mold growth. As far back as the mid-1980s academics have been looking at the consequences of climate change on wheat crops in North America.

Wheat is a grass (along with almost all of the world's essential grains) and therefore has no flowers. Should a multi-species grass blight come along, mankind will be in trouble within months.

This U-Sask link explains the advantages of winter wheat in western Canada (though it works here in eastern Ontario as well):

Grasses most certainly have flowers. Not showy, but flowers nevertheless. Wind pollinated, mostly. The fertilized flowers develop into fruits. Grain.

Grasses are angiosperms - flowering plants.

Holy ****... we learn something every day.
My apologies.

Having cut hay for 30 years, maybe I should have got off the tractor to take a closer look: we notice the flowering stage of clover, trefoil, alfalfa, etc (all legumes, though now I wait to be corrected on that one, too) but never the grasses.
Thanks for setting me straight


Oh, don't apologize. Like I said, not such showy flowers - easy to miss. But if you look closely, you'll see what's going on - plant sex! :-)

And all your aforementioned plants are indeed legumes...

Yes, I am a botanist, so I couldn't help but jump in :-)

Botanist SGage,
You have me very intrigued.
You can be sure that next May I will shut off the tractor, pull out a magnifying glass and have a close look at those flowers.

I have a video on plant sex which I show our students every year. They are only 12-13 years old so images of pointy pistils, succulent juices, scattering pollen and round ovaries gets them clamoring for more sexy videos.
I'll see if I can find one on the sex life of grasses... then I can learn along with them.

I do appreciate your correction, believe me

- rick

It's all happening with the grasses too! I sure wish I knew of a good video to refer you too. But get out there with your hand lens, and you'll see - not as blatant as some plants, but they get it on in their own way. It does seems to make the world go 'round, don't it? :-)

We're all learning, my friend...

I'm pleased to know there is a botanist in our midst. Back in the days when we had profiles, we might have known that.

I would be interested in your take on the following article that I came across, about building soil using "ramial" wood chips (chips from branches - basically sapwood).

They claim that this is a better way to build soil than composting, etc, really quite interesting.


and a field trial that seems to back them up;


It seems the ability of mycelium fungi to grow in these is more beneficial than composting them.


I am looking at a project to revegetate a cleared site - soilless gravel/crushed rock - into a "soil" site that could be used for horticulture - this seems a good way to do it, especially as there are alder trees growing all around it!

This would be useful if you had heavy soil since it could be incorporated into the ground by disking. Since you have no soil you are going to have to build on top with organic materials and use shallow rooted crops, I would guess.

Actually, deep rooted crops will fare better. Despite the lack of soil, alder trees (which are nitrogen fixers) are growing there. The major problem seems to be drying out of the top layer (about 12") during the summer drought here on the BC coast. Because there is no organic material in the "soil" the water holding capacity is very low. The alder trees are deep rooted so not a problem.

Tilling the chips into the top layer would certainly help, but I think it is even more important to have a ground cover of the same to moderate the soil temps. Best is to do both, of course, and then the shallow rooted plants can get going.

I am thoroughly impressed by the ability of the alders to grow in "gravel" - just add water. They spring up on every logging road that is made around here. These trees produce great nitrogen rich mulch (from leaves and branches) , and if let grow into real trees, produce beautiful wood (for furniture, mouldings etc) and also great, clean burning firewood and/or charcoal. At full growth, an alder stand can produce 10t/ha/yr of dry biomass, so they can build soil fairly quickly.

Interestingly, alder trees are good fodder for animals - the leaves and buds are high in protein, and the flowers (called "catkins") are even edible for humans.

Probably the easiest way to rehabilitate the site is to put alders everywhere, but I want to accelerate the soil building so the flat area (4 ac) can be used for food production - it is an ideal site for such.

Hazelnut trees may be an option on rocky land. I had an email recently that the latest hybrid varieties outproduce soybeans.

While you're at it, look at the roots, too.

Someone estimated that the length of all the bits of root of a four-month old rye plant, if put end to end would be...(wait for it)...137 miles (yes, miles) long.

Grasses really are amazing plants.


A non-cozy apocalypse novel, based on the idea.

I have a very interesting used book called Coat of the Earth by Eleanor S. Heady (great name for a grass expert), 1968, 161 pgs.
If I had read it more closely I would not have needed correction re grass flowers.

It is an amazing book covering the entire grass family: maize, wheat, rice, bamboo, sugar cane, oats, rye, barley, sorghum, etc.
As I said, if we ever have a major blight which affects the grasses, mankind will be hungry (and fractious) within months.

Thailand flood most expensive in history - Dr. Jeff Masters' Blog

"On Tuesday, Thailand's finance minister put the damage from the floods at $3.9 billion. This makes the floods of 2011 the most expensive disaster in Thai history, surpassing the $1.3 billion price tag of the November 27, 1993 flood, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). Floodwaters have swamped fields and cities in 61 of Thailand's 77 provinces, affected 8.2 million people, and damaged approximately 10% of the nation's rice crop."

Here is a question for everyone:

One thing that really gets me is when I think of the parallels I can see little difference between the denizens of the first world you might meet and the peasants in the third world in terms of how ignorant they are. Even then the peasants seem to understand their own self interest better because it seems that aid agencies have an easier time to convince peasants to do the right thing for their environment than we have for supposedly educated citizens in the first world.

This could fit into westexas' post up top. "First worlders" are more distracted and absorbed by (invested in) their complex environments and defer to 'system 1' when presented with change. Or maybe the 'peasant condition' better promotes the need to consider alternatives. Necessity is the mother....

Maybe it is because their cup is full? Since they already 'know' so much it is hard to teach them anything.

Along those lines I have been astonished by the press coverage of the introduction of the latest iPhone. People have been standing in line for hours to buy a telephone that is maybe 5% better than the one they have in their pocket.

If this isn't a case of the entire city of Rome "fiddling" while the empire burns I can't think of a better example.

But then I still haven't bought my first cell phone, so what do I know?

"But then I still haven't bought my first cell phone"

Good to know I'm not alone. Been really worrying.

Hi jj and Reed,

re: "Good to know I'm not alone. Been really worrying."

On TOD, you're never alone. :)

"But then I still haven't bought my first cell phone, so what do I know?"

Peace and quiet?

Those stories of people lining up for new phones really remind me of Pavlov's dog..

Six years ago, when many of us found this site...did we ever imagine that oil would be $100, and the top story would be about people lining up to buy cool new cell phones?

True enough..

My sister just announced, furthermore, that she is dropping their land line, while I contemplate replacing a dying phone with one that can also fill the role of Addressbook, DateBook, MemoKeeper, sometime Phone and Audio device. All working in one unit, all on one small battery (But a big, complex network..)

There are all sorts of gives and takes.. it's very hard to make a clean prediction from much of this, tho' many still try.

We just watched the movie 180 South last night, about a Mountain Climber/Surfer who goes to Yvon Chouinard's Patagonica Wilderness preserve in Argentina? Chile?.. to climb a mountain, but spends a lot of time, including a month on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), observing and considering collapse and our industrial path. Well worth taking a peek at.. not perfect, but it solidly gets the LIMITS messages in there.

http://www.180south.com/trailer.html << TRAILER

Yesterday we took the teenagers to paintball. Awfull lot of fun. Especially painting Isacs but when he was lying on the ground with his legs up in the air was hilarious.

Then on the way home I went in Franks buss. There I learnt that the opeing and closing of the sliding side door was electrical. Meaning you had to push a button, and then a motor pulled the door between the open and closed possitions. With electricity gone, you are toasted. What if you have a car accident, and the £$€¥¤%& door wont open?

How much more dependant on electrical system can we get? You can't even open the door on the car now. I get realy realy scared when I see how little people are building resilianse into their system, they only build dependance.

I do wonder what has the lower maintenance costs however.

On the one hand you have the old landline wires, which means wires running up to each and every house. With things like backhoes, downed trees and everything else.

And on the other, you have cell towers every few miles - they need to maintain the towers, of course, and they need to maintain the connection between the towers, but that's pretty much it. But you don't *need* a new phone every 3 years - people do it because they can.

I recall reading stories about how in Eastern Europe - in the old Soviet days, it was hard to get a landline. And once the wall came down, people found it easier to get a cellphone, and skip the buried wires up to each and every house.

Well, this one does have a bottle opener on it so I can understand the excitement.

Who's more ignorant -- a person who knows how to grow food to provide for their needs (and only requires access to land and water to do so) -- or a person who has absolutely no idea where food comes from or how to grow it?

Mother is stirring …

Large and Dangerous Volcano Awakes in Iceland

Airlines are nervously watching for another volcanic eruption in Iceland which could dwarf last years' eruption of closely related Eyjafjallajokull. In 2010, ash grounded planes and caused the most widespread interruption of air travel since World War II. Katla, a much larger and potentially more dangerous volcano is showing signs of a possible imminent eruption.

Katla Volcano Could Push Airline Stocks Lower (AMR)

Some airlines, such as AMR Corp (American Airlines), which has already been dealing with swirling rumors of pending bankruptcy, may find a compete and prolonged shutdown of European, and large swats of the Northern Hemisphere to air traffic a back breaker in trying to find a way out of their fiscal issue.

As Icelandic volcano stirs, experts assess the risks of an eruption

Earthquake Swarm Keeps Iceland’s Katla Rocking

also Spewing volcano forces Spain to close island port

and Another Eruption at Etna

Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

I'll add this site. Used to be eruptions, which was a bit easier to find.
Can't seen to find Katla on the more official lists just yet.
But, I know its had a few earthquakes, which may or may not be precursors.
Eruptions blog

'Occupy' protest turns violent in Rome

The protests that began in Canada and spread to cities across the US has now moved to Asia and Europe, linking up with anti-austerity demonstrations that have raged across the debt-ridden continent for months.

Dozens of cities across the world - from Tokyo to Alaska via London, Frankfurt and Washington - are holding demonstrations in a show of solidarity with the rallies that began last month in downtown New York.

...Wikileaks founder Julian Assange spoke to 500 demonstrators outside St. Paul's cathedral in London. "The banking system in London is the recipient of corrupt money," he said, adding that Wikileaks would launch a campaign against financial institutions in the coming months.

It seems a more violent Anarchist minority is hi-jacking the previously peaceful protests in Italy and elsewhere. Perhaps Wall Street could use a few of those. Nothing like a burning Mercedes to get folks' attention ;-/

This gentleman tells it far better than I can. (30 second YouTube video)

When people are going hungry, then you're going to see real revolution.

Link appears broken. I get no video, just a list of educ and business sites...?


somehow the // after http got lost in the first link.

Interesting perspective.

A friend of mine just stayed overnight last weekend on his way across country to a social event (by car).

He is very science and technology-minded, very process and logic-oriented in technical matters...but...

he has always listened to Rush Limbaugh and the Fox gang and his politics have always been that way, even though he never went on about it...

Until now.

His is mild-mannered and speaks quietly, but he confided in me his views of the Occupy Wall Street/Everything movement, and related his views to his being in England during their riots (business trip), and then related all this to the stuff Rush and Hannity et al had 'told him' over the airwaves....

This movement scares the crap out of him, and he quietly and deadly seriously said that 'I have become hyper-conservative resulting from this' and that his advocacy was for the police to use their T-sticks to 'bash heads in' and to tase the protesters into submission. He said that these movements were not spontaneous or grass roots but 'were being funded by someone else' and that they 'threatened society'. He used as a proof-support vignette the story of how some OWS protesters in NYC took a dump on a cop car, "AND THEY DIDN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!!!"

His well-ordered, logical, go-to-school, get the right degrees, network, work hard World-view was seriously challenged. He has tow daughters in high school, each with 4.0 ++ and involved in all the right activities, and they and his wife are all on board with the 'beat the slackers into submission' philosophy.

Oh, and this guy has PV on his roof and is a big fan of solar and wind energy technology...

I tried to gently talk some reason to him that these folks had free speech rights and that they were mostly benevolent and peaceful, but there was no room in his mind for dissent from what he already knew...the stuff that Rush and Hannity et al informed him of...

And this guy is mild-mannered compared to the taxi driver who took me and my wife to and from our hotel to the medical center in Falls Church a while ago...he opined about getting back in Marine Cobra helicopter and fighting against the hippies, liberals, advocates of environmental regulations, etc. in some future 'second revolution'. Fortunately he was 60-something and not in the best health and I regarded him as an ultimately harmless blow-hard.

But his rants disturbed me...the fact that many others are in his camp disturb me.

Hopefully the OWS/OE folks follow Gandhi and not the British rioter ways...otherwise I will fear for their lives.

"His well-ordered, logical, go-to-school, get the right degrees, network, work hard World-view was seriously challenged."

Not as challenged as it's going to be, IMO. His values seem a bit conflicted (though not his sense of entitlement). I suppose he blames the OWS (who don't seem as conflicted) for the housing meltdown, either for buying homes they couldn't afford, or for not being able to afford to buy in the first place because they don't work hard enough to support the American dream.

"This movement scares the crap out of him,..."

Yeah, be afraid ..... your comfortable world is changing.

Oh, /I/ know the World is changing and will change even more dramatically in the future, and I will be the reed bending in the wind and will attempt to adapt...peacefully.

My friend apparently has no idea of what is coming...or maybe he does, and is dead-set to be one of the last standing...although I honestly they he is a Cornocopian and a traditionalist 'thin blue line/law and order/'eat your peas and carrots and drink your milk and work hard and get your just rewards' kind of a guy.

It is scary to me to think of how these folks are going to react down the road...I fear that the U.S. will invoke a police state that will eclipse that of Russia/China in their dark lows, and even that of Nazi Germany.

I seriously doubt it. The U.S. at heart is more of a libertarian nation, and otherwise strikes me in its size and power more like Rome than anything else. The collapse will be slow (although fast in historical terms) and when it's done everybody will be hung over and wondering when the party finished.

I just attended a wedding with an early 30's crowd, got to see some old high school friends. I tried to gently introduce conservations on our situation without ruining the atmosphere.

I came out with mixed feelings, but there were definitely some good signs. Most of the young couples with kids understood things were bad and were downsizing and changing their expectations of the future. No plans at all to buy expensive homes or work really hard to make more money. And this was a very educated, upper middle class segment, all with good jobs in the private and public sphere. Car talk revolved around electrics and hybrids and diesels. One guy plans to start cycling to work and seemed pretty committed. Alot of ethnicities openly interacting with each other. There was much sympathy for OWS, but from a distance. They would never join them, but only because they have alot to lose.

At the same, there was still that old American belief in technology. It's striking to me because it's just so pervasive. Little understanding, in my opinion, that technology won't save us.

The Fox News / Limbaugh people, though, are yesterday's news and they know it. The majority of Americans despise them, but the person with the loudest voice gets heard no matter what.

Great report!

I have a 19 and 21 year old (living w/ my wife an me, they attend University in town), and interact a lot with them and their friends...I agree with your observations, to include their great faith in technology.

The other thing I will add is that from what I have seen and heard, the Fox Noise and other right-wing warriors war on homosexuals, women's reproductive rights, contraception/sex ed, and faked up 'wars on Christmas' etc. are dead issues with the younger generations.

Hopefully the Republican Party can return to discussing issues of governance that do not involve trying to dictate social mores.

The U.S. at heart is more of a libertarian nation...

It seems to me that people talk a good libertarian line, but line up eagerly to get their Social Security checks and other government perks, not to mention taking advantage of the general social infrastructure.

I think during FDR and in the couple of decades after FDR there was less of the libertarian talk but as time has gone on, more and more people take it seriously, in spite of how dangerously simplistic and utopian it is.

Don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...

he is a Cornocopian and a traditionalist 'thin blue line/law and order/'eat your peas and carrots and drink your milk and work hard and get your just rewards' kind of a guy.

There is nothing at all wrong with that attitude, and I 'll wager money that some of the OWS participants are of that attitude.

The catch is when there is either no hard work to be done (unemployment), or you do work hard and don;t get your just rewards. Both of these situations are often out of the control of the person concerned.

if your friend suddenly was out of a job due to downsizing/outsourcing/offshoring, and couldn't get another one or had to settle for being a greeter at Wal-Mart, and had to sell/gets foreclosed on his house as he can;t make the payments, then he might just see things differently.

The OWS people feel that they have/are being cheated out of the opportunity to earn a living - they have been relegated to the role of consumers, not producers, and are justifiably frustrated. if you friend gets relegated to that role, and has to watch the banks that are foreclosing him get bailed out, he will probably be frustrated too.

This is not so much about people (99%) not getting their just rewards, as about the 1% getting unjust(ified) rewards.

BTW, this whole thing was actually started (or at least named) in Vancouver!


I have been to two rallies so far (in Longmont and Boulder,Colorado) and my impression is that most of the people are older and have already been there, done that, with the employment thing and, in general, are not personally hurting that much with the current recession. I am personally concerned with the issues of income distribution but am primarily concerned with the power issue. The power that the corporations have to run our politics has accelerated over the last several years and has spiked up with the Citizens United ruling. My other primary issue is environment/global warming which will not be dealt with when entities like dominate the narrative and contributions/influence over the politicians.

The basic structure of our globalized economy dictates that the disparities between income groups will get worse until there is some intervention to reverse this. Underlying that basic structure are the energy/resource issues which will result in no or negative growth for the foreseeable future. That will be addressed but in ways that are counterproductive and demogogic. For example, Perry's plan is that if we drill everywhere, all our problems are solved.

Headline on NYT today is that Republicans are doing much better this year than Obama raising money from the banksters. Well, good. Maybe if he is less reliant on them he will do something meaningful to regulate them and prosecute where appropriate.

But money is the key. Nothing meaningful can occur unless money is taken out of politics which will require a constitutional amendment or mass dieoff amongst the current Supreme Court justices.

This movement scares the crap out of him, and he quietly and deadly seriously said that 'I have become hyper-conservative resulting from this' and that his advocacy was for the police to use their T-sticks to 'bash heads in' and to tase the protesters into submission. He said that these movements were not spontaneous or grass roots but 'were being funded by someone else' and that they 'threatened society'.

It's people that think like him that scare the crap out of me! Echoes of post Weimar Republic... Sieg Heil!

I am part of the movement and am anxiously awaiting my check. If he is scared, then he should show some disdain for the well funded Tea Party.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable.”

I can anticipate the 'scared BAU' folks using that quote to support their case...

I can see that these events in Rome (at the link) will add fuel to the flames of reactionary hatred from the 'thin blue line'/'communists/anarchist behind every tree' folks.

I found this assertion (at the end of the linked article) interesting:


Republicans at first criticized the demonstrations but have shifted their tone in recent days.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor warned of "growing mobs" but later said the protesters were "justifiably frustrated."

I wonder what angle that weasel Cantor is trying to play?

Did anyone else see Lawrence O'Donnell interviewing Buddy Rohmer a few days ago where Buddy was expressing a certain measure of sympathy and even solidarity with the OWS folks? He went to talk to them in person, and said that almost all of them were polite and listened to him, and he did most of the listening, and that they asked a lot of questions of him...he them remarked that the U.S. needs more of its people asking questions about things...


O`DONNELL: So you`re down there talking to the protesters today.
What did you learn actually going down to the site?

ROEMER: Well, I didn`t do much talking. I did a lot of listening.
Now maybe I`m not a good politician. But I wanted to see what their
feelings were.

I found them to be American. I know they`ve been called un-American.
I found them to be very American. I found them to be concerned about their
country. I didn`t agree with all of their particulars, but they ask

You know what America needs to do? It needs to ask questions of a
system that`s broken. And that`s what they`re doing.

I love them there. I remember -- I`m an old man. I`m 68. I remember
the Vietnam protests when I was in college. I remember the civil rights
protests on my city streets when I was a young man in the Deep South. They
changed America.

The politicians need to listen to these young people. It could change

There is more at the link...not every last politician is completely 'in the box'...

I heard that. I think we can cross-vote in the primary, so I was gonna write-in Obama in the R primary. Instead, I think I'll vote for Roemer.

I admit that I know almost nothing about Buddy (as he like to be called) other than what I heard on this interview.

He seemed to be a reasonable person, but this interview on which I base that assessment is but one small data point.

I have been fooled plenty of times before from initial impressions, and even worse, even if Buddy was the best choice for Pres, then he would need at least 268 like-minded Congress folks and 5 of the 9 Supremes as well to advance a positive agenda...

the media are already attacking the protest group..

but 'were being funded by someone else'

Usually when a political entity blames their adversaries for doing X, it is because they have been doing X. The Tea Party, was originally funded/organized by big money.
The problem with Rush and types like him, is that they are programming the emotional thinking if their listeners. And guys like your friend have been absorbing these emotionally charged images for a long time. Tweaking our cognitive networks with certain memes, at the same time as creating strong negative emotions wires these reactions into our brain. Now many of these things that have been used, are not even true, -or represent only partial truths. One of these is that the financial crises was caused by banks being forced to lower standards to lend to minorities. It turns out that the foreclosure rate actually rises with the income of the borrowers, i.e. many more foreclosures are the result of people hoping to become little Donald Trumps, flipping realestate -and simply drop their mistakes upon society. But, drumming up hatred about liberals coddling scofflaws is far more fun (to some) to hear. Their is a reason many call talk radio "hate radio". There seems to be a real human weakness for this sort of stuff.

Yes, the hypocrisy of him accusing the OWS movement of being funded by liberal rich bogeymen immediately struck me since the Tea Party is accused of receiving succor from their alleged benefactors...

Sadly, it is easy for folks of moderate and higher means to use those materially poorer than themselves as their scapegoats...and that trend has been increasing, IMO.

I have commented here before about hearing Federal DoD civilians rag on non-DoD Federal workers, and state and local workers, calling them tax-payer parasites, calling for them to have their pay frozen, benefits cut, etc. Same crap comes out of a depressing number of uniformed military folks' mouths.

But, they regard themselves of a different, more privileged class due to their holy, vaunted connection to 'National Defense'.

I have even heard DoD /contractors/ rag on all government workers...the KTRs claimed the mantle of moral superiority because 'they were private enterprise'....the huge rub here is that there would be no DoD KTRs without taxpayer and debt-funded DoD budgets...so they are sucking off the Federal Govt teat just like the government employees...

It is amazing to hear the mental gymnastics folks contort themselves with to try to put themselves on a higher pedestal than others, when there is at best a distinction without a real difference.

The international protest appear to go back at least to the May 15th movement in Spain.

Internationally, there is a lot of resentment of Wall Street and the Anglo American financial system.

I have no idea how this will play out...

15-M back on Spain’s streets as protest goes global

This weekend Spain will see the return of its “revolution”. Those involved in the 15-M movement will once again take to the streets en masse to demand urgent reforms. Under the motto “united for a global change,” the latest series of demonstrations will this time have a global dimension, with events taking place in 45 countries.

The movement has been organised through social media with the slogan “It’s time for us to unite. It’s time for them to listen. People of the world, rise up!”. Protestors will put pressure on the political representatives in each country to direct us towards a democracy that isn’t undermined by financial power.

Roots of protest
15-M is a non-partisan, movement which attracts people from all social classes. It grew from a wave of non-violent protests which started on May 15th this year, and its campaign for reform of the political system has swept throughout Spain. It doesn’t want to overthrow the system – merely reform it.

It was inspired by protests in Iceland, took hold in Spain, then spread to other countries throughout the world. We now see the power that motivated demonstrators can mobilise via social media with the #OccupyWallStreet protests. 15-M is a movement which has stimulated protest well beyond its borders.

""A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.""

A quote, for all the Eric Holder types in the U.S. ......They have no clue, as to even why the people are taking to the streets. Even here in Delray Beach Fl, on a cool Saturday evening, hundreds were out with signs protesting along Atlantic Ave.


I attended the rally here in Boulder today. Peaceful, informative, and contstructive. No crapping as far as I know. In some ways, however, I am glad that people like your friend are afraid. Maybe we are starting to have an impact. These rallies are exposing a lot of the sickness and intolerance out there fueled by Fox.

I also attended the rally in Boulder and I too found it to be peaceful and informative. It was interesting to see the different topics touched upon by protesters and good fun to meet other people to discuss various things that are wrong with this world, including climate change and peak oil and how it will affect society going forward.

I don't know if my impression was wrong, but I was surprised to see so few young people around though.

I can't speak for NY, but I can speak for where I am. I've attended two Saturday Occupy Jacksonville protests and I'm participating with the organizers. The last thing we want is confrontations with the police. Organizers have met with sheriff's office beforehand to discuss do's and don'ts regarding peaceful protest. For example, we were told not to feed homeless people and would be arrested for doing so. Some folks in forum have wanted to include homeless in feeding efforts but others have convinced them otherwise. There were 0 arrests last week and only 1 arrest today. The arrest today was of a fool who lit up a doobie. The fool was arrested in a civilized manner and there wasn't any scuffle involved. The organizers were told reason for arrest and the person arrested was not shown any support by our group. I have video of the arrest that I'll delete rather than post up on youtube.

We have a legal team in our group and they advise us regarding our rights. We also have been given a phone number to call for free legal representation if we should be arrested.

There's an annual fair in town in a few weeks and we've had disccussion on whether to protest at fair. Many folks have said it would be a bad idea and would create too much hostility. We may attend to hand out information but that will be extent of it. We want our protests to be in places where people can go elsewhere if they don't want to participate. Conducting protests at popular events is frowned upon.

I've read Europe's protests include many young people who are part of the crowd involved with violence after soccer games. Those folks have experience with provoking hostility and have strategies for dealing with police. I haven't met anyone in our protest with that kind of knowledge.

I have close work associates I highly respect who are also infatuated with Limbaugh. For me, Limbaugh is just another part of the pie called MSM that seeks catchy soundbites without providing much substance. I can relate to your words.

There were a couple of volunteers from the ACLU here today handing out leaflets of "What to do if you're stopped by the police". I thought it was kind of funny, as being arrested or even stopped by the police wasn't really on my mind when attending a peaceful demonstration like this one in a free country. But I guess having a certain preparedness isn't bad, as a few chaotic people can quickly turn an otherwise peaceful event ugly for everyone :-(

I look at it as preparing for worse-case situations. It only takes one protest person to turn the table. And one police officer may not see just one agitator. He/she may stereotype all equally.

"For example, we were told not to feed homeless people and would be arrested for doing so."

Why is feeding homeless people prohibited?

Yes indeed. Why???

Many of us asked the same question. Here's a link about the law in Orlando. The same law also exists in Jax.
Another U.S. City Outlaws Feeding Homeless People
Our protest is in a public park and that is where law applies.

An exception to the law is if the group handing out food is a church. One of our members is an ordained minister and we are trying to see if that can be used to circumvent the law. Also, we are planning to attend City Hall meetings and this law is one of the items we will bring attention to.

Las Vegas had a similar ordinance in recent years.

Very Orwell. "Don't encourage them, Honey! You're just making it worse!"

Because the shop keepers say it is bad for business, and in the good ole heartless U.S. of A it is much more important to keep the destitute out of sight in order to keep up appearances and maintain a positive business climate and to maintain consumer confidence.

I am glad to know that churches are allowed to step up and help...they are exempt from paying property taxes, and their member donations currently are able to be taken as a tax deduction, at least for folks who itemize. In addition, there are more than a few passages in the governing document of the dominant religion about the importance of taking care of the poor.

I am reminded of the scenes in Soylent Green of the church packed with poor starving people, stacked in bunks like cordwood.

'good' religious centers will do that. now a days a mega-church will most likely stand with those wanting to sweep the poor out of the city.

I've seen a wide range of responses to the poor from the mega-churches. I'd say making generaliing statements in this matter miss the target. Yes,I can name mega-churches with extensive programms to help the poor, with web sites.

If to make any generalizing statement, I would say it is among small and medium churches you found those who don't care for the poor.

Funny how dumping some relatively harmless biotic material on a cop car is shocking and horrifying, but decades of dumping highly toxic industrial waste into rivers and oceans -- not to mention ripping the tops off entire mountains and choking watersheds with "overburden" -- and I could go on, but you know the litany of industrial crimes against ecosystems... is just business as usual.

I know which threatens my personal health and safety more :-)

Iran’s gas output to double within 3 years: official

TEHRAN — Iran’s gas production will increase two-fold by the next three years, reaching 1.2 billion cubic meters annually, an Oil Ministry official announced here on Saturday.

Javad Oji, the deputy oil minister, told IRNA news agency that once all phases of the South Pars gas field come on stream, the country’s natural gas output will increase by 700-720 million cubic meters in the next three years.

According to Oji, by operating all phases of South Pars and producing of 1.2 billion cubic meters of natural gas, Iran can earn an annual $100 billion revenue from gas selling.

Drilling shift, power demand could hit gas oversupply: Conoco executive

The abundance of US shale gas, a game changer for the natural gas industry in the country, has also led to a misconception that the US is vastly oversupplied, a ConocoPhillips official said Wednesday.

"The talk of shale makes everyone think we're way oversupplied," said Jim Duncan, ConocoPhillips' chief analyst and commodities markets strategist, at the LDC Gas Forum Rockies & West in Los Angeles. "The reality is that we're not. The signposts are already here."

... One of the largest risks to gas supplies is the shift in drilling rigs away from pure-play gas fields to oil- and liquids-rich gas fields, he said. This ongoing shift, which likely would not cause a drastic jump in gas prices up to $10/MMBtu, could produce a $2-$3 move in gas prices that would cause somewhat of a roller coaster effect, Duncan said.

Interesting documentary Meltdown: four-part investigation into a world of greed and recklessness that led to financial collapse.

Part 1: The men who crashed the world

Part 2: A global financial tsunami

Part 3: Paying the price

Part 4: After the fall

Touches on many of the things that we have talked about at TOD over the last three years: the complexity of the system, the preponderance and dominance of financial services to the rest of the economy, the inherent dangers that come with propping up real estate bubbles in the United States, Spain, Dubai, and now China, the blindness of banking on growth, and the fault lines embedded in the competition and connection among all international actors.

And speaking of collapse, here's Google's big headline news item:

'Wall Street protests go global; riots in Rome'

Galvanized by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the protests began in New Zealand, rippled east to Europe and were expected to return to their starting point in New York. Demonstrations touched most European capitals and other cities.

"I've been against the gap between rich and poor," Chang said in the northern city of Hsinchu. "The wealth of the top one percent has increased very fast in the past 20 or 30 years. 'Occupy Wall Street' is a reaction to that."

I wondered if this might happen. If a concerted ongoing US protest would spread to other countries previously not protesting.

But keep in mind this is only the tip of the iceburg, from the standpoint that austerity measures (resulting from balooning debt over decades) are only starting to kick in. The US is still to face the headwinds of austerity measures as the US debt continues to climb. But once countries stop lending to the US things will get very tight. Currently 40 cents of every dollar used for running the Fed govt. is borrowed. Once that tap closes, we will live within our means using the 60 cents. And if the Repubs have their way the 60 cents will get cut in half or more.

Earl – Watching the news this morning a similar thought developed. Very soon these public gatherings no longer will be OWS 2.0 but more akin to Arab Spring 2.0. Of course, we’ll have to call it something like “Global Spring” or some such thing. One could say there is no common theme or could say there is a very simple theme: we don’t have what we feel we deserve. Be it democracy, jobs, affordable health care, etc.

And to some degree the successes of the Arab Spring has played a part in these recent developments IMHO. It gives folks hope that these gatherings could lead to the changes they want. And there could be some minor changes. But IMHO they will be very disappointed: they weren’t very happy with BAU in the first place. And with population expansion and resources limitations many of us see the end of BAU. IOW if they weren’t very happy before just wait: these days may eventually be view as the good ole days.

IMHO eventually TPTB will have to destroy these folks. Well...actually saying they will have their influence limited would be a more gentile way of putting it. But the end results will be the same: the haves will have what they can can demand and the have-nots will be left with what remains. And their options at that point will be limited: fight and die or just sit back and pass quietly. And as always has happened in the entire history of the planet: the winners write the history books.

But the end results will be the same: the haves will have what they can can demand and the have-nots will be left with what remains. And their options at that point will be limited: fight and die or just sit back and pass quietly.

But whom do you actually define as the 'haves'? It could effectively be countries who can produce or afford to buy enough of the resources they need relative to their populations. This could be a stickler in the rise of China as in the end it is resources and not population which wins the day as the U.S.A. once it gets it's ass into gear has some of the best large scale wind and solar resources within the country and a much smaller population.

P.S What is TPTB and BAU?

TPTB = The Powers That Be

plain text: The top x% of the folks in the U.S> (and the World) who have most of the wealth and call most of the shots to keep BAU (Business as Usual) running in their favor to keep the masses confused and essentially enslaved to milk the Nation's and Worlds' wealth up the ladder to the 'job creators'.

Hope that helps a little...

Yep, thanks. Sometimes I get lost on all the acronyms. I swear Americans have an acronym fetish!

You don't know the half of it...try being immersed in several highly specialized and technical subsets of the U.S. Military complex...

TOD (and the whole alternative energy/Peak Oil/'green' communities) certainly have their own impressive lexicon.

If I remember correctly, there might be a link on TOD to a glossary of terms or such...

Huh, I saw a comment a few days ago where TOD was Transit Oriented Development. /sarc

Too many TLAs


Is that Technical Language Assistant? /sarc

Yes. Heis essentially understands the issue. It must be maddening working where he does with the people he has to work with. These memes that support, winner take all politics have been strongly embedded in our psches, by a longterm effort. The result is that we are tilting the playing field in favor of wealth accumulation going towards a small number of people. Its amazing how many foot soldiers, who will themselves never become rich, have fallen for this. OWS, is an attempt to change the intellectual playing field, and get the common people to realize whats been happening. As such the right is very worried.
It looks like the counterattacks have begun. A lot of places are cracking down hard on the OWS demonstrations. And of course, its impossible to keep some bad apples out of any demonstration, so examples of bad behavior can be found.

I have repeatedly tried to explain to my wife that my fortunate circumstance of currently having a well-paying job could end /like that/ and then we would have to move into a small apartment and adapt in many other ways...we would need to husband our savings/mutual funds to adapt immediately to the new reality and have a cushion to use at the new reality level, rather than squandering it in a futile effort to maintain pretenses.

I think that deep down she gets it, but refuses to acknowledge it as so.

I have to wonder how many folks have an inkling of the precarious state of affairs the World is in...

Change can come quickly. Ten years ago I got laid off. I was able to find a job, but it meant moving away from my outdoor paradise, which is now your backyard. So even in case where you were able to preserve your income/class, you may have to undergo dramatic lifestyle change. And I've also seen how a mental disorder can do the same to someone, and the people around them. Enjoy what you have now, it won't always be that way.

if you go farther up you will see a link i posted talking about a add pro wall-street and pro isrial have started to play on tv to sway opinion on the movement.

S - Nothing tricky about the definition: the "Haves" are those with the ability to acquire what they need/want: energy, food, water, etc. For much of the last 50 years or so the USA was one of the biggest Haves. Even if we didn't have a certain commodity we could buy it. And still are in many areas. Oil is obvious: we don't have even half the oil we need/want but we have the money to acquire it. But even in the 80's when oil fell to $10/bbl much of the world were still Have-nots. Eventually some of the Haves won't have the purchase price. Even worse when some of the former Haves can't access oil even if they have the money: consider the oil China has been removing from the future market for the last 15 years.

A different commodity: food. The US will likely be a food Have for much longer than many countries. Today Saudi Arabia is a food Have-not and uses a fair bit of their oil revenue to feed their exploding population. And what happens when the day comes the revenue isn't sufficient to feed their folks in the way they've become accustomed?

Lots of historical analogs. A number of factors have been offered for the Japanese attack that began war between our two nations. The contribution of the oil embargo of Japan by the US cannot be ignored. At the time Japan had no domestic source (a 100% Have-not) and the US, thanks to the recent discovery of the East Texas Oil Field, was THE oil Have on the planet. After WWI many of the smartest folks around predicted there would never be another such global conflict…we’ve become too smart. They were wrong. Many folks today say we’ve become too smart to allow such circumstances to ever develop again.

Do you feel we’re really smart enough? Opinions vary.

R - Food and fossil fuels share two very important properties with one another. You can't go without either and both are subject to boom/bust cycles as supply/demand is very inelastic. With the index food price at 280 when I last checked it with climate change and aquifer depletion threatening food production I wonder if places like India and Pakistan aren't simply going to fall over and fail as countries with China not far behind. Sometimes I wonder if the U.S.A. will outlast 'Chindia' and take that oil in the future because they simply weren't able to grow fast enough to be able to purchase all the food they needed on an open market. Foreign 'colony' farms are great targets for nationalization by the respective governments or even locals of the area so I wouldn't count on them personally.

In the 1950s, the Pentagon conducted a study to find out what people would do at different stages of starvation.

What they discovered was shocking.

After just 10 days without food, 90% of people will steal, pillage and kill for food.

But after a mere 15 days, almost all human beings becomes a cannibal... ready, willing, and... even eager to eat their neighbours.

It was the price of food which caused the 'Arab Spring'. When food exceeded 80% of the average wage in Egypt there were riots and they deposed the dictator. Food is now the same price and there are riots yet again. It didn't matter whether there was a dictator, we like to tell ourselves that they were fighting for freedom. Really it seems they were fighting for food!

People talk about China/India etc as if they'll keep growing forever. However with their huge populations they may hit the limits to overshoot before the good ol' U.S.A. Natural resources + technology always trumps population size. In-fact population is probably more a curse than a blessing for Chindia.

Agreed, I also think that food prices were and are the major drive behind lot of the momentum behind the Arab Spring.
As I remember, it started with a guy who burned himself, after police took away his vegetable stand, his sole income.

There also seems to be a feedback loop at play here.
The violence revolutions were started due to high food prices. As a consequence, the oil exports from Lybia were disrupted, leading again to higher transport and food cost. Additionaly, western economies have been under pressure and rising debt. By trying to migate those effects the money supply was increased, a highly inflatonary move, food prices rise again.

The connection isn't that obvious and might just conincedental. Still, it appears to be that any big social disruption leads to disruption in economic production, further increasing the cause of the social unrest.

I don't think it is coincidental that disruption to economic systems comes as food prices rise. I suspect that as we're both from oecd countries we don't realise the impact of higher food prices because even at double it's present cost food is still relatively affordable.

Overall debt isn't a big problem so long as you're willing to not repay it. Afterall debt is just a promise which can be kept or not kept as circumstances demand.

The other option is to just print more money and not cover it with debt. That printed money can be used to pay off the debt.

Didn't Lincoln create the "greenback" for the purpose of financing the Civil War without incurring debt?

But after a mere 15 days, almost all human beings becomes a cannibal... ready, willing, and... even eager to eat their neighbours.

Say, Squilliam, do you have a link for that Pentagon report? I'd like to see it... I found the quotes on several sites selling emergency supplies, but not the original.

Anyone know if it's real? A majority of Americans turning cannibal in 15 days is quite a factoid.

I couldn't find the report but I have gone without food for a week. It doesn't surprise me that people would turn to canibalism in 15 days without food.

I am sure it will have happened, but in famines, and there have been plenty, it seems rare?
Maybe Americans are different, but more often, more and more people get sick over a period and if they can not move to find food, just die in their houses?
EDIT Did you just steal, or go begging?

I remember somewhere that places which are used to famine react differently to places where hunger is rare. Where famine is common the reaction is usually quiet except when food is being distributed. On the other hand in a place like America when there are food shortages people react a lot more violently as they have the 'reserves' to keep their strength and because they are unaccustomed to hunger they react strongly to famine.

I went without food as a choice. I felt that I needed to understand what it was like for people to go without food. I had food in the house but I chose not to eat it for a week. If I didn't know what I was fighting against I had no reason to fight to stop it. I'm the 'walk a mile in his shoes' kinda guy.

I'm the 'walk a mile in his shoes' kinda guy.
I think thats pretty cool.

I had done some fasting in my younger days. But, it was because I was hoping to find health benefits. I figured in the natural world, there are nearly unavoidable periods where you fail to find food, and we probably evolved in that sort of environment. Some claim, that our bodies, are pretty smart, and consume the less valuable calories (like fat and toxins etc.) first. I never saw any benefit, and have a tendency towards gout, which is exacerbated by fasting, so I quit. A few years ago I tried an eat every other day diet. I was warned i would train my metabolism to slow down -I think they were right.

I also had trained my body to generate heat, almost at will. I could do some pretty amazing "polar bear" stuff. Walk through snowstorms with no shirt on. Sleep completely comfortably with no clothes or coverings -not even a sheet in a 40F room. Now, I figure I'm too old for that sort of stuff.

I believe it. I know I'd start going crazy after a week. I have no stores of fat (I'm tall/skinny/fast metabolism type) and would probably have no energy after just a few days.

I can find no Pentagon info on starvation. I did find out that in WWII, in Leningrad they ate everything in sight (leather, wall paste, dogs/cats/rats) and then starting eating corpses, then started eating children and then eating their own body parts. Reminds me of something right out of "The Road".

Having very recently toured the Holocaust museum in D.C. and witnessed the still pictures and videos of the walking skeletons in the camps...I saw no mention of cannibalism in the prisoner ranks.

It is hard for me to imagine a population that could be more food-deprived.

The videos of the camp liberators explained how numerous former prisoners dies when the allies fed them too much, too quickly...the liberators learned to adjust the food rations to start with minimal food and slowly work the rations higher as the people's systems allowed.

Being a naturally stocky guy (mesomorph), when I flew in the B-52H, I told some of my skinnier crew mates who could ace the 1.5 mile run that I would be the Grizzly bear who would, in the case of bailing out over enemy territory, walk out of Russia after a few weeks or months, while they starved.

I also told them that I would keep my 9mm handy if they had any funny ideas about dividing up the stocky guy!

H- for a good sci-fi read about a population (on board a space ship) that becomes food deprived, I highly recommend the short story "Survival" by John Wyndham.

You can find it, and few of his other excellent short stories, here;


It has an eerie similarity to the TV show "survivor", just without the host - not bad for 50 years ago. Wonder hopw you b-52 crew would have done?

Also, if you have never read it, I recommend his landmark book "Day of the Triffids" - about a scenario where the world has run out of oil and relies on genetically modified plants for it - and something - inevitably - goes wrong. Given he wrote this in the '50's, how close are we to that today?

Good old-school 'soft' Sci-fi short story.

soft = focuses more on human interactions


hard = focuses more on technology/science


Just paging through...The Great Starvation Experiment: The Heroic Men Who Starved So That Millions Could Live...
By Todd Tucker ...Its on google books (some of it)... Some interesting things in there.

I guess people will all react differently.

My personal belief is that we should be towards the last ones (vs Britain/China/India/etc) to see mass starvation. The US has varied climates, good crop land and plenty of water (for the most part), plus waste in rampant and diet is meat based. With a few adjustments, we could really cut back and probably be much healthier/no meat or dairy (I've read "The China Study"..) If nothing else, a person could just hit the McDonalds drive thru :)!


Thanks for the reference, I like to read!

I agree with your assessment about the U.S.

It was called the Minnesota Starvation Experiment and it was run by the U.S. Army in 1944. It was recognized early in 1944 that millions of people were in grave danger of mass famine as a result of the conflict, and information was needed regarding the effects of semi-starvation — and the impact of various rehabilitation strategies — if postwar relief efforts were to be effective.

The study was divided into three phases: A twelve-week control phase [baseline data]; a 6-month semi-starvation period, where each subject’s dietary intake was cut to approximately 1,560 calories per day. Their meals were composed of foods that were expected to typify the diets of people in Europe during the latter stages of the war: potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, bread and macaroni. It caused each participant to lose an average of 25% of their pre-starvation body weight; and finally a recovery phase, in which various rehabilitative diets were tried to re-nourish the volunteers.

The following info on cannabilism had nothing to do with the study

... After just 10 days without food, 90% of people will steal, pillage and kill for food.

But after a mere 15 days, almost all human beings becomes a cannibal... ready, willing, and... even eager to eat their neighbours.

Generally speaking, after 15 days without food 90% of people will be DEAD, [or you could knock them over with a feather]. For proof check out the piles of dead bodies along the road and at the refugee centers west of Somalia.

I also had trained my body to generate heat, almost at will. I could do some pretty amazing "polar bear" stuff.

How did you manage that?

IMHO eventually TPTB will have to destroy these folks. Well...actually saying they will have their influence limited would be a more gentile way of putting it. But the end results will be the same: the haves will have what they can can demand and the have-nots will be left with what remains. And their options at that point will be limited: fight and die or just sit back and pass quietly. And as always has happened in the entire history of the planet: the winners write the history books.

We are moving into winter. TPTB expect the movement to die away with the cold. Keeping it contained till then, undertaking actions that have no impact, is the plan.

However, by next Spring we are likely to firmly be in GFC II - and the return of the protest will not stay contained long. TPTB will have their plans drawn, but unlike you, I don't think it will be enough.

I think the lesson of the Animal Liberation types will be understood - the home locations of the bankers is known. It won't be at all pretty - and the response won't be either. Whereas thugs will be hired, I think many of those who've looted much from the public purse will be running, fast and far, to avoid the mob. We'll be moving into the full heat of the US presidential campaign, and bankers will be running away.

Things will get defined by who has the best meme for dealing with the consequences. I think the US will go fortress CONUS again.

The catchy term I've heard for here is "American Autumn".

Yeah, we certainly don't want to be calling it 'The American Fall' as that kinda hurts too much. ;-)

LOL... That impressive play on words hadn't occurred to me.

spec/brit - Like them both. I'm also trying to think of a more global term. I actually don't think much will develop out of the US movement. Not that times aren't tough for many here but conditions are so much worse elsewhere and will get even worse. Here most are just p*ssed off....globally folks are having their lives greatly degraded. Just set our anger and frustration aside and most would rather be dealing with life in the US than many other countries.

Maybe "global something". The time frame of something is tricky: it will ebb and flow but I suspect we'll see such reactions for years to come and likely become more violent. Some doomers like to toss out the Mad Max world model. I suspect we'll see more reactions as are developing in Italy. Modest amounts of violence will be tolerated for a while IMHO but as it escalates and threatens political stability TPTB will begin a serious push back. At that point we’ll see what level of real support there is for such movements. It’s one thing to burn police cars and loot a store. Another thing to trade shots with the defenders of BAU.

Other than the participation by the group Anonymous, I haven't seen much global coordination. And Anonymous folks in the Jax group have kept quiet about such and haven't solicited any members or pushed for ideas. An organizer spoke to me about one of the European protests so they are being somewhat watched at a distance. We have our hands full just trying to get our own act together and don't have enough people to include anything global. The general assembly coordinator has always held a pole with a US flag and multiple people with US flags lead the marches.

Thus far we haven't occupied overnight anywhere but plans are in the works to do that. I'll be impressed if that goal is achieved. I try to maintain my perspective and am very fascinated by what is going on. As you say, there are many folks facing difficult circumstances, and I've read a few sad story's on the forum, but these circumstances are small-fries compared to what is going on in some countries. I'm financially secure and have worked for same company for 15+ years so my perspective will be different from the norm. For example, yesterday's general assembly was interrupted by a young lady who loudly demanded to start the march and insisted we were here to march rather than speak. I would say that lady is already disappointed.

We are also spending a fair amount of time educating others. One interesting link in forum is a very detailed and referenced explanation of the top 1% and their access to levers of power. The article is lengthy and a tough read because it contains many statistics, tables and graphs. I plan to post it with a summary when I finish writing my comments for the article.

I hope the movement doesn't resort to trading shots. IMHO, a strength of TPTB is ability to trade shots. The protesters would be foolish to compete with this strategy. It is best to focus on weaknesses of TPTB and design strategy to compete in those areas. Nevertheless, the risk of some folks resorting to the sure to fail strategy is very real.

brit - I don't relly see much chance of any global coordination. The more powerfull issues will be local. And just like with local politics that's where the most impact can be effected. And as someone ointed out it seems as though a lack food, from whatever cause, was the basic motivation. I suspect as any of the various Occuppy efforts do not show any concrete results they'll slip slowly away.Let's be frank: if it weren't for the MSM filling up their 24 hour news cycle what would be impact of the Occuy movements: nothing has changed; other than lip service we've seen nothing from the politicians; no offer of any change from any of the establish. Other than garnishing air time what has been achieved?

If certain Republicans (not Ron Paul, who isn't really a Republican)get their way, 45 of those 60 cents will fund the Military Industrial Complex, and the folks who have been enjoying the fallout from that corporate welfare will continue to be able to pay the mortgage on their nice houses and SUVs and be able to afford the grand a year plus for their kids club soccer/basketball/volleyball travel teams, plus the cost of the Nike (or whatever) kit.

I could take y'all on a local tour of which nice neighborhoods and soccer/etc sports clubs exist courtesy of USG funding...both for Active duty military, federal civil servant, and contractor.

Not only where I live, but at many other locales in the U.S. of A.

It will be interesting to see how the pie shrinks and is divided regarding the U,S, Federal budget...

Obama/Congress have doubled the debt on our children to $14 trillion.

No doubt that Obama and the Democrats are in-bed with the MIC and the banksters...right up there with the Republicans.

The only truly 'out of the box' Presidential candidates recently to my memory were perhaps Ralph Nader and Ron Paul.

But the deal is, even if someone way out of the bx could get elected in the U.S., they would require at least 268 fellow travelers to be elected into Congress, and at least five sympathetic folks on the Supreme Court.

So...BAU has, and will continue to have, huge inertia and will change rather slowly.

So...BAU has, and will continue to have, huge inertia and will change rather slowly.

I agree completely, Heisenberg. What happens in DC can be compared to two UFC fighters of the same height, weight, age and ability. They cancel each other out and it's a draw. In DC the same thing happens between the two party's and a draw means nothing changes.

DC is a single creature that shows the public two faces.

Simply not true in any accounting I've seen. I think that the national debt has increased 16% (so far) in his term.

The debt grew 189% under Reagan, 55% under Bush I, 37% under Clinton (but was actually edging downward at the end of his term), and 115% under Bush II.

I have a couple of excellent graphs somewhere I will post if I can find them.

Obama/Congress have doubled the debt on our children to $14 trillion.

That's not true. Based on your numbers the debt was 7 trillion before Obama came in - no, it was 10 trillion and the momentum of Bush Jr's bailouts quickly took it to 11 trillion. So yes Obama has presided over a big increase, but not that much. Is that what Fox News is telling people?

Bush jr. doubled the debt from 5.5 trillion to 11 trillion via two unfunded wars and two huge tax cuts mostly for the top 1%. As Bush said, "The rich need a break too."

I'm not in favor of huge debt loads either, and really take Obama to task for renewing all the tax cuts Bush jr. put in place. Gore explained why Bush's tax cuts would raise debt by a huge amount in one of their debates, but people liked the Fuzzy Math bit and elected Bush. Blame the Repubs for this situation were in for deregulating WallStreet and for unfunded wars and huge tax cuts we could not afford.

Blame Obama for the last 3.5 trillion. However, what was the alternative to some of that money in the form of stimulus? Collapse? People didn't want to risk that so the debt keeps piling up. Now find ways to reduce it, but not all on the backs of the middle class.

Peak Earl...you asked the big question here!

However, what was the alternative to some of that money in the form of stimulus? Collapse?

I did not support the bank bailouts...at least not the way they happened...banks get a free ride, nothing done about kicking folks out of their houses...banks are too big to fail if they screw up, but common folks are disposable if they screw up.

I did support the auto (GM and Chrysler) bail-outs, but I was wavering and still wonder if that was the right thing to do...

There is fairly wide sentiment on this list that continual growth as far as the eye can see is not beneficial, and not even possible. There is also a fair amount of sentiment that our BAU, especially concerning our 'car culture', has been destructive and is unsustainable.

Therefore, perhaps the government should have let the whole thing (banks, auto companies, etc.) 'burn down'/collapse, and taken on the role of setting up soup kitchens to keep folks from starving?


But perhaps propping up the current facade will only lead to a harder crash somewhat later...perhaps we should have had a consciousness-changing event to put us on a different path...

I don't know what the best course would have been...

I don't know what the best course would have been..

Given the economic forces that were in motion, and the political constraints, I doubt any "good solution" was possible. A quickly implemented bailout of some sort was needed, or very severe consequences were in the offing. So a package was thrown together quickly. One of the problems, that arose was the moral example of bailing out banksters. Thats driven a lot of resentment, which shows up in various ways. Clearly Obama blundered by not pushing through a big enough stimulus right at the beginning -forced through on reconcilliation (requires only a simple majority), the R's were never going to agree to anything sizeable enough. Now, we had just enough stimulus to arrest the economic freefall, but can't get it going again. So stimulus is discredited, and austerity, which only amplifies downturns has carried the day (and over much of the rest of the world as well).

Are we perhaps just perpetuating our unsustainable ways and delaying the inevitable crash, and making it all the harder when it does come?

I dunno...

Are we perhaps just perpetuating our unsustainable ways and delaying

Perhaps? We certainly aren't dealing with problem number one "learning to live with a finite planet". That seems to be nearly off the political radar screen. A few of us dabble around the edges of it, cause that's all we really can do.

Written by Peak Earl:
... people liked the Fuzzy Math bit and elected Bush.

The people elected Gore in the 2000 election, but the Supreme Court appointed Bush when it halted the recount early.

The Wrong Man is President! Overvotes in the 2000 Presidential Election in Florida, Perspectives on Politics, Walter R. Mebane Jr., Vol. 2/No. 3, September 2004

What kind of world-class blinders are required to think that the Obama presidency is, of itself, a major part of the problem? It is actually nothing more than a symptom.

Edit: added last sentence.

I presume your reply is primarily for sgage. My only blame on Obama is for renewing the Bush jr. tax cuts. All he had to do was let them expire. It would have saved 4 trillion over 10 years. That would have been a great start to balancing the budget but now that opportunity is lost forever.

Probably. He choose to trade that for some minor stimulus before the lame duck congress was replaced by the tea partiers. Of course it was a trap. "Look he's made the deficit greater! Got to cut the social programs! Oh My!". So the political environment has now made any sort of effective response impossible.

Yep. They need to expire because the government is going broke.

Why has Obama advocated reducing payroll taxes for Social Security?

To degrade its finances further?

Grasping at straws we are!

Its partly a belief that we are in normal times. Economic setbacks are simply a bad patch "i.e. not caused by an environmental seachange, such as running into so many planetary limits that growth as we knew it is over". Then it follows that Keynesian style stimulus is the way forward. And the additional growth would, at current interest rates, easily pay the debt off. I.E. long term interest rates are so low, we would be foolish not to borrow to make investments in the future....

But, if we have slammed against say a petroleum ceiling for the world economy. Then we are in a whole new ball game with rules we haven't figured out yet.

Of course a smart policy would be to blend those two concepts. Make the investments in stuff (like renewable energy), that will help us cope with those planetary limits. Even if you are not convinced those limits will bite hard, it is sensible tohedge.

Stuff like agreeing to an SS tax semi-holiday, may well be trap. We get some stimulus for now. But, leave plenty of ammo for the enemies of the program to exploit going down the road. I think thats how last years compromises worked for Obama. He was offered a deal, that would make him look good in the short term, but further on (actually by last spring), the deficit hawks would (and did) strike bigtime.

That's clearly a Faustian bargain. So desperate for a stimulus he was willing to hasten the day of doom for SS. You can imagine the Rs rubbing their hands together at the thought of making it look worse in the future.

That's clearly a Faustian bargain.

Agreed. O played right into their hands, just like he did extending the tax cuts. That's what confused me so much about this guy - what is it he's trying to accomplish in the White House? - help the American people or simply try to get votes from every possible niche? Once I realised he's just a 'vote outreach junkie' he was relinquished to the 'pandering poltician pile'.

TOD likes to discuss how TPTB need to start addressing things, yet as pointed out in the discussions about those that shout out answers vs those that quietly contemplate:

It is my opinion that it does not matter who the gov't leaders are or those running for office, or what they support.

It is my opinion that as long as a citizen in their own (country|county|burrough|town|property) can run, or support ways to be more sustainable, then it is up to citizens to do it themselves. Kind of a Jeffersonian Democracy concept, but with a sustainability focus. ...Whether it be local food production, energy production, telecommuting, or whatever.

The few TOD posters that already run their own PV/Wind/food production... I think those are the quiet few we all should be trying to support, listen to, and emulate, for all our sakes. Because in the end, it will not be those loud people in office that are likely to save us.

"Ya gotta dance with them as brung ya."

Daid L. Hagen,
Banksters/Large Corporations have paid the Reps and Dems to argue about the national debt. It is a distraction from the problem of the 99% which is unemployment. The only historically proven way to increase employment is to do what was done in 1933. Toward end of '33, a new amendment was added to Constitution. It repealed 18th amendment regarding prohibition. I wonder if we'll see new amendments in the next 1-2 years.

To Capture a Commodity

In one of the largest efforts to capture a valuable commodity in the state, the oil industry is spending more than $3 billion in North Dakota to secure natural gas, officials said Friday.

... North Dakota is flaring 100 million cubic feet of gas each day, according to the American Petroleum Institute. North Dakota Petroleum Council Vice President Kari Cutting said the number sounds high.

“All of the companies want to see it captured,” Cutting said. “It’s much better to sell it than flare it. Once we get the infrastructure in place, the gas will not be flared.”

Golden Sacks concurs with what TOD's Charles MacKay has been warning about for some time.

Oil prices could spike to 2008 levels: Goldman Sachs

New York: Arjun Murti, the Goldman Sachs equity analyst who predicted oil prices would spike to $150-$200 a barrel three years ago said on Friday the market is showing ‘stark similarities’ to the start of the 2007-2008 bull run.

Disappointing supply, decent demand, huge draws in inventories and limited spare capacity are all common factors. We are currently in the tightest physical market we have experienced since the end of 2007/beginning of 2008.

... Murti said that inventories of oil in developed countries have fallen sharply in 2011, influenced by supply outages in Libya and buoyant demand. “The latest inventory data from Europe, the U.S. and Japan suggests total inventories are now 31 million barrels below their five-year seasonal average, and in absolute terms crude inventories are back at their 2006 levels,” Murti said, adding stocks would be even lower if it were not for the International Energy Agency’s emergency fuel [SPR] release over the summer.

This reflects a global market in deficit despite Saudi producing the highest amount of crude since the 1980s and shows stark similarities to the 2007 bull market that led to demand rationing prices.

The Super-spike Next Time

Thanks for finding Arjun Murti's latest super-spike update, and yes, I closely agree with what is stated there. But more specifically, as I have noted since March 15 of this year, the "East" especially the countries of China and India have taken a larger share of the net oil export market (discussed nicely further above), while the "West" in particular the US is losing share of the world export market. Note how Murti favors oil companies in the East.

So far the IEA, acting on behalf of the West, tried to recover from loss of supply by an emergency release. Instead of a price spike last summer that would have re-allocated world supplies to the highest bidder, the West used up reserves.

There is growing evidence that the net world oil export market is in terminal decline, although occurring rather slowly in 2011. In addition, there may be month to month recoveries - especially in the next few months as the initial recovery in Libya will be fairly rapid. With world exports falling, the last IEA release ended up being only a stop gap measure for the West. As long as the price of oil in the US is less than the rest of the world, market forces will act to make the US continue to bear the brunt of falling net world oil exports.

This problem can only be resolved by a new super-spike (for the US benchmark WTI), or another IEA oil release. The need to go back to the using reserves will accelerate over time just to hold the price in the US the same. Assuming no further disruptions to oil exporters (a shaky assumption), the next possibility of a super-spike won't be until late winter or early spring. It's quite likely at least here in the US, rising oil prices will be fought first with more oil releases from the SPR.

Heating Oil Jumps to 5-Week High as Supply Drops in U.S., Europe

Futures in New York rose a fifth consecutive day as U.S. supplies sank to an eight-week low in the seven days ended Oct. 7, the Energy Department reported yesterday. Gasoil inventories in independent storage in Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp, Europe’s biggest oil-trading hub, slipped 8.1 percent in the week ended yesterday to the lowest level since December 2008, according to PJK International BV, a consultant in the Netherlands.

“The fact we’ve been drawing down ahead of the heating oil season has some people spooked and distillate demand is up on the four-week average against a year ago...

Fuel oil in these parts is currently running in the range of $1.06 a litre or $4.00 per gallon, although that will surely rise as we get further into the heating season. Fortunately for us, we burn very little oil (originally 5,700 litres a year and now less than 100) having switched to electric heat.

Earlier today, we replaced the older of our two heat pumps with another Sanyo 12KHS71 (the Friedrich née Fujitsu has been passed on to a friend).

The new indoor air handler: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0608.jpg

The outdoor compressor: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0611.jpg

As at September 27th, our rolling twelve month electrical demand stands at 11,025 kWh (space heating and cooling, DHW, lighting and appliances, and various plug loads) and my hope is that this new Sanyo will get us below the 10,000 mark. Both heat pumps are connected to power monitors and so far this month their combined usage is averaging a little less than half a kWh a day.


A little off topic question, do you know if British style ring mains are legal under America's NEC regulations?



No, which in many respects is a shame (my parent's home in Wales is wired this way). However, as you know, this requires that all plugs be individually fused and that's not going to happen in North America.


Sorry, I am having a parsing problem. No you don't or no it isn't. I couldn't find anything in the Mexican regs that are supposed to be harmonised with the NEC or on line.


My apologies for the confusion; the latter in this case.


Ah, thanks for that, I now have some gentle mind changing to work on. Now where did I put that clue by four:)


BrightSource is testing concentrated solar for EOR.
Chevron Uses Solar-Thermal Steam to Extract Oil in California

The company can produce heat for EOR for about $3 per million British thermal units, compared with about $4 for a comparable natural-gas plant in the U.S. and between $10 to $12 for other conventional solar thermal technologies, O’Donnell said. “We are the only ones below natural gas right now in the U.S.”

BCC Research summarizes: Enhanced Oil Recovery: Technologies and Global Markets

2009 and 2014 the world market for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technologies is expected to increase by a factor of 3.5, from $4.7 billion to $16.3 billion, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.4%. The most extensive growth, in terms of total dollars, will occur in the North American market. This region was valued at $3.3 billion in 2009 and is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26% to reach $10.3 billion in 2014. South America will experience the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 374%,

Code – EGY071A , Published – June 2010, Author – Robert Eckard, Category – Energy And Resources

I've heard different takes on the economics (like it was much too expensive). Although for a small scale first of its kind project you should expect to pay a lot. In any case, solar thermal should be much better for industrial heat production, than for pure electricity production -no need to convert from heat to power. And an app like this, which can run when the sun shines should be ideal. I suspect using local PV to pump oil, could also be useful. If we really develop solar powered oil production than EROEI as traditionally calculated goes out the window.

After reading this, we Canadians must love Yergin. If this only for a day or two, but thank you Daniel!
Listen to the full inteview: http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201110131000

GE radiates confidence with plans for solar-panel plant in Aurora

General Electric​'s plans to build a $300 million solar panel plant in Colorado comes as the solar industry has been rocked by a string of bankruptcies and falling prices. On Friday, as GE executives outlined plans to build the country's largest solar factory in Aurora, a congressional committee was holding hearings in Washington, D.C., on the bankruptcy of solar-panel maker Solyndra.

Thin-film technology developed at the National Renewable Energy Lab, then productized by a start-up in Arvada, CO, which was subsequently purchased by GE. Part of the choice of location is that GE has plans to sell panels to wind farm operators. Might be a good strategy for a Great Plains wind farm: (1) transmission links are already built, (2) many GP wind farms are on land with little agricultural use (unlike farms in the prairie states farther east), and (3) on a seasonal basis, solar output peaks in the summer, which is the low point for GP wind.

I like the fact that they are planning to manufacture them here, instead of chasing low costs in China. Maybe, they think the cost hit is small enough that they can exploit economic nationalism (in the form of domestic content for government funded projects), and come out ahead. I sure hope this is successful. They are directly competing against First Solar. They both are doin CdTe panels, at similar efficiency levels. Although FirstSolar already has about 2GW of manufacturing capacity already, GEs announcement is something like 400MW. First Solar already (I think credibly) claims production cost of $.75/watt, with a roadmap for $.50. And I think the cSI guys are threatening to hit similar price points as well. So its a really tough marketplace. If you can't get your costs low enough, you will end up following Solyndra down the drain.

A substantial majority of First Solar's production capacity is in Europe and Asia, and their US production is in Ohio. If GE is really going to push the idea of combining wind and solar, a location near Denver makes a lot of sense. For many of the same reasons, Vestas chose the Denver area for their US wind turbine production facilities.

Is the U.S. finally closing the last chapter of our Iraq misadventure?


Now as for Afghanistan...

But wait...now we are in Uganda!


We will bleed ourselves dry...

...please, let us throttle back on the 'Team America, World Police' paradigm...

Uganda looks like a war-up for the main event

Military Force an Option Against Iran, Rogers Says

Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Military force shouldn’t be ruled out as a response to an Iranian assassination plot on U.S. soil, the top House Republican on intelligence issues said.

“I don’t think you should take it off the table,” said Representative Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said on ABC’s “This Week.”

... [Feinstein] rejected a call from retired U.S. General Jack Keane, an architect of the troop surge in Iraq, for the U.S. to engage in covert operations to kill members of Iran’s Quds Force. ...

“It probably would escalate into a war, and the question is: Do we want to go to war with Iran at this time?” Feinstein said. “My judgment is no. We have our hands full with Iraq, with Afghanistan, with the deteriorating relationship with Pakistan.”

IMO, it would be pretty darn easy for the U.S. to take out Iranian air defenses, disrupt their comms and utilities, kill, injure, or disperse into hiding a large fraction of their military folks and their equipment, and plant a U.S. flag in the town square in Tehran.

As usual, the intractable predicament would be 'What do we do after that?'

Also, the other problem would be delayed blow-back.

The song remains the same.

I am kind of surprised and disappointed that the OWS/OE movement (or the American people in general) have not started to publicly question the American War Machine.

I guess everyone has bought into the recent size and use of the MIC as BAU and as inevitable as death and taxes. Perhaps most everyone has bought the propaganda and have signed off on the perpetual Carte Blanche.

Lots of job security for a certain segment of the population!

Whats truly scarey is that the only opposition seems to be "not at this time" are hands are full. No questioning of whether that would be a right/just thing to do even if it came at low cost. We have almost completely bought into the demonization of Iran, and just plain believe anything inflamatory.

Rick Perry's economic plan for the U.S. of America: Drill, Baby, Drill! Dig, Baby, Dig!


"The quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to deploy American ingenuity to tap American energy. But we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down," he said.

"America has proven but untapped supplies of natural gas, oil and coal. America is the Saudi Arabia of coal, with 25 percent of the world's supply. Our country contains up to 134 billion barrels of oil and nearly 1.2 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas."

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/10/14/127298/perry-struggling-in-campaig...

Rick said that his plan would create 1.2M jobs in the U.S.

OK, allrighty then...Next candidate!

I think Perry was yesterdays star. It didn't last long. Today it is Cain. But, I think he will wither as well. Finally, they will have to turn to Romney. And they almost certainly will. They are worried about electability. That will trump the fact that some of their supporters will have to hold their noses to vote for a (gasp) Mormon.

It's interesting to see how outlandish they will try to make their promises, and which ones they'll get away with.

I think we've come to believe that they can get away with just about any lie or ambitious fabrication that they can come up with.. and yet I don't really believe that it's limitless.

We had a block party today, Partly Sunny and Warm, partly Windy and Cold. My wife got the permits, and put out mulled cider and some really good soup, and I talked to my friend on the City Council about his and my homes various insulation projects, and what to do next, and later with a retired accountant who was not sure about PO, but more than willing to talk about it, and about the disaster she feels awaits us with Shale and shortsighted economic policies. We closed off the block, and kids were all over the place with Bikes, Scooters and Trikes, while neighbors relished an unfortunately rare opportunity to commune. It was a good day.. I only drove the car about 40 feet.

Even the conservative right, on the surface so unified in demographics and idealogy, turns out to have all of these intractable differences.

The new Republican dilemma - another governor from Texas, an African American, or a Mormon? - would be funny if it wasn't so absurd.

America is the Saudi Arabia of ... (energy)

Romney takes a similar position in the Energy Policy chapter of his Mitt-festo (a book he recently put out for free on Kindle) except that he also wants to have a thousand points of nuclear fission light on that shining Believe in America hill.

One thing for sure, America is the Saudi Arabia of ... American Dreamin'

I just returned from the "Occupy Santa Rosa" demonstration about an hour ago. Some observations:

1. A pretty old crowd. News reports have said it was a young people's movement in other cities but I would guess the average age was 50-ish. Lots of families with young children.

2. Great signs. I couldn't help but think they seemed to have better spelling than I saw at the Tea Party events. My favorite: "One day the poor will have nothing to eat but the rich". Another good one:"Too many banksters, not enough guillotines".

3. There was one man with a Tea Party tri-corner hat and a woman with a sign saying that the Tea Party supported OWS.

4. The last anti-war march I went on in Santa Rosa was practically taken over by immigrant groups. I only saw one UFW sign today.

5. The event was promoted by Move-On. I received e-mail notices for several days before the event.

6. There seemed to be fairly professional organization. Before the march (around several closed banks) there was an admonition to obey traffic laws and to clean up after themselves. There was a first aid station and a media stand.

7. Being paranoid I was very curious about the number of mature men in elevated locations with expensive cameras.

8. Overall the mood was pretty positive, much like your average block party.

Things are heating up in Rome....

Rome Protests Erupt: Cars Torched, Windows Smashed (PHOTOS)


I must say, whenever I see that buffoon Berlusconi I feel like torching my own car....and I'm not even Italian.

I checked out the Occupy Irvine event sponsored by Occupy Orange County (CA) in the financial center of Irvine. Small - probably 200 at most when I arrived at 1PM, but organizers said it was larger when it started at 10 AM.

Well organized right down to a legal and medical center, and a continuous open mike for speakers and musicians. One of the organizers (boomer) spoke quite a bit about legalities of the occupation, including how food will be handled, so I'd say they know their rights and limitations clearly and have the situation well in hand.

The demographics were about 70% young people, a few tweens, and a handful of slightly younger kids. All races, all colors, and I have no doubt that there were likely many religions and political views represented.

Frequent honks, peace signs, and thumbs-up from passersby. Those flipping the bird and yelling "get a job" appeared much less frequently. Some quizzical faces read signs carefully while they waited at stop lights as if they weren't quite sure what was happening. Some of these folks responded favorably when they figured the deal out.

The 30% older folk present were not just baby boomers - there were a few of the "greatest generation" coming and going with their children and grandchildren (and possibly their great-grandchildren). As always in Carmageddon, people came and went, so the faces were ever-changing.

There were four tents pitched on the green and this will be the first night of an attempted permanent occupation there. Up until today, all OC events at various locations have been one-day events, as far as I know.

A sprinkling of Guy Fawkes masks, lots of great quotes on signs, and something I hadn't noticed before - a few signs labeled Socialist Party. Three men showed up with a giant anti-Obama sign and stood across the street with it. I had the feeling they were not so much supporting OWS as trying to use the energy to their own ends, but they were tolerated as part of the mix.

All in all, lots of positive energy and good cheer. Warmed my heart to see strangers bonding for a common cause.

[Edit - update] A 10/15 photo album - http://www.flickr.com/photos/compilationsofcarina/6248940613/in/set-7215...

A note on the Occupy FB wall said this morning that anyone spending the night "cannot lay down" or they will be arrested, but protestors are allowed to spend the night in that location as long as everyone is awake. So, the Irvine assembly is asking for nightly reinforcements for a night watch. Apparently they use the tents to rest in during the day.


Being paranoid I was very curious about the number of mature men in elevated locations with expensive cameras.

While Big Brother is doubtless watching somehow, those people were probably just camera nerds.

In the old days, shutterbugs could only bore their wives and neighbors with their photos. Now, they all have blogs, and a worldwide audience. If there's any kind of event - a car crash, a natural disaster, a protest - they rush out to take photos so they can upload them to Twitter or Facebook or Flickr. Some do it just for the "props" they get from their followers, but many are involved in "microstock" - selling the photos online for small amounts. Even big media like Time Magazine are using microstock photos these days. Traditional photographers hate it, because they used get thousands of dollars for photos that now sell for 25 cents. But technology - both cameras that don't require a lot of skill to use, and the net, that connects sellers to buyers in a way that wasn't possible before - marches on. Given the way the economy's going, it's the wave of the future.

"Traditional photographers hate it, because they used get thousands of dollars for photos that now sell for 25 cents."

Bits are arbitrary. The marginal cost of production is zero. (Initial capital cost of bit production equipment is not zero, but it is declining.)

Econ 101 says in the absence of cartels the price eventually declines to the marginal cost of production.

The effects of these two rules are still rattling through the greater economy. And many of the unintended consequences are still to arrive.

Yes. This is a facet of the same problem newspapers are facing. The Internet and digital everything is a paradigm shift as large as the invention of the printing press.

As Clay Shirky pointed out, no one can predict what the future will look like after a paradigm shift like that, and what we want doesn't really enter into it.

The economy is forcing things along. Buyers are being forced to cut back, and the sellers are often using it as an alternate income stream.

But I suspect that as with music, the result won't be greater equality and more access. Rather, the superstar effect will reign, with the disparity between the richest and the rest growing wider and wider.

I am heartened to hear the very positive first-hand accounts from the various Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Everything rallies.

I was especially glad to hear that someone saw at least one sign of support from the Tea Party! Perhaps both sides are slowly learning that they are often both played as pawns against each other...

I am impressed by the organization you cited in the protester ranks, and very glad that the police have not provoked confrontation or unilaterally invoked brutality on the 'Man's' part.

Good show, hopefully even the most hypnotized Rush/Fox robots can start to draw a significant distinction between OWS/OE folks in the U.S. and folks in certain parts of Europe who are burning cars, pelting police with rocks and bottles, etc.

It is great to see that our Constitution is still at least somewhat respected, in the case of the right to assemble and petition for redress of grievances, etc.

I am heartened to hear the very positive first-hand accounts from the various Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Everything rallies.

So am I! Very emboldened by the global response to OWS in NY. People finally got so darn tired of not being heard (because the only ones being heard today are the politicians via lobbyists) they had to take to the streets to make it known it isn't ok to allow WallStreet to bilk the country and our personal wealth. The politicians thought it was fair game to let that sector just tee off in any manner they please ad infinitum, but oh no, 'The People' have something definite to say about it. Stop squeezing us for every dime we've got on your greedfest ponzi schemes.

I was especially glad to hear that someone saw at least one sign of support from the Tea Party! Perhaps both sides are slowly learning that they are often both played as pawns against each other...

I'm curious to see how that plays out. As I mentioned before, Denninger seems to see OWS as the Tea Party before the GOP took over. Apparently, other rightwingers don't see it that way.

The "plausible promise" of an open source revolt unites disparate groups to work towards a common goal, even if they're antagonistic towards each other normally. The US authorities should be used to it by now as they've been up against it in their overseas wars. The thing is the open source revolt is mercurial and innovates faster than the system it is attacking.

The cost of the revolt is probably very low to those involved, but costs the authorities considerably. 1$ spent on the revolt creates losses to the authorities many fold. A kind of revolutionary ROI (Return On Investment) that measures how much the revolution is bleeding the system. Once the Authorities resort to violence a new avenue for the revolt will open with system disruption and the ROI will go exponential. Hopefully it won't come to that and the existing system falls apart from its own failing internal dynamics and a nudge by the 99%.

Chris Hedges doesn't see it that way either and explains very negative view in interview Occupy Wall Street vs. Tea Party - Chris Hedges (VIDEO)

It has all the hallmarks of a classically fascist organization including the fact it's bankrolled by the most retrograde elements within American society. And the people who bankroll it have turned anger, and of course you're right they are tapping into a legitimate rage. But they have deflected that rage away from where it should be directed which is Wall St, towards government.

Does anyone else think that China/India will sooner fall over than actually pass the United States in terms of GDP? If we're in ecological overshoot with the specter of peak fossil fuels and climate change hanging over our heads then surely the sheer size of their populations ought to act against them?


The past decade was a climate hiatus decade, we'll see what the climate really has in store for us in the coming decade. Can a place like India survive if they seem to already be struggling? I remember reports of their having less than a weeks supply of coal for many of their power stations. I think here we ought to challenge the assumption that countries like India will grow indefinitely as much as we are currently challenging the idea that oil is abundant and easily extracted.

We have an oil plateau and it is Chindia that is growing by leaps and bounds, and the US who is virtually at stand-still.

State-run media reported that Beijing is considering capping domestic coal output in the 2011-2015 period, partly because officials worry miners are running down reserves too quickly to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding economy.

"China accounts for around 14% of global coal reserves but its share of global coal consumption is already over triple that at 47%, which is unsustainable," Hong Kong-based brokerage CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets said in a report last month.


Their ability to outbid the U.S.A. for oil is completely reliant upon cheap coal. What happens to their much vaunted economic growth if they run short on energy? Remember Jeffories' much vaunted export equations, what happens if consumption of electricity for regular chinese people produced by coal increases whilst at the same time production of coal remains stagnant and they are forced to import relatively more expensive coal from overseas to bridge the gap? If the average price of coal increases by 10% would it be more damaging to China than a 30% increase in the price of oil for the U.S.A? Remember in a post peak world transporting coal starts to become prohibitively expensive.

Have you looked at China's nuclear ramping?

And what, pray, makes you think that Chindia's growth is in any way sustainable?!

Nothing makes me think that. It is the opposite of what I was trying to convey!

And what, pray, makes you think that Chindia's growth is in any way sustainable?!

They have managed great growth during a six year oil plateuau. I don't see anything stopping them in the coming few decades either. Lots of electric bikes, ambitious nuclear plans, nice infrastructure projects, CTL programmes and so on.

Jeppen,"The chain is as strong as the weakest link". As far as India goes I have earlier also postulated that the urban growth story(rural farmers continues to be in debt and have the highest suicide rate)is more about opening of consumer credit in and around 1995.India came late to the consumer credit bandwagon.In the major urban areas people are living on maxed out credit cards.To confirm my hypothesis the recent interest hikes have seen demand slump in real estate,automobiles and durables.Of course there is growth in the IT sector and is a major contributor to the growth rate but the rest of the growth story is only domestic demand fueled by credit boom and a sham.The banks are sitting on top of huge non preforming assets as a result S&P downgraded State Bank Of India which is the largest bank and owned by the govt.This bank is next after the Reserve bank.As to nuclear plans,CTL programmes,infrastructure projects they exist only on paper and are avenues to skim money.Not a month goes by when a new scam is uncovered.Your estimate is way out of reality on the ground.

Some Indian stats:

Total fertility (children per woman): 2000: 3.1 2005: 2.8 2010: 2.6
GDP per capita (ppp): 2000: $1648, 2005: $2126 2010: $2972

Other stats have improved too - female literacy, health, electricity use and so on. Huge improvements. So huge I don't buy anecdotes on Chindia that is supposed to show that they are illusions.

Jeppen,Statistics and lies:
1.Yes fertility rate is down but the base has increased so the real number of mouths to feed has increased and not decreased.In such case % is not the key,the key is extra mouths to feed.
2.GDP per capita:That is a 6% rise year to year basis and inflation running at 9%.Ghana,Thailand etc have better rates.
3.Healthcare:In India we joke "Govt hospitals are where you go to die not to survive".They have discovered the super bug NMD 1(which is code for NewDelhiMedical)in hospitals against which all drugs have failed.A few years ago was a scam where used disposable syringes were recycled leading to a spurt in HIV cases.Rats are so many some hospitals have resident cats.We have one of the highest rate for child mortality and THE highest rate in the world for malnutrition.
What you hear are not anecdotes but facts but like they say "Grass is greener on the other side".

1. Yes, the base has increased, but that is now stopping, which means the population is slowly going to stabilise (likely peak in 2060 or so). Also, it means that working-age adults is going to dominate more and more, which is good for gdp/capita stats.
2. No, the GDP rise is inflation adjusted. I'm talking real GDP per capita, not nominal.
3. Of course there are problems, but it is improving. And no, India is not worst. Play around with Gapminder a bit and you'll see.

In the major urban areas people are living on maxed out credit cards

Don't know where you get your information but credit cards are a luxury here, the use has picked up recently but it's still miniscule, savings rate is still in excess of 35%. There is a bubble in Real Estate but it's tiny compared to the size of the country. Also there is no credit boom as you imagine, credit is hard to come by for ordinary people. Most of the NPA's belong to private and state owned companies.

I agree with other assessments.


This fight to me sums up the battle between China and the U.S.A (economically). I also just love the scene. U.S.A. = old model terminator.

The U.S.A. is disorganised and it is in terrible shape but I believe China will be forced to stretch out her hand sooner than she would like to gather resources due to problems at home in getting enough energy and due to suffering the same issues that oil export nations suffer only with coal vs oil. Once that happens they will present themselves as a rival to U.S. interests which will likely spur an end to much of the political infighting and self destructive activities of the good ol' U.S.A.

Effectively any kind of competition between China and the U.S.A. would probably push the disunited and relatively soft Indians to the side and starve them of resources. So even if India hasn't self destructed by then, China and the U.S.A. 'going at it' would probably push them over the edge as collateral damage. I'm not talking about open military conflict but diplomacy and economic power being employed. The world will be quick to forget the sins of the past as the U.S. has the propaganda advantage and they will be quick to never let the world forget the sins of China.

China can sustain longer than the high cost countries. China can displace the high cost countries. U.S. down in 30 years, China down in 60 years. Somehow it does not make we feel better that China will eventually suffer the same fate. I wonder if China will doing any prepping for a soft landing over the next 60 years?

Oil isn't the only fossil fuel. Coal is the limiting resource for China and they are going to peak soon. What happens if they peak as electricity consumption for domestic supply continues to rise? What happens if their ecological pollution really starts to catch up to them? You can't think that growth can continue forever can you?

China is closing inefficient coal plants and are opening new, better ones, getting more electricity per tonne of coal. They are ramping wind and nuclear power fast, and they are still building hydro projects. Also they are upgrading their grid to enable more intermittent sources and to lower transmission losses. And, of course, lots of hot water solar capacity. Combine this with room to grow coal extraction, and with greater efficiency and an eventual shift in the economy towards services. In all, it seems quite feasible to get to Western standards. (The nuclear target of 400 GW by 2050 alone corresponds to some 80% of China's current electricity production.)

They have managed great growth during a six year oil plateuau. I don't see anything stopping them in the coming few decades either.

You're kidding, right?

Aside from the simple fact that past performance has never been a guarantee of future results, you really can't see anything on the horizon that might put an end to this great growth?

How about resource limits, population overshoot, ecological devastation, climate change, droughts, famine etc.. etc.. or do you believe none of that is real or will have any impact? Why do you think Chindia is immune to this...

Wiley's Olduvai


The ocean, as a whole, is still steadily building up heat, so the next warm phase of this natural cycle may drive global temperatures to new record highs (the ocean heat coming back to haunt us).

I suspect the past decade was a climate jab. The coming decade is a climate right hook. We'll find out if Chindia has a climatic glass chin...

Now finally if one was to find a BTU production graph for China given the fall in quality of coal reserves are falling we could project their real peak coal. We mustn't forget that a barrel of oil is roughly standardised in terms of energy whereas coal has anthracite, bituminous, sub-bituminous and lignite as well as peat.

Anthracite is coal with the highest carbon content, between 86 and 98 percent, and a heat value of nearly 15,000 BTUs-per-pound

Bituminous coal has a carbon content ranging from 45 to 86 percent carbon and a heat value of 10,500 to 15,500 BTUs-per-pound

subbituminous coal with 35-45 percent carbon content and a heat value between 8,300 and 13,000 BTUs-per-pound

Lignite is a geologically young coal which has the lowest carbon content, 25-35 percent, and a heat value ranging between 4,000 and 8,300 BTUs-per-pound


So even if they manage to increase their coal output in metric tons they may still suffer from falling energy output if the ratio between high quality 12,000+ BTU per pound coal falls relative to the least valuable coal grades. It isn't enough to just say that coal output is increasing when you also need to know what type of coal they are increasing production of.

I note that Taiwan has 639 persons/km^2. South Korea is at 487. They have both gone through dirty industrialisation phases and they came out OK. Now, mainland China is at a population density of 140 persons/km^2. I don't see why they would be in overshoot, nor why they couldn't manage ecological issues and so on.

Sure, PO may be a global killer, but if not (as it currently seems), China is good.

South Korea are in overshoot, Taiwan are in overshoot and the whole world is in ecological overshoot. I don't see how China would be spared from this metric.

China is closing inefficient coal plants and are opening new, better ones, getting more electricity per tonne of coal. They are ramping wind and nuclear power fast, and they are still building hydro projects. Also they are upgrading their grid to enable more intermittent sources and to lower transmission losses. And, of course, lots of hot water solar capacity. Combine this with room to grow coal extraction, and with greater efficiency and an eventual shift in the economy towards services. In all, it seems quite feasible to get to Western standards. (The nuclear target of 400 GW by 2050 alone corresponds to some 80% of China's current electricity production.)

They would have to increase electricity production 3 fold if they want to match the electricity use of Denmark from the 2008 figures.


Can they increase their generation faster than they increase their production? it's the oil export nation problem afterall applied to electricity and coal.

The limits to growth are a very real thing. They are consuming non renewable coal, oil, gas, water and raw materials at an astonishing rate. Can these rates be maintained long enough for them to develop their entire country?

South Korea are in overshoot, Taiwan are in overshoot and the whole world is in ecological overshoot.

I don't agree.

They would have to increase electricity production 3 fold if they want to match the electricity use of Denmark from the 2008 figures.

That was in 2008. Using 2010 figures, they only have to double production to get to Denmark's level! This thing moves fast.

Can they increase their generation faster than they increase their production?

They don't need to. China's electricity per capita is half that of Denmark, but their GDP per capita is a fifth. So they need only increase generation at less than half the rate of production.

The limits to growth are a very real thing. They are consuming non renewable coal, oil, gas, water and raw materials at an astonishing rate. Can these rates be maintained long enough for them to develop their entire country?

Yes, so it seems.

I don't see anything stopping them in the coming few decades either.

I can think of two possibilities in the coming few decades:
1. Not enough water.
2. Not enough food.

Can't say about China but no chance that India can pass USA and here is why:
1.Imports 80% of oil and gas with no long term contracts or an SPR.Living by day to day shipments.
1a.Imports almost all protein(pulses)and cooking oil.Indians are mostly veggies and pulses are an important source of protein.Only self sufficient in wheat and rice.
2.Water tables falling fast and land degraded at least in the wheat belt.Agriculture production is way behind population growth.
3.Population growth is the highest since the base is very high.OVERSHOOT.
4.Information Technology does not create enough jobs like manufacturing .
5.If you add the off balance sheet subsidies of oil and food to the budget the situation is bankrupt nation.
6.All political parties/players are corrupt to the core.Politic is fragmented and regional.No national party
7.Local insurgencies with the Maoists and Muslims plus the North East.About 30-40% of the country is having this problem.
8.Poor resource base.It exports iron ore but now local steel mills have a problem in procuring iron ore since a scam of illegal mining.Coal is available but of poor quality ,and so severe power problems.The quality is so poor that the power plants are equipped with "washeries" to wash coal before use.Using fresh water to wash coal in a water deficient nation.The coal sector is heavily unionized ,highly inefficient and controlled by the Mafia.
9.Agriculture is in trouble due to climate change.The Chinese cornered almost all(80%) the supply of Potash this year and there are now periodic shortages of this.What will they do when China corners 100%?

They also have Pakistan right next door whom is in even worse shape than them! I wouldn't be surprised if the whole place fell over in the next 10 years. The whole place is front and center one of the worst places to be when climate change really starts to bite and trust me it'll bite hard over the coming decade because it was relatively stable over the past decade.

I'm betting on Pakistan to be the first large country over the cliff.
Ecologically devastated and in population overshoot, highly dependent on a industrial ag system energy and water dependent, illiterate and immersed in religious fundamentalism, and run by the military.

when climate change really starts to bite and trust me it'll bite hard

Two years in a row with unprecidented destructive floods. Seems its already biting quite hard.


Way back in 1979 or so (maybe in the early 80s?) the now-defunct magazine 'Next' published an article detailing the results of a Delphi-method poll of subject matter experts who answered questions about the likelihood and nature of future nuclear weapons exchanges.

The #1 (by a respectable margin over #2) likely scenario for a nuclear exchange was between India and Pakistan.

The #2 most likely scenario was an exchange between Israel and either Pakistan or some more proximate Islamic-religion-dominated nation which acquired nuclear weapons, presumably from/with help from Pakistan.

The #3 most likely scenario, and in a very distant third place, was a U.S.-U.S.S.R exchange.

I personally concurred with the SME's assessment back then, and I personally concur that this is the case today, with the exception that I would move the U.S.-Russia exchange to a very distant #5, and rate a North Korea-ROK/U.S. forces in ROK scenario as a moderately distant #3.

I would personally rate a U.S.-China exchange as a distant #4, and this would only be if both countries were stupid enough to go to the mat over Taiwan.

It has been 66 years since a nuclear weapon was used in combat...I sincerely hope that mankind is smart enough to keep this record intact for the rest of our time.

The U.S. Army has an old saying: 'Hope is not a strategy'.

I can speak on behalf of my country. To tell you frankly I never believed in this India growth story, the chief reason being that our country took a shortcut to growth, a country's greatest resource are it's pool of people and India has not properly invested in it's people in any way, even today dogma, gender discrimination, regionalism and casteism (a scourge unique to the subcontinent) abound.
The industrial revolution in Europe was accompanied by a social upheaval which broke the back of church and resulted in independence of ideas, in contrast this 21st century growth is purely the result of money flowing in from west to east. There are no accompanying social reforms to speak of.

The stories you hear about IIT's, a growing pool of engineers, doctors and professions are true, but the ratio of professionals to general population is depressing, it's something like 1 doctor to 1800 patients(overall), in the rural hinterland where majority lives the number is even worse since most doctors prefer to practice in cities. Similarly most of the engineers are herded in a select few cities where they work in sweat shops for MNC's.

I have always felt that you can come back from any problem like the proverbial phoenix provided you have a resilient population, it's true that economies in the west are in decline but IMHO you guys will come out on top once this ends, and all countries which thought that a modern society can be built on the basis of GDP alone will find out what a disaster the whole thing has been.

One more thing, although I am speaking about the entire country, I wouldn't lump all the people in India into one category, it's just like Europe with Greece and Germany, there are many places in India which have crossed the hurdles I mentioned above, if allowed autonomy they will rival Singapore and South Korea within a few decades.

I've known several of the IIT type expats. They are really awesome. I wouldn't count out a country that can produce so many awesome people. They are all over the upper (skillwise) echelons in US tech companies. I suspect this is also the case in Europe. Many of these people envisage going back home.

1.All the Indian guys at the top in US companies have been mostly educated in US universities.There are a few who have come out of India but they are the exception to the rule.
2."The chain is strongest as the weakest link"."A small hole can sink a big ship".The problem is not the techies,the problems are others which I have enumerated in another post.
3.Yes,some have gone back but majority of these have not been successful in their ventures since they have difficulty entering the domestic market where the environment of tax evasion,corruption,no invoices,delays etc are a regular feature.The export market mainly for IT services and BPO,call centres is overcrowded.
4.If you ask me though the Indian techies are intelligent/smart but they seem even more so because the US is producing slobs.

I take it to mean by (1), they we are probably not getting the true cream of the crop. Those who can't get into IIT can always pay to go to second-rate MIT, CalTech etc. (assuming the family can afford it). There were sure a lot of complaints about the caste quota system back home, making it very difficult for well qualified high caste people to get decent positions. My friend also claimed that (tech) employees in India start at low salaries, but typically pay increases at something like 18% per year. So the idea of working in the west for the first decade, is a way of avoiding paying their dues on the lower rungs in India. (In the West starting salaries, are much higher,but don't grow that much with experience).

And to 2. You can really only have a small fraction of techies, most of any economy will be doing more mundane things.

(3) So the barriers to going back, may be greater than present young expats just starting careers abroad may imagine.

Are the people really India's greatest resource? Probably their greatest curse more like it. Compare people vs machines, if a machine can do the work of 10 people (bulldozer) is it cheaper to run one machine and one person than it is to feed 10 people? Because there are so many people and you don't need credit they'll employ 10 people instead of the one bulldozer. What India is really doing IMHO is connecting their population with the world economy so they can get the true value of that labour. Once the value of that labour stops increasing the growth will have to vanish as well.

One of the biggest problems both India and China face is the same problem as oil exporting countries face. Once domestic consumption of fossil fuels starts to increase due to rising affluence they will have to divert ever increasing quantities of their cheap energy to powering domestic appliances rather than industrial and commercial applications. Effectively ever increasing quantities of fossil fuels will be expended simply to keep the lights on and the fridges running and the AC units humming. At the same time both countries are facing increasing difficulty in extracting fossil fuels, especially coal at an ever faster rate. Beyond this at some point they would have reached a point where they need to replace their capital stock due to aging/depreciation so increasing quantities of capital would need to be diverted just to maintain the same level of development. Effectively both are facing their own particular limits to growth and ecological overshoot.

I think industrial and commercial applications will have the electricity they need since they can outcompete domestic demand.

India is generating its own demand for workers, and so their big population isn't a problem from that perspective. A certain percentage need to be physicians, hairdressers, builders, police and so on. I agree that the population is the greatest resource of any country.

India's population overshoot is the problem, not its greatest resource.
The species that are going extinct are probably its greatest resource.

"Does anyone else think that China/India will sooner fall over than actually pass the United States in terms of GDP?"

China will pass us on the way up, then pass us again on their way back down.

I'm not sure about India.

$3 trillion US dollars equivalent of foreign exchange reserves (actually composed of about roughly $2 trillion US dollars and $1 trillion worth of other currencies and gold) is enough money to buy all the above ground oil reserves in the world. That should at least give them a temporary advantage for a few years.

It has been my belief for a while now that China and India will stop their growth - possibly go into stark decline - sooner than "we" will crash and burn. The short story is that they will hit Limit To Growth sooner than most people think. Their growth is simply so fast that they will reachmax levels faster than any other. "The light that shine twice as fast burns half as long".

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Reportedly Arrested For Closing Their Accounts- Call The CEO


Wow. That's a good example of using a strategy that targets a weakness of TPTB. I bet Citibank will increase their security budget and decrease other budgets. Other banks may follow suit.

About a year ago (or has it been longer?) my wife and I ditched BOA and put our checking account/Direct Deposit with USAA, with whom we conduct almost all of the rest of our financial business.

BOA can fail and be a note in the dust bin of history for all I care.

If USAA goes to the dark side, then we will find a nice local credit union.

One can vote with one's money...that'll leave a mark.

Not sure how many of you remember BeePee from Macondo incident. BeePee uploaded a few positive comments for OWS with videos of protests at BOA and other banks.
Banks Are Having People Arrested (VIDEO)

People may have already forgotten the Lincoln Savings scandal a while ago.

I hope I was one of the 'quiet ones' for that, because as soon as I learned about Keating and his actions, I withdrew all my savings accounts with them, and closed all my accounts.


Occupy Wall Street Protesters Reportedly Arrested For Closing Their Accounts-

When I read that headline in your post I thought it must be a mistake, however it's true! If those people had Citi accounts they had every right to be there to close them. If they were yelling inside the bank, then that's another thing. But just doing business, whether its closing an account or not, should not be grounds for incarceration. This smells of a police state action.

Should be interesting to see the lines blurr between what's considered law and people's rights as the OWS movement continues to build.

Yes, well I have had a Citi account as of opening time on Monday. This really is something that will put the scares up the bastards.

they fear it won't just stop with them.. imagine if every one of the people in the protests went to close their bank accounts. it could start a bank run from people who are not even in the protests.

Sorry...can't find link this morning.


Down Island for a few days and read in Vancouver Sun and heard on radio the LNG plant at Kitimat looks like a go and the Feds will push it through to reap the increase in export prices (X3 vrs N American price). Kitimat site prep has been going ahead as we speak. Finance talks are ongoing. ( this has been addressed on radio, as well).

Just wondering...as the pipeline route is eventually prepped, graded, with acccess roads...will a wide enough swath be prepped for eventual oil pipeline for same export market?

This dipping the toe for export market may be one way to eventually get the oil line built provided there are few problems with carriers.

Found this though...

Feed natural gas will come from Apache's and EOG Resource’s fields in British Columbia and Alberta
Approximately 19 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of combined marketable / technically recoverable natural gas resources
Initial plant capacity of 5 million metric tons per annum (mmtpa) liquefied natural gas (LNG) output
Potential LNG capacity expansion to 10 mmtpa or more
Designated industrial area location
Design based on proven liquefaction technology
Lower greenhouse gas emissions through the use of hydroelectric power
Natural deepwater, ice-free harbor; no dredging or breakwater required
Close proximity to Asia Pacific LNG markets
Targeting 2015 for first LNG shipment

October 2011 – Canada’s National Energy Board grants Kitimat LNG a 20 year Export Licence to serve international markets.
July 2011 – Kitimat LNG purchases Eurocan industrial site
March 2011 – Kitimat LNG partners Apache Corporation and EOG Resources Inc. announce that Encana Corporation has agreed to acquire a 30-per cent, working-interest ownership
March 2011 –Kitimat LNG partners acquire Pacific Trail Pipelines
March 2011 – Kitimat LNG awards Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) contract to KBR
March 2011 – Historic ceremonial signing with Haisla First Nation and Kitimat LNG at Kitamaat Village
December 2010 – KM LNG files Canadian Federal Export License Application
December 2010 – FEED commences
December 2010 – EOG closes agreement on purchase of 49 per cent of Kitimat LNG project
November 2010 – Documents fully executed for Uplands and Foreshore leases with related agreements
November 2010 – Haisla First Nation votes overwhelmingly to approve land lease
May 2010 – EOG Resources Canada Inc. (EOG) signs pre-acquisition agreement to purchase remaining 49 per cent of LNG project
January 2010 – KM LNG through its managing partner Apache Canada Ltd. purchased 51 per cent of the project and becomes operator
January 2009 – Canadian provincial environmental assessment approval
December 2008 – Canadian federal environmental assessment approval

I actually agree with this project - much better to extract 3x the money from China than 1x the money from the US. We will, of course, have to make sure China doesn't pay with US bonds!

I can easily see an oil pipeline going into the same corridor, and so it should. Why repeat the entire exercise of surveying, planning, permitting, First nations negotiations etc for a different pipeline alignment?

We can;t stop creeping industrialisation, but lets keep it all close together - it can be better managed that way.

The price difference on that 19TCF, at $3 for pipe gas and $9 for LNG, works out to $114 billion - so I would say there is quite an economic benefit to the province there.

The price difference on WTI v Brent, at an average of $20/bbl, works out to $15bn per year that we are giving up by selling our 2mbd at WTI prices, so an oil pipeline to the west coast that allows even 500kbd to be sold on the world market is worth $4bn a year.

The trick is, IMO, to make sure that these are listed as critical infrastructure of national importance, such that China (or anyone else) can never own/control them.

I disagree, Paul

I agree that IF Canada is to export both oil & gas to the Pacific, then the pipelines should share the same corridor.
But there are many IFs to be sorted out, and they should be determined (insofar as they can be determined) first.

Our country still has conducted no analysis of our long-term energy security. USA, Australia and UK have all had government-funded analyses of PO, but NRCan has done no formal analysis. We need a thorough, current, honest assessment of the future energy picture at the global, continental and national levels. I also think that the team which conducts this analysis should include a couple of analysts from National Defence.

We know we are well past-peak in conventional oil and must increasingly rely on bitumen (with all its attendant problems). Meanwhile, eastern Canada depends on overseas suppliers which have shifted from secure suppliers to less secure.
Surely it makes sense to supply all/most of Canada first (before sending oil to the Pacific and before increasing the flow south).

We also appear to be post-peak in conventional gas production. Four years ago the NEB put out a report warning that Canadian gas production would be down 40% by 2030 and that we'd be increasingly dependent on LNG.
Kitimat was conceived as an import facility for that reason.

What has changed/reversed our expectations is shale gas, but this is a very recent phenomenon. We've seen credible warnings from Art Berman, Dave Hughes, etc that there is more to the story and that some critical thinking (to use Art's phrase from ASPO-Denver) is warranted. Environmental issues surrounding shale gas are still unresolved, and we need to see the long-term numbers on future Canadian requirements vs deliverable Cdn reserves.

Then, if the supply situation is as rosy as some people claim, and if the environmental concerns are resolved, I guess we could/should consider what is being proposed for Kitimat. But those are big IFs, and we have some very important homework to do first.

As MKH warned, we only get to burn fossil fuels once, so Canada does not get a second chance if we get this wrong.

News: The actual contamination of Fukushima

The measurement was done by a public institution run by government.

This is a “massive leakage” in their censorship, so unfortunately, I’m not allowed to disclose the source for the security of the whistle blower.

Data sheet overview (Only Cs-134,137),

Soil from Hayasaka, Namie machi 7/2/2011: 564,215 Bq/Kg [37 million Bq/m2]

Mushroom from Teshichiro Namie machi 9/23/2011: 404,814 Bq/kg (5,000 Bq per mushroom)

Soil in a rice field from Tsushima Namie machi 8/22/2011: 254,110 Bq/kg [17 million Bq/m2]

The above locations are about 10km north of Fukushima Daiichi inside exclusion zone [Edit corrected distance]. I converted the bq/kg soil measurements to Bq/m2 - enclosed within [] using official Japanese conversion factor (multiply by 65)

Isn't it expected to be somewhat high radioactivity inside the exclusion zone? Otherwise, I guess, it shouldn't have been excluded. I fail to see the drama in this.

I personally see a very justified rationale for undertaking an immediate precedence priority national (U.S.) program to re-assess the safety of our reactor fleet and implement mitigation engineering ASAP as appropriate.

By my reckoning, Albuquerque would have a high likelihood of being in a plume from a notional Palo Verde containment breach incident.

Perhaps you should shut down coal plants first - that's a greater killer by far. Fukushima confirmed that nuclear accidents are rather mild.

I did not say that we should shut down nuclear plants.

Your second statement is your personal opinion.


Perhaps the U.S. should consider turning over custody and operation of the civilian nuclear reactor fleet to USN NR (Naval Reactors).

NR runs a tight ship.

They may run a tight ship, but I guess not very economical. The result will keep being coal, which kills many more per TWh but in a more even and discreet fashion. The high regulatory burden on nuclear is counterproductive in the grand scheme of things.

Perhaps we should accept double the current electricity rates to 'do it right'.

This would have the desirable side-effect of suppressing demand by causing a combination of causing folks to adopt more efficient technologies, as well as simply doing less with less.

Would this approach not be congruent with the desire/need to move towards a sustainable society?

We need to responsible & fund moving the 5 year or older "spent" fuel rods to casks ASAP The casks can survive almost anything. Most the these "on site" pools were designed only as a staging area for cool down - Not a site for 40 years of fuel rods storage from multiple reactors. Since spent rods in "open" pools is perhaps the largest risk, why is it not discussed more?

Sounds rational. Unfortunately common sense isn't.
Most sites aren't permitted for dry-cask storage, since it was anticipated that spent fuel would be moved offsite. The money isn't the problem. It's DOING anything that's hard.

Well, the location is somewhere 10-30(?) km to the northwest from the nuclear plants. Are you sure only ten, namie machi can be 30 km as well?
It appears from the fukushima-diary source to be a realistic whistleblower (one might expect confirmation in a few days).

The deposition was, source: tech. department (mext.go.jp), approximately 1 to 10+ million Bq/m2, reported as of April 29, in that area.
So the above results look plausible, and quite nasty (=evacuation).

In the area concerned, outside the initial 20 km radius, "70,000 people including 9,500 children of 0-14 years in age." lived, which would have been receiving up to max. 200 mSv for first year dose, but should now all have been evacuated. http://www.irsn.fr/EN/news/Documents/IRSN-Fukushima-Report-DRPH-23052011...

Notice that these are external doses - nobody knows what these people inhaled in March and have eaten meanwhile. The total dose can be multiples higher, which is why, in this particular accident, this is a problem.

Finally they will evacuate all areas, and not resettle areas, with approx. 500 000 to 1 million, or more, Bq/m2, I think. There will be a few more areas discovered officially later on with a few hundred thousand Bq/m2, which will be debated. Do you move or do you stay??? With a 2 resp. 30 years half-life of Cesium, dont expect to move back any time soon.

This seems kind of relevant:

"And to gauge the potential health hazards…. Hint: a study done in Sweden discovered a statistically significant 11% increase in cancer per 100kBq/m2 Cs-137. “100,000 Bq/ m2 and up” includes part of the dark orange, all the dark red and all the dark brown on the Chernobyl map’s color legend. SOURCE: European Committee on Radiation Risk, http://www.euradcom.org/, 2010 recommendations:
: http://www.euradcom.org/2010/2010recommendations.htm. "

That is why a few hundred thousand Bq/m2 Cesium are important...

Well, the location is somewhere 10-30(?) km to the northwest from the nuclear plants. Are you sure only ten, namie machi can be 30 km as well?

No I'm not sure about the distance. if you are correct that it could be up to 30km away then the figures are even worse.

The soil readings seem to be higher than peak levels in the heavily contaminated and abandoned town of Prypiat which was only 3km away from Chernobyl.

Paper shows Japan feared aftershocks at nuke plant

TOKYO (AP) — Japan feared three months after the Fukushima nuclear power plant was hit by a tsunami that aftershocks could further damage one of its fuel storage pools, causing rods inside to melt and spew radiation within hours, according to a newly released document.

The Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization said it carried out a simulation that showed some 1,500 mostly used fuel rods at the plant's No. 4 reactor building could start breaking in two hours if aftershocks further damaged the pool and caused cooling water to escape. The fuel rods could start melting within eight hours, the organization said in a report dated June 30 and published Friday.

In the report, the government-funded JNES said a loss of pool water due to additional cracks from aftershocks could cause the fuel rods to overheat. Their casings could break and start spewing radiation in about 2 hours. Fuel pellets inside each rod could start melting within 7.7 hours at about 2,800 Celsius (5,000 Fahrenheit), it said.

Ah the mysterious No 4 fuel pool. Reported to have blown up, drained dry and caught fire even by the US NRC, in a catastrophic release about 9am Japanese time on the 15th March. The same time as radiation due to direct gamma at a distance 100km away spiked to 5 microsieverts per hour. The same time as the Tokyo web geiger counter went offline.

As if by magic, the pool then repaired itself, refilled and apparently uncaught fire leaving everything intact. As long as we ignore the evidence of the building still being blown to bits of course.

Aside from the half life, I presume the Cesium doesn't just stay put. Presumably it will be leached out of the soil by rain, and ?? What if you truck in a few centimeters of uncontaiminated soil, and cover it up. Can these marginal areas (say .1M to 1M bequerrel), be partially rehabilitated long before the average Cesium atom decays?

Quick answer: No. (roots and water throughput).
Well the 0.1 M Bq/m2 might be possible at least for say building a house. But growing stuff there (farming) within 20 years? with regulations in place? no way. and who would be crazy to spend the effort to build a house there even if land was free (you need to spend the money saved on landscaping the fallout away). sure a few individuals seeking a quiet life. but not a teeming village, methinks.

2) namie machi is 30 km northwest. one area with iitate village is 50 km long in a corridor to the northwest.

3) around these areas (say 30-40-50 km from daiichi), you can live. but you probably dont want to raise small children there (who, occasinally, eat a handful of sand - can be a substantial risk).
No fruits, veggies, game, berries, from your local area (no garden). You need to make sure that the store in the nearest village has shipped everything in from say,
further than 25 km. It will be an unusual culture to live there.

This accident was one of the worst in while. The only good that came out of it was a reality check on the safety measures nuclear plants have, and the fact that we improve now worldwide nuclear safety.

Would you please specify locations for these two towns, thanks.


Tsushima 37.567 140.750
The rice field can be anywhere, probably say within 5-10 km.
This location is closer than Iitate village to Daiichi plants.
see http://diddlefinger.com/m/fukushimaken/futabagun/372573

Iitate Coordinates: 37°40′45″N 140°44′07″E
approx 39 km northwest of Daiichi plants.

Both are on the line to the nortwest.

The question is now: what is the radiation 10, 20 km on the sides away from this line...?

Thank you.


Aside from the half life, I presume the Cesium doesn't just stay put. Presumably it will be leached out of the soil by rain, and ??

Precisely. The high readings right now is because it is all mostly superficial. It is being diluted, sedimented and so on as we speak, and the radioactivity readings will fall much faster than the halving time of 30 years.

1) The high readings of 500 kBq/m2 up several tens of millions (!) Bq/m2 means that people have to move, and leave their property to waste.

2) The above discussed fallout was only caesium. Other substances are added to this, with different uptake into biota and different half-lifes.

The above two statements lead to the simple conclusion: people in the area have major problem (psychologically and economically) and there will not be much resettlement the next generation.

The science community has a decent understanding of radioactive cycling in soils.
As a matter of fact another research area is to use caesium from the first peak from 1954 in order to follow erosion patterns. So the reduction of Caesium and other radiosubstances in soils is decently modelled. I guarantee you that this is underway in Japan for Fukushima as we speak.

Other substances are insignificant. Yes, of course people should move from the most contaminated areas and not resettle for a period of 0-300 years or so. But those areas are very small, as your map showed.

50 by 30 km. "Small"?
I-131: 10+ P(eta) Bq (15 zeroes).
Pu: 10-1000 Bq/m2.
"Insignificant" other substances?

250 km, would you call that "close-by", see below?
Cs: 40 kBq/m2.
Sr: 129 Bq/kg.

Thats the end of discussion with you. Bye.

" October 15, 2011

By YOSHIKAZU SATO / Staff Writer

YOKOHAMA -- Radioactive strontium has been found in a street gutter in Yokohama, appearing to confirm that the radioactive isotope has spread far beyond districts close to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Sediment in the gutter in the Okurayama district of Kohoku Ward contained 129 becquerels of radioactive strontium-89 and strontium-90 combined per kilogram, city officials announced on Oct. 14. The results follow an earlier report that deposits of strontium had been found on a nearby apartment building's rooftop.

"We believe (the deposits) were caused by the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant," a city official said. "We cannot judge potential risks. We want to consult with the central government."

Radioactive cesium of 39,012 becquerels per/kg was also detected in the sample from the gutter but it is the presence of strontium that makes the Yokohama reports exceptional. There had previously been no reports of strontium contamination beyond 100 kilometers of the Fukushima plant.

Although Kohoku Ward is about 250 kilometers from the Fukushima plant, the concentration found in the gutter is higher than the 77 becquerels per kilogram detected in soil in Fukushima city between April and May. "

50 by 30 km. "Small"?

Well, that's 0.4% of Japans area. But the plume seems more like 20 by 10 km, or 0.05%. I think it's a pity either way, but they'll clearly survive being without that land.

I-131: 10+ P(eta) Bq (15 zeroes).

That was the total release of iodine. With a half-life of 8 days, almost nothing remains today.

Pu: 10-1000 Bq/m2.

That is insignificant as the cesium is three orders of magnitude or more higher.

250 km, would you call that "close-by", see below?

That was anecdotal evidence from a selected spot, and not much anyway. Especially the SR-90 was nothing, about the same radioactivity as the potassium in a banana.

Thats the end of discussion with you. Bye.


By looking into this matter, here is a Cs 134 & 137 update from MEXT (Sep 29th).
You can clearly see the plume that deposited to the northwest.
Further, I am surprised, there are quite high values in central Japan (blue).
One could consider evacuating areas with light-light (turquoise) blue and more (300 kBq / m2 and above).
Well, they aint gonna do that for practical reasons...


It is interesting that the maximum colour value is > 3 million when we know the readings go up to at least 10 times that value. It is also very interesting that private test results are giving values about 40,000 bq/kq in Tokyo area. That suggests areas around Tokyo are contaminated at levels well over anything shown in this map. A reading of 300,000 bq/kg was measured in dirt in Fukushima city itself. Note these values are concentrated "dirt" not "soil" to a standard area/mass so we can't multiply by 65 to get bq/m2 this time. However I have seen a claimed standard soil sample report that was about 1 Million bq/m2 in Fukushima city itself - trying to find it again.

It has been suggested that the official Japanese maps, such as the one above, mislead by perhaps an order of magnitude. That's what it looks like to me as well when you try to plug in private lab measurements to the map.

Edit: Here's an official report of 100,000 - 300,000 bq/m2 in the Tokyo area.

Tokyo Tap Water In Crisis, Comes From Chernobyl-Like Contaminated Area (100,000 – 300,000 Bq/m2)

However, Okutama area, where Tokyo tap water comes is as dangerous as “contaminated area” in Chernobyl.

According to the data above, 100,000 ~ 300,000 Bq/m2 was measured in Okutama area.

According to the Fukushima diary the above survey data was released accidentally.

You are perfectly right, as long as the source is correct.
The official radiation map simply stops - but fallout has not (ofcourse one can imagine a rain front giving quite a distinct line of fallout - no fallout).

The data point you indicate should be in blue to the west of Tokyo, on the map! But it is grey, until now.


The letter from Frank Daulton, living 500 km (!) away in Kyoto is very touching:

This story is ongoing and nobody knows where it will end. Time will tell. In another year the samples will be understood and available.

In another 10 years any health effects will be understood. It is very unpleasant.

Here's Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama, head of the Radioisotope Center at the University of Tokyo. On July 27, he appeared as a witness to give testimony to the Committee on Welfare and Labor in Japan’s Lower House in the Diet.

This is a "must watch" with English subtitles at http://dotsub.com/view/970ac7d2-c282-4d67-a7c6-e8fb978ba12f

Incredibly angry, he accuses the Japanese government/TEPCO of total incompetence and a cover-up of the true scale and release of radiation and the damage internal exposure from the fall-out will do - especially to children.

That's similar to what Professor Kosako said when he resigned as a scientific adviser to the government literally in tears.

Millions of homes lurk on bank inventories, casting doubts of rebound


Transparency and accountability have not been hallmarks of the American economic/political system.

it really is bizarre how the situation can exist where record amount of homes are unoccupied whilst at the same time there are growing homeless and trailertowns.!!

Colleges expand offerings amid natural gas boom

Until recently, job prospects in his native eastern Ohio were grim — even for a hard-working Marine reservist willing to work hard or relocate. May's mother works as a school janitor in Cambridge, his nearby hometown. His machinist dad is among the county's 11 percent unemployed. Most of his better situated friends are in the military or work at one of the area's remaining factories.

The natural gas industry has changed his prospects.

May snapped up the opportunity through his local community college, Zane State, to take a two-week, 80-hour shale exploration certification course developed by the private company Retrain America. When he graduated, he'd interviewed for three jobs and taken a position cementing wells for Halliburton that will pay $60,000 to $70,000 a year.

S – Great! Just what we need: another green Halliburton cmt hand. Get ready for Macondo 2.0. LOL. Actually I’m very pleased the jarhead got the job. I do know H has a very good in-house training program. But it will take many years of OTJ experience to turn him into a useful mammal. Just another sign of the graying of the oil patch.

This is how it always happens in booms: individual are given responsibilities beyond their capabilities. The Peter Principal cannot be avoided especially when there are big bucks on the line. And always the same results - more accidents: more lost fingers, more deaths, and more blow outs. Now combine future PO fueled booms and the continued loss of experience in the oil patch. I wasn’t kidding about Macondo 2.0. It just a question of when and how bad and not IF. Change the regs all you want…you can’t change human nature.

Long ties to Koch brothers key to Cain's campaign

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has cast himself as the outsider, the pizza magnate with real-world experience who will bring fresh ideas to the nation's capital. But Cain's economic ideas, support and organization have close ties to two billionaire brothers who bankroll right-leaning causes through their group Americans for Prosperity.

Cain's campaign manager and a number of aides have worked for Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, the advocacy group founded with support from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, which lobbies for lower taxes and less government regulation and spending. Cain credits a businessman who served on an AFP advisory board with helping devise his "9-9-9" plan to rewrite the nation's tax code. And his years of speaking at AFP events have given the businessman and radio host a network of loyal grassroots fans.

A couple of things I don't grok...

Do the wealthy folks not benefit from the rest of the people buying stuff?

If they do, do they not realize that raising poorer folks' taxes (esp. consumption taxes) will cause folks to buy less stuff?

Do the voters in the Tea Party (and the Republican party as a whole), the vast majority of whom are NOT among the most wealthy, realize that they will be paying more in taxes, when they profess that they are against higher taxes, and are indeed for lower taxes?

On the other hand, perhaps folks who are truly concerned about over-consumption and its negative effects on the present and future environment (lack of sustainability of our lifestyles) should advocate this plan strongly, to include Cain's 'Phase 3' tax plan, which is replacing ALL Federal taxes with a nation-wide, Federal 30% consumption tax.

Would not a large consumption tax encourage less wasteful consumption and promote more savings, savings which are then available for investments (such as for electrified cargo rail, alternative energy, etc)...and would this approach not be optimum to promote a more ecologically sustainable society?

Perhaps Herman Cain is actually a huge crypto-champion of dealing properly with Limits-to-Growth issues?

What if TPTB 'get it' and have engineered multiple layers of mis-direction to prevent mass dissent?

If they do, do they not realize that raising poorer folks' taxes (esp. consumption taxes) will cause folks to buy less stuff?

Might be a reason the power elite were anxious to bail out the banks so that they could continue lending money to people who really couldn't afford to buy stuff but would do so on credit. Its a win-win scenario: banks win, power elite wins. What's not to like?

Except that banks aren't lending to people who need the money to consume. Not to small businesses wanting a loan to expand. The money is mostly sitting there.
Back up a few years, and yes, a lot of consumption was funded by stuff like home equity loans (which people were thinking of as free money). But those days are over.

Well I didn't say the plan worked as desired. I only suggested that was a reasonable motive. That it has so-far backfired is another story. Wait while I wipe this tear from my eyes for the poor power elite!

There was a line in "Schindler's List" that went something to the effect "Why would they kill their own work force? ... it doesn't make sense"

What if the 'elites' goal is not to produce a sustainable society, but rather, to impoverish the middle class, get as much wealth as they can, and impose a right-wing fascist plutocracy.

The Koch Brother's [and maybe Cain] 'get' LTG. They've just chosen that 'other' path - the one that doesn't include you or me.

I've read 19% of income from folks making over $10 million came from wages and salaries. 81% came from capital gains. Cain's plan appears to eliminate capital gains tax.

Yes, it does eliminate the capital gains tax...and the SS and Medicare payroll deduction taxes, and by his Phase 3, ALL federal taxes, save for the 30% consumption tax.

It also eliminates all deductions, save for a deduction of some unspecified magnitude for charitable donations. (in Phase 2...again, by phase 3, there will nothing to deduct a charitable donation from...unless there is some bizarre attempt to get credits to offset an equivalent amount of sales/consumption taxes).

So...no income taxes...what if your employer (even if it is your own corporation) 'pays' you with goods and services, which are not taxed, at least to the recipient?

What is rich folks take their money (untaxed if received from cap gains etc) and buy stuff in foreign countries, including dachas/villas...even right across the border in Canada and Mexico? Have the cake and eat it too?

Cain also touts that since his plan would eliminate a slew of 'hidden taxes' to businesses, businesses would pass along every bit of those tax savings to consumers!

Does this check with observed behavior to-date?

More likely most of these savings would go to stockholder dividends and other vehicles that...you guessed it, would not be subject to tax.

Welcome to the new gilded age. Maybe it could be the 'Platinum Age'.

H.G. Wells called it: The Morlocks will trudge away to enable the Eloi to live carefree in some future Elysian Fields setup...

...except in this real-world implementation the Morlocks will be effectively kept at bay by a third race: The Eloi's police state apparatchiks.

The Republicans know who butters their bread. Any plan they put forward will heavily favor those groups. Although it will b clothed in pious statements about fairness, and job creating. Sinec people don't like to do the math (the type 2 thinking), there is a good chance they will be taken in. OWS, is the only current credible threat, so its gotta be destroyed.

I think they are all over the map with this 9-9-9- plan...Cain touts (among other things) these three 'benefits':

1. The eventual 'Phase 3' consumption tax will eliminate the need for the hated IRS (I guess because they go after income currently)


2. Used goods will not be subject to taxes


3. His plan will present the minimum motivation and opportunity for tax evasion/cheating.

Wow, where do we start with these?

1. Who or who agency collects these consumption taxes and audits sellers and buyers to enforce the rules?

2. Who gets to define what a 'new' and what a 'used' good is? Will every 'good' have an indelible, permanent, unique identification code? What if you breed dogs...are the puppies considered 'new' below a certain age, and 'used beyond that age? What if you buy food and re-sell it quickly? Is it used? We could go on and on...

3. Does anyone else here see the legion opportunities to game the system, and the resultant big brother effort required to make this work...to make people not scam the system to avoid paying their 30% 'fair tax' on 'new' goods?? Holy Black Markets, Batman.

Or is this all predicated on the honor system?


Is Cain going to be the latest Republican nova, flaring briefly in the night then cooling off into oblivion?

Will Romney be the last Republican man standing...the middle-of-the road professional candidate cool cucumber?

Will we be offered the awesome choice between Obama and his Republican kindred spirit?

The U.S. American Demican/Republicrat Janus: Obama/Romney

Welcome to the new boss, same as the old boss...

We /will/ get fooled again...

Demican/Republicrat Janus: Obama/Romney

Thats a good one. I only wish I could disagree.

2. Used goods will not be subject to taxes

If the 9% is assessed as part of a sales tax, then State taxes will be added to it. If CA is 7.75% in a district, then the total sales tax will be 16.75% on new items, but per #2 above, it will be zero on used items.

Then won't people more often opt to purchase used goods? And if so will America become one huge flea market/Barter Town?

That seems to be a plausible potential outcome, among other intended and/or unintended consequences...It doesn't seem that Cain has this plan well thought out...or does he?

Maybe we will know if he ever explains it in detail and publishes a detailed report explaining all the rules and nuances and phases and intended consequences and mitigations for potential unintended/undesirable consequences...but that would be too much like hard work for our CEO/Federal Reserve-experienced candidate I guess...plus the people might very well not like what they hear.

Much better to mindlessly recite nine-none-nine to applauding zombies.

Now Cain is trying to walk back his comments about building a twenty-foot-high electric fence along the U.S.-Mexico border to electrocute people attempting illegal entry...he said that the fence would have signs on the Mexican side saying 'You will die'...

Oh, what else did I see on CNN during my workout...Cain also said words to the effect that Obama isn't in tune with Black people...another reprise of the 'Obama isn't black enough' meme used to woo away black voters...these guys are priceless...Obama isn't black enough...he is too black (scary community organizer, scary preacher in Chicago, Kenyan Father, might not have been born here!) etc. etc.

Previously Cain has said words to the effect that folks who are not rich have only themselves to blame...

I can see this most recent shooting star falling towards the horizon and burning out...

And for my previous Obama/Romney Janus comment...Obama wins in my books...today I read in the Economist that Romney has been stumping with his attempted reprise of its going to be morning in America again, including his recycling of the 'Peace through (military) strength theme...promising to fix DoD spending (just a part of the MIC) at 4% of GDP...wants to increase troops by 100,000, increase Navy ship-building, 'make America strongest (in a military sense) nation on the Earth'.


Mittens, sorry, you are demoted several steps below Obama in a head-to-head match-up in my book.

Good grief, maybe we should try out Ron Paul...he is the only candidate not in bed with the MIC.

There was a line in "Schindler's List" that went something to the effect "Why would they kill their own work force? ... it doesn't make sense"

The nazis would have had a better chance of winning the second world war if they had not killed jews and homosexuals and if they had treated the slav civilians on the eastern front kindly. But then they would have been more sensible and the sensible thing is to not start the bloody war.

It is however possible that the initial sucesssfull plunder did help the nazis ballance their budget.

Ant-war planning must start with the realisation that war is crazy and initiated by people who ignore manny sane arguments.

The nazis would have had a better chance of winning the second world war if they had not killed jews and homosexuals and if they had treated the slav civilians on the eastern front kindly.

Yes. But, they had a huge component of racial ideology, and a need for easily identifiable internal enemies. Being able to strategically, ignore those propensities (until the time was right), just wouldn't have been in character. Sometimes your own propaganda can end up trapping you, and force you to take unsound options.

Do the wealthy folks not benefit from the rest of the people buying stuff?

that's long term thought, it's been blinded by the very fast business cycle today as compared to Henry ford who recognized your shooting yourself in the foot if you don't pay workers enough to buy what they make.

El Paso Times has article Kinder Morgan to buy El Paso Corp. for $20.7B. This will create 4th largest energy company in North America. I wonder how jobs at these two companies will be impacted.

Starbucks concerned world coffee supply is threatened by climate change

... The company is now preparing for the possibility of a serious threat to global supplies. "What we are really seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road – if conditions continue as they are – is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean," Hanna said.

If you want to see all those climate deniers have a 'Come to Jesus' moment - take their COFFEE away.

If you want to see all those climate deniers have a 'Come to Jesus' moment - take their COFFEE away.

The kind of person who would deny climate change is the same kind of person whom would deny or try to shift the blame away.

To be honest we're now probably in a Seneca trap where we must expend ever increasing quantities of energy simply to maintain homeostasis in human systems. So effectively the effects of overshoot will be countered with increased fossil fuel use which will cause even more overshoot. The big problem has been than renewable energy hasn't replaced fossil fuels, effectively it has been in addition to fossil fuels wherever it has been implemented.

We've had a break from climate change relatively for the past decade. What happens when the ocean circulation shifts back to an El Nino pattern and the ocean heat engine sequestering excess heat for 100s to 1000s of years shuts down? One strong El Nino and the world will truly know the words 'climate change'.

We've had a break from climate change relatively for the past decade.

I think its not very likely that we will have a major tipping point cross that soon. At least not a tipping point which acts quickly enough to be obvious to J6P.

The decadal modulations from the warming trend and pronbably only a few tenths of degrees C (for global average temp). They might mean one decade of no increases, and the next at double the trend rate, then back to another flat decade. Except that they will likely be pretty irregular.

If say coffee turns into unobtanium, that will be demagogued as a conspiracy by New World Order conspiracy types, not climate change.

Jevon's Paradox? The more efficient an energy source or system the more it gets used. So maybe alternative energy simply provides greater economic opportunity to use more energy.

It is more that renewable energy when added to a system cannot entirely retire pre-existing fossil fuel generation. So effectively rather that say substituting at a 1:1 ratio, the renewable energy simply adds to the overall pool of available energy. So for instance if a system has 100 on an index of electricity production provided by combined cycle gas turbines and 20 units of renewable energy is added, the overall pool of energy would be increased to 110 units and only 10 units of gas generation would be substituted because overall electricity production has increased and the renewable energy cannot be counted upon to generate 24/7 unlike gas.

I think its not very likely that we will have a major tipping point cross that soon. At least not a tipping point which acts quickly enough to be obvious to J6P.

The decadal modulations from the warming trend and pronbably only a few tenths of degrees C (for global average temp). They might mean one decade of no increases, and the next at double the trend rate, then back to another flat decade. Except that they will likely be pretty irregular.

We've already hit a major tipping point. J6P in the U.S.A. may not have noticed yet but J6P in Egypt certainly has! Check out the index prices for food! Do you really think that a resurgence in warming over the coming years is going to make it any better?


Any place in the world where >50% of income is spent on food is going to be struggling. People in the west just aren't noticing yet because it isn't something which directly affects them. We're at the point where human systems are vulnerable to disruption. India for instance cannot outbid the U.S. for oil on the world market whilst it is spending it's foreign exchange reserves desperately trying to procure food supplies from abroad at even greater expense than today.

Good point about food prices as a tipping point for the vast numbers who spend most of their income on it.

Preliminary reports from an international team of scientists who were rushed up to the Arctic on reports of dramatic increases in methane releases suggest that seismic activity has accelerated an already volatile situation with seabed methane, of which there is reportedly vast quantities--in the range of thousands of gigatons, a tiny fraction of which would be enough to swamp all current emissions. (This may or may not be related to the huge ozone hole that unexpectedly showed up in the Arctic this year.)

If any significant (or even insignificant) percentage of the existing methane is now entering the atmosphere up there, it shouldn't take more than a couple years for it to have very major and visible effects, especially in the Northern Hemisphere.

Like always I hope that it isn't true. At the same time I have to admit that some time in the near future we'll cease to be able to even create the illusion of real growth. When that illusion falls away it'll be next to impossible to operate a debt based economy because debt is always sold on the promise of the ability to pay which is tied into the idea that a growing economy can easily afford its' obligations. I think we may find that the trillions of dollars wasted on the stock market and other financial mechanisms which were essentially frittered away to buy consumer goods/luxuries have an exceedingly poor rate of return next to even the worst performing renewable capital. I suspect our children may lament the 1990s/2000s but not nearly as much as the children in the 2nd/3rd world. We'll damn everyone else to save ourselves when the time comes. I always suspected the real United Nations convention on climate refugees really reads "trespassers will be shot, survivors will be shot again".

An optimist is usually right until he is wrong and a pessimist is usually wrong until he is right. Optimists do not listen to pessimists because he assumes that because the pessimist was wrong in the past he'll be wrong in the future. Pessimists do not listen to optimists because he knows eventually he'll be right.

Good point about food prices as a tipping point for the vast numbers who spend most of their income on it.

Preliminary reports from an international team of scientists who were rushed up to the Arctic on reports of dramatic increases in methane releases suggest that seismic activity has accelerated an already volatile situation with seabed methane, of which there is reportedly vast quantities--in the range of thousands of gigatons, a tiny fraction of which would be enough to swamp all current emissions. (This may or may not be related to the huge ozone hole that unexpectedly showed up in the Arctic this year.)

If any significant (or even insignificant) percentage of the existing methane is now entering the atmosphere up there, it shouldn't take more than a couple years for it to have very major and visible effects, especially in the Northern Hemisphere.

(This may or may not be related to the huge ozone hole that unexpectedly showed up in the Arctic this year.)

Say it isn't so dohboi! Could methane eat into ozone? If so, with methane releases increasing yoy in the Arctic could represent yet another tipping point.

Numerous visionaries/seers over the past centuries have predicted a cataclysm in this time period marked by bright orange northern skys. Could that be light shining through methane?

Well, that may be better than the 'Green Sky' Peter Ward predicts will dominate as ocean circulation stagnates and an anoxic dead ocean spews H2S into the atmosphere.



The big problem has been that renewable energy hasn't replaced fossil fuels, effectively it has been in addition to fossil fuels wherever it has been implemented.

Jevon's Paradox? The more efficient an energy system is, the more it gets used. So maybe alternative energy simply provides greater economic opportunity to use more energy. Sounds like William Catton's ('Overshoot') Homo-Collosus in action.

i don't think so. they'll just believe they're being price gouged.

Stage is set for another big rally on Wall Street


Happy Daze are here again!

I feel more sustainable already!

Be interesting to see where that drives oil prices.

Can the World Feed Itself Without Ruining the Planet?

Q: What about organic farming—does it have a role to play in solving the global food problem?

JON FOLEY: Organics make up less than 1% of the world’s food supply right now. So, organic broccoli is not going to solve the problem of feeding the world and saving the planet’s natural resources.


The problem with muppets is they have a one track mind. Does organic farming have a role in solving the global food problem? No, probably not. But that's the wrong question. The right question is can organic farming feed a community or a village? Yes, it can.

But what about the global food problem? Beats me, it isn't my problem, it's up to individuals, groups and communities to solve the problem as it is not a global problem but a local one. The way we live now isn't how we're going to live in the future, people need to adjust their thinking accordingly. Which basically means people are going to have to get off their asses and do something productive that enhances their chances of survival as the current system is going to fail them. Stop working for the system and start working for themselves.

Best hopes for open source revolution to bring down the existing system and allow the changes and innovations that are necessary for us to survive the future. First step to make the political puppet show redundant and fade it out of peoples lives, secondly to dismantle the non-productive global financial system and replace it with simple system of financial intermediaries that collect surplus capital and lend it to real productive enterprise. Transparent internet micro financing looks interesting, perhaps localised so savers can actually see their money at work improving their own environment and lives.

2.5 acres/adult/year on a plant diet under the best conditions , otherwise the acreage goes up

What constitutes the "best conditions" ?

I would say that is in a greenhouse, and under those conditions, food production per unit area can be quadrupled.

Modern farming has evolved to maximise food production per unit labour, not land. If land, not labour is the constraint, then you can farm very differently.

Any cornfield can produce many more calories/acre if converted to intensive production, and more still if put to greenhouses.

Imagine we have 100 hungry people in a room and we have 100 sandwiches to distribute.
The first 1 person gets 43 sandwiches
The next 4 people get 29 sandwiches to share or about 7 each
The next 5 people get 11 sandwiches or about 2 each
The next 10 get 10 sandwiches or one each
The other 80 people in the room are left to fight over 7 sandwiches.

This is BAU...

First, the bottom 80% has about 17% of total income, not 7%, so I don't know where you get your numbers from. Second, it is not about having 100 sandwiches to distribute, it is about being allowed to eat the sandwiches you produce.

brit - How about a little rewrite One person in the room has 100 sandwiches. They all belong to him because he owns the sandwich plant. He gave one sandwich to the each of 20 people as pay for working in his plant. Another 50 folks bought one sandwich each with the monies they earned working in someone else's plant. He gave 20 sandwiches to the companies that provided him with the sandwich making materials in the first place. The other 20 sandwiches he gave to the local and federal govt as tax payments. The govt then provided 5 sandwiched to their employees. And the remaining 5 sandwiches were given to those who could not provide for themselves.

With varying degrees of accuracy this is BAU. The question we have to ask ourselves what happens when that fellow closes his sandwich plant? Oh..wait...look out the window...there's the answer.

The sandwich plant is connected to a slowly depleting fuel tank.

There will be no re-fills. BAU.