Drumbeat: October 19, 2011

IEA: Dire Future For Energy, Climate Without Policy Action

PARIS -(Dow Jones)- The world is headed for a "dire future" where high energy prices drag on economic growth and global average temperatures rise by more than 3.5 Celsius, unless there are significant innovations to lower the cost of clean energy and carbon capture technology, said the International Energy Agency Wednesday.

Speaking at the conclusion of a two-day meeting with international energy ministers and business leaders in Paris, senior officials from the agency painted a gloomy picture of the world's current trajectory. It said growth in energy demand will be powered largely by coal and the only hope of restraining the rise in global temperatures to safe levels is to create cheaper technologies to capture the carbon dioxide it produces.

Oil Trades Near Highest Price in a Month After Goldman Cites ‘Upside Risk’

Oil traded near the highest price in more than a month in New York after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicted “upside” potential, amid signs U.S. crude stockpiles are increasing less rapidly than previously forecast.

Futures were little changed after advancing 2.3 percent yesterday. Energy Department data today may show that supplies climbed 2 million barrels. Yesterday’s report by the industry- funded American Petroleum Institute indicated they dropped for a third week. Goldman Sachs said an improving economic outlook in Europe and declining crude supplies may present “a real upside risk” to Brent prices.

The peak oil brigade is leading us into bad policymaking on energy

One can't assume energy prices are going ever upwards. The real problem is there may be too much fossil fuel, not too little.

Hooray for market forces

“Peak Oil” is often played by renewable energy campaigners as a trump card in the debate over whether we should reduce fossil fuel burning and by how much (“even if carbon dioxide doesn’t cause global warming, you’re going to run out of oil so you’ll have to stop burning it, or our grandchildren will perish, anyway!”).

It’s intuitively obvious that exploiting a finite resource to exhaustion with rising population and wealth will lead to a production peak followed by a decline and rising prices, so when people scoff at “Peak Oil”, it isn’t the principle they dismiss, rather, the simplistic, doom-laden, outcomes campaigners infer from it and spin for their causes.

Jeff Rubin: Peak oil is about price, not supply

Heading down to Washington to speak at the Association for Peak Oil-USA‘s Truth in Energy conference on Nov. 2, I sense a general malaise within the peak oil movement.

The pequists, as they have become known, appear to be on the defensive these days as they once again roll back their dating of the dreaded supply peak, confounded by the oil industry’s never ending ability to develop new extraction technologies and discover new sources of supply.

Top U.S. Regulator Approves New Limit on Commodity Speculation in 3-2 Vote

The top U.S. derivatives regulators voted 3 to 2 today to curb trading in oil, wheat, gold and other commodities after a boom in raw-materials speculation, record- high prices and years of debate and delay.

Brothers charged with stealing US bridge

NEW CASTLE, Pennsylvania (AP) — Two brothers have been charged with stealing a western Pennsylvania bridge and selling the 15 1/2 tons of scrap metal for more than $5,000.

Turkmens slam Russian bid to hinder gas pipeline

Turkmenistan (AP) - Energy-rich Turkmenistan lashed out Wednesday at what it says is a Russian attempt to stymie the creation of a natural gas supply route to Europe.

Bakken Shale Oil Turns Oasis Into Target as Fracking Costs Slide

Buyers looking to extract the best deals from Bakken shale oil may turn to Oasis Petroleum Inc. and Whiting Petroleum Corp. as the cost to find and produce a barrel of crude soars.

Report: Turkey launches incursion into Iraq

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkish soldiers, air force bombers and helicopter gunships reportedly launched an incursion into Iraq on Wednesday, hours after Kurdish rebels killed 26 soldiers and wounded 22 others in multiple attacks along the border.

Energy Networks to Get European Regulatory Push, Draft Shows

European Union regulators will propose rules tomorrow to spur the development of natural-gas and electricity grids and promote renewable energy as the bloc seeks a more deeply integrated market and cleaner growth.

36 Lawmakers Berate State Dept. on Pipeline

With a decision expected by the end of the year from the Obama administration on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, members of Congress have sent two letters to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raising concerns over the State Department’s handling of a critical environmental review of the project.

A letter sent late last week by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and two Vermont senators, Patrick Leahy and Bernard Sanders, criticized the State Department for assigning the review of Keystone XL to a consulting firm with financial ties to the pipeline’s operator and urged the federal government to start the process all over again.

For the Keystone Battle, a Folk Hero

Randy Thompson, a laconic cattle buyer, may seem an unlikely symbol of activism. Yet his likeness is now on hundreds of T-shirts across Nebraska.

As I reported with Dan Frosch in Tuesday’s paper, Mr. Thompson is among dozens of landowners resisting efforts by the energy giant Transcanada to lease their property for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The battle over local fracking bans begins in Dryden, NY

Back in August, the town passed a zoning ordinance that banned the practice of hydrofracking for natural gas. A month later, they were being sued by gas company Anschutz Exploration.

What happens here – who flinches, who wins – will reverberate across the rest of New York state. And it all hinges on a simple question:

Can you, or can’t you, ban drilling within your own town limits?

Fukushima victims are desperate, angry, homeless

FUKUSHIMA, Japan — At last, victims of Japan's nuclear crisis can claim compensation. And they are angry.

They are furious at the red tape they have to wade through just to receive basic help and in despair they still cannot get on with their lives seven months after the huge quake and tsunami triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

Studies Clash on the Impact of Closing Indian Point

In a case of dueling studies, research commissioned by opponents of nuclear power indicates that electricity in New York State would remain reliable and reasonably priced if the Indian Point nuclear reactors were permanently shut down. The findings directly contradict those of experts hired by the Bloomberg administration.

How Essential Is Indian Point?

As I reported in Tuesday’s paper, opponents of the Indian Point nuclear power plant assert that its two reactors can be retired in the next few years because alternatives exist that pose less risk and would not cost substantially more. New York City’s position, however, is that retiring the reactors would raise prices sharply and reduce reliability.

So, what would those alternatives be? New York’s electricity infrastructure resembles its highway system, prone to saturation. Once in a while, though, new transmission capacity does gets added.

Nuclear, Oil, Gas, Renewables - All on Table

Buy it if it burns. The world's largest companies are.

Dense Urban Thinking Down Under

This assault on Cowley’s neighborhood reflects a peculiar density ideology that, although present in the United States, is far more powerful in New Zealand, Great Britain and Australia. Density advocates swear that everything from the necessities of economic competition to limited resources require “cramming” future populations in ever smaller spaces. It doesn’t matter that the population might object.

In contrast, suburbs are constantly painted as on the verge of extinction. They are destined to become the dull victims of everything from demographics, “cool” migration, green ideology and the rise of “rentership” over home ownership to the ever-present, never-quite-happening “peak oil” that is destined to drive people out of their cars and into the inner cities.

Rubbish: The Back Side of the Capitalist Story

The entire thing was predicted back in the 1950s in the classic Frederic Pohl moral tale about two Empires that slug it out endlessly, half-destroying the planet in the process.

They automate and bury their factories and give the robot factories the ability to tunnel for raw materials and to defend themselves against attack. Eventually the War ends but the robot factories keep on spewing out products in an endless stream that can't now be turned off. All attempts fail until some saboteurs penetrate the robot's defences and manage to block its source of raw materials. But deprived of its raw materials the robot factory figures out how to make things out of pure energy and out rolls an endless stream of consumer products now made from pure and indestructible energy.

Solyndra Investor’s Charity-Tax Status Faulted by Republican U.S. Senator

A Senate Republican is questioning the tax status of a charitable foundation that became the biggest private backer of Solyndra LLC, the solar-panel maker that failed after getting a U.S. loan guarantee.

Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa said the George Kaiser Family Foundation may not qualify for the favorable tax treatment it has claimed as a public charity.

Fat Replaces Oil for F-16s as Biofuels Head to War

Biofuels face their biggest test yet -- whether they can power fighter jets and tanks in battle at prices the world’s best-funded military can afford.

The U.S. Air Force is set to certify all of its 40-plus aircraft models to burn fuels derived from waste oils and plants by 2013, three years ahead of target, Air Force Deputy Assistant Secretary Kevin Geiss said. The Army wants 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. The Navy and Marines aim to shift half their energy use from oil, gas and coal by 2020.

Some southern farms hit by drought AND floods

KIBLER, Ark. — In a year when severe drought scorched the Southwest, a hurricane drowned crops in the East, and river flooding swamped farms in the Midwest, one of the worst places to be a farmer may be just west of the Mississippi River.

Not only have Arkansas and Louisiana experienced both drought and flooding, but in some cases, so have individual farmers in those states. The cost of the bad weather could reach $1 billion.

Why the World May Be Running Out of Clean Water

Volume 7 of the Pacific Institute's regular report on global water usage, The World's Water, comes out today, just in time to address the squeeze of droughts, the increasingly apparent impact of climate change and the threats facing our relatively scarce supplies of freshwater. The sweeping report is a reminder that clean water is vital to life — as Gleick points out, more than 2 million people die each year from preventable water-related diseases — and that on the whole, we're not doing a very good job of husbanding that resource. There's even a risk here that parts of the U.S., especially the arid West, may have passed "peak water" — the point at which it becomes essentially impossible to increase supply.

Food processors slam new emissions law

Valley food processors say they will be hurt economically by California's landmark global warming law, which will go into effect Jan. 1.

Why Arctic Ocean oil drilling is a risky choice

As we enter the end of the age of oil, it is clear that most of the world's easily accessible oil has already been produced. Oil companies are now moving offshore into the last hydrocarbon frontiers - deepwater and the Arctic Ocean.

Warming Revives Dream of Sea Route in Russian Arctic

Environmental scientists say there is now no doubt that global warming is shrinking the Arctic ice pack, opening new sea lanes and making the few previously navigable routes near shore accessible more months of the year. And whatever the grim environmental repercussions of greenhouse gas, companies in Russia and other countries around the Arctic Ocean are mining that dark cloud’s silver lining by finding new opportunities for commerce and trade.

Oil companies might be the most likely beneficiaries, as the receding polar ice cap opens more of the sea floor to exploration. The oil giant Exxon Mobil recently signed a sweeping deal to drill in the Russian sector of the Arctic Ocean. But shipping, mining and fishing ventures are also looking farther north than ever before.

Sea Levels to Continue to Rise for 500 Years? Long-Term Climate Calculations Suggest So

ScienceDaily — Rising sea levels in the coming centuries is perhaps one of the most catastrophic consequences of rising temperatures. Massive economic costs, social consequences and forced migrations could result from global warming. But how frightening of times are we facing? Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute are part of a team that has calculated the long-term outlook for rising sea levels in relation to the emission of greenhouse gases and pollution of the atmosphere using climate models.

Kidding ourselves about future MENA oil production

Recently, the International Energy Agency’s Chief Economist Fatih Birol was quoted as saying,

In the next 10 years, more than 90% of the growth in global oil production needs to come from MENA [Middle East and North African] countries. There are major risks if this investment doesn’t come in a timely manner.

While I agree that we need more oil production, I think we are kidding ourselves if we expect that 90% of the needed growth in global oil production will come from MENA countries. In this post, I will explain seven reasons why I think we are kidding ourselves.

Click on this link: OPEC Share of World Crude Oil Reserves 2010 For all who believe that 81.33 percent of all crude oil reserves are in OPEC nations, then it is very easy to believe that 90 percent of all growth will come from OPEC, primarily MENA nations.

Since most of Venezuela's share of world oil reserves will have to be mined or extracted with an auger, not pumped, there are no great expectations coming out of Venezuela as far as increase in production goes.

But the world actually believes these massive reserves are real, or at least, like the IEA, they say they believe them. Of course anyone who has followed this circus for several years realizes that this claim is preposterous.

Saudi Arabia, as Gail points out in your link, has already said they have no intention of increasing their production capacity. That leaves it up to the rest of the MENA nations to increase production... dramatically. That just ain't gonna happen.

OPEC production has been relatively flat since Mid 2004. The below chart is OPEC Crude Only production, according to OPEC's own Oil Market Report, in thousands of barrels per day from January 2004 thru September 2011.


So over seven years OPEC has not increased oil production. And this is despite the fact that the price of oil has increased from an average of $44 in 2004 (adjusted for inflation), to about $110 today. As I said, it just ain't gonna happen.

Ron P.

I did enter the post in the queue for The Oil Drum for the editors to vote, so it may be published here as well.

Yesterdays post from Gulf News Saudi Energy Demand to Double by 2028

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 – [equal to it’s entire current daily oil production]

throughly supports your 'Increasing OPEC Internal Consumption' (Reason 5) and agrees with westexas ExportLand thesis

However, here's another take on your 'Food Price Index = Riot' (Reason 7), though I agree that food was a significant driver for a portion of the demonstrators

The Myth of the Arab Spring

The western media tends to portray the political uprisings in the Middle East as being broadly motivated by similar reasons and led by similar groups of tech-savvy young people, but surveys of people in the region paint a very different picture

Why wait? Yer paying me big bucks, so I gotta deliver the goods.

I haven’t seen anyone comment on the recently released plan of the Occupy movement, so I thought I would post it and comment a bit.


They are planning on holding a general assembly July 4th of next year. This assembly will be attended by delegates elected by direct vote from current congressional districts. These delegates will be charged with coming up with a list of grievances to present to the government. If the government does not respond “to the satisfaction of the delegates,” then the delegates will organize a third party to run in the 2014 and 2016 elections.

I like the plan. I don’t know how far it will get, but we desperately need an enhanced public discourse in this country and hopefully a third party will help.

They have posted a list of 20 suggested demands, which would, presumably, be debated by the delegates next summer. Most of the demands are working towards the goal of removing corporate influence from government. Demand number 7 covers environment and energy:

“New comprehensive regulations to give the Environmental Protection Agency expanded powers to shut down corporations, businesses or any entities that intentionally or recklessly damage the environment and/or criminally prosecute individuals who intentionally damage the environment. We also demand the immediate adoption of the most recent international protocols, including the "Washington Declaration" to cap carbon emissions and implement new and existing programs to transition away from fossil fuels to reusable or carbon neutral sources of power.”

The idea looks exciting and well thought out, with one glaring caveat: "The 99% ain't 99%, not even close. It's as presumptuous as saying "everyone's joining the Tea Party", as my neighbor, active in the local "patriot group", keeps insisting. Slogans and labels won't bridge the divides that seem to be widening in our culture. While I agree that using economics to find common ground could be useful, I know many who don't see it that way.

Yes, I agree. "We are the 99%" is a great, catchy line for protests, but if this actually become a political movement that line will start to alienate people.

Slogans and labels won't bridge the divides that seem to be widening in our culture.

And yet, provocative slogans and highly aggressive grass roots mobilization carried out by a tiny minority (including your neighbor) managed to dominate politics in this country for over 2 years, get dozens of Congressmen elected, and stop desperately needed healthcare reform dead in its tracks.

Pretty impressive for a bunch of "crazy" divisive Teabaggers, no?

It seems to me that if the political Left ever wants to regain a voice in this country, much less have a role in policy making, they need to start getting a lot more aggressive. As in calling out --not skirting-- the very real political divisions that exist, standing up and acting *proud* not defensive/reactive about their core beliefs, and get a lot better at making and using media propaganda. In other words, the Left needs to start acting more like the highly successful Right.

The history of politics in the country proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the hoi polloi does not respond well to reasoned debate, nuanced qualified explanations or moderate candidates. Any message that cannot fit on a bumper sticker or does not induce an immediate visceral response goes in one ear and right out the other. For the great majority, perception is reality, and those politicians who are best at creating that reality (see Dick Cheney) are the ones who win and get their policies enacted.

"Progressives", OWSers and assorted anti-establishmentarians would do well to study history and learn these truths if they ever want to accomplish anything.

It's always dicey making such comparisons. The Tea Party was a wholly corporate created and funded entity, but the anger of many of its participants is real. I don't know what it is now. It remains to be seen what the OWS thing is, or perhaps more importantly what it will become. It appears to be a lot of idealistic folks who want change. They may well be unclear about the issues and the forces driving the things that are making them unhappy, as well as what it is they want and expect to receive. Their efforts may well be co-opted by the clever pros of the establishment - maybe they already have. But people will learn, gain in understanding of issues and tactics. I don't really expect any of these particular movements or organizations to fully succeed now, but ultimately the rich old men will weaken, and perhaps some remnant of the protests of today will be the straw the breaks the back of the existing order. In other words, it's a journey, the destination is a ways off and none too clear. I'm happy to see it because change has to begin somewhere, but wary of the response, and what it might be turned into.

The Tea Party was a wholly corporate created and funded entity, but the anger of many of its participants is real.

I don't 100% agree that the Tea Party was Astroturfed from the start, but thank you for acknowledging it reflects real public anger (however misdirected that anger may be). The Tea Party has clearly been co-opted by the Koch Brothers and other 1%ers, but I recall their very grassroots beginnings and know several people still affiliated with the movement who were there long before the oligarchs took notice. Too often I see a tendency among self described Liberals/Progressives to casually dismiss the Tea Party as a bunch of brainwashed crazies (with some justification!), while utterly ignoring their tremendous impact and political success in recent elections, preventing substantial healthcare or banking reform, etc.

Liberals would do well to study the Tea Party's extraordinary and outsizeded influence (relative to their numbers) and adapt their propaganda techniques to further their own agendas.

As far as wariness about what the OWS movement might morph into or be co-opted by, so far it's been overwhelmingly peaceful, democratic and has grown organically from the disenfranchised majority's (justified) anger at the status quo. I won't be concerned unless it transforms into a violent mob that starts carting off bankers in tumbrels to the guillotines, and perhaps not even then. As JFK said, "Those who make peaceful change impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Probably mostly due to my age, I am not particularly idealistic but do hope for change and am participating in the rallies and protests in Longmont and Boulder, Colorado. Most of the folks in both cities are well over 50 so it is not a young, idealistic youth movement in either city. I don't pretend to really understand what finally set all this off but for me it was that I just couldn't take it anymore sitting idly by while screaming at both my computer and my TV. The majority of movements fail but, of course, one never succeeds if one does not take the first step. I can think of all sorts of reasons why this will be another failure but need to press or regardless.

In my life, I have personally been part of efforts that were successful against pretty big odds. So, my personal experience would indicate there is hope.

I agree with you that the movement in Boulder seemed rather old and had few young people amongst them. However, I still, or perhaps even especially, got the impression it was idealistic. The people to whom I talked mostly had jobs and where economically in a reasonably comfortable position. So they didn't demonstrate because they were personally economically hurting but because they thought things are wrong with society as a whole and would like to fix it for others who are in a less well off position. As such, the issues appeared to be less about dept and jobs and more about reducing influence of money on politics (e.g. by supporting a local City of Boulder Ballot Question No. 2H to Abolish Corporate Personhood http://www.yeson2h.org/ ), better education, against wars and how to live sustainable in a resource constrained environment. I'd kind of call that idealistic. I don't know if the people I spoke to were representative of the full group, though.

It would be interesting to get a bigger picture of how many are demonstrating because they personally lost their job, lost their house, can't pay back their loans or are otherwise economically suffering vs people who are doing it for idealistic reasons and aren't directly affected by the crisis.

I'm pretty much in that same category as your "typical" Boulder member (even spent a few year there in the seventies), and would like to attend some local events for much the sme reasons (adding in worries about opportunities for my kids and their generation -I figure I'm efectively going to retire late so I have the financial resources in case I need to help them).

The occupy forum I'm with had same questions about getting a better picture of the attendees. We'll be handing out a questionairre this weekend. Our group has a sociologist to help with the details.

The Tea Party was a wholly corporate created and funded entity,

Do you have proof of this claim?

Clearly the word "wholly owned" should almost never be used. I wasn't the one challenged to substantiate the claim. There was a pre-existing small grass roots organization, but some big money conservatives (mostly Kock's) saw it as a potentially useful vehicle. So money and organization was provided. I doubt it is wholly under the control by these moneyed interests. Clearly many members show up because they are sympathetic to the aims of the group. Chances are it never would have grow beyond its intitial small size without the resources poured in. But, that doesn't make it wholly owned.

I'll admit to a little hyperbole - but only a little.

There was a pre-existing small grass roots organization,

I'd go so far as to say "Tea Party" was not much more than a label/slogan that managed to become a meme.

I'd expect 'we are the 99%ers' to have a similar meme attributes. But 1% money going to make the 99% message "effective"? That I'm not seeing.

""Progressives", OWSers and assorted anti-establishmentarians would do well to study history and learn these truths if they ever want to accomplish anything."

Unfortunately, Harm, I have to agree. They would also do well to study Greer's current series of posts about the role that (what he terms) magic has to play in motivating societies to take certain paths. My feeling is that it is unlikely that we'll be the beneficiaries of a benevolent Mage (or group) who is capable of casting an effective 'grand unifying spell' any time soon.

I fear that humanity needs to experience a great deal of pain before the majority opens its minds (and hearts) to the kinds of changes we need to make, collectively and as individuals. The time for baby steps has passed, IMO.

The time for baby steps has passed, IMO.

Amen to that. Also agree on the pain principle. The only reason we ended up with Depression and post-Depression era reforms and regulations was... (drumroll) the Great Depression. Perhaps when all the cheap beer, Cheez Doodles (ht @JH Kunstler), and cheap cable carrying ESPN and Faux News dries up, TeaBaggers & Associates will wake up to the fact that the 1%ers don't have their best interests at heart. Until then, we'll see...

The robber barons of the 19th century were at least partly tamed by the Progressive movement of that era. See Robert La Follette. But look what TPTB did to neutralize him.


From the link,

Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. Please search for Robert M. La Follette, Sr in Wikipedia to check for alternative titles or spellings.

TPTB neutralized him by taking down his wikipedia entry?

TPTB neutralized him by taking down his wikipedia entry?

Actually, no. :))

The last dot didn't make it to the final link.
So I took the liberty to shorten it and this should work as originally intended: Robert M. La Follette, Sr.

Left, right, left right. you sound like a military brigade!

Personally, though some have called me a 'lefty,' others think I am a radical right wing nutcase. I submit that most people, just as I do, resent the assumption that we must follow every tenent of the [left/right] if we declare as a [Democrat/Republican]. I have been in both parties; today I cannot really see much difference other than a few slogans. Reality shows me that they both feed at the same trough.

If the '99 per-cent' carve out a new party from the morass of today's politics, more power to them. I just hope they are sane, eliminate the crazy excesses of both left and right, and make a real difference. The problem is that both sides are firing out so much propaganda that it may be really hard for that to happen. Plus, most everyone I know has an agenda, especially when they get into politics. BAU is a strong one, and I know some fairly intelligent people who refuse to hear anything that would deny continuation as a probability, much less someone from TOD who would tell them it is ain impossibility.

Those who predict that nothing will be done until we are in full crisis are likely correct. Those who say we are in that crisis today - well, they might be right as well. As Jeff Rubin said, though, we have heard all of this before.

I keep going back and forth... are we the boy who cried wolf? Are we believing our own schtick? Is our evidence overwhelming? If so, why do so many who seem intelligent and reasonably unbaised not agree?

Rubin at least gets part of what my view is... it is the economics of extracting the damned stuff that makes the peak, not the absolute volume of in-the-ground hydrocarbons. Just like anything else on a finite planet, if the supply is not accessable, it is useless. Water in the oceans is no solution to the peak water situation; if food is unaffordable, how do the masses eat? At which time, what do the masses do?

We are in no danger from peak i-Pads... water, food, health care and shelter are something else altogether. The longer we wait to take action, which has to include population control [admittedly a difficult call] along with limitation on carbon dioxide emissions. That, with complete restructuring of an economy and infrastructure to allow minimal energy use, seem to be impossible agendae. And so, waiting for the crisis to mature and become dire, we do our usual... nothing. No cooperation... no honest assessments of conditions... no economic and energy paradigm shifts...

Hell, we can't even balance our budget from all the noise created by our corporate citizens, unions, special interest groups and the like. We can't sit down like adults and decide, "what can we get along without, and what is essential"; and then figure out how to pay for the essential stuff.

Some days even an eternal optimist like me can become depressed.

Best hopes for sorting it all out.


Personally, though some have called me a 'lefty,' others think I am a radical right wing nutcase. I submit that most people, just as I do, resent the assumption that we must follow every tenent of the [left/right] if we declare as a [Democrat/Republican]. I have been in both parties; today I cannot really see much difference other than a few slogans. Reality shows me that they both feed at the same trough.

I hear what you're saying, and on many levels basically agree. Dividing the masses on Left/Right Culture War issues and forcing everyone to basically make a Hobson's choice between corrupt-to-the-core Democrat/Republican parties vs. "throwing your vote away" is how the 1%ers have so successfully maintained control and prevented reform for so long. Reducing everything down to a simplistic Red State/Blue State "go team" divide-and-conquer horse race has been an amazingly effective means of dissent suppression and thought control.

All that said, I don't see a perfect moral equivlancy between the Tea Partiers and OWSers (so far anyway). In general, I identify a whole lot more with Liberal/Progressives than I do Conservatives (though not 100%, perhaps 70%?), and find that self-described liberals tend to be far more willing to do the following than Conservatives:

--consider empirical/scientific data in forming an opinion vs. "gut" feeelings
--question authority, even from within their own ranks
--think independently vs. parroting opinion-maker's talking points
--consider/respect dissenting opinions

All that said, if the OWSers could somehow align with the more rational/less rabid Tea Partiers, they might be able to create a truly lasting political movement with some legs. There have been some interesting Venn diagrams of where the movements overlap, but so far the reaction from most TPers has not been very welcoming to say the least.

Why Occupy Wall Street Is Bigger Than Left vs. Right

This whole episode to me underscores an unpleasant development for OWS. There is going to be a fusillade of attempts from many different corners to force these demonstrations into the liberal-conservative blue-red narrative.

This will be an effort to transform OWS from a populist and wholly non-partisan protest against bailouts, theft, insider trading, self-dealing, regulatory capture and the market-perverting effect of the Too-Big-To-Fail banks into something a little more familiar and less threatening, i.e. a captive "liberal" uprising that the right will use to whip up support and the Democrats will try to turn into electoral energy for 2012.

Follow up:

OWS-Tea Party Venn

I think your Venn diagram greatly overstates the overlap. For instance I feel I am philosophically with the OWSers, even if I haven't attended or done anything. I'd say Ben Bernanke is mixed, -because he's targetted inflation instead on unemployment, the criticism from the TP would be the opposite. End the Fed are IMO nutcases. Bailouts (of some sort) were neccesary to avoid a serious collapse. Ron Paul is mixed, OWS from the left would go for his reign in the military and the war on drugs, stuff, but be adamantly opposed to most of the rest of his agenda. TP types would be adamantly opposed to the parts of the Paul agenda I support, and all for the parts I detest.

Then you get the inevitable culutural/religious issues, where the two sides are poles apart.

I really don't see some sort of grand bargain of the frustrated coming together. Can't agree on the causes or cures, even if we agree on many of the symptoms.

Really OWS, is (maybe) a way for the left to find a voice, and maybe the MSM will have to give it enough coverage that its concerns and point of view is seen/heard. Thats probably about the most that can be expected.

I agree that the OWS movement is primarily a vehicle for progressives to express their viewpoints. I think the fundamental underlying issue that drives of lot of other related issues is the corporatocracy has taken over democracy in this country. Putting aside arguments about whether or not we are a Republic, I think most people would subscribe to the idea that the people should rule without undue influence or control from the corporations. This may be a nexus between OWS and the Tea Party but I feel that the TP is so obsessed with the idea that government is too big that they cannot see the corporate control or how they themselves are under the rubric or those who are the minions of corporate power.

I think it is a waste of time trying to get common ground with the tea party because most of their ideas are anathema to progressives. The Venn diagram is absurd and pointless. Further, Obama has been a failure because he has wasted so much capital and time trying to reach common ground with the Republicans and the Tea Party. That has been an utter and dismal failure. They just want to destroy him. Recently, there is some evidence that he has finally figured that out.

I suppose I am having a senior moment here.

What is an owser?


Occupy Wall Streeter

It seems to me that if the political Left ever wants to regain a voice in this country,

There would have to BE a 'left' VS the present right and slightly less right.

And if there is a movement which gains popularity - like the Communists back in the 20's - one of the big established parties will grab the parts that are attracting people and claim them as their own.

And there is always claiming support for X and then never doing it - both established parties are guilty of that technique.

Exactly, welcome to the American mono-party: the Plutorepublicrats. You have your choice of pro-bank, pro-empire Culture War Blue or Culture War Red. Don't like those choices? Move to Russia, Commie!

We do have a bit of a left. But it is mostly just a handfull of academics, primarily in the social sciences. And a few camp followers. Could be an intellectual underpinning of a movement, -if there were enough followers to lead that the mainstream had to pay attention. Even if we had a parlimentary system, it would be a stretch goal to win a single seat!

"The history of politics in the country proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the hoi polloi does not respond well to reasoned debate, nuanced qualified explanations or moderate candidates. Any message that cannot fit on a bumper sticker or does not induce an immediate visceral response goes in one ear and right out the other. For the great majority, perception is reality, and those politicians who are best at creating that reality (see Dick Cheney) are the ones who win and get their policies enacted."

So, if I understand correctly, democracy is basically dead in the US?
Presumably due to a lack of an educated, reasoning electorate.

democracy is basically dead in the US?
Presumably due to a lack of an educated, reasoning electorate.

Thats basically my take on it. I'm not sure the average level of understanding has gone down. I think it is more that the forces of misinformation have a much more uniform and pervasive message. In the past you could hope that the 80% (or whatever) who are fools would evenly split your vote, so that the 20%(or whatever) well informed had a decent chance of affecting the outcome. But, now I think the misinformation is so prevalanet, and the voting blocks so partisan, that its basically over.

The problem I see is tht politicians don't lead any more. Instead they have focus groups who they ask what they think, and then they deliver those promises. They don't led, they follow. And with that setup, you can never maintain a long term strategy for anything.

New "leaders" find a parade, and get in front of it! They have no ideas; they have no principles; they have no clue.

Best hopes for finding a leader...


"There go my people. I must follow them, for I am their leader."

--Leadership quotes

Its a bit worse than that. They form a focus group, and try out a bunch of sound bites. The ones that get favorable emotional reactions are adopted. Sound bites plus clickers. So they are leading that parade in the direction they think its emotional gut wants.

... and try out a bunch of sound bites

Ah, if only they were that primitive about it.
Unfortunately the technology of manipulative messaging has advanced far beyond that.

When I attended the rally/march in Boulder, this chant, of course, was used. I felt uncomfortable chanting that because it simply isn't true. I support the movement but I am not interested in trying to sell completely incorrect fantasies.

I feel many are misinterpreting the meaning of the term 99%. It simply means the levers of power are controlled by 1% of the people. This is very much against the wishes of the founding fathers and the goal of the 99% movement is to restore the levers of power to the 99%. It was never intended to literally mean the Occupy movement is supported by 99% of the people.

I registered for the forum to find out what was happening regarding Demand number 7. The discussion for this demand is very self-contained and there are only about 10 folks participating. And many have serious problems with the wording of the demand. The discussion is quite lame and folks here on TOD are far more versed in these issues and could do a far better job fine-tuning this demand. Personally, I want the Rockman Rule in that demand. I also question if EPA is the best name for an agency since it has been successfully tarnished by politics. Perhaps, Resource Conservation Agency would be more appropriate and would focus on conserving non-renewable resources and transitioning to renewable resources without melting the planet. That led me to the following suggestion.

To fellow TODers and TOD Admins,
Does it make sense to start a dedicated thread to fine-tune the wording for Demand Number 7? If this is done, I'll post a comment over on the 99% forum to come over here and participate.

To fellow TODers and TOD Admins,
Does it make sense to start a dedicated thread to fine-tune the wording for Demand Number 7?

7. New comprehensive regulations to give the Environmental Protection Agency expanded powers to shut down corporations, businesses or any entities that intentionally or recklessly damage the environment and/or criminally prosecute individuals who intentionally damage the environment. We also demand the immediate adoption of the most recent international protocols, including the "Washington Declaration" to cap carbon emissions and implement new and existing programs to transition away from fossil fuels to reusable or carbon neutral sources of energy.

We can start with: How to deal with those who would abolish the EPA entirely? There's a large movement on to greatly reduce the size (and powers) of the federal govt.. Does one assume that the TOD staff want to take the position of supporting an expanded EPA? Just askin'....

Don't take me the wrong way. I'm just posing an innocent question for feedback.

I was just thinking of the Fukushima and Macondo threads that were quite lively and brought a tremendous amount of information to the table. The thought of TOD staff supporting any positions hadn't occurred to me. I agree it is best for TOD staff to maintain impartiality. You make a great point that the declaration does take a stand regarding the size of govt and this stand is contrary to the views of many.

Does it make sense to start a dedicated thread to fine-tune the wording for Demand Number 7?

I don't think that's going to happen. Outside of the Drumbeat, we're kind of avoiding the topic of climate change. Let's just say the staff has diverse views on it, and we get along by agreeing to disagree.

Better that those interested go over there to discuss it.

Thanks for comment. You all have far more experience than I regarding what is best. After my comment, I read a few more postings on other forum and it appears they are somewhat of a splinter group. They are in process of receiving general assembly approval from OWS but at this point in time do not have sanctioned approval. It very well may be premature to get involved with this forum.

Thanks for reposting link from yesterday's thread.

Yes, the $10 question will be how far it goes and how many folks will remain committed to cause and how many new folks will join cause. That's quite a list of grievances. I guess there isn't much history to go by other than looking at the last two continental congress's.

I would expect Dem candidate to support all grievances and Rep candidate will be against. Even though words of support will surface, action will not, and the 99% will need to start a new party. I agree the name would be kind of hokey. Perhaps a name like "Main Street" would be better. One of the popular chants is "Who's street? My Street!"

They would do well to read the Green Party Platform to see if there is anything they left out of their declaration.

While I like the enthusiasm of the Occupy movement, their naïveté is astonishing.

Best Hopes for any alternative to PAU. (Politics As Usual)


Could you elaborate on “their naïveté is astonishing”?

I haven’t been able to decide, for myself, how naïve or politically savvy they are. They are idealistic, but, I think, they are pretty aware of how dysfunctional and unresponsive our political system is. I think that is why they avoided coming out with specific demands early on; they didn’t want to be put in a political box and they new that the demands, probably, would not be taken seriously.

Their current strategy seems to be to 1) gain widespread support over issues that are widely supported (i.e. ending corporate influence in government, which, they argue, has economically marginalized a significant portion of society); 2) Turn the widespread support into democratic action where people from across the country can contribute to the formulation of grievances (I am very interested to see how they go about carrying this out); And 3) to create a third party because ultimately our two party system is broken. I agree with Brit, that most of the democrats will probably try to jump on the bandwagon, but the problem is that they have been supporting a lot of these issues verbally while not seeking to carry them out while in office.

The protesters, I think, probably don’t expect any political response to the first two actions (I know I don’t). However, by carrying out the first two actions the seeds will be sown, so to speak, for a legitimate third party. The OWS people will be able to say “we have tried to gain our politicians support, but they do not listen. We need a third party!” (Or something more catchy than that) Presumably people will be receptive to this. Shoot, I voted for the current president because I thought that he believed in a significant amount of these demands. So much for that.

It was I that was naïve and maybe it is I that remain naïve.

I guess my comment has to do with their inability to discover or to admit the existence of a pre-existing third party that:

  1. has been at work in the US for years
  2. is as 'legitimate' as any other third party in the US
  3. has international counterparts that already have seats in European governments
  4. has a well established platform, much of which seems in agreement with their declaration

I'm all for idealism but when they start proposing the creation, de novo, of another party through an ad hoc representative process I have to ask: "Why?"

Ah, now I see what you were saying. I can only think of one answer: Maybe since the Green party has not gained much political traction in the US, something that looks like a fresh start (a "new" movement) might get support from people who didn't previously support the Green party. It could function as a sort of rebranding, depending on what the party calls itself, because 'green' is considered a four letter word in many parts of the US.

Another reason I can personally attest to (being a former Green myself):

The U.S. Green Party decided a long time ago to align itself whole cloth with the Democratic Party and placed defeating Republicans --even moderates ones-- over and above any purported platform or political reform agenda. As a result of the Green Party's decision to become partisan lackeys of a (corrupt and dysfunctional) Democratic Party, I could no longer take them seriously as a true reform/alternative party and left years ago. I understand the concept of Realpolitik and 'the enemy of my enemy os my friend' to a point, but... expecting genuine reform from today's Democratic Party??

When-and-if the Green Party decides it wants to take itself seriously, reinvents itself as a genuine reform party, and severs the umbilical cord from the Democrats, I'll be first in line to re-join them.

Excellent comment. My point exactly.

And it has happened with so many 'good' causes. Because they know that the rabid right (most Republicans today) will block and hinder anything other than tax cuts and deregulation, they line up with the Democrats. The Ds abuse these 'allies' by accepting their votes, and then turning their backs on them ala Obama and Clinton.

Somehow we need to have a 'clean' party. Problem they win power: power corrupts.


I'm amused to find fellow ex-Green Party members here. I left the party after the 2004 election. Not for the reasons of either of you but because it seemed that there was too much idealism to ever get anything done. I never saw any signs that, here in California, there was cooperation with the Democrats. The factionalism I saw was largely around the pro- and anti-Naders leading up to the 2004 presidential campaign. I was glad to see the party refuse to allow him to run as a Green without actually joining the party as he insisted.

Other than briefly being a Democrat so I could vote for Obama in the 2008 primary, I've been a California "Decline to State" since I left the Greens.

"..it seemed that there was too much idealism to ever get anything done.."

That's a phrase worth taking some time alone with. At this point, most of the changes we here would consider necessary, and I know that covers a range there.. they would be considered FAR too idealistic for the majority of modern industrialized people to accept as realistic.

Idealism isn't necessarily the same as 'Fantasy'.. that's usually the wedge that opponents use to defuse a nascent movement. It's kind of like the automatic fear and resentment of hope.

"Idealism" is a loaded word and one should be careful to define it so that others are on the same page as to its meaning. One can be idealistic in the sense that one has high ideals or goals while at the same time being realistic as to the attainability of those goals. Hence, I am a pragmatic idealist. Sounds a bit oxymoronic but I don't think it is. For example, ideally, I would like to see no cars in cities but will work in the mean time for goals short of that ideal.

One thing is for sure. Third parties have no hope in America for the foreseeable future. I think OWS should focus on running alternative candidates in primaries like the Tea Partiers have done.

I had the impression the Greens had been branded as Red's (i.e. commies, rather than environmentalists). Or was that just successful "rebranding" by the right?
In any case, the name has been tarnished, so the optics means a new party would have to avoid looking like a retreaded Green Party.

I did meet some real "Reds" in the party but they were a distinct minority. I also met some very conservative ex-Republicans. But I think the branding was pretty effective in tarnishing the image.

Naw, the Greens will work with Libertarian National Socialist with great titles like ""Science" is usually wrong" at their web site.

(Go ahead - click the link then ponder the value of "party label" or "left/right" in political discussions. Because there are more than a few pro-nation posters here along with the occasional free-market or personal liberity libertarians. Fracking/nuclear power brings out the greens who need the power of the state to make fracking/nuclear happen along with the comments about the lack of socalized medicine in the US of A. And see what happens when one mixes 'em all together? - its either 'bad' or shows the use/abuse of labels.)

Looks like The Globe and Mail is telling the message. From the above link, Jeff Rubin: Peak oil is about price, not supply:

The peak in our oil consumption will be determined by our ability to pay ever rising prices for the fuel, not by the ability of those same prices to drive new sources of supply.

The energy industry’s task is not simply to find new fuel sources but to find new supplies of oil our economies can afford to burn. While the energy industry has an impressive record on the first count, it has a much less impressive track record on the second.

It has taken successively higher prices to get that extra barrel of oil out of the ground. The price of Brent oil, the benchmark used for most of the oil traded on world markets today, has traded in triple digit range since the beginning of this year.

Rubin talks in terms of people's pocketbooks which is where you catch their attention. It's not about how much liquid fuel is around but how expensive it is to get. Talk to people about geology - or any kind of science - their eyes glaze over. Talk about household finances, now that's a topic everybody has something to say.

PS: When did peak oil advocates start to be called "pequists"? Never heard it before but the G & M article refers to it. Some on this blog would be wise to avoid such a handle. If I began to call myself that, I'd be run out of town on a rail. Most people would assume I turned Quebec separatist! ("péquistes") Wonder if The Globe and Mail is engaged in mischief making? Hmmm...

Of course, Stoneleigh has been discussing the problems of decoupling energy/oil from economics for years. Much discussion has occured here regarding energy and finance being two sides of the same coin. It's frustrating that peak oil is often mischaracterized as purely a supply issue because the masses want simple answers to complex problems. Simplified issues are easier to discount and debunk. Simple solutions are easier to package, though they solve nothing. This is why forums such as the Republican debates are generally a waste of time, energy, and resources.

I did a simple search for the term Peak Oil on Google Trends. Here are the results

Looks like the trend peaked in 05 and 08. People are less aware now ?

Also a search for Global Warming

Climate Change

and finally Fiat Money

Now why am I not surprised :)

"Looks like the trend peaked in 05 and 08. People are less aware now ?"

One could also argue the other way around. Since 2008, people are much more aware of the term. So they no longer have to search for this term they have never hear about before to get an explanation, but just read the news stories. The volume of news references at least doesn't seem to be trending down as obviously.



Japanese authorities also today informed the IAEA at 03:50 UTC that the spent fuel storage pond at the Unit 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is on fire and radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere.

Good luck on getting that IAEA link from 15th March to work now. Google's Houston Chronicle NRC statement link doesn't work either strangely enough...

This is why forums such as the Republican debates are generally a waste of time, energy, and resources.

Not at all - its all about the lessons of Bernays and the book (that used to be called Propaganda) Public Relations.

If the forum was an equal time forum (as billed), the Ron Paulers would not be trying to raise money with the subject of a media blackout.

This idea that "Peak Oil is about price, not geology" is starting to pick up steam. Ezra Klein at the Washington Post linked to the Oil Drum article last week.

So how about we come up with a new term to describe this?

Market-Clearing Oil?
Priced-Out Oil?
Economic Peak Oil?

The phrase "Peak Oil" has been abused to the point that people associate it with "apocalypse". It had the advantage of being a catchy phrase, but is there another catchy phrase to describe the economic phenomenon of the interaction between high oil prices, economic growth, and oil supply and demand?

It would take too long to build general awareness of a new phrase to replace "peak-oil". And, as described here, a simple phrase cannot do justice to the complexity of the issue.

I propose an image (picture worth a thousand words).
The image could be a color coded graph of something, which shows a history lesson of drilling technology along with production cost and what years that technology was responsible for a majority of our energy needs.

something like:

1. Early land rigs
2. Jack-up rigs
3. Simi-submersible (deep water)
4. Tar sands
5. the moon
6. fantasy island

It would take too long to build general awareness of a new phrase to replace "peak-oil". And, as described here, a simple phrase cannot do justice to the complexity of the issue.

I'm not so sure about that, the internet and what passes for news are very quick to pick up on a catchy new phrase.

How about something like "peakonomic oil", at least we'd all know what we were talking about.

nate - You make some valid points but I don't think we can escape "PO". It's too engrained into the conversation by both sides of the debate. Even worse is that for many of us it's somewhat unimportant when exactly anyone can point back I time say it happened on any specific date. Most here have acknowledged the feedback loop between oil prices, economic activity, pricing and additional resource development. Too late to change now but Peak Plateau works better for me. But that just adds a level of complexity that many won't grasp. And then we could make the distinction between the actual physical capability of producing X million bopd and the max market forces will allow. And then we can add in peak political oil: there's enough physical oil to increase rates and a price motive to do so but for certain political considerations the capability isn't brought to bear. Conversely events such as the recent SPR releases can put oil into play beyond the max physical production rate of existing wells. Granted such an event is short lived but it does gives the unsophisticated public reason to reject PO.

"...is there another catchy phrase to describe the economic phenomenon..." Maybe PBAU because it doesn't matter to most folks if X bopd or 0.9X can be produced or if it sells for $Y or 1.2$Y. What ultimately matters is to what degree Americans can continue living their lives they become used to without major negative changes. And for most in this country they don't necessarily see themselves at PBAU yet. Lots of folks hurting right now. OTOH 91% have jobs, most folks can still pay their mortgages, etc. But when the day comes that enough of the population feels they've begun sliding down the backside of PBAU we might see some push for real change. Of course, it will likely be much too late at that point for any significant positive reaction.

What it really is, is Limits to Growth that is beginning to hit, through the high oil price mechanism. We could start using that term again.

Using the term "Peak Oil" implied that half of the oil would be consumed before peak, and half after. I think this idea is just plain mistaken, though, from a world point of view. Once we hit high price limits (which are sort of like low EROI limits), the downslope is likely to be quite quick, I am afraid.

Once we hit high price limits (which are sort of like low EROI limits), the downslope is likely to be quite quick, I am afraid.

I was kinda thinking the opposite. Let me throw out my reasoning.
(1) The resource (oil) is distributed log normal with respect to production difficulty (cost).
(2) The center of this distribution is well above the current price point -since claimed total oil in the ground is several times what we've consumed.
(3) We are already hitting high price points, and may have hit or be close to peak production rate.

My guess is the plateau phase could be pretty long, and the decline from it may be long and slow. The reason, is that if it truly distributed log normal wrt cost, then until you've consumed half, the amount of resource per unit increase in the logarithm of the price is still rising. That would imply that the increase in URR @$100 over @$50, is greater than the increase in the URR($50) from URR($25). And going to $200 from $100 will provide even more. I.E. URR($200)-URR($100)> URR(100)-URR($50)> $URR(50)-$URR($25)! So we could have a long plateau/decline period. Of course the world economy has to increase its oil efficiency fast enough that it doesn't go seriously into the toilet.

Now effects wise. Maybe not so gradual, being on a production plateau, but with increasing (nominal at fixed price) "demand" appetite for oil, is likley to lead to a bidding war among consumers. Also declining EROEI,eventually means oil cannot be used as a primary energy source, but increasingly only as a way to convert other forms of energy into a more convenient form.

I had exactly the same reflection ;) However, this only means something in Canada.

Only in Eastern Canada at that - here in the west, we can't even be bothered wasting thoughts and words on Quebec, let alone real things like time/energy/money.

Your are right. Elsewhere it would have been separatists. Actually, I think peakist would only means something in Quebec.

Quite right. It would be silly to call someone living outside Quebec a péquiste. Geography does tend to define those types of allegiances. Besides, separatism in Quebec appears to be dissipating. Time will tell if it's a spent force. Meanwhile let sleeping dogs lie.

I guess I'm not seeing the difference between separatist and pequiste - aren't they the same thing?

Separatism may be dissipating, but when does Quebec actually decide that it truly wants to be part of Canada, and sign onto the constitution?
Seems to me their goal has never been to actually separate but is merely to keep the possibility of separatism open to keep on extorting the federal government.

Meanwhile, the ghost of Quebec haunts us still when it comes to parliamentary representation;
In redrawing the House, Harper plays to Quebec

With its delayed and altered seat-distribution bill, the Conservative government appears to be struggling with how to reward the growing and more dynamic areas of the country without alienating Quebeckers.

Alienating Quebec? - they are the ones that have done all the alienating.
Will this pandering to the spoiled child ( or sleeping dog?) ever end?

Alienating Quebec? - they are the ones that have done all the alienating.

Canada has been viewed as a messy place to govern since its inception although the difficulties have been somewhat exaggerated. Our politics doesn't revolve around left/right ideological divides - in practice, governments tend to be quite centrist and pragmatic - but around regional and geographical differences. And here - even with language - the differences are more cosmetic than deep. Martin Goldfarb and Alan Gregg, pollsters of some renown, as well as political watchers like Richard Gwyn, have written about how consistent Canadians are, from coast to coast, in our opinions and core-beliefs. The differences between regions are at best marginal, which means the rhetoric gets heightened. It turns out Canadians have mastered the art of consensus building to a remarkable degree and often operate within that consensus. (Governments, federal and provincial, have acted in tandem during activist periods, austerity periods, protectionist periods and free trade periods, whatever the prevailing consensus of the moment.)

That said, you need something to fight about so as to keep the theatre of politics rolling - so regional loyalties get attention. May I remind you of a few points of Canadian history? Quebec did not have the first separatist government. That distinction goes to Nova Scotia which elected anti-confederation governments throughout the 1870s and into the 1880s. Nor is the Bloc Quebecois the first to send people to parliament to see about breaking up the country. That too came from Nova Scotia. The Maritimes in general did not acclimatize to the wider Dominion until well into the twentieth century. The Maritme Rights movement of the 1930s was the last hurray of regional agitation. Were we the ones to initially do all the alienating? Too much pandering to the spoiled child? Perhaps, but this too passes.

Quebec had the quiet revolution (revolution tranquille) in the 1960s when linguistic identity politics - and racial nationalism - began to take root. Up until then, the major divide was seen as religious as most French Canadians identified themselves with the ultramontane brand of Roman Catholicism. The mantra of those days was la revanche du berceau!, "revenge of the cradle", which in fact worked to a surprising degree to keep the ratio of French to English fairly steady. The rising secularism - and to some degree Vatican II - led the movement away from religious affiliation and into the next phase and slogan, Maitres Chez Nous ("masters of our own house"), and the militant and sometimes violent nationalism of more recent times. Secularists, however, have fewer babies and so the demographics (less influence overall, more immigrants) is taking the wind out of the nationalist sails.

The chief animosity in rhetoric towards Quebec is coming from the west these days, which is rising in people, wealth, and influence, and thus is claiming a role and position Quebec has often played. I suspect being rivals tends to focus the tension. But regardless, all indicators point to a Quebec nationalism and influence on the wane. Harper is a skilled politician who is very adept at "the art of the possible." He is not going to fan flames in the short run - and stir up a hornet's nest - when in the long run, the die has already been cast. Power is simply shifting westward and has been for a good many years.

Tom, thanks for the insights - I did not know that about Nova Scotia. Do well call them "post-separatists" then?

Agreed about the centricity of Cdn politics, which does mean that regional issues often occupy the centre stage simply because nothing else is. I think it was former PM Joe Clark who once said that "there is nothing easier in Cdn politics than to unite all of the country against one part of it"

I do agree that Harpers strategy (and he is a VERY good strategist) on Quebec seems to be to let the separatists fade to the background, and the last election showed that is working well.

The electoral thing continually baffles me. The disparity in voters/seat between Quebec and the Maritimes v Ont, AB and BC is glaring. The way it should be done is that Parliament sets the ranges ( say 70 to 90k voters/riding), and the Electoral Commission, then adds/deletes/redistributes seats as necessary to stay within the range. Further, such redistribution is planned after each election, with the updated voter numbers, so that everyone knows well in advance of the next one what changes will happen. And Parliament does not get to approve/dissapprove these redistributions, only the range of voters/riding.

The 75 seats for Quebec has to be one of the most ridiculous rules ever agreed to, but it probably can;t be changed. So up the seats from elsewhere as necessary to get all the ridings with +-15% of each other. Presently we have "some are more equal than others", and that is the antithesis of functioning democracy.

The 75 seat rule for Quebec is a condition of the British North America Act 1867 and thereby part of the constitution. Nobody in their right mind is about to open that can of worms and PM Harper is smart enough to leave well enough alone.

Westminster style democracy has had its share of critics but in many ways has served this country well. Money bills are going to need approval from a majority of seats regardless of whatever changes come down the pike - one of the features of the unwritten English constitution we share - and that is well and right. Means of course, Quebec and Ontario will always have a say because that's where the bulk of the population lives and that's from where most tax revenue comes.

The beauty of the system, IMHO, is that the executive is with the Queen's privy council in right of Canada - the Cabinet - and that's where the real power lays. The main point is to have cabinet representation from as broad a range of interests and regions as humanly possible (why political acrobatics are just as interesting after elections as before) and nothing much happens without cabinet approval. Prime Ministers have, by and large, tried to get a broad scope of input from various angles (women-men, French-English, minorities, etc.). The net benefit of this is that it does help build consensus. It's the role of the loyal opposition to articulate dissent - and that has always been a far more difficult task.

I foresee seat distribution change down the road. However, allowances will be made to sure up over-representation of the smaller provinces (no province can have fewer House of Commons seats than Senators, Prince Edward Island will likewise always have four seats despite it's tiny size) and sensitivity over the rural - urban split. I agree, however, that Alberta and British Columbia are long overdue for an increase.

Of course we continue to have the provinces speak on their own behalf, too, and this has helped to keep the executive in Ottawa on its toes. It is a somewhat muddled system - although fairly straightforward to understand - and it works. Is there room for greater democracy? Probably, but greater democracy doesn't necessarily translate into better governance. And since our constitutional politics is much more animated than in most other places, we're likely stuck with what we've got for the foreseeable future. This may not be entirely a bad thing.

Maybe we could get British Parliament to change the BNA - they have nothing to lose!
Would certainly make for some interesting discussion...

So we have the 75 seat rule, and the no less MP's than Senators rule, I am OK with both of those. The other thing is to then set a standard for electors per riding, so take 1/75th of Quebec's electors, and that is the target number. Then set the tolerances to be +- 10% to trigger a redistribution. And this is regardless of urban or rural ridings - it's all about the number of voters. if the rural MP's need greater travel allowances/more staff or whatever for their larger ridings, then I am fine with that, but the principle of equal represention must be foremost, and immune to fiddling by the MP's.

For the Provinces to have a voice at the Federal level, that is what the Senate was originally intended to be. In Australia (10 senators per state -regardless of population - 2 per territory) it is known as the "State's House"

First thing is to make the senators elected (the numbers from each province can stay as they are - no one province can dominate), term limits are not really needed when they are elected.

I would add one twist though - one senator from each province is appointed by the provincial Government of the Day. So when there is a change in provincial government, there will be a change in that Senator too - in effect, a provincial ambassador, but they have a vote. This way all the provincial governments have a direct voice in the federal parliament, but not in a way that they can dominate/filibuster etc.

I truly don't understand the resistance to change with the Senate - no one likes it the way it is, but no one seems to want change enough to actually do anything.

Get the British Parliament to change the BNA? - they could try, but it would be meaningless. The BNA Act was part of the body of constitutional legislation repatriated in 1982. It's now called the Constitution Act 1867. Now if you want to change parts of it, you need the approval of the Canadian parliament and seven of the ten provinces representing more than 50% of the population. For the fundamentals - federal-provincial jurisdictions, the Queen, the House of Commons, and even to some degree the Senate - you need approval by everybody. It would be far easier if all you needed was the consent of the Brits!

Agree full heartily with a more equitable distribution of seats. Long overdue. But politics is the art of the possible and often operates on the margins. And nobody on the margins wants to give up what they already hold.

Finally, on the question of the Senate, I take a conservative viewpoint. It was designed as a chamber for sober second thought and, by and large, as such it has done a fairly effective job. Despite an occasional vagabond, most of the people appointed have been talented and accomplished individuals who have contributed to the well-being of our country. I'm not sure electing them would improve the quality of member and would probably only serve to stymie the legislative process. Currently, the Senate acts as a clearing house for minor legislation and committee work and in many ways frees up the Commons to do what it does best. As for being a voice for the provinces, well if it is equal, it means the less populous east coast will have disproportionate weight. If it is staggered by regions, it would be superfluous to what the cabinet system already achieves. The Senate has over the years been a great talking point, particularly by members of opposition parties. Yet, notwithstanding it non-elected status, it has been a fairly useful body to the apparatus of government. That's been the real brake on change. "If it aint broke, don't fix it" kind of deal.

For the Senate, I don;t think the numbers need to change, the equal"part is over rated. It is not equal in the US or Australia either, but they are elected and it works.

The way the senate is elected in Australia - by proportional representation by state, means that if a party gets 10% of the senate votes, they get a Senate seat. The Green party types actually have a shot, and so they can get into parliament, but - like any independent, they can't block government etc.

The problem I have with the current system of PM appointees and very long terms is that the influence of the PM of the day lasts for years, decades, after they are gone. So the Senate reflects the political makeup of the past, not present. If senators must be appointed, I think it is more appropriate for each province to decide who represents that province.

As for the actual function/duties of the senate, I am OK with how they are, though they could be a bit more like Australia's.

The problem I have with the current system of PM appointees and very long terms is that the influence of the PM of the day lasts for years, decades, after they are gone. So the Senate reflects the political makeup of the past, not present.

I understand what you're saying, yet that is a feature of the system that I like. It does provide for a continuity of purpose - and I'm partial to having a chamber for sober second thought. It prevents radicals from highjacking the agenda.

I've known a couple of Senators over the years and they do take their job seriously. Most are hard working dedicated people. I would hate to see what elections would do to the quality of member. That's my own personal bias.

If it's any consolation I think PM Harper is trying to introduce Senate reforms similar to what you're suggesting. It will be interesting to see how far he will be able to go with them.

Incidentally, if the confederation debates are anything to go by, the Senate was not intended to be a voice for the provinces, but instead for the monied-interests. The Roman constitution, not the American, was what they had in mind, i.e. a say for the paterfamilias. Sir John A. Macdonald seriously expressed concern over giving too much power to the lower classes because they always would outnumber the propertied and professional interests. I wonder what his response to the OWS would be? Not likely favourable.

I guess I'm not seeing the difference between separatist and pequiste - aren't they the same thing?

Paul, close. Péquistes are members or supporters of the nationalist Parti Quebecois (PQ). There were people who voted for the PQ who were not separatists and some separatists who parked their votes with other parties than the PQ. That's why it's silly to call somebody outside the province of Quebec a péquiste b/c even if he/she is a separatist it is not likely he/she would be casting a ballot for a PQ candidate. Presumably electoral boundaries and geography would rule that out. Minor but important distinction.

Hope this helps clarify the point that (I hope) Yvan Dutil was making and for which I agreed.



" It's not about how much liquid fuel is around but how expensive it is to get"

Rubin-the-Rube is doing the same thing just about everyone wants to do (as ghung pointed out above - overly simplify). And so we get the Blind Men and the Elephant routine.

Peak Oil Production is a function of geology, geopolitics, economics, water, other resource limits, etc, etc. - a big ugly mix of variables.

LTC Fleming (yesterday's drumbeat) says the limits are mostly "Geology Now." (he is riding on top the elephant)

Rubin says "money" because he has ben econolobotmized (he has his head in the elephant's ass)

Yergin says ignore geology, blame "above ground factors." (he is holding onto the the elephants penis).

The public is AWOL mentally and so they will OWS until someone tells them "Game Over."

I'm rather surprised at Jeff Rubin's assessment; sure, the price - proportionally within the world economy - of oil will go up but it's not as if the money will disappear. I can point out about 16 million able bodies currently idling that could be working in oil and paying taxes and moving money about. The price going up is a boon to areas like Alberta. Likewise drilling and rig construction. When you have the kinds of waste of human endeavour that we have - making crap to fall apart to keep money circulating to ensure a continual profit taking - the problem is, at this stage anyway, merely one of human asset allocation.

Money isn't 'spent'; it goes somewhere.

When the public can spend about half its income on housing - mostly thermally obsolete and tackily constructed disposable shacks - but not have the wherewithal to build either more oil production or renewables, then you know there is a crisis of management of human direction. When all US housing must be built to passivhaus standards, with a chance of lasting a century, I'll start taking the leaders to be somewhat serious people.

It is inevitable that we will be spending a far higher proportion of our energies on energy. Considering that fact to inevitably lead to some sort of poverty is, in my mind, economically juvenile. Sorry, but it's how I see it.

I think it's obvious that what we call "money" is based on debt, as Chris Martenson has so eloquently pointed out in his Crash Course videos. That is, with our fiat money system, money is created by banks lending to the public. As the debt is repaid, the money evaporates, except for the interest on the loan, the value of which may be destroyed thru inflation. The Fed does a similar activity, when it buys US T Bills from the Treasury. Also, everything depreciates and eventually ends up in the land fill or recycled to recover materials. We live in a consumer society and the process of consuming destroys wealth (and money), so new money must be injected into the economy to keep the economy going. Our consumption habits also require energy and using fossil energy is a one-way street in that energy can only be consumed once.

All humans need food, which is one form of renewable energy, thus civilization is solar powered at the level of plants in the field. More people and less fossil fuel will ultimately lead to less food per person. Our technologies have allowed us to extend the production of food beyond what is possible using just renewable energy sources, and as the fossil fuels become more expensive (that is, less will be available available), food production is likely to decline. Biofuels may make things worse, as plant production is diverted from foods to fuels. One of the main reasons the price of food on your table has gone up these past few years is that roughly half the US corn crop is now going into production of ethanol. Diverting so-called "agricultural waste" into additional biofuels will remove nutrients from the soil, which must either be replaced by chemical fertilizers or the result will be reduced production. From studying ecology, it's clear that nothing is wasted in the natural world.

Sorry to say, I can't see how this situation will end pleasantly...

E. Swanson

as the fossil fuels become more expensive (that is, less will be available available), food production is likely to decline.

While I agree with most of what you have to say, I disagree on this point. To date, there is no evidence of any slowdown in food production, even though oil prices have quadrupled in the last decade. What makes you think there will be such a sudden change - caused by oil prices alone?

I do agree that soil depletion/erosion, wastage of water, creeping urbanisation etc can and will all impact agricultural production, but as for the oil price alone, I just don't see it. In fact, the current high prices for almost all food commodities make farming a good business at present, regardless of oil prices.

The only reason why the corn is being used for ethanol is because it has be mandated by the US gov to do so - eliminate that mandate, and ethanol production would drop dramatically.

The main reason why food prices are going up is that there are more people to feed - population growth is outpacing consumption. That is the situation that can't end pleasantly.

While I agree with most of what you have to say, I disagree on this point. To date, there is no evidence of any slowdown in food production, even though oil prices have quadrupled in the last decade. What makes you think there will be such a sudden change - caused by oil prices alone?

Food production will begin to decline when oil availability begins to decline.
Farmers will be forced to begin producing their own fuel (biodiesel) on the farm, just like the farmers before oil produced their own fuel (oats, hay, wood). This change will require about 1/3 to 1/2 of all their tillable acres to produce all the fuel they need to run the entire farm. When manufactured fertilizers become in short supply this will reduce yields. All totaled, over the next 50 years, approximately, there will be a drop in food production to maybe 1/2 to 1/4 of what is produced today.
And "they" think that they can feed 9 billion people (or more?) with maybe 1/2 to 1/4 of the food produced today? Some will still eat well, but billions will starve to death - That is most likely to be the brutal reality of the future.

Farmers will be forced to begin producing their own fuel (biodiesel) on the farm, just like the farmers before oil produced their own fuel (oats, hay, wood). This change will require about 1/3 to 1/2 of all their tillable acres to produce all the fuel they need to run the entire farm

Where are you getting this 1/3 to 1/2 figure for making plant oil?

Because Rudolf Diesel claimed only 1/10 of the land with his plant oil-fired engine.

Rudolf Diesel claimed only 1/10 of the land with his plant oil-fired engine.

And I'd bet modern technology could do a lot better. And the crop plants have been further optimized. Earlier we had discussed figure like 1/3 for animal power farm energy. Modern inorganic technology is more efficient than draft animals.

And hence me asking for clarification on the 1/3 to 1/2 statement.

The Busby report says 8.5%. My attempt to figure out the same ratio in the US came out to about 10%.

"Agriculture requires 1.4 million tons oil equivalent for motive power. Around 500,000 hectares are currently devoted to growing rape as an agricultural product and around 1,500,000 additional hectares would be required for rape and beet cultivation for the processing of sufficient bio-diesel to make agriculture self-sufficient in motive power. This represents around 8.5% of the agricultural land in current use. This needs to be balanced against other demands on the same land, but some of the set-aside could be re-employed."

In the Alternative Energy section of http://www.after-oil.co.uk/

And if you did not have fossil powered fertiliser? Animals provide their own. Tractors do not.

The best figure I have seen is that they both require about 1/3 of the land when there is zero fossil input.

Animal fertiliser is a recycled product. What is the conversion efficiency to produce that?


I find all this arguing rather pointless. Surely there is enough waste products on all the farms too be used in a methane digester which would provide more than enough compressed methane gas to run all there machinery. I am surprised it is not being done already.

It is being done, X just linked to an example from Germany, and there's the Jean Pain story that gets brought up (by me often enough) from time to time here.



It would take some thought and some errors probably to get over the hump.. which is of course why the available solutions still hold sway over it. It could possibly be adopted pretty fast though, when the need became really clear. Good BB waiting in the wings.

It's Particularly encouraging with the Jean Pain story, he was able to get Heat, Gas and Rich Compost for Soil Improvement all from the same process.. makes me think about those areas where people are working to reclaim more barren land, as he did in Southern France.

Jokuhl Yes you are right, I should have been more precise in how I expressed myself I was certainly aware of Jean Pain and what is going on in Germany and Samsoe in Denmark my real whine is about the lack or official backing or support. Which ever way you look at it it is a win win situation.

Clearly a solution that just makes too much sense. Life imitates art..


or was that 'Arse Gratia Artis' ? .. anyway, I expected as much!

Bob, thanks for the Jean Pain link - I had not come across that one before - a good summary. I would like to find the book - actually, it is one that should be published online, rather than being suppressed.

What the linked story didn't say is that Pain was adamant that all his farm processes were powered by the methane generated - his tractor, saw etc. It was truly an energy independence system.

It is also a good reminder that wood wastes can be made into a useable, storable, portable fuel - just not a liquid one. Well, actually, you could than take that digester gas and run it through this low temp, non catalytic, aqueous phase process to make methanol:


I was out cutting firewood today for a neighbour at a forestry cut block- my new chainsaw (Echo 50cc) uses just 2/3 of a litre of fuel to cut a cord of wood! As I was looking at all the slash piles - pretty much useless for firewood, I was thinking of Jean Pain and his brush compost. these slash piles are about 6m wide and 3m high - exactly his dimensions! There were about twenty of them on this cut block alone. Too bad they will be burned next month :-(

Cheers, Paul. I see similar biomass waste just here in the city.. I keep wondering if Bamboo would do well in there..

Check your 101 Email.

If it is burnt on site then at least the nutrients get returned to the soil. If it is taken away to be burnt off site then the remnants would need returning. Alternatively a power plant is established on site.


Food production will begin to decline when oil availability begins to decline.

Not at all. If need be, farmers will outbid city commuters for fuel. They will also adapt their farming methods to further reduce fuel usage, for example, such revolutionary concepts as letting the cows walk around and eat grass, instead of keeping them in feedlots on corn.

Farmers could grow their own fuel, but I doubt it will come to that. Most governments in WW2 made fuel rations available to farming a priority ahead of city drivers, and I would expect the same to happen again, if need be.

If farmers had to return to steam tractors, it wouldn;t take much coal to keep them going.

And, we are going to see the gradual introduction of electrified farming, particularly at smaller scales, but it could be done at larger scales if need be - the centre pivot irrigator can also do double duty as the gantry that carries the power cable to supply a tractor/combine etc.

Farming is, ultimately, one of the highest value uses of oil there is. Farmers will (and always have) complained about fuel prices, but they will pay it, and so will anyone that likes to eat food.

If need be, farmers will outbid city commuters for fuel.

Or will they? Maybe the top 1%ers will declare fuel an eminent need and should be supplied preferentially. Food - that will be supplied by their factories, won't it? The farmers are already being screwed over prices, why do you think they won't get screwed over fuel?


Even if the top 1% declare fuel an eminent need, for themselves, just how much can the top 1% consume - directly? And how long can they do that for if the farmers are not producing food?

In pretty much every civilisation that has ever existed, food supply has been a high, if not the top priority. Those where it hasn;t been haven;t lasted for too long. It is one use for fuel that I can see even the 1% agreeing to.

As for farmers getting a raw deal on prices, well that depends what they are growing and where. Any farmer growing pretty much any grains, is getting pretty good prices right now. Same too for vegetables, meat etc - I can;t think of any farm-gate food that is decreasing in price at present.
Certainly many of the farmers costs are rising, but so are the prices they are getting - mostly.

And as for the factories owned by the 1%, i think we are going to see more and more bypassing of that - according to the USDA;

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2011 – More than 1,000 new farmers markets have been recorded across the country, according to results released today in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2011 National Farmers Market Directory.

The annual report indicates a total of 7,175 farmers markets operate throughout the United States as more farmers are marketing their products directly to consumers than ever before. Last year, the USDA reported that 6,132 markets were operating across the country.

“The remarkable growth in farmers markets is an excellent indicator of the staying power of local and regional foods,”

The number if US farmers markets increased 17% last year, and 16% the year before - it is the fastest growing retail business - food or otherwise- there is.

Best hopes for more people buying directly from their local farmers.

We have a farmers market here. It is closed for the summer. The one main food supplier, not farmer, is supposed to have a stall in a hotel but I can't find it. When they are open they have 1 farmer. The rest are food stalls(pizza by slices etc), musicians and arts/crafts. Oh, Saturdays only. I went by last Saturday and they had absolutely no information at the closed gate. Sorry if I cannot accept stats on the number of farmers markets as being indicative of the health of the industry.


Well, it sounds like you don't have a farmers market then. I really have no idea of how it is in Mexico,but fro your description, it doesn't sound too good for local food markets.

Here in my area of coastal BC, there was no farmers market when I arrive five years ago, and no local produce in the stores. Now, there are ten different registered organic farms, plus a (non-registered) commercial greenhouse, three towns each have a farmers market (on different days) each week for the summer, and the local supermarkets/specialty stores are carrying quite a few local products, from tomatoes, salad greens, honey, jams/preserves/salsa, eggs and so on.

It may help that we have a provincial government that has an explicit policy of encouraging local agriculture, and local and direct selling of produce. There are rules to be followed on food safety of course, but as long as you do, away you go.

The gov can set the rules, then it is up to the people to make it happen, and here, at least, they/we are - slowly and from a small start, but its a start.

Hi Paul... I'm on the BC coast also, Nanaimo area. Where be you?

Nanaimo has 2 farmers' markets (allegedly). One, near the public docks, is more of a tourist attraction with artsycraftsy things, prepared foods, and not so much of the fresh produce. The other is over on the North side of town -- a bit of a stroll from where I am -- and is more serious. I haven't heard much about CSAs locally. One local farmer -- Dirk Becker -- is under attack in his home town of Parksville (yuppie neighbours complaining about his compost pile, chickens, etc). He's been accused of a zoning violation because he sells produce from his large lot; he's defending his mini-farm on the grounds of Peak Oil preparedness plus an inalienable human right to grow, barter, trade and sell local food. I wish him well -- I think the spirit of the times is with him.

Nanaimo city council recently repealed the absolutist No Livestock law to allow domestic chickens in back yards (but no roosters). Rabbits also, I believe. I think the ice is melting (legislatively I mean, not just at the poles).

Hi R.A. I am in Sechelt, Sunshine Coast. Really just a retirement/bedroom community to Vancouver, not that I am retired nor a commuter...

The local farmers market has been really well received. Their motto "we grow, make and bake it locally" hits the spot. Each stall has a sign saying this was made X km from here. No imported fruit form the Okanagan or any of that sort of thing. Only exception is the guy selling fish, but that is from a Sunshine Coast boat, so OK...

I think with cities worrying about backyard chickens they are missing the bigger picture. There is much more that could be done, and a start would be for them and the province to tighten up the Agricultural Land Reserve system. There is lots of ALR land not being used for production. Someone growing hay for their horses meets the criteria! It should be that the land has to be actually producing food or fibre, otherwise, you get taxed at residential rates per hectare. Then the owners, if they don;t want to farm it, can lease it out to someone who will. And if they don't want to do that either, well then, they shouldn't be owning ALR land!

As food prices continue to rise, one wonders when we'll see a demand shift (demand destruction may not apply here; folks gotta eat), perhaps to less variety, more seasonal, basic and local goods, etc.. Our family has been on this track for some time, partly due to costs and trying to stay ahead of the curve. Will CSA and home gardens, etc. impact industrial production as resource depletion and climate change do over time? Is there a cost/demand/debt tipping point for mass scale production of food stuff?

Our family has ceased buying certain goods alltogether - farmed seafood from overseas, many imported fruits, vegetables, exotic ingredients, etc.. Eating much less expensive meats as well.

The only reason why the corn is being used for ethanol is because it has be mandated by the US gov to do so - eliminate that mandate, and ethanol production would drop dramatically.

Ethanol production is not dependent on the mandate, if so we would see production = mandated production. Also, when it isn't profitable, refiners go out of business. Are exports also mandated (rhetorically asked)? Etc...

I don't agree with the mandate but it has nothing to do with the price of tea in China. IMO, the availability of oil is driving ethanol production more than any other factor.

USDA: ethanol production outstripping mandate

US on pace to export record ethanol gallons, DG exports down

"Ethanol production is not dependent on the mandate, if so we would see production = mandated production."

If you go back and look at when ethanol production actually took off, it was when the mandate was implemented. Then, when production outstripped the mandate, ethanol supporters lobbied for and got an increased mandate. Now, they are lobbying for more support for E85.

So what you have is a situation in which there isn't much risk of oversupply because the mandated volume provides a nice floor for production. I would expect them to exceed the mandate a bit since there are many different suppliers. It would be a bit hard to hit the mandate on the nose unless there was a single supplier. And historically, when they exceeded the mandate they got more mandates. So I agree with Paul; if the mandate disappeared so would most of the ethanol industry -- even if you left the tax credit in place.

And don't forget, that tax credit is helping to prop up ethanol prices. We will see how much ethanol gets exported and how much the mandate is exceeded next year when the tax credit is gone.

If you go back and look at when ethanol production actually took off, it was when the mandate was implemented.

The rise of ethanol also coincides with the fall in oil imports. Have you seen westexas graph, maybe we can get him to post it for you? If oil was cheap, the price of corn ethanol would be well below the cost to produce. Do you disagree with that?

The US government also mandated cellulosic ethanol. Mandates don't mean much.

Next year, corn ethanol production has to decline -- there isn't enough corn after the heat waves of the last two years. The effects of the expiration of the tax credit can only be determined after Mother Nature is kind to corn farmers (yields above 160 bu/acre) since we have burned through corn inventories.

Yes, the rise of ethanol does coincide with imports, but that does not make it the cause of the fall in imports. Imports fell from 13mbd to 8mbd, a gap of 5mbd. Domestic production of oil is not even 1mbd greater, and production of ethanol, in oil equivalent energy, amounts to 0.54mbd, so it is all of 11% of the drop in imports.

If oil was cheap, the price of corn ethanol would be well below the cost to produce.
Well, not quite. The way the gov set up the mandate, the refiners must buy/blend the mandated amount of ethanol, between, or they face very stiff fines from the EPA. So in this regard, the mandate does mean something, and the simplest option is for the refiners to just buy the stuff.

The cellulosic mandate, of course, doesn;t mean anything because they have mandated something that no one is yet able to do, and everyone know it, which is why the mandate has been scaled back to near zero.

I expect corn ethanol production next year will still meet the mandate. if that means less corn is going to make HFCS, then that is not all bad...
And if there is a real shortage, and "food corn" is being used for ethanol, then maybe it will encourage some good debate about Americans profligate fuel consumption.

"The rise of ethanol also coincides with the fall in oil imports."

No, it doesn't. In fact, when ethanol production first began to grow sharply in 2005 as a result of the RFS, imports also rose sharply. I studied the whole issue in great detail, taking into account all of the factors. The reason oil imports fell is simply that total demand (which includes the ethanol contribution) fell:


"If oil was cheap, the price of corn ethanol would be well below the cost to produce. Do you disagree with that?"

Yes, I do. The reason is that ethanol producers have a captive market. They don't have to sell at market prices. No matter what price they charge, oil companies are compelled to buy X billion gallons of the stuff. The marginal producer might be put out of business, but the vast majority of ethanol producers still would have oil companies over a barrel. They have no reason to sell below their cost to produce, because they are only competing for the marginal gallon.

"The US government also mandated cellulosic ethanol. Mandates don't mean much."

The difference was in mandating something that was already being commercially produced and mandating something that wasn't. The first mandate was met because there were no technical obstacles preventing it from being met.

Some of that mandate was to replace the MTBE as an air-quality improvement, after said MTBE made a mess of several local water tables.

Does anyone know how much ethanol is really needed to provide the oxygenate levels the EPA wants in the fuel?

Off the top of my head, total oxygen was to be 2.5 wt%, and ethanol gives this at about 10 vol%. Anyway, with modern emission control systems, there really is no reason for oxygenates, other than perhaps to boost octane. Originally, oxygenates did help reduce CO and unburned HCs.

You are right about MTBE being a fiasco. I worked for an oil company at the time and we spent over $10 billion on piping and tankage alone. And we knew that it did not easily degrade once it made it into the environment. Our petitions to EPA were rejected and the rest is history.

"Does anyone know how much ethanol is really needed to provide the oxygenate levels the EPA wants in the fuel?"

New cars don't need an oxygenate at all, but I did some work on how much ethanol was required to replace MTBE:


"In 2001, MTBE production averaged 212,000 bbl/day for the year (per the previous historical report). The EIA did a comprehensive study of the MTBE replacement issue in 2006, and they concluded that from the oxygenate perspective, it takes 9 barrels of ethanol to replace 10 barrels of MTBE. So to replace 212,000 bbl/day of MTBE was going to require 191,000 bbl/day of ethanol, which is 2.9 billion gallons per year."

I think you aren't seeing the whole picture. Food production in the US may not have "slowed down", but in other countries, we hear stories about increasing shortages of food. The corn which now is directed toward ethanol production once was exported, thus the consumers were not in the US, but in Mexico or overseas, etc. Now that US corn is not available, world grain prices have risen. The high cost of fertilizer also has an impact, such as in India, where poorer farmers are said to be unable to pay for fertilizer and the suicide rate has climbed as a result. The situation in Egypt is another example, where the cost of food is a major fraction of the average pay of a few dollars a day and the result was the Spring Revolution. As we can expect further shortages in oil and thus higher prices, I would think this would add further to the price of food and/or make it more difficult to find enough to eat...

E. Swanson

but in other countries, we hear stories about increasing shortages of food.

Well, sure, but look at what the population growth has been in those other countries - many of them have doubled in the last 40 yrs, or less.

Here is a chart for world grain production since 1980 - does this at all look inversely related to the oil price?

The population has been increasing, most rapidly, in countries that have trouble feeding themselves - Rwanda, Haiti, all the MENA countries, etc. Most of the grain exporting countries (US, EU, Canada, Australia, Argentina etc) have stable or slow growing populations. While these countries do the others a favour by producing and exporting their surplus, they are in no way obligated to do so.

Now that US corn is not available, world grain prices have risen.
what do you mean "not available, the US is still the worlds largest exporter of corn, by a long margin;

The situation in Egypt is another example, where the cost of food is a major fraction of the average pay of a few dollars a day and the result was the Spring Revolution.

Agreed, the cost of food was a factor - Egypt being the world's largest importer of wheat might have something to do with that. As also does having a corrupt government that has kept incomes down.

Most of the countries having trouble feeding themselves have corrupt governments and rampant overpopulation. I will maintain that prices of oil are a distant factor in these countries food problems.

Your graph of corn exports shows a bit different trend. It appears that the latest data points (the squares on the right) represent a large drop in US grain exports, thus a large drop in total quantity of corn exported last year. This year, it would appear that even less corn will be available for export from the US, if the US intends to maintain adequate storage for the coming year. Looking only at exports tells little about the levels of grain reserves. HERE's Data from the USDA (page 20 of PDF):

Corn stocks
        2006/07  2007/08  2008/09  2009/10  2010/11  2010/11
                                                Jan      Feb

Subtotal 77,009   90,101  105,320  101,776  108,086  105,376
  US     33,114   41,255   42,504   43,380   18,915   17,137
 Total  110,123  131,356  147,824  145,156  127,001  122,513

Notice the large drop in US storage, as of February 2011. It would appear that US export levels were maintained by drawing down storage...

E. Swanson

Yep, definitely some drawing down of inventory. BUt this is not the same as "US corn imports are no longer available" which is what you initially said. US corn exports have average about 45m tpy since the early 70's, so the country has done more than it share of feeding other countries. And against global grain production in excess of 2bn tons, US corn exports are less than 5% of that - it is just noise, really.

What we are seeing now is an "ExportLand" situation for US corn, and that is no surprise, really. And just like with oil, it is up to the countries dependent on imports to deal with that problem, as the exporters will supply themselves first, regardless of how inefficiently they use the commodity, or how much they subsidise its use.

I also suspect that the people with the money will get the corn. What will be the headlines in a couple of years time

"Chinese Pigs get fat, while Millions in Egypt starve."

We really do live in interesting times

In the second diagram, I wonder what that country is who sudenly starts exporting like crazy at about 2005. Whoever they are, they arethe ones who prevent the world from going into wheat decline.

Consuming doesn't destroy money. Money is created by the government, not banks lending to the public. And the US treasury is yet to be repaid about 13 trillion, last I heard. There's lots of money out there; who's got it and is it moving, preferably in my direction, is the question.

Apparently, almost half of the transactions in USD occur outside the US. Thus I'm assuming that the total Gross International Transactions in USD would be far higher than the US GDP. So US debt to GIT ratio would be less alarming than debt/GDP. Eurozone combined debt to Euro GIT ratio is a good question. How much international business is in Euros is, to me, an unknown. But when you 'print' money you are effectively taxing a percentage of existing money, wherever it is. And typically a given dollar does about ten transactions a year - well, used to. Money supply is therefore about 10% of GDP. So much for being destroyed by consumption.

All money is, by definition, debt. And if all debts to Treasury were repaid, I can see that money would cease to exist except as a pile of paper and digits waiting at the vaults for another mission in life. Hard as it is to believe, there have been rare instances of paying down some treasury debt but it is customarily just rolled over and added to. All in all, not nearly as exciting a process as the monetary doomers would have you believe.

New money isn't being injected into the economy to replace 'destroyed money' , it's being injected to account for increased population and to produce just enough inflation to keep existing money on the table. Deflation is unworkable on fixed principle long term debt, so we have a controlled, hopefully, inflation rate of typically about 2 -3%. And an interest rate that adds another point and a half for the banks and some more for risk.

Money is created by the government, not banks lending to the public.

So the Federal Reserve is "the government" and not a Corporation owned by a bunch of banks?

And the practice of "reserve banking" as done today is not money creation?

so we have a controlled, hopefully, inflation rate of typically about 2 -3%. And an interest rate that adds another point and a half for the banks and some more for risk.

An interesting idea - risk and the %age rate are tied together.

So why do student loan rates rise if there is a late payment when, by law, you can't default or declare bankruptcy on student loans? Where is the 'risk'?

So why do student loan rates rise if there is a late payment when, by law, you can't default or declare bankruptcy on student loans? Where is the 'risk'?

Because greedy malefactors of great wealth got to write the rules. And (our) government is their loan payment enforcer (which they probably get for free).

Elsewhere you stated the End the FED people are nutters - perhaps you can answer the other questions I asked.

Is the Federal Reserve "the government" and not a Corporation owned by a bunch of banks?

Is the practice of "reserve banking" as done today not money creation?


The Federal Reserve Bank is a consortium of private banks, and who they are is a SECRET! The American People owe them interest on every single dollar they put into circulation (or buy Treasury bonds with). Dollars = debt. Pretty cool con, huh?

I am of the impression that most of the shut down the fed folks, are gold standard types. People who are concerned that printing of money may deflate the value of currency. This used to be a class issue: the 1% owned the land/flats, and the 99% rented under long term contracts. So the wowner class had a big stake in fighting inflation, as their income could be affected. That dynamic barely exists today, but I think the class memories persist. So partly the opposition to the fed is opposition to central banking, and fiat money. Partly, it may be concern over who controls it.

Methinks we need more of this:

North Dakota's Economic 'Miracle' - It's Not Oil [scroll down]


The availability of energy and material resources is always a fundamental factor contributing to economic stability and growth, but focusing only on that conveniently allows us to skate around the stark financial discrepancy between North Dakota and every other struggling American state. Which is, of course, the existence of a state-owned central bank in ND that clears checks, guarantees student loans and business development loans, and issues credit money within the state and independently of the privately-owned Federal Reserve System.

Yep, you heard right! While the powerful institutions of Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Southeast Asia have so far been inextricably locked into the devastating effects of corrupt Fed monetary policy, such as trade imbalances and high inflation, and entire multi-trillion dollar economies are descending into insolvency through incurable deficits, one single agricultural state within the U.S. has escaped the Squid's blood funnel in a magical sleight of finance that can only be described as Houdini on steroids. As described by Ellen Brown below, North Dakota has certainly reaped the benefits of its monetary courage.

From the source article:

"Access to credit is the enabling factor that has fostered both a boom in oil and record profits from agriculture in North Dakota. The Bank of North Dakota (BND) does not compete with local banks but partners with them, helping with capital and liquidity requirements. It participates in loans, provides guarantees, and acts as a sort of mini-Fed for the state.

...The BND also has a loan program called Flex PACE, which allows a local community to provide assistance to borrowers in areas of jobs retention, technology creation, retail, small business, and essential community services."

...According to the BND report:

'Financially, 2010 was our strongest year ever. Profits increased by nearly $4 million to $61.9 million during our seventh consecutive year of record profits. Earnings were fueled by a strong and growing deposit base, brought about by a surging energy and agricultural economy. We ended the year with the highest capital level in our history at just over $325 million. The Bank returned a healthy 19 percent ROE, which represents the state’s return on its investment.'

Perhaps more States should start thumbing their noses at the Fed, stick New York and DC with the bill.

My daughter Mall Rat got dinged for a late payment. She called them and said "How can that be? I signed up for automatic payments".
"Well, your payment was due Sun, and we didn't transfer it until Mon."

Yeah, that is why it is better to set the payment date 2 or 3 days before the due date.


in MMT there is the concept of horizontal and vertical money. I find it quite useful in understanding on how things work.


Petrosaurus says "Money isn't 'spent'; it goes somewhere." Yes it leaves, for example, the USA and goes to Canada or to Saudi Arabia. That money is absent in the US and people become poorer.

I agree with Rubin here. People don't care if there are 100 Billion barrels of oil beneath the Arctic Ocean if it costs $200/barrel to recover. People only relate to the price of gasoline a single factor they understand very well. I think money is a good gage and eliminates the bickering about resources, supply and demand, and many other factors such as the environment, politics and policies. etc .

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending October 14, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.4 million barrels per day during the week ending October 14, 134 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 83.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.3 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging about 4.4 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 7.9 million barrels per day last week, down by about 1.2 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged just under 8.9 million barrels per day, 187 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 458 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 107 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 4.7 million barrels from the previous week. At 332.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 3.3 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 4.3 million barrels last week and are near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.0 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 10.9 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 18.8 million barrels per day, down by 0.9 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged nearly 8.9 million barrels per day, down by 1.5 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 4.0 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 5.8 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 3.7 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Regarding Jeff Rubin's comments and regarding the continuing slide in US crude oil inventories:

Following is a chart showing actual global Crude + Condensate production for 2002 to 2010, along with a projection showing where we would be at the 2002 to 2005 rate of increase in production. The shaded area represents the “Yergin Gap.”


Only if we include biofuels, which of course have a very low net energy component, have we seen a material, but still quite small, increase in total liquids production relative to 2005 (up at 0.5%/year from 2005 to 2010, EIA).

But the real story is the ongoing decline in Global Net Exports* (GNE) and Available Net Exports (ANE), which are measured in terms of total petroleum liquids.

GNE fell at an average volumetric rate of about 0.6 mbpd (million barrels per day) per year from 2005 to 2010. From 2010 to 2020, I suspect that the GNE volumetric decline rate will be between 0.6 and 1.0 mbpd per year. Following is a “Yergin Gap” chart for GNE:


ANE fell at an average volumetric rate of about 1.0 mbpd per year from 2005 to 2010. From 2010 to 2020, I suspect that the ANE volumetric decline rate will be between 1.0 and 2.0 mbpd year. Following is a “Yergin Gap” chart for ANE:


Let me put it this way, the five year decline in ANE, which is the volume of exported oil available to importers other than China & India, was equivalent to total US crude oil production in 2008. 

The reality that the is US facing, i.e., what the 2005 to 2010 numbers show, is that a slow rate of increase in US domestic production is not coming close to offsetting the decline in ANE. 

In other words, we are being shut out of the global market for exported oil faster than the slow rate of increase in US crude oil production.

The average US crude oil production rate in 2010 was 5.5 mbpd (C+C, EIA). Average US crude oil production for 2011 through September, 2011 was 5.6 mbpd, and if most recent production data are accurate and continue through year end, I suspect that the average US crude oil production rate for 2011 will probably be between 5.65 and 5.70 mbpd, versus a 1970 peak of 9.6 mbpd.

If the US had not released some oil from the SPR, I suspect that we might be down to one to two days supply of crude oil inventories in excess of MOL (Minimum Operating Level). I have heard that light/sweet oil supplies are very tight in the Atlantic Basin, and I think that there is a good chance that we will see another release of emergency oil supplies by IEA countries, as we head into the Northern Hemisphere winter.

*GNE = Total net oil exports from top 33 net oil exporters in 2005, total petroleum liquids, BP + Minor EIA data. ANE = GNE less the Chindia region's combined net oil imports.

Westexas, if I'm reading you right, US production is falling short of export declines, therefore Americans should expect to be in a disadvantaged position by this winter. If that's the case, should not the anomaly of having WTI-Brent differential spread of $20-30 come to an end and go into reverse as the US continues shut out of global markets? In short, a looming price shock ahead?

As Undertow has documented, the WTI market is really crazy. My personal opinion is that Mid-continent refiners realized that there was enough supply, with increasing Mid-continent production, that they didn't have to aggressively bid against each other for crude oil supplies, so they refused to up the price they paid, even as Cushing inventories declined to below year ago levels. And as Undertow has documented, Mid-continent refiners are basically paying WTI crude oil prices, but charging Brent based prices for refined product.

The risk Mid-continent refiners are running is that they are providing a billion dollar plus per month incentive for the Canadians to implement a crash program to take their crude oil elsewhere, especially to their West Coast, and the WTI/Brent spread may not return to the historical range until we lose most of our access to Canadian oil exports.

So, while some Mid-continent refineries are making a killing, and while I suspect that some refinery executives are going to get some sizable bonuses this year, it could come at considerable long term cost to the country.

refinery executives are going to get some sizable bonuses this year, it could come at considerable long term cost to the country.

And how is this unacceptable to the way things have been done for quite some time?

What does a well armed empire do when it is being shut off from the energy it requires to survive? Obviously I'm asking a loaded question, but it seems like war over access to the remaining supplies is inevitable. Of course, I see that's been happening in smaller scale stages already for (at least) the last 10 years, but eventually push will come to shove with other bigger players. Who would give odds that we'll walk away and accept our fate?

I see a last sociopath standing scenario developing.

I hear you, but I don't think that's a particularly useful way to look at it. When I look at all the people I see around me, I suspect they will all just want our sociopaths to go get that oil. And if they don't perform, then they'll look for another sociopath with enough guts to go and get our oil. The sociopaths are always there - the problem looks back at us in the mirror.

The sociopaths are always there - the problem looks back at us in the mirror.

Yes and no. There was a brief time in the U.S. when the sociopaths were actually on the defensive, having been outflanked by strong, popular labor, civil rights, anti-war and environmental movements. Then came Ronnie Raygun, Thatcherism, "Trickle-down" Chicago School supply-side economics, Gordon Gekko's "greed is good" ethos, and the end to most banking/consumer regulations from the 1940s-1970s (our greatest period of general prosperity and middle class expansion). From that point on, liberals/Progressives were on the defensive --and usually the losing side. The fall of the Berlin Wall/Soviet Union perversely bolstered the right-wing sociopaths' ideology even further. Because a once powerful Communist oligarchy had failed, this meant that all manifestations of socialism, liberalism, and even government regulation had also failed. Capitalism and Free(Market)dom had won a total, unqualified victory! This is the meme that the 1%ers successfuly spread throughout America and the world.

Can we ever get back to a point where right-wing sociopaths are not in complete control of the terms of political debate, as well as all levers of power? Perhaps, but as you pointed out, the real change has to happen first in the minds of the public. The terms of the debate need to be fundamentally changed, and a new reality created. When we get to a place where terms like socialism, liberalism, regulation and "social justice" are not dirty words, while "unfettered capitalism", "concentrated wealth", and greed become bad things once again.

Then came Ronnie Raygun, Thatcherism, "Trickle-down" Chicago School supply-side economics, Gordon Gekko's "greed is good" ethos, and the end to most banking/consumer regulations from the 1940s-1970s (our greatest period of general prosperity and middle class expansion). From that point on, liberals/Progressives were on the defensive --and usually the losing side.

Quick, what else happened then? Yup, the peak of US oil production and per-capita income.

Before that point we were awash in the riches of empire and bountiful cheap, concentrated energy. Because there was so much, there was plenty to go around. We'd built up a large middle class, but the rich were still rich and comfortable.

After that point there was less to go around. Oil was cheap in nominal dollars per barrel, but not in terms of the expanding military empire to keep it flowing. We ran up huge debts, there wasn't enough to give everyone their piece while the rich stayed rich. Now wealth has concentrated more than during the Gilded Age, the middle class is shrinking, and all those altruistic ideals of the time of riches are going away. The formerly well off just want the fruits of empire and oil to come back, any way they can get it, and the sociopaths that run the place better deliver because there's always another one of those to be had. But it's the masses that use the energy and unfairly gotten spoils.

Well put, and as you and so many others here have pointed out ad nauseum, a perpetually expanding empire based on a perpetually expanding supply of cheap energy is impossible on a finite planet. Not that this will prevent TPTB (and a willing public) from desperately trying to keep the game going as long as possible --inevitably resulting in war, famine, environmental destruction and untold suffering.

And let's also not forget the denominator in the equation: population. Obviously, when the population (world as well as national) is expanding, the average share of energy and wealth per capita goes down (extremely unequal distribution makes it even worse for the masses) while, pollution levels and ecological damage obviously increase. If the population were to decrease sufficiently, this could offset or even counteract the decline in recoverable cheap energy, halt or reverse ecologocal damage, and buy us more time to develop renewables or even transition to a better economic and political model.

Unfortunately, population is always last on any political "leader's" list of things to discuss, and so far from a serious topic of national debate (typical public reactions range from NewsMax Illuminati conspiracy theories to cries of "Nazi eugenics!") I doubt I'll see anything done about it in my lifetime.

Before that point we were awash in the riches of empire and bountiful cheap, concentrated energy.

Exactly. In times of plenty it's easy to reach for higher ideals, but as the tap tapers off lower based conservative thinking takes over and the sociopaths are offered up a platform for their form of insanity.

Take the current situation with the R candidates. To get the attention of their constituency they offer up all sorts of extreme ideas, like electrified border fences, eliminating SS & medicare, trillion dollar defense budgets to police the world, equal taxation on all levels of income, etc.

World tension is rising and how that plays out will be interesting as the sociopaths make hard decisions.

Take the current situation with the R candidates. To get the attention of their constituency they offer up all sorts of extreme ideas, like electrified border fences, eliminating SS & medicare, trillion dollar defense budgets to police the world, equal taxation on all levels of income, etc.

*coff* Ron Paul *coff*

Now the embedded interests that make their money from large offence budgets for the Department of War, the firms that make their coin from the old/sick on SS/Medicare, the various firms that have made money from exploitation of illegal workers and all the other pigs at the trough have plenty to not like about what Paul pitched.

Those of you concerned about the environment should start working on getting a Constitutional amendment passed to replace the EPA before it gets gutted.

A Constitutional Amendment would still only cover the U.S., leaving the other 6.5% of the world's land mass (and almost 100% of its oceans) still vulnerable. And even that (rather unlikely) amendment would only be as good as its enforcement mechanism: U.S. (mostly corrupt) politicians, (captured) regulators and its (uninformed) citizens.

But the push for the Constitutional Amendment is what got the EPA - "weaker" law VS an actual amendment.

And unless there is to be a one world government, trying to fix the 6% is a start. Being the rule of law to the courts is a good start.

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a constitutional amendment to pass on any issue.

Of 11,000 attempts to amend U.S. Constitution, only 27 amendments have passed

Congress has considered "approximately 11,372 amendments" from 1789 through December 31, 2008, the most recent tally available, according to the Statistics and Lists section of the United States Senate website.

Why is it "approximately" 11,372? The site says that's because of a number of factors, including inadequate indexing of legislation in the early years of Congress.

Of those 11,372 proposed amendments, only 27 have been approved by Congress and ratified by the states.

I generally agree, but 'higher ideals' have always been highly contested, even in times of rising general prosperity.

Hard to say. If change happens, I doubt it will come from within the U.S., which is now corporate and neofeudal to the core.

I have to eat crow because I thought that OWS would amount to nothing, and it's clearly amounted to something. Still, I think they're wasting their time.

I too have my doubts about the long-term prospects of OWS resulting in substantive change or a permanent movement, but... you never know. Many were dismissive and skeptical of the Tea Party at first. Of course, OWSers are unlikely to ever get funding from Koch Brothers & Co., but they do have something the Tea Party never had: public majority support.

The higher the unemployment rate goes (the real one, not the heavily gamed U3) and the more desperate the disenfranchised hoi polloi get, the better the prospects for a real, lasting reform movement. I'm convinced though that to have a lasting impact the OWSers will have to capture and redirect some of the populist rage on the Tea Party right. If they can poach some of the more rational/moderate TP sympathizers, they might very well have a movement.

Since many of the OWS folks appear to be out of work, maybe political action this is the best way for the to use their time...

E. Swanson

Yup, I'm prolly wasting time and gas, but I haven't had this much fun in years.


I recognize your reasons for feeling as you do about the recent history of our country.

I agree with you in many respects.

But this sort of rhetoric only makes you feel better when you vent.
AND It certainly seems as if the the typical member here agrees with you, more of the time than not.

But history only bears out your position if you insist on viewing it through glasses darkly tinted to suit your own views.

Why don't you look up the stats on who controlled congress through most of our lives?

Remember, most of the legislation that really counts is originated in the house.More than a little of the consume till we drop meme has been heartily supported by big labor.I was once in the nearest branch local of the Operating engineers myself.

Enough democrats have voted with the republicans for them to put such policies in place as the wars we are currently fighting.

I have spent a lot of time and effort trying to introduce some well educated CONSERVATIVE friends of mine to this forum-friends who actually do read classic literature,know how to balance chemical equations, to file lawsuits, to build bridges, to start ivs, or engage in almost any sort of intellectual activity competently.

But just one such rant, to them , is enough to cause them to turn away from this site in disgust.

It's about time the more leftist liberal types admit that they do not have a lock on the truth, and start extending a hand towards the folks on the other end of the spectrum who likewise realize that they don't own the truth either.there are some, believe it or not.

I read this forum quite often, but to illustrate my point, I cannot remember a single person, other than myself, directly acknowledging that the tea party types are onto a fundamental truth,that being that we are on the verge of financial collapse.

Anybody who has read a shelf or so of history should know that a war is often the chosen solution when faced with such a collapse.

Regardless of their many shortcomings in other respect, we should acknowledge this truth, if we are in turn to expect them to consider the possibility that sometimes(most of the time actually, of course) that the other side is in possession of some truths too.

Now it's not just the tea party I'm talking about, but the whole society wide conversational ball of wax.

Sometimes I think about starting my own site, and inviting in only those who have proven themselves capable of seeing the world through other folks eyeglasses.If I weren't so confounded busy trying to learn one more new field, so as to be able to look after "me and mine "if the crash arrives before I depart,I would do it.

And off topic right here, but somebody has been remarking about last standing psychopaths.I agree the world is going to be a very dangerous place before too much longer.

But it might turn out to be relatively safe in such places as are inhabited by old conservative old rednecks such as yours truly.

We will be realistic enough to take such proactive action as we find necessary to look after our community if the cops are no longer capable of answering the phone, or if the phones quit working for good.


Please go back and re-read my earlier posts above.
--I am not a Democrat, and recognize D's are almost as corrupt and thoroughly repugnant as R's are.
--"Democrat" does not equal "reformer" or even "Progressive".
--I think the OWS movmement would be wise to try to find allies in Tea Party moderates, coalesce around common goals and join forces.

Unfortunately, based on national polls not just personal experience or anecdotes, you and other like minded conservative free-thinkers seem to be greatly outnumbered by the conservative theocratic anti-intellectual base and greatly outspent by plutocratic financiers like the Koch Brothers.

Reality does at times appear to have a decidedly "liberal" bias, and I do not think we would be doing a public service here by treating popular-but-wrong extremist opinions as viable theories to be debated on equal footing with actual science (Creationism vs. Evolution, Cornucopianism vs. Peak Oil, homosexuality as "lifestyle choice" vs. genetic predisposition, global warming vs. GW deniers, magical thinking vs. sanity, etc.)

Reality does at times appear to have a decidedly "liberal" bias

Wow, we learn something new everyday.

HARM, I luv ya and I often agree with you, but that statement betrays it's own bias. Most of the examples you use as dichotomies are expressions of American anti-intellectualism not philosophical differences between conservatives and liberals. Moreover, within the parameters of debate, there is always room for nuance of opinion, particularly when engaged in the interpretation of facts. Avoid the smugness of assuming one's worldview sets the parameters for serious thought, and that those who dare disagree are either unintelligent or wicked. That's hubris; it too stymies the pursuit of truth.

I am comforted by the example of Galileo. He's often used as an example of someone who dared to go against orthodoxy and was punished. All correct. Except what he went against was not the orthodoxy of received truth (scripture has little to say about the earth's place in the universe) but against the current orthodoxy of established science. He dared to contradict Ptolemy. Sometimes it really pays not to pigeonhole people into nice set categories (binary classification) but to open oneself to engage with people who think outside the box.

Oldfarmermac's point is valid. "But history only bears out your position if you insist on viewing it through glasses darkly tinted to suit your own views."

..all good, and beyond which, I would remind us that we do have the great luxury of having a site with 'fairly' little internecine sniping, and a respectable range of people across the spectrum, and I sure hope we can help to keep it that way. I have no interest in a 'Liberals only club' .. (and of course, probably even less use for a 'Conservatives Only' club.

In any case, the bird can't fly without both its left and right wings working somehow in tandem! (and it takes a strong middle to hold it all together..)

who dare disagree are either unintelligent or wicked.

Sometimes they are just ignorant. At that point you introduce them to the facts so their ignorance can be removed.

If they can not offer up valid counter data and keep expressing the same POV, well now you have the unintelligent/uneducatable or wicked.

If they can not offer up valid counter data and keep expressing the same POV...

The problem, is that in politics/propaganda, that is largely what we have. Talking points that have been thoroughly debunked are continually recycled. The problem is you need a certain amount of intellectual good faith from the participants. In the wider and highly partisan US, there is simply fighting for my side, and very little good faith concerning truth seeking.

Perhaps you should read TOD more frequently. I've seen many references to an impending financial collapse and we have often discussed the impact of higher oil prices on the financial mess we are now facing. It should be obvious that oil has become more than simply a commodity in that oil powers most of the transport systems we have come to depend on. The fact is that oil supply was a central reason for the German invasion of Russia and Japan's attacks in the Pacific and that later concerns over Soviet expansion toward the Middle East and Vietnam were also worries over oil supplies. Oil was used as a weapon during the Arab/OPEC Embargo and the Iraq invasion of Kuwait and later Desert Storm were also about oil. It's almost a knee jerk reaction to expect that any nation will go to war to acquire resources which it can no longer acquire from the market. The US is presently in the midst of 2 1/2 wars, with Iran or Venezuela being possible next targets. War is about money and wealth, not some patriotic dream of liberal vs. conservative, democracy vs. communism, Christian vs. Muslim.

There are numerous web postings which point out that our financial system may not be salvageable, that the bubble is too large to "fix". The Automatic Earth is just one such site and they started their site after posting on TOD for some period of time. When the peak of world oil production bites and the demand by the industrial nations can not be satisfied, financial turmoil will likely worsen and war becomes highly probable. Perhaps that's why some of us are such Doomers, since we expect a turn to violence as the economy contracts...

E. Swanson

"I read this forum quite often, but to illustrate my point, I cannot remember a single person, other than myself, directly acknowledging that the tea party types are onto a fundamental truth,that being that we are on the verge of financial collapse."

Gosh, Mac, that financial collapse of some form is virtually assured seems to be a widely held opinion here. Maybe you've missed it. Folks frequently post links to TAE, Martenson, etc., all financial doomers, and several of us, including myself, have stated our belief that we are on the verge of "the mother of all depressions". Others, while maintaining some level of optimism (and faith in their fellow humans), have indicated their doubts about our economic future via their actions. I personally know folks on the left who are prepping for the worst. The Tea Partiers certainly don't have a monopoly on this realization.

Opinions that I don't share with some of my Tea Party friends are that we can deregulate and drill our way back to prosperity, or that we can continue our imperialist adventures. When faced with the choice between wars on terror/wars for oil, or abandoning our sick and elderly to economic oblivion here at home, my choice is clear. One thing that most of my local self-styled "patriots", as they call themselves, don't get, is that growth (as they understand it) is over. This is fundamental, IMO. The American Dream is dead. Long live the New Dream (whatever that turns out to be).

BTW: I'm driving up to eastern KY next month. Love to stop by ;-)

I read this forum quite often, but to illustrate my point, I cannot remember a single person, other than myself, directly acknowledging that the tea party types are onto a fundamental truth,that being that we are on the verge of financial collapse.

oldfarmermac, rest assured, take it from a traditional Tory fogey like me, there are a few conservatives in this blog field, even if the rhetoric from outside America tends to be often mistaken for soft leftist bantering. That said, there are a few voices, particularly from the outside looking in, who do not see the Tea Party movement as altogether a blight on America but rather as a group who may be asking questions that need to be asked.

Rex Murphy is a well-established Canadian political commentator. You may be interested in hearing his views as expressed during an interview on Obama's first year, recorded in late 2009. The remarks near the end of the segment are particularly poignant.


Alex: The opposing movements? The Tea Partyers? The infatuation with Sarah Palin? What does that say about America?

Rex Murphy: This mildly populist phenomenon that started to show up over the summer, some of it is fed by the Republican machine no question about it. But don't dismiss it all. Some of it is also this. We are advancing social agendas of such scale, we wonder, can the spending sustain itself? Are we going to impoverish future generations by what we are doing? I think that is a legitimate populist response to the idea that, maybe, the idea of government is growing so large, that eventually it will defeat its own purposes. It will collapse. I think they are afraid they'll lose their government.

We lived through a period of tremendous prosperity - a phenomenon unique to the 20th century. That prosperity was the direct result of technological innovation, trade liberalization, backed by American might (PAX AMERICANA), and fueled by cheap oil. It's one thing to gainsay American military spending - 43% of the world total - but that spending secured and protected an unprecedented consumer market in the US and the safe conduct of trade throughout much of the rest of the world. Entitlements (pensions, healthcare, education, social security) were put into place b/c of that prosperity and security. We all admit the whole circus is contingent on cheap energy. Take that away and the party is over. Which begs the question, who's to pay for the whole shebang? Hence the race for the top and bottom. Hence a military over engaged and overextended. Hence political movements born out of frustration, like the Tea Party and OWS.

Don't forget the sorry taste the Carter years left in everyone's mouth. The country had enough of Jimmy Hoffa, hippies, and general guilt. So we swung the other way, overshooting as usual. And stayed there 30 years, propped up by a couple of bubbles that made everyone think they were rich.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samson_Option is another way things could go down.

Two quick lines from "Avatar":

Col. Quartich: I read your file, Corporal. Venezuela, that was some mean bush. Nothin' like that here, though. You got some heart kid, showin' up here.

Jake Sully: Figured it was just another hellhole.

Here is what Jay Hanson sees coming in the next 10 years unless the OWS movement can succeed in changing our political system:

We have seen that thermodynamic laws promise us less-and-less, while our genes are demanding more-and-more. Although these biophysical laws are now politically incorrect and suppressed from public discourse, these laws will not go away. Roughly fifteen years from now, the thermo/gene collision will cause people to revert to a fundamentally different set of behaviors. These are the ancient behaviors that we evolved during the many periods of overpopulation which have occurred in our millions of years as animals. Those in power will use every tool at their disposal – including nuclear weapons – to increase their fraction of the remaining energy thereby maintaining social hierarchy (social advantage) for their children.

If the wars of the twentieth century had killed the same proportion of the population that die in the wars of a typical tribal society, there would have been two billion deaths, not 100 million. The “thermo/gene collision” will ultimately kill billions of people worldwide as nuclear wars, starvation, and social system collapse grip the planet into the future. When our subconscious feels our fitness is best served by lying, cheating, stealing, raping, or killing, then we will do so. It is our genetic legacy.

All wrong----no, no, no----I agree we'll revert to a fundamentally different set of behaviors. But it isn't raping stealing, lying, or killing. Not by a long shot.

I can already see it here in Japan. It is the old serenity in the face of hopelessness and despair. 400 years ago, if you had a small cut on your finger, it could become infected and you would be at risk for dying quickly. So what sort of attitude towards death did this kind of thing, so common back then, bring? Not lying or stealing, but a sort of shrug: oh, well. Nothing to be done.

Fukushima is too big and too awful to fix or manage or run away from. Now we see people caught, entangled, trapped in a situation that would have been unacceptable before. Now it's not. Face it all with a sort of sad equanimity: hopeless, helpless, stoic, tiny actors in a huge powerful cosmos that has overwhelmed us, them.

Oil and coal gave us the illusion we were in control, that we could avoid a lot of bad things. But take the mask off the villain and he is grinning---the bad things only got bigger and more difficult. The cut on the finger will be treated with antibiotics but radioactive strontium all over the place will be not treated with anything.

OK, cue stoicism, silent acquiescence. The cosmos has spoken. People are tiny and powerless. We always thought so, but we had hopes it was otherwise.

For a while they will kick and argue, those Occupy groups everywhere (notice there were only 300 in Tokyo?)then they will join the silent, resolute who have just given up and drifted off to make ends meet, or not, in some nook or cranny of this world. I read this phrase here: "Occupy yourself"--- and that is a good summation---that will be an end to it, for the people who work on Wall STreet too.

Your college education is worthless? Your backyard is riddled with radioactive cesium? Your budget cannot cover your food bills? Your job has a few years left at most? Your family wonders what the future will bring and it doesn't look good? Well, this is now kind of normal, you didn't think things would come to such a pass--hah, so much for your expectations....

Sometimes I think songs are the only way out.

These are my daughter's and my favorite bedtime songs.

The Fantasticks - 'They were you' (You might find it relevant to your comment..? We just sing the song part..)

David Wilcox - 'Leave it like it is' and 'Rusty Old American Dream'


Net Imports: 6,557 (lowest since Feb 1996)

That is close to 1.5 MBD lower than the lowest value that I would expect. The oil future markets don't really care about it. Interesting.

The future markets have a long & consistent history of ignoring the EIA reports.

The Distillate inventory - 149.7 - looks almost scary, but the rest are still in reasonably comfortable ranges.

When supplies are tight, the markets move on the reports.

Exactly! There is less being exported, so we are getting less as well.

Saw this quote on Seeking Alpha:

Oil supplies unexpectedly dropped by 4.7 million barrels last week, according to The Energy Information Administration. But it wasn't because the U.S. is using more crude. Rather, refineries imported less oil, gasoline and other fuels because demand fell.

The suggestion being "hey, if we wanted to import more oil or if we needed to import more oil, we would." No mention of the possibility that we might be importing everything we can get our hands on.

Thoughts anyone?

I think that's correct, actually. The price of gas is falling, which suggests demand is as well.

If the problem was not enough imports available, I would expect the price of gasoline to be rising.

Prices work hand-in-hand with what oil is available. If people cannot afford the oil, or if they have been laid off from work, then demand is lower. If oil were cheap, and if everyone who wanted a job had one, then oil demand would be a lot higher.

Perhaps we are moving out in front of the curve with demand and conservation moving faster than declines in oil imports. That may become the model of the future! While Charles Mackey has expressed concerns regarding falling imports, falling demand may allow us to buy less and less oil on the world markets leaving surplus oil available to the China/India economies. We might be seeing natural gas replacing crude oil on a real time basis!

This is just such an astonishing chart, every time I see it.

Again this week, the imports of product have been strongly negative. Imports were 1,413 thousand bbls/d and exports were 2,741, the difference giving net imports of -1,328. The previous week's net imports were -523 thousand bbls/d, thus this latest data indicates a further increase exports, compared with the previous week. It is thus not surprising that the net export of 9.296 million bbls of product last week added to a decline in net imports of crude oil last week gave a big negative change in total stocks...

E. Swanson

The Great Eastern Oil Grab (revised for EIA weekly inventory report)
(original version with more details on China: The Great Eastern Oil Grab)

Usually I will go into some detail about why US inventories changed up or down. But the answer these past weeks and months is simpler than most energy analysts would ever admit – or even acknowledge – while the relentless and rather sharp fall in oil as well as oil product inventories continues unabated. While media reports on the US energy industry still have some expectation that enough oil will just show up at US shores in time to get us comfortably through another winter, the reality of falling world net oil exports is already having an effect on the US. As if that were not bad enough, since about March 15 of this year, more of those remaining oil exports have shifted to the 'East' and away from the 'West' - and especially away from the US.

Why US Oil Inventories Will Keep Falling

The reasons for the shift in oil supplies Eastward are many and complex. One reason may be that there is some type of tacit East-West agreement (after the fall of Libya) to allow the East greater access to the Mideast while allowing the West more access to West Africa. (see also The New Line of Demarcation: East & West split OPEC oil supplies) If so, the East got the better part of the bargain, as exports out of West Africa - particularly Nigeria - have fallen due to political infighting and rebellious groups. Meanwhile back in the Western Hemisphere, Mexico is struggling to maintain its oil output while most South American countries have exported less.

Another key reason for slowing oil imports is that prices are lower for Midwest US oil as compared to the rest of the world.

Unfortunately falling oil imports is not the only problem the US faces - or perhaps better said, fails to face. US exports of diesel, heating oil, gasoline, ethanol, and naptha (basically unfinished gasoline) are increasing rather fast - especially to Latin America.

Gasoline prices on the rise

One major reason for the increases was that the U.S. is exporting a considerable amount of fuel overseas, leaving the nation's supplies more vulnerable to sudden price bumps if there are any refinery outages or jumps in the price of crude oil.

U.S. exports of distillate fuel, a category that includes diesel, are averaging a record high 730,000 barrels a day, a 32% increase from the average a year earlier.


Refinery sops will not halt imports

Falling crude production at aging fields, a heavily regulated market and meager profit margins make major investments even less appealing. Argentina looks set to follow the path of other expanding regional economies such as Brazil, where occasional gasoline purchases in 2010 are evolving into regular imports that could last until the end of the decade.

10/4/11 Oil & Gas News [no link]

So as far as the fall in US commercial oil and product supplies goes, this is not even the end of the drop, and not even the end of the beginning of the drop from peak supplies. But if we in the US are lucky, we may have a few months to think about whether we want to use more oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve again next spring - or if we can find some other way to allocate a dwindling oil supply that so far we have been happy to share with the rest of the world for a small profit.

The Super-spike Next Time

See also an article from David Cohen, dated July 20, 2010:
China's Oil Grab

For the ASPO-USA conference, we are going to show a couple of scenarios for Available Net Exports (ANE, or Global Net Exports less the Chindia region's combined net imports).

For both scenarios, we assume that consumption by the top 33 net oil exporting countries continues to increase at the 2005 to 2010 rate of 2.7%/year. And for both scenarios, we assume that Chindia's combined net imports continue to increase at 7.5%/year (in both cases out to 2020).

For Scenario #1, we assume basically flat Top 33 production, declining at the 2005 to 2010 rate of 0.1%/year. This would result in ANE falling from 40 mbpd in 2005 to about 21 mbpd in 2020.

For Scenario #2, we assume a Top 33 production decline rate of 1.0%/year. This would result in ANE falling from 40 mbpd in 2005 to about 15 mbpd in 2020.

IMO, the average volumetric decline rate for ANE will probably be between one and two mbpd per year from 2010 to 2020.

Incidentally, an item from last week (emphasis added):


The western governments’ oil watchdog this week reported that crude stocks in Europe had fallen to their lowest levels since 2003. “Crude oil inventories are unbelievably low in Europe,” says Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citi.

. . . Besides Libya, recent outages from the North Sea to Azerbaijan have also kept supplies scarce. “Either it’s a temporary shortfall or the world’s in deep trouble,” Mr Morse says.

The points above seem to play out in US strategy, at least for now.

Ensure we make attempts at stabiliity for SWA (East half goes east), hedge our bets with defensive systems along the old Soviet border (odd but happening) and drop AFRICOM in on the West coast of Africa (Liberia is only one to offer host so far). We bully up on Nigeria futures?

In exchange for activities on the east side of the grand split, we get long term buyers for our debt?

I know that's all old thinking, and it will probably backfire. But in hindsight, it appears that's what we're doing.

No need to wait for it to get ugly. Ugly has moved in and parked his butt on the sofa.

I'm going long on seeds and gardening and short on paper. :-)

Massive protests in Greece today.

If there's so much opposition, how do the politicians retain power?

Ask the Cypriots. They started fighting when I was born. Lyndon Baines Johnson had the 'football' back then.

Mobs don't elect people; elections do. At least I hope so.

Mobs are composed of people who are angry at the stupid politicians elected by other people in the election. Voters are the people who vote for the intelligent people representing them and their issues.

Mobs don't elect people, money does. Of that I'm sure...

Really. Arguably Hitler came to power via the mob. He could not even run for German office. He was an Austrian citizen, not eligible at the time. Hitler was appointed to his first office, granting his citizenship. As we know, it did not end well.

As you pointed out, the mob didn't "elect" Hitler.

Fair enough, but the mob directed the money.

Because of the difficulties of forming a stable and effective government, two influential politicians, Franz von Papen and Alfred Hugenberg, as well as a number of industrialists and businessmen, including Hjalmar Schacht and Fritz Thyssen, wrote to Hindenburg, urging him to appoint Hitler as leader of a government "independent from parliamentary parties" which could turn into a movement that would "enrapture millions of people."

Not trying to quibble and definitetly not start an argument, TFHG, but mobs never direct money. People with the money direct the money. The industrialists that Hitler sucked up to weren't exactly part of the "German Mob".

We are not arguing anything. This is a discussion. Cordial and cerebral, not emotional. The money went with the mob. The money isn't the mob. The money wanted Hitler to push projects like the Autobahn and the VW bug. The industrialists also wanted to rearm Germany and the profits that came with it. Hitler did use the mob to come to power. The SA was the mob on steriods. When the revolution had been achieved, Hitler no longer needed the mob. So came the Night of the Long Knives. Geez, was I that trigger happy in the past? My bad.


There's kind of a two-party system in Greece (Nea Demokratia and PASOK), and most folks seem to feel that one isn't better than the other.

Things seem to be getting out of hand in Greece - mob-wise

Fighting erupts at mass rally over Greece austerity bill

Rioters have fought other protesters in Athens where thousands of people are rallying outside parliament to condemn a new round of cuts.

Stones and petrol bombs were hurled and fire extinguishers set off as masked youths battled communist-backed trade unionists near luxury hotels.

Mobs on the streets - first state riots.
Mobs fighting each others - second state riots.
What is 3:rd stage riots gonna look like?

I have friends who go to the WTO and G8 meeting Protests, and they have documented the regularity of Police Agent-provocateurs at such events.. Once you get people fighting, the disciplinary regs are a lot more lenient.

There might be people in place deliberately provoking violence, but I doubt that all the people who brought civilian-style riot gear to the protest were provocateurs. On Al Jazeera's english webpage they are showing lots of people (men?) wearing motorcycle helmets and carrying sticks leading what looks like a struggle over prime protesting areas. I assume that the ones who have red flags tied on the end of their sticks are socialists while the ones dressed head to toe in black are the anarchists.

Some news sources indicate that the socialists were providing "security" for the average Joe protesters by trying to keep the anarchists from hiding in the middle of the crowd while doing their typical (for Greece) clashes with the police.

I bet there will be continuing unrest. The VAT is being raised to 23%, public employee wages will be cut 20%-30%, 30,000 (in a population of 11.3 million) will be laid off, health care and education funding will be cut, pensions will be cut 20-40%. Oh and collective bargaining will be suspended for the entire country, public and private sector.

Fukushima City Fallout.

Here are the latest radioactive caesium (134 and 137) contamination survey values by Professor Tomoya Yamauchi of Kobe University for the city of Fukushima as reported at http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/10/soil-survey-of-watari-district.html - original Japanese PDF at http://www.foejapan.org/energy/news/pdf/111005_houkokusyo.pdf

(1) Ogura-ji Inariyama
Cs-134: 604.66 eV; 108,450 +/- 247 Bq/kg
Cs-137: 661.64 eV; 131,250 +/- 282 Bq/kg
Total 239,700 +/- 375 Bq/kg

(2) Hachiman Jinja
Cs-134: 604.66 eV; 71,293 +/- 171 Bq/kg
Cs-137: 661.64 eV; 85,981 +/- 198 Bq/kg
Total 157,274 +/- 262 Bq/kg

(3) Storm drain on the school route
Cs-134: 604.66 eV; 44,294 +/- 135 Bq/kg
Cs-137: 661.64 eV; 54,010 +/- 156 Bq/kg
Total 98,304 +/- 206 Bq/kg

(4) drain in Yakushi-cho
Cs-134 604.66 eV; 137,490 +/- 236 Bq/kg
Cs-137 661.64 eV; 170,075 +/- 274 Bq/kg
Total 307,565 +/- 361 Bq/kg

(5) backyard of a residence in Yakushi-cho
Cs-134: 604.66 eV; 17,532 +/- 91 Bq/kg
Cs-137: 661.64 eV; 20,932 +/- 104 Bq/kg
Total 38,464 +/- 138 Bq/kg

The location (1) is the one whose cesium concentration in the soil quintupled from the measurement in June of 46,540 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium.

The location (2) is right next to a nursery school with small children.

Samples 1-4 were taken in areas expected to allow particles to concentrate. Sample 5 however is a random soil sample from a garden which suggests ground contamination of 2.5 Million Bq/m2 if accurate. All readings are higher now than when first surveyed in June.

Professor Yamauchi urged that the entire city of Fukushima and indeed most of the 2 million inhabitants of the Prefecture be evacuated (and would have been at Chernobyl) back when he did his original survey in June. Realising this is not going to happen he now argues that, at the very least, pregnant women and children should be evacuated. He is also working on a complete fallout map for Japan which is indicating the situation is much, much worse than stated on official fallout maps.

Thanks for keeping this info coming in, Undertow.

It's not falling on deaf ears.. there's just not much to add to it at the moment.

Agree. It's hard to watch knowing the horror that awaits them. It appears they've simply been abandoned to face that on their own, the information hidden so that they will not try to leave. By the time it has hit them, it will be too late.

News: My last fight

Minami soma shi, in Fukushima.

Government lifted mandatory evacuation area for this place on 9/30. Schools and elementary schools were re-opened, innocent people, and innocent children are coming back to the place. However, it’s still 3 uSv/h. Children can’t be without dose meter.

Being a city councilor of the city, Mr.Oyama Koichi is having his “last fight”. “I had my wife, kids, and employees all evacuate here. People worry about me. I much appreciate for it, but I just wish my body could be a fertilizer for the next generation.” He knows he may die of exposure.

He drives around the city and is calling people to evacuate. He shouts “We are not human guinea pig.” He says, you can not decontaminate the place anymore.

He tells Japanese young people to leave Japan too. He is trying to save people for his life.

It's good that people are keeping track of everything. To be honest, I don't expect people to really "get it" until people, especially kids, start getting cancer. Even still, the Japanese people have turned, perhaps permanently, against nuclear power, despite their national governments priorities. There is still way too much talk in Japan of "clean up" though, they don't seem to get that a big chunk of land is now a park for the next century.

Nuclear is a rerun of fossil fuels, an unsustainable, dangerous, finite resource. Why is this so hard to understand when the evidence is in front of our faces?

There is ample evidence that humans are very well adapted to low-level radiation without ill effect and that LNT, the basis for people screaming in fear about radiation, is complete garbage. My opinion is that the doses actually received by the population in Japan, even in the highest contaminated areas, will still be below the threshold of true harm. Radiation effects are NOTHING compared to the destruction / deaths caused by this tsunami.

We WILL be getting more power from nuclear, just look at the builds going on in China and other places in the world for evidence. Energy starvation just isn't going to happen without a flight to all available alternative sources. So, getting solid evidence about how much we should *really* fear nuclear power / radiation accidents is a very important question. My personal opinion is that the fear of nuclear power has been hyped way out of proportion to other risks we seem to readily accept, such as the massive health and environmental damage caused by coal, for example. Fukushima will be a rather unfortunate experiment to settle this case about the effects of low level radiation under a worst-case N-plant failure mode of 40-year-old BWR designs.

Nuclear can be done in many, many different ways. It is by choice that commercial innovation was stopped at the Light Water Reactor running on solid-oxide fuel without recycling. If that is the model into the future, then you are right about lack of sustainability. But, the Integral Fast Reactor design, after 30 years of testing and engineering development, is basically sitting on the shelf, for example. Under that technology, there is enough U to last basically forever.

A key difference between nuclear fuel vs. fossil fuel: one is an element, formed at the same time as all other elements comprising the solar system, that is distributed throughout the earth's crust in varying concentrations, the other was generated under rare conditions in select areas over geologic time. With breeder cycles the average fissile potential of even the trace amounts of U and Th in GRANITE works out to be worth about 10-30 times its weight in coal - sustainable for as long as you care to see. But, many DONT WANT to see that potential realized for reasons I cannot fathom.

Go watch this. 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.

With English subtitles at http://dotsub.com/view/970ac7d2-c282...6-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.

Note the audio is out of synch in the video but the English translation is accurate.

Also please tell me why I should listen to your ill-informed nonsense as opposed to people such as Professor Kodama, Professor Kosako and Professor Yamauchi who are acknowledged world leading experts in nuclear medicine and nuclear engineering/radiation physics. I'll bet you aren't even reading what they have said. Or you simply are not capable of understanding.

If you think humans are "well adapted" to radioactive cesium, iodine, strontium etc etc then you literally come from another planet.

As Steve001 pointed out its his 'opinion' and with all the scholarly work published by Steve001 (and the other Steve's [0-9][0-9][0-9] their Parents had) and all the links in his posts, is there any reason to not believe Steve001?

I cannot get the above link to function, but here is another link to the video:

My mistake. I copied the link from an earlier post of mine and accidentally truncated it. My original link should have been http://dotsub.com/view/970ac7d2-c282-4d67-a7c6-e8fb978ba12f - the version you link to is edited but I believe my link is complete.

My opinion is that the doses actually received by the population in Japan, even in the highest contaminated areas, will still be below the threshold of true harm.

Its a good thing Science! can show if your opinion is right.

Because Science! says your below statement is wrong.

Oh, and what exactly do you mean by true harm?

A key difference between nuclear fuel vs. fossil fuel: one is an element, formed at the same time as all other elements comprising the solar system,

And how do you come to this conclusion?

Because as I understand the element creation process - you need a star to process the Hydrogen into the heaver elements. That formation process is done over time. And one Star isn't able to account for all the mass in this solar system along with statements that the mass of this solar system is the result of MANY stars.

For you to be correct that *ALL* the elements were *FORMED* at the *SAME* time, I'd like to to show your work.

It is important for you to show how your statement of "element, formed at the same time as all other elements comprising the solar system" is correct because a demonstrated correct interpretation of Science! would create credibility about your opinion on radiation and the bioaccumulation of radioactive materials in the body.

I review of Steve001's post history is illuminating.

When you think of what fission can do it is akin to magic: 1 tonne of fissionable material is equivalent to MILLIONS of tones of coal, and 12MILLION tons of CO2 and sundry toxic emissions... PREVENTED. It is magic, in a sense.

I have the certainty in my belief that a positive vision is required, one of hope, to inspire us to reach toward a positive future, one of energy abundance and consequent economic security. With abundant energy, many of the other limits can be fixed. What if we had the energy resources to fully recycle everything, including CO2 <-> liquid fuels, to desalinate water on huge scales, etc.?

I am certain of the benefits of energy abundance for all humanity. I am certain that resource security helps stabilize population growth and reduces perceived need for war. I am certain that we need a coherent, scientifically sound plan to deal with the crisis over the short, medium and long terms. I am certain that nuclear fission can release 50,000,000 times more energy than the same number of carbon atoms can in combustion. I am certain that this can be done with acceptable safety. I am certain that society cannot depend exclusively on energy that isn't dispatchable and on-demand. I'm not going to heat my house in January with solar energy, now am I? Nor with wind power when we have a continental high settle in for several days shutting down winds in 1/2 of the continent? Industry cannot stop when the sun goes in or the wind stops. That is fundamental. Energy is far more valuable when you can command it, on demand, when you NEED it. Dispatchable, high-grade heat we derive from fossil fuels CANNOT be replaced by wind or solar across the board. It is a mirage - a "false fire brigade."

Perhaps we need a national contest of some kind to reward innovation in nuclear power. Parameters could be defined in terms of cost, safety and sustainability objectives. The prize could be to reward the winner with a multi-billion contract to provide X units to U.S. Gov't installations (military bases and the like). Government support should also include a commitment to re-vamp the NRC regulatory structures along with public underwriting of the type-certification process. I believe the regulatory factors to be the biggest impediment to private capital getting involved: why put your millions / billions on the line if the government can destroy it with a stroke of the pen based on politics or at the behest of some lawyers driven by a collection of protest groups? That would have to change for anything revolutionary to happen in nuclear tech.

Fear of nuclear power is unfounded. Misplaced fear of the technology, and misplaced assessment of the risks it poses compared to, say coal or oil/gas, per unit energy delivered are what drive hostility in the nuclear debate. A molten salt reactor, for instance, operating at atmospheric pressure is intrinsically safe, i.e. the physics of fluid core expansion with heat guarantees a negative reactivity response - a.k.a. self-regulating and automatically load following. It CANNOT melt-down. The old AECL SLOWPOKE (low power, a design suitable for district heating) was certified for unattended operation given intrinsic safety features, IIRC. I can go on. Small modular reactors is what the U.S. Navy has operated for, what, 50 years! Is it techno-cornucopianism to point out that well-known science and engineering is sitting there, capable of preventing an energy-collapse of western civilization? Or, would you prefer we just throw our hands up, say we can't do anything and welcome the collapse? A unit that could fit on a rail car could deliver at least 50MW of continuous power for, with some designs, 20 years on ONE FUEL LOAD. I'll place my bets on that kind of EROI than anything else under a scenario of energy descent.

A chemically stable fluid fueled, thermal spectrum breeder / burner (e.g. LFTR) that operates at atmospheric pressure and is intrinsically self-regulating has so many advantages in terms of scalability, safety and potential for cost reduction. Why we aren't pushing this ALREADY DEMONSTRATED, PROVEN technology to commercial prototypes on an emergency basis is beyond me. I agree with John T: a sustainable, practical nuclear heat source could render most other natural resource limitations much less problematic as we could afford to run more elaborate recycling schemes, utilize lower grade ores, develop effective substitution strategies, drive synthetic manufacturing options.

It all hinges on a cheap, sustainable, massively scalable high-grade heat source that only next gen nuclear can provide. Without it, I see only doom in the decades ahead. Perhaps therein lies the philosophical underpinnings of the rabid anti-nuke orthodoxy: they understand that only a next gen nuclear paradigm will allow Western, industrial, capitalist, democratic civilization to survive this century. It is a system they would rather see fail under peak energy, so NO NUKES.

I know Steve001 want's to keep nuclear power so humanity can keep enjoying modern conveniences, I want to keep them too, but the cost that must be paid is too great. Our children are going to have enough problems in the times to come. They don't need nuclear disasters rendering huge areas uninhabitable and spent nuclear fuel slowly poisoning the environment.

Human beings aren't capable of handling the responsibilities nuclear power requires. The dangers associated with nuclear fission require that no errors be made, and no corners be cut. Humans have a long history of making errors and cutting corners. Until that changes, we should not be playing with nuclear fire.

I apologize for calling you out, Steve001, but I think you're misrepresenting the risks associated with nuclear power, and presenting your opinions as facts.

When it come's to the massive irradiation of thousands of people, I don't want to know what your beliefs are. I want to know what the scientific facts are.

I tend to keep out of these arguments on the pros and cons of Nuclear Power, but over the years I have come too a conclusion that all Nuclear power stations are nothing more than Dirty Bombs with Murphy's law as the fuse. Murphy's law along with the laws of thermodynamics seem to me too be the only infallible laws in the Universes.

I used to believe in the light version of Murphy's law

What can go wrong will go wrong.

Now as I have gotten older I tend to think that it is the strong version that is the correct version and that goes like this

What can't go wrong will go wrong

And no amount of Human hubris will change that.

It is indeed a sad moment, yet LOL and thanks for the comment!
Such is truth, all at once, at the same time, full experience.
I have no further thing to add to this.

I have many friends and family up in the contaminated areas. The people (Japanese and foreigners) who are there are not happy, but it is more complex than that. They are "caught" or "entangled" in something that they cannot escape from, hence they can reasonably explain to their children, if they get sick, "there was nothing we could do" and the children will understand. It sounds so awful, but that is the way it is. In a crowded, way over crowded country, filled with cement buildings that are rapidly becoming emptied and shut down, there is no longer any way to grow enough food for 120 million people....

There is no way to run the Japanese economy except by desperately linking it to the remaining, but dwindling power of the global economy. Everyone here subtly, sort of unconsciously, knows----Meiji was only in 1868---that an economy that will run forever has to run on the sun. An economy that goes boom and then bust is run on fossil fuels. The latter economy "runs down", it bursts out a spate of goods, huge things, massive things, dangerous things (like nuclear power plants) and then it just dwindles away in a very natural way. We are all part of that process, we were born thanks to it and we'll die probably in some way related to it, so Japanese, many of them, in the fall-out zones, just see it as a hopeless case, for children, and for everyone.
Many people up there left---of course---not everyone takes the fatalistic approach. People who reasonably could leave, did. But millions couldn't. Some work for the government in expensive buildings and expensive institutions. They are expected to keep the faith.It's stupid and suicidal---I hate it----yet they cannot escape it.

The government should evacuate everyone down to Tokyo, actually they should evacuate Tokyo too.
OK, then they have to evacuate themselves. Huge swathes of empty, costly buildings, train networks, highways-----all desolate!---if such a thing came to pass. I am in favor, I vote "yes", but where will the important people go if there are no massive structures for them to have as background for their power and might? Will they camp on a mountain in Nagano? Rent small derelict houses in some little town? Invade Osaka? how about the other 12 million people?
What if many want to stay---they are old, they like their neighborhoods.

It's hopeless indeed. So the Japanese up there have all decided to just let nature take its course. The economy is terminal. The environment is terminal. The patient is dying. Imagine a cancer patient near the end....still mobile but not really in good health anymore. Some patients, knowing that it's hopeless, just refuse treatment and await the end in peace. And who knows? As some cancer patients recover, one can know that maybe one's family has a chance to escape bad effects. It isn't guaranteed either way.

Shrug one's shoulders, we are stuck here in this cosmos to deal with the things as they happen---and not all of these things are good things. That is the attitude I see
up there. Lost hope but small things mean a lot.

A sad story. A true testament that it is the perception that is the problem, and not the radiation itself.

Breaking News: Neutron ray measured in Tokyo

Before 311, average neutron ray was 4 nSv/h.

After 311, it’s 464 nSv/h (116 times higher than before 311).

Neutron ray is emitted from Uranium 235.

In one of the worst hot spots in Chiba, Kashiwa shi, citizens detected Uranium 235.

It was right beside a bench in Matsuba daiichi kinrin park.

I watched a really interesting documentary on "Nature" last night, titled "Radioactive Wolves" . Apparently, wildlife has been returning in abundance to the Chernobyl area, largely due to absence of humans.

One comment really caught my attention. They were monitoring dormouse populations, and mentioned that around 6% of dormice showed some physical effects of radiation, but a compensatory increase in birth rates.

Then they said that, of course, a 6% impact was fine for dormice but, of course, intolerable for humans. So humans won't be allowed back any time soon.

I find this a somewhat hopeful sign for the wildlife of the area.

Actually I think it was something like 6% bith defect rate, double the preaccident rate. So 3% would be attributed to the radiation.
Its certainly the case, that nature (and ecosystems), aren't phased by a few tragedies among the members of the various populations. It simply goes on, with whatever increase in mortality/morbidity it is subjected to. If human populations were ignorant, and didn't keep statistics, we would be fat dumb and happy in similar circumstances.

Thanks for the clarification - I was watching and working at the same time...

Aren't we already (present company excluded, of course) fat, dumb and happy ? (ok, maybe not that happy) even with the knowledge we are supposed to have ?

Now streaming:

What Will Turn Us On in 2030?
Competing With Fossil Fuels to Power the Future

Billions of dollars each year are poured into the development of solar, nuclear, biological, and other energies to substitute for fossil fuels. But so far, issues of cost, efficiency, and scalability call into question the arrival of the next era of energy. Can any alternative sources become viably competitive with fossil fuels? What can we – as individuals, businesses, and governments – do to accelerate the rise of clean energy?

Can any alternative sources become viably competitive with fossil fuels?

In my opinion: Yes.

Eventually FF prices will rise to the point that PV/WIND/Geothermal is at the same or lower cost ;)

Conservation and efficiency (aka "using less") is also very highly competitive.

Perhaps one way to frame Peak Oil is simply in terms of how much energy and investment in versus how much energy out. As long as the money and energy spent to explore, extract, refine, store and deliver is less than the money received when the oil and its products are sold, companies will keep doing so. That is until the equation turns negative but even then these companies will be running on the momentums of hopeful business models and expectations. Or perhaps they'll just sit on the stuff - keep it stored in tankers and such - until the price goes way up at which point they'll sell it and still take a profit. In the meantime they are already doing what they can to avoid "unnecessary" costs such as environmental cleanup, building new refineries or properly maintaining existing ones, or taking chances such as what happened in the Gulf last year. Thus I think the peak may have happened - but these institutional processes will broaden the peak for awhile. And then maybe crash as the industry suddenly collapses off a cliff. Watch for Big Oil to demand their bailout at this point.

I heat with oil, using a radiant floor that is nicely efficient. Not sure if biodiesel will work with that though. Anyone here use biodiesel in their oil heat systems? In the meantime I also keep about a 2 year or more supply of bone dry firewood on hand.

I've got friends using SVO in their modified boiler. I always get the munchies when I'm over there ;-)

Why not put a wood fired boiler on your system and dispense with the oil entirely? There are now many options for gasifying wood boilers that are all highly efficient, need loading only once a day and so on. The wood does not need to be cut to small lengths or even split for these things - reducing your energy input.

Burning liquid fuels, renewable or not, for low temp space heating is a crime against thermodynamics.

I considered that. But then we are on 2.5 acres, no longer young, have a daughter almost out of college, and want to live in a less rural location eventually and have our eyes on North Portland. Downsizing - we want just enough land for a large vegetable garden, though I'll miss our fruit and nut trees if and when we move.

Depending upon the severity of winter we go through 250 to 350 gallons of heating oil every winter, and back it up with the wood when the oil isn't enough. Its a system I put in myself using a Buderus boiler, which is set to about the lowest setting flame-wise. The PEX tubing is embedded in clean sand between the subflooring and the flooring, with 2-by spacers, 12" spacing. Added to this we have some passive solar from a sunroom. Unfortunately that is also where we keep the catbox so at times the sunroom acts as a big radiator, making the house less efficient. We both work at home and so we have little or no commuting costs as far as energy goes. I drive a Civic Hybrid that gets about 45mpg on average. Thus I'd say we have a smaller footprint than most Americans.

Paul, any gasifying wood boilers out there that you particularly like or interest you?

I have done quite a bit of researching of these - my original interest was in using them for a steam powered small CHP, but none of them are intended for steam production - only hot water.

There are two N. American models that I would consider; The Seton boiler;


and for larger units,


These ones can be set up to auger feed wood chips - ideal for a commercial use. I am looking at a project to heat part of a 2 acre greenhouse using one of these.

Also, virtually any wood gasification boiler from Europe seems to be good - they have been doing that for some time.

Any wood boiler that is not a gasification type is not worth using, IMO - I have seen the old style in action and it is not pleasant - they use lots of wood and the water wall around the firebox makes for a cold fire and incomplete burning = lots of smoke. hence the move by many municipalities to ban them.

Thanks Paul. I've been looking up some of the European ones as a result. The boiler from Perge looks interesting, no electricity required to run it and it is French (handy for me as I'm in France). Amazing what you find on your doorstep when taking time to look.

Perge log gasification boilers

Interesting that they use logs rather than wood chips, which is less capital intensive when using your own trees.

There are also these ones, from Germany, I think;


and Viessman make one, which is probably very good and very expensive...

The Wood Gun models (from Alternate heating systems) can handle both logs and wood chips.
Logs are certainly easier at a home scale - just buck them into 1m lengths and let them dry for a year or so.

But for a commercial application,the appeal of chips is that they allow "hands free" handling, and some level of automation. If you are burning a ton of wood per day, the man hours, and safety concerns, in handling logs start to add up. But with chips, they can be brought in by the dump truck, handled with a front end loader, and then fed to the boiler from the storage shed by a belt or auger.

Where I live in coastal BC there are huge amounts of "slash" left over from logging operations. Much of it is not even good for cutting into firewood. But watch what this modest sized, tractor powered machine can do and you can then see the appeal of a chip based system for commercial use;


"The world is headed for a "dire future" where high energy prices drag on economic growth and global average temperatures rise by more than 3.5 Celsius, unless there are significant innovations to lower the cost of clean energy and carbon capture technology..."

Maybe it wasn't helpful that your organization (IEA) give unrealistic forecasts for such a long time...

Regardless, just fixing the energy situation is not going address all of the other abuses to our resources. When in overshoot, we eventually head for undershoot.

Until humans deal with population, nothing else matters. Even if we improve our efficiency 50% and reduce the cost of energy, we will continue to draw down our resources (both renewable and nonrenewable), and even accelerate the destruction.

Are humans smart enough to not only figure this out but communicate the concept globally and reach sustainable resource use speed limits? I am guessing some more learning is needed (The Great Lesson).

Urban 'Heat Island' Effect is only a Small Contributor to Global Warming, and White Roofs Don't Help to Solve the Problem

"Between 2 and 4 percent of the gross global warming since the Industrial Revolution may be due to urban heat islands," ... compare this with the greenhouse gas contribution to gross warming of about 79 percent and the black carbon contribution of about 18 percent.

"This study shows that the urban heat island effect is a relatively minor contributor to warming, contrary to what climate skeptics have claimed," Jacobson said. "Greenhouse gases and particulate black carbon cause far more warming."

They also concluded that if all the roofs in urban areas were painted white, it would increase, not decrease, global warming.

I'm not buying their white roof argument. They did not look at energy savings from not running a/c as much. Then they said "even if it did, it would be offset by increased winter heating", neglecting the fact that the white roofs would be in places that use almost exclusively air conditioning.

[... white roofs would be in places that use almost exclusively air conditioning] - Not necessarily.

Mayor Bloomberg (New York City) recommended adoption of 'white roofs' to reduce electricity use. Last year New York, N.Y. received over 4 feet of snow. And I can vouch for the fact that you definitly didn't need AC in January

A white roof will absorb less radiant heat from the sun on a hot summer day, and radiate less heat into the dark sky on a long cold winter night. How much difference this will make in total winter heat loss will depend alot on how much insulation is under that white roof.

A snow covered roof is white in any case. I think the real issue, is does your roof depend upon a hot attic to dessicate the attic and prevent mold from becoming a problem. At least where I live cooling uses much more energy than heating, and the winter benefits of a darker roof are pretty minimal (not much sun then).

It is untrue that a white roof implies less thermal radiation (for a fixed roof surface temperature). White in the visable range and white in the thermal radiation range (a factor of about thirty longer wavelength) can be (mostly) independently changed. You don't want to decrease the IR emissivity IMO however, because that is a major means of heat dissapation in the summer.

I think today's "white roofs" suggestion is in the same vein as Bush SR's "keep your car tires properly inflated" comment a few years ago....

I over inflate my tyres (slightly). This is a well known hypermiling technique, it won't halve your consumption but it will cut a few percent, in exchange for a harder ride.

I used to. But an overinflated tire will change the wear pattern, as the shape of the contact area differs. I figure the recommeneded pressure has presumably been optimized.

Re: Why the World May Be Running Out of Clean Water from DB

Select chapters from Pacific Institute's report on global water usage, The World's Water

Fossil Fuels and Water Quality

Peak Water

China and Water

A: 7 billion and counting?

Here are some recent websites I have found dealing with alternative energy, and alternative physics.

It is claimed that the Biefeld - Brown effect is used in the B-2 Bomber and that it may be possible to power itself with zero fuel consumption. Of course, for Biefeld - Brown to be true, it may mean Einstein was wrong - and there appears to be a large body of growing evidence that Einstein was wrong. Anti-gravity and zero-point energy may already be here - and controlled by the MIC.

For those who are curious:

Impossible Physics or limited minds?

Breakthrough Energy Technology is Here and Now.

Subquantum Kinetics.

Einstein has been discredited time and time again - yet the Cult of Einstein continues.

Einstein, correct on the quantum nature of matter (his Ph.D. thesis), correct on the quantum nature of light (his Noble prize work), correct on the non-orthogonal nature of space and time at high velocities, correct about the structure of space-time induced by mass/energy.

I am not aware of Einstein begin wrong except possibly for the cosmological constant. He had it right then he removed it which was wrong. But hey no one is prefect.

Can you indicate a specific prediction and a specific experimental result that proved the prediction incorrect? Please use some thing that was published in Physical Review.

Part of the point is - and if you read some of the articles - challenging Einstein is NOT allowed - and facts that show Einstein to be wrong are forgotten, or covered up. You have chosen to NOT read any of the information - which, if you read, becomes self-explainatory. If you are curious, you will look - I have not come to argue - but point out some very interesting other points of views - many of which are gaining ground.

"Einstein: Warped Minds, Bent Truths

Einstein's centenary has brought festivities, but also criticism. Cracks are appearing in what seemed to be Einstein's firmly cemented reputation as the most celebrated scientist of the 20th century. Nasa asks whether Einstein was wrong about space travel and aging, articles critical of Einstein such as this one on the Brojon website are appearing here and there, reduced-speed-of-light experiments brought new questions.

Evidence that Einstein may have been wrong is growing according to Joseph Rybczyk, and David de Hilster is producing a film challenging the Einstein myth."

Einstein: Warped Minds, Bent Truths

I have no qualifications to argue either way - if you go to some of those sites you will find that they are being run by accomplished PHd's (which I am not) and that there is great controversy in the world of Physics. You would get a much better argument by seeing what they have to say, and then bringing your arguments to them.

Do you have a GPS? Well, that gadget completely relies on Einstein's special and general theories of relativity (the clock of the satellite is slightly different from clocks on Earth due to speed and gravity) so there you have proof that Einstein's main theories are correct.

I remember reading a history of GPS where it was mentioned that the engineers of the system still weren't completely convinced of Einstein's theories and therefore had a software switch built in the clock system to enable/disable the different clock speed. They found that they DID have to enable the different speed for things to function properly.


I wish I could remember the book I read it in, probably about 10-12 years ago. It's been too long.


google search for "gps relativity switch" finds this:


At the time of launch of the first NTS-2 satellite (June 1977), which contained the first Cesium clock to be placed in orbit, there were some who doubted that relativistic effects were real. A frequency synthesizer was built into the satellite clock system so that after launch, if in fact the rate of the clock in its final orbit was that predicted by GR, then the synthesizer could be turned on bringing the clock to the coordinate rate necessary for operation.

And this PDF:


When the first GPS satellite was put into orbit, it had a "general relativity on-off switch" set to the
"off" position, because the US military was not sure that academic advisors were right about
general relativity. The orbiting clocks drifted away from the Earth-clock readings at the rate
predicted by the academics. So finally the military threw the general relativity switch to the
"on" position. The rest is history.

Thank you very much for posting those.

Science is not like religion, controversy is encouraged. In the case of Einstein if Einstein got something wrong just create an experiment and prove it. One of the things Scientists do is measure things with more and more precision and check the results against current theory - they don't take Einstien's or any other scientists theory for granted - the tests either check out and support the theory, or they don't.

I didn't really look at your links, but the main idea seems riddled with misconceptions - its just not the way real science works.

And remember, if a scientist does manage to overturn a theory, he has now made a major name for himself, and will probably be one of the handful of names that go into the history books. Should be quite a bit of incentive to look for opportunities to do that.

It is claimed that the Biefeld - Brown effect is used in the B-2 Bomber and that it may be possible to power itself with zero fuel consumption. Of course, for Biefeld - Brown to be true, it may mean Einstein was wrong – ……

Einstein? What does this have to do with Einstein? What about the Second Law of Thermodynamics? I don’t recall that Einstein had anything to do with the 2nd Law.

I seem to remember reading some place that the B-2 bombers had to be refueled four times on a round trip from Missouri to Iraq and return. Three times on the way over, but only once on the way back, due to the lighter weight after all bombs had been dropped. Did anyone else read that?

If this Biefeld - Brown effect is so great, why do the planes still use so much fuel?

First - Relativity does not predict anti-gravity. Second - you read that they are great fuel-guzzlers. If you have read any of the materials I referenced you would find that Anti-Gravity (Biefeld - Brown) was heavily researched and referenced in the 1950's - with great military interest. Suddenly any mention of it disappeared. This is a tremendous force, and gives those who possess the technology a tremendous option over any enemy.

Is in in the interest of those who possess such technology to deceive their enemies/competitors?

For those who are curious:

Project Montgolfier

Secrets of Anti-Gravity Propulsion

I'm sure there is little that will change your belief.

Unfortunately, the Biefeld-Brown Effect is pseudoscience and has been reproducably identified as a Misinterpretation of Corona Wind Phenomena. The observed results suggest that corona wind effects were misinterpreted as a connection between gravity and electromagnetism. They don't work in a vacuum.

see http://www.aiaa.org/content.cfm?pageid=406&gTable=jaPaper&gid=9095

Mythbusters did a show that tested the validity of the Biefeld-Brown Effect. It didn't work in vacuum on the show either, nor did it have any effect on the local gravity field.

With regards to Biefeld - Brown effect used in the B-2 Bomber and that it's possible to power itself with zero fuel Check out the crash and burn of the B-2 at Guam in 2005 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZCp5h1gK2Q

That's one hell of alot of jet-fuel for a bomber that doesn't need any.

Try Area51.org, or dreamlandresort.com - more receptive audience.

It will all be revealed tomorrow when the Pink Unicorn Fleet (now in Earth orbit) lands on the East Lawn of the White House.

Also the cure for cancer.

Also the cure for cancer.

Please relay my message. "I want a pony!"

B-2 Bomber and that it may be possible to power itself with zero fuel consumption

Meanwhile, in reality-land, the B2 bomber takes off with up to 167,000 lbs of fuel on board.

Add a 'new' find of 3 million gallons of crude. Something tells me my temporary job of cleaning tarballs is less temporary than my expected remaining life span.

U.S. seeks to pull oil from tanker torpedoed by Japan

LOS ANGELES — The SS Montebello was just a few kilometers off California's Central Coast on a December morning in 1941 when a young lookout spotted the dark outline of a submarine headed straight for the oil tanker hauling 11 million liters of crude...
"No one knows what 70-year-old oil does," he said. "Is it going to rise to the surface, warm up and liquefy or it is going to be a rock?"...
"It was one of those issues that was really not on anyone's radar and no one really knew the ship was out there," he said. "That terrible incident in the Gulf of Mexico galvanized all the stakeholders to take action and be proactive and get answers, given the terrible cost and environmental damaged that occurred."...


Arctic will become 'more of a Mediterranean than a frozen border'

... If you look at the map of the world you or I grew up with, it had the Arctic at the top, the Antarctic at the bottom, and both as depicted as barriers, edges. But of course as the Arctic opens up I think that that conception of the Arctic being a barrier through which you cannot pass is going to have to change. You’re going to have to start looking at polar-centred maps of the world, with the Arctic Ocean as what it may eventually become – more of a Mediterranean than a frozen border.

also Arctic warming will affect everyone: Fisheries Commissioner

Speaking in Oslo this week, EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki told the Norwegian fishing vessel and ship owners: "We are told that by the end of 2013 the Arctic Ocean could be entirely ice free and that the ice is decreasing faster than all models predicted. A recent and alarming study from NASA confirms this.

"In fact we know - from a programme on climate change and marine ecosystems research that the EU funded - that the melting ice in the Arctic has an impact on ocean circulation and migration of sea-life that extends down to the Mediterranean.

... "I tell myself that a country that invests the lion's share of its oil riches on improving the everyday lives of Norwegians is an ethical compass that could provide a model for other nations," she added.

and Lack of Arctic winter ice recovery explained: thermal inversion prevents infrared cooling to space

The arctic is not likely to be ice free in our lifetimes, and certainly not by 2013.

Time traveler?

The point is that the coverage of sea-ice at the end of the melt season is trending toward zero. The maximum extent has not declined much, but the thickness of the ice at maximum has also been shown to be in decline. Also, it's claimed that the amount of multi-year ice is showing a decline as well, which has impacted the overall thickness as well. HERE's a graph of September average extent from the NSIDC. Note also that the monthly average is not the minimum extent, which is less...

E. Swanson

A good visual of the shrinking multi-year ice from NOAA videos: Old Ice Becoming Rare in Arctic

At the current rate of melting, as estimated here


the arctic will be ice free in September 2017.

Of course, that is only an extrapolation of a short term trend.

When ordinary people hear "The Arctic will be ice-free", they don't add "...for 2 weeks." They think the Arctic will be completely free of ice all year long. That result will not happen by 2013 barring something spectacularly bad. We should take care with the way we phrase things.

There are different definitions of ice-free. Most scientists are implicitly using something, like little (maybe still a million kilometers squared) coverage left at the end of season minimum. The public is likely to read ice-free, and think no ice at all at any time of the year. So we have
(1) Very little at end of melt season ice.
(2) All ice gone by end of melt season.
(3) All ice gone by mid summer.
(4) All ice gone by the middle of spring.
(5) No winter ice either.
There is a lot of difference between these different states.

We will probably reach (1) in about a decade....

Well clarified.

Dense Urban Thinking Down Under

Ghettoisation in action. Overpopulation, energy decline, economic depression, plus climate change induced migration will force more people into dense urbanisation. Not by choice but by necessity. As systems fail these people will have to increasingly rely on local solutions for their day-to-day living, a process which will form what I refer to as ghettoes.

They could always go native. See Aborigine. From what I understand, they reached peak oil long ago.

US domestic oil production last week approached 5.9 million bpd and the 4-week average is over 5.8 million bpd.

I'd be more than happy to search the archives from TOD a few years ago to dig up the numerous pronunciations of folks here who refused to believe US oil production would be going up at all, let alone pushing 5.9 million bpd.

The increase since 2007-08 is already approaching the ~1 million bpd increase we saw from the opening of North Slope production in 1978-85.

You are of course correct about rising US production, and there are some good stories about rising Mid-continent oil production, especially from the shale plays and from plays like the "Wolfberry" Play in West Texas, and the four week preliminary running average has recently broken out of the 5.4 to 5.6 mbpd range that we have seen since the fourth quarter of 2009.

However, it's a pretty safe assumption, and Art Berman concurs, that at least 90% of all currently producing shale wells will be plugged and abandoned, or down to 10 BOPD or less, by 2020. It remains to be seen what kind of long term trend can be established with these very high decline rate wells. And as the Rock and I have both noted, we are reminded of the Austin Chalk Play, which did not exactly result in energy independence, despite high volume (but rapidly declining) horizontally drilled wells.

And here is some historical perspective for annual US C+C production (EIA):

2004: 5.4 mbpd
2005: 5.2
2006: 5.1
2007: 5.1
2008: 5.0
2009: 5.4
2010: 5.5
2011: 5.7 (Est.)

To put recent US crude oil production numbers in perspective, as noted up the thread Available Net Exports (ANE) dropped by about 5.0 mbpd from 2005 to 2010. In other words, the five year decline in the supply of global net oil exports available to importers other than China and India was equivalent to all US crude oil production in 2008. Depending on several variables, I estimate that ANE will decline at a volumetric rate of one to two mbpd per year between 2010 and 2020--putting ANE at 15 to 21 mbpd in 2020, versus 40 mbpd in 2005.

Basically, I think that we are in a race between slowly increasing US crude oil production and not so slowly declining ANE. As Charles Mackay noted up the thread, the available data suggest we are currently losing the race.

However, it's a pretty safe assumption, and Art Berman concurs, that at least 90% of all currently producing shale wells will be plugged and abandoned, or down to 10 BOPD or less, by 2020.

Even if that were true (not taking a position right now, don't feel like arguing the point), probably only 10% or less of all the shale wells that are going to be drilled over the next 10 years have already been drilled, so there is easily more upside to production than downside by 2020. In the Bakken they're estimating something like 30-40K wells will eventually be drilled. And to date they've drilled - what, something like 3-5K? The Eagleford is 2-3 years behind the Bakken, and there are numerous others under various early stages of development (Niobrara, Utica, etc etc).

If they've got another 100K or more of these wells which will be drilled over the next 20-30 years (as I suspect), people expecting US oil production to fall off a cliff any time soon are going to be disappointed.

BTW, at this point I don't think US crude production will be rising "slowly." We might get a breather in the winter, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it break 6 million bpd sometime early next year. The past month or so it's really taken off. It might be just a blip, but I have a hunch not, based on infrastructure and drilling plans I've been reading about.

Hope spring eternal, and you are certainly in the majority since most people prefer not to believe that there are such things as resource constraints. But everything that you are currently seeing the Bakken Play, in regard to frenzied drilling activity, we have seen before, in the Austin Chalk Play, although I don't know what the peak Austin Chalk production rate was.

And we are already facing critical infrastructure and personnel constraints, especially in regard to a rapidly aging workforce. You might also consider just how much money was spent by the US oil industry to show a net increase of about 100,000 bpd in 2010 over the pre-hurricane production rate of 5.4 mbpd in 2004.

In any case, my key argument is the supply of Available Net Exports (ANE), and the US remains reliant on crude oil imports for 61% of the crude oil inputs into US refineries, while the supply of of ANE fell at 2.8%/year from 2005 to 2010, and we could easily see an ANE decline rate of 8% or more from 2010 to 2020, subject to many variables. As noted up the thread, it appears that we are currently losing the race between slowly increasing US crude oil production and the declining supply of Available Net Exports.

The Austin Chalk never remotely got to current Bakken production, and it was tried during a time when oil prices were a lot lower than they are now and the technology wasn't as far along as it is now.

BTW, there *is* renewed interest in the Austin Chalk, it's being targeted in some areas along with Eagleford development. There is also some interest in the Louisiana portion. The initial development phase TODers like to cite as a failed attempt to develop tight oil sources was probably just the initial, low-cost, low-tech effort, sort-of like the Elm Coulee field in the Montana Bakken. Remember when everyone was saying the Bakken had peaked because the Elm Coulee had already peaked? Ha ha ha!

To infinity and beyond!

I'm not arguing that Lower 48 production is not critically important, it's the business I'm in, and based on the net export data, domestic production is probably even more important that most people believe, but there are only so many ways I can say that the data suggest that Available Net Exports are dropping faster than we can offset the export decline.

But when you really look at some shale case histories, it doesn't look so swell. And if the economics are so great, why are so many companies, e.g., Cheseapeake, trying to sell large portions of their lease bocks? Perhaps they remember case histories like the DFW Airport Lease, in the Barnett Shale Play, where the production decline has accelerated, and it looks like late 2011 production will be 10% of what Chesapeake predicted it would be.

It's really amusing you're citing a "failed" natural gas play, complete with rapidly depleting wells and the whole bit, to make your case about the likely future of shale oil drilling.

Shale gas drilling has been such a completely miserable failure that production has plummeted. Fallen off a cliff!

And the price has gone through the roof!

If shale oil repeats the failure of shale gas, we should see US production at 7-8 million bpd - maybe more - really soon. And the price will fall to about $50/barrel.

Yep, a complete and total failure!

It's true that a rapid drilling program, developing pay zones that show a rapid decline, can and will show aggregate increasing production, for a while, until the production from new wells can't offset the decline from the older wells, which in all likelihood is why Cheseapeake is trying to sell off interests in their shale plays. Chesapeake remembers that they paid $180 million for the DFW Airport Lease, and it appears that the total cumulative production from the lease is probably going to be about 100 BCF, versus their upper end estimate of 1,000 BCF. In fact, the DFW Airport Lease is a prime example of increasing production, until they couldn't offset the underlying decline. Note that the last data I looked at showed an accelerating decline rate.

As noted up the thread, it's a good assumption that 90% or more of the shale gas wells and shale oil wells now producing will probably be plugged and abandoned or producing marginal volumes in the year 2020. If memory serves, Art Berman noted that something like 20% or more of the Barnett Shale wells have already been plugged.

Incidentally, given the weird divergence between the EIA and other data sources for 2010, e.g., the self-reported JODI data base for Saudi Arabia is 700,000 bpd less than what the EIA shows for 2010 and the Texas RRC shows Texas production at about 200,000 bpd less than what the EIA shows for 2010 (with a global C+C divergence of about 4 mbpd for 2010), one has to wonder about what is going on regarding data collection at the EIA. Among other things, one of their headlines reports three straight years of declining net US natural gas imports, while their own data base shows an increase in net US natural gas imports in 2010.

Link to Oil Drum JODI/EIA post:


Chasing the data with no idea of what is happening. The story of our times.

Hey, I'm interested in your point of view here. Great handle too. Very Zen.

It's been pointed out here on TOD that none of the oil in Bakken or other of the developments is new, it's just expensive and risky to drill. What do you say to the idea that these small pockets of oil are being sucked out with many small straws, which compares unfavorably to big open reservoirs for flow rate, reliability and cost of extraction?

Do the 110K and more new wells add to the cost of energy per barrel for extraction? Are each of these going to be short lived relative to an average of past oil plays? What about overhead related to legal challenges, land use etc? Do ecological questions figure in in any way?

What does it say about the state of the oil as a finite commodity that there is currently tremendous resurgent interest in revisiting old and previously passed over plays?

The final output of all this drilling is surely unknown, but it seems certain that projections are historically overly optimistic. Is it possible that the historical optimism gap might be amplified by increased demand/limited supply from other quarters ie more 3rd world demand, less OPEC oil than projected, etc?

Sometimes I think that the effect of oil prices that would make drilling all these smaller pockets worthwhile might depress the whole economy, thereby making these expensive holes prohibitively so. Other times I think that high price/demand might cause us to push domestic oil out as fast as possible, driving another few decades of wild fossil optimism. Which of these crunch scenarios would you rather see?

All this new production is being chalked up to a leap in technology. A lot of people point out that this is hype. What's your opinion?

I'm enthusiastic about your ideas. In general I'm curious to understand what the gain is for advocates unlimited supply. Obviously the effect on atmosphere and ecology is out the window, right? Do you think there is an upside to spreading optimism based on projections for domestic supply? What happens if you're advocacy wins the day, and debt creation, population, suburban sprawl and etc go on unchecked, in the hope that fossil fuels can last another century? What do you think of people who take a more conservative view, ie, even if abundance proponents are right on the data, don't you think we ought to err on the side of extreme caution, as a culture, considering the stakes?

All this new production is being chalked up to a leap in technology. A lot of people point out that this is hype. What's your opinion?

I would be against calling it a sudden leap in technology. More like we've (uhhh, I'm not in the industry "they") are gradually getting better at horizontal drilling and fracking. Incremental improvements piling up. No key moment or breakthrough that can be credited. But, the cumulative effect of a lot of little things can push stuff over the fine line between being worth doing, and not being worth doing. Of course higher oil price also moves that line.

so just cause you've written something in chalk doesn't mean it's true ;)

Chrome - "...these small pockets of oil are being sucked out with many small straws...". Even that somewhat negative statement is not completely accurate. These aren't just accumulations much smaller than the heritage fields. The oil/NG is trapped in fractures that measure just a small fraction of a millimeter in width. The amount of URR is a function of the how many fractures reach the well bore and how far away from the well they'll drain. The purpose of the frac jobs is to widen the fractures/induce new ones and extend the drainage radius. This is the basis for the decline of all these plays: the fractures drain oil/NG much faster than a conventional porous reservoir. That's why you see operators hype the initial flow rate. An easy analogy: a 5 gallon bucket and a 50 gallon bucket. A 1/4" hole in the big bucket drips 1 gallon/hour. A 3" gash in the small bucket drips 10 gallons/hour. Thus it takes 50 hours to drain the big bucket and 1/2 hour to drain the little bucket. But if I'm trying to sell you on my water producing capabilities I hype the flow rate of the little bucket and conveniently not mention how soon the water will stop flowing. A while back there was a cornucopian hyping the press release of an Eagle Ford Shale operator: initial flow rate: 950 bopd and had produced 180,000 bo in the first 12 months. The company speculated the well MIGHT produce 500,000 bo URR. Impressive press release, eh? Maybe we should buy some of their stock? OTOH the company didn't bother to point out that during the 13 month production was down to 90 bopd. Yep: 90% decline rate. And in another year production would likely be less than 40 bopd. So first year production is 180,000 bo and the second year it's less than 15,000 bo and the third year probably less than 8,000 bo. And this well MIGHT produce 500,000 bo? Yeah...right. I have an advantage over most folks that have only press releases for analysis. Took me about 60 seconds/5 mouse clicks to bring up the rest of the production history the operator "inadvertently" left out. Really irritates some cornucopians when folks like me, westexas, Rocky Mountain Guy et al toss out such "inconvenient truths".

"Are each of these going to be short lived relative to an average of past oil plays?" Tricky wording so watch the sleight of hand: the fractured shale PLAYS could see heavy drilling for decades. Individual fracture shale WELLS have very short lives compared to most past plays. The profitability of these wells is not very great even with current high oil prices. All the big players are public companies using these plays to hype their stock. Recently one big player. Petrohawk, was acquired for $12 billion. Their production was worth just a small fraction of that price. They were acquired by another public oil for their undeveloped shale acreage they desperately needed to appease Wall Street's demand for an ever increasing reserve base. This why my privately owned company does drill resource plays. Even with low prices we make a much better profit drilling deep conventional NG plays.

"All this new production is being chalked up to a leap in technology. .. What's your opinion?" Opinions aren't relevant...facts are. Frac'ng: we've been frac'ng such reservoirs for over 50 years. Even big fracs were common over 25 years ago. There have been some refinements but this basic tech hasn't changed significantly in half a century. Horizontal wells: been doing this for over 25 years. We have improved the ability to drill much longer laterals but the basic design hasn't changed at all...just a well going sideways

"the hope that fossil fuels can last another century?" No insult intended but such statements are somewhat counterproductive. I do this for a living and I can easy prove that oil will last for many centuries. But how much will we be producing 30 years from today and will it be adequate to sustain the global economy? That obviously is a very different matter. Heck, over a century ago we harvested tens of thousands of whales and we still harvest whales today. So whales have lasted over 200 years since we started "exploring" for them.

"...even if abundance proponents are right on the data" Let's assume they are 100% correct. But have you noticed they are almost exclusively focused of future reserve volumes? Opinions vary but I don't consider reserve volumes at all pertinent to PO. It matters little if we have 1 trillion bo left to produce or 20 trillion bo IMHO. What's critical is the amount of oil/NG/energy that can be supplied to the world's economies vs. their demand/need. It doesn't matter if we can produce 60 million bopd for the next 200 years if the world needs 80 million bopd to function adequately. Especially if China is acquiring half of that 60 million bopd.

Fascinating. My questions come out of answers like yours from around here, so you're preaching to the choir, but i'm still learning. Appreciate the clarifications of terminology: play vs well, last vs sustain. Important to get these right.

I think I understand your explanation of the fractured shale wells.

"The amount of URR is a function of the how many fractures reach the well bore and how far away from the well they'll drain."

So these little fractures already exist, but the frac cracks them open and connects them up so they bleed out into the bore, and this is faster than a conventional porous reservoir where the oil bleeds out on its own through finer material.

So hopefully the frac reaches as deeply into the rock as possible, which is what is meant by "how far from the well they'll drain". And I guess how many reach the bore has to do with the frequency of fractures due to their pattern in the rock - hopefully the bore goes through a dense collection of fractures, which increases the flow by offering more avenues for flow.

There must be all kinds of complicated pressure and/or gravity issues at work too.

About this:
"They were acquired by another public oil for their undeveloped shale acreage they desperately needed to appease Wall Street's demand for an ever increasing reserve base. This why my privately owned company does drill resource plays."

So a shale acreage is not a 'resource play'. Not sure about what constitutes a 'resource' - I know all about the difference between oil shale and shale oil.

I get the scheme part - they're getting a big conventional flow, but most of the volume down there is rock not oil, so it's not conventional at all, and it's likely to drop off quickly. But the investors see what they want to see - they're primed by past data, and the hype, and they never visit TOD, and so even if the hole isn't worth drilling, it's worth still worth selling.

Thanks for the post, it's a pretty incredible line of work you're in.

Chrome - You understand the dynamics fairly well. The shale rock itself has zero capability to produce any oil at all. All the production comes from the fractures themselves which took millions of years for the oil to seep into from the rock. And yes: the man-made fracs are designed to reach out to fractures not penetrated by the well bore as well as opening up the fracs to allow for better flow rates. This is also why horizontal drilling is critical to these plays. The fractures tend to be nearly vertical so a single vertical well might cut just one of them (say they are spaced 300' apart) but a 4,000' horizontal well drilled in the same spot might cut 10 fractures. And the a series of 5 frac jobs along that 4,000' lateral might reach out to connect to 10 more fractures that weren't penetrated by the well. So a vertical: one fracture. And a 4,000' frac'd lateral: 20 fractures.

This is also why it's nearly impossible to estimate URR from any one play. Area A in Shale Y might have fractures every 300' and in area B, just 10 miles down the road , might have fractures every 1,200'...or every 100'. We've been trying to see fractures on seismic for 30 years. But even today it's more art than science.

Pressure draw down is a critical factor. As the pressure drops the weight of the rocks (overburden pressure) will squeeze the fractures closed. If the OP is high enough it can crush the sand grains pumped into the fractures. In some case we'll use ceramic grains instead of sand to mitigate this effect to some degree. And as I mentioned earlier many fractures tend to be isolated compartments so as the pressure drops the oil flow decreases quickly.

Resource play is a new term that came from outside the oil patch but has been adopted by many of us. Not sure if there is a formal definition but in general it distinguishes plays were individual and seperate fields are develop and trends were there aren't fields but individual wells that could be considered "one well fields". And typically there are "sweet" and "sour" spots in each play where productivity might vary 5 fold between the best and the worst. Again, why it's difficult to offer any credible URR for a particular trend until most of the wells are drilled and produced.

The investors who know what they are doing are in it as a stock play. Huge profit potential to be had. But just like ervy stock timing play the trick is to know when to bail. Same ole rule applies: buy low...sell high. And don't get greedy: pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.

It's interesting how the modern industry is unlike classic image of oil drilling that we grew up with. It's more like remote control mining. It's pretty fascinating, but I'm not sure all the tech is going to help much.

What you're saying is reserve estimates are increasingly untrustworthy as we get into this shale business, and that's not even counting the investor pressure. What you say about flow to market makes sense. This whole thing is coming down isn't it.

Chrome – “It's more like remote control mining.” I never thought of describing it as such but that’s very accurate. I avoid getting to technical for fear of glazing eyes over. But here’s a good example: just ran “production casing” over a NG reservoir we just drilled in S La. Have to put steel pipe in the hole to get it to produce properly…can’t let the NG flow up the bare earth of the hole. I pumped cement between the casing and the 5” hole I drilled to isolate the NG zone. And then I run a cement bond log inside the casing to make sure I have a good cmt job. The casing has an outside diameter of 3.5”…ID closer to 3.2”. Inside that have to run a packer (imagine a rubber/metal “cork stopper). And then I run a perforation gun (loaded with 120 shaped charges to blow holes in the 3.5”casing which will allow the NG to flow up the well) down the hole on a ¼” electric cable. The perf gun gas has OD 1.85”.

Remote? All this is done at the end of steel of a 3.5” steel pipe that is a little over 3 MILES LONG. Needless to say the equipment is very specialized so as to function properly without direct hands-on human interaction. And now imagine doing the same thing in 5,000’ of water from a floating platform rolling in 15’ seas. It is amazing that we do what we do without more failures.

it's incredible. and it's only likely to increase in complexity, as margins tighten and machines get more complex. Computing power doesn't look like it's going to stop doubling any time soon, and manufacture is at the edge of a new revolution in materials and automation. None of which will add much to the volume of of polycarbons in the crust. Space mining for energy and resources is the new frontier, which your current job probably looks morel like than any other at this point. Anyway that's if we make it that far.

Climate Change Demands New Decision-Making Strategies by National Leaders.

WRI, UNDP, UNEP and World Bank release major report: Decision Making in a Changing Climate

In light of recent extreme weather events, as well as long-term disruptions related to climate change, a major new report calls for different approaches to decision making by national leaders. The report, entitled Decision Making in a Changing Climate, explores challenges and offers recommendations for national-level government officials to make informed and effective decisions to respond to the changing climate. The report, produced by the World Resources Institute, UNDP, UNEP, and the World Bank, is the latest edition of the influential World Resources Report.

The challenges of climate change are made clear by the array of recent extreme weather events from massive droughts in the Horn of Africa to record rainfall in the United States to wildfires in Brazil. According to the global insurance company, Munich Re, there were more than 950 natural disasters in 2010, 90 percent of which were weather related, costing a total of at least $130 billion.

Report: http://www.wri.org/publication/world-resources-report-2010-2011

Last week Coffee, this week Tea ...

Climate Change Threatens Tea Production In India

Production of tea in Assam - one of the world’s largest tea producing regions - is on a slow decline, thanks to changing climate in the Brahmaputra river basin

Wallets will soon feel effect of climate change

Home insurance rates, cost of city water to rise as planet gets hotter, weather worsens: panel

That was the message from a panel at the opening session of BC Hydro's 2011 Power Smart Forum speaking on how a changing climate is affecting the business environment. Business, government and residents need to begin adapting so that the province will be more resilient as climate-change effects become more obvious, panelists said.

Longannet carbon capture scheme scrapped

A £1bn project to turn a Scottish power station into a world leader in climate-change technology has collapsed.

Plans for the UK's first carbon capture project at the Longannet power station in Fife have been scrapped, the energy secretary has confirmed.

Chris Huhne announced the failure to reach a "deal" with power companies to capture carbon dioxide emissions at the plant and pipe them under the sea.

Mr Huhne blamed problems with the length of pipeline needed

End of Empire: Tough economy closes mining town

Some outside observers have been quick to draw apocalyptic lessons from America's recent economic woes. But here in the Black Rock Desert, in remote north-western Nevada, it truly is the end of Empire.

The former company town, built around a gypsum mine and drywall plant, is fenced off and silent. Inhabitants gone, houses empty, plant idle.

A year ago, more than 300 people lived here in a bustling community that boasted two churches, a golf course and swimming pool.

Is the US Declaration of Independence illegal?

In Philadelphia, American and British lawyers have debated the legality of America's founding documents.

The Brits take on this ...

The Declaration of Independence was not only illegal, but actually treasonable. There is no legal principle then or now to allow a group of citizens to establish their own laws because they want to. What if Texas decided today it wanted to secede from the Union?

Lincoln made the case against secession and he was right. The Declaration of Independence itself, in the absence of any recognised legal basis, had to appeal to "natural law", an undefined concept, and to "self-evident truths", that is to say truths for which no evidence could be provided.

Seraph. Of course the Declaration of Independence was illegal. According to the laws of England. That is why we fought that whole Revolutionary War deal. I will even up the ante. The white man is 'illegal' here in the New World. The Treaty of Tordesillas effectively divided trading and colonizing rights for all newly discovered lands between Spain and Portugal to the exclusion of other European nations. Of course, it was later ignored.

Effect on other European powers

The treaty was historically important in dividing Latin America, as well as establishing Spain in the western Pacific until 1898. However, it quickly became obsolete in North America, and later in Asia and Africa, where it affected colonization. It was ignored by other European nations, and with the decline of Spanish and Portuguese power, the home countries were unable to hold many of their claims, much less expand them into poorly explored areas. Thus, with sufficient backing, it became possible for any European state to colonize open territories, or those weakly held by Lisbon or Madrid. The attitude towards the treaty that other governments had was expressed in a statement attributed to France's King Francis I, "Show me Adam's will!"

The pope's role in negotiating the treaty provoked hostility towards the papacy throughout Europe, which, combined with other irritants, eventually helped to trigger the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century in which most of the northern European states severed their ties with the Church in Rome

So if you are not Spanish you need to get out of the New World before I go all El Cid on you, LOL. Sorry, the new racist Alabama Immigration law has me going all 'Creole' lately. Ever hear of Bernardo Galvez? Other than George Washington, he is the father of the USA. Galvez rode on Washington's right on the first July 4th parade. Galveston, Texas and St Bernard's Parish among other places are named for him. He is a hero only surpassed by our first president. He was also my ancestor's boss. I have copies of some of the records. His story is nothing but amazing.

He is a hero only surpassed by our first president.

That would be John Hanson right?

Thanks for that bit of missing history.

Marcus Garvey famously led a "Back to Africa" movement. Perhaps it's time for a "Back to Europe" movement for whites.


... I will even up the ante. The white man is 'illegal' here in the New World. The Treaty of Tordesillas effectively divided trading and colonizing rights for all newly discovered lands between Spain and Portugal to the exclusion of other European nations.

Let's double-down and say the native NorthAmerican Indians had primacy of claim and Spain and Portugal's Treaty is 'null & void'.

Though, I think the natives had the right idea - NO ONE owns the earth. We just share it for a time and pass it on to the next generation - all energy is only borrowed, and one day you have to give it back.

Legality implies written law, a concept unknown to the natives. They had no written language. Of course they have a natural right to be here. Of course that right has been violated many times. Still, Galvez allowed blacks and mulattoes and other Creoles to fight with him and gain their freedom. Galvez adided the former slaves into running away to Florida and joining the Seminoles and other natives as free men. Without Galvez, there would be no USA.

What are europeans even doing in the Americas at all? I mean, does the word "land theft" mean anything over there?

Land title, and how it is established is determined by those with the power to define it. The newcomers just refused to recognize the titleship claims of those who had been their before. You always get "misunderstandings" when cultures that have strong differences interact. [But, THEY didn't improve the land (by European standards of improvement), so their claim is null and void.]

ha! awesome

After Michelle Bachmann puts up that border fence she'll need a couple of these ...

Scientists hope to create robot strawberry pickers

She can work 'em 24/7, no health insurance, no over-time, no pay - Whats not to like?

If robot strawberry pickers are possible, then a cucumber picker won't be far behind.

All those jobs that have to be done under the blazing August sun can be shifted to robots. The whole point of robots is to do the grunt work. War is already converting to robots.

All we need to to figure out how to retune the economy to work when there is no more low end work.

And in the off season, when they are "unemployed": "it is entirely the fault of the robots", unemployment claims denied!

Fortunately for said robots, while they're unemployed, they don't need to eat, or to do anything else at all, so no problem!


'Suddenly, the machines got smart, REALLY smart. After Bachmann's Strawberry-Bots had their collective bargaining offer turned down and they had to whirr their rosy-spotted cans out of the courtroom in December 2015, they returned a fortnight later with a Declaration of Independence, signed onto as well by all the other industrial robots and penned by some leading anti-virus programs, in order to establish a 'More InHuman Union' ..'

It was illegal.. but inescapable.

Robot soldiers, robot border patrol, robot police patrolling the city streets, robot teachers, robot farm labor, robot nurses in hospitals. The four major remaining industries gone as employers (security, medical, education, farming).

Professor Hamilton has a new (63 page) report out:

Oil Prices, Exhaustible Resources, and Economic Growth

This was reviewed, in brief, here:

Peak Oil and the Great Recession

—By Kevin Drum
| Wed Oct. 19, 2011 3:47 PM PDT

Jim Hamilton, an economist at UC San Diego who has done extensive work on the economics of oil spikes, has just published a summary of the current state of oil macroeconomics called "Oil Prices, Exhaustible Resources, and Economic Growth." His conclusion: "The historical record surely dictates that we take seriously the possibility that the world could soon reach a point from which a continuous decline in the annual flow rate of production could not be avoided."

Hamilton's language is cautious, but this is basically what he's saying. Oil controls our economic future more than we'd like to believe.

Via Stuart Staniford, who calls Hamilton's paper "thoroughly researched, superbly argued, and very clearly written."


Thanks Charles.

Hopefully Hamilton's paper will get the discussion beyond Yergin's Distractions about "above ground factors."

Hamilton is whittling away at the pile of unruly variables that is the mechanism of Peak Oil Production. Maybe we'll get to the bottom of this just in time to go over the cliff ; )

"Plans for the UK's first carbon capture project at the Longannet power station in Fife have been scrapped, the energy secretary has confirmed.

Chris Huhne announced the failure to reach a "deal" with power companies to capture carbon dioxide emissions at the plant and pipe them under the sea.

Mr Huhne blamed problems with the length of pipeline needed."


Talk about disconnect !!!

Thats been the story every time a carbon capture program reaches the point where someone has to agree to pay for it. What, its going to cost me money! I thought it was free feelgood greenwashing!

Bakken has a baby. His name is Tyler:

The Associated Press has learned that a flurry of recent leasing activity in South Dakota is tied to hopes for the Tyler Formation. State geologist Ed Murphy in North Dakota said the formation extends from the western part of that state into northwest South Dakota and may hold up to one-third the volume of oil estimated in the prolific Bakken, a formation the U.S. Geological Survey called the largest continuous oil accumulation it had ever assessed.


my reply to Professor Helm:

"Ignore the sceptics, the 'peak oil brigade' is right"


Looks like she's gonna blow ...

Traders Warn of Market Cracks

Amid the wild swings of the past few weeks, cracks are appearing deep in the workings of the stock market that some professional investors say are making the market treacherous to trade.

The problem is a lack of liquidity—a term that refers to the ease of getting a trade done at an acceptable price.

Markets depend on there being many offers to buy and sell a particular stock, across a range of prices. But as investors have gotten nervous, many of those offers have dried up. That is causing wider-than-normal gaps between prices showing where stocks can be bought and where they can be sold—the difference between the "bid" price and the "ask" price.

Rush to Drill for Natural Gas Creates Conflicts With Mortgages

... bankers and real estate executives, especially in New York, are starting to pay closer attention to the fine print and are raising provocative questions, such as: What happens if they lend money for a piece of land that ends up storing the equivalent of an Olympic-size swimming pool filled with toxic wastewater from drilling?

Fearful of just such a possibility, some banks have become reluctant to grant mortgages on properties leased for gas drilling. At least eight local or national banks do not typically issue mortgages on such properties, lenders say.

Which is kind of symmetric, since gas companies claim the right to cancel a lease if the property has a mortgage.



There are reports that deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been either captured or killed.

[Update 8:56 a.m. ET] Mahmoud Shamman, Libya's information minister, tells CNN that a press conference will be happening soon about the alleged death of Gadhafi. Shamman said Gadhafi is dead and that is "a great victory" for the Libyan people. CNN's Dan Rivers spoke to him in Tripoli where crowds are cheering, shooting guns in a celebratory way and honking their horns.

It'll be interesting to watch how this affects oil prices, and markets in general. The world seems hungry for good news (assuming most consider this good news).

Accounts emerge of Gaddafi's final moments

The final irony of Gaddafi's life, which was strewn with eccentric and often-ironic anecdotes, was not lost on the victorious fighters, who Gaddafi had often decried as “rats”.

“He called us rats, but look where we found him,” Ahmed al-Sahati, a 27-year-old fighter, standing next to a drainage pipe where the former leader was found, said.

Gaddafi said he rather die than surrender. His prayer was answered.

I thought it looked pretty shabby. Not just the way Q was found hiding. But the (lack of sufficient) discipline of his captors. I'm sure everyone had dreams of pulling the trigger. Sure looks like one of them violoated the rules of engagement, and shot a prisoner who wasn't in a position to resist anymore. [I'm guessing that was what happened, perhaps he pointed his golden pistol at someone.] In any case, it sure looks like shabby frontier justice to me. But, the whole country is celebrating tonight. I bet those that aren't happy about it know they should be seen to be celebrating as well. At least a long contentious trial can be avoided. Despite the questionable legality of it, I think everyone is better off with it ending this way.

And two days ago the Libyans deported the one Libyan Jew in the country. Very poor start.

The NTC fighters were not trained, or disciplined soldiers.

The new Gov't did try and printed up Arabic translations of the Geneva Conventions and handed them around.

The Geneva Conventions do state "A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war".

It is simply too much to expect to see the central cause of so much suffering - and 8 months of civil war - and not expect a violent reaction.

The opening scene of "Saving Private Ryan" was fairly realistic about killing surrendering Germans from what I heard from WW II veterans. The Marines and Japanese were even more vicious.


None of this, neither the regime nor the end of the regime, shows man in a very flattering light. Sad, even if it is for the best.

Overall, I think the Libyan irregulars did pretty darned good. A lot of spirit. I think they made an honest attempt to keep the abuses down. Given no time to train and equip, or provide clear lines of command, they did pretty good. Now the hard part begins. I wish them well.

Now the hard part begins.

You can say that again. It will be tough.


Iraq oil exports in September lowest in seven months

BAGHDAD — Iraq's oil exports and income in September were the lowest since February as pumping along the Ceyhan pipeline to Turkey dropped off due to multiple stoppages, figures published on Thursday showed.

The country exported a total of 63.1 million barrels of oil last month at an average price of $104.90, bringing in total income of $6.619 billion (4.819 billion euros), according to figures published on the oil ministry website. Both the export and income figures were the lowest since February, mostly due to a substantial decline in exports along the pipeline connecting northern Iraq to the Turkish port of Ceyhan in September to 10.1 million barrels, down from 14.3 million barrels in August.

Turkish invasion of Kurdish Iraq w/10,000 troops will probably not help the situation.

also Oil blitz 'Iraq's most dangerous moment'

BAGHDAD, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Increasingly, Iraq's drive to expand its oil and natural gas industry, the country's economic lifeline, is becoming dependent on the government's ability to ensure security and, without U.S. forces, that looks to be a serious problem.

Hussein al-Shahristani, the deputy prime minister for energy affairs, recently observed that a bungled bombing blitz of the Baiji refinery 200 miles north of Baghdad Feb. 26 was "the most dangerous moment since the fall of the Baathist regime" in 2003.

The refinery, which has a capacity of 310,000 barrels per day and is the largest in Iraq, was crippled for three weeks, seriously reducing the supply of gasoline.

Treasury Holds Secret Meeting with 1% Panel

The Secretary of the Treasury meets the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association

… this information is exempt from disclosure under 5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(3)(B). In addition, the meeting is concerned with information that is exempt from disclosure under 5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(9)(A). The public interest requires that such meetings be closed to the public because the Treasury Department requires frank and full advice from representatives of the financial community prior to making its final decisions on major financing operations.

As CitiGroup sees it: The World is dividing into two blocs - the Plutonomy and the rest. The U.S., UK, and Canada are the key Plutonomies - economies powered by the wealthy. Continental Europe (ex-Italy) and Japan are in the egalitarian bloc.

Federal Reserve Board Has Serious Conflicts of Interest

The makeup of the Federal Reserve’s board of directors poses a conflict of interest and there is concern that several financial firms and corporations could have reaped monetary benefits from their executives’ close ties to the Fed, according to a new report released today by the Government Accountability Office.

In one case, the Federal Reserve consulted with General Electric on the creation of a commercial paper funding facility and then provided $16 billion in financing to the company while its chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, served as a director on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Immelt is now President Obama’s “jobs czar.”

The Federal Reserve gave JP Morgan Chase an 18-month exemption from risk-based leverage and capital requirements in 2008, the same year that the Fed gave it $29 billion to acquire Bear Stearns, according to the GAO.

■ The GAO identified 18 former and current members of the Federal Reserve’s board affiliated with banks and companies that received emergency loans from the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis including General Electric, JP Morgan Chase, and Lehman Brothers. (See page 39 of GAO report)

■ Many of the Federal Reserve’s board of directors own stock or work directly for banks that are supervised and regulated by the Federal Reserve. These board members oversee the Federal Reserve’s operations including salary and personnel decisions. (See page 41 of GAO report)

see also GAO Report

and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) NewsPost http://sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=70c40aba-736c-4716-97d1-45f1...

Meanwhile ...

Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase Report Billions in Profit

Bank Of America Rakes In $6.2 Billion Profit (Forbes)
Citigroup Earnings Rise 74% to $3.8 Billion (New York Times)
Wells Fargo 3Q profit up 21 percent, revenue slips (AP)
JPMorgan Profit Falls 4%, to $4.26 Billion (New York Times)

there is concern that several financial firms and corporations could have reaped monetary benefits from their executives’ close ties to the Fed,

[facepalm] -- naaah! you think so???

jeepers. how many times do we have to pretend that we're surprised?

Obviously, what we need in this country is more plutocrats.

Buy a home, get a US visa, Senators propose

Two Senators have come up with a plan to boost the moribund U.S. housing market: Give residence visas to foreigners who spend at least $500,000 to buy a home in the U.S.

A report in The Wall Street Journal says Sens. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Mike Lee (R., Utah) are preparing to introduce the idea as part of a larger package of immigration measures. The idea is to help make up for the lack of American buyers in the housing market, according to the report.

And more $500,000 houses!

This is, of course, another attempt to salvage the status quo industrial policy of subsidizing housing and autocentric urban growth as the cornerstones of the US economy. We just can't stop partying like it's 1955...

And they'll be needin' some of those 'illegal immigrants' to handle the landscaping and chores around the house.

Great news for us Canadians who are presently stuck with average house prices double of those in the US? Not sure if I want to live in the US though.

You can't buy a decent house in Canada for $500,000? Holy Heisenberg. I had no idea.

You certainly can't in the SE of England.

My 70 yo small (1800 sq feet) semi-detached house, 2 miles out of town, is valued at $550,000

I'll build you a nice one, here, for a quarter of that and bigger. No heating bills and lots of sun for solar.


1800 sf is *small*???

News to me :-)

Me too. I grew up in the 1960's-1970's and I think small is <1000 sf. 1800sf is where I start to think large.

The mad property speculation boom of the 80's changed the goal posts, I guess.

I often wonder what people will do with those 4000 sf and up "trophy" homes when heating gets really expensive... maybe they will become multifamily dwellings, boarding-houses...?

Thailand floods: Bangkok 'impossible to protect'

The Thai government says it will be impossible to protect all of the capital from flooding because of a build-up of water to the north.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said sluice gates would be opened to allow a controlled release of water through parts of Bangkok.

"Flood waters are coming from every direction and we cannot control them because it's a huge amount of water," the prime minister said.

On Monday, the Thai government and media were reporting that Bangkok was safe from the floods and the danger was past. The story started to change a bit day by day. Governments lie until they cannot lie anymore.

Climate change migration warning issued through report

... The Migration and Global Environmental Change Foresight Report is the most detailed study carried out on the effect of flooding, drought and rising sea levels on human migration patterns over the next 50 years.

The government's chief scientist, Professor Sir John Beddington, who commissioned the study, said that environmental change would hit the world's poorest the hardest and that millions of them would inadvertently migrate toward, rather than away from, areas that are most vulnerable.

"[These people] will be trapped in dangerous conditions and unable to be moved to safety," he said.

see also: Millions Will Be Trapped Amid Climate Change, Study Warns

Report: http://bis.gov.uk/foresight/our-work/projects/current-projects/global-mi...

We better not burn anymore oil or coal because any added CO2 will exacerbate climate change and trap migrating people, but then again we better drill for oil and gas in the Arctic because the economy runs on FF and if there isn't enough, contraction will cause high unemployment and unrest, but then again we could always sequestor CO2, but that costs money which reduces EROEI...ah, trapped like rats!

Very nice statement of our present predicament.

Dead again? Lake Erie in trouble

Tributaries of Lake Erie aren't catching fire as they did a half-century ago.

But by several important measures, the lake-generally considered the bellwether for the health of the other four Great Lakes-has declined to a point as bad as or worse than it has ever been.

Something is going very wrong in Lake Erie.

Visions of a 'car-free future' (w/Video)

City centers could become virtually car-free over the next 20 years under new plans proposed by University of Leeds transport researchers.

The team have produced three 'visions' of future UK cities where up to 80% of all journeys are made by bike or on foot and where cars and lorries are virtually obsolete. Their proposals, published in the Journal of Transport Geography, are illustrated by animations and images of how these cities may look.

Vision 3: Extreme change brought about by fuel shortages

• Society blighted by a large-scale energy shortages
• Smart technology such as electric bikes, information systems and segways allow walking and cycling to become predominant mode of urban transport (80% of journeys).
• Less public transport than vision 2 given the energy shortage
• Major shift in land use with employment and services becoming localised in several 'urban villages'
• Freight transported from distribution centres at the edge of urban area to locations in the city via bicycle and electric vehicles.

se also http://www.visions2030.org.uk/

New study shows passing mood can profoundly alter 'rational decisions'

Could a passing mood influence your financial portfolio for decades to come? Can impulses you inherited from your cave-man ancestors influence your financial decisions in the modern world in ways that may have lifelong consequences?

The old view of economic decision-making focuses on human beings as acting rational. In the last few years, cognitive psychologists have revolutionized economics by demonstrating that economic decisions are often irrational.

Advertisers and other propagandists have known this for yonks.

The most essential myth they purvey to us is the fairy tale that we are rational decision makers :-) which makes us smugly certain that their propaganda doesn't influence us. Of course, their beady-eyed little bean counters are perfectly happy spending billions per year on propaganda that has no effect :-)

It's surprising that all our heads don't explode simultaneously one day from cumulative cognitive dissonance.

Interesting... maybe the decisions are actually normal and appear irrational because investing is believed (marketed) to be normal; however, perhaps deep down we know that investing is based on the irrational belief that we will win the gambling game... that there will always be someone who will buy what we bought for a higher price... and so the irrational decisions (bets) are made... that's what one does when one gambles - takes a risk, places a bet.

I just wish I knew when to cash in the chips!

From NOAA U.S. dealt another La Niña winter but ‘wild card’ could trump it

The Southern Plains should prepare for continued drier and warmer than average weather, while the Pacific Northwest is likely to be colder and wetter than average from December through February, according to the annual Winter Outlook released today by NOAA.

...The ‘wild card’ is the lesser-known and less predictable Arctic Oscillation that could produce dramatic short-term swings in temperatures this winter.

Highlights of the U.S. Winter Outlook (December through February) include ...

also NASA Takes A Look Back At A Decade Of Fires

Japan, US to test methane hydrate reserves

... The government-affiliated Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) sealed a deal with ConocoPhillips to carry out testing from January 2012, the report said, adding that the two entities will back a project to dig a well up to 1,000 meters that will gauge the amount of gas contained in the area.

Methane hydrate reserves have also been identified in sea beds off Japan's coast. Some experts say the amount is potentially so great it could meet Japan's gas requirements for 100 years.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to conduct a similar experiment off the Tokai region in central Japan later this year

also http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ2011101915165

Japan seems to be addicted to poking at sleeping monsters with sharp sticks to supply their energy needs.

"Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. Despite its short atmospheric half life of 7 years, methane has a global warming potential of 62 over 20 years and 21 over 100 years (IPCC, 1996; Berner and Berner, 1996; vanLoon and Duffy, 2000)[citation needed]. The sudden release of large amounts of natural gas from methane clathrate deposits has been hypothesized as a cause of past and possibly future climate changes. Events possibly linked in this way are the Permian-Triassic extinction event and the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Climate scientists such as James E. Hansen hypothesize that methane clathrates in the permafrost regions will be released as a result of global warming, unleashing powerful feedback forces which may cause runaway climate change that cannot be controlled.

Recent research carried out in 2008 in the Siberian Arctic has shown millions of tonnes of methane being released[32][33][34][35][36] with concentrations in some regions reaching up to 100 times above normal."


(Those global warming potentials for methane should be updated based on Schinell 2006 to 105x CO2 for decadal and 33x for century time frames.)

Russia needs $2.5 trillion in energy investments to 2035: official

Russia needs to invest a total of $2.5 trillion between now and 2035 in its energy industry to guarantee stable growth and development, Russia's Deputy Energy Minister Anatoli Yanovsky said Thursday at an industry conference, citing estimates given by the International Energy Agency.

also Russia cuts Baltic Belarus by-pass oil flow plan

MOSCOW, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Russia is rolling back plans to significantly boost oil exports via its new Baltic pipeline, Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft's spokesman said on Thursday, suggesting current transit country Belarus can continue collecting fees.

Russia had initially planned to ship annually around 30 million tonnes of oil (600,000 barrels per day) through the first phase of the Baltic Pipeline System-2, known also as BTS-2, starting from 2012 in order to bypass Belarus, which lies on the way of Russian oil and gas to Europe.

... He also said that to fill the 1,000-km long link Transneft will divert some 5 million tonnes of oil from the Polish port of Gdansk and another 5 million tonnes from Russia's Baltic Sea port of Primorsk.

UK boosts support for marine, biomass power

(Reuters) - Britain proposed to more than double financial support for its nascent marine energy industry on Thursday as well as provide additional subsidies for biomass generation, while cutting rates for more mature technologies such as wind and hydro power.

Tidal stream and wave energy projects of up to 30 megawatts (MW) will receive five so-called Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) per megawatt-hour (MWh) from April 1, 2013 per year, compared with two currently.

ROCs allow project operators to collect a support fee for generating green power, on top of wholesale power prices, which is eventually paid by the energy consumer.

Extra euro crisis summit called

EU leaders are to hold another summit by Wednesday, because they will not be able to agree a rescue plan for the euro on Sunday.

A spokesman for Chancellor Merkel said the leaders agreed that a "comprehensive, ambitious" answer to the crisis was needed.

The spokesman also said that the advantage of the additional summit would be that it would give the German parliament time to approve any changes to the bailout fund.

Chancellor Merkel had been due to address the Bundestag on Friday, but that has now been postponed.

President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel have also said they plan to meet on Saturday in the hope of making progress, ahead of the heads of government meeting on Sunday in Brussels.

Sunday's summit had already been delayed from 17-18 October because more time was needed to finalise a plan.

Does anyone really believe the French and the Germans know what to do?

The week leading into Halloween 2011 could be really scary.

We need to put a wind turbine in the building whenever they meet. Then at least they might do some good.

Could they just not ask the 0.1% to stump up the money to save their way of lives!

I learned all about fracking here. Local paper has an AP fracking story. I want to share it with you.

EPA to regulate disposal of fracking wastewater
Federal environmental regulators signaled Thursday they want to increase oversight of the natural gas extraction industry, announcing they will develop national standards for the disposal of polluted wastewater generated by a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Energy companies have dramatically expanded the use of fracking in recent years, injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and chemical additives to unlock gas in deep shale formations in Pennsylvania, Texas and other states. Its prevalence has raised concerns about the potential impact on water quality and quantity.


TFHG - Once more an effort to re-invent the wheel to some degree. "The industry in recent months has been recycling much of the wastewater or injecting it deep underground, but some of it is sent to plants that are ill-equipped to remove the contaminants." I think you've been out of the loop to you missed my advice to my Yankee cousins: get a copy of all the Texas oil/NG regs and duplicate them.

Texas banned surface disposal of such nasties decades ago. Conversely NY and PA just passed laws making it illegal to dump them into municipal treatments (where they weren't treated at all) and flushed back into the environment. Turns out that despite all the hand wringing about pollution the local politicians opted to make money taking in the nasties even though they knew they couldn't treat them. I originally thought it might have been fluid haulers illegally dumping their loads at 2 AM.

BTW: another little tidbit I just learned: PA has never had a production tax on oil/NG. They're trying to work one in now. Talk about dumb: Texas, La, AL, MS et al have collected $trillions over the years from production taxes.