Drumbeat: November 4, 2011

UAE - World likely to face severe oil crunch by 2015

(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) There could be a severe global oil crunch by 2015 due to drastic changes in the oil market fundamentals, a World Bank consultant told the 17th Annual Energy Conference of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR).

Addressing the ECSSR conference in the UAE capital, Dr Mamdouh Salameh, Consultant on Oil and Energy Affairs for the World Bank, said: "Unfortunately, the current alignment of these fundamentals can only lead to a severe tightening of the oil market. Other major factors impacting on the global oil market are China and the declining influence of OPEC. An analysis of these fundamentals indicates that a severe oil crunch could be in the offing, probably by 2015 or thereabouts, with oil prices projected to exceed the level reached in July 2008."

Oil Rises to Three-Month High After Greece Cancels Referendum

Oil rose its highest in three months in New York as signs that Europe will reach an agreement with Greece on a rescue plan reduced concern economic growth will falter and damp fuel demand.

Futures rose as much as 0.9 percent and are poised for a fifth weekly gain, the longest rising streak since April 2009. Greece won’t hold a public vote on a bailout package, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told lawmakers in Athens yesterday. Oil is approaching its 200-day moving average, which is at $94.84 a barrel today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Heating Fuel at Record as European Diesel Surges: Energy Markets

European consumers will probably pay the most ever to run diesel cars and heat their homes this year, at a time when unemployment is at the highest in more than a decade and economic confidence is falling

Energy landscape in 2012 and beyond

LONDON (Reuters) - Global energy markets stand at a crossroads. The big themes that dominated the opening years of the century (prosperity, markets, peak oil, global warming and clean technology) are giving way to a different set of concerns centred on inequality, affordability, regulation and techniques for extracting oil and gas from tight rock formations and ever-deeper below the surface.

ASPO-USA Conference Report: Thursday Morning Notes

ASPO-USA has gone from a pure technical study of Peak Oil to emphasizing the economic impact and moving towards policy recommendations.

The end of cheap oil

As China, India and other emerging economies continue to grow it is simply not possible for oil production to keep up, according to Candice Beaumont, a managing director of L Investments, a leading single family office with substantial investments in commodities.

North American Oil Development Is Reducing Demand for Foreign Oil

The September 15 report from the National Petroleum Council expressed surprise at how much has changed just since their “Hard Truths” report of 2007 that domestic energy development was falling behind escalating demand.

Total Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie

But unlike some of his fellow oil men who claim peak oil is far off, de Mergerie has a much more conservative view on oil reserves. “We don’t know everything,” asserts de Margerie, “but on oil reserves and production we know a lot, and it’s our duty to speak out.”

De Mergerie has gone on record claiming that in a few years global oil production will peak at 95 million barrels per day, after that, he says, “There will be a lack of sufficient energy available.”

Total says offshore Libya output back to pvs levels

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - French oil company Total's offshore production in Libya has reached the same levels as before output was severely disrupted by an uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, and would soon start production onshore, a senior company official said on Friday.

"When we were back and we saw that our facilities are OK ... and we've been able to restart production off-shore and within 15 days bring back to levels we had before," Jacques Marraud des Grottes, the country's senior vice-president Africa, told an oil conference.

Petrobras Discovers New Source Of Oil In The Gulf Of Mexico

SAO PAULO -(Dow Jones)- Brazilian state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR), or Petrobras, late Thursday said it has found a new source of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Petrobras announces a new oil discovery in the extreme southwestern part of the Walker Ridge concession area, located in America's Gulf of Mexico ultra-deep waters. The discovery confirms the Lower Tertiary's potential in this area," the company said, without providing an estimated size of the discovery.

Filling up the future

Its remarkable offshore oil bonanza could do Brazil a lot of good. But getting the most out of it will not be easy.

Gazprom to open office in Brazil

MOSCOW (UPI) -- Russian energy giant Gazprom announced it opened a regional office in Brazil, describing Latin America as a strategically important region for natural gas.

Gazprom is active in Latin America through partnerships with energy companies in Venezuela and Bolivia. The company announced that it was solidifying its position in the region by opening an office in Rio de Janeiro.

Ukraine hopes to complete gas talks with Russia in November

Ukraine hopes to complete talks with Russia on the revision of the current gas contracts in November, Ukrainian Economic Development and Trade Minister Andrei Klyuyev said on Friday.

Sinopec, PetroChina Rise on Price Speculation

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. and PetroChina Co., the country’s biggest fuel producers, rose in Hong Kong trading on speculation that the government may allow Chinese refiners to adjust prices on their own.

Ex-nuclear chief urges joint GCC effort

Hans Blix believes a group similar to the International Atomic Energy Agency, but specific to the Middle East, could lead to a region-wide nuclear energy market.

Exclusive: Post-Fukushima nuclear generation could fall 15 pct

(Reuters) - The Fukushima disaster could lead to a 15 percent fall in world nuclear power generation by 2035 when power demand may rise by 3.1 percent a year, according to a draft copy of the International Energy Agency's 2011 World Energy Outlook.

Following Fukushima, many countries put their nuclear power policies on hold or under review and some, including Germany and Switzerland, opted out of the technology entirely.

Tepco lists fuel needs to make up for nuclear loss

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co on Friday projected it will consume a record 22.6 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the financial year to next March, 3.14 million tonnes more than a year earlier, to make up for lost nuclear power output.

The company, better known as Tepco, is still reeling from the crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and has just two of its 17 nuclear reactors operating as the world's worst atomic accident in 25 years has halted restarts of reactors shut for maintenance.

Japan Starts Bailout of Tepco After Fukushima Causes More Losses

Tokyo Electric Power Co. won approval for a 900 billion yen ($11.5 billion) bailout from the government after the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe to avert bankruptcy and start paying compensation for the crisis.

Protesters shaken and stirred by tremors

Some say Lancashire will be the next Texas, with gas wells triggering an economic boom. Others fear it could be more like California after a report confirmed that two minor earthquakes that hit Blackpool were caused by gas extraction.

E.P.A. Fracking Study Due in 2014

The initial research results will be released to the public next year, and the final report is due in 2014, the agency said.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Cold Fusion Redux

If this development is for real, and we will not know for a while, parts of our understanding of nuclear physics will have to be rethought for it seems there is much more in nature to learn about. Cheap, pollution-free energy could, in theory, reset the clock on global warming for if these devices spread rapidly, the transition away from carbon-based energy might just happen in time to save the earth. Cheap energy would allow for cheap desalinization of water, cheap transport, cheap food, and a lot of other changes.

Answer not blowing in the wind

Peak renewables are actually in a worse state than oil, and according to the United States Department of Energy, 14 essential elements will hit critical short supply in little more than five years. The sun won't run down anytime soon.

The problem is that catching its rays in a practical way requires high-tech devices, and these depend on transition elements and rare-earth minerals. They are well named indeed - most being much scarcer than oil.

House Panel Votes to Subpoena Solyndra Documents

Over the protests of its Democratic minority, a House subcommittee voted on Thursday to authorize the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee to subpoena documents from the White House related to the solar manufacturer Solyndra.

Sustainability=Survival at 'Occupy' Protest

Protesters make due with what they have. Twice a week, sustainability meetings are held in the glass-enclosed courtyard of the Deutsche Bank building. This week participants discuss recycling and compost: they need volunteers to stand at each of the dozen stations to make sure people sort their trash properly. They're switching to compostable plates and cups and will meet with a local farm service to discuss the options: recycled paper versus bioplastic and which brands decompose the quickest.

Ain't afraid of no growth?

Known locally as "the anti-growth guy," or maybe as the City Council candidate who lost to incumbent Jerry Heimlicher a couple years ago, Gardner is releasing his first documentary, GrowthBusters, locally on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Its simple premise: Population growth and development must stop. Actually, Gardner says, the economic downturn signals the beginning of the end of growth, a breaking point. He believes everyone will need to adapt in a new, more sustainable world.

Transition Towns: Going Local, Going Green, and Meeting the Neighbours

The Transition movement was founded to protect local economies against global fuel instabilities and as a response to climate change. But with its growth has also come a rediscovery of a sense of community lost over recent decades.

Don’t Pollute and Be Freer

Saving electricity is very good for the health of one’s pocket and for the whole planet. Each kilowatt of consumption implies a quantity of pollutants being released into the atmosphere, seas and obviously our lungs.

Saving electricity also helps us to be freer and less dependent on energy companies or governments that produce that invisible resource.

Enel builds first smart grid in Italy

(Reuters) - The distribution arm of Italy's biggest utility, Enel , has started installing the first smart grid in Italy, part of its push to develop the technology needed to handle electricity flows from decentralised, fluctuating renewable power sources.

Meager grid input hampers China efficiency, emission efforts

(Reuters) - Insufficient regional grid investment, improper power plans and other factors have hampered China's efforts to improve power generation efficiency and cut pollutant emissions, data from the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) showed.

What’s the Buzz? The 10 hottest topics in biofuels right now.

Here are 10 themes that are shaping up to be the Buzz of the conference.

SunPower, First Solar Reorganize as Prices, Demand Decline

SunPower Corp. (SPWRA) and First Solar Inc. (FSLR), the two largest U.S. solar manufacturers, will reorganize as increased competition from China drives down prices and pushes weaker companies into bankruptcy.

When should we pursue energy transition?

When is the right time to execute energy transition — from roads to rail, and from fossil fuels to renewables?

The Austerity Agenda, Part 1: Blood from a Stone

I wrote about all of this before, just recently, in my blog, “The Limits of Growth and the Coming Recession: Why Measuring Matters”, so I won’t go into great detail again here. Quickly, though, when the recession hit in 2008, oil prices had never been higher. As people lost their jobs and there was less economic activity, oil prices began to fall. As the economy began to rebound, thanks to lower energy prices and a massive injection of public money, things started to pick up again and the price of oil began to rise. The same thing will undoubtedly happen again when the next recession hits.

However, oil prices (and the price of all non-renewable energy sources) will never fall back to where they were in the mid-2000s or before, because of resource depletion. That’s what Peak Oil is all about. So, although the price of oil may fluctuate with economic output, the overall trend is towards ever-higher prices. Which in our economy will mean less economic output, and less growth, maybe even decline.

(Part 2 here, and Part 3 is here.)

David Korten: Capitalism, Democracy, and Food (Video)

Korten explains that our existing industrial agriculture system receives essential public subsidies (and tax support) that offset the real costs of energy, and food production. Without these supports, the global food system would no longer be economically viable. Who are the true beneficiaries of a food system that separates the eater from the source of their food? The large agribusiness corporations. Korten argues that both "peak oil" and climate change makes it imperative that we transition to a more localized food economy to insure continued access to adequate food supplies.

Increased use of bikes for commuting offers economic, health benefits

MADISON – Cutting out short auto trips and replacing them with mass transit and active transport would yield major health benefits, according to a study just published in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The biggest health benefit was due to replacing half of the short trips with bicycle trips during the warmest six months of the year, saving about $3.8 billion per year from avoided mortality and reduced health care costs for conditions like obesity and heart disease.

The report calculated that these measures would save an estimated $7 billion, including 1,100 lives each year from improved air quality and increased physical fitness.

A Conversation With Kevin Dooley, Sustainability Consortium Director

What's a sustainability trend that you wish would go away?

Climate change skepticism. It's frustrating that a small minority can have such negatively influence on our ability to make progress. And if you don't believe in climate change, do you also not believe in peak oil? Either way, we're in for some big changes.

UN Body Urges Europe to Omit Foreign Airlines From CO2 Curbs International airlines should be exempt from the European Union’s planned curbs on carbon-dioxide emissions, a United Nations aviation panel said in a declaration that draw together China, Russia, and the U.S.

Africa: Politics of Resource Extraction and Climate Change in Africa

Climate change is set to intensify, resulting in a rising number of conflicts around the extraction and export of Africa's natural resources to feed the industries of the historically biggest polluters in the industrialised north, writes Godwin Uyi Ojo.

The last 15 years or so has seen a steady rise in resource conflicts across Africa and this is prompting a renewed examination of the manner in which resource extraction is undertaken on the continent.

Report: Global carbon dioxide output soaring: US department of energy says greenhouse emissions rose six per cent in 2010, far more than recent worst case scenario

In 1990, developed countries produced about 60 per cent of the world's greenhouse gases, now it is probably less than 50 per cent, Reilly said.

"We really need to get the developing world because if we don't, the problem is going to be running away from us," Weaver said.

"And the problem is pretty close from running away from us."

Re: Answer not blowing in the wind, up top:

The problem is that catching its rays in a practical way requires high-tech devices, and these depend on transition elements and rare-earth minerals. They are well named indeed - most being much scarcer than oil.

No it doesn't.

The author evidently has not heard of passive solar and corn. Corn is concentrated solar energy. Neither of these require rare earth elements to use.

Why take the high tech route to solar when it isn't required?

"Oooh Shiney" Homer J Simpson

Given the estimated solar to biomass efficiency of food crops of 1-2%, it sounds like a misnomer to call corn concentrated solar energy.

Solar hot water for DHW and radiant heat?? Decidedly not high tech, requiring no rare elements.

Using solar energy for heating or hot water can easily reach efficiencies of 60%, and payback is often achieved in 5-10 years for installed equipment. PV is generally in the 12-15% range, and thus payback takes 4-5 times as long. Solar heating has been used for millenia, see the Roman heliocaminus:


Solar hot water for over a century:


Btw, photosynthesis has an efficiency in the 2-3% range, not including subtracting for fossil fuel and fertilizer use. Time to get with the program. PV is icing on the cake. Biofuels are useless. Use solar energy for heat.

Stephen Hren

Nice Blogsite, Stephen.

PV as 'Icing on the cake'.. You're not just saying that to get your spouse's goat, are you? Just kidding.. and I basically agree with the Priorities you list.

In terms of overall BTUs (Watts, Joules?) needed by each of us, I would say that the needed Electric Volume can be much smaller than all the others, especially as you point out "Low-Quality Heat" (I eat low quality heat for Lunch!), but I'd also remember that some of the uses of electricity are also extremely valuable, beyond what any other energy source could offer (ie, long distance communications & control circuitry that can help very effectively Manage other energy sources..)..

As Ever, Balance. Which even leaves a place for biofuels.. but not quite the place held today by Big Gas and Diesel, I'd say.

Life Without Electricity -- I am fascinated by the non-electric refrigeration device. Gotta have a whack at building one of those one of these days.

The only conflict I see here is that devices operating on passive solar temp cycle, i.e. living off the diurnal temperature differential, are generally bulkier than their FF/elec powered equivalents. Seems like there may be a collision between the artificial inflation of real estate, the cramming of people into smaller and smaller living spaces, "aesthetic" restrictions on home appearance etc, and the provision of amenities like heating and cooling by bulkier devices... much of the low-tech ingenuity so essential to sustainability implies having more space for the tech, and many people are living in cities where space is at a premium.

Simple examples: a sink-mounted garbage disposal is very small, uses lots of energy, and the huge infrastructure behind it is centralised and hidden. But a composting worm bin using no artificial energy takes up space and requires some minimal maintenance. A super-efficient freezer has massively thick insulation, which makes it larger for the same cf of cold-storage than a present-day wasteful reefer. A Stirling cycle engine is afaik more energy efficient than IC, but it's comparatively quite large and heavy for the HP produced. Solar preheating of hot water improves efficiency but you need significant roof area to mount it on, and it's visible and your HOA may object. It's hard to dry your laundry on a clothesline if you have nowhere to hang the clothesline outdoors with exposure to the sun. I'm sure these issues can be resolved, but there's a conflict between two definitions of "efficient" here: space/volume efficient, which usually involves pumping more energy into the problem, and energy-efficient which usually implies using a bit more space. Just like there are always at least two definitions of "efficient" when we discuss factory ag: "efficient" in minimising labour hours, and "efficient" in minimising fossil inputs; "efficient" in producing the most edible biomass from a hectare, and "efficient" in producing the maximum biomass of just one selected species from a hectare.

High-tech is energy intensive but often small, unobtrusive, and hide-able. (Except for trophy/fetish objects like SUVs and trophy homes of course!). Low-tech is energy-parsimonious but often requires space and time to spread out in. Concentration vs diffusion again.

Good points.

Many of the cumbersome changes of course simply haven't been fine-tuned to fit with our homes yet, but can be optimized. One that I'm eager to implement (when Leslie's back is turned) is some basic heat exchanger to the outdoors which can let the fridge be cooled by the winter air, instead of the compressor. This could/should also have an insulated storage component (carrying brine or antifreeze substitutes.. etc), to get you through as many warm days as possible in the various 'mud seasons', too.. and these all would be kludgy and in-the-way at first, but if successful, would start getting designed into the whole 'House System' or 'Fridge System', and start to disappear.

One of the things I appreciate about Amory Lovins is his philosophy of designing system elements so that they serve multiple functions, such as load-bearing walls that also work as thermal mass storage. But those things take time to test, rework and evolve. This philosophy allows a comprehensive design to save money on materials and effort and overall square footage needed, AND lets it be designed so all the parts are thought through together and work harmoniously, and not in direct conflict.. such as having a Heated House, and then pouring energy into COOLING the fridge/freezer inside of it.

One that I'm eager to implement (when Leslie's back is turned) is some basic heat exchanger to the outdoors which can let the fridge be cooled by the winter air, instead of the compressor.

Bad idea unless your house has excess heat that you're not paying for (eg. entirely solar heated). Your fridge is essentially a small heat pump which warms your house by cooling the inside the of the fridge. If you throw away the "heat" inside your fridge straight outdoors, you're wasting energy. Or to put it another way, every time you open the fridge door, you'll be sending heat from your house outside instead of cycling it through the compressor and back inside.

Where does the heat come from that you are pumping out of the fridge?


On balance, I doubt that the money I pay to keep that fridge running 24/7 is really worth the amount of waste heat that this appliance provides, or that the cooling of our living space from opening that door is as significant an energy loss at that of this regular compressor draw on the house power.

Of course, the more thorough solution would be to have the fridge more heavily insulated and tied to the exterior wall or placed in an Unheated (But still insulated) Closet designed into a Pantry, to make the exchange with outdoor temps more direct. Even then it would also be necessary to take the waste heat from the remaining condenser coils and let that still be provided into the living space.. until the warm season, of course, when you could vent that heat outside, and not have to air-condition against this unnecessary warming.

That venting could be a single, bidirectional venting line, which draws winter air in, in proportionally small quantities to more efficiently cool the coils and then put that fresh but pre-warmed air into the living space helping to keep Oxy levels and slight positive pressure indoors, and then after winter- to reverse or cross-connect the ducts in order to send indoor (or outdoor) air over the coils and vent that heat outside, when it's not wanted indoors.

Hi Bob,

Have you plugged your refrigerator into a power monitor to get a rough sense of how much electricity it consumes over the course of the day? You may find that it's less than you think, especially during the winter months when room temperatures are generally a bit lower. Depending upon the size, age and efficiency of your particular model, it could be as little as one kWh or less.

I understand that you heat your home with oil and that fuel oil in Maine is now selling in the range of $3.50 per gallon; assuming that your heating system is relatively efficient, this puts the cost of oil heat at about 11-cents per kWh(e). I'm guessing that you pay 16-cents per kWh for electricity (?); if so, the cost to operate your refrigerator during the winter months is effectively 5-cents per kWh, given that the waste heat generated by this appliance offsets a portion of your home's space heating demand.

Before making the leap, I'd monitor your refrigerator over a 48 hour period to get a more accurate picture of its draw, then carefully review the numbers. Fuel oil locally at 1.09 a litre is more expensive than electricity, so if I were still heating with oil I'd be more inclined to leave our refrigerator door wide open.


You talk only about the electricity turning into heat, but the electricity also drives a heat pump that fetch heat from within the fridge to keep the temperature differential constant. So, you should add the fetched heat that Jokuhl suggests he should instead vent. The question is what the efficiency is for the fridge's heat pump, i.e. how many kWh(t) does it fetch for every kWh(e) you feed it?

I don't know, but a big space-heating air-to-air heat pump may have an efficiency of 3:1, i.e. it fetch 3 kWh(t) for every kWh(e) you feed it. If the fridge heat-pump has a much worse 1:1 efficiency, then you get, compared to Jokuhls suggestion, 2 kWh(1) for every kWh(e) you feed into it and thus it will be more economic to drive the heat pump than to vent the heat.

The heat that is expelled by the refrigerator is being supplied by the room in which it is located as opposed to an external heat source, and so the only heat gain is related to the operation of the compressor and related hardware. You would be no further ahead then if you were to heat the room with a small electric rad.


That's true. But let's say the compressor heat pump efficiency is 2:1. Then, you can:

1. either vent 1 unit of heat to the outside as proposed OR
2. keep the 1 unit of heat and provide 0.5 unit of electrical energy (that is also converted to heat) to drive the compressor.

The difference is 1.5 units of heat, even though the net heating in (2) is just half a unit.

So, in this case, the strategy of venting would "lose" three units of heat for each saved unit of electricity.

You would be no further ahead then if you were to heat the room with a small electric rad.

Vs having no fridge at all in the room then no, of course not. But vs venting the fridge to the outside, you do come out further ahead.

Hi Paul;
Well, I'm just about to hook the Kill-a-watt up to it for a few weeks.. been meaning to anyhow. Good suggestion.

They're good points, but largely, my key interest (and admittedly I didn't say so above..) is in having paralleled options for any essential task, so that I have backups that get me through the day when the principal umbilicals of power get interrupted. As with PV, I think a key portion of the 'Payback' is in addition to the small, daily increments of savings you get, with the presence of available options when the 'Usual' starts getting Hiccups.. then the advantages are clear, even if the numbers are less easy to tabulate.. I also keep one of those Peltier based 12vdc Car-Coolers standing by down in the basement, and tho' the efficiency is horrendous, it would at least allow me to keep a few basics like milk and eggs going off the PV, if the grid is unavailable and the gennie plonks or goes dry..

Available Side-routes!.. (and I swear, we're working to get off the oil.. but see my other comment about overworked and putting out too many other fires..)


Hi Bob,

I use to freeze two-litre pop bottles filled with water overnight on the back steps and the following morning swap them for the ones in our refrigerator (leave the caps loose to allow for expansion). I no longer do this, but it's a simple/no-cost way to keep perishable items during the winter months in the event of an extend power cut.


If you are going to monitor it then get one of those indoor/outdoor thermometers that has a sensor on a long wire and records max/min. Check each shelf/compartment in turn. You can optimise your thermostats and energy use. Remember you need one zone in the fridge to be about 4C for meat etc. Oh, when you run the wire past the door seal make sure it doesn't make a large gap.


until the warm season, of course, when you could vent that heat outside, and not have to air-condition against this unnecessary warming.

That part makes sense. After all, who'd setup air conditioning in the summer to vent the heat into the next room? I'm surprised this isn't yet being taken into consideration for new constructions. I guess it's one of those chicken an egg problems: you (ideally) need a specialized fridge to make use of a vent in the house and you need enough houses with vents to make building such a fridge worthwhile.

But during the heating season, I still maintain that it makes no sense to let cold air into the house for your fridge unless you have a nearly free source of heat. Wood that you cut down yourself might quality as cheap enough.

Biofuels are hardly useless-I am sitting by a very cozy wood fire at this minute, looking out at the tail end of the autumn leaves thru our double glazed picture windows.

We have used less than a gallon of heating oil so far this autumn-checking out the system, and warming up the house in a hurry after being out all day when it turned cold suddenly.We won't burn over twenty five gallons all winter unless we leave the house unattended for some reason
Of course the fire would be a waste of work and energy if the wood were to be hauled all over the country like oil, but we cut our own within a quarter mile of the house.

But my woodstove will continue to burn just fine when heat pumps go off during storms.

Oldfarmermac and jokuhl,

Points taken. I'm sitting by my wood (i.e. biofuel) fire typing on my electricity-using (fortunately solar) computer responding to your comments. I'm still on the fence about whether wood is a renewable or fossil fuel. I would say it's half of each. Any opinions out there? Wood stores energy from previous decades, sometimes centuries, and can be definitely be used up in such a way until there is none left in practical terms. And electricity can power computers and other electronics - it is the smart energy medium, which is why using it for heat is akin to the quote from the oil executive I sometimes see up in the corner of the oil drum that compares burning oil to burning picassos. My main point is that there is indisputably so much that solar energy can do for us now, especially on a personal level with regards to heating things up (our homes and water esp), that we have years of work getting that done before we probably need to start worrying about biofuels and/or renewable electricity for our lives.


Wood is a renewable, sustainable fuel IF you harvest annual productivity or less. Around here (central NH), the typical 30-50 year old aggrading woodland is putting on about 2-3 cords of volume per acre per year (this declines over the years, probably ending up around 1 cord/acre/year). I burn about 3 cords per year. My woodlot is 10 acres. QED, sustainable/renewable fuel by a long shot. My woodlot could theoretically supply a number of other households into perpetuity if managed properly.

OFM had it exactly right when he said "Of course the fire would be a waste of work and energy if the wood were to be hauled all over the country like oil, but we cut our own within a quarter mile of the house."

I have always said that firewood is a great resource in some areas, for some people. It's not for everybody.

You know, the first energy crisis in the US was when Boston ran out of cheap firewood...

Out of curiosity, how much gas/oil/diesel/electricity do you use to harvest 3 cords of woods per year? Cutting, splitting, hauling, etc. can't all be by hard with no fossil fuel input?

A few gallons of gasoline for the chainsaw (a remarkable tool). Zero diesel, zero electricity. Hauling by horse, so there is hay to consider. Splitting by hand. It's against doctor's orders, but I do it anyway, because I really enjoy doing it. When I finally kick it, I sure hope it's while I'm splitting wood and not sitting in a chair entering a post in TOD. :-)

No one said there was no fossil fuel input involved. Mostly it's for felling and bucking, though I've done those tasks with 2-man crosscut saws - it's really not hard, and it's fast and quiet and doesn't stink. I was actually on a woodsman team back in the day. You just need to know how to sharpen and set a saw, and how to get into the rhythm of it.

As I've said over and over, heating with wood isn't for everyone everywhere. I choose to live where and how I can do it. For godz sake, I live in the middle of the woods. I do not in any way propose it as some sort of panacea. But it sure works for me. In fact, I just topped off the stove, and the fire is perfect for the night.

Thanks for the information. I appreciate it.

I still wonder about the sustainablity. Are soil nutrients being maintained over the long haul? Maybe the ashes need to be spread throughout the forest to recyle them? Are some nutrients lost up the smokestack? Obviously your low harvest rate means as long as the trees continue to grow, the amount of standing biomass isn't being depleted, but there may be other less obvious resources.

This is actually an issue that I have studied in quite some depth.

It turns out that the great majority of the nutrients are in the leaves and twigs and fine branches, so as long as you are not doing whole tree harvesting, it's really not a big problem.

So "traditional" logging, where you let the slash compost back to the soil, you're probably good for a 60 year rotation. Much of the mineral nutrition is actually weathering out of the soil.

This does not address issues of ecosystem maturity, biodoversity, and so forth. But simple nutrient depletion is probably not the main problem, given that you leave the slash on site.

I'm talking about New England here. Surely biogeochemical cycles are rather different in other places.

Hey Stephen,

Good to see you on here. I concur with what sgage says about wood being renewable if harvested 'sustainably', and for modest #'s of people (gee, there's that pop. issue as always!) who live amongst or near the woods. But solar thermal is better. I'm currently working on adapting Gary Reysa's $2k space & water heating system to dump solar heat via radiant tubing into our earth floor. You should come up and check it out some time.

And regarding your 60% figure for solar hot water, and RootlessAgrarian's use of the term 'solar pre-heating', I'll just offer the following. We have a ProgressivTube batch water heater (5 winters now with temps as low as 0F with no freeze problems), and we consider it to be our hot water source, not a pre-heater. Yes, now that we have an on-demand propane back-up, we do use it on occasion, but rarely, actually. And we got through one year with no back-up with minimal inconvenience. We're just now entering the time period when because of oak leaves still on and cloudy weather, we will use the propane more regularly. But in just two months time, solar will become very much primary again, and 6 weeks after that, we will be unlikely to use the propane for nearly 8 months. I figure our solar fraction for DHW is more like 90%. And between batch heaters like PT and Gary's ingenious system, you don't have to spend $5-8K on solar DHW, in fact more like $1-3k.

Dan Combs

The one I am trying to build, if only the stores would get some pipe back into stock, would have a payback of about 2 years. I am expecting to be able to use more hot water as I will not be using gas so comparing against future use rather than past gas use it will be a lot less than 2 years.


solar stored solar, wood, and electricity.--- I have been playing around with the following little chips of paper on my dining room table, trying to get them into the best arrangement:

1400 peak watts of PV, which I bought for $1050
various possible inverters of different wave forms, might, and intelligence
wood stove heat,
wood stove heat and hot water
electric VW beetle
electricity-demanding widgets of great or little effect on quality of life.
a surprisingly good stirling engine, rejected by higher powers, I found under a mouse nest in the warehouse.

So at the moment, the little chips of paper are arranged as follows:

The PV goes on top of a flat roof totally exposed to sun 190 degrees
PV is connected to a low IQ grid tie inverter that knows only when to turn on/off
The wood stove has a coil of pipe in it that supplies copious hot to the hot water tank
The circulating pump for the hot water goes on only if the stove is hot
The stirling engine sits in the shop, and runs when the shop wood stove is burning, it puts out 1kW 60 Hz 120 vac that goes straight to the grid. The engine-stove has a semi-smart-intertie sequence (me).

So, when the grid is up, all is well, and we add what we get from solar and wood, and take a lower drag from the grid.

When the grid is down, (not all that great a rarity around here) I fire up the stirling, and that output makes the PV inverter think the grid is up, and it delivers solar if there is any around to deliver.

The beetle takes its hit from wherever it can under the circumstance.

The batteries I am still thinking about. Maybe the beetle is good enough.

The house widgets get their goods from me, by way of various switches.

All this looks fun, and will keep me too busy for any childish behavior like TV, which In fact, I quit cold turkey a while back and never even think about anymore.


In the recent snowstorm that hit the northeast, I lost power for 3 days while my grid-tied PV system sat useless on the roof. Does anyone have specific knowledge about "jump starting" a system with a generator/inverter or if that is even possible? Yes I know I would need to separate my electrical system from the street so power does not flow back into the grid unexpectedly. Would I grid-tied inverter handle not being able to push power back into the grid? For example, it is trying to produce 4000 watts while the house only requires 2000 watts with no grid access. Will it just produce the 2000 or not function correctly?

Secondarily, would a grid-tied PV system work with an automatic standby generator? When one of those kicks on, it must sever the connection to the grid while still maintaining power. Would I PV system complement it once the grid was down? I'm tempted to get a standby natural gas one after this storm and Irene a few months ago.

Maybe a small panel and non-grid tied inverter. A two way switch cuts your household inlet over from the grid to the non-tied inverter. Anyone?


Others will likely have better to offer, but I'd say this much. Even without investing in batteries, I would not get a PV system without either a Grid/Off-Grid Inverter, or a second routing of the DC from the Array into a charge controller, and off to whatever size bank of batts I had been able to pull together. Some way of using that power directly, not at the whim of outside forces that can be outmaneuvered.

I suppose those three dark days must have been aggravating, with all that silicon up there just cooling its heels..?

One quick bypass you might consider is to figure out what cabling and switching you would need to simply have the option to immediately divert a couple of those panels during a blackout onto a DC line going to a small Charger/Inverter/Battery setup.. just so you have one option that is fairly quick and cheap to devise. (You do need a Charge Controller that can manage all the Amps plus a healthy margin for safety, that the panels can dish out.)

Otherwise, I'd say get the Dual-Use Inverter.. see if you can trade up.

Charge Controllers.. (Worcester, Mass Alt E Store..)

- Bob

PS>> OBLIGATORY CAUTION__ Not to forget, these panels that push out a couple hundred watts are not just 'Low Voltage Toys'.. they CAN hurt, probably kill you, they can create a lot of heat in missized wires or shorts and could start fires, and other trouble .. make sure you are clear what you're working with and how to do it safely.

Well, the solar panels were covered in snow and I wasn't very interested in climbing on my second story roof to clean them off, so I didn't miss the power very much. But for a longer term outage, it's seems pretty stupid to have 6 KW of panels on a roof sitting there worthless.

To get the PA rebate a few years ago (30% of the system's cost or so), it was required to be a grid-tied system. But eventually I will move it over to something more independent if I can.

I was probably the luckiest guy in Pennsylvania and managed to borrow a brand new generator from a friend 1/2 mile away who still had power. Had the gas furnace, fridge, hot water going plus a few lights.

sharppa -

A grid tied inverter MIUST see the grid voltage waveform to operate. The inverter is a current source, NOT a voltage source, and has to see the grid voltage to synch to before it will produce power.

If you try to fool it with a generator acting as the grid, two things could happen:
1) your cheap generator produces a "crappy" grid voltage waveform, and the inverter will not tie to it. There are pretty tight tolerances for the inverter to operate.
2) your expensive generator produces a grid quality voltage source, and the inverter turns on. This has two possible outcomes:
2a) there is exactly enough load to use all the power the inverter is putting out as well as the generator without pulling the generator voltage down or,
2b) the inverter back feeds into the generator and destroys its regulator board. Expensive (probably a replacement of whole generator) and NOT covered by warranty.

A grid tie inverter has no idea of what loads are present, it just checks to see if the grid is present, and if so, it turns on and pumps as much power as it can out.

What you want is the functionality of one the inverters on the alt-e link provided.

Question for you: were you made aware of the anti-islanding feature (required by code) of your PV system when the grid goes down by your installer before your systems was installed, or did you find this out when the grid went down?

anti-islanding feature (required by code)

Could you please explain what you mean by this?


Put simply it's for safety to prevent the inverter trying to supply the cut off section of the grid with power when the supply fails. Having power on a "dead" circuit is dangerous to the electric board workers.

Thanks, that could really spoil their day.


Thanks very much for the information.

I was well aware of the grid-tied nature of the system and that the PV would stop producing if the grid goes down. As I said in a prior note, the PA Sunshine program insisted on a grid-tie system. Maybe I could have gotten a dual use inverter but didn't pursue it at the time.

This power outage has been the first one in the 6 years of living here so it really hasn't been an issue for us. But as things go on, I think having an independent system would be a good upgrade. The inverter is only 2 years old at this time so has a lot of life left in it.

It seems to me, regardless whether Greece is dying or saved on a given day, that oil price is trying out higher levels, right up until the U.S. market opens. Then, it promptly dives when the American trader shows up. Is there a trend here? Are the European traders bidding up our oil because it looks cheap to them?

Good observation, also notice that there is backwardation in Brent i.e. long term future prices are lower than current prices indicating shortage.


Brent Jan 12 futures are trading at $109.6 vs $110.99 for spot and $110.83 for Dec 11 contract (3:06 GMT)

Secretary Chu: America Faces a Choice to “Compete in the Clean Energy Race” or “Wave the White Flag”

News reports say protesters set up camp Thursday in U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office in Washington, D.C.

An article on The Atlantic web site estimated about 10-20 protesters entered McConnell’s personal office where they were given water and chairs by McConnell’s staff.

We need to Occupy Steven Chu. Give me week's notice so I can arrange travel, and I'll be there.


Chu is not the problem. He works for Obama who has put up the white flag on global warming. No one wants to hear about global warming as Obama is positioning himself for the next election. Chu is probably doing the best he can under a cloud where the right wing has stalled every attempt to do anything about global warming or anything else for that matter. Their only accomplishment will probably be Obama's defeat in 2012.

Obama's energy policy is perhaps his greatest weakness as president. It's just warmed over Cheney. I sometimes wonder if the Solyndra scandal wasn't premeditated to discredit renewables, since their collector design was a loser from the get-go.
Jimmy Carter is the right wing's favorite whipping boy, but I wonder where we'd be today if Reagan had continued Carter's forward-looking policies regarding energy conservation and renewable production.
It's certain that a few hundred billion dollars would not have left our economy as it has over the past 25 years.

Obama knows there isn't a chance of re-election in 2012 if he goes for major renewable and climate change programs in his first term, especially with the economy being what it is. Any major push for green energy and environmental initiatives was always a second term sleeper card. I'm not sure what folks expected during a first term considering the current political and economic situation. Even the half-baked programs he's tried are backfiring. Carter tried to do it all in his first term in a similar environment, with predictable results.

Best hopes for a lame duck, all-out push for things that make sense.

[decides not to hold breath]

I wouldn't get near Cain, Perry or the big R, the others haven't much of a chance. That's why Obama may pull a Harry Truman.

Surely by now it should be apparent that it doesn't matter much who wins this time, any more than it mattered who won last time. It's time to recognize that these people never seem to do the things we think they should and could do, because those assumptions are false. They cannot do these things because the system is not capable of it, and neither are they. They are simply the kind of person the system attracts, and have less power within the system than people assume. It has become a circus, a distraction to keep the masses from noticing that the priests cannot bring the rains, cannot bring the big harvests. There are no answers there.

Yes I agree. Life is too short to waste on clowns.

I think you're right, Ghung.

If we have some sort of Fukushima here, or a '9/11 of Climate Events'.. a true mind-bending catastrophe, then he'd get the political backing from the populace to pursue what He and We and a few others know must be done.. but until and unless that happens, the Prevailing Illusion still rules, and all he can do is allude to it in thin platitudes.

I agree, but even if O Bama wins, I doubt he will be able to do much.

A year or so ago, I often posted my opinion that our only real hope of effective action depends on our suffering a "Pearl Harbor " type of wake up event related to climate and energy.Such an event might need to happen a couple of times or more in order to get our attention, and it would have to be severe enough to really shake us up, but not so severe as to destroy our ability to mount a vigorous long term response.

I don't know who first used the term "Pearl Harbor " this way, but it is ideally suited to the usage, due to the righteous connotations and urge to fight associated with it in our collective national identity.

Please accept my apologies in advance to any of our friends and allies the Japanese who may feel offended..In my (well informed) opinion, the vast mass of the Japanese people no more wanted a war than we did;they were suckered into it by circumstances and scumbag politicians.

Probably the very best thing that could happen to us, short term, would be that some small group of hot headed soldiers or airmen would be able to get hold of the right munitions and sink a couple of oil tankers at the worst (best for our purposes) possible spot, in terms of blocking ship movements near the middle eastern oil fields.

If that were to be followed by a Texas type drought on either the East or West coast, we might just open our eyes wide enough to come to our senses-but knowing how politics work, we would probably pull a Mr Magoo and draw entirely inappropriate conclusions.

Incidentally, there might have been a drought of that magnitude in the mid Atlantic area during the early colonial era.Recent archeological research indicates that the James River was so low during the winter they starved that the Jamestown settlers were drinking well water laced with enough salt to poison them.

OTOH, by definition a "Pearl Harbor" would be something well off the charts. If research has turned up that severe a drought on the James River, then it is on the charts and needs to be taken into account even before one considers climate change.

Also, I still tend to figure that with only 120 or so years of real weather records (as opposed to highly subjective hearsay and downright mythology), we probably don't have an overly good clue about the range of possibilities. If that sort of drought is confirmed, it would only strengthen that impression - there was the recent drought in Georgia but further northward, from, say Chesapeake bay onwards, I doubt that much of anybody along the East Coast is seriously considering, much less planning for, such a severe occurrence.

There is no doubt about that Jamestown drought having happened, but the geographical extent of it is to my limited knowledge unknown. My point is that we do know such droughts are possible, as evidenced by thirties in the midwest and the deep southwest today.

If one as bad as the one in Texas were to hit the mid Atlantic or the northeast today, it would be a pretty good wakeup call.Hundreds to thousands of localities large and small would be without industrial water and even drinking water in less than a year.

You are dead on in respect to our database of weather records being inadequate to compute accurately the odds of long term weather patterns such as extended periods of drought.

But there are plenty of fairly decent historical records indicating that such weather patterns are normal occurrences and to be expected at unknown intervals.

Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon has two insightful posts on this:

How extraordinary was 2011?

Connections with weather patterns, global warming?

The last post is very in depth and a real goldmine.. Other posts on his blog are worth reading as well.

At some point people do clue in to the fact that there is a big problem that requires sacrifice and telling the truth will work. In Canada our federal government developed a serious deficit/debt problem in the 70's and early 80's.. Subsequent governments tried to deal with the problem without creating a lot of hardship through moderate tax increases, and trying to control the rate at which spending increased. However, the core of the problem remained until the politicians sensed that the public were identifying this as a serious problem. They were then able to push through the spending cuts and tax increases required to eliminate the deficit and start paying down the debt.

What people in the US are seeing now is that stimulus spending hasn't fixed the economy, so why should they believe that additional stimulus spending promoted by the Democrats will work any better. Most of us in this forum would also agree that the Republican plan to cut taxes on the wealthy isn't going to fix the economy either. Perhaps the majority of Americans are now ready to be told the truth -- that the days of high economic growth are not likely to come back and moving forward is going to require a lot of changes and sacrifice.

Hindsight is an amazing thing. It's clear America's problems have been developing for over 30 years now. But everybody's approach was "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil." There were too many fiat dollars to be made, too many new frontiers for the corporations. Global financial capitalism was going to reign supreme at the "end of history" and a new 1000 year utopia would be born. The energy and money would flow like manna, and the only important decisions people would ever have to make would be which vacation home to buy and which country to visit once they retired.

Anybody who dared mention the holes in all of this, no matter how small, was ostracized. For 3 whole decades! They were called negative, cynical, un-American, pessimistic. They were labeled as miscreants and goldbugs.

But a funny thing happened on the way to paradise. The oil stopped flowing. The credit dried up. The internet, a very product of this brave new world, enabled people to get information on their own, and to see through all of the lies. That's the thing about creation; we've been through a very creative period, but what you create might just turn out to be a beast that turns around and devours you alive.

There's no putting the genie back in the bottle now. The Malthusians and doomers, the goldbugs and environmentalists, whatever name you want to give to the people who saw the charade for what it was, were right all along.

"But everybody's approach was "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil."

No. Not everybody. Many, many people have been seeing this whole damned thing coming down for a long long time - decades, in fact. But so what? It's a Juggernaut, it's going to happen, it's going to play itself out. You can throw yourself in its path and be crushed, or you can jump aside and try to carve yourself out a niche.

Every single time there's been an environmental or economical crisis, the cry is "nobody saw it coming, nobody warned us, who knew?". Every single time. this is the song. Well, this is total, utter bullshit. There were always voices pointing out the inevitability.

But people can't seem to bring themselves to believe that they've been lied to and manipulated all their lives, over and over, and so we will just eat the planet.

Seriously people, wake up. BAU is off the menu.

BAU is off the menu.

Not really, it's still on the menu. However it's like going to a very exclusive upscale restaurant where the prices for the entrees are not listed. If you have to ask what it costs, you probably can't afford it. That's the main reason for the OWS crowd referring to themselves as the 99%...

In my opinion, it is not any government's problem, unless there are laws in place that forbid a citizen from being able to choose and use alternatives.

As far as I am aware, the US gov't allows people to install PV, use solar hot water systems, drive EV or hybrid, or walk, train, bike, etc.

I think the problem is most people want a hand out, and it's not coming anytime soon.

Sometimes doing 'the right things' take personal sacrifice: time, money, hardship.

It is also my opinion that most people are not willing to voluntarily take time, pay more money, or endure more hardship.

Or to put it another way, People are overwhelmed, overworked, poorly informed and self-medicating like crazy, just to keep from freaking out completely..

Stuff like this, unless it's made 'Baby Simple' (which of course it's not) and just 'Stupid Cheap' is often just too much for most people to put that much attention onto.

Every time it's mentioned, 'Cost and Payback' are the first things getting discussed, topics that will clearly scare most people right out of the room.. while the thought of figuring out the 'Payback' for their Phone Bill, Cable, Electric or Gas Expenses is undiscussable (since there is clearly NO payback whatsoever for them..) but it kills the prospect of Renewable Energy in its tracks. Ach Mensch!

Or to put it another way, People are overwhelmed, overworked, poorly informed and self-medicating like crazy, just to keep from freaking out completely..

Ain't that the truth!

I just had an interesting conversation with the lady weighing the metals I was delivering to my buyer a couple days ago...

She and her spouse had just acquired a new puppy, their third dog. Turned out the puppy was heart worm positive.
They decided to go for a $1500 treatment (no guarantees it would work) for which they didn't have the money. She told me flat out and I quote:

"We just did what every other American would do in a case like this, maxed out one more of our credit cards!"

Tennessee Ernie Ford - Sixteen Tons

Then she told me about spending $480 for a single tire for her car, I just raised an eyebrow and changed the topic to the weather.

We've created such perfect little hermetic bubbles to live in, that we can adorn with whatever worldviews are available at the Art Mart sales.. these pet operations just make me dizzy when I think about the debt people blindly adopt along with their rescue pooches..

Be interesting to see how many ditch the big banks today.. but watch out tomorrow, in case there are unpredicted levee breaches as a result.

Got Peanut Butter?

Got Peanut Butter?

Funny you should ask... I stocked up yesterday, I understand the price of peanut butter is going up!
I had another interesting conversation in the supermarket with a young couple in the aisle also stocking up on peanut butter. It turns out that to them it is a major part of their diet... They were acutely aware that the price will soon be going up.

As times goes by I seem to have less and less patience with the morbidly rich... yesterday I was at an old friend of mine's auto repair shop and a customer of his who had asked him to do some work on a vintage MG was balking at the repair bill, He had come with his son in a $500,000 Bentley to pick it up and was accusing my friend of ripping him off.

I just stood by the door, next to a very large crowbar which was leaning against the wall, until they decided to pay up... they finally changed their tune and paid!

There is much we can accomplish as individuals, but much more can be done if society as a whole is working towards a common goal.

The second WW is a good example of Americans coming together to work towards a common goal. The US was a deeply divided nation on Dec 6, 1941 with roughly half of Americans wanting no involvement in the war in Europe and the other half wishing to provide more support to England and her allies. This all changed after the attack on Pearl Harbour -- neutrality was no longer a viable option and almost all Americans were united behind the goal of defeating Japan and Germany regardless of the sacrifice required.

We are not likely to experience anything as dramatic as the attack on Pearl Harbour, but over time more and more people are going to realize that the life we had is not sustainable. Once enough people became aware that the existing system needs to be radically changed I am convinced that they will be willing to make sacrifices to create a better future than would otherwise happen.

The key factor to watch is the percentage of Americans who do not believe that either political party has a solution to the problems of the nation. These are people who understand that something is wrong with the system and that no one in power knows how to fix it. They likely don't understand what is wrong or how to fix it, but they will at least be open to listening to other ideas. From this a new consensus will develop. Whether one of the existing parties latches onto it, or a new political party is created remains to be seen.

In America, we do not have a society. The Republican project seems to have won - we are all "individuals" now. This country is incapable of planning, incapable of collective action, and does everything it can to destroy any possibility of these things going forward.

I think a lot depends on people's life experience.

A 60yo Baby Boomer who has been getting richer for the last 40+ years usually does not want to accept the idea that BAU cannot continue under any possible circumstances. It just doesn't fit their worldview on a gut level. The only way to convince them trouble is coming is to present it as a problem of bad choices from here on out. They need the raw possibility for BAU to continue, even if they already understand that the solution is only theoretical and won't practically happen. It's the only way to fit your doom & gloom argument into their existing worldview.

But talk to a 30yo guy who has lived to see his own standard of living falling ever since he started working. It's a totally different story. It's MUCH easier to convince this person that there is no possible way for BAU to continue and we will lose our standard of living no matter which path we take from here. He's been living it and he emotionally knows it's real.

Yes, but perhaps the experience of the small-town American is not that relevant or representative after all? Globally, per-capita GDP levels keep increasing and the average standard of living is improving. Poorer countries are catching up fast, partly due to their own stellar growth and partly because of financial crises in rich nations.

What I'm saying applies more to the USA than anywhere else. Many poorer countries' lifestyles could still be improving for a while longer because the leveling effect of globalization still has momentum right now. However the energy/resource peaks will ultimately hurt them too. When the money dries up it's always the rich who hold onto a larger portion of it than the middle and poor. Declining economic conditions are always great for worsening the split between the super-rich and the rest. In this case the "super-rich" is countries like the USA.

There is also the factor of what people are competing for. Raising the standard of living of the 3rd world calls for a somewhat different set of resources than raising it in places like the USA. It's a lot cheaper to pull people off the very bottom of the "standard of living" chart than to push them higher at the top.

"As far as I am aware, the US gov't allows people to install PV, use solar hot water systems, drive EV or hybrid, or walk, train, bike, etc."

The US government, yes. But the States and local governments, through zoning rules and the building code, make it a it a lot harder.

And we won't even discuss those idiot home-owners associations.

not to mention you don't need home owners associations to even run into trouble. just one or two pissed off neighbors and you will find yourself on the wrong end of a civil lawsuit.

True up to a point, but it's often not the US gov't affecting some of these things, it's the state or local gov't. Even worse are the homeowner associations, which, unlike "real" gov't, are allowed to act capriciously and arbitrarily with almost no checks-and-balances whatever.

So, for example, throughout the states of the Eastern Seaboard - some of which harbor the loudest mouths on "green" issues outside of California - one still finds a tremendous abundance of streets and roads with 10-foot lanes and heavy traffic. And one finds lots of rivers, with the bridges across them carrying heavy traffic, offering zero tolerance for walkers or bikers - no paths or walks, and, often, again, 10-foot driving lanes. That's a state or local gov't issue*; irrespective of whether one feels that walking or biking are good or bad, it's not up to any individual. And don't get me started again on the "Commonwealth" (yes, I've actually heard people refer to it as "the Commonwealth" in casual conversation) of Pennsylvania, which, outside of downtown cores, festoons almost every crosswalk at almost every intersection that's signalized, as well as many others, even on lightly used roads, with "No Pedestrian" signs - it's a $200 fine to try to walk almost anywhere at all, even, say, to a bus stop that's across the street.

And almost everywhere, especially in newer housing, the homeowners association will come down like a ton of bricks if anybody so much as thinks about solar panels (or a garden for that matter.) That too is not up to any individual. It is also not limited to the USA; in many areas of England, the local councils ("real" gov't) make a major fetish of outlawing absolutely any change, no matter how minor, in the appearance of any building - even when, say, one seeks to remove a small ugly 1950s addition that is essentially defacing an otherwise lovely Victorian house. Remember, "property values" are king, plus we must always kowtow to the crackpots who demand that the entire world must be "preserved" in amber for all of time precisely as it was on the day they attained age seventeen, ugly 1950s additions and all.
*in the New York area, it may also be a Port Authority issue - that being, by design, one of the most insufferably arrogant and utterly unresponsive bureaucracies ever to disgrace the face of this earth. Hence, for example, the very existence of the otherwise inexplicable Tappan Zee Bridge - "The Port Authority promised its bondholders that it would not allow any other entity to construct a river crossing within its jurisdiction...", so Gov. Dewey and the Thruway Authority built it where they could rather than where it might have made sense.

And don't get me started again on the "Commonwealth" (yes, I've actually heard people refer to it as "the Commonwealth" in casual conversation) of Pennsylvania, which, outside of downtown cores, festoons almost every crosswalk at almost every intersection that's signalized, as well as many others, even on lightly used roads, with "No Pedestrian" signs - it's a $200 fine to try to walk almost anywhere at all, even, say, to a bus stop that's across the street.

that's it, were doomed if people think it's okay to outlaw walking..

Friend of mine lived in such an HOA. When she began a small garden, the HOA President asked incredulously during one conversation over it, "What's more important, your kids' future or our property values?" She sold, bought some land and started her own organic farm.

My point is that as onerous as HOA's can be, those who live there have made a choice. Just like the movement to remove your money from the TBTF banks, one can remove one's support from the HOA system as well, and it will fall apart. An idealistic view, I know, but sometimes I can't help it.

It looks like the whole employment picture might be getting a small break from birth rates.


Notice that there is a dip down in the number of live births during the 1990s. These early nineties kids are now finishing school and competing for jobs with the seniors who can't afford to retire. In a few short years, this trend swings back the other way. And, this growing group of youths will want their own apartment, 60" flat screen TV, and car.

Just eyeballing the numbers, it looks like the kids currently in middle school (junior high) represent the return to growth. I would not want to be a 7th grader right now. Your job prospects will be even tougher. Luckily, my oldest kiddo is in 5th grade right now. Everything should be resolved by then.

eastie - That goes along with the stat I saw a while back: there are 130,000 new folks coming to the job market every month. So when the say we created 100,000 jobs last month it means there are no jobs for at least 30,000 of those new grads. Or put another way we need to create around 1.5 million jobs each year just to keep unemployment at current levels. Of course, folks die/retire. So there's one hope for the next generation: mass suicide of us old farts.

A significant method of keeping unemployment from getting even higher is people dropping out of the job market. Of course, just because you have a job doesn't mean you have a living wage.

I think demographics are very interesting. The original baby boomers are now in a life struggle to hold on to what they've got. Going forward, they are not going to provide growth in consumer spending. They don't even need everything they've got now. And, with the 20 somethings under employed, that cuts out a lot of potential frivolous buying.

"Life struggle to hold on"--it's the first time since the 30's that poverty rates for the elderly are increasing, and it only looks to get worse. The last generation to have retirement is leaving, for the rest, to quote another, it's not in my contract.

Rockman, 80,000 jobs added in the NFP today, but 103,000 jobs came from the statistical birth death model. So real tangible job creation is actually -23,000. Statistically added jobs (ie. made up) account for 42% of the supposed jobs created in 2011. So the situation is even worse than you think.

"Everything should be resolved by then."

Tongue in cheek? I guess everything could be resolved but not necessarily in a good way. Best hopes for a future will little hope.

I don't want to marginalize, and I do think you point out the important link between evolving demographics and the economy, but US job availability is already impacted more by outsourcing the workforce to developing nations than by local demographics today, and if BAU is able to continue - well then it just gets worse.

That said, if localization takes off your kids (and mine) will be way better off.

With all due respect, this is all noise.

Births are still much too high, and deaths are still much too low. Something has to give, and in a very big way, not just a change of percent here or there.

Look at the incredible numbers of people being born, all the way up until 2007. Perhaps the recession changed this some, who knows.

And why do you think there's any demographic or generational difference between a 5th and 7th grader? For heaven's sake, this is 2 years. Absolutely no difference at all. I can't tell if you are serious about this.

No, of course I wasn't serious, I just get too lazy to add sarcasm tags where needed. This data just looked like one of those nuanced tidbits that help explain the balancing act that keeps us, temporarily, on the plateau.

Births are still much too high, and deaths are still much too low. Something has to give, and in a very big way, not just a change of percent here or there.

It doesn't seem so. Things are improving all the time.

For heaven's sake, this is 2 years. Absolutely no difference at all.

During 2000-2010, Pakistan's total fertility rates dropped 0.1% every year, from 4.5 to 3.4 children per woman. The drop was even faster in the 90-ies. Two years can make a big difference. It did in the 60-ies in the US as well.

Algeria in 1980: 6.9 children/woman. Algeria in 2000: 2.6 children per woman. It just takes a generation. Iran was just as fast.

Two articles from todays Drumbeat:

"Report: Global carbon dioxide output soaring"

"UN Body Urges Europe to Omit Foreign Airlines From CO2 Curbs"

Good to see world leaders working so hard at solving the problems of the future

One can only hope the EU stays firm on the inclusion of Airlines into the CO2 cap and trade.

Slow food, slow driving, slow biking, slow walking. Bring back the sailing ships and do away with the airlines.

What about Zeppelins instead of planes?

The first airlines used lighter-than-air, rigid body balloons and I see no reason why there can't be a renaissance.
Hydrogen fuel, unmanned, solar panels on top, electrical motors.

It's like the sailing ships of the air, slow air travel is possible and sensible.

I think the problem with Zeppelins is weather, at least for transatlantic routes. And it does seem like the weather is getting worse.

Maybe it's just me, but I do not remember plane flights being as exciting back in the '70s as they are today. Those A320s sure seem to get knocked around a lot on the New York to L.A. run (which I make more often than I would like due to an elderly father who refused to move.)

I would rather make that run by dirigible, go only once a year instead of three or four times, and stay for a month. Maybe if you had really good weather reports, there would be a way to make transcontinental routes work. But what do you do if you have to put down in the plains states during an event like the Joplin tornadoes? I was on an A320 the day after that, watching the Weather Channel on the seat-back flatscreen as we got our ass kicked, and felt like the flight really should have been canceled. There was no clear north-south route across the U.S. It was really wild even at 35,000 feet-- and Zeppelins can only go to about 6,000, I think. Where could we have parked a Zeppelin safely on a day like that?

Bring back the sailing ships

You mean something like this?

Sailing ships will probably be back in some form, although one hears much less of these kind of things in 2011 than one did in 2008.

Sailing ships will probably be back in some form, although one hears much less of these kind of things in 2011 than one did in 2008.

Here is an October 2010 Business Insider article:
The Shipping Glut Is So Bad Globally That Ships Are Now Sailing Slower Than 19th Century Clippers Just To Keep Busy

Mighty container ships are now steaming so slowly to save money that they take longer to cross the oceans than sailing ships of 150 years ago.

apmon, to save fuel cost the ships are sailing slower.

Best hopes for a future with energy-saving sails on the ships.

Sail transport is indeed "baaa-aack in some form...", at least in the Puget Sound area in a community volunteer model! We recently met with the Coast Guard's Chief Inspector, to explain what the h*** we're doing and confirm regulations and compliance. I am cautiously optimistic we can make a go of it over time, and as a bonus, it's been a challenge working out the model and a pleasure meeting very cool people. I'm attending the November 12th Fall Gathering for Sustainable Communities ALL Over Puget Sound (SCALLOPS) to share lessons learned.

I crewed on our Halloween pickup: with 30-knot winds from the south, in a Catalina 34' aptly named Soliton, we literally flew up from Ballard to Port Ludlow in record 4.5 hour time, but alas, then hit the doldrums on the way home: over 12 hours. We have one last special Thanksgiving CSA delivery for 11/20 before taking winter break, so if you have friends or family in Seattle who want to support the development of community sail transport, point 'em our way! Thanks.

Salish Sea Trading Cooperative, a Ballard non-profit, relies on wind and tide to transport locally produced goods around Puget Sound by sailboat. Our goals are to conserve precious energy resources and re-introduce the idea of sail as everyday transport while building resiliency into our local foodshed. And have fun along the way!

P.S. You'll be able to view a photo essay about our adventures in YES! magazine soon.

Hi Sustainable,

I happen to have met a really nice lady a couple months ago. She is a very experienced sailor and has cruised the world. She hails from Seattle and knows Ballard well. She drove from Seattle to Fort Lauderdale a few months ago to look for a job as a crew member in the sailboat cruising industry which is how I met her.

She was actually on a 60 ft catamaran bringing it down to South Florida from Massachusetts as recently as a week and a half ago when she got notice that her elderly father was in the hospital so she has flown back to Seattle and is there right now.

I did send her a link to your site but I don't think the timing is too good for her right now,and she is more concerned with being with her family as is to be expected in such circumstances, such is life...

BTW if for any reason she decides to move back to Seattle permanently, you heard it here first, I might be willing to up my own sailing skills and spend some time exploring the Pacific North West, nothing like being 58 years old and still being young enough at heart to have a massive crush on a lady >;^)

BTW, that's assuming you don't age discriminate, for the record I still solo scuba dive off my kayak and load and unload a few tons of metal onto and off of our trucks by hand on a daily basis.

Cheers! And keep up the the great work!


"Report: Global carbon dioxide output soaring"

"UN Body Urges Europe to Omit Foreign Airlines From CO2 Curbs"

It's sort of like food that has no disclosure regarding fat and calorie content. You're safe to eat it without concern for gaining weight. You see, we all just need the right ways to fool ourselves.

Conventional oil extraction plateaus but non-conventional is still being ramped up, so why worry?

We are now at this point in the ascent of civilization in which we are able to fool geology and mother nature simultaneously. It's all coming together for us nice and neat and tidy.

Blub, blub, blub, hey throw me a...

Find out true reactor conditions

Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced Wednesday that there is the possibility that criticality, a sustained nuclear chain reaction, had occurred "temporarily" and "locally" in the No. 2 reactor of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. It detected radioactive xenon-133 and xenon-135, products of uranium or plutonium fission, in gases collected Tuesday from the reactor.

...The fact that Tepco cannot deny the possibility of criticality irrespective of its scale is a grave situation. The conditions are similar in the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 reactors. It is thought that nuclear fuel in them melted and has collected in the bottom of both the pressure and containment vessels.

...It wasn't till after 7 a.m. Wednesday that NISA reported the criticality incident to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. NISA clearly lacked the ability to make a correct judgment in this matter.

The Japan Times is supposedly "well-connected" to government circles and I think they correctly understand that TEPCO doesn't have the situation under control.

The dangers associated with nuclear power failures certainly have the potential to make themselves known, in spite of the obvious strategy of attempting to keep this thing hidden. I wonder if they've considered that potential flaw in the plan?

Although we may never know the truth one story goes that TEPCO advised the evacuation as far south as and possibly including Tokyo around 15th March. That was unacceptable.

The future health of the residents of Fukushima city in particular will answer a lot of questions over the next few years as it seems they got hit really badly and were never evacuated during the time of peak air concentration. The fact that Japan (with the help of the USA) seems to want to keep their peak plutonium, uranium etc air concentrations "dark" does not inspire confidence. It would be relatively easy to plug these values into known risk models to get upper and lower bounds for projected damage.

I've seen some calculations based on what limited information is available which suggests that most of the population of Fukushima City are the walking dead while others say the opposite. I've been following back some source plutonium exposure studies to see if I can match anything up with these previous published studies. Trouble is without the official data (or their best estimate) you can be out by many orders of magnitude.

If it's really not that bad then all they have to do is release their data. The fact it is withheld is monumentally stupid if they have nothing to hide.

How big an explosion and/or release could we still get? The "answers" seem to vary from "worse than to date" to "don't even think about it." Fingers crossed.

What flaw?

I predict this scenario:

Maybe a few TEPCO executives will resign. The rest will continue to draw salaries up until bankruptcy is declared. (The 1% will make out fine.)

The people of Japan, if the gov't feels liable, or is legally made liable, will pay out money from the gov't...
which comes from tax money...
...from the citizens themselves.

- or -

TEPCO still goes bankrupt, and the gov't isn't found liable, and does not pay out any compensation (agent orange for US veterans went this way for quite a while, if I remember correctly)

Win/win for the 1%, lose/lose for everyone else.

BAU, unfortunately.

Even if you take it out of TEPCO, it has to come from the stockholders (probably retirement funds mainly), and the ratepayers. So even then its mostly out of the hides of the 99% (although in this scenario maybe the 1% don't get so much).

This is the evil genius of capitalism, no?

Get people totally complicit in their own degradation.

Bank dumping days begin

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Customers are dumping their banks in droves ahead of the nationwide "Move Your Money" and "Bank Transfer Day" movements this Saturday...

...At least 650,000 consumers have already joined credit unions since Sept. 29, the day Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) announced plans to impose its controversial $5 debit card fee, according to a nationwide survey of credit unions by the Credit Union National Association. That amounts to $4.5 billion in new savings accounts, CUNA said...

This Is The Only Way To Change The System

Others are deluded into thinking they can change the system in the voting booth… and with one year to go until the 2012 showdown, there are certainly a lot of people pinning their hopes on this idea. Most forget how surprised they are when, in election after election, their guy turns out to be just as bad as the old guy. George Carlin once said, “When I hear a person talking about political solutions, I know I am not listening to a serious person.” He was right. Politics creates problems, not solutions. Truthfully, elections are simply clever parlor tricks anyhow, designed to make people think they are in control. They’re not. The only thing we can actually control is what we do ourselves. Governments are like primitive cannibals feasting on a great treasure trove of sheeple. You can’t force them out, and you can’t vote them out. But you can sure as hell starve them out. When enough people pick up and leave, essentially voting with their feet, it accelerates the system crash. This is the only way to truly change the system.

Where would you go? After everything is said and done, for most people US, Canada, Australia and Scandinavia are the best places in the world to live when you look at the ratio of resources to population, political and social stability, potential impact of climate change, etc.

Simon Black, the author of this article, advocates (though not in this article) moving to Chile. He has a newsletter business selling $350/year subscriptions and is also involved in selling plots of land in some eco-village in Chile. I would be careful taking advice from a person who has a financial interest in giving it. Read this: http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=16683.0

I offer no opinion of my own regarding Simon Black and the above link is something I found after 1 minute of googling.

I am increasingly convinced that the PTB are in the end-stage of the life cycle of elites, i.e. utterly disconnected from reality and living in a fantasy of absolute control, divine mandate, what-have-you. Neronic, in other words. Some kind of civcrash approaching -- some major paradigm change and dislocation anyway.

Their current state of corruption and immunity to fact implies that they can't really be negotiated with, because they're no longer in the reality-based community :-) nor do they ever negotiate in good faith. Even when they seem to back allegedly more beneficial energy technologies, it turns out to be some kind of pseudo-clever scam to defraud the taxpayer or discredit the technology or both (win-win-win!).

They also have most of the guns and almost all the money. So direct confrontation doesn't seem like a winner.

I'm leaning towards those who advocate quietly constructing parallel structures which we can fall back on when the PTB eventually, inevitably fail to maintain their tottering, patched-up system -- a "shadow" economy, local food networks, local community democracy, etc. This isn't necessarily *enough* to guarantee a soft landing, but it seems like a more practical place to invest our effort than tilting at heavily armed and increasingly insane windmills...

Here is another expression of this idea of building a shadow economy. The "informal economy" is another trope to follow. The Greeks for example are managing to keep society going by increasing the role of local barter.

When I get where I'm going -- the place where I hope to dig in and "make my stand" as the ride gets bumpier, the people I hope are worth facing hard times with -- my earnest wish is to start humbly discovering, eagerly joining, and if possible gently encouraging this sort of community barter/food/trade network. It may be our last best hope. I feel I'm somehow disappointing or abandoning my many comrades from many political battles over the decades -- many of whom are still out there getting arrested and tear gassed and making demands and trying to shame professional politicians into showing any shred of decency -- jeez I admire their courage and I do feel like a coward -- but I have dropped out of the confrontation/revolution business. I think our kings and their high priests and generals are going to shoot themselves in both feet without any help from us peasants; our business now is to try to protect ourselves, and as much of the rest of the biotic community as we can, from the falling rubble of their air-castles. A very humble mission, and yet perhaps the most ambitious and challenging one of all? 'Cos it means changing ourselves, as well as "the world". The toughest task ahead of me is to lower my own expectations and accept without too much rancour a smaller, more local, more parsimonious, less materially abundant future than I was raised all my life to expect.

I say this with a little irony/bitterness because as we prepare to head for the out-islands, part of the process has been -- argh -- *shopping* for the required tools and equipment to do the small-scale homesteading and partial subsistence activity that the new life will require. The contradictions are painful -- funny, but kind of painful.

I have similar plans but may be starting too late (can't buy land for a few more years).

Anyway, that last part, about shopping for the tools. Don't fret it. Resilient communities are built from the trappings of what once was. Right? We're past the point of introspection on the irony of getting a bank loan to buy land or build a PassivHaus if we're past the point of turning it all around.

My partner, who has Buddhist leanings, wonders about the karmic burden of purchasing/owning slave-labour Chinese tools... yet for economy's sake we find ourselves buying "the cheap stuff" when we can. The System Works. Its rules are written into our brains early and often.

RootlessAgrarian, the route you expound ("quietly constructing parallel structures") is certainly the one I've chosen. Cutting dependencies on the System wherever and whenever possible, whilst feeling a way forward towards a new way of living.

The contradictions are certainly there as you say. To breakaway we have to depend upon the System for the things we need to do so. But not being driven by ideology allows for flexibility and adaption to circumstances. Use what's currently available while it's available to put as much in place as possible and make things easier for the future.

Others are deluded into thinking they can change the system in the voting booth…

I agree voting with the current system does not work. However, if people voted on policies instead of politicians (that are swayed by lobbyists) then we might have a democracy.

For example, let's say we all vote on what the max. percentage of tax revenue that can be used for the military. The choices are 5%, 10% & 15% along with explanations as to what the will support. Then we vote on a percentage for education, healthcare.

We might have a policy for the public option in healthcare and we vote on that. I could really get into voting for or against particular policies. Why not set it up on the internet. This week people are voting on whether we should invade such and such a country, yes or no?

Should marijuana be legalized: Yes or no.

There could be 100-150 policy votes a year. That way the populace really are in control of what happens to our country.

Right now though its a just a good ol boy system of greed pushing policy.

These folks must be dedicated, given how hard it's become to change banks, even if there's a basically stable one nearby.

Switch allows any state selection

"Customers frustrated by banks' controversial new fees are finding out what industry insiders have known for years: It is not so easy to disentangle your life from your bank.

The Internet banking services that have been sold to customers as conveniences, like online bill paying, also serve as powerful tethers that keep customers from jumping to another institution.....

There's evidence that fewer consumers are switching, with 7 percent of them estimated to be moving their primary account to a different bank in 2011, down from 12 percent last year, according to surveys by Javelin Strategy and Research."


Internet bill paying is seen to add up to $164 per customer per year for the bank, and usually hurts local employment. Given some studies showing up to 40 bills paid online/household, and each requiring a switch when changing banks, it must be daunting.

Many credit unions also offer online pay, and automated payment solutions.

YMMV, but it may be worth researching, then switching away from a bank you feel is overcharging with fees.

Should Bank Account Numbers Be Portable?

Consumer activists are pushing bank regulators to allow people to take their account numbers with them when they switch banks. The change would make bank accounts like cellphone numbers, which wireless carriers must allow consumers to keep when they switch to another carrier.

Huge support for this.

Haven't you ever cancelled a breached credit card to get another one with a completely different number? When you start a new checking account with a new number it's like starting the clock over again against fraud.

Unlike telephone numbers, bank account numbers are not unique. While this causes significant headaches during bank mergers, banks attempt change as few accounts from the acquired institution as possible.

The length and format of account numbers also differs from bank to bank, and IIRC can include some non-numeric delimiters.

The Routing and Transit number of 8 digits plus a check digit is uniquely assigned to a specific bank by the Federal Reserve. Making the RT+account portable would be a significant change to a whole variety of payment processing systems. For example, all systems in a bank would have to be able to accommodate the maximum length account numbers, while systems today may only accommodate shorter account numbers when processing the bank's own accounts.

I switched 2 years ago, from wells Fargo to my local credit union. It was much easier than I thought.
I was paying far too much for small overdrafts, like $20 over, in two steps and getting charged $10 per automatic overdraft to stop the check bouncing. When they sent me a letter telling me of a credit card interest increase to 20% apr, "due to the financial crisis", on a card with nothing on it for a few years, I took the hint and left.
I think this has saved me about $30/ month in overdraft fees, and ATM nickel and diming. The credit union (a non profit) doesn't prey on my in attention.
Bottom line, it's easy to change banks, find a good credit union, check it's FDIC insured and stop getting screwed.

Bring in the clowns...

The sods must be crazy: OLPC to drop tablets from helicopters to isolated villages

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has devised a bizarre plan for deploying its new XO-3 tablet. The organization plans to drop the touchscreen computers from helicopters near remote villages in developing countries. The devices will then be abandoned and left for the villagers to find, distribute, support, and use on their own.

And here, truth is stranger than fiction. "The Gods must be crazy." Imagine, living in a rural village w/o electrical power, when, suddenly (and unexpectedly) a laptop computer - an XO-3 no less! - drops out of the sky. You grab one (there are many), and call your neighbors to come pick up the rest of them. You check it out... Then you and your friends use it for its only obvious purpose... You use it to dig a ditch connecting a nearby river to your irrigation trenches.

Thanks OLPC! I needed the laugh.


"The Gods must be crazy."


Better would be to have some Peace Corps personnel go, in person, from village to village and help them. The OLPC computers could be distributed as part of their effort, to those children that want them.

actually, they know how to use them.

most places where they are deployed have cell phones, so folks know to turn it on and go

some folks call cell phone / laptop / tablet use in the developing world a literal "revolution"

btw, kenyans tweet the 'villes in somalia when they're going to bomb the terrorist strong holds to try to avoid civilian deaths (and to taunt the bad guys it seems)

it ain't grandpa's war no more

Rossi ECAT LENR The debate goes on

Interesting view expressed by a University Of Cambridge professor http://sms.cam.ac.uk/media/1150242 from the transcript

JD: So what do you think is going to happen?

BJ: Well, as I see it, there are two different worlds, there's the world of the academic, and the world of the practical person. The academic is mired in theory, and wanting absolute proof, and says 'this is nonsense' -- at least that's the general view. Meanwhile Rossi is going ahead in the practical sphere, ... he's building these reactors and people will -- one hopes -- see that they're producing lots of energy. His first reactor is due to be produced in October, and he has a buyer for it. People, by the way, don't have to pay until they're convinced it is working, which is not what fraudsters do. So I think gradually it will take off.

The reports from Oct 28th seem to be 66Kw in, 2MW out but still very divided opinion over how real the effect being demonstrated is.

Looking around the web the Ni-H excess heat reaction has been replicated and others are moving to commercialization (Brillouin etc) but nobody can reach the COP Rossi states (2300 ish) for his catalysis which my guess has been derived from other work done around H2 -> H (atomic hydrogen). Others get COP around 6 to 14 and nobody gets hot enough for a carnot cycle conversion to mechanical power rather than heat power.

If Rossi just keeps on making units and others go commercial successfully then clearly it's not a fake.

A C Clarke - 'in the future oil will be too valuable to burn'

A quote from Tom Whipple's summary of l'affaire Rossi troubles me.

Cheap energy would allow for cheap desalinization of water, cheap transport, cheap food, and a lot of other changes.

I don't really see how cheap energy equals cheap (or more importantly nutritious) food. The issues facing the industrial food system are more complex than simply "not enough energy". Poisoning of soil and water is not reversible simply by throwing energy at the problem; nor is the loss of crop diversity, crash of pollinator populations, extermination of fish species, enclosure and monopolisation of germlines, contamination of field crops by GMO pollen incursions, pathogenic industrial CAFO, etc etc etc.

Unless we believe that cheap cold-fusion energy will immediately lead to molecular-rearrangement technology and the Star Trek TNG matter mogrification device ("Tea, Earl Grey, hot"), I don't really see how kilowatts convert magically into bread and jam...

Where are all the critics of this subject on this forum? In recent postings there were a lot of criticism, but now...? Should i interpret this as it's probably working, and that all opposers are just speechless?

Anyway, there is a lot of mainstream media coverage on this after the 28 october test. Examples include:
CBS news - Cold fusion debate heats up after latest demo
MSNBC - Italian cold fusion machine passes another test
FOX news - Cold Fusion Experiment: Major Success or Complex Hoax?

It is a waste of time to debate a hoax and I guess people just tire.

Should i interpret this as it's probably working, and that all opposers are just speechless?

No, I think people have just decided it's not worth their time.

I am more convinced than ever that this is a scam. So why keep talking about it?

I don't feel inclined to waste my time on an experiment that would have been thrown back in my face for being poorly thought out had I submitted it as a lab project. It falls flat on its face at every hurdle.


ASPO-USA Conference Report: Thursday Morning Notes

Interesting notes. Anyone have any MP3 recordings of presentations?

Mexico Scraps Plans to Build 10 Nuclear Power Plants in Favor of Using Gas

Mexico, one of three Latin American nations that uses nuclear power, is abandoning plans to build as many as 10 new reactors and will focus on natural gas-fired electricity plants after boosting discoveries of the fuel.

The country, which found evidence of trillions of cubic feet of gas in the past year, is “changing all its decisions, amid the very abundant existence of natural-gas deposits,” Energy Minister Jordy Herrera said in a Nov. 1 interview. Mexico will seek private investment of about $10 billion during five years to expand its natural gas pipeline network, he said.

...Nations around the world are also reconsidering plans for increasing their reliance on nuclear power after the March 11 earthquake in Japan that wrecked the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, causing a loss of cooling, the meltdown of three reactors and the worst atomic disaster since the leak at Chernobyl in 1986.

The Japanese engineer calling for a life without electricity

OurWorld2.0: Japanese engineer and inventor Yasuyuki Fujimura explains why he thinks the world should adopt a 'non-electric' lifestyle

Among these new appliances, the washing machine, refrigerator and black-and-white television set were called the "three sacred treasures" (referring to the Imperial regalia of Japan, the sword, mirror and jewel) that everyone longed for at that time. With incomes increasing as a result of rapid economic growth, consumer demand for these home appliances skyrocketed. By 1973 most households had purchased these 3 appliances.

Japan's electricity use steadily increased starting around this time. Even after the "oil shock" of 1973, electricity use increased about 2.5 fold during the 35 years to 2008. The most substantial increases occurred in the consumer/household and transportation sectors.

Some of his inventions are a bit naive, like a pan to toast green coffee beans (although it sells well), but the non-electric refrigerator he could be there on a winner.

A non-electric refrigerator that works and does not use propane or natural gas will be a big hit in the RV market. A small, high value market that will allow you to get the bugs out and ramp up production before competing with the conventional home refrigerators. Even a better propane refrigerator would be a big step up.

Admittedly, I am curious about the energy source to power the heat pump.

You should take a look at mitticool...

  • www.mitticool.in
  • it's called a icebox.

    no fancy or exotic material's, not based on a scientific principle that needs a phd to know how it works. the only problem is it's input is hard to get during the warmer days. can i have my money now? :P

    Some lawmakers are planning to pass legislation to renig on the military spending cuts part of the automatic budget cuts if the budget deficit super-committee fails to reach an agreement.

    In my best Gomer Pyle voice:

    Surprise, surprise, surprise!


    Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate and a member of the deficit-reduction panel, has repeatedly said he has no intention of letting such /military/ cuts occur. Some House members said they were being urged by military contractors and others in their districts to avert such reductions.

    Some of these lawmakers want to shield the military from dollar-one of cuts and take all the cuts out of non-military spending. And of course not one nickel of additional taxes, not even revocation of the GWB tax cuts for even one person.

    I say: shared sacrifice.

    Do not ever forget who is calling the shots in the U.S.

    It is the golden rule: Those that have the gold are making the rules.

    Would you be keen on exchanging links?
    Penis enlargement tips sensationalistic