Drumbeat: November 23, 2011

China agrees to loan Venezuela $4 billion

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- China has agreed to a new $4 billion loan to help Venezuela boost its oil output and will also help upgrade power plants and increase production of iron and aluminum, a Venezuelan official said Wednesday.

China has swiftly become Venezuela's biggest foreign lender in recent years, and has previously agreed to more than $32 billion in loans. President Hugo Chavez's government is repaying the loans with oil shipments.

Cyprus to Expand Energy Search Despite Turkey

Cyprus announced Wednesday that it is forging ahead with a second round of licensing to exploit oil and gas deposits off its shores despite the strong objections of Turkey.

Beijing's climbdown in Bali: What is next in the South China Sea?

A key outcome of President Barack Obama's Asia tour is an apparent tactical withdrawal by China on drilling rights in the South China Sea. This does not mean that Vietnam, the Philippines and others in the sea can proceed with abandon, but -- at least for now -- Chinese naval ships may be less likely to interrupt oil and gas exploration. Locally there is some elation, with The Times of India calling it a "climbdown" by China.

Opposing views: in the dark about oil demand

Some say global demand for oil is waning. Others say the exact opposite. Get the right facts and make up your own mind. Everyone else is in the dark.

India refiners to seek more Middle East crude supplies in 2012

Singapore (Platts) - Indian oil refiners are likely to turn more to term crude supplies from the Middle East in 2012 to meet rising domestic demand for sour grades as more refining capacity comes onstream next year, sources said Tuesday.

Yemen forced to increase oil imports

Cash-strapped Yemen has again been forced to increase oil product imports, shipping and trade sources said on Tuesday, after its Aden refinery shut down last weekend when its crude oil supplies dried up.

The poorest Arab country has been paralysed by 10 months of popular protests, demanding that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down, during which there have been numerous attacks on oil and gas pipelines.

Iran oil embargo wouldn't hurt Europe -EU commissioner

(Reuters) - A ban on Iranian oil imports to press Tehran to abandon its nuclear activity would not be a problem for the European Union as supplies could always been bought elsewhere, the EU's energy commissioner said.

EU countries have been discussing a further extension of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme and France has been pushing for this to include a ban on imports of Iranian oil.

Chevron oil spill fallout still being assessed-experts

(Reuters) - Chevron Corp's efforts to contain an oil spill at its prospect offshore Brazil appear to have worked, but it is too early to say whether the accident is a major setback for offshore producers that push technological limits to tap crude, experts said.

"This is not something that's going to encourage people to give kudos to the industry for safety," said Nansen Saleri, CEO of Quantum Reservoir Management in Houston and former head of reservoir management for Saudi Aramco.

"It's definitely not in the positive column. How negative it is depends on how Chevron and Petrobras manage the situation," he said.

BP gags in-house lawyer on oil spill lawsuit

(Reuters) - Oil giant BP has succeeded in preventing the public airing of comments from a senior in-house lawyer about lawsuits stemming from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as part of a legal claim of discrimination.

Regulation Nation: Shell Ready to Move on Alaska Wells -- If Alphabet Soup of Challenges Would End

An estimated 27 billion barrels of oil are sitting just off the northern coast of Alaska in waters controlled by the United States, but despite spending more than five years and $4 billion, Shell Oil Company still can't get to it.

U.K. Energy Laws May Raise Company Bills 20% in 2020, Huhne Says

U.K. energy policies may raise power and gas bills for the heaviest corporate consumers by as much as 20 percent by 2020 as the government promotes measures to curb polluting emissions, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said.

Is the Keystone Pipeline Really Dead?

The president postponed the project - but Big Oil is already looking for another way to burn Canada's tar sands.

Report Details Excessive Force Used Against Bahrain Protests

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The head of an international commission investigating Bahrain’s sweeping crackdown on antigovernment protests over the summer said on Wednesday that security forces used excessive force, including torture and forced confessions, against detainees in a campaign that deeply polarized the country, a prominent American ally in the Gulf.

Military police try to halt Cairo protests

Cairo (CNN) -- Military police poured into Cairo's Tahrir Square on Wednesday in hopes of stopping clashes between protesters and police, as the Egyptian government said a "truce" had been declared through a group of clerics.

CNN saw military police lined up, separating protesters from the police.

But after a period of calm, some protesters began throwing rocks at soldiers. Riot police responded with tear gas.

U.S. says hopes Iraq, Exxon can resolve dispute

(Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday it hopes Iraq and Exxon-Mobil Corp. will resolve their dispute in a way that will not undercut the future development of Iraq's oil resources.

Exxon is the first major oil company to sign an oil exploration agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in north Iraq, which is locked in a feud with the Arab-dominated central government over territory and oil rights.

Livestock farmers say ethanol eats too much corn

DES MOINES, Iowa — Livestock farmers are demanding a change in the nation's ethanol policy, claiming current rules could lead to spikes in meat prices and even shortages at supermarkets if corn growers have a bad year.

PG&E SmartMeters: Regulators offer way to opt out

California energy regulators proposed a way Tuesday for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers to opt out of receiving one of the utility's wireless SmartMeters.

But the proposal from the California Public Utilities Commission closely mirrors PG&E's own opt-out plan, imposing fees on people who reject the wireless meters. Critics of the devices, who consider them a health threat, immediately rejected the commission's plan.

A Solar-Powered Car?

If you like the sun, and you like cars, then I’m guessing you’d love to have a solar-powered car, right? This trick works well for chocolate and peanut butter, but not so well for garlic bread and strawberries. So how compatible are cars with solar energy? Do we relish the combination or spit it out? Let’s throw the two together, mix with math, and see what happens.

EU Carbon Permits Drop to Record Low as European Debt Crisis Trims Demand

The European Union’s sovereign-debt crisis is hurting the region’s economic production, driving benchmark carbon permits to their lowest since 2009.

Is progress an idea that has passed?

Two hundred years ago, when 1 billion people walked the earth, the discovery of easily accessed and abundant supplies of coal and oil signaled the start of the Industrial Revolution and fueled the notion of perpetual economic growth. Today there are 7 billion people in the world and fossil fuels must be pulled from the bottom of the ocean or wrung from shale deposits. While we may have tapped only half of the world’s supply of fossil fuels (reaching the peak of production) the remaining fuels will be increasingly expensive to extract.

So, our authors claim, an impending inability to supply a constantly increasing demand for affordable energy to power continual economic growth signals the end of the Industrial Revolution.

Embracing Buy Nothing Day

Don’t get me wrong. I love the holidays. And I love the gifting part —both giving and receiving. But with so many ways to share love with family and friends, from homemade foods, garden harvests, handmade cards, photos, knitted or sewn items, or just a gathering, I feel little need to make it our celebrations a year-end over-the-top display.

I don’t want to feel that we should shove our food down our gullets just to line up outside of a big box store at midnight salivating to get my hands on a deeply discounted product that is probably making global warming and peak oil situations worse, anyway.

Seas off Arctic island may hold oil bonanza - Norway

OSLO (Reuters) - The waters off a tiny Norwegian Arctic island may hold vast amounts of oil and gas, the Nordic country's authorities said, as they prepare to open the zone for exploration by oil firms.

Recent geologic studies conducted in the seas off the volcanic Jan Mayen island, a speck of land some 1,000 kilometres (621 miles) west of Norway situated to the east of Greenland and the north-east of Iceland, have been promising, according to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).

Crude Oil Drops After German Bond Sale Signals Deepening of Euro Crisis

Oil dropped from a three-day high in New York as a shortfall of bids in a German bond sale signaled a deepening of Europe’s debt crisis and slowing economic growth in the region.

Futures fell as much as 2.3 percent after Germany failed to get sufficient bids at an auction of benchmark 10-year bunds today to reach its maximum sales target. European services and manufacturing output contracted for a third month in November as the worsening debt crisis pushed the region closer to a recession. The American Petroleum Institute said yesterday motor-fuel supplies climbed 5.42 million barrels last week.

The Peak Oil Crisis: A Report to Remember

In the last few years the IEA's annual report has come to recognize that the next 25 years are unlikely to be anything like the last 25 and the report has become much more nuanced. Gone are the extreme predictions that the world will be consuming 50 percent more oil 25 years from now. In their place are forecasts that global oil production will depend heavily on what alternative policy paths are taken by major governments and how much ($38 trillion is necessary) will be spent to find and exploit fossil fuel resources in the coming years.

Peak oil vanishes; peak green arrives

Peak oil theory and the green energy fad both arise from a failure to ­understand how markets work.

The U.S. Economy, Market Are Yo-Yoing On Oil

I don't want to discuss "peak oil," because that phrase often leads to irrelevant debate. What I will discuss, and what I believe has been proved by oil prices and economic activity, are three statements that are much more to the point:

U.S. Shale Oil: 3 Best Growth Companies

Peak oil at one time was dismissed as lunacy. Reality, however, is now setting in. Recession, U.S. over-supply ... none of it has halted a steady march up in oil prices off 2009 lows. This is not surprising. Emerging market demand has skyrocketed and world conventional oil production, according to the International Energy Association, has been in decline since 2007.

Nigeria: Enugu Residents Decry High Cost of Kerosene

Enugu — As Christmas approaches, kerosene consumers in Enugu State have called on the Federal Government to reduce the price of kerosine which should lessen the burden of common people.

Some of the consumers, who spoke on Monday, regretted that the price hike would worsen the hardship of the common man.

FACTBOX - Weaker rupee and Indian oil, farm commodities

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A record slump in the rupee against the dollar is set to impact farm commodities in one of the world's top producing and consuming nations, making exports attractive but possibly worsening inflation as imports become costlier.

...Crude oil accounts for almost a quarter of all Indian imports, making it a significant factor in inflation, while retail prices of diesel and kerosene are subsidised. Every one unit decline in rupee value increases Indian state-refiners' revenue losses on the sale of subsidised fuel by 80 billion rupees as import costs go up.

UAE shoppers to feel pinch as price of food rises again

The brief let-up in rising global commodity prices has provided little respite to one of the biggest UAE food companies, Agthia, which is warning of future price increases on the shelves.

Shoppers cautious as retailers dangle Black Friday deals

In a season of Thanksgiving store openings to lure shoppers out earlier than ever for Black Friday doorbusters, retailers are daring shoppers to load up. But some shoppers aren't buying it.

Rising gasoline prices and stubbornly high unemployment, along with volatile housing and stock markets have kept consumers extra cautious this year.

Tough economy means another scaled-back Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving airfares are up 20% this year, and the average price of a gallon of gas has risen almost 20%, according to travel tracker AAA. Still, about 42.5 million people are expected to travel, the highest number since the start of the recession.

But even those who choose to stay home and cook for themselves will probably spend more. A 16-pound turkey and all the trimmings will cost an average of $49.20, a 13% jump from last year, or about $5.73 more, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, which says grocers have raised prices to keep pace with higher-priced commodities.

Extended families are making a comeback

An increasing number of extended families across the USA are under the same roof, living together either permanently or temporarily. Sometimes these arrangements are multigenerational, with adult children, grandchildren or an elderly parent sharing quarters. In other cases, an extended family bunks together, with siblings, cousins, nieces or nephews sharing space.

The reasons are economic, social and demographic. The recession and its aftermath have pushed extended families to share space at a time when the average age at first marriage has climbed to 28.7 for men and 26.5 for women. And life expectancy — now 75.7 for men and 80.6 for women in the USA — continues to rise. The flow of immigrants into this country also has been a factor; immigrants are more likely than other groups to live with members of their extended family.

The Macro Dilemma, Part 2

Part 1 suggested the macro force of “peak oil” which will constrain global oil supplies, will push the price of oil higher. Yet if peak oil occurs, it implies peak debt and GDP.

Without GDP growth, a stagnant economy implies downward pressure on the price of oil.

In part 2 I look at which factor is more dominant in moving the price of oil, which country looks favourable in such an environment and where I believe the most opportunities lay in terms of oil stocks.

Strategic energy partnership in the pipeline for China, Turkmenistan

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged on Wednesday to deepen energy cooperation with Turkmenistan and establish a strategic energy partnership following the success of the natural gas pipeline between the two countries opened in 2009.

Hu made the remarks in wide-ranging talks with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who is on a four-day state visit to China.

DNB Says Will Support Oil-Tanker Frontline Through Industry Downturn

DNB ASA, a lender to oil-tanker operator Frontline Ltd., said it will back the shipping company through an industry slump that slashed returns from hauling crude at sea.

Frontline, whose main shareholder is a company indirectly controlled by Norway-born shipping billionaire John Fredriksen, said yesterday it will seek talks with creditors and may run out of cash next year. Returns are only covering operating costs and ship prices have plunged as much as 50 percent, the tanker company said.

China Shunning Biggest Ore Ships Shows $2.3 Billion Vale Mistake

Vale’s plan, which includes buying 19 vessels for $2.3 billion, has spurred opposition from Chinese shipowners who say it will worsen overcapacity, slumping cargo rates and industrywide losses. Steelmakers are also likely against it as the ships would give Vale more control over pricing and delivery, said Chang Tao, a China Merchants Securities Co. analyst.

Turkey says Israeli, Cypriot exploration illegal

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Wednesday Israeli and Cypriot energy exploration in the Mediterranean was illegal, agreement should first be reached with all relevant parties, and resources should be equally shared.

President of oil-rich, graft-prone Nigeria suddenly fires head of anti-corruption agency

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria’s president unexpectedly fired the head of the oil-rich and graft-prone nation’s lead anti-corruption agency Wednesday, removing an official who has been criticized and portrayed as being controlled by the country’s political elite.

Cnooc Appoints Executive Director Li as Chief Executive as Growth Slows

Cnooc Ltd. (883), China’s biggest offshore oil and natural gas explorer, appointed Executive Director Li Fanrong as chief executive officer to replace Yang Hua after the company called off its latest acquisition.

Analysis - Exxon Kurdistan foray tests Iraq's centralist resolve

(Reuters) - Exxon Mobil's venture into Iraqi Kurdistan challenges Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's resolve against growing regional separatism and tests the investment strategy of the oil majors in Iraq.

Nexen pushed out of Yemen oil project

Nexen Inc. has been pushed out of one of its largest oil projects after Yemen rejected its application to continue operating in the volatile country.

Nexen says it will offset loss of Yemeni production with West Africa offshore oil

CALGARY—Nexen Inc. says Yemen’s government won’t extend a production sharing agreement for the Masila land block beyond its scheduled expiry Dec. 17 and the company is evaluating its future in the Middle East country.

Vale Says Galilee Miners Need to Build Joint Rail to Save Costs

Vale SA (VALE3), the world’s biggest exporter of iron ore, said miners planning about $32 billion of coal projects in Australia’s Galilee Basin should build a jointly owned railway to save costs and speed development.

U.S. Targets Iran Oil, Bank in Bid to Halt Nuclear Program

The U.S. expanded measures aimed at thwarting Iran’s nuclear program, targeting its central bank and oil industry with actions intended to cut the regime off from international financial transactions.

Sanctions on Iran to affect Emirates

Tightening sanctions on Iran are set to have widespread effects on UAE traders, oil prices and the petrochemical industry.

Iran's nuclear showdown with West still short of war

(Reuters) - Iran's nuclear standoff with the West has led to much harsher words and new economic sanctions, but Tehran has yet to cross the red lines that would prompt Israel or the United States to contemplate military action.

Plea for relations with Iraq

"With the population increasing, we need to start thinking about how to fix the world," Mr Babakhan said.

"Energy is the answer. Iraq is now a democracy and we need to use its resources while also improving our relations.

"Australia has a fantastic relationship with Japan and South Korea, so why can't we have good relations with Iraq?"

Police, protesters clash for 5th day in Egypt

CAIRO (AP) – Egyptian police clashed with anti-government protesters for a fifth day in central Cairo Wednesday as a rights group raised the overall death toll from the ongoing unrest to 38.

Libyan tribes protest at new government line-up

TRIPOLI: Some of Libya's clans said on Wednesday they would not recognize the government, after the unveiling of a new cabinet revived regional rivalries which threaten the country's stability.

Yemen's President Saleh to sign power transfer deal

SANAA, Yemen (AP) – The United Nations envoy to Yemen has confirmed that President Ali Abdullah Saleh will sign a deal to transfer power in exchange for immunity from prosecution in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Green and Lean: Striking the Right Balance For True Prosperity

So the question is: Can we transform our economy radically and quickly enough to curb resource use and avoid climate and environmental catastrophe? And is technology enough to do it?

Lovins says yes. At the end of his book he lays out an alluring scenario of America in 2050, with homes that produce more energy than they consume, a transportation system integrating electric cars, mass transit and Internet-enabled ride-sharing, and manufacturing taking recycling to new heights to generate inputs from waste. It’s a prosperous, post-petroleum world.

And I think it’s possible – but only if we also rein in growth.

Heat on Abu Dhabi's energy efficiency could impact bills

Abu Dhabi is preparing to move towards greater energy efficiency, and will consider a range of measures to reduce consumption that could include a reform of electricity tariffs.

To save on your electric bill, move to Utah

It’s that time of the year: It's darker, colder, and we're fretting about the arrival of the electric bill.

You have a lot more to worry about if you live in Connecticut than if you live Colorado.

10 most fuel-efficient non-plug-in cars

These are the hybrid and traditional gas powered cars that use the least fuel for the 2012 model year.

Google pulls plug on renewable energy plan

SAN FRANCISCO — Google Inc. has abandoned an ambitious project to make renewable energy cheaper than coal, the latest target of Chief Executive Larry Page's moves to focus the Internet giant on fewer efforts.

Masdar trims workforce

Masdar, Abu Dhabi's flagship clean energy company, has cut nine per cent of its workforce as Government-owned companies adjust to the economic downturn.

Neb. enzyme plant readies to supply biofuel plants

BLAIR, Neb. (AP) — The leading maker of the enzymes used to produce biofuels says the declining political support for ethanol hasn't diminished the long-term prospects for the industry making fuel from plants.

China's largest coal producer to develop "combustible ice" alternative energy source in NW China

XINING (Xinhua) -- China's largest coal producer, China Shenhua Group, has launched a project to research and develop combustible ice, a kind of natural gas hydrate, in the northwestern Qinghai province.

A Rare Isotope Helps Track an Ancient Water Source

Pradeep Aggarwal, who runs the isotope hydrology section of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s water resources program, said that success in tracking older bodies of water had long been elusive. Carbon 14 dating, so useful in archaeology, reaches back just 50,000 years or so.

It is now clear that the Nubian Aquifer has been a million years in the making.

A Quiet Push to Grow Crops Under Cover of Trees

The Department of Agriculture has begun encouraging greater use of trees in agriculture.

Up to 3 million Afghans face hunger as winter looms

Poor rains earlier this year destroyed 80 percent of wheat crops in the country's north, northeast and west, leaving impoverished farming communities with little food to eat, said the nine charities which included Oxfam and Save the Children.

With food prices almost doubling since last year, families are being forced to skip meals, borrow money or migrate.

Texas town still suffers effects of heat, drought; water supply down to two weeks

(CNN) -- The Texas town of Groesbeck is on the verge of running dry.

"We have about two weeks of water left," Groesbeck Mayor Jackie Levingston said. Her central Texas town, population 4,300, is one of the latest victim's of the state's ongoing drought.

Depleted Texas Lakes Expose Ghost Towns, Graves

Across the state, receding lakes have revealed a prehistoric skull, ancient tools, fossils and a small cemetery that appears to contain the graves of freed slaves. Some of the discoveries have attracted interest from local historians, and looters also have scavenged for pieces of history. More than two dozen looters have been arrested at one site.

EPA delays carbon limits on oil refineries

(Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, struggling with an ambitious agenda on clean air regulations, said it will delay proposing the country's first-ever greenhouse gas limits on oil refineries.

The delay is the latest setback for the agency's new raft of clean air rules on everything from smog to mercury pollution that are heavily opposed by industry.

U.S. Military Undermined By Environmental Change

Across the US, critical military installations are being put at risk by environmental change. According to the US Department of Defense's (DoD) 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Report:

In 2008, the National Intelligence Council [NIC] judged that more than 30 US military installations were already facing elevated levels of risk from rising sea levels. DoD's operational readiness hinges on continued access to land, air, and sea training and test space. Consequently, the Department must complete a comprehensive assessment of all installations to assess the potential impacts of climate change on its missions and adapt as required.

China Outlines Cuts in Carbon Emissions

BEIJING — With global climate talks set to begin next week, China on Tuesday issued the most comprehensive document yet on its plans and negotiating positions on emissions.

Although much of the information has been released before, it is the first time the data has been presented comprehensively — part of China’s strategy to make its accomplishments better known ahead of the talks, which begin on Monday in Durban, South Africa. China, the world’s largest contributor to carbon emissions, highlighted its success in reducing emissions per unit of gross domestic product, an indicator that its industries are becoming more energy efficient. The country’s overall carbon emissions have been rising, however, with the growth of its industries.

China urges progress on climate change fund

BEIJING — China is worried the financial crisis is draining contributions to a multibillion-dollar global warming fund but hopes basic financing to help developing countries deal with climate change can be hammered out this month.

Oil sands output to triple by 2035

Oilsands production in Canada will likely triple by 2035, making it the overwhelming source of Canadian crude oil and opening doors to additional energy exports, says a new report from the National Energy Board.

The NEB says massive growth in oilsands development, coupled with a moderate increase in Canadian energy demand, means the amount of net crude oil available for export will more than triple over the next 25 years — good news for a federal government eyeing new energy export markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

Unconventional energy production — including development of the oilsands and shale gas — will emerge as the “dominant source of supply growth” over the next quarter-century, according to the NEB, Canada’s energy regulator.

What this means is that by 2035 Canada will be the third largest oil producer in the world after Saudi Arabia and Russia (assuming SA and/or RU don't suffer a production collapse) and ahead of the United States (assuming Gringrich is wrong, which is a good bet).

Since Canada's oil consumption is not likely to rise (the NEB also expects wind and hydroelectricity production to double), nearly the whole amount of the increase will go to export. The Chinese are excited.

How much natural gas will be needed at that time to produce those 5 million + barrels per day?

daddy - Not sure if these numbers are still current but here you go. I suspect Rocky has a better handle on it today.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athabasca_oil_sands

"The processing of bitumen into synthetic crude requires energy, which is currently being generated by burning natural gas. In 2007, the oil sands used around 1 billion cubic feet (28,000,000 m3) of natural gas per day, around 40% of Alberta's total usage. Based on gas purchases, natural gas requirements are given by the Canadian Energy Resource Institute as 2.14 GJ (2.04 thousand cu ft) per barrel for cyclic steam stimulation projects, 1.08 GJ (1.03 thousand cu ft) per barrel for SAGD projects, 0.55 GJ (0.52 thousand cu ft) per barrel for bitumen extraction in mining operations not including upgrading or 1.54 GJ (1.47 thousand cu ft) per barrel for extraction and upgrading in mining operations.

My math may be off, so a barrel of bitumen requires almost 10 gallons of gasoline (energy equivalent)? That isn't even including the vast amounts of electricity needed for that huge equipment to mine the sands. Those huge trucks must require a lot of diesel also... Sounds like a huge amount of energy to produce a gallon of gasoline so grandma can drive to her mailbox.

CSS is not generally used in Canadian oil sands operations, although it is used by Imperial Oil at Cold Lake. It was originally developed for heavy oil production in places such as California's Kern River heavy oil field.

The newer SAGD process is much more efficient for the non-mineable portion of the oil sands. It requires less energy input, and has much higher oil recovery rates - up to 80% of the oil in place.

1 barrel of bitumen contains about 6 GJ of energy, so if a SAGD operation requires 1 GJ to produce a barrel in an in-situ operation, the EROEI is 6:1, which is not too bad by modern standards. It's certainly better than fuel ethanol.

If it requires about 0.55 GJ to produce a barrel in a mining operation, the EROEI is about 11:1, which is actually pretty good. Realistically, a lot of conventional oil wells aren't any better than that when you figure in the fuel to keep the pump running on a stripper well.

Electricity is a relatively minor part of the oil sands operations compared to steam and process heat, and the oil sands power plants also feed electricity into the provincial grid as a side benefit.

There is an upgrader planned for completion in 2014 which will upgrade bitumen directly to diesel fuel with a 50% diesel cut. This will address a chronic shortage of diesel fuel in Alberta. It's not just oil sands operators that drive big trucks - the conventional oil and gas industry uses a huge amount of diesel fuel.

There is also still talk of a nuke plant for bitumen upgrading requirements and save the NG for export.

Well, the nuclear industry is keen on the idea of using nuclear plants in the oil sands, but I haven't heard a lot of enthusiasm for the idea from the oil companies or the provincial government. The economics of it are not actually that good. Natural gas is a lot cheaper, and bitumen gasification also has its proponents.

How much natural gas will be needed at that time to produce those 5 million + barrels per day?

If they're going to keep at it -- and like Robert Rapier, I expect they will -- then I'm hoping for something based on ionic liquids for the separation step. If the hype holds up, this looks like a much cleaner process.

Is the NEB a reliable forecaster or a chamber of commerce type of promoter? Isn't the percentage of bitumen going to drop quite a bit in the deposits they get to in five years? Previous forecasts I have seen on TOD were in the 3 to 4 MMBD range.

The NEB is the federal government regulatory body for the energy industry, and is a pretty reliable source. However, they get most of their data from the provincial government regulatory bodies, and those organizations have access to all the oil company data. If you want to produce oil in a Canadian province, you have to talk nicely to the provincial government because they have the big hammer and can pound you flat if they want to.

The oil sands are not going to run short any time soon. You can visualize it as an oil field about the size of Florida. There are a few hundred years of reserves at current rates of production.

2035. Wouldn't bet on that one.


You crazy canucks better start running fast on the shale gas treadmill if you want this to happen!

From another NEB report in 2006 titled Canada's Oil Sands -- Opportunities and Challenges to 2015: An Update:

Oil sands projects are very energy intensive operations and require significant amounts of natural gas. The total oil sands related natural gas demand is determined by reviewing the projected production levels and gas usage factors for each of the major oil sands projects.

Figure 3.7 illustrates the total purchased gas requirement for the Base Case for in situ and for mining and upgrading projects. These values include purchased gas required to generate electricity on site. It does not include any requirements for stand-alone or merchant upgraders. By 2015, the total gas requirement is projected to be 2.1 Bcf/d.

Figure 3.8 illustrates the amount of purchased gas used per unit of bitumen recovery, or gas intensity, required for both oil sands mining and in situ projects, and includes gas used in on site cogeneration facilities to produce electricity for plant operations.

For in situ projects, the steam-to-oil ratio (SOR) is a measure of how efficiently energy is used in recovery of bitumen from the oil sands. An SOR of 2.5 equates to a gas intensity of 1.1 Mcf/b.

Here's a little reminder that Canada is past peak natural gas:

Using the gas intensity of 1.1 Mcf/b from above and the recent NEB prediction of 5.1 Mb/d from your article puts oil sands consumption of natural gas at 5.6 Bcf/d -- essentially the same amount that you export to the US today. And that's assuming that the shale gas treadmill can keep up with depletion for the next 25 years!

Something tells me there are more economists working at the NEB than physicists. ;-)



What I don't get, is why not just burn the natural gas directly in cars? I've seen Honda and Ford cars in my town that run on CNG. Almost every home in this area uses natural gas for heat, so refilling would be simple (given the equipment is available). Using natural gas so we can convert tar and corn into liquid fuels just seems like such a waste.

Isn't it mostly a matter of infrastructure? It costs $5,000 to buy a home fueling station. It also would cost a huge amount to create a convenient nationwide network of thousands of CNG filling stations.

There's also the loss of power and cargo space, not to mention the $28,000 entry price.

It's perfectly feasible to run vehicles on natural gas - I have worked for oil companies that ran all their field vehicles on natural gas.

However, they got their natural gas very, very cheap because they produced it themselves, and they already had all the equipment in the field to handle it. They also had lots of people who could do the engine conversions in-house.

For an individual, it's more difficult because home fueling stations are expensive and there is no network of fueling stations on the highways. The company vehicles were all dual-fuel conversions so they could take them on the highway.

There is no loss of power in an NG conversion and there are lots of places to mount a CNG tank in a pickup truck. Cars are a bit more of a problem.

It is my belief that one of the biggest problems involved in getting cng off the ground is excessive regulation of the conversion process;the last I heard, it cost an arm and a leg to get a conversion legally certified for a given make and model even before considering the actual conversion job itself.

The shop considering doing such work must get a new certification for just about every potential customers car that might come thru the door.

Now it is possible that a state agency or a fair sized company with a fleet of cars and pickup trucks could standardize on a given make and model and reduce this hassle to a manageable level.

But even then, they cannot count on buying replacement vehicles without running the certification gauntlet again, because the manufacturers change the designs every two to three years at most.

The typical guy on the street cannot afford a legal conversion of his existing vehicle or the new vehicle of his dreams.

I do think the heavy trucking industry will be able to make the switch easily enough because big trucks are far better standardized, and far easier to work on , than cars and pickup trucks for that reason.

The top half dozen or so truck manufacturers produce lots of different models, but under the hood, they are very much alike;for instance a Ford and a Freightliner may have identical Catepillar or Cummins engines.

Catepillar and Cummins don't redesign their engine product line every two or three years;they make incremental upgrades so that performance and economy improve, but the trucking and construction industries insist on a standardized product line that is extremely durable and quick and easy to repair.This demands parts interchangeability on the grand scale, and standardized training for mechanics.

If you have a breakdown in the middle of nowhere on a highway used by trucks, you can usually find a mechanic and parts to fix a fifteen or twenty year old heavy truck faster and more reliably than you can a five year old car.

The trucking industry will switch when the price signal is right.

The fueling infrastructure will spread down major highways from city hubs as needed at that time-unless bau collapses first.

You really don't need a lot of fuel stops for "over the road" trucks -most trucks will be dual fueled, and they will be able to run four hundred miles or more on the on board diesel tanks.They will be able to top off with cheaper cng any place along a major highway with existing gas pipelines -a truck stop every couple of hundred miles would be enough keep them pretty well supplied with cng.

Large parts of most developed countries are criss crossed with pipelines already.

Local delivery trucks will mostly be able to make the days run either on cng alone or with a small amount of supplementary diesel, and fill up at home base.


I share the same concerns! Water isn't the only issue with the tar sands.

From an NEB speech to Conférence APGQ (Association pétrolière et gazière du Québec) from October 2009.

Graph of Oil Sands Gas Demand

Graph of Oil Sands Gas Demand (link)

The tar sands gas demand is rising quickly!

I wonder what the energy economics would have looked like if we'd skipped the tar sands and used the gas directly as a transportation fuel, and indirectly with electric vehicles. A lost opportunity now.


The EROEI of oil sands mining operations is about 10:1 and that of in-situ projects is about 6:1. That, combined with the very low cost of natural gas, is what is really driving the expansion of oil sands production.

At this point in time, they can buy a GJ of natural gas for $3, and use it to produce between 1 (in-situ) and 1.7 (mining) barrels of oil. They can sell the oil for $85 per barrel, so their return on expenditure for fuel costs is between $28 and $48 for each dollar of fuel burned.

Now, if you could run you car on NG, you had all the equipment to fuel it, and you could buy NG for $3/GJ, you could experience some real savings. But you can't so you won't. Maybe in a different world, you could.

But you can't so you won't. Maybe in a different world, you could.

Best hopes for a very different world!

One in which people finally begin to grasp the concept of resource limits and the simple fact that we can no longer continue to dump our wastes into the environment at our present rates. CO2 being a big one! Something's gotta give...

The NEB is also predicting that by 2028 Canada will have to start importing natural gas, but only IF the vast shale gas deposits in Northeastern BC are not brought on production and IF the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline is not built to bring the vast natural gas reserves of the Arctic south.

Of course, those things will only not happen IF US shale gas production keeps depressing the price of gas, in which case the oil sands producers would cheerfully buy cheap US natural gas to produce expensive oil to sell to the US. More likely the US will start to run short of gas and the more expensive Canadian deposits will come on line.

And then there's option B: bitumen gasification (convert the heavy ends of the bitumen to syngas for plant fuel) and option C: nuclear reactors. And then there are options D, E, and F but we don't need to get into those.


Sure nice to read your expertise and the details. Thanks for the time you spend on this....Paulo

Using the gas intensity of 1.1 Mcf/b from above and the recent NEB prediction of 5.1 Mb/d from your article puts oil sands consumption of natural gas at 5.6 Bcf/d -- essentially the same amount that you export to the US today. And that's assuming that the shale gas treadmill can keep up with depletion for the next 25 years!

Something tells me there are more economists working at the NEB than physicists. ;-)

No, there's no physics involved. The NEB has the reserve estimates from the geologists in the BC government, which give a rough estimate of the shale gas resources of BC (which are huge), and they have the planning documents from the Alberta government, which show that the Alberta government intends to curtail exports to the US and divert the natural gas to the oil sands plants. So, there is not likely to be a shortage of natural gas supply to the oil sands plants.

Canada actually has huge undeveloped shale gas potential, but there is very little production at this point in time because conventional gas is cheaper. The only way the Canadian shale gas will stay in the ground is if the price stays too low, and that will only occur if the US is producing a large surplus of shale gas.

The estimates of oil sands production are based on proposed projects from oil companies. There are actually over 8 million barrels per day of projects on the drawing boards, but the NEB is assuming that only 5 million bpd of them will go forward to completion in the time frame to 2035. It is also assuming that conventional production will stay flat as Saskatchewan's share of the Bakken formation and Alberta's somewhat similar Cardium formation are developed.

Written by Jonathan Callahan:
Here's a little reminder that Canada is past peak natural gas

I think the decline in that Canadian chart from the Energy Export Databrowser reflects the declining exports of natural gas to the U.S. as the horizontal drilling and fracking under the U.S. oil shale deposits ramp up. It is not peak natural gas in Canada.

Long unemployed, wind finds a job:


German homeowner spends 50,000 euros (about $65,000) on a house blanket:


World fast approaching peak Gingrich:

Based on this, I project that Newt Gingrich has about two weeks left before his excessive verbal extraction rate depletes his reserves of grandiose nonsense and his moment in the sun is over.


Underemployed, perhaps. Never unemployed. :)

Old Mother West Wind has always had jobs to do.


Happy Thanksgiving, ya'll.


The German insulation video shows a person installing new insulation paid for with a loan having a 30 year payback. Such long term thinking would appear silly in the US, given that the average home owner has traditionally moved rather often. But, it's that long term thinking which we must begin to accept, if the US is to move past the twin problems of Peak Oil and Climate Change. One approach this situation would be for housing to be financed based on the cost of the property plus some estimate of the energy used for HVAC. Recent practices in the mortgage industry set payment levels based only on the cost of the structure, which left the buyer saddled with higher energy use due to low cost choices for insulation and appliances during construction.

An extreme example is found in the single wide mobile home, which is sold at the lowest possible cost and placed on the fringes of metro areas or on rural land. The high HVAC and water heating costs are exacerbated by the expense of long commutes to find good paying job opportunities. I suspect there are literally thousands of families stuck in such situations around these parts, families who find themselves living close to the edge or worse, especially as the typical low skill construction jobs have since disappeared from the local labor market...

E. Swanson

Yes, poorly insulated, high energy intensive buildings and suburbs will become the next slum's because of high energy prices.

For those of you not familiar with the type of house construction most common in Germany (and many other parts of central Europe), the house probably has massive brick exterior walls (e.g.: http://www.natural-building.co.uk/thermoplan_ziegel_plus.htm)which are insulated on the outside with expanded polystyrene panels and then covered with a stucco. Old houses, e.g, greater than ~30 years would have little insulation, although the air gaps in the brick plus the stucco plus interior plaster are not too bad by themselves. The nice aspect of this construction is that it is easy to add more insulation: just glue it on, add an occasional plastic anchoring bolt and re-stucco. It is a fairly common upgrade.

The cost mentioned in the video sounds high, so I am guessing the job also includes new windows. Double-paned windows are almost universal in Germany, but the really old ones are not that great. Beyond saving energy,well insulated houses are more comfortable.

We are even getting some very low energy houses in UK.
Retrofit is trickier, but I visited this new-build in Scotland 10 days ago.
Energy needs down 90%.
Probably smallest Passiv Haus yet achieved, certainly in UK, (gets more difficult the smaller you go).
Optimised ratio though of cost to performance and quality of internal environment.
Very high quality materials and detailing.
90% heat recovery on ventilation / fresh air.
Came in under budget. Took two years of the guy's life.
Hope he can do a lot more of them having cracked the methodology, and using the PH design program.
Germany and Austria streaking ahead of course.

Low energy usage maybe, but at a construction cost so high that, if energy costs are a concern, then you can;t afford to build this.

From the linked article, it cost US$262k to build a 920sq.ft, rectangular house, or $285/sq.ft - that is an eye watering cost!

Given that, in Canada, you can buy a 910sq.ft single wide modular (with R-40 ceiling and floor insulation, R21 walls and low-e windows) for $55k, you can afford several lifetimes of energy for that price difference, and unlimited if you set it up for wood.


These home builders will have to do better - right now, all they are demonstrating is that this is too expensive a solution to be implemented on any scale, other than for the top 10% of people.

This Rolls-Royce solution is of no help for those struggling with energy costs, unemployment etc etc.

The advantage that Canada has is that R40 insulation (300 mm) in the attic and R20 insulation (150 mm) in the walls is more or less the standard for house construction. If you build all the houses to the same high standard, all the materials are available off the shelf, all the construction workers know how to put it together, and as a result it is very cheap.

Similarly, low-e windows and 97% efficient furnaces are more or less standard in houses, so they are also relatively cheap.

It's really just a matter of setting the standards to the same high level to get the advantages of economies of scale in house construction. It's super-insulation for the masses and the average house-buyer can afford it.

If you insist on building it to the extremely high standards that the Passivhaus above is built, it is a custom-designed home that only a few people can afford, and they will never recover their return on investment.

If you insist on building it to the extremely high standards that the Passivhaus above is built, it is a custom-designed home that only a few people can afford, and they will never recover their return on investment.

That is certainly what that article is showing. It listed the project team including architect, engineer and quantity surveyor - all for 920 sf house.

It is the house equivalent of a custom built car, and we know how many people have ever been able to afford those.

Would be interesting to know what the resale value would be in a few years - I'll wager they will never recover their built cost.

As for the modulars, those are decent efficiency specs, much better than they were ever built in the 60's.
If that company was to do a Passivhaus version, where they design it once, and then build lots of them, it wouldn't add that much to the cost. In fact, that would be the cheapest way to do Passive Houses, and if there still isn;t a return on investment there (even at double today's energy prices) , then there never will be.

I have to say I am surprised at just how cheap that modular is, as is the rest of their (considerable) range. I wonder how many they are selling into Fort Mac?

Think of the Passiv Haus I visited more as a prototype rather than 'custom built'. It cost one guy two years of his life. (I though have used-up many more years than that in my day with less to show for it.)

I would agree the main problem for the UK will be the legacy 20M homes needing retrofit to on average reduce their energy needs by half. A target of 50% has been estimated by studies as 'doable' taking in to account costs of a large scale rolling program.

I agree new-build passiv haus does not solve the larger issues even if really significant economies of scale are achievable, and they should be.
(Am not sure why relative energy costs should only double here in the next 20 years or so? Relative to 'affordability' they could go through the roof (sic)?)

Returns on personal savings are low here since 2008 (why should they get any better?) and prospects for pensions are dropping all the time. Our previous decade of prosperity and way of doing things is based on cheap fossil fuel and 'financial services'. That has meant jobs. Why should that way (or those jobs) continue? The UK has already, and it is getting a lot worse, a crisis servicing elderly people in their own homes. Servicing them in institutions is even more costly and only available satisfactorily for the "10%". High energy costs become critical. Business models for the servicing industry fail, even when based on cheap labour. I can remember the good ol' days back in 1963, care of last resort (with devoted low cost staff) in 19thC 'Workhouse' accommodation: the death rate each week of cold weather was alarming. We have in the last decades just poked more energy in to the problems.

House prices, however, in UK have inflated dramatically over last decades and are still relatively very high compared with past, as is rental. In Scotland 200,000 GBP is a fairly modest price, and rental above 1000 GBP per month is common - depending on area. At the same time, there are rural new-builds near where I live that stand empty from 2008 with no prospect of sale. (Market for what was a booming segment for retirees has collapsed.) The case for investment in new-build in many (most?) areas is very poor. Social housing (taxpayer invests 40%) new-build has recently dropped and will become negligible under the government austerity programme. I know professionals desparately searching for a business model.

UK is actually going for a very ruthless business model. Making modest living standards available in long-lived properties using 1/10th (or at lower capital outlay even 1/5th) of energy for the future are not likely a priority. Whether the ruthless approach fails in fairly short measure we will see.


Think of the Passiv Haus I visited more as a prototype rather than 'custom built'.

Given that there have already been thousands of PH's built in Europe, including Britain, why is another "prototype" needed?
In addition to that cost, it took the guy two years of his own time?

While the house itself is clearly very energy efficient, the process of building it clearly was not.

They have missed the point that, at that expense, they have commended so many resources - including man-hours - that they can't get a return on them. They are destroying value, not creating it.

It sounds like the housing market is going to be in for some further downward movement - the house prices, eventually, have to reflect the ability of people to earn money to pay for them - otherwise those houses will remain unsold.

That's tough for the house builders, but that's business. They will certainly need to come up with more affordable examples than this if they want to get people to start building these, rather than just put up with the energy costs of existing housing.

Can you point to Passiv House builds in Canada and the organisation and certification of same?

My understanding is that there is a German data base and software that in the right hands reliably allows design to be related to performance given that response to location, site and the detailed specification of house and house type needs individual calculation.

We in UK have as yet very few builders with experience of this level of design and execution, and most critical components and materials still need to be imported at the moment. And as I understand it, 'proofs of concept' as well as experienced and trained staff are still needed across the range of potential applications in the UK. Costs seem sensitive to all these issues including choice of the mix of available technologies. Choices require careful simulation.

At the moment I am encouraged by proof of concept for a small house that has for example 25 times better air tightness than required by our current regulations. That this has enabled very efficient heat recovery and then air quality, contributes to the outstanding internal environment that I experienced. No central heating, no air conditioning, fit for the location. I see no reason yet to write off this development at this early stage on the basis of your calculations or opinions. There may be cheap and cheerful methods of achieving half the energy savings at less than half the cost (or similar), thereby reaching more people more quickly, but I understand that Germany is tightening up quality all the time and, if I get it right, mandating PH standards for all future public building. I hope they can do it with net benefit.
Comparison with a status object like a Rolls-Royce seems a touch unnecessary to me.

Hi Phil,

The Canadian body for passive houses is at:

The Cdn organisation is fairly new - first year - the US version is at;

First passive house in Canada was completed this year;

As for the proof of concept, according to the UK Passive house site, there have 30,000 PH's built around the world, and in the UK, 18 certified and 19 pending/under construction. A central tenet of PH was to make the house so efficient that central heating is not required - so I expect that this is the 30,000 and 1st house to be built without it,

So what, really, is being proven with this house that has not already been well proven by all the other passive houses, or even the other already done in the UK?

My issue with PH is that they are too expensive - all this effort is spent on making them energy efficient - which is a good thing - but it seems that little or no effort is put into making them cost efficient.
And if they always going to be so expensive, then how can we afford to do them, in a time of economic decline?

The UK site even touts them as the solution for social housing, to prevent "energy poverty". But what about the fact that since they cost twice as much, you can only afford to build half as many? How does that help the half that miss out?
The PH types are aiming for getting it mandated for public housing as it guarantees them a market (at taxpayer expense) - they certainly couldn't compete in the wider housing market. If the gov does, hopefully they will simply set standards equal to PH, rather than requiring these projects to go through the proprietary PH certification.

The PH process seems geared to add a LOT of paperwork - all done by "certified professionals" to the process, with predictable cost implications.

As a clarification, the statement "Rolls-Royce solution" is not intended to mean a status symbol - it is a term commonly used in Australia to describe projects that are gold plated and/or over engineered - here in Canada/US they call them "Cadillac solutions".

This project seems to be an example of that to me - but if the client is happy with it, then power to him.

As proof to the rest of the country/world it shows that this concept, as executed here, is the house equivalent of the Tesla car - technically great, but at a price that the majority can never afford.

The technical concept has been well proven - the challenge to be addressed is making it affordable enough to be implemented.
On that score, this project is hurting, not helping, the cause.

Best hopes for affordable, and scalable, energy efficiency.


There certainly have been houses built in Canada that exceed R2000 specifications and that did not require a furnace. A friend of mine has built 5 such houses, one in Dartmouth NS and four in the Huntsville ON area. His designs are all noticeably smaller than an average house as this is another way to reduce construction costs and energy consumption. An additional benefit of having a large amount of insulation is that the house can be kept at a comfortable temperature all day long without a substantial energy cost. Our friends certainly complain when they come and visit our 1960's house in the winter because we keep the temperature at 18 degrees during the day and 14 degrees at night.

I'd love to have a well insulated house. Building one in the city is impractical due to the lack of empty lots to build on, and retrofitting our existing house would be difficult and not likely to yield results equivalent to a newly built house. The primary challenge I see in retrofitting an existing house would be achieving a degree of air tightness comparable to what could be achieved with new construction.

jstewart, are you willing to provide a reference to your friend? I am planning on building in NB in a few years and am looking for contacts who can assist. If you are uncomfortable, perhaps you could send an email to archivist at sympatico.ca?

Those modular houses in the link are designed in the US. The insulation (150mm, 5.9in walls, 300mm, 11.8in ceiling) isn't that much different than the standard for that called for at our location in our state building code from 12 years ago. Those specs are not super insulation, IMHO. When I designed my house in 1998, I used 12 inch thick walls and 15 inches of insulation thru the roof, along with triple glazing in my windows on 3 sides. I used double layer glazing, low-e on the south, because I wanted more solar thermal gain during the day, which the triple glazed windows did not provide with their solar heat gain value of 0.37. The triple glazed windows make quite a difference (R-value = 2.5) and I intend to add insulated shutters on the south side to cut the heat loss at night thru these low R value windows.

This isn't hard to do nor is it expensive, if done during new construction, but retrofit later is a real problem. The technology has been around for more than 25 years and all new buildings could have been built that way the past 15 years, but our political inertia kept it from happening. Worse, around here there's been a building binge of expensive second homes using log walls, lots of glass and high ceilings with covered decks shading the south side windows...

E. Swanson

Don't know if you've seen it, but I'm borrowing a Rodale book from 1980 called 'Movable Insulation', which has a number of variations on Shutters, internal and external.

A lot of good ideas in there!


I'm working on Internal Frames for adding a couple layers of stretch film today, but am also eager to add external shutters ASAP.


I believe "super insulation" would be something like R40 in the walls and R60 in the attic.

Well, I didn't say the modular was super insulated, just "decent" insulation - much better than modulars were in the past (I have seen some with RV style walls framed in 2x2's!)

But, yes they could make some kind of superinsulated version, which is what I was getting at when I said they could design a passiv haus standard one.

At least, with these modulars, they are not spending money on granite, lots of architectural "detailing" and so on. They are really a minimalist approach - the simplest, most cost effective house they can build, with good(but not great) energy performance.

While not perfect, I think this is actually a better use of resources (material and human) than the British example in the original post.

And certainly better than the McMansions - I too have seen the covered south side decks - to allow them "to enjoy the deck year round in BC's variable weather" - though the occupants said the lounge room seemed a bit gloomy - duh!!

IMHO, the folks who rave about the Passivehaus standard are not really trying to save energy or money. Instead, they are suffering from the “Greener Than Thou” mentality. They are deliberately spending far more money than necessary on their house just so that they can brag about how much money they spent being “Greener Than Thou”. They are trying to prove their commitment to saving the environment by spending far more money than any of their neighbors. In other words, it’s really an ego problem.

The Passivehaus standard also reminds me of the Tiny House fad that refuses to die. Some people spend $40,000 or more for a 96 square foot house, just so they can brag about how small their house is. Of course, that works out to over $400 per square foot, for a house that is a bit larger than a walk-in closet.

I don't know that that is entirely fair.

First, I think it's a false choice. Is it not possible that they are actually eager to have a house/building that performs REALLY well, and then also have earned some bragging rights, or to put it a different way, 'to show others what is possible and what we should have as priorities instead of Marble Countertops..' It just sounds too much like the complaint that Ralph Nader's campaign was all about his EGO.. as if any of the other campaigns were somehow true and selfless.

I want a house that performs to Passiv-haus levels, and I'd be proud of it if I got there, and would spread the word, believe me I would. Where would you rank that?

I don't have a lot of admiration for it when people do it unsensibly, but it's not always easy to tell that just because it came with a high price tag.. a lot of assumptions are under the gun, here, and doing some of these things right does take purchasing truly durable solutions from up off the 'Top Shelf', putting in an ungodly amount of labor, and knowing that's what it takes to work with a long-term point of view. I just think so much of our perspective today is heavily tainted with this "Must Have it Cheap or it's Not Worth it.." mentality. It's perverse, really.

You might settle for cheap beer, so you can have the good Whiskey.. (I just drink a lot less, so I can have Good Beer AND Good Whiskey when it's time..)

What? You expect me to be reasonable all the time? Can’t I just be grumpy on days when I have to shovel snow for several hours? )

But seriously, this also reminds me of people who spend $40,000 for a solar PV system, when they are already connected to the power line in front of their house. Can't they find something better to spend their money on? Like 40,000 CFLs which they could hand out on street corners for example.

In the meantime, the car, the driveway, the path to the workshop, and the path to the solar woodshed are all cleaned out, so maybe I'll be feeling more generous tomorrow. And it helped a lot when I waxed my plastic snow shovel.

Canadian building standards are more than adequate....r 20 walls, r 30 attics. As a long time builder recently upgrading to r 40 in attic with passive solar southern exposure, airtight is unhealthy IMHO. You need clean air for a healthy environment. There are too many man-made products in our world gassing off.

The tight houses need air exchange thru an energy recovery system. That way, you have no trapping of chemicals released inside. One hopes that one has built in an area where the outside air is not very polluted, but that's not likely to be true in many US cities...

E. Swanson

Alright.. you can be grumpy. I don't blame you at all..

Personally, most of my own 'Green-cred' efforts are at the other end of the spectrum anyhow, showing how much one can do with your basic, cast-off stuff to turn it into useful Renewable Gear like Hot Air Collectors and Insulation Blowers. *(Just scored some nice sheets of EPDM in a dumpster just up the street yesterday!) But I'm not doing it for praise. I think it needs to be done, and it needs champions. That guy who puts a lot into getting his house right is doing R&D, as far as I'm concerned.. there is a lot of rethinking and experimenting that still needs to happen as we improve on these systems, so I don't agree that his efforts or investment was necessarily wasted or going in the wrong direction.

Sometimes a labor of love or following a passion doesn't have to clear the budgeting committee for it to be a success.

I got away without shoveling this time.. you're farther from the coast, I recall.


Hello Bob,

I’m doing a little R&D as well. This year I am installing more insulation in the cellar. I installed an inch of styrofoam on the outside of the north and east foundation walls two years ago, down to about a foot below grade. Then I installed insulated window plugs in six cellar windows last year, along with 2 inch foam insulation inside the band joist.

This year I am installing reflective insulation on the inside of the other two cellar walls, due to obstructions on the outside. The plan is to attach furring strips to the concrete walls and then staple the Reflectix to the furring strips, to extend down four feet from the top of the concrete. With the new 3/4 inch air space, the ¼ inch of bubble wrap, and the two new reflective surfaces, the total insulation value should be about R 4, and should reduce heat loss through the concrete by about 75%.

I worked on this for about three hours yesterday evening but it is slow going. I tried masonry nails last weekend with no luck, and now I’m trying a masonry drill and screws. But that 60 year old concrete is incredibly hard! Even the special masonry drill bit is not working well.

Not sure what your using but you need a hammer action drill, and to be real professional a low speed drill along with your tungsten tipped drill bit.

Good luck

You definitely need a hammer drill as Toolpush says. I trust you are using TapCon type screws. TapCon manufactures an inexpensive attachment that allows you to both drill and then drive the screw with the same tool. After drilling you slip on the driver over the drill bit. Drive the screw and then slip off the attachment for the next hole. Speeds up the process by several orders.

Hilti, and other manufacturers, have sold powder activated nail guns for a long time. A 22 caliber blank drives a specially tempered nail through the wood into the concrete. With these you can even nail 2X4s onto steel I-beams. They should be for rent most places.

SDS or similar hammer drill. They can be hired too. My standard hammer drill, though a good one, has a hard time with the concrete here. I upgraded to a SDS drill, knife through butter. Also will help with chiselling too. I'd add to Paulo, GOOD eye protection, if you get spalling it can fly hard.


Use a cheap .22 fired hilti approx.cost >$40. 1 swing sets into anything. Use eye and ear protection. Lose the drill.

The German insulation video shows a person installing new insulation paid for with a loan having a 30 year payback. Such long term thinking would appear silly in the US, given that the average home owner has traditionally moved rather often.

Good point, my sister and her husband live in a 200 year old house in a small village in Germany, it has been in her husband's family for a few generations and is one of the newer houses in the village...

For those of you who wonder about the EROI, I did an analysis recently (http://www.sciforum.net/presentation/561). Insulation in general has a very good EROI. However, it is inversely proportional to the existing insulation. Indeed, I have some doubt about some European standard that tend to over-insulating the houses, which is against the passivhaus philsophy.

If the government (US) wanted to stimulate the economy, and do something to reduce energy use at the same time, it should subsidize the costs for construction of new energy-efficient multi-unit housing (apartments, condos and co-ops) in existing urban areas. Not only would this reduce future building energy needs, it would also reduce future transportation energy needs.

The government would not need to pay the entire cost, of course, but just enough to entice private developers to take on the job. In some cases, this might require only getting all the necessary permits in hand before passing the project off to someone else. And the total project costs could be greatly reduced by reducing the onerous parking requirements in typical zoning codes.

When enough new energy efficient housing is available in a givn metro area, it will be feasible to abandon and demolish many of the old energy wasting mobile homes.

Considering the massive number of underwater mortgages and unsold properties, and massively depressed housing prices, building more housing would be the worst possible stimulus imaginable, outside of attacking Iran.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending November 18, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged nearly 14.8 million barrels per day during the week ending November 18, 117 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 85.5 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging about 9.5 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased slightly last week, averaging just under 4.8 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.3 million barrels per day last week, down by 246 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.6 million barrels per day, 225 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 956 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 135 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 6.2 million barrels from the previous week. At 330.8 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are closer to the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 4.5 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.8 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 0.2 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 3.9 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 19.1 million barrels per day, down by 0.3 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged 8.6 million barrels per day, down by 4.0 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 4.2 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 5.7 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 3.4 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

That's quite a drop in crude inventories. Analysts were predicting a build in supplies. The drop in total commercial petroleum inventories is really adding up.


Oil and Distillate Stockpiles Declined Last Week, API Reports

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil inventories fell 5.57 million barrels to 335.7 million last week, the American Petroleum Institute said.

Distillate fuel inventories fell 886,000 barrels to 138.1 million, the API’s weekly report showed. Gasoline stockpiles gained 5.42 million barrels to 209.6 million.

The EIA data shows that there is a continuing increase in exports of product and a decline in imports, thus a large decline in net imports. The decline amounts to some -609 thousand bbls/day on the 4 week average compared to last year's data. The 4 week average of US crude imports are up 2.7% over last year, while the effect of the increased product exports results in a net decline in total imports of -7.5%. It's also worth noting that the stocks of propane are 7.5% below last year at this time, which does not look good at the start of the Winter heating season...

E. Swanson

Upper Midwest Diesel Shortage Ends while Crude Supplies Fall

Refiners in the Midwest stepped up output by increasing utilization from 87.9% to 91.8%, which helped bring back the upper Midwest from the brink of a widespread diesel shortage. Also markedly improving was the gasoline supply situation in the Midwest, but stepping up refinery output contributed to the drawdown in nationwide crude oil supplies.

While the decline in US oil inventories does not appear severe when glancing at the chart (below), keep in mind that more than 30 million barrels of oil were released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) last summer just to keep oil supplies from plunging to well below average levels.

The US is being outbid by other countries – notably China for oil supplies. This results in falling oil imports while export demand for oil products - especially diesel - increases. There is still a slim chance that the US will get through the winter without resorting to another release of oil from the SPR, and that would probably only happen if the US falls back into recession. While Libya is making a great effort to increase oil exports, it may be too little too late. By the time any increase in OPEC supplies reaches the US, we will be mostly through the worst weather of the winter months – with its higher heating oil demands.

Libya may now be producing about 500,000 bpd, and exporting about 350,000 bpd. Exports were running about 1.35 mbpd right before Libya started going off line in early February.

NEW YORK, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Total crude oil exports from Libya jumped more than 20 percent compared with last week following tanker reservations by Royal Dutch Shell, shippers said.



A concept I am trying to get my head around is the speed of change taking place without a hint of concern from the powers that be or the MSM. Take for example the release of oil from the SPR. Looking at the chart from above, had that oil not been released we would be well below the average range for this time of year. Unsaid, of course is the fact that no other period during the 5 year average saw a significant draw from the SPR, so we are comparing apples to oranges on the chart. As the MSM reports "we have ample supplies, crude inventories are within the average range for this time of year". No, they're not. The average range should not reflect draws from the SPR. It's misleading.

Also, this release from the SPR should ideally be restored. However, if its true that most everyone is producing flat out then where will we secure these additional supplies? Of further concern is the fact that today's reported draw in crude is one of the largest ever for this time of year. True, Libya will increase production but China is still reporting significant year over year increases in crude imports. If we're being out bid now, we're going to be out bid tomorrow.

These concepts, if proven true, are historic and permanent. The rules of the game are changing in real time. We can't do as we did in the 90's and ramp production as needed. At $100+ for Brent, who is not producing flat out? That said, ANY drop in crude inventories is now too much. Again, if everyone is producing flat out, not only is the SPR not going to be restored, we also lack the means to rebuild our non-SPR stocks. You state "There is still a slim chance that the US will get through the winter without resorting to another release of oil from the SPR". In a few months we'll be talking about trying to make it through the spring without a release of oil from the SPR. It's not sustainable.

By the time this hits the front page of the Wall Street Journal, it will be too late. The inventories will be dropping fast, never to be refilled, regardless of price. Speaking of price, after the 6.2 million draw was reported WTI dropped. So much for price controlling the demand /suppy balance.

Fine summary.

In the year 2011 to date, net imports – that is total oil and oil product imports less oil and oil product exports – are down about 1 million bpd. Let’s repeat – there has been a rapid deterioration of net imports of 1 mbpd in just one year!

At first glance, an optimist might say that since Libya lost about 1 mbpd in exports in 2011, that this makes sense. However the US only imported about 100,000 bpd from Libya, so the problem is a bit more complex.

More specifically, since March 15 of this year, the "East" - especially the countries of China and India - has taken a larger share of the (contracting) net oil export market, while the "West" - in particular the US - is losing its share of the world export market.

So far the IEA, acting mainly on behalf of the West plus Japan, tried to recover from the loss of oil supply by an emergency release from strategic petroleum reserves. So instead of a ‘super’ price spike last summer that would have ordinarily re-allocated world supplies to the highest bidder, the West started using up reserves.

As explained elsewhere here, there is growing evidence that the net world oil export market is in terminal decline, although excluding the effects of Libya the decline is so far occurring rather slowly in 2011. With the return of Libya proceeding fairly rapidly, there may be month to month recoveries - especially in the next few months in the initial phase of Libya’s recovery. However it is not expected that Libya will return to prior export levels for two more years – if ever. With net world oil exports faltering, the last IEA release will end up being only a stop gap measure for the West. As long as the price of oil in the US is less than the rest of the world, market forces will act to make the US continue to bear the brunt of falling net world oil exports.

This problem can only be resolved by a new super-spike (for the US benchmark WTI), or another IEA (or SPR) oil release. The need to go back to the using reserves will accelerate over time just to hold the price in the US the same – if that is the goal of the US government, as it indirectly appears to be. Assuming no further disruptions to oil exporters (a shaky assumption considering events in Syria, refinery and pipeline disruptions in Yemen, and an oil embargo against Iran), the next possibility of a super-spike won't be until late winter or early spring. It's quite likely at least here in the US, faced with the prospect of rising oil prices, there will be another move to release more oil from the SPR. There doesn’t even seem to be a plan to replace that reserve for emergencies that may occur in the future.

Since US domestic demand is falling, indicating a slow growing or even stagnant economy, there is a possibility that US demand will fall more. But demand is unlikely to fall enough to offset the drop in overall net imports.

The US has about 270 million barrels of high quality oil left in the SPR, out of a total of 696 million barrels in the SPR. At the rate we may have to use the SPR, it won’t be many years before the high quality oil is used up (so far there is enough lower and medium quality oil for most refineries). Looking at overall US oil and oil product inventories, including commercial supplies plus the SPR, total US stocks are down 100 million barrels from one year ago. This is a very bad trend; hopefully one that will be addressed before it hits the front pages of the news.

Worldwide, diesel supplies are falling nearly everywhere, making it unlikely that foreign demand for US diesel exports will moderate anytime soon:

Diesel Becomes 'Global Issue' as Premium Soars: Energy Markets

Barbara Powell, Bloomberg News

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Soaring demand for diesel and gasoil around the world is depleting stockpiles, sending U.S. prices to the highest level in three years relative to gasoline.

U.S. diesel and heating oil supplies have fallen 16 percent in eight weeks, according to the Energy Department. Stockpiles in Singapore in the week ended Nov. 9 were the lowest since July 2008, according to International Enterprise Singapore, a unit of the trade ministry. Inventories in Europe's Antwerp-Rotterdam- Amsterdam hub were the smallest in almost three years at the end of October, data from PJK International BV show.


The Price of diesel has reached parity with petrol at the pumps here in Ireland in the past few days, it used to be about 5% lower.

From Up-top: The U.S. Economy, Market Are Yo-Yoing On Oil.

3. Policy-makers cannot solve this commodity based oil crisis with monetary policy.

One can only solve a commodity crisis by producing more of it, or, finding a substitute....

However, even faced with these very simple truths, the Obama administration (like the Bush administration before it) believes the Federal Reserve can solve our oil crisis by printing more money to "pay" for our imported foreign oil. As we have all witnessed, not only does this strategy not work, but it merely increases the debt, strategically weakens our economic foundation, lowers our standard of living and weakens the U.S. dollar - which causes oil prices to go up, which necessitates printing more money

I agree, do you?

Disagree. I always disagree :)

1) The current monetary policy is not trying to solve the oil crisis. Straw man alert.

2) I think monetary policy can help us make a soft landing. Right now it needs to be concerned with combating deflation.

Economists practice so much double talk that they confuse even themselves.

As Jonathan remarked above,there are more economists, obviously, working in the Canadian energy bureaucracy than there are physicists.

Economists seem to be able forget inconvenient facts as easily as the Red Queen believed impossible things before breakfast-they actually practice harder than she ever did, as she only got up to six.

Money is being counterfeited by central banks and spent at astounding rates, without any offsetting increases in productivity to hold down prices.

You can bet your last dime that inflation is alive and well, and flourishing, in terms of every man's definition of constantly rising day to day living expenses.

Anybody holding substantial cash on hand might do very well by waiting for real estate or stocks to hit a new bottom and getting in and out of the markets, or by securing a very low interest long term mortgage on a desirable property-one well suited to a low expense partially self sufficient life in a declining economy.

The payment might well be below comparable rents in badly inflated money in ten years or even less-which is to say, money as such will be worth very little, in nominal terms.

We may see a twenty dollar minimum wage and ten dollar bread within the next decade or so , or simply ten dollar bread and no minimum wage.

Anybody holding cash in expectations of paying for fuel, food, medical care,electricity, or any other day to day expense, excepting rent possibly, is going to be robbed blind by inflation over the next few years.By "cash" I also mean investments that pay a fixed low rate of return such as most bonds.

REAL rents just might collapse the way ocean going freight rates have collapsed due to a vast oversupply of cargo ships.

All it would to collapse house and apartment rents is for a few million more singles and families to decide to double up.

But the currency will be inflated to the point that nominal rents will rebound and rise after a while to the point that some borrowers will still have a present to them made of their house-assuming they can scrape up the payment.

My personal guess is that this increase in doubling up is almost a foregone conclusion as peak resources continue to take an ever larger bite out of working and middle class incomes.

Those who believe inflation cannot be generated at will, or inadvertently despite strenous efforts to keep it in check,, simply have not thought this thing through.

When things get really desperate, tptb will run the presses and push the zero button as many times as they see fit-all the old rules about credit will go out the window.

There are MANY ways to get the "money" so created into the hands of the public-the easiest one is for the govt to simply implement a minimum income and welfare floor and issue checks.

Now only a fool would believe this sort of thing will work for any length of time-but it will work for a while, and it will put off the final day of reckoning for a few months or maybe even a few years.

It will happen because it is the last stopgap measure capable of holding off outright collapse short of outright martial law, which will not fly in many places-it won't fly here in the US, as the country is too well armed, and the typical American soldier will desert before he fires on his own people.

Well said, OFM, my thoughts (almost) exactly.... if only I could get my substantial mortgage fixed at a reasonable rate for a multi-year term, I'd be in good shape. Sadly, multi-year (eg 10+), fixed rate mortgages don't exist in the UK as far as I'm aware.

I personally believe that net importer OECD countries are going to experience "hyper-stagflation" - flat to no growth in GDP coupled with massive inflation caused by monetary devaluation. I can't work out in my head whether it's possible for Central Banks to raise nominal interest rates in that scenario without causing a systemic bank collapse. I do however expect credit spreads to widen - i.e. the average Joe has to pay a much bigger premium over nominal base rates to secure any kind of credit.

Whether we like it or not, banks have to be bailed out to avoid systemic collapse caused by massive widespread debt default. If the banking system ceases to function, we're all screwed: no access to cash or cash-flow means no gas at the gas station, no goods at the supermarket, etc. It's unthinkable that governments allow this to happen, hence the bailouts. And for those that think there's no link between investment banks and main street banks... think again.... they co-exist together or fail together.

However, bailouts MUST be accompanied by the cessation of obscene profiteering both in pay and "profits" by these banks. They will NEVER self-regulate, and, as such, I see nationalisation as the only way forward - that would barely be acceptable in Europe and, I'd venture, impossible in the US.... far too "communist" a solution.

Additionally, nationalising the banks would put them under the leadership of politicians - a different sort of evil to bankers, but no less prone to short-termism, albeit based on the need to get re-elected rather than to pay themselves massive bonuses.

Italy's recent decision to install a non-elected technocrat government (none of the cabinet are elected politicians) will be an interesting experiment. One can only hope that this cabal tries very hard to be a largely benign dictatorship....

and the typical American soldier will desert before he fires on his own people.

True but the American Soldier (also city, county, state police officer) are never asked to fire on their own people. They fire on 'insurgents' 'terrorists' 'protesters' 'gang members' 'the enemy' or just plain 'them'. I wonder how many Germans thought the same thing about German soldiers and German people in the 20's/30's.

I do agree with the rest though.

"the typical American soldier will desert before he fires on his own people"

that's the old model:


...an array of cameras which can include both night and thermal vision. SWORDS is completely silent, can keep pace with a running soldier (5mph), climb stairs, right itself, negotiate rock piles, overcome concertina wire, and plow through sand, snow and surf. Most importantly, it can shoot with astounding accuracy and thanks to its universal weapon-mounting device...

Whatever they say, remote controlled robots on the ground are still extremely vulnerable to attack using simple home made gadgets. To swamp a camera mounted on a robot all you need is lots of IR LED's and some good lasers. Once the camera is disabled, a well aimed Molotov will finish off the rest, leaving the main gun ready for theft.

and the typical American soldier will desert before he fires on his own people.

What is typical, and what percentage do they represent? I think you're whistling past the graveyard. This is a volunteer army, people who've chosen it as a career or who could not find other employment even if they're not into it. When things get really tough and they have to choose between being supported by the state (with their families) or falling into the great mass of the failing and struggling, it won't be such an easy choice. Especially if there are additional "dis-incentives" for defying orders.

The scary part is that they are just a cross section of (the less affluent) of our society... some will choose to die rather than fire at their fellow citizens, some will fire based on disincentives, others will fire without a second thought.

If we throw in the demonization campaign that will surely precede, then all bets are off.

Hi Twilight and everybody who doubts the patriotic (in the true sense) qualities of American troops.

The volunteer army of today is smarter and better educated than drafted armies of the past, and the troops are far better connected with local, state , national and world affairs , since the advent of cable tv, the internet, cellphones,etc..

Nearly all the officers are graduates of decent colleges or universities, with only a relative handful from the service academies, although that handful holds most of the top jobs.

Just about anybody who stays in for very long has to be smart enough to get promoted;it's up or out.

I do not doubt that troops can be found to put down a riot , or attack a small compound of oddball characters who can be tarred with the terrorist label.We have Waco to prove that.

Even in places like Libya, the troops have switched sides when they had the choice of firing on their own kind.

But my assessment of the true nature of our men in uniform is based on knowing a great many of them personally over the years, including a relatives and childhood friends who are career military.

I am utterly confident that not a single one of the ones known to me would open fire on a crowd of demonstrators;they would simply refuse to do so.Any officer who tried to get them to obey such an order would find himself faced with an instant mutiny.

Those of us who have little or no acquaintance with our troops often think of them as storm troopers.They are a thousand times more likely to be Sunday school teachers and Boy Scout leaders, teachers, , small businessmen, etc. when out of uniform.

My sister, who is retired Army, is a neonatal icu nurse, and a professor of nursing. Her retired career army husband spends nearly all his free time working on community improvement projects in an economically backward area near their home.

They are quite representative of mid level career military people.
Their kids attended public schools and they attended the pto meetings.

Of course the troops of any army anywhere or any period of history who have been in combat for a while, and living in constant danger, as well as suffering considerable hardships in the field, can be expected to commit an occasional war crime-they are only human.

Having said all this, I do recognize that it is not inconceivable that American politics could take a very nasty turn towards something similar to Nazi era Germany, in which case all bets are off.

But personally and thankfully I can't see this happening for the foreseeable future.

The problem is that there's no center to American life anymore. Not when it comes to race, religion, class, geography, politics, culture, anything really.

There are too many different ethnic groups with competing interests, and the middle class is going extinct. Which leaves us separated and vulnerable and unable to work together for the common good when the going gets tough.

This was always perilous in America, to be sure, but now it's beyond the point of no return.

The only solution is neofeudal bank/corporate/military control, which is in fact exactly what we're getting.

There are undoubtedly enormous challenges here in the US and all over, Oilman, but I find comments like these inaccurate and irresponsible in the extreme.

"..there's no center to American life anymore."
"...The only solution is neofeudal bank/corporate/military control,..."

A lot is missing, a lot has been stolen, but a lot also remains, and this regular doctrine of people out-dooming each other around here seems to be more a function of people playing out their traumatization than anything else.

Even living on well-informed Internet sites can leave people excessively isolated and cynical. I hope you're out with people doing something encouraging, or creating it if it's thin in your town..

Hopelessness is as contagious as Courage.. it's a choice.

I think Oilman has tapped into a feeling. We used to have a lot more commonality -primarily because we were (mostly) told the same stories. Now we have the stories told by Fox News on the one hand, by hollywood on another, and by liberals on a third. And too often these stories are designed to throw the others in a bad light. So we have people who have absorbed incompatible worldviews. And this is a problem. The expansion of choices in information networks only allows it to fracture more.

Another aspect to this is that the bad news just never ends. If you know the details of PO et al, then each and every burp in the news pretty much indicates this slow cliff-edge march. After awhile I/we just have to turn the news off and refocus on personal and family issues. When you hear all the silly and misdirected news broadcasts, it is easy to marvel at the absolute futility of it all.

"Don't you hear it? It's coming....it's coming". The different news versions are all wrong and off track. It will be interesting when the same tune is being sung, not that the finger pointing and recriminations will be the same, but the general malaise will be too big to hide from. Soon.

And just when will that be? 2012? 14? ?? And when do you think the politicos will actually talk about the facts, and stop this endless farce about growth prospects? As Gail says, "it's a finite world, folks". Even with unlimited energy, it is still finite.

I get all your points.. I think it's critical to stop listening to almost all the voices we know are full of it now, and to let the yammer of those who are listening to it and hooked to listening to it wash on by.

Watching the Slo-Mo train wreck is hard to tear our eyes away from, but there's plenty we should be doing to distract ourselves from the distractions..

"For scientific leadership, give me Scott; for swift and efficient travel, Amundsen; but when you are in a hopeless situation, when there seems to be no way out, get on your knees and pray for Shackleton."

- in fact, time to become Shackletons.

I don't know.. I'm not one to be all that entertained by my own despair.

I am about halfway between you guys in terms of my opinion of the fragmentation of American society.

Of course it is only fair and reasonable that everybody enjoy his or her full civil rights, etc, but it is also in my opinion risky for a society to change to fast under the impetus of the courts and prevailing liberal or progressive opinion.

Those of us who have pushed for fast change ( I have been one on occasion) may someday regret the backlash generated as a result.

People need a collective sense of identity in order to BE a community.

Our best intentioned leaders have contributed hugely to destroying this sense of community without creating anything to take its place;even worse, they have created a power and cultural vacuum which is fast filling up with the worst disaffected elements of our society.

The KJB is all wrong about physics, but it is dead on in respect to politics and human nature.

We are now in many respects as far separated as "the East and the West"-which is to say, too far to ever bridge the gap again.

Somebody is going to lose out-will it be the evangelicals, or the gays and lesbians? the right or the left?

the mic or the welfare state?


Somebody is going to lose out-will it be the evangelicals, or the gays and lesbians? the right or the left?

the mic or the welfare state?

I think these are a couple of false dichotomies here..

Let me start with #2 above: Why does reducing the expenditures on the MIC have to mean an increase, or even maintaining the same current spending, on social services (AFDP, SNAP, heating assistance, EIC, HeadStart, Medicaid, Medicare, etc.)?

What if we were to cut both?


What if spending above a certain level on the MIC produces zero or negative benefits?

What if current social spending provides benefits to society commensurate with their costs?

Now to # 1 above: First of all, the second sentence seems to imply that /only/ liberals support gay rights, and only Republicans are evangelicals. I know that is not true.

Secondly, why does taking steps to stop discriminating against homosexual folks represent a 'loss' for evangelicals?

Perhaps evangelicals can pray, read the Bible, commune in church worship, etc, without attempting to control other peoples' lives through imposing religious-based civil laws in the U.S....as I think more and more of them do...(practice their religion w/o the crusades to control others).

Society is more complex than 'either/or', 'If A then B' statements would imply.

Happy Thanksgiving,



I agree in principle-I simply threw these out as food for thought.Your scenarios are realistic.

But a political gain(which I support)on the side of the gay and lesbian sector is a gain for the liberal/progressive side of the culture, while it is at the same time a loss on the evangelical/ conservative side.

This changes the political power balance in subtle and not so subtle ways.

Personally, I believe both sides hold to values and beliefs that are good for us, and split my allegiance issue by issue, rather than supporting one side or the other as a matter of political solidarity.

There is little doubt in my mind that the liberal /progressive faction is winning overall, despite what you read occasionally about the resurgence of the churches.My belief is that it religion will continue to slowly fade away so long as bau continues.

I live dep inside the Bible Belt and in a Bible Belt hot spot-and yet the most devout young people who attend the local churches are libertines compared to their grandparents.They wear short dresses to church, hold dances(gasp!) for teenagers on church properties with (double gasp!) live (Christian) rock music, go out to eat right after church and then go shopping, and work on Sundays if their employer asks them to.

Just about one hundred percent of them understand that dinosaurs(excepting turtles and alligators) preceded us here by tens of millions of years, as a result of watching tv if not learning some biology in junior high, and no literate adult, excepting a preacher, will discuss the story of Noah and the ark seriously unless "backed into a corner." The people would rather forget this stuff, or rather relegate it to children's Sunday school class like like Santa Claus-who is welcome at church in spite of being a heathen.They tolerate "toe the line" fundamentalism in more or less the same way dignified and sophisticated civil rights leaders tolerate somebody like loose cannon Al Sharpton.

Of course this analysis, coming from me, just an ordinary guy with two eyes and two ears, and the will to use them,who has lived among these people for a long long time, will be strongly disputed by people who are not "on the scene" and wish to believe otherwise.

If the economic scene changes radically, which it promises to do, this situation could reverse itself with a decline in already low educational standards and poverty driving people together for aid and comfort-local churches are superbly positioned and highly skilled in meeting these needs.


You see the same things I see...my children and their friends (both non-religious and religious) do not regard the 'traditional' (over the past 30-some years) 'moral majority' issues as anything but BAU.

Prayer in public schools, abortion, homosexual folks being accorded the same rights and liberties as any other folk...'intelligent design'/biblical creationism...these are all non-issues to them...the younger folk I interact with every day have a 'separation between church and state'/anathema to government or politicians telling them to hew the religious party line attitude hard-wired in to them.

Back to the days when I was brought up...religion largely being a private experience, or at least not used as a wedge issue in local, state, and national politics.

My wife read an article she found on the net yesterday where someone was trying to beat the war drum because President Obama gave a Thanksgiving address and did not mention God...the ten or so twenty-somethings rolled their eyes, shook their heads,and went about their business.

Churches being centers for community interaction, and action...is, was , always will be...good on them!

I still don't get how affording homosexual folks the same rights as non-homosexual folks is a 'lose' for evangelicals...they need to get over it and move on with their lives...since 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue' was repealed and gays and lesbians have been allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military, all has been quiet on the Western front...BAU. No assaults, riots, mass resignations, dissension in the ranks...because to most folks it was already a non-issue...Fox and Friends needs to get with the times, or they will fade into irrelevancy.

With all the fundamentally important issues stemming from PO and LTG, we need not be wasting our time in vain attempts to capriciously control other people's private lives!

Religion becoming less of a 'political morals police' and more of a force/agent to love thy neighbor and help each other get by is a great thing.

Somebody is going to lose out-will it be the evangelicals, or the gays and lesbians? the right or the left?

History gives us a lesson. Young people today belive the world has always been burdened under a conservative yoke of morality, but now we know better. This is not true. instead there has always been a pedulum swinging between liberalism and conservatism. Right now we are experiencing the upswing from a conservative towards a lieral state. But this round is different from the past ones; it just keep going. The leading liberalsin Sweden is having troublekeeping a clear line in regards to pedophilia and incest, for example.

Every time the pedulum has swung, it has been because it went to far and had bad consequences in the past, and then we do the other way around. For example the 16:th century was a conservative one, as the result from the previous liberal wave was STDs, and that was bad. Somehow we as a species have a tendency to overdo this every time. At least in the western culture. My guess is by 2100 we will be moving in a conservative direction, and given how extremely liberal we will be before the pedulum turns the other way, I guess by 2150 the world will be extremely conservative.

Jedi Welder,

Do 'liberalism' and 'conservatism' in Sweden have the same meanings as in the U.S.?

Waco was feds, not the military. BATF will shoot anyone happily.

I don't think it matters which agency name is stenciled on the backs of the SWAT team uniforms, once the shooting starts...

E. Swanson


I agree, but not completely.

I should have noted that the "troops" involved at Waco were not regulars-imo , BATF is way too much like a renegade army-too much like the Nazi party's private armed forces in the days before they took over Germany.

They weren't ordinary cops either-ordinary cops don't burn people out -they wait them out-nor do ordinary cops rush into the scene of the crime and immediately destroy all the evidence of what happened.

Putting together an organization of ideologically blind gung ho storm troopers is not too hard if the number of members is small, and the organization is sheltered from serious public scrutiny.

The attorney general and every other high level bureaucrat in the justice department, and maybe a few in the White House, should have been tried for war crimes.

Cops should always be local people when it comes to arresting people for the sort of crimes prosecuted under local laws.

Few people remember much about Waco now, as the msm media have quietly decided forget it happened,imo, for reasons of political partisanship.

I can't remember a single reference to it in the media for a long long time.Other such events are rehashed periodically on slow news days.

IIrc, the local sheriff said he could have arrested Koresh simply by calling him;he would have driven himself right over to the sheriff's office.

Cops don't need, and should not have military weapons or toe. Too many of them already are ego tripping behind their badges.

Incidentally if this comment surprises those who remember that I call myself a conservative, I wish to point out that real conservatism includes a libertarian stance in respect to overly powerful govt.

Might have some relevence when describing the impact of lowering energy intensity and GDP to the general public.

Understanding the psychological science behind the debt negotiations

... “Interestingly, from negotiation research we know that it is much easier to negotiate deals that involve gains, instead of losses,” says Carsten de Dreu, Professor of Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. “A so-called loss frame makes negotiators unwilling to make concessions, and increases rigid negotiation styles that are not very helpful in reaching creative, mutually beneficial deals,” he explains.

... Bowles refers to Dacher Keltner and Robert Robinson’s research on “naïve realism,” which shows that people tend to assume that their view is the most rational and that people who do not agree with them are ideologically motivated. In such a scenario, people believe that the other side is so far removed from their stance that it is impossible to reach a consensus

and from a different angle

Nonverbal power cues: Higher rankings lead to less cooperative facial expressions

New University of Michigan research indicates that people in higher-ranked positions tend to exhibit facial expressions that are perceived by others as less cooperative, influencing how others react to them.

The findings contribute to broader research on rankings, cooperativeness and nonverbal expressions, as well as negotiations, leadership and group dynamics

“Interestingly, from negotiation research we know that it is much easier to negotiate deals that involve gains, instead of losses,” says Carsten de Dreu, Professor of Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. “A so-called loss frame makes negotiators unwilling to make concessions, and increases rigid negotiation styles that are not very helpful in reaching creative, mutually beneficial deals,” he explains.

Great citation. I agree this is the key to a lot of what we are seeing in the political sphere today. A society experiencing economic growth, where most citizens view their prospects positively, can tolerate inequality of wealth (like in the US) or even repressive governments (like in the Middle East). But societies that are workable when you are allocating gains become problematic when you are allocating losses. In the case of the Middle East, several rulers lost legitimacy and a frustrated populace have kicked them out. In the US, OWS-style protests express frustration that the wealthy have insulated themselves from losses in ways that those without assets cannot.

As WestTexas has opined previously, resource limits are very likely at the heart of these political developments (or, for peak oil skeptics: "structurally higher energy prices causing recession and eroding middle class prospects" are at the heart of these developments).

Improved lighting efficiency may not save much oil directly, but the electricity and cost savings with widespread Compact Fluorescent Lamp use is staggering. The savings with LEDs would be similar but the purchase cost would be significantly higher.

Consider this example on a USA national level which would spend $2 Billion and save $103 Billion:

100 million residences x 20 bulbs changed per residence; 60 Watt incandescent replaced by 13 Watt CFL;
Bulbs used average of 3 hours per day (1095 hours per year); cost per kWh = $0.11 ($110 per MWh)

(0.047 kilowatt saving per bulb) x 1095 hour usage per year x $0.11 per kWh = $5.66 savings per bulb per year

10,000 hour rated life / 1095 hour usage per year = 9.1 years of savings

2 billion bulbs x $5.66 per bulb per year x 9.1 years = $103 billion total savings ($31 million daily)

2 billion bulbs x $1.00 per bulb = $2 billion CFL Purchase Cost; $2 billion / $31 million per day = 64 day payback

$103 billion / ($110 per MWh) = 936 million MWh electrical savings

How long would a 1000 MW Nuclear Plant need to run to provide this same amount of power?

936,000,000 MWh / (1,000 MW per hour) = 936,000 hours

936,000 / (8760 hours per year) = 107 years (Or roughly 12 nuclear reactors operating throughout the 9.1 year life of the bulbs).

  • Does anyone have any suggestions to add to the example?
  • I've tried this a couple of times and it could be I'm making the same mistake manually as with a calculator, but when I multiply your 2 billion bulbs times your .047 kilowatt savings per bulb, I only come up with a savings of 94 million MW, not the 936 million in your figures.

    shaman, the 0.047 kilowatt saving per bulb is for each hour that it is lit. For 2 billion lights, that calculation would actually be 94 million kilowatt-hours (versus your value of 94 million Megawatt-hours).

    For 10,000 hour rated life: the savings would be 10,000 x 94 million kilowatt-hour = 940 million Megawatt-hours.

    It seems unbelieveable that a $2 billion investment can save over $100 billion (a 50 to 1 return on investment).

    The 2 billion light example would save the electricitiy from 12 typical nuclear plants.

    Just like a power plant has a capacity factor, so does a consumer. How much time per day is the average light lit. In our house its probably only a couple of hours, although it varies greatly by its location, some are on for several hours a day, and some on only on for a few minutes during teh average day. So the capacity factor of your 2 billion bulbs is probably more like a tenth than 1.

    Another good example would be solar hot water heating. Could cut huge amounts of electricity, especially in the summer months.

    enemy of state, in the example I used 3 hours of use per day (or a factor of just over 10%). The idea would be the higher usage bulbs would be the candidates for change to a higher efficiency bulb. No need to change a bulb in a closet or other rarely used location.

    Hi KH,

    There are excellent opportunities to cut load within the residential sector, but the richest finds are undoubtedly with commercial and industrial users due in part to their extended hours of operation -- typically, in these settings the lights burn anywhere from 2,000 to 8,760 hours a year as opposed to perhaps 1,100 hours for our residential CFL.

    As you probably know, I've supplied numerous examples of where we've upgraded older, inefficient T12 fluorescent systems to T5 or T8 and cut the lighting load by more than half. As it turns out, we're in the process of redoing a building that was overhauled just two years ago but, regrettably, a lot of kWh were left on the table. If I may offer a few pictures to illustrate what I mean...

    The private offices were previously retrofitted with 4-lamp T8 troffers fitted with mini-cube parabolic lenses, 32-watt 3500K lamps and conventional 0.88 BF electronic ballasts.

    See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0707.jpg

    With nearly half of the light lost inside the fixture housing due to the mini-cube diffusers, the sharp cut-off leaving vertically surfaces poorly illuminated and with the warmish 3500K lamps, these offices looked decidedly "gloomy".

    We're replacing these fixtures with 2-lamp Lithonia Volumetric parabolics fitted with 28-watt 5000K lamps and high efficiency 0.77 BF NEMA Premium ballasts. Fixture load falls from 118 to 43-watts, a near two-thirds savings with no discernible loss in light output (a combination of a vastly more efficacious luminaire and higher colour temperature lamps).

    See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0717.jpg

    The original T12 fixtures in the labs were likewise replaced with 4-lamp T8 prismatic troffers and here we'll be swapping them out for these same Lithonias -- again, an almost two-third reduction in their lighting load with no discernible light loss.

    See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0723.jpg

    The common areas are illuminated by indirect pendants.

    See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0718.jpg

    Here, we're swapping out the 54-watt 3500K T5 HO lamps for Philips' 44-watt 5000K T5 Energy Advantage HOs; a simple lamp change that will net us a 19 per cent reduction in load with a 10 per cent loss in light output (4,300 initial lumens versus 4,750). Be that as it may, by moving to a higher colour temperature, the general impression is that this space is now much brighter even though the light meter tells us otherwise (if you look closely, you can see the new 5000K lamps in the foreground and the original 3500K lamps at the back).

    Lastly, the staff cafeteria. As above, we've replaced the 54-watt 3500K T5 HO pendants lamps with 44-watt 5000K T5 Energy Savers, the 32-watt 3500K T8s in the kitchen area with 28-watt 5000K T8s, and the 50-watt MR16 halogens in the recessed cans with Philips' 10-watt EnduraLED LEDs.

    See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0725.jpg

    So, even for a building that had been overhauled just two short years ago we can still trim the client's lighting load by a further 178,000 kWh a year and meet our minimum yield requirements. Of course, had the job been done right the first time, we could have spent these same dollars on another retrofit where the money could have been put to better use and the client would have avoided the needless expense of purchasing and installing hardware that was ultimately ill-suited to the task at hand.

    Best hopes for making intelligent choices.


    There are excellent opportunities to cut load within the residential sector, but the richest finds are undoubtedly with commercial and industrial users due in part to their extended hours of operation -- typically, in these settings the lights burn anywhere from 2,000 to 8,760 hours a year as opposed to perhaps 1,100 hours for our residential CFL.

    HereinHalifax, good point.
    However, the residential examples generally are converting from incandescent with its lower efficiency versus commercial and industrial converting from higher efficiency lighting sources.

    Written by Kindhearted:
    100 million residences x 20 bulbs changed per residence; 60 Watt incandescent replaced by 13 Watt CFL;
    Bulbs used average of 3 hours per day (1095 hours per year); cost per kWh = $0.11 ($110 per MWh)

    (0.047 kilowatt saving per bulb) x 1095 hour usage per year x $0.11 per kWh = $5.66 savings per bulb per year

    10,000 hour rated life / 1095 hour usage per year = 9.1 years of savings

    There are about 110 million houses in the U.S. You seem to be assuming that only 10% of current residences already use CFL's. I am not sure of the actual percentage, but that seems a bit low.

    CFL's are approximately 4 times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, so you should be calculating with a 15 W CFL. My GE, 6,500 K color temperature, CFL consumes 26 W and replaces a 100 W incandescent bulb, so it is 3.85 times more efficient.

    20, 13 W CFL's on for 3 hours / day in one house seems a bit excessive. I have one 26 W CFL on for about 8 hours today in the winter. All of my other lights are on only briefly. With an average of 3 people per house (~310 million people and ~100 million houses), everyone in separate rooms, 15 W CFL's in 2 bedrooms, a 30 W CFL in the living room and the lights on for 5 hours, it only amounts to 300 W·hr compared to your 780 W·hr. Sometimes people will be grouped together in one room, and sometimes they will have lights on outside.

    Your calculation seems to be at least 3 times too high making your $103 billion total savings per year less than $30 billion/year.

    To really consider the energy savings one must compare life cycle assessments for each type of bulb. More energy is needed to manufacture a CFL than an incandescent bulb. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs – A Tale From Dust to Dust (02/28/2008) performs an LCA comparison and contains the following statement:

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting in the U.S. accounts for 22% of electricity consumption and costs American’s $58 billion a year.

    which suggests both of our estimates are too high.

    BlueTwilight, thanks for your comments. I will add some responses.

    There are about 110 million houses in the U.S. You seem to be assuming that only 10% of current residences already use CFL's. I am not sure of the actual percentage, but that seems a bit low.

    I was just using round figures for the example.

    20, 13 W CFL's on for 3 hours / day in one house seems a bit excessive. I have one 26 W CFL on for about 8 hours today in the winter. All of my other lights are on only briefly. With an average of 3 people per house (~310 million people and ~100 million houses), everyone in separate rooms, 15 W CFL's in 2 bedrooms, a 30 W CFL in the living room and the lights on for 5 hours, it only amounts to 300 W·hr compared to your 780 W·hr. Sometimes people will be grouped together in one room, and sometimes they will have lights on outside.

    Again, I was just using round figures for the example. Maybe half as many (ten) bulbs would have been a better example.

    Your calculation seems to be at least 3 times too high making your $103 billion total savings per year less than $30 billion/year.

    Actually, the $103 billion total savings was over 9.1 years (about 11 billion per year).

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting in the U.S. accounts for 22% of electricity consumption and costs American’s $58 billion a year.

    which suggests both of our estimates are too high.

    The $11 billion savings per year per the example (or $5.5 billion savings per year for ten bulbs per house) do not seem out of line with the $58 billion spent on lighting per year in the US.

    China to top world in e-commerce by 2015: report

    China now has an online population of more than half a billion -- the low cost of shipping and a passion for shopping among China's growing middle class.

    "Consumerism is already big in China -- people simply love to shop. Beyond this, the Internet is affordable, and thus widely available," said the report, based on surveys of more than 4,000 online shoppers across the country.

    Within five years, online shoppers in China will be spending an average $980 per year -- twice what they spend today and close to the US average of $1,000, said the report, issued Tuesday.

    KKR to Acquire Samson for $7.2 Billion in Year’s Biggest LBO

    KKR & Co. agreed to acquire most of Samson Investment Co., a family-owned oil and natural-gas producer, for $7.2 billion in the largest corporate leveraged buyout of the year.

    A KKR-led investor group will buy all of Samson’s assets with the exception of its onshore Gulf Coast and deep-water Gulf of Mexico assets, the companies said today in a statement.

    Samson owns interests in more than 10,000 wells, including 4,000 that it operates in the U.S., according to the statement. Among its holdings are oil-producing properties in North Dakota’s Bakken region, where crude output has almost doubled in two years, and the Powder River in the northwest U.S. It has shale-gas fields in Haynesville in Texas and Louisiana, and Bossier in Louisiana.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all TODers, I'll be celebrating with a nice locally caught seafood dinner, over pasta, fresh salad from the farmers market, good wine and fresh fruits for dessert.


    As far as I'm concerned this guy wins the posts for today! What a hoot!

    Peak oil vanishes; peak green arrives

    Peak oil theory and the green energy fad both arise from a failure to ­understand how markets work.

    Yeah, but Mr Foster doesn't seem to understand how reality works either...

    I've got two or three offers for a local Thanksgiving dinner, as I'm forced to stay home and oversee an apartment eviction while my Daughter and Wife fly to DC.

    So I'm thankful for not having to travel on the holiday!.. and pretty sorry I'm forcing a couple tenants TO get moving, but it had to be so, alas.

    At least I have the house to myself for a few days, and can dig into a few more messy insulation and tightening projects that are too hard to do when family is around. I'm also about to score a score of surplus windows from freecycle, which will make me the south wall for a solar shed/shop up in the woods at our camp.

    yeesh, that FP article was a gem, no doubt. I didn't post a comment there, but if any of you is signed up for it, I hope he gets a LOT of reasonable but firm feedback. His invective was off the charts.. pinhead.

    I was thinking on that specific article my self. PO theory is not based on economy, but on geology. He just don't get it, does he?

    Peak oil theory and the green energy fad both arise from a failure to ­understand how markets work.

    Neo-classical economic theory and the free market fad both arise from a failure to understand how reality works.

    Nice, cosmoflanker. I thought about responding to that bit of delusion, but your one sentence sums up what I'd thought of saying. Sadly, of course, there's little hope that either of us will convince economists who are not already convinced.

    How a Midwestern town reinvented itself (Video)

    The city of Dubuque, once faced with record unemployment, has turned its fortunes around.

    It did so with a combination of inner-city redevelopment and technological advances geared towards a greener, more sustainable future (relocalization)

    Seraph, in the early 1980's, the City of Dubuque was less diversified with John Deere and the Dubuque Packing Company among the major suppliers. The John Deere plant still exists, however with fewer employees. The Dubuque Packing Company exchanged hands a couple of times and has now been torn down -- the land stands vacant.
    Much of the renovation work on old building downtown is contingent on government-type financing and or credits.
    The two new casinos have created jobs and increased tax revenue, but they've tapped citizen's pockets in the process.
    Dubuque still has challenges ahead, but being more diverse is to its benefit.

    Gambling in any form is always worse than a zero sum game-it is a net loser, when the externalized costs are included.

    It is profitable to a community only so long as the customers are mostly drawn from outside the immediate locality-the expenses then being borne by the gamblers home communities of course.

    Any ordinarily intelligent individual used to be able to understand this simple fact.

    Nowadays however, the "gaming " industry has captured such a large number of politicians and nit wit voters that is is embedded in the economy like a cancer.

    It is simply astounding to stand around in a convenience store in a poor neighborhood say for instance Richmond, Va, where I was visiting last weekend and witness for yourself the way poor working class people (and some welfare recipients too) squander large portions of their already miserly incomes on lottery tickets.

    Va is of course accounted a conservative, sober minded, conservative state, but the "gaming " industry captured us and is milking us like a cow anyway-every dollar the state lottery pays over to the schools probably costs us five or more in externalized costs.

    Lottery-a special tax for those who do not understand arithmetic.

    The "gaming" industry is a good definition of our national economy. The entire financial "industry", Wall St. included, is a casino. And yes, it's worse than a zero sum game.

    Any ordinarily intelligent individual used to be able to understand this simple fact.

    Thats never been my observation. The average Joe thinks he's special and can beat the odds. Add new-age preachers who preach that god wants them to be rich and......
    Agreed 110% with the rest of the post. Even those smart enough not to fall for gambling, think they can benefit from casinos. They even employ some super smart people to try to catch cheaters......

    I've never understood how gambling (Las Vegas type) contributes anything positive to society.

    Yes, I've heard the excuse that some people are "entertained" when gambling.

    But then again, some people are "entertained" by gladiator killings or child porno or whatever. So is that any justification in the first place for gambling or just a way to sweep the obvious under the rug and thus pretend it is not there?

    Gambling is all about convincing suckers that they might actually have an even chance. Yeah, right.

    I can generate hypotheticals were gambling makes sense. It has to do with nonlinear utility function. In the most eggregious example Sid owes the loan shark $5000, and if he can't pay the full amount be will be brutally killed. But, Sid has only $2500. The utility to Sid of this $2500 is essentially zero (he will be a dead man). But if he gambles, with it he has a 40% change of being able to pay of his debt. So it is a defite plus. So if it comes down to an extreme choice death, or escape, gambling may make perfect sense.

    Sid has only $2500

    Sid could instead use his $2500 to buy a gun and dispose of his creditor-shark in that way. ;-)

    Yes, I've heard the excuse that some people are "entertained" when gambling.

    But then again, some people are "entertained" by gladiator killings or child porno or whatever.

    Right. Playing blackjack is almost exactly like raping kids.

    No. More like robo-raping the nickel and dimes filled purses of lonely old people.

    See image here

    Well, Enemy,

    I suppose that our opinions diverge not in respect to gambling but to intelligence of "average Joe".In my opinion, he is as dumb as a fence post- illiterate in terms of mathematics beyond addition and subtraction, and totally ignorant of the physical sciences and the true state of the world.

    The biggest problem I have in getting my liberal friends to understand why their philosophy runs into so many practical snags is that they are all reasonably intelligent and educated-they cannot grasp the reality of the intellectually barren mind of the typical man on the street.

    Such people never spend the day in intimate contact day in day out with such people in real life situations.If they do see them, everybody is playing some sort of game related to probation, child support, welfare, school, or whatever.

    I live most of my life surrounded by such people.The things they think and believe are not to be believed until you witness them for yourself.

    I don't know about Dubuque, but looking at the wretched parade of misery outside the riverside casinos in Davenport was one of the most depressing sights I had ever seen.

    The key to revitalizing a town is to Make Sh1t. And to do so for more than one employer. Preferably with diversified light industry the way it's done in Germany.

    Our town is tourism based, full stop, there is nothing else. Every mayor has the same plan, more tourists, more resorts for more tourists. The first problem is that it is highly seasonal, make that very highly seasonal. Instead of trying to pack more tourists into the same season why can they not work on extending the season and attracting more in the low season as the facilities and staff are already there but underused?

    The biggest problem, however, is that they have nothing else, squat. 911, Hurricane Kenna, flu you name it hit the town hard as the tourists flee. The town needs to start bringing more manufacturing here. Light industry, service, whatever that will give the town a buffer. If they do not, in 20 years this town will be dying badly.


    Canadian oil sands oil production is expected to triple by 2035 to 5.1 mb/d. In other words by 24 years from now we can expect 3.4 million barrels per day more from the Canadian oil sands than they are producing today. And that is supposed to make peak oil null and void. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

    Wall of Worry

    Who needs Saudis anyway? Canada oil sands output is expected to triple by 2035. Production from the oil sands will more than triple over the next quarter century to 5.1 million barrels per day, Canada’s national energy regulator said in a report released on Tuesday. That's very nice as we only import about 3M barrels a day from countries other than Canada and Mexico and one of those is from our man Hugo in Venezuela, who supplies a bit over 1Mbd so we will be TOTALLY OPEC-free by 2035 - even if we don't reduce our current consumption. How's that Peak Oil theory looking now boys?

    Ron P.

    It's interesting to speculate what the world would look like today if Conventional Oil had been historically more expensive to produce, say $50/bbl adjusted for inflation, for the entire Oil Age. Obviously, growth would have been slower. The world would be a better place, in my opinion. Less populated and less wealthy, but the Earth would be much better able to sustain the existing population over the long-term.

    I fully agree. Our energy problem is really that there was a finite resource which was really really cheap. So we became spoiled and addicted. Now we can't imagine living without huge quantities of it.

    The snake oil salesmen are scared, I can sense it. What's interesting about this particular guy is that he goes on to rant against manipulated markets and feckless Republicans.

    So he's putting part of the puzzle together, but not the whole thing. He doesn't want to admit to peak oil, because then the stock market won't rise forever, and, gasp, people like him will be out of a job.

    I was never a salesman, but when I understood what Peak Oil meant, let's just say that my plans for the future were severely derailed. I can understand why delusion rules. I prefer to understand reality as it actually is, not how I want it to be. Most prefer the former. The problem, for me, always is the same, how do I know what I think reality is is actually reality? It's vexing at times.

    How do I know what I think reality is is actually reality?

    There is a thing called the scientific process.

    You test your hypotheses about real reality with repeated experiments.

    Unfortunately, all that I think I know is not readily testable by me. For example, political philosophies, economic philosophies, etc. History has show some philosophies better than others (e.g. communism, not so good). However, I can't test that on my own.

    Another e.g. is the future of humankind. Some doomers here think it's, well, doom. Are they right? Time will tell. In the meantime what do I do? Prepare like a survivalist? Change my entire way of life? Ignore them? Again, not readily testible per se. It's my life, not an experiment. This is my vexation.

    TWO, prepare for the obvious, hard economic times, increasingly severe weather, and a government that is too far overextended to be of any assistance. How you decide to do that is up to you.

    Don in Maine

    In the meantime what do I do? Prepare like a survivalist?


    Those are some depressing thoughts for this Thanksgiving Day (in USA).

    At first it seems that some experiments are hard to do.

    For example, in Nature in general, who is better off? A critter that goes it alone like a lone wolf "survivalist" or one who joins with a supportive herd of like minded critters?

    Well I think that was a rhetorical question and I showed my bias.
    We humans do not have thick furs, horns, claws, great speed or great muscle power.
    Individually, we are nothing.
    If you look at societies whose populations fell below a critical mass point, you can see from history that they don't fair so well. A number of experiments have been tried by sociologists where they send modern families into the wild to fend for themselves. In general, they don't do too well. So I would say a definite no to the survivalist angle.

    So I would say a definite no to the survivalist angle.


    though these days they call them "preppers"

    Nat Geo did a show on this a while ago, looking at what four families were doing to prep for disaster. - the youtube videos are here;


    There are some interesting (and good) self sufficiency and survival skills being adapted here, but , being for TV, they really dramatise everything, especially the self-defense aspect.

    That said, a common theme is that these people don't do hobbies/golf/social things anymore, and they spend lots of money buying processed/dried food.

    So, they may be strengthening their own positions, but they are simultaneously weakening that of their respective communities.

    The best preparation is a strong local community (and economy) - these people are building their own lifeboats - but a team effort would yield better results, IMO.

    "these people are building their own lifeboats - but a team effort would yield better results, IMO."

    I won't belabor the point but it's a lot like the Fox channel, taking steps to make it through hard economic times, or severe weather, or even food quality issues becomes the rugged, doomer, survivalist type. Push it to the extreme to defeat the thought behind it. 90% of the "preps" some people make are no more than what was standard practice for families not to many years ago. As to community building, all well and good, but I consider the advice about air masks on a plane, you make sure yours is on perfectly before you attempt to help others with theirs, you'll do no one any good if you can't function. You become part of the problem.

    Don in Maine

    Consider the advice about [emergency] air masks on an airplane: make sure yours is on first before you attempt to help others

    Sound advice as long as "you" are the one fortunate enough to be able to do so.
    But consider also the part they don't tell you: Sit next to someone who might be able to help you, just in case you need such help.

    T.W.O., I have gone through the same process. Let me offer a few thoughts:

    1) Having grown up on a farm, I frankly have no desire to return. The number of Americans living in areas of 5,000 population or smaller (essentially rural areas and small towns) is unchanged since about 1910 at 60 million. There are not enough farms, not enough potable water, not enough medical care or anything else to make those locations sustainable for more than a handful of "survivalists." That, to me, is a dead end.

    2) I did relocate from a city of 50,000 to one of more than a million. The chances of having public transportation, food supply, protection, clean water, basic services, is going to be higher in major urban areas with currently healthy economies. That's not to say a native ;of Detroit cannot survive there as well, but it helps to know the lay of the land, as the saying goes. I knew much in advance of the city to where I moved, so it was not a random choice.

    3) As an engineer I am used to dealing with reality and explaining it to others, so peak oil is not so much a threat as a challenge to me. This is where we are in history. It isn't the summer of 1940, but we have our own great challenge ahead. If you know anything of generational theory, you know this is what is called the "fourth turning," a point of crisis where each of us regardless of our age has a role to play. WWII was a fourth turning, as was the American Revolution. The Civil War was a fourth turning gone horribly wrong. Our task is to bring our world out to the other side a wiser and healthier community.

    My attitude is to prepare (me and my family) for the worst future that is both survivable and worth living, however I chose to define worth living, and then hope for the best. I do not shut down those elements of my life that are BAU, or shut out BAU friends, because I would be very lonely. I just quietly make a few preparations, and make my long term plans with the worst survivable outcome in mind.

    It helps to define 'worth living' in terms that are likely to survive powerdown, so being physically fit, having hobbies and entertainments that are low tech and low energy and have a high human contact element.

    We have banned our kids from the TV/computer/electronics for a week, and we are spending every spare moment playing games with them. It makes a huge difference.

    In the meantime what do I do? Prepare like a survivalist?

    These days the less emotionally loaded word is "prepper".

    Remember the 2nd Bush administration? The time the citizens were told to buy extra cans of tuna and stuff 'em under the bed?

    How about in 'the bible' where one is told to set aside the 7 good years for the 7 lean years? The Mormans have an entire industry dedicated to making sure one can set aside 1 year of food.

    Government, the Boy Scouts and God have told people to be prepared - you can opt to heed those words...or not.

    As an example: If you are in a Northern spot with freezing temps/snow - have you thought about a generator, an air compressor, modifying your plumbing with a brass nipple for that air compressor so you could blow the water out of your plumbing stack if you loose heat in your dwelling - just as an example of thinking of cause/effect and then having a workable answer to problems.

    Change my entire way of life?

    Depends on what your way of life already is. If you are in Las Vegas using 100kWH and 10,000 gallons of water a day - you might want to look at that lifestyle. If you hand cranked a Newton eBook to log into TOD from your passivehause 40 acre farmstead - you are in a different place than many.

    Again, not readily testible per se

    Oh contraire mon flair. It shall be tested and shown as a one time only live experiment called - the future!

    Oh contraire ...

    Hopefully, the loss of "essential services" (electricity, water, sewage, fuel) will occur as temporary episodes of growing commonality rather than as one gigantic catastrophic collapse so that we can learn to adapt to the changing world realities.

    This puts a whole different twist on Alvin Toffler's title: Future Shock, aye?
    (Hint: He was expecting the Singularity to appear at our doorsteps, not this OWS stuff)

    Iran: Willing to use oil as a political tool (w/Video)

    As pundits and politicos alike whip themselves into a froth arguing if, when, and how Iran should be the target of a military strike from the United States or Israel, Iran seems more interested in wielding a tool it already has in hand: Oil. Or, more specifically, oil transport routes.

    Roughly 40 per cent of all tradable oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a major choke point running along Iran's southern and eastern borders, on its way to the world market.

    But all Iran's oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, told Al Jazeera was that if pushed, Iran would be willing to use oil as a political tool.

    The crux of the interview focussed on oil production - Iran's and Iraq's - as well as the future of the market.

    ... the effects of closing the Strait would reach far and wide.

    "The whole world would come to a halt - from China to Japan to Tierra del Fuego. There's a lot of oil that comes out of there, and that's their one trump card," said Tom Whipple, an energy expert and former CIA analyst.

    This, said Whipple, could become extremely messy. "Something like 16 million barrels of oil go through the Strait each day now. No pipeline in the world can handle anywhere near that now."

    From the report:

    If Iran tries to block or close the Strait, Whipple said he suspected that "the whole world would gang up on Iran - even the Chinese.

    Would Iran even try to close the Strait? No need. Does anyone seriously think that an attack by either Israel or the U.S. would not have an immediate and adverse effect on tanker traffic through Hormuz?

    What's more, I doubt it if it's a foregone conclusion that the Chinese would set its sights on blaming Iran. Israel and America would bear as much if not more of their ire for jumping the gun.

    Whipple may be expressing out loud naive wishful thinking on the part of policy makers in Washington or Tel Aviv.

    I doubt it if it's a foregone conclusion that the Chinese would set its sights on blaming Iran. Israel and America would bear as much if not more of their ire for jumping the gun.

    Not disagreeing, but there is enough Chinese to take their ire out on all involved [it doesn't have to be either/or].

    ...there is enough Chinese to take their ire out on all involved...

    Yes, and the Chinese would not be alone. Most of the world community would be cheesed off at losing its access to black gold. That's the main reason why I can't see the US acting, nor do I think Israel will do anything without at least the tacit consent of Washington (although this is far from certain).

    US strategic interests will preclude shutting down the world's economy for the sake of an airstrike that may or may not achieve its desired effect. And as far as ground forces in Iran, that would be hard to justify given the current geopolitical and financial constraints on the US.

    There must be be some days when the US State Department regrets having Saudi Arabia and Israel as its chief allies in the region. A bit like having two left feet in the diplomatic dance that passes as politics in the middle east.

    nor do I think Israel will do anything without at least the tacit consent of Washington (although this is far from certain).

    The conventional wisdom is they would have to fly of American controlled airspace (Iraq mainly), so they couldn't just do it with getting Washington to at least look the other way.

    Chevron faces $145m in possible Brazil fines

    US oil firm fined $28m for spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state, but overall penalties could add up to much more.

    The National Oil Agency (ANP) has launched proceedings to impose two additional fines of $28m each on Chevron for releasing "false information" and for not having adequate equipment to contain the spill.

    The Rio de Janeiro state said it would seek compensation from Chevron for "damage to the marine biodiversity and other coastal ecosystems" that could reach $56m.

    Rising Meat Consumption Takes Big Bite out of Grain Harvest

    World consumption of animal protein is everywhere on the rise. Meat consumption increased from 44 million tons in 1950 to 284 million tons in 2009, more than doubling annual consumption per person to over 90 pounds. The rise in consumption of milk and eggs is equally dramatic. Wherever incomes rise, so does meat consumption.

    ... An American living high on the food chain with a diet heavy in grain-intensive livestock products, including red meat, consumes twice as much grain as the average Italian and nearly four times as much as the average Indian. By adopting a Mediterranean diet, Americans can cut their grain footprint roughly in half, improving health while increasing global food security.

    It is interesting that the consumption of the animal types best suited for non intensive (open range/field) production - beef and sheep/goats are flat or decreasing while the intensively produced stuff is rising.

    Possibly because the animal producers can;t get access to land because it is all being used for ... ;production of animal feed!

    I suspect some of it has to do with rising wealth in Asia and their culinary preferences as well.

    of that I'm sure.

    Also, most of the SE Asian countries do not have enough area for open range livestock, and poultry and pigs are easier to do in intensive and/or small (even backyard) operations.

    Still, those per capita increases in poultry, pork and farmed fish are quite amazing.

    Would be interesting to know what portion of world grain production is feeding them.

    Analysis: World economy counts cost of euro zone dithering

    LONDON (Reuters)- From credit bottlenecks in eastern Europe to slower growth in China, delays in tackling the euro zone's debt crisis are causing ever-greater economic and financial damage well beyond the borders of the 17-nation bloc.

    "We're in for a very slow growth period in the world. This is going to define the next 15 to 20 years," said one international official who was critical of the "intoxicating" monetary and fiscal policies that turbocharged growth and enabled the West to live well beyond its means until the bubble burst in 2007

    Weak German debt sale is a 'disaster' for Europe

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- European bond yields rose Wednesday after a German bond auction flopped, undermining trust in eurozone government debt.

    "When you can't even draw good bids on German bonds, which everyone thinks is sacrosanct, you really do have a problem," said Kathy Jones, fixed income strategist at Charles Schwab. "It's fairly ominous. People are simply afraid to be in European sovereign bonds."

    And the US Treasury yields have fallen significantly since the super committee comedy ended. Thanks Europe.

    In addition to some Euro related items, on Drudge, I thought that this was interesting:

    Survival Shop Reports Jump In Sales To People Preparing For “Possible Collapse”

    WEBSTER GROVES, MO (KMOX) - A chain of three stores that sells survival food and gear reports a jump in sales to people who are getting prepared for the “possible collapse” of society.

    “We had to order fifty cases of the meals ready to eat to keep up with the demand in the past three months,” said manager Steve Dorsey at Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters Inc. in Webster Groves. “That’s not normal.  Usually we sell 20 to 30 cases in a whole year.”

    The JODI data thru September came out Sunday. The EIA world oil production came out today but I haven't worked the data into my spreadsheets yet. Anyway here is the JODI Crude + Condensate data Jan 2002 thru Sept 2011 in thousands of barrels per day. JODI only reports the data that comes to them. Some nations do not report to JODI. For those nations, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Syria, Sudan, I have used the EIA data. Also Yemen and Vietnam have not reported in over one year. I have used the EIA data for those nations also for the last year and a half.

    JODI C C

    Ron P.

    Can you overlay the inflation adjusted Brent prices on top of that ?

    I don't have that data and the EIA have discontinued posting world oil prices. They only post WTI prices anymore. But if you have a site where I can gather the data I will try. But I need to be able to import the data into Excel. That is the only graphics program I have. Wish I had some of the better graphics programs but they cost a lot of money... sorry.

    The point I was trying to make with the above graph is that, according to JODI, C+C peaked in 2006 and the average, through the first 9 months of 2011, stands at 1,830,000 barrels per day below the 2006 average. Below is world C+C production in thousands of barrels per day. The 2011 data is thru September.

    2002	2003	3004	2005	2006	2007	2008	2009	2010	2011
    63,690	66,943	70,747	72,390	72,748	72,064	72,253	69,930	70,775	70,918

    Ron P.

    It looks like the EIA is still posting Brent & WTI spot prices:


    Looks like the 2011 average for Brent, through November, is about $112, versus $97 in 2008, and versus $55 in 2005.

    I believe you did transpose this number with the EIA data in the past. When do the two really start to diverge?

    Actually the EIA and JODI both track non-OPEC very close. It is only with OPEC that they diverge.

    The chart below is EIA OPEC C+C minus JODY OPEC C+C in thousands of barrels per day. I mislabeled the chart. It is not all C+C, only OPEC C+C.

    EIA minus JODI C C

    As you can see they are greatly diverged in 2002 and 2003. They start to track very closely in 2005 thru 2007 then start to diverge again. I do not understand this at all. Why only OPEC. I did the same thing thing with non-OPEC and they track very closely. EIA tracks about 1.5 mb/d higher but no divergence over the years. Only OPEC diverges. I find this very strange.

    Ron P.

    Wonder what JODI is underestimating or EIA overestimating ..

    Thanks for the divergence graph. Interesting to note that the divergence is in the period of a recession (02-03 and 08-today).

    Ron, It's also noteworthy that in the three years leading up to 06, a pattern develops of less barrels per year increase.

    From 03 to 04 is a 3804 increase
    " 04 to 05 " " 1643 "
    " 05 to 06 " " 358 "

    Prior to 06's peak and subsequent plateau of slightly lower than peak MBD numbers. The trend indicates a graphed curvature prior to peak.

    Seven years of undulating plateau despite Brent crude prices nearly quadrupling

    Is that what the 7 fat cows represented in Joseph's multi-color coated dream?

    (The Biblical Joseph --actually it was Pharaoh's dream)

    In the 7 years following PO of 2005, thou shall have undulating times in which to build up renewable infrastructure.
    Then thou shalt have 7 years of collapsing production --the thin cows that eat the fat cows.
    Act wisely oh yea of warned state.

    Then thou shalt have 7 years of collapsing production

    If only we did know when the descent will begin. Seems like a pretty stable plateau so far.

    Thin cows eating fat cows - that's about it, or at least eating their food.

    Seems like a pretty stable plateau so far.

    Wiley Coyote standing tall on solid ground yet again; and as usual?

    (Click to see Wiley on his "stable plateau")

    edit: other versions of out on the "stable plateau" limb here and here

    I suspect we are still not yet at that point out on the limb-like plateau where we get the Wiley look on our faces

    This is probably the most important world oil production graphs that I have ever seen. It clearly shows how difficult it is to bring new production on line to compensate for decline in older fields.

    If the numbers are correct, we've been on a production plateau for the last seven years or so. "New" technology has been unable to break the plateau despite record high oil prices over this time period. Russia, Iraq, oil sands, shale oil, horizontal bottle-brush wells, deep-water pre-salt finds, hydro-fracing, 4-D seismic, fictional middle east reserves, and the magic of the market have at best only managed to keep production level.

    Has any powerful government official ever seen a graph like this?

    You thought squirrels were bad? The theft of food crops continues. I wonder if these criminals will become more organized? Hard to keep humans out. Sooner or later it'll turn violent...

    He rarely comes up empty handed. Since the fall harvest began Oct. 1, Rucker says, he and two other guards have caught more than 160 culprits in the act. Some they let go. Others get handed over to police. Either way, he's recovered thousands of dollars' worth of stolen goods: mounds of pecans snatched from his employers' trees.

    "It's an all-day hassle trying to keep these folks out," said Rucker. "You'll pull into a pecan grove and they'll have a 10-foot extension ladder trying to shake the pecans loose with poles. It's bad."


    In Georgia, the nation's top pecan producer, farmers and authorities say criminals can earn a tidy profit by stealing the nuts _ worth $1.50 or more per pound in smaller quantities. Pecan grower Bucky Geer estimates a single 5-gallon bucketful is worth about $38.


    "We're losing a lot of money," said Lane, who notes that pecan thieves have been a problem before, but seem more aggressive than ever this year. "You could easily steal $1,000 worth of nuts in one night."

    Read more: http://lacrossetribune.com/news/weird-news/ga-farmers-crack-down-on-rash...

    My village in Israel grew pecans. There's a simple solution to this kind of theft: make them walk.
    Use gates with keys openable by police & ambulances, and shut down the highways at night. Not as profitable if you can only steal what you can carry on you.

    When I lived in Northwest Arkansas in the 1960s, you almost had to post armed guards by pecan trees -- they were worth thousands of dollars at furniture factories.

    Here in South California the problem is avocado rustlers. Prices of $1.00-$2.00 each make the fruit a tempting target.

    Almost as surely as avocados grow, thieves steal them and turn the fruit into quick and untraceable cash. Over the past decade, San Diego County law enforcement agencies have stepped up patrols, pursuits, and prosecution of avocado thieves, but growers report that most of the bandits get away. With them goes roughly $1 million of low-hanging fruit each year, and the men and women who grow the avocados are frustrated to their wits’ ends. Al Stehly has installed fences around his groves, topped them off with barbed wire, and secured his gates with chains and locks. So has Charley Wolk, who manages avocado groves throughout northern San Diego County. Farmer Steve Taft has mounted video cameras on his gates.

    After a few tough years marked by rising water costs, avocado growers finally have something to smile about.

    They are raking in the cash for their fruit as prices on avocados sold into a supply chain of distributors have doubled to historic levels.

    "It is the highest on record," said Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission, a marketing group for the industry in Irvine.

    For the price of a ghillie suit, a pair of night googles, a silenced fire arm and a shovel, I think I can figure out a way to make the fruit thieves avoid your plantation. It realy is not complicated, if the police never find the bodies.

    On a related note, swedish christmas tree growers have found out a way to deal with spruce theft; identify wich spruce is most likely to be stolen, and pour dog piss on them. The urine will froze, and not thaw untill the spruce is inside the house, with the decorations on them. Sell the untreated spruce to customers.


    One of the local hospitals planted some really nice conifers ($$$), the following winter all that was left were several stumps and some foot prints in the snow.

    They forgot the dog piss.

    Anyone can go purchase some inexpensive IR security cameras that connect via USB, and the recorder. Try to place the cameras where they have a good field of view of most likely problem areas, and try to conceal them from someone in those areas.

    Police really enjoy video documenting the truck license plate, timestamp, and any face shots.

    I think if a crop or property has high value, the relative low cost of a system would be well worth it.

    Those into geek, can always use a Linux server, motion-triggered recording open source software, auto email notification via scripts, etc....

    Just to inform/share:

    First it was copper pipe, then oil and now it's pecans! And in America!

    On the EU scene something very dramatic occurred today. The Keystone of the EU banking archway, Germany, had trouble selling their bonds!


    FRANKFURT — Germany’s stature as an island of stability amid the financial chaos of the euro zone was challenged Wednesday after an auction of government bonds met slack demand, suggesting that investors are beginning to question whether there are any havens left in Europe.

    Germany is holding up the EU edifice and if they start to look shakey to investors because of their debt load to support the PIIGS, then things could turn nasty fast.

    What's happening is that investors think they might get a chance at German backed eurobonds paying French style yields. So they are not too keen on buying German bonds at German yields. At the moment they only get 2% if they want German backing, but they think they have a chance at 3 to 4% via a joint eurozone issue which would effectively be German backed.

    If you think you have a chance of buying the same product at one half to two thirds the price in a couple of months time, you don't buy now unless you really have to. Ending the crisis is going to mean that Germany will have to go back to paying the sorts of yields it paid before the crisis, which is a lot higher than it is paying at the moment.

    Germany's bond troubles are coming at an awkward moment. Official opinion in Berlin and Brussels are at odds as to how to proceed.


    Berlin sees the root of the problem as a lack of discipline elsewhere.

    Danske Bank chief analyst Jens Peter Sorensen said the auction "reflects the deep mistrust to the euro project rather than a mistrust to German government bonds."

    Wolfgang Schaeuble, German Finance Minister states it bluntly,

    "This is about creating rules for financial discipline in European countries. As soon as you start talking about eurobonds... you take away the pressure on these countries," he said.

    Meanwhile, from the other side,

    European Commission (EC) president Jose Manuel Barroso has unveiled plans for eurobonds, in the face of German opposition.

    The EC is launching a consultation to assess if the 17 eurozone countries can issue the bonds to raise cash.

    It comes as major eurozone countries such as Italy and Spain have seen their fund-raising costs soar.

    Brussels, this time not as seat to the European Commission but as capital of Belgium, is digging the hole deeper.

    It comes amid reports that Belgium cannot pay its agreed share of the planned rescue of the Belgian-French bank Dexia, seen as placing more risk at the door of the French treasury and adding another threat to the country's AAA credit rating.

    Chevy Chase's European Vacation didn't have this many mix ups and ironies.

    First it was copper pipe, then oil and now it's pecans! And in America!

    When the people start drilling holes in gasoline pipelines to steal bucketfulls of volatile fuel, then well know we've hit bottom.

    They are already drilling holes in vehicle gas tanks, especially pickups and SUVs. It's easier than trying to get around anti-siphoning devices or gas cap locks.

    They've been doing that for a looong time.


    Just in case my cyber buddies here ever need to know-you can almost always siphon gas out of a late model car if you are patient and use a long small diameter highly flexible hose that resists kinking.

    I recommend about eight feet of the clear high performance gas line sold at motorcycle and atv shops, 1/4 inch inside id.

    Just keep jiggling it around as you push it into the filler neck, and blow into it periodically-when it makes bubbling noises, you are home free.

    You will need only a couple of minutes to get it working with a little luck.

    Throw-away buildings: The slow-motion failure of Toronto's glass condos
    Over the past decade, Toronto's building boom has been dominated by tall glass condo towers.

    They've transformed the look of city skylines all over the world – especially here in Toronto, where according to Emporis.comExternal Site we've built more towers per capita than any other city in North America. But it may be a trend that puts style over substance.

    A small but growing chorus is sounding the alarm about the future of these buildings.

    Building scientists have known for a long time that glass-walled structures are less energy efficient than the stone and concrete buildings that were put up forty of fifty years ago. But the market demand for glass combined with the relatively low cost of glass-wall construction means the building industry has been happy to oblige.

    However, industry insiders warn that as energy costs climb, glass towers may become the "pariah" buildings of the future. In these stories, we explore the hidden costs of building with glass and the slow-motion failure of window walls.

    See: http://www.cbc.ca/toronto/features/condos/


    ....and the problem with replacing individual windows as they fail is that they generally won't match the existing windows visually if they are tinted/coated.


    Arctic sea ice loss unprecedented in 1,450 years

    What makes recent sea ice declines unique is that they have been driven by multiple factors that never all coincided in historical periods of major sea ice loss, said Christophe Kinnard, lead author of the new report.

    Using historical data records and statistics derived from modern data correlating sea ice to other factors, the researchers managed to reconstruct sea ice changes over the past 1,450 years — since about 600 A.D.

    The model showed that when the sea ice extent was at its lowest historically, at the beginning of that period, at least 8.5 million square kilometres of sea ice covered the Arctic in late summer, the time of year when sea ice is usually at its lowest extent.

    "Today, we're lower than eight," Kinnard said. [4.0 M sq km]

    The story is about report published in the latest NATURE:

    Reconstructed changes in Arctic sea ice over the past 1,450 years, C. Kinnard, C. M. Zdanowicz, D. A. Fisher, E. Isaksson, A. de Vernal, L. G. Thompson, Nature 479, 509–512 (24 November 2011), doi:10.1038/nature10581

    The paper is behind a pay wall for those without subscription, however, the supplemental data links at the bottom of the web page include all the figures and data...

    E. Swanson

    Same story headlines Bloomberg's new "Sustainability" section (mentioned by Dragonfly41, below). Other interesting energy/climate coverage there.

    JPMorgan World Bank Veteran Leaves, Saying CO2 ‘Died’

    Odin Knudsen, the JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) managing director for environmental markets, resigned last month as the largest U.S. lender scaled back its climate-related practice.

    Knudsen, 68, left the New York-based lender by mutual agreement after it became apparent the U.S. was not going to join a global system to trade carbon emissions, undermining the bank’s business plans, he said in a Nov. 21 phone interview. JPMorgan spokesman Brian Marchiony declined to comment.

    Beacon Power Seeks Sale of Assets in Deal With Government

    Beacon Power Corp., the maker of energy-modulation equipment that received $43 million in backing from a U.S. program that supported failed solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC, asked a judge to approve an auction of its assets.

    Syncrude scraps expansion plan

    CALGARY — A plan to expand production by 200,000 barrels a day by 2020 at oilsands miner Syncrude Canada is in ruins after operator and 25 per cent owner Imperial Oil Ltd. said growth won’t come on stream this decade.

    Russia in Europe missile threat

    In a televised statement, he said "modern weapons systems" could be deployed in Kaliningrad if Russia, the US and Nato failed to come to a deal.

    He added that Moscow may opt out of the New Start arms deal agreed with the US.

    Lots of saber rattling, possibly in light of the upcoming elections. But an arms race is the last thing one wants in the current situation. Maybe Russia can afford it, the west certainly can't.

    Fascinating article about a discussion with Vaclav Smil


    Of course, Prof Smil's has been discussed here quite often but this article is well worth reading.

    I was also reminded of some of the arguments made by Tom Murphy in his blog "Do the Math"
    (especially the posting about pumped storage)

    Smil's article is worth reading.

    Yes, Smil and Tom Murphy use similar debating tactics to arrive at similar conclusions. Tom Murphy creates the absurd goal for pumped hydro of storing 7 days of America's total energy consumption (from all sources, not just electricity) and then reaches the obvious conclusion that it can not rise to the challenge. He does not consider using the ocean as the lower reservoir. Smil perpetuates the old fallacy that one must store electricity to provide power on cloudy days instead of simply overbuilding photovoltaic arrays. Neither mention the possibility of partially adapting the load to the variability of the supply by adding thermal mass to refrigerator/freezers and air conditioners. The charging of electric vehicles could be done at night to better match the Texas wind power output. They lack the desire or creativity to solve the problems they identify leaving the reader thinking there are no solutions.

    I would like to see the result of Tom Murphy conducting a more complex analysis integrating all the various alternative energy sources, load regulations and efficiency gains together. Maybe he could do that after he tackles each one individually. I wonder how much we need to reduce the population, if at all, to make it work.

    UPDATE: China Oil Output To Peak At 220 Mln Tons; 2010 Output 203 Mln Tons
    Behind a pay wall but full article available via Google.

    China's domestic annual oil production will rising steadily and peak around 220 million metric tons, or around 4.42 million barrels per day, the Ministry of Land and Resources said in a statement on its website Thursday.

    The peak is only 10% higher than last year's production of 203 million tons, indicating limited scope for energy-hungry China to increase domestic production...

    Chinese oil demand will rise to 13.6 million barrels a day in the next five years from 9.4 million barrels a day last year, significantly outstripping forecasts by the International Energy Agency,

    That is very close to where China is today. And China has been looking very toppy lately. Below is Chinese C+C production in thousands of barrels per day. The data for JODI is through September and for the EIA is through August. As you can see the EIA and JODI track each other quite closely.


    Ron P.

    "Chindia's" combined net imports increased at 7.5%/year from 2005 to 2010 (BP). At their 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in net oil imports as a percentage of Global Net Exports (GNE), Chindia's net imports would approach 100% of GNE in about 19 years. If we just look at China, China's net imports would approach 100% of GNE in about 23 years.

    It's useful to note what happened to US net oil imports, after we peaked in 1970. From 1948 to 1970, US net oil imports increased at 11%/year (EIA). After we peaked in 1970, US net oil imports increased at 15%/year from 1970 to 1977 (almost tripling in seven years). In 1978, Alaskan production started to come on line, and then consumption started to fall, resulting in a decline in net imports.

    Barclays expects the rapid growth of China's oil demand to continue until at least 2015. If so, it will become a quite a problem for the 'West' as to how to make due with 4.2 million bpd less in oil supplies.

    China’s Oil Demand to Surpass IEA Forecasts, Barclays Says

    By Bloomberg News - Nov 23, 2011 3:59 AM ET

    China’s oil consumption by 2015 will be “significantly” higher than International Energy Agency forecasts, surging 35 percent from this year, as economic expansion spurs fuel demand, Barclays Capital said.

    The world’s biggest energy user may need 13.6 million barrels a day of fuel, versus an IEA estimate of 10.5 million, based on growth in China’s energy demand versus income levels in the past decade, Miswin Mahesh, London-based analyst at the bank, wrote in a report today.

    “We believe key agency forecasts, such as those of the IEA, are too conservative,” said Mahesh. “To get down to consensus forecasts would require radically higher price elasticities, higher prices and lower income elasticities than we observe for the country.”


    Currently, the Party have formulated a goal of not exceeding demand levels of 450 million tons of oil in the year 2020. But Chinese analysts don't put much stock in that goal, because looking at the Chinese growth rates its a given that the goal will be exceeded.

    IIRC WESTTEXAS posted some graphs depicting the growth of annual car sales in China, which spoke their own unequivocal language. Worth noting also is the huge investments made to expand infrastructure, which would exactly put upwards pressure on growth rates in auto sales and freight by trucks. At the moment, freight by truck is the second largest mode of freight transportation in China, only exceeded by freight via the waterways (the growth rates really are quite unbelievable). Worth noting also, is that China is positioning itself to be the dominant Asian producer of petrochemical feedstocks.

    Greer...in a Thanksgiving Day nutshell:

    ...it’s not the technical dimension of the predicament of industrial society that matters most just now. It’s the inner dimension, the murky realm of nonrational factors that keep our civilization from doing anything that doesn’t make the situation worse, that must be faced if anything constructive is going to happen at all. In a civilization that’s spent the last three and a half centuries trying to pretend that this inner dimension doesn’t matter, it was a foregone conclusion that most people’s inner lives would end up an unholy mess. It doesn’t help matters at all that plenty of political, economic, cultural, and religious interest groups, some of them with prodigious resources at their beck, have put a very large fraction of those resources into schemes to manipulate people’s minds using any number of nonrational hot buttons, in order to maximize their own wealth and power....

    ...Central to that decline is, first, the unraveling of the American global hegemony that, until recently, funnelled some 25% of the world’s energy resources and 33% of its raw materials and industrial product to the 5% of humanity that lives in the United States; and second, the ongoing depletion of those same energy resources and raw materials, which is ending the abundance that made the American lifestyle of the 20th century possible in the first place.

    No amount of protesting is going to refill the once vast and now mostly depleted reserves of cheap oil and other resources that gave America its age of extravagance, nor is protest going to do anything to stop the decline of America as a world power or the rise of competing powers. Blaming the results of both these processes on the manifold abuses of Wall Street is not going to help the situation noticeably...

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends ;-)

    Happy Day of Gluttony no moderation required!

    Warning! My comment included at the bottom of this picture taken from an ad on Yahoo this morning, does not hide my disgust! If my comment offends you more than the ad then you are a very big part of the problem...


    Wow! I thought the whole thing was a spoof but I see it's real. I guess spoof and reality have reached singularity in the U.S. now. Nauseating in so many ways.

    Thanksgiving ain't what it use to be. Fascinating background.

    The birth of America’s bastardized cuisine

    In keeping with American tendencies, Thanksgiving is a bastard holiday, cobbled together from homegrown traditions and the hokey imaginings of 19th century writers, along with actual historical facts. The facts are thus: The “first American Thanksgiving” was probably observed in the South, not at Plymouth, and it would have been a day devoted to prayer, not pie.

    As indicated by the name. "Give thanks".

    Z - I've managed to combine the two: every Thanksgiving I pray for pie. This year my prayers were answered: I've got two homemade sweet potato pies sitting on the counter. Hey...if an atheist has his prayers answered maybe there's hope for everyone else. Naaa.

    Happy Gobble Gobble.

    I'm a thankful, happy camper this weekend. Excerpt of a memo I sent out a couple of days ago:

    The mudlogger reports that we had a 14’ drilling break from 1,908’ to 1,922’, with a strong gas kick. However, the sample shows were inconsistent, with not a lot of sand in the interval. The best shows were around 1,914’.

    I suspect that we have a pay zone that is more similar to the #6 (an edge well) than the #1 (the discovery well). It’s also possible that we had a mostly unconsolidated sand. In any case, we shall see what the logs look like.

    Turns out Door #2 was the correct answer. The logs showed 12' of 26% porosity net pay. I figured that with the well and offsets we may have proved up enough oil (produced over a couple of decades or more) to power the US for 30 minutes or so.

    ..if an atheist has his prayers answered maybe there's hope for everyone else.

    Hey Rockman, I'm one of those incurable optimists who genuinely believes that there is hope for us all. Despite setbacks, frustrations, and even encounters with evil - and in my line of work I do see the cruddier side at times - I haven't been dissuaded of that expectation.

    IMHO, there is a difference between being hopeful and being a cornucopian. If the glass is half full, there is no point in trying to convince oneself that it isn't half empty. Hope, in a broader sense, means seeing potential within what is set before us and being grounded enough to discern what may be best drawn from any set of circumstances.

    As Ecclesiastes 3:12 says, "I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live." Or to borrow a phrase from the more contemporary, Desiderata, "With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." A healthy outlook in my opinion.

    PS: "Happy Gobble Gobble" got me laughing. I once saw a poster that featured a lecturing turkey in an indignant pose. Underneath read the caption: "This Thanksgiving save a life. Eat Beef!"

    I heard an even more contemporary version of the Desiderata one ..

    "despite the high cost of living these days, it is still popular!"

    Imagine if you will a dry forest, with knee high dead underbrush. A hiker walks by and drops a lit match. The wind picks up, and a firestorm ensues. Then aerial tankers, instead of dropping fire retardant, drop napalm.

    This is a metaphor for the interaction between the financial crisis and a peak in Global Net Exports (GNE) of oil and in Available Net Exports (ANE). Peak Exports was both the trigger and an accelerant.

    Since this is Turkey Day in the US, I thought it might be useful to speculate on what happens as more and more OECD countries are forced to do "Cold Turkey" withdrawals from conventional funding sources for debt financed deficit spending. In other words, as time goes on, it seems more likely that the "lender" of last resort will be central banks. An interesting interactive chart that shows total public debt by OECD country by year:


    The 2007-2009 financial crisis led to a dramatic increase in the public debt of many advanced economies, with many of them experiencing their highest levels of debt since World War II. This was in large part due to the huge stimulus programs in countries around the world, in addition to government bailouts, recapitalizations and takeovers of banks and other financial institutions. Another contributing factor to the increased debt was the decrease in tax revenues.

    Public debt as a percent of GDP in OECD countries as a whole went from hovering around 70% throughout the 1990s to more than 90% in 2009 and is projected to grow to almost 100% of GDP by 2011, possibly rising even higher in the following years. It could already be higher, as potential costs of aging populations may not be entirely reflected in the budget projections of some countries.

    The rise in public debt has been seen not only in countries with a history of debt problems - such as Japan, Italy, Belgium and Greece - but also in countries where it was relatively low before the crisis - such as the US, UK, France, Portugal and Ireland.

    Even Germany's total public debt, as a percentage of GDP, has doubled since 1992.

    WT, nice metaphor! I hear a lot of “peak oil is not really so bad” talk these days, but from where I am sitting it seems like the global economy is poised to explode and burn to ash. When I first heard about peak oil I thought it was only a problem in the hazy future. I now believe that high energy prices have like a cancer destroyed the industrial economies from within. The problem only gets worse with population growth and ELM. I now see a scenario in which economic collapse could bring systemic collapse and almost no one but the most hard core doomers will have seen it coming. As the Titanic begins to noticeably lean, most peak oil aware folks are thinking about how to talk to fellow passengers about the possibility of the ship sinking. There also seems to be plenty of which bucket is the best for bailing water conversations, or which pump is the best for keeping the engines running. I am thinking about lifeboats.

    Manufacturing printing presses and currency grade paper are going to be growth industries.

    Actually, I think not. It is pretty easy just to change the denominations on currency, instead of printing $5 bills the same press could print $50 bills.

    It's all electronic. Press a button, credit the banks with a trillion. Pretty easy.

    Maybe some good news for a change?

    The "lost" Russian Phobos-Grunt probe has now apparently successfully contacted ground stations on 3 separate occasions in response to X-band uplinks. First via Perth, Australia and just now via Baikonur according to a new tweet.

    Stranded Mars probe sends further signals

    But first they need to be able to talk with it. Europe's 15m dish in Perth was the first to successfully make contact with the spacecraft in a fortnight of trying by tracking stations around the globe.

    Esa modified the big antenna to widen its beam, and also reduced the power of the transmission to match the type of X-band signal Phobos-Grunt would have expected to receive nearer the Red Planet.

    On Wednesday (Western Australia), those modifications prompted the probe to switch on its transmitter and send down some basic telemetry. On Thursday, a further five efforts were made to contact the spacecraft, with the first at 0420 local time (2020 GMT, Wednesday) also initiating a stream of data from Phobos-Grunt.

    Baikonur downlink apparently occurred at 12:05 UTC today (just a few hours ago). Information in the downloaded telemetry has apparently encouraged mission managers.

    EDIT: Flight Control computer just apparently successfully commanded "on" and telemetry from it received in addition to the earlier telemetry from safe-mode systems.

    Interesting new section on Bloomberg.com, although somewhat puzzling for a financial website geared towards growth and profit. They added a Sustainability section today.


    Does Bloomberg see the writing on the wall?

    It is the only section that is sponsored -- the sustainability section is brought to you by Toyota moving forward -- haha. This movement started a decade ago? I think every major US city has an office of sustainability now.

    Taxpayers may subsidize bullet train to Sin City:


    My wife and I drove that stretch from sin city to LA during a time when the Sun was dropping and setting. That was one of, if not the most hair raising drives of my life. Between trying to see in spite of the Sun blinding me, there were the Mad Max accelerations to 85 MPH followed by rapid decelerations to 15 mph, and then we'd do it all over again, and again, etc. When we finally got to LA I was jittery, frazzled, unnerved. Twice my wife screamed, "Slow down!!!" But if you fail to keep up with the traffic as it accelerates a billion cars fill the gap in front of you so you learn to punch the accelerator then stomp the brakes.

    We were in Sin City to show my wife's Sculpture, not gamble, but if people adore that place so much they really need a bullet train. Maybe if people can go 150 mph they will forgo the tin cans of death defying Mad Max insanity.

    That's a strange ride you had, PE. I endure many trips from Orange County into LA because I have a kid in school there, always about 30 miles per hour going in (took me two hours total to pick up my offspring yesterday just for the inbound trip, 3 hours total for the 60-65 mile round trip). Speeds up on the outbound back into OC, but no one forcing you to drive 85 MPH. I usually do about 60-65. True, if there are accidents or overflowing interchanges, you do suddenly slow down or even stop. Life in Carmageddon . . . [edit - I guess the trip from LV, though, may be a whole different animal - driving back into LA via long distances from the desert probably predisposes people to rush more, now that I think about it. I once got caught in the outbound toward LV on a holiday weekend - never again. 3 hours after I started I still wasn't out of OC.]

    be thankful we don't yet live under military rule.. oh wait..

    The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.

    The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday. The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.

    .. never mind, go back to eating your turkey and pumpkin pie...

    I wonder *when* these two public-spirited and upstanding gents drafted this bill, and whether it might have anything to do with the quivering fear that many of the aristos feel when they watch media coverage of the #Occupy movement...?

    I certainly do not agree with everything Ron Paul advocates, but maybe he is the only candidate willing to try to keep the MIC on a very short, tight leash.

    I used to think he was crazy. In the past few months except for a decent amount of his idea's he actually looks like the 'sane' man in the room. and that kind of scares me.

    we shouldn't be involved in conflicts on the behalf of other countries, for example isrial.
    we shouldn't give subsidies to companies who obviously don't need it like the oil industry.
    we should dismantle the department of homeland security, repeal the patriot act, and for $deity's sake stop the whole war on drugs and actually learn from prohibition in the 1920's..

    those are the points i agree with him on, i don't agree with him on dissolving the department of education or energy though.

    Pardon my use of the old and tired H-word, but didn't _itler start in that same way by claiming that he was down-sizing the Reichstag? (wiki-link) ... and that he was against giving any aid to the damn _ews? (J-word)

    Folks may certainly disagree with Ron Paul's Libertarian ideas of very small, constrained government (I do not subscribe fully to the ideals of an utterly minimized government, but I think we should make significant cuts in many of our government functions), but I see no evidence or logic in comparing Ron Paul's ideas (regarding downsizing government)to those of the Nazi Party. In fact, he wants to greatly reduce the size of,and expenditures on, the U.S. Military Industrial Complex.

    I am much more concerned about the current crop of politicians who seem to be in love with more and more erosion of our privacy...more spying, more police powers...

    I'm suggesting it's a subterfuge. All politicians want power and more power until it becomes absolute power.

    Hmmm...I do not know the man that well...any Texans want to give their opinions on Ron Paul?

    Reminds me of the "Secrecy" Bill recently passed in South Africa.

    New South African Secrecy Law Sparks Outrage

    "South African activists are vowing to defend media freedom after the parliament Tuesday passed a state secrets bill that opponents say will stop media from exposing public corruption. The legislation - designed by the ruling African National Congress - has sparked protests from all sectors of society and political opinion."

    Pretty much back where things were before the "peoples' revolution".


    The Secrecy Bill was justified by saying S. Africa was "under threat from spies". What could spying on SA possibly benefit anybody ?

    Even when there are no radiation leaks, nuclear is an expensive problem.

    Progress Energy Florida's controversial request to collect $140 million from customers next year to cover costs related to the idled Crystal River nuclear plant. the repairs are estimated to cost between $900 million and $1.3 billion.

    This plant has been offline since 2009 costing millions in repairs & lost production.

    Oh wait, third crack found, now the bill is 2.5 billion.

    They should have taken the advice of one of the experts early on and completely rebuilt the containment building.

    Hi T,

    Well, if misery loves company, Flordians can take some comfort in knowing that NB Power's refurbishment of its Point Lepreau NGS is three years behind schedule and a billion dollars over budget, with the money clock still a-tick'n. Tick, tick, tick, ca-ching, ca-ching.


    The O&M costs to properly maintain nuclear fission reactors in an acceptably safe level of operation are a big reason that I do not see large-scale expansion of fission electricity plants as a viable option.

    I also wonder how we in the U.S. are going to deal with decommissioning our 104 or so nuclear fission power plants, and what risks we are taking by granting extensions to their original design service lives.

    Perhaps...perhaps if we had a viable passively safe fission reactor design which featured stand modules which were built in in large quantities in centralized facilities, and the design and workmanship and installation and maintenance/inspection were held to exacting standards of excellence...and we had a credible process to deal with the reactor fuel assembly waste stream...

    ...The only possible way to get all that act together would be a strong government role...the only institution I can think of that maybe could pull it off would be the US Navy NR (Naval Reactors) organization. Even given this idea has some credibility, folks would need to be prepared to spend //much//more for their electric bill...'zero Terrance' processes from soup to nuts for such a new national civilian fission power program would be //expensive//. Also adding to the cost and bucking human nature, the entire enterprise would have to be run utterly 'open kimono', meaning with complete 'sunshine' and public transparency and accountability....no state or corporate proprietary secrets...even for security evals...otherwise, it is way too easy to hide embarrassing and dangerous issues from the public...

    Perhaps...perhaps if we had a viable passively safe fission reactor design which featured stand modules which were built in in large quantities in centralized facilities, and the design and workmanship and installation and maintenance/inspection were held to exacting standards of excellence...and we had a credible process to deal with the reactor fuel assembly waste stream...

    Isn;t this exactly what is offered by the Thorium-Fluride reactors?


    Are there any operating prototypes?

    Hi H,

    No, none that I am aware of.

    But given that this seems to be the only nuclear option that does address all the above mentioned issues, I think it is worth pursuing, and worthy of some government support. Especially given the clear appetite of other countries for nuclear power - which is beyond the US to control - having a system that is safer and can't be used for making weapon grade stuff - would be a major step from where we are today, and a good export opportunity for the US.

    Much more chance of a useful result than fusion research.

    All together now: "too cheap to meter..."

    Surely you must be referring to wind and solar generated power as after all the wind and sun are free!

    Here is an article from The Economist about water issues in South Asia.


    One take-way I have is that, if I did the math correctly from the various statements in the article, there is potential (at great cost) for upwards to ~ 100GW of untapped hydroelectric electricity generation capacity in South Asia.

    The other take-away is that there is potential for some very hard feelings between India and Pakistan, and India and China, over water use. All three of these countries are allegedly nuclear weapons states.


    I have reasons for using that phraseology.

    Hi all,

    I call on TOD community for help.

    I am preparing a short introduction to PO for 13 year olds on medium level. In particular I'm looking for a photo of a man in front of his house with lots of products set out on his lawn, all oil-dependent.

    Other usefull graphs, pics or tips are usefull as well. Please keep in mind this will be a quite short lesson.

    I know more people here teach the subject of PO to kids so would really appreciate all and any input.


    a photo of a man in front of his house with lots of products set out on his lawn, all oil-dependent

    See page 59 of Chapter 1 of the PDF version in ROBERT BÉRIAULT's masterpiece: Peak Oil & Fate of Humanity

    That's it! Thanks a million guys.

    Please accept this advice as it intended.

    I have been teaching PO to kids for 3.5 years. A few years ago I had a mom, who I really like, break down and cry....and then got in her big *ssed PU to drive home. It can be too much for parents to hear.

    I am now teaching it....weaving it...to 15-16 year olds. It is still too much.

    What does work for adolescents are a couple of linear graphs....one of population growth and the other of oil extraction. Super-impose them. Then I show the plateau and ask them to infer....extrapolate. ...think about maybes. I did send this to math buddies and they are teaching it to their pre-calc classes and asked for more. The thing about graphs and data is that facts are facts and you don't have to worry about getting shafted by angry deniers.

    Just a few suggestions.

    email me if you want any more details or stories about what has worked and what goes wrong. I have made lots of mistakes with this along the way. It is most important....most important...to provide hope and optimism in the classroom. Not Pollyanna foolishness....but can do optimism.


    email send thanks