Drumbeat: December 2, 2011

Anthracite shortage as fuel goes overseas

Brown said a variety of factors - not the least of which is that China, India and other Asian countries are buying up more than half the 6 billion tons of coal burned each year - have led to an anthracite coal shortage in Berks.

...The dearest commodity is rice coal, a finer, gravel-like anthracite coal product used in the newer, more-efficient home stoves and furnaces that are used as supplemental heat sources in many homes. The shortage has been harder on the Amish because many use coal as their main source of heat and energy, Brown said.

"We're experiencing a big-time shortage," she said. "And it's probably going to continue for five to eight years, based on what we're hearing."

John Michael Greer: Pepperspraying the future

What all these three news stories have in common is that they display an attitude—it could as well be described as a belief, or even a religion—that treats the satisfaction of short term cravings for material goods as the only thing that really matters. The shopper with her pepper spray, the politician with his absurd claim, and the government with its blind disregard for national survival, each acted as though getting the stuff is all that matters, and any obstacle in the way—whether the obstacle was other shoppers, the laws of physics and geology, or the fate of Canada’s future generations—was an irrelevance to be brushed aside by any available means.

In recent years, there’s been a fair amount of intellectual effort devoted to the attempt to prove that this is inevitably how human beings will act, and this effort has had an influence well beyond the borders of, say, cognitive neuroscience. Glance over anything the peak oil blogosphere has to say about the absurdity of today’s public policies on energy, the environment, or the economy, for example, and it’s a safe bet that somebody will post a comment insisting that this is how human beings always behave. In point of historical fact, though, this is far from true. The popularity of the monastic life across so many cultures and centuries is hard to square with such claims; it has not been uncommon for anything up to ten per cent of the population of some countries and times to embrace lives of poverty, celibacy and discipline in a monastic setting. Clearly, whatever drives push our species in the direction of the satisfaction of short term cravings are not quite as omnipotent as they’ve been made out to be.

Fuel experts say gasoline consumers had it easy during recent storms

There was plenty of inconvenience, but no real threat of a fuel shortage in the days following both last October's nor'easter and Tropical Storm Irene, industry experts told a state panel Wednesday.

But if Connecticut were to face a major hurricane similar to the one that struck in 1938, emergency fuel supplies could be exhausted within a week or two.

North America: US has its eye on oil independence

For decades, America has worried about Saudi Arabia’s plans for oil production; now Saudi Arabia is starting to worry about the US.

In a reversal of roles, US oil production has begun to rise, and expectations are growing that North America (including Canada, where production is growing even faster) will become an increasingly potent force in world oil markets. Even the Saudis, holders of the world’s largest reserves of crude, are having to pay attention.

U.S. energy independence draws near

Innovations for reaching oil, gas in North America could end the era of Saudi influence.

GOM Escapes Another Hurricane Season

The 2011 hurricane season seamed quiet with only one major hurricane making landfall, but it actually tied with 1887, 1995 and 2010 as the third busiest year for tropical storms. Only 1933 and 2005 had more named storms since record keeping began in 1851. The Atlantic produced 19 named storms and seven hurricanes, three of which reached Category 3 or higher, compared to the average 10 named storms and six hurricanes.

Cyber Security Poses Threat to O&G Bottom Line

Financial loss and intellectual property theft are two of the impacts businesses are feeling from breaches in cyber security, a threat that the U.S. government and industries are beginning to address.

A number of industries, including the military and health care, have been targeted through cyberattacks, and the Stuxnet virus, which was used to take control of nuclear power plants in Iran, highlights the potential threat to energy assets.

Rosneft 'seeks Norway suitor' in Arctic

Russian state oil company Rosneft has hinted that it may be looking for a Norwegian partner for exploration in a formerly disputed area of the Barents Sea, according to a report.

South Sudan Warns Oil Cos Against Working with Sudan

The government of newly independent South Sudan warned foreign oil companies against working with the government in Sudan, the latest sign of heightening tensions over oil between the two neighboring countries.

In response to an announcement by Sudan that it would take 23% of oil revenues from South Sudan for pipeline and transit fees, South Sudan said in a statement Thursday that any foreign oil companies operating in South Sudan shouldn't cooperate with the Sudanese government.

Pemex makes Gulf gas hit

Pemex has pointed to "great potential" at an exploration well in the Gulf of Mexico after coming up trumps with a natural gas find.

Will Coast Guard icebreaker solve Nome's winter fuel shortage?

About the time U.S. Sen. Mark Begich was writing a letter to the Coast Guard pleading for ice-breaking help to get 1.6 million gallons of fuel to Nome, residents in that Northwest Alaska community of 3,600 were looking out the window at, lo and behold, the Coast Guard's only functioning icebreaker.

Saudi Arabia Poised for Record Heavy-Crude Premiums on Fuel Oil

Rising demand for fuel oil is allowing Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest exporter, to sell its lowest-grade crude at record premiums to buyers in Asia.

Will EPA Shut Down Shale?

The latest salvo in the administration's war on energy may be new rules and permits to regulate a process to get oil and gas from porous rock, sacrificing jobs and economic growth while under review.

Europe set to lead 'next frontier' in renewables: analyst Yergin

London (Platts) - Countries in the European Union will spearhead the drive for the next generation of renewable energy technology, Pulitzer Prize-winning energy analyst Daniel Yergin told Platts late Thursday.

"Europe, particularly Germany, will be a laboratory for offshore wind. It's the next frontier for renewable power," he said.

The Energy Audit: A Sacred Cow of Energy Management

It didn’t take long before I stopped doing any type of audit, survey or study to see if I could determine if a facility had potential opportunities to save energy. I realized that every single one had potential. I decided that there were only two criteria for determining whether a facility would be a good candidate for my services. Number one was, did top management strongly support the efforts to save energy? Number two was, did the facility spend enough on utilities to justify my efforts?

Car buyers not only buying, but they're paying more

In the best showing in months, sales of new cars, trucks and crossovers climbed to an annualized rate of 13.5 million during November as virtually all the domestic, Asian and European brands posted double-digit sales increases.

In fact, several makers — including both Audi and Hyundai—announced all-time records for November.

Chevy Volt misses 2011 sales goal

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- General Motors admitted Thursday that it won't sell the 10,000 Chevrolet Volts that it had hoped to sell in 2011, and said that it would buy the plug-in electric car back from any customer fearful about its safety.

MPG of a human

Our walking or biking economies look pretty decent stacked up against cars—especially if we considered consuming foodstuff as potent as gasoline. This is all well and good until one appreciates that because of the way Americans grow, harvest, distribute, and prepare their food, every one kilocalorie of food eaten has consumed about 10 kcal of fossil fuel energy (dominated by oil). Our 7000 kcal gallon of food therefore took 70,000 kcal of fossil-fuel energy to produce, or a little over two gallons of gasoline. So you would divide the “food economy” values we calculated by 2.2 to get the fuel economy that supported your bike trip or hike. Now walking consumes 18–34 MPG of oil equivalent, and biking comes in at 70–130 MPG.

Monsanto Corn May Be Failing to Kill Bugs: EPA

Monsanto Co. (MON) corn that’s genetically engineered to kill insects may be losing its effectiveness against rootworms in four states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

Rootworms in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska are suspected of developing tolerance to the plants’ insecticide, based on documented cases of severe crop damage and reports from entomologists, the EPA said in a memo dated Nov. 22 and posted Nov. 30 on a government website. Monsanto’s program for monitoring suspected cases of resistance is “inadequate,” the EPA said.

Savoring Bogs and Moose, Fearing They’ll Vanish as the Adirondacks Warm

Nothing we see here is found at temperatures 10 degrees warmer, and very little makes it to five degrees warmer,” Mr. Jenkins said matter-of-factly on a mild fall day. “We will be in a climate that this community has never known in its history. One has to go back to world climate levels we haven’t seen in 15 million years.”

How Peak Oil Pricked the Housing Bubble

The insider accounts offer a perverse tale of how the “false economy” – the Wall Street whirlwind of credit default swaps and mortgage derivatives and wanton speculation – kneecapped the real economy – the place where people make goods and services that have actual uses. The investigative exposés are essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how late-stage capitalism works.

And yet they fail to tell the whole story. I have read a number of those books, and I looked in vain through their pages for a phrase that I suspected would be there: “rising gas prices.” This seems to me a stunning oversight. The mainstream narratives of the real estate collapse neglect a crucial fact. They don’t note that everyone involved – from the Goldman Sachs vampires, to the boiler room loan sharks, to local homebuilders and federal officials – shared the assumption that gasoline would stay cheap enough to subsidize houses in the middle of nowhere.

Crude Oil Heads for Weekly Gain as Iran Tension Stokes Supply Concern

Oil rose, heading for its first weekly gain in three, as concern deepened that tension between Iran and the west will disrupt Middle East exports.

Futures jumped as much as 1.4 percent after the Labor Department said U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly declined to 8.6 percent from 9 percent, before paring their advance. European governments tightened sanctions on Iran, the second- biggest crude producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, in a clampdown over the Persian Gulf nation’s nuclear program. Bank of America Corp. today cut its 2012 Brent forecast.

EU, U.S. Toughen Sanctions Against Syria

The European Union and the U.S. toughened sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, while the United Nations said the estimated death toll from his crackdown on dissenters this year exceeds 4,000.

Syria Risks ‘Full-Fledged Civil War’ Unless Assad Ends Crackdown, UN Says

Syria risks being engulfed in a civil war unless President Bashar al-Assad’s government ends its crackdown on opposition protesters, said the top human-rights official of the United Nations.

“The Syrian authorities’ continual ruthless oppression, if not stopped now, can drive the country into a full-fledged civil war,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said at a special session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Shell to cease activities in Syria

(Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell said on Friday it will cease activities in Syria to comply with a new round of sanctions.

Factbox - Sanctions imposed on Syria

(Reuters) - The European Union imposed sanctions on Friday on three Syrian oil firms -- state-owned Syria Trading Oil (Sytrol), General Petroleum Corporation (GPC), and Al Furat Petroleum Company -- stepping up pressure on Damascus over a crackdown on protests.

Here are some details of sanctions imposed so far:

Sudan says to take quarter of south's oil, as talks fail

Sudan will take 23 percent of the south's vital oil exports as payment in kind, after talks in Addis Ababa failed, but will not block Juba's exports, Sudanese officials said on Wednesday.

"In the interim period, we are not going to charge the full fee. We will deduct about 23 percent as payment in kind," a senior oil ministry official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Gunmen release at least 2 foreign hostages kidnapped 2 weeks ago in Nigeria offshore oil field

LAGOS, NIGERIA — Authorities say gunmen have released at least two workers who were kidnapped two weeks ago from a ship supplying a Chevron Corp. offshore oil field in waters off Nigeria.

Why energy journalism is so bad

One of the questions that plagues me constantly is, “Why is energy journalism so bad?” Most mainstream articles about energy will leave you horribly confused at best, or horribly misled at worst. Today I will try to teach you how to read reports on energy without getting lost.

New York Fracking Rules Won’t Protect City Water, Foes Say

The drinking-water supply for 9 million people in New York City won’t be protected by New York state’s proposed rules on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, residents and politicians said.

State Fracking Hearings Drew 6,000, N.Y. Says

Proposed regulations governing the natural gas drilling process known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing drew 6,000 people to four public hearings in New York State and have so far elicited more than 10,600 written public comments, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said on Thursday.

“The turnout of 6,000 people at the hearings demonstrates how strongly New Yorkers feel about this important issue,” the department’s commissioner, Joe Martens, said in a statement. “Nearly 600 individuals took the time to voice their opinions, which ranged from urging an outright ban to urging drilling to occur now.”

Shale Pioneers Plan Next English Wells After Fracking Causes Earthquake

The sound that woke Caroline Murphy after midnight on April 1 was so loud she thought a car had crashed into her house. She doesn’t feel any better knowing it was the U.K.’s first recorded earthquake caused by natural-gas exploration.

“It sounded like something had hit the house and literally jolted us out of bed,” Murphy, said at her home in Singleton, a village of about 900 in Lancashire, northwest England. “It was like a car or crashing metal. It was such a loud sound.”

Chevron's South American Headaches Continue; Brazil Shuts Down Oil Well

Chevron’s (CVX) Brazilian subsidiary was forced to shut in one of its 11 productive oil wells in its Frade field development far off the coast of Rio de Janeiro following a drilling accident there on Nov. 9. The decision by the National Petroleum Agency in Brazil just adds to the U.S. multinational energy company’s image problems in South America.

Canada natives sue Shell over oil sands funding

TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian native group is suing Royal Dutch Shell Plc for what it said was a failure by the oil major to live up to environmental funding agreements tied to Shell's massive northern Alberta oil sands developments.

Atomic Spat Rocks French Election as Sarkozy Rival Backs Halts

For decades the French political elite agreed that nuclear energy was the best way to power the nation, and today France gets about three-quarters of its electricity from its 58 reactors.

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan last March, though, unified support for nuclear power is crumbling.

A Big Uranium Deposit, and a Big Debate on Mining It

CHATHAM, Va. — Atop Coles Hill, a crown of oak trees encircle an old plantation house from which generations of Coles have looked down gently sloping lawns to fields that once grew tobacco.

Today, enormous uranium deposits below the estate’s rolling hills and pastures have set off a bitter fight over mining in this community 30 miles north of the North Carolina border.

GM offers to buy back Chevrolet Volts from fearful owners

General Motors will buy a Chevrolet Volt back from any owner who is afraid the plug-in extended-range electric car will catch fire, the company's CEO told the Associated Press today.

Pull plug on electric vehicle subsidies

Like many green initiatives promoted by this administration and bankrolled by the American taxpayer, the electric car is better in theory than in practice; has limited consumer demand; is heavily subsidized; and has fallen short of reaching its targeted goals.

All the while, the American people are getting a lousy return on their investment.

Volt is drivers' favorite, topping even Porsche

The Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car is the most popular among owners, topping a perennial favorite that costs twice as much, the Porsche 911, and a recent addition, the Dodge Challenger, according to an annual survey published Thursday by Consumer Reports.

China to double surcharge to subsidize renewable power

(Reuters) - China will double a surcharge on power sales to 0.008 yuan per kilowatt hour to subsidize renewable power generation from Thursday, the National Development and Reform Commission said.

Lingering joblessness taxes nation's food banks

The face of hunger in America is changing. It’s a little more ex-middle class, a little more desperate and there are a lot more mouths to feed, people who run the nation's food banks say.

“We’re seeing a lot more families, many who are running out of money and benefits because of long-term unemployment,” said Bill Clark, executive director of food bank Philabundance. “Since 2007, the changing face of hunger has been influenced a lot by unemployment.”

Hard to swallow but food security threat is very real

It's intrinsically scary: 7 billion people, growing to 9 billion. Can we feed them all? Already, obviously, we don't. But climate change could make global food insecurity much, much worse.

JPMorgan Follows UBS Cutting Carbon Jobs

Investment banks are cutting traders and analysts in climate-related businesses as a slump in shares and carbon emission permits coincides with a deadlock in international climate talks.

Canada Quitting Kyoto Could Mean Escaping $6.7 Billion Carbon Offset Bill

Canada, the country furthest from meeting its commitment to cut carbon emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, may save as much as $6.7 billion by exiting the global climate change agreement and not paying for offset credits.

Developing nations cry foul over alleged bribery at climate talks

A new report by the World Development Movement (WDM), makes serious allegations relating to the climate talks in Copenhagen and Cancun. Developing countries have described pressure tactics used on the sidelines as 'deceitful' and 'unfair'.

Representatives from many of the world's poorest nations claim that they were harassed by officials from Britain and the United States, and pressured to sign agreements that were against their interests. Many of the negotiators who gave information to the report's authors have done so anonymously.

U.S. Sees ‘Strong Resistance’ for Binding Goal on Emissions

The U.S. said there’s “strong resistance” from some developing nations for measures at UN climate talks that would require them to sign up to mandatory targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Geoengineering could save Earth -- or destroy it

(AP) -- Brighten clouds with sea water? Spray aerosols high in the stratosphere? Paint roofs white and plant light-colored crops? How about positioning "sun shades" over the Earth?

At a time of deep concern over global warming, a group of scientists, philosophers and legal scholars examined whether human intervention could artificially cool the Earth - and what would happen if it did.

How to Police Geoengineering?

When people consider using engineering techniques to counter the effects of climate change, they usually think first about the technical difficulties involved. But a new report points out challenges that may be even more important: regulating the research on such technologies, and their potential deployment.

The report is the result of a collaboration organized by the Royal Society, Britain’s premier scientific organization, and a variety of other nongovernmental organizations.

Unemployment rate falls to lowest since March 2009

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate dropped sharply to 8.6 percent, down from 9 percent in October. The rate hasn't been that low since March 2009, during the depths of the recession...

Still, more than 300,000 people stopped their job searches last month and were no longer counted as unemployed. That contributed to the drop in the unemployment rate. The rate could rise in future months if they resume looking.

120,000 new jobs were created and 300,000 people just stopped looking and are no longer counted as unemployed. So the unemployment rate goes down. Go figure.

Ron P.

"...more than 300,000 people stopped their job searches last month and were no longer counted as unemployed."

Good to know that these folks no longer consume food, electricity and other resources...;-/sarc

Hopefully, many of these folks are doing ok in the gray/black economy, informalizing and simplifying their expectations.

Fantasy football has been around for many years, and most people are at least familiar with the term. I wonder how many people are aware of the fantasy nature of economic news coming out of Washington.

I think the top lead DB story, How Peak Oil Pricked the Housing Bubble, has some important points, lest we soon forget in the constant onslaught of new news.

But consider this: In 2005, two-thirds of borrowers at Countrywide, one of the nation’s biggest mortgage firms, put no down payment on their homes. That same year, 29 percent of all mortgages in the US were negative-amortization loans, taken out by people who had so little cash that they were willing to tack their interest payments onto the principal. And they were taking out those loans even as their incomes were stagnating or declining.

We were broke before it crashed, before we lost the jobs. Which doesn't negate Ron's comment of 1 minus 3 is positive. Just that the underclass will continue to expand as all else shrinks, and there be new ways of tabulation to give positive spins.

The article above likes to quote JHK (Kunstler); a Nat Goegraphic article this month uses his description of Atlanta as a "pulsating slime mold." He was referred to as a "colorful critic of suburbia".

Ghung - A bit of balance from NPR this morning you won't hear coming from D.C.: we've reached the lowest percentage of adults employed since they began measuring. So besides learning how to do without what we once considered necessitites, a lot of folks must have retired.

Yeah, Rock, I know a few folks who have taken a "stealth retirement" approach. They maximize their savings, 401k, Social Security, whatever, with DIY projects, bartering, trading, selling, odd-jobbing for cash, etc., while another family member continues to work a "real job". When all things are considered (taxes, transportation, associated expenses), sometimes it costs more to have a full time job than to "diversify" into various things that have a more direct return (gardening, heating with wood, undercutting the "professional plumber" for cash, salvaging/fixing things to resell). This is something Greer has advocated as a post-peak strategy (and essentially where my family is). I expect that many folks have been driven to this point, only to find that their quality of life actually improves; one partner in the formal economy, the other partner working part time or "under the table". Not so good for Govt. revenues, but minimizing one's legal tax liabilities, especially when one disagrees with how much of their tax dollars are being spent, has its advantages..

I only hope they don't figure out a way to tax my solar energy, firewood, garden production, labor exchanges, home improvements, gifting and trading, social capital, hogs trapped, fish caught, volunteer work, etc., etc..

Very true Ghung, the world of work is changing and as they say "the future is already here, just not widely distributed". The black/grey economy will be the only economy for most people as the corrupt and increasingly hollowed out state recedes from their lives. Our nation states are reduced to empty shells that remain solely to provide legitimacy to the corrupt and increasingly criminal crony capitalist elite and their corporations.

As time goes on we're all going to have to redirect our productivity to our families and communities and away from the existing structures of the State and its host of bloodsucking parasites. We're going to have to innovate new ways of living to avoid the numerous threats we as individuals face, including the threat from our own governments which will try and save themselves by ruining their citizens.

It's strange, given all the information available, that people still look to their respective governments to save their asses. A case of turkeys voting for Christmas.

Well, in fairness, I daresay part of the reason fewer adults are employed than ever before is that people live longer now, so more are retired.

That's only part of it of course.

One thing occurred to me about the unemployment business. When BLS calculated median incomes, average incomes, etc. I'm sure they don't include jobless in those figures. All the zeros for the incomes of the unemployed would really drag down any calculations of median incomes, but in reality, this is the way aggregate income for US citizens should be calculated.

Another point to consider:

This happens every year!


In January, unemployment will go right back where it was... and the headlines will read, "Unexpected increase in jobless rate"

The endless histrionics, hyping up every weensy little bit of remotely positive... well, not news, spin, makes me feel oddly drained. The manipulating propagandists, and the blindly believing ignoramuses who make it possible, must be the source of the term "world-weary".


Thats why these things are seasonally adjusted. And its more than just X-mass hiring, some areas like agriculture and forestry have important seasonal patterns. Of course the adjustment factors are based on past behavior, if the dynamics are changing the adjustment factors could be off.

What I think is going to happen, is an oscillation of the official unemployment number. 5/8ths of the recent drop, was discouraged people giving up looking. But, with todays headlines, it now looks like maybe they should start looking again -some people are finding jobs. So I expect a bunch of people who dropped off the stats because they weren't looking for work will perk up and start looking. That implies the official rate should spike upwards again. Then when the headline reads unemployment rate rise .3 percent! A bunch more will drop out.

Unlike unemployment, where only active workforce participants (working or looking for) are counted, these stats cover the population. The median is the 50th percentile income, it will be somewhat affected when someone who was above the former median income loses their job and falls below it. Some one who was at 49th percentile and goes to zero will have no affect on the median however. Chances are the stats underestimate the black-market part of the economy, so they likely make things seem worse then they really are.

Help! How many new people enter the job market each year or month due to people graduating or just coming of age and immigration? Then how many people leave the job market each year or month due to retirement or death? Then I can subtract the latter from the former and find out just how significant the 120,000 new jobs added last month really was.

I have been searching google for the numbers but to no avail.

Ron P.

The number that's usually tossed about is that 150,000 jobs/month need to be added to keep up with growth in the workforce.

Well I found this: How Many Jobs Should We Be Adding Each Month?

That means on net that the labor force probably will not grow as quickly as it did in years past, and so fewer payroll jobs are needed to absorb new entrants to the labor force each month. Typically the figure economists cite as the minimum number of additional jobs needed to keep the unemployment rate flat is about 150,000 to 200,000.

But then some other economist said that "due to the graying of America" half that number should be sufficient. I don't understand that logic at all.

Ron P.

The short version of that theory is that the Baby Boomers are beginning to reach standard retirement age, and that they are the leading edge of a permanent shift in the age distribution of the US population. As the large Boomer bulge retires, their jobs become available for younger workers, so fewer "new" jobs have to be created. There are lots of people who argue that the effect will not occur for several reasons. Among them (full disclosure: I'm a Baby Boomer, so feel entitled to say bad things about the group):

  • As a group, the Boomers haven't saved enough to afford to retire.
  • As a group, the Boomers allowed large corporate interests to dismantle much of the "private pension" leg of the classic three-legged retirement plan.
  • As a group, the Boomers allowed the federal government to take on such enormous debts that they are a political threat to the stability of the modest US "public pension" system (ie, Social Security and Medicare).

OTOH, I have asserted for years that the first big policy crisis the Boomers will precipitate will not be a collapse of Social Security or Medicare; it will be that the private sector of the US economy will not be willing to provide enough meaningful employment for elderly workers.

As a boomer and single mother, I must say that it was quite difficult to save anything considering wages flattened from as far back as the '80s through the present. I could easily support a family of 4 on my own in 1979 - 1989; by the mid-1990s I was working full-time but getting food stamps as well in order to make sure other bills were paid. Only employed married couples at my level of income and in my area coped well in the past two decades, and sometimes they didn't either considering a double income meant supporting two vehicles and other issues multiplied.

The prosperous world I was groomed for by my prosperous parents who gained a foothold in an earlier economy never materialized in my lifetime. Two degrees didn't help much - I have far more interesting and somewhat more lucrative work because of them, but these are freelance and part-time jobs and always pieced together with volunteer work and various under the table endeavors mentioned upthread. There aren't enough full-time positions to go around now, and weren't ten years ago, either, in many locations around the US. And let's not even talk about age discrimination - we're expected to work longer but few employers are interested in hiring older employees and are suspicious of ingenious freewheeling freelancers, though they should be embracing their versatility and dependability. I'd love to have 10 more years in a job that provided retirement benefits. I may be freelancing until the day I die, and hopefully this will be enough.

[Edit - one point I'm trying to make is that the picture of the profligate boomer who threw all sorts of money around but didn't save is one I can't relate to. I know hundreds of people like me who always tried to conserve to "live simply so that others could simply live". I know a few people who lived high on the hog with their big houses and SUVs, but not nearly so many as the more modest socially-aware types.

But then, I lived in the desert Southwest for many years - "poverty with a view." Boomer demograhics must be quite different in urban / suburban areas in other locations. My parents' generation tended to drive the big SUVs, live in McMansions, etc, only later in life - they didn't expect to have it all in their youth; that generation also values / valued their savings and retirement plans and could afford to have both.]


As a boomer ... I must say ...

Blame is the oldest game under the sun.

Yeah. It's always the "fault" of the older generation.
How could they have been so stupid?
Why didn't they do this? Why didn't they do that?

Well, the truth of the matter is that we are all stupid and we will always be stupid.
That is the nature of the human animal.
We are all born with small brains and the delusion that we are a much grander and more noble creature than we really are.

Wow! step back, I'm going to give you a -10 rating on that comment.

Maybe you are having a bad day or your reading comprehension skills really are that lousy but that response was totally unwarranted!

Dang it!


Um...maybe you should check your reading comprehension skills. I read it as Stepback supporting Kate.

Just the same, and with ongoing respect for all the above posters, I can't support language like Step Back just used.

..the truth of the matter is that we are all stupid and we will always be stupid.

I think this place sometimes becomes a platform for playing out our anxieties and traumas, and that's hardly surprising, but I would hope people exercise a little more creative self-control, which is also a feature of mature human beings, and is one of the tools of our wisdom that has even a whisper of a chance of helping us in this mess.

When Puck told us; "What fools ye mortals be.." That might carry in it plenty of Wisdom to heed, but it is not ALL wise, is it, since those words were NOT from an immortal fairy-sprite, but were written by a mortal themselves.

If we don't take stock of our real strengths and gather our best tools, simply out of some mad rage at our ongoing failings.. then we fail.. and I refuse to let it play that way. We're not Angels, and we're not Devils.

Using this very public space to rant like that is, in my opinion, extremely caustic and irresponsible. Giving one another some kind of encouragement and hope is not the same as 'burying ourselves in False Hope' or of ignoring our faults and our mistakes, as it is so often portrayed. There seems to be some great defiance against any sort of 'let's do our best and be as smart as we can about all this..'

Best Wishes.

EDIT: now, if he had just said "knuckleheads", I might have turned aside from my own rant there. Knuckleheads is a little more managable..


I base my categorization of our species on a speech given by Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson ("the" astrophysicist) where he explains how just a few genes (a very small percentage) in our makeup distinguishes us from our closest primate relatives; that leading to the understanding that we are not that much more intelligent than they. Yes, we can do trigonometry and they probably never will. But imagine an alien species that is a few percent in DNA makeup yet more intelligent than we are! By that measure, we are all stupid.

Evidence of our limited cranial capacity is all about us.
Why can't you see it?

Why do we have to "specialize"?
Why do some of us have to become accountants or lawyers but not rocket scientists?
Why do we all accept the cop out disclaimer at the front of every speech, i.e. "Well, I'm no economist, I'm no engineer, I'm no climatologist"?

Is that not a frank and honest admission that we are each of very limited mental capacity?

And given that, do you not see more clearly why most politicians don't "get it"?
Why most financial people don't "get it"? Etc., etc. and about PO, AGW, population boom and so on?

I was trying to support Kate by implying that the Boomer generation is no more culpable than any other generation.
Why didn't "we" (yes, I'm a Boomer) do better?
Probably for the same reasons our parents didn't do better and theirs before them.

Am I saying there is no hope?
Not quite.

What I'm saying is that as long as we are in denial about our limited mental capabilities we are doomed to live under the illusion that we are, oh so clever.

I'm going to give you a -10 rating on that comment.


You're being too kind.
For my level of non-intelligence, I probably deserve a -100.

Darwinian, add to your equation the number of university graduates who are leaving the job market to go back to school for a degree in nursing/health care/anything because they could not get a job... my classes are full of examples.

A nice treadmill we have created. It gives me job security, but I am starting to feel like just another banker/parasite preying on the desperate and delusional masses.

go back to school for a degree in...anything because they could not get a job... my classes are full of examples.

Like the plot of some corny movie, my son keeps changing his major to avoid graduating. This year it's astronomy!

And yet I cannot blame him, because he knows there are no jobs out there for him. He lives in an area where unemployment is quite a bit worse than the national average. He religiously avoids student loans, scraping by on grants, sharing housing food etc along with two other guys who are in exactly the same boat. Of the three of them, one managed to find a part time freelance job.

They keep their thermostat at 55F, eat mass amounts of ramen, and sleep in Polartec under arctic-rated sleeping bags. They swathe themselves in blankets to watch tv or be on computer. I think we will be seeing more and more of this; and I feel so bad that I cannot offer any monetary support to these young men.

Instead, I think we will see the return of the extended family. Which might not be such a bad thing. When conditions are harsh, having extra people in the household shares the burden, spreading it out to lighten the load.

All I can offer him is a place to come to if he needs, and I think within a semester or so he may need to return home. And that's what home is, what the family is. It's where you go when times are bad, and know you'll be okay there.

Well, I had an astro degree. At least it as a mathy subject, which means he would be capable of doing computer or engineering work in the future.

John Robb made an interesting comment regarding what he calls the bureaucratic economy:

Bureaucratic economy = any job w/ advancement through certification/license, office, reporting structure, wage/salary, cubicle, resume...

I guess its time for all those wannabe bureaucrats stuffed in colleges and universities to re-evaluate their future and do something useful instead.

I was watching a programme about the Amish and how their children normally study to the age of 14 before starting work. Everything else they need to learn is then taught in the work environment. Not unlike England in the 1960's where the majority of children left at 15 and entered into apprenticeships, etc (which may include further part-time college based vocational training).

If there is one thing i absolutely hate about this whole job search thing is the whole bleeping resume, job interview, looking at you based solely on your job history. why? 9 times out of 10 it DOES NOTHING on telling the person if your capable of doing the job. i recently had two interviews with a potential employer. their system of warehouse and shipping was very similar, but not identical enough to require no training to the last place i worked. as soon as i walked in for the first interview minus one or two odd things i knew 'exactly' what was going on. i did not get the position due to my resume and work history.

i have been terminated from two places, both explainable and not unreasonable and before that i have either temp agency work as no one else would hire me or fast food. in real life due to some mental disabilities i was born with my social skill's are lacking. while i have worked on them my whole life i do slip up occasionally. i slipped up once to many on my last job and they let me go. the one before that i was verbally attacked(fancy way of saying i was cussed out) by another employee who WAS known to be like this to other people. i told him to fsck me alone so i can continue to work as he did this when i was working at a station. guess who got let go by their web site run hr department and zero tolerance policy?

I wasn't hired, possible someone who while not knowing as much as i did about what they did but with a whiter work history was chosen over me.

Ron - Last stat I saw was several months. On an anualized basis 135,000 folks on avergae joing the potential work force every month.

Rockman, speaking of employment, I have a step brother that worked for Halliburton for quite a few years. He worked his way up to a Tool Man, and worked out of Cork, Ire, then Aberdeen, Scotland. He got me jobs as a pump operator when I was in my twenties. Anyway, he taught himself computer programming and worked for a city in Colorado until their budget got reduced.

He's a sharp guy, but at 60 he's having trouble getting work. Any suggestions? Do you think he could get work in the Bakken oil fields? I'm trying to help him out - any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Perk Earl

Perk Earl
Search for Bakken Jobs or Bakken Employment

Unemployment in North Dakota is only 3.5%. Many are desperate to find workers. You may need to take your own mobile house.

Thanks David. I'll ck. out those links and forward them to him.

Earl - Sorry for the delayed answer. I would think his best shot might be with Halliburton but his age may work against that. If he still has some freinds at H. he might try to tap them for client contacts who would be more intersted in him as a consultant. No long prospect maybe but should be good $'s.

I've seen estimates ranging from 100,000 to 250,000. I don't think there's any way to know for sure.

Bureau of Labor Statistics might have some resources

Mish just put up an informative post about that:


Since his posts change regularly, it was:

Chart of the day: Labor force and unemployment rate adjusted for population growth since 1948..

At that rate it could take over 10 years to get back to the level prior to the great recession....

100,000 of those new job were created by statistical inference. It is not that they were seen rather they are expected by the model. How much faith do you have in the model?

Alan Drake has been warning about this happening, especially next summer, if Texas doesn't get some serious rainfall, which seems unlikely based on current forecasts.

Rotating blackouts possible in Texas this winter

Rotating blackouts like the ones that occurred during February's cold snap are possible this winter if there is a "simultaneous occurrence of extreme weather and worst-case generation outages," the leader of the state's major power grid operator said Thursday. The severe drought has resulted in "historically low levels" for reservoirs that provide cooling water for power plants that total more than 11,000 megawatts of generation capacity, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said.

That could result in "some portion of this generating capacity becoming unavailable during the winter," crippling the power supply, ERCOT said. "Under extreme weather conditions, peak winter power demand could be approximately 60,000 megawatts," CEO Trip Doggett said. But "available resources, based on above-normal generation outage rates, could dip to approximately 57,000 megawatts."

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/12/01/3565180/rotating-blackouts-are-p...

The dire situation in Texas has gotten most of the attention lately, but there is another drought situation developing in the upper Midwest which is being largely ignored:


It started on about July 15 around here. The rain just stopped except for an occasional sprinkle. A few spots have received an inch or so.

Here is the local climate record showing the change compared to normal. We are about 10" below normal for this time of year. The harvest was a piece of cake due to the dry conditions, but now the soil is powder dry. Thanksgiving Day saw temperatures in the low 60's; something I do not recall happening before.


If Texas stays in a sever drought condition, it is hard for me to imagine that much moisture will make it north. Most of our moisture comes from the Gulf of Mexico and is dropped on the Upper Midwest when it hits cold air coming down from Canada.

The significance of this, if it continues into next your as now projected, is that the corn crop may get off to a bad start due to lack of moisture in the ground. We may see fields around here looking like Texas next summer.

The corn market is not discounting this yet as near as I can tell. A normal crop year is expected with good yields.

Dan Hicks claims this is related to la nina. Dan Hicks earlier, in the year, claimed this would be a dry year and he was wrong until it actually got drier. I think Dan Hicks may have been talking about a slightly different Upper Midwest than yours.


Weather changes and so do forecasts(and forecasters).

Dan Hicks claims this is related to la nina.

And a Scott Stevens claims the weather is controlled by Man. (but this theory doesn't explain the drought in China)

The people who claim the Gulf Stream stopped due to the suspension of oil in the water think the drought is due to the lack of Gulf Stream.

The global weather change due to CO2 claim the increased CO2 is the reason.

Depending on the colour of glasses you view the world through will give you your "answer" as to why.

That "why" doesn't help the common Man on the ground. The water parched had best start thinking about how they use water and read the 3 books by Lancaster on water retention in the soil so they have a shot at keeping what rain they do get around as long as possible.

Start thinking about how to re-use the water you do get. http://greywateraction.org/content/about-us

Minneapolis just had its driest autumn on record and those records go back about 140 years...

The story about the burbs a couple of weeks ago attending a family wedding which most guest were from small towns coming to a large city.Talking with several that commute in their area 20-30 miles one way for work they have traded for higher mileage autos but in the cards was moving to a larger community where work was located.As a kid 50 yrs ago living in a rural community a good many that farmed unless they had family that lived close by they rented or sold land and "Moved to Town"

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Canadian government is fed up with the Kyoto agreement and the biased nature of the whole climate debate. Canada is not going to sign up for a renewed agreement unless the US, China, and India - the three biggest CO2 emitters - also sign up for cutbacks. The chances of that happening are approximately zero.

Suppression of climate debate is a disaster for science

Environment Minister Peter Kent has done us all a favour by stating the obvious: Canada has no intention of signing on to a new Kyoto deal. So long as, the world’s biggest emitters want nothing to do with it, we’d be crazy if we did. Mr. Kent also refuses to be guilted out by climate reparations, a loony and unworkable scheme to extort hundreds of billions of dollars from rich countries and send it all to countries such as China. Such candour from Ottawa is a refreshing change from the usual hypocrisy, which began the moment Prime Minister Jean Chrétien committed Canada to the first Kyoto Protocol back in 1998.

Compensating poor countries that will likely be struck hardest by climate change initiated by the richest countries is such a hypocrisy indeed. This is a nice example of oil snakery.

Margaret Wente citing the contrarian professor of political science Pielke Jr. isn't surprising. Citing the ever-wrong contrarian professor of economist McKitrick isn't surprising. Not citing Dr. Tim Ball is surprising (I think she forgot). Citing out of context quotes from climategate emails to cast doubt isn't surprising. Not mentioning the 9 independent committees who found no credible evidence that climate science was compromised isn't surprising either.

I love the way she spins the existence of uncertainty in science, claiming that:

There’s nothing wrong with uncertainty in science. What’s wrong is denying it exists.

It's a beautifully constructed straw man, and it shows she has not once bothered to look at a single climate paper, the IPCC reports or even the IPCC Summary for Policy makers. They are full of uncertainty statements.

Btw, she apparently loves creating straw men, this article of her abusing Phil Jones famous 'there's no warming since 1995' to build the straw man that non-skeptics like mainstream science do not know what "statistical significance" means is again 180 degrees away from the truth. The silliness of her argument would be funny if this wasn't such an important subject.

I also love this:

“They were attacking skeptics for questioning the science, but in private, they were questioning it themselves,” Ross McKitrick

Jeez, members of the so called 'Team' attacking each other ferociously because they think the scientific standards aren't met? You know, healthy albeit a bit harsh skepticism, constantly critiquing each other and the skeptics for writing fundamentally wrong papers? And this is supposed to be damning prove of....proper science perhaps? The spin by McKitrick is, again, a full 180 degrees.

Anyone interested can see Gavin Schmidt (and others) in action providing context to those 'damning quotes' here.

One sentence in her article is true though:

By no coincidence, a new cache of hacked e-mails from leading climate scientists hit the Internet last week, just in time for the lead-up to the United Nations climate conference in Durban, South Africa.

This second batch of emails hasn't been 'leaked' just two weeks ago by coincidence, it's clearly meant to influence the climate talks. Yup, politicizing science, right here.

Ever seen science contrarians spreading FUD? Well, look no further then The Globe and Mail and dear Margaret Wente.


It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Canadian government is fed up with the Kyoto agreement and the biased nature of the whole climate debate.

Ain't Harper the boy? 40% of the popular vote allows him to form the most regressive Canadian government I have seen in my life. A government which supports anything that kowtows to corporate interests. The Canadian image abroad has becoming so bad due to it's aggressive military policies that when travelling one might as well throw away the Maple Leaf insignia and sew on the Stars and Stripes. Now with Kyoto I suppose there is honesty in admitting that the wealth that Tar Sands produce are a benefit to Canadians, but it is the honesty of a pedophile saying he loves children.

Biased towards whom?

I have no problem with most who point a finger at the US on this issue, but Canada is in no position to posture. Its per capita CO2 emissions are on par with the US, its per capita oil consumption is more than the US, and it really wants to dig up the oil sands for everybody else to burn.

Or are we to say that all countries are equal, no matter how populated?

Or are we to say that all countries are equal, no matter how populated?

If all Men are created equal - then that does lead to treating all countries as equals.

Some Nations have better "energy" resources to exploit than others. Eventually humanity will need to revisit the Peaceful Atom project of the 1950's to see if the goals were met.

If all Men are created equal - then that does lead to treating all countries as equals.

No, it means treating individuals as equals.

I mean: does every country get to emit X amount of CO2 (or use Y amount of oil), no matter how many people each country has? China and India clearly would say no.

Canada has 34 million people, the US roughly nine times that, and China 40 times.

Canada has 34 million people, the US roughly nine times that, and China 40 times.

And that is the crux of the problem. China accounts for nearly 25% of the world's emissions of CO2, the US accounts for nearly as much as China, and Canada accounts for about 2%. The US signed the Kyoto agreement but did not ratify it, China signed it but has no commitments under it (and its emissions are growing like Topsy), and Canada both signed and ratified it, so it is supposed to reduce its emissions drastically.

The Canadian government is wondering, "What is fair about this?" And in reality it doesn't matter much what Canada does because it is only 2% of the problem. If the US and China (and India) are not going to do anything about it, global warming is going to happen regardless of what Canada does.

Every jurisdiction has the same issue, my jurisdiction only contributes 1% to the problem (by jurisdiction, I mean something like a province or a state), why should I do anything. With an attitude like that the planet burns. You just create a reason for the other actors to go with their greed.

If the small countries band together and do something, it doesn't make much difference. The countries which have greenhouse gas reduction commitments under the Kyoto agreement account for about 15% of global emissions. If they cut their emissions by 10%, that's a 1.5% reduction, which doesn't make enough difference to register on a thermometer.

I mean, realistically, it's all cosmetic - they all just want to look good, but it doesn't make any difference in the big picture.

The major emitters - the US and the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) account for the vast majority of the problem, and they apparently don't care.

And, realistically, it fails the cost/benefit analysis for Canada. If the worst case scenario occurs, the area I live in would have a climate much like Colorado. That brings up the question, "What's wrong with Colorado's climate?"

Now, if I lived in Colorado I would worry more, but as it is I just planted Colorado Blue Spruce on my property to replace the Alberta White Spruce I cut for firewood, and that seemed to be enough planning for global warming. And, odds are, the Alberta Spruce around here could handle Colorado's climate, it's just that the Colorado Spruce are better at it. Certainly the Aspen trees here could handle Aspen Colorado's climate.

Doing the right thing has to start somewhere. The early adopters lead by example. We have a few examples in Europe already (and maybe new Zealand). Parden me but you are sounding awfully selfish "AGW will be good for my locale, so bring it on". When I lived in Colorado I wished I could live in your neck of the woods, I wanted real mountains, with significant glaciers etc. I never got to live someplace like that. Now such place are going to get as scarce as hens teeth. And all because people had (and are) taking the same attitude you are displaying.

Yes, it has to start somewhere, but will the US and the BRIC countries be influenced by anything that happens in New Zealand?

The somewhere it has to start is with the major players, as anything that any or all lesser countries do won;t amount to anything, and won;t influence any of the large emitters.

Ultimately, the government of each country puts the interests of its own people first, and the short-term interests at that.

To use the over-used Titanic example, governments may be outwardly talking about how to limit the flooding from the iceberg, and how many of each countries cabins should be flooded or given to other countries, but secretly they are all eying up the lifeboats, and working out how to get more of them before someone else does.

If its say New Zealand, and the Scandinavian countries (and maybe Germany and France), its not so small. If the publics in those countries start boycotting goods from recalcitrant countries, then the businesses within the recalitrants may start putting political pressure on their governments.

Written by RockyMtnGuy:
The major emitters - the US and the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) account for the vast majority of the problem, and they apparently don't care.

I am an U.S. citizen who cares. I have almost eliminated my propane consumption relegating it to backup applications. When I moved into my house 20 years ago, propane was used to heat it, cook food, heat water, run the refrigerator/freezer and power the generator used to back up the photovoltaic system. A wood stove, solar hot water panel, expanded PV system, electric appliances and efficiency improvements achieved the goal. The problem is too many people all over the planet who do not care or think adaption to climate change is possible. Yeah, adapt to an acidic ocean without oxygen producing phytoplankton and hydrogen sulfide bubbling into the atmosphere (sarcasm). By the time people who primarily care about profit in the here and now figure out what is happening, it will be far to late to do anything about it.

Bob Shaw's question: Are humans smarter than yeast?

And come to think about what RMGs mountain environment is going to be like:
Try a thought experiment concerning erosion:
First a dirt hillside. Under a constant climate it is roughly in equilibrium between weathering and mass wasting. But if it was frozen for thousands of years, and has recently thawed, the thickness of the soil, and the steepness of the slopes will now be far above equilibrium in the unfrozen state. So mass wasting (landslide and mudslides) have some real catching up with thousands of years of chemical decompostion. Kiss goodbye to your clear mountain streams.
Then consider rocky cliffs. How many rock fragments are only held in place by ice? What do you think will happen to the rate of rockfall when you add heat?
Then consider a forest. Dense spruce say. The new equilibrium is some other species, and different forest density. Theres quite a bit of catching up to get to the new equilibrium state. That implies most of the existing trees must die off. Lots of dead trees, and well above average fire behavior while that process unfolds.
Mountain environments worldwide, won't be like they used to be.

And come to think about what RMGs mountain environment is going to be like:

From your comments, it's fairly evident you don't know anything about the mountain environment.

First a dirt hillside. Under a constant climate it is roughly in equilibrium between weathering and mass wasting.

No it is not in equilibrium, it is constantly eroding away. The Canadian Rockies once were twice as high as they are now. In the absence of tectonic activity, they will eventually become as flat as a Kansas corn field.

But if it was frozen for thousands of years, and has recently thawed, the thickness of the soil, and the steepness of the slopes will now be far above equilibrium in the unfrozen state.

If it is frozen for thousands of years, glaciers will bulldoze it into characteristic landscapes, such as are found where I live. Ice really wreaks havoc on the environment. This is a picture taken in 1914 of what the Columbia Glacier did during its last advance, which ended about 100 years ago.

Then consider rocky cliffs. How many rock fragments are only held in place by ice?

None. Ice does not hold rocks in place, it moves them around. Here's one of them which was moved out of the mountains onto the prairies by ice. It's called a glacial erratic. It's the size of an apartment building.

Then consider a forest. Dense spruce say. The new equilibrium is some other species, and different forest density. Theres quite a bit of catching up to get to the new equilibrium state. That implies most of the existing trees must die off. Lots of dead trees, and well above average fire behavior while that process unfolds.

There is a natural progression in forests. Around here, after a major forest fire, they start off being lodgepole pine, which are fast-growing, short lived trees (most of my lodgepole pines have died). Unless there is another forest fire (which happens every 50-100 years around here), the slower growing, longer lived spruce take over. Most of the trees growing in my yard are now white spruce, except for the two Colorado blue spruce I planted. If there is enough rain and no fires for a long time (which doesn't happen often in the Alberta mountains, but does across the Continental Divide in BC), the Douglas fir take over, and they can get to be seriously big trees (200-300 ft high). And then if there is lots and lots of rain, such as happens in the Coast Range, and no fires for hundreds and hundreds of years, the very slow growing, very long lived hemlocks and cedar take over the forest and overtop everything else. (Further south, redwoods take over, but Canada is generally too cold for redwoods).

So, your thought experiment didn't work. Mountains are not like you think they are. Under normal circumstances they are constantly changing.

Yup, Canada has 0.5% of the world's population, but we generate 2% of the CO2, 4 times our reasonable share is fair isn't it?


The Canadian government is wondering, "What is fair about this?" And in reality it doesn't matter much what Canada does because it is only 2% of the problem. If the US and China (and India) are not going to do anything about it, global warming is going to happen regardless of what Canada does.

And here we have a prime demonstration of the thinking responsible for why the defecation is on a collision course with the oscillation: No single raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood.

Its per capita CO2 emissions are on par with the US, its per capita oil consumption is more than the US, and it really wants to dig up the oil sands for everybody else to burn.

Looking at the list of oil consumption per capita you posted, you might ask yourself why the US Virgin Islands have 12 times the oil consumption per capita as the mainland US.

The reason is that the Virgin Islands have only 100,000 people, and there is one of the biggest oil refineries in the world on St. Croix. Obviously, the people on the Virgin Islands don't use a lot of oil, but the oil refinery does, and exports its products to the rest of the world, primarily the US.

The same applies to Canada. The biggest oil refinery in Canada is the Irving Refinery in New Brunswick, and New Brunswick has only 750,000 people. The Irving refinery exports most of its products to the US (it specializes in low-sulfur diesel fuel) but apparently the list counts its oil consumption to Canada instead of the US.

But, it is true. Canada is digging up its oil sands to supply the US, and if the US doesn't want it, China does.

OK, I'll let Canada keep score:


Canada ranks 15th out of 17 countries for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per capita and earns a “D” grade.

Canada’s per capita GHG emissions increased 3.2 per cent between 1990 and 2008, while total GHG emissions in Canada grew 24 per cent.

The largest contributor to Canada’s GHG emissions is the energy sector, which includes power generation (heat and electricity), transportation, and fugitive sources.

And where are the countries which accounted for most of the increase in GHG during that period? Not on the report card because they had no commitments to reduce GHG emissions under Kyoto.

This is one of the sources of Canadian government objections to it. Another is that 1990, the base year, was a recession year in Canada and GHG emissions were abnormally low. Naturally, they increased when the economy recovered.

This is a different government than the one that signed the Kyoto protocol. That one, a Liberal government, signed the agreement, but made absolutely no effort to meet the targets, so naturally the country missed them. The Liberals came third in the last election.

We never should have given them a chance to develop to something that is still way below our development and per capita emissions. And we should never have agreed to help them mitigate the changes forced up to them just because of the Western 200 years of industrial development and accumulative emissions.

How could those hippie liberals ever have thought that?

Thinner thermal insulation

In Germany, the rising cost of heating has sparked a renovation boom. In order to lower energy costs, more and more homeowners are investing in insulation facades. But the typical insulation layers on the market have one drawback: they add bulk.

Fraunhofer researchers are now developing films for a material that will insulate homes without much additional structural alteration: vacuum isolation panels, VIPs for short. The panels are only two centimeters thick and yet perform just as well as a classic 15-centimeter-thick insulation layer made from polyurethane foam. The inner workings of the VIPs are made mostly from pyrogenic silica. A high-tech film holds the material together and makes it air-tight.

Somehow this reminds me of the Aerogels that were supposed to be standard in high R windows by now. During the long wait I've been making dozens of low tech indoor storm windows.

I keep collecting low tech ideas for home insulation. How do your indoor storm windows work? Do you get much condensation?

I am looking for a good way of making translucent exterior shutters with a good R value that would allow some light in. Too bad these VIP panels are not translucent. I worry the seals will fail and then what do you do?

I have been looking at multi walled polycarbonate green house glazing.


Has anyone tried building exterior shutters? I am thinking about using fridge hinges to allow them to swing fully open, and yet be inexpensive.

Hi, Jon. We put acrylic interior storm windows on every window in our house last fall--exterior storms were not an option, and we wanted the light. The interior storms are wonderful. They really work, you can take them off in the summer if you want, and there is no moisture problem. The house is twice as cozy now.


Thanks! They are quite clever in design. Simple folded sheet steel, magnetic strips, extruded plastic frames, and plastic panels. It looks like they would do a nice job cutting down air flow if there is some sealant behind the sheet steel.

If you don't mind my asking: are they very expensive? I know quite a few people near me in south minneapolis who have 100 year old homes with leaking windows they cannot afford to replace. Plastic film works but gets in the way, eventually leaks, etc.

Are you down in Chaska? We should have an Oil Drum Meetup!

As EOS says, the acrylic panels are pricey. But they do not interfere with the light, which is important to us up here in Alaska. The acrylic is basically the same stuff they use in airplane windows. The only drawback is that they potentially scratch--I can't think of any other problems. We've used them to basically augment our double pane windows and turn them into triple pane windows.

Actually I was thinking of the older silicate aerogels, the stuff they show a blowtorch heating one side, while someone holds the other side a centimeter away.
I guess I would want to know how well the acylic holds up over time. Does UV degrade it? Can it be cleaned without scratching etc. I have crappy double pane windows here, where over the years volatile glues have deposited on the inside, and will need expensive replacements. Some problems may take years to show up. [I ignored a class action settlement about my windows, I thought it was bogus, my problems weren't apparent until years later.]
I agree about the transparency. It would be great to let in shortwave (visible and near infrared) and keep in the heat, while having a decent view.

...Actually I was thinking of the older silicate aerogels

Needs to be sealed inside a non-porous shell, not transparent.

...how well the acylic holds up over time. Does UV degrade it?


...Can it be cleaned without scratching etc.

No, but how much depends how you clean it.

...It would be great to let in shortwave (visible and near infrared) and keep in the heat, while having a decent view.

That's what Low-E glass does.


That's what Low-E glass does.

Low-E reduces the heat transfer due to IR radiation. Glass is still a poor insulator. The only ways to make it a better insulator are to add gaps, air or vacuum. The more gaps, the less light gets through.
So what is the R value of a doublepane Low-E window? I would guess maybe 2? That means if one tenth of your wall is windows you lose as much heat through the windows as your R-19 walls!

I'm personally very eager to AVOID low-e glass on my south-exposed windows, as I need all the Solar heat I can get from them. After dark, I'll take care of shielding their losses with other tools.

Still looking forward to setting up some exterior Insulated Shutters.. but haven't had the time window to invest in the project yet.. agh~

Depends on the glass. The Low-E coating can be tuned to allow the Solar IR to enter the room but reflect the thermal IR back into the room. Check it out.


I thought part of the performance of these sorts of films/coatings was dependent on the angle of incidence of the light. The low winter sun has a high angle, and the IR light goes through, and the high summer sun has a low incidence angle and the IR is reflected.

Of course, shades/eaves over the windows achieve the same thing, as do deciduous trees - sometime the low tech methods are still the best!

The Low-E glass is a surface treatment that can be wavelength specific though I suspect angle may come into it don't forget that light with a high angle of incidence is reflected more. If you want to keep heat out then keeping the sun off your windows is the best option. I have a couple of troublesome windows that attract too much winter sun (shaded in summer) that I might put a solar control film on. Here is some more information on the Low-E glass that explains the wavelengths bit.



I grew up in the Phoenix area with single pane glass. We hung inexpensive shade curtains from the eaves along the part of the long (west) face of the house that wasn't tree shaded for 4-5 months each year (we had deep patio shade on the east face). Otherwise you could feel the radiant heat coming thru the walls as well as the glass. When it wasn't summer we took the shades down. The short south face had tall privet hedges we put in in the mid-80's

The house was block construction from the 40's, originally uninsulated. In the late 70's Dad added fill insulation to the block cells and blow-in to the attic, at the same time he added the swamp cooler and the solar water heater. He could never make replacing the windows pencil out for energy efficiency, but he finally did it recently as well as adding styrofoam and stucco to the exterior and PV to the roof. Mom loves the reduced dust/noise intrusion from the new windows.

Hello Jon,

My indoor storm windows use a simple wooden frame, about ½ inch smaller than the window opening, and then the frame is covered on both sides with heat shrink plastic. Edges are sealed with clear plastic packing tape, and then foam weather-stripping is used to fill the gaps between the new storm window frame and the original window opening. There should be no problem with condensation unless you leave gaps in the foam weather-stripping.

There is a good description of them on the website for the Mid-Coast Green Collaborative, based in Damariscotta, ME. See: http://www.midcoastgreencollaborative.org/storms.html.

Note that the corner joints can be made in several different ways. I’ve tried simple butt joints, mitered joints, and later settled on half lap joints. The half lap joints take a little more time on the table saw, but then they go together much quicker.

These will cut heat loss through single pane windows by about two-thirds. If you have old wooden double hung windows with aluminum combination windows on the outside, these indoor storms will still cut heat loss by about one half.

Material costs are fairly low, but it takes me several hours per windows to get a good result. I've built about 50 of these so far, with the largest (4 ft. wide by 6 ft. high) being for a church in Waterville, ME.

I've been building these as well, currently using corner triangles of ply to reinforce the 1x1 softwood frames, and building them with only wood-glue.. previous ones were Lapped Corners with Screws, and later Brads and Glue..

It's really nice to be able to reuse them year-to-year, and be able to pull open a window during the winter if need arises, without trashing the taped-on plastic to do so. Definitely gives a higher quality look to these rooms, too.

I've been using 1 x 2s, which are actually 3/4" by 1 3/4" for the frames on normal home sized windows. I went to 2 1/4" wide for the church windows due to the larger size. And I find that I can get better wood with fewer knots by buying wider boards and then slicing them up on the table saw.

Another advantage of indoor storm windows is that they don't upset the historic preservation folks too much. This can be a big advantage in cities like Portland, ME, with lots of old buildings and rigid historic preservation requirements.

I haven't make any outdoor insulating shutters, but I keep thinking of trying some indoor insulating shutters for church windows. Opaque shutters should be fine for many churches since the sanctuaries are typically unoccupied for about 160 hours out of the 168 in a week.

There are other places such windows can be used as well. The fireplace in our house has a gas log; local code requires that in such installations, the flue be bolted permanently open. The fireplace is poorly positioned to help heat the house, so is cosmetic only and we don't use it. We fitted a device similar to your storm window in the fireplace opening. It's made a large difference in terms of cold drafts.

The obvious source of drafts is cold air falling down the chimney when it's cold and calm outside. A less obvious source is the large volume of air that is pulled up the chimney when the wind blows hard, creating drafts elsewhere in the house as the pressure tries to equalize. It's kind of impressive to watch how far the heavy plastic film is stretched into the fireplace opening during a strong gust.

I've been building wooden storm windows the past few weeks...

I'm using cheap 1x boards (pine) and just using 2 sided tape and 4mil cheap plastic. I also using weather stripping on one side. The trick is to get these things to stay in place. A couple of things I've found is with interior storms, I just build them so they just fit over the window trim. They don't move. The seal seems very good. The exterior, I actually made fit into the spot where the screens go. Notched out the top so it wide slide into the gap that is there for the screen to stay in and using some wood shims, they stay very tight. Watch the tape outside...i had some peel right off this morning (15F).

When building the frams, I'm using Kreg jigs. So easy my grandma could do it. My frames are 1.5" wide, so you can get to screws in each corner if you want, but I'm just using one and they seem plenty strong.

One last thing. I think I can build these things for about $3 to $4 a piece. Its that cheap (look for stuff on sale, Menards is great for deals).

How about these?


Drill holes in the frame to receive the bolt, could be reinforced with some copper tube. Make sure they only slide when the weatherstrip is firmly pressed down.


Drapes help. A design that would seal would help a lot more. Shades help too, but not much.

I don't know if you're in the Portland (Maine) Permaculture crowd, but Stonleigh (Nichole Foss) is speaking here on 12/12, in case you'd be interested in hearing her.

Feel free to email me via the addr at the Jokuhl link here, for more info . (Any any other Northeasterners as well, naturally..)


The aerogels have wonderful performance, but they are very very pricy.

A novel way to concentrate sun’s heat

MIT researchers find a way to generate power without the usual mirror arrays.

... Bermel explains that if you put an ordinary, dark-colored, light- and heat-absorbing material in direct sunlight, “it can’t get much hotter than boiling water,” because the object will reradiate heat almost as fast as it absorbs it. But to generate power efficiently, you need much higher temperatures than that. By concentrating sunlight with parabolic mirrors or a large array of flat mirrors, it’s possible to get much higher temperatures — but at the expense of a much larger and more complex system.

“What I’m looking at is an alternative to that paradigm,” Bermel says, by “concentrating the sunlight thermally”: capturing it and reflecting it back into the material. The result, he says, is that the device can absorb as much heat as a standard black object, but “in practice, we can get it extremely hot, and not reradiate much of that heat.”

With existing solar thermophotovoltaic systems, he says, “the highest efficiency [in converting solar energy to electricity] is 10 percent, but with this angular-selective approach, maybe it could be 35 to 36 percent.” That, in turn, is higher than the theoretical maximum that could ever be achieved by traditional photovoltaic solar cells.

Also from MIT: Student project identifies improvements for campus PVs

After long hours of analysis and late-night meetings, Clarke says, the students were able to characterize the energy output of these installations for a six-year period, which they then compared to the systems' peak energy ratings. The team detected greater losses of efficiency than expected, and tracked down the causes, which included orientation of the panels on the roofs, dirt, snow and shading. To the surprise of utility managers, the students also discovered that the systems intermittently failed altogether.

These MIT kids just keep getting smarter and smarter. I mean, well, duh! If the panels aren't aimed right, are dirty or covered with snow, or have failed altogether, they certainly aren't going to perform to spec. I suppose those of us who actually live with PV as a critical energy source are a bit more in tune with their day-to-day performance. Perhaps these students' time would be better spent keeping their panels clean, or building adjustable mounts or trackers.

As for "comparing the system's output to it's peak rating", this can vary greatly with installation, etc. What's important is to create a baseline through constant data-logging (what I do). Once one gets a sense of one's system's nominal performance, one can also sense when there is a deviation from the norm; time to look for a cause. Our panels are our friends, like a garden to be tended....

Cheap beads offer alternative solar-heating storage

A cheap material that can store heat energy collected from the sun during the day that can be released slowly over night has been developed by researchers in the India. The material based on paraffin wax and stearic acid is described in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Renewable Energy Technology and could help keep homes warm in sunny parts of the world that get very cold at night without burning wood or fossil fuels.

Couple heat concentration with heat storage and you have a way of making it through the winter without fuel.

This concept may work well for improving the performance of our hot water thermal storage system (~1600 liter water tank) heated with solar and wood. The phase change of this material occurs @ 37 degrees C, a bit lower than our preferred minimum operating temp of around 45 degrees (DHW requirement). One wonders how the volumetric storage density compares to water, or how the cost/efficiency compares. A simple big tank of hot water has worked well for us for years, at very low cost. Always looking to improve performance without increasing complexity and long term costs. Thanks for the link!

Isn't 45C a little low to protect against bugs such as Legionella? That is inside the growth range and higher temperatures around 60C are recommended to avoid it growing in your water.


Yes it is too low, I have a thermal store here od 1000 litres and I try to ensure that it gets above 70C at least once every few days to avoid legionnaire's disease.

Good point (one of my first thoughts when I saw the low phase change temp). Our system frequently gets above 60 degrees (140F) and limits are set at 70 (automatically dumps heat into the floor). I also flush the system annually with a bleach solution and add a bit of boiler treatment, primarily for corrosion/deposit control. DHW is heated via heat exchanger.

Very interesting Seraph - thanks for that link. I was wondering about this kind of thing the other day - trying to think of some method that would absorb the significant amount of heat that floods in thru upstairs and downstairs large bay windows in the place I currently rent.

Any other ideas out there for readily available (i.e. inexpensive) materials that would absorb the heat during the day and radiate it back into the room as the evening fades into night ?

Even if it could push back the use of the oil burner by a couple hours each night it would be of significant value...

My lab do research on this technology. This is not even clear they make sense energy wise. Efficiency gain tend to be marginal. Still, there is some killer application but much more work is needed.

Add us to the list of people looking for a better heat storage device; thanks for the link, Seraph. We are finishing an attached passive solar heat/greenhouse, with a subterranean heating/cooling system (SHCS). We've researched earth berm and water storage solutions; water is probably best, but the optimal design is unclear. The storage compartments are empty, and will probably stay that way for the short term as we do the permie thing and observe and interact, waiting for the answer to reveal itself.

Another answer is to not use water as your working fluid but an organic fluid that has a lower boiling point and then sending the expanded gas into a scroll-type turbine.

Extra points if you can use a building envelope as your 'cold side' of the circuit.

re: novel way to concentrate sun's heat for thermophotovoltaics
from the MIT press release:

the system is simple to manufacture using standard chip-fabrication technology. By contrast, the mirrors used for traditional concentrating systems, he says, require “extremely good optics, which are expensive.”

standard chip-fabrication technology?
get real - lithography is NOT used in conventional PV (Photo-Voltaics) because it's too expensive
(screen printing, inkjets or lasers are used for patterning).

As for the "extremely good optics" for CSP (Concentrating Solar Power),
they use either:
molded Fresnel lenses (Amonix)

more pics at: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Amonix-Photos-of-the-Biggest...

single curved mirrors (troughs - becoming obsolete)

from NREL's Photographic Image eXchange:

or flat mirrors.


original image and article at:

N.b. the only ones that are penciling out economically these days are power tower systems (i.e. flat mirrors) with storage.

This minor detail in the press release is also amusing:

At this point, however, his research has been “mainly theory,” so the next step is building and testing more actual devices.

Many noobies to solar power R&D make these same mistakes:
* "easy and simple with conventional semiconductor processes" - yeah, but what about the economics?
* "smaller" - but not realizing that there's no Moore's Law in PV, since sunlight comes in at the intensity it comes at. To get a certain power, one has to capture a certain cross section (area).
* "concentrators save expensive semiconductors and use cheap glass/metal" - And if one concentrates sunlight, one looses the diffuse component. So (medium/high) concentrators are only potentially more economical in areas with high Direct Normal Insolation (i.e. lower latitude deserts without too much dust/haze).

Well, at least people are working on new things.
I wish them good luck, but not holding my breath.

"PV is more attractive to financial backers."

In other words, to the crazies who are running our asylum.

(The quote is pulled from your Forbes link.)

Or even mylar coated air bladders that resemble giant party balloons!

The fresnel lense I play with to melt suff, achieves a concentration of several thousand times -more than any proposed CPV system, yet the optics suck bigtime.

Now CPV has its own challenges. Is a square meter of concentrator cheaper than a square meter of some cheap new upcoming PV material?

New Icelandic volcano eruption could have global impact

Hundreds of metres under one of Iceland's largest glaciers there are signs of an imminent volcanic eruption that could be one of the most powerful the country has seen in almost a century.

"There have been more than 500 tremors in and around the caldera of Katla just in the last month, which suggests the motion of magma. And that certainly suggests an eruption may be imminent."

The last major eruption occurred in 1918 and caused such a large glacier meltdown that icebergs were swept by the resulting floods into the ocean.

The volume of water produced in a 1755 eruption equalled that of the world's largest rivers combined.

China's nuclear arsenal 'many times larger'

A US report uses open-source material to conclude that the country has 3,000 warheads, not 400 as previously estimated.

I was posting yesterday about this, from a report I'd seen on TV, I think it was CNN. Heisenberg, where are you? Watch this video. Might not be so far fetched afterall.

I like the part at the end of the video when he says as part of an arms treaty with Russia, neither country has ballistic missles at the coast ready for launch. If the chinese do it could be a problem in a crises. Ah yeah, I'd say especially if the chinese can hunker down in a tunnel system until the dust settles.

Perk and Seraph and all others interested and/or concerned about this report/issue:

I have had a day to contemplate this, and I remained unconcerned.

I will re-iterate my previous reply for those who missed it:

The Union of Concerned Scientists at allthingsnuclear.org and Jeffrey Lewis at ArmsControlWonk.com do not place credence into these allegations.



Also, the timing of these Internet 'news' seeds smells rotten:

Read the full court press by the Congressional nuke hawks regarding the relevant U.S. DoD and DOE budgets:


Nuclear weapons triad: Sessions (R-AL) amendment No. 1183 to require the maintenance of all three legs of the nuclear weapons triad, those on land, at sea and in the air. Hoeven (R-ND) , Tester (D-MT), Blunt (R-MO, Enzi (R-WY) and Vitter (R-LA) have a similar amendment No. 1279 supporting the triad and endorsing all three legs of the triad.

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs): Barrasso (R-WY), Enzi (R-WY), Conrad (D-ND), Baucus (D-MT) and Tester (D-MT) amendment No. 1307 requiring the U.S. to maintain all 450 ICBM’s in the force with the New START limit of 800 strategic launchers, including 420 on alert or operationally deployed status, with any reductions to be taken equally from the three ICBM bases.

Nuclear weapons complex funding: Corker (R-TN) amendment No. 1380 permitting the Defense Department to transfer funds to the Department of Energy for nuclear weapons activities up to the level authorized if the appropriations level is less than the authorized level. Sen. Kyl (R-AZ) has a similar amendment No. 1386 permitting the Secretary of State to transfer funding to the Department of Energy. Corker and Kyl combined to introduce amendment No. 1401 to permit the Secretary of Defense to transfer the funds.

Support of nuclear weapons triad: Kyl (R-AZ)-Lugar (R-IN) sense of Congress amendment No. 1444 endorsing maintaining and modernizing the nuclear weapons triad of delivery systems, maintaining robust nuclear weapons laboratories and providing full funding for these programs.

I may have other justification to reach my conclusions...

Regarding the 'not having missiles' statement/concern: This refers to how the U.S. and the (then) U.S.S.R. concluded the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The U.S. and Russia scrapped their missiles in this category: The Russian SS-20, the U.S. Pershing II, and the U.S. Ground-Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM).

The INF Treaty eliminated U.S. and Russian ///Ground-Launched/// conventional and nuclear ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 300-3,400 miles. Note that the treaty does NOT restrict air-launched or sea-launched weapons in any way.

Further, let us posit that China does indeed have ~ 3,000 nukes squirreled away in tunnels.



Do not fall for the old Don Rumsfeld 'We will now base our forces on other country's capabilities, not capabilities and intentions' gambit...everyone who bought that line of BS facilitated the MIC's continued huge increases which has not bought us any additional marginal 'security'.

China and Russia fear each other. The U.S is truly a much lesser concern to either of them.

In addition, China has NK and India as concerns, especially India.

What is China's nuclear posture?

Are they on 'hair trigger', ready to go?

Are they a country which has been around for thousands of years, with a long memory and a long planning horizon?

What if they were not on 'hair trigger alert', but have a different time frame for their half of the MAD equation?

Even if they do have ~ 3,000 devices, they will find that they have no where to go but down in stockpile size.

It is inevitable, Neo.

We would do much better to focus our attentions on how to deal with a post-PO world vice chasing phantom menaces.

Unless you wish to continue the Carte Blanche, even upping the ante, from the taxpayer to the MIC.

So where would you want to live (country) in a peak energy/oil scenario and global financial/economic meltdown resulting thereof? Which countries are the safest?


What country has the best chance or will offer the best post peak lifestyle?

I'm not moving from New Zealand since we've got plenty of food/energy and low population density, so what about you?

Canada comes to mind, but they may have to build a border fence to keep the Yanks out.

I would take Russia over Canada.

We don't need to build a fence because your government will likely build one for us.

It would be nice if we could go back to having the longest undefended border in the world.

I don't think the Canadian government is going to build a fence because the current projections are that they are going to have to bring in about 135,000 American oil field workers for oil sands development in the next few years. Welders and heavy equipment mechanics preferred.

The American government might build a fence, but I doubt it will be needed to keep Canadians out.

They just need to dig up the roads, the yanks may have a lot of SUV's but they sure as hell don't know how to drive off road. Maybe it could be an intelligence test? If you can pass it you're smart enough to be welcome?

they sure as hell don't know how to drive off road. Maybe it could be an intelligence test?

And maybe most 'yanks' are just too smart to tear up their backwoods, unlike the Canadian primordial-idiot-ooze that calls himself woodsman or hunter does to ours.


Hi westexas, LOL ... but actually I have had rather transient thoughts about moving south to the US as there is much more and cheaper farmland there and a warmer climate besides. Of course I am not all that fascinated with the future farmer's dress code of plaid shirt and dungarees done in Kevlar. (of course Harper is getting rid of the Canadian gun registry so who knows what I will be wearing up here in that future, eh?)

Any Resilient Community where people know, trust and help each other is probably the first choice. That could be in Brooklyn, Rio, Tehran, or way down in Natasuga, Alabama.

To get specific pits the survival-prone, family-angainst-the-world types against the communal, helping-hand types.

I suggest a place with a long growing season, good soil, located about a tank of gas away from any city of 1 million or more people, and not too close to a nuke plant or coal/natural gas/oil rich area. Once you get set up there, make good firends with the others and thrive. :-)

The ideal solution is a place where both conditions hold-such as the southern mountains.People around here not only stick together and work together, they are ready to fight and die together or one at a time,as circumstances dictate.

If things really do go to hell in a hand basket, the same situation will soon develop in the city /suburban landscape.You may live in a place where there are cops or troops , but calling them might be a bigger mistake than looking after yourself.

Hopefully it won't come to that of course, but who can really say?

Matt Savinar also had "not downwind of any place likely to be nuked" on his list.

If there are enough nukes fired off, most every place will be "downwind" from the fallout. Then too, if the fight involves incinerated cities, the resulting Nuclear Winter would likely kill those the fallout missed, if the latest study on the subject is correct...

E. Swanson

Southern Hemisphere?

...read 'On the Beach'.

I have no idea where he was considering moving. I don't think he ever told anyone. I think he was considering Hawaii, but was worried about Pearl Harbor being bombed again, only with nukes.

It seems that part of this thinking must look beyond (and much smaller than) national lines. Even today, survival isn't necessarily based on large-scale factors as much as immediate ones..

Just think like a little, furry mammal scurrying beneath a bunch of tottering dinosaurs and some crazy skies above that. Water, Shelter and little nooks that the Various 'Freight Trains' probably won't come crashing through. Store Some nuts here and there, but also be able to hop and scramble when necessary.

"Just think like a little, furry mammal scurrying beneath a bunch of tottering dinosaurs"

Perfect Jo.

As long as we don't have a "longage of expectations" (nate hagans) we should be able to find a nook or cranny in many inhospitable industrial environments.

(just hope no one spills any nuclear waste down our nook or cranny)

The best place to live in a post peak scenario will be a place that currently uses very little oil. Some remote place with no vehicles other than bikes.

Production in November averaged 624,687 barrels a day, a decrease from 641,463 a year earlier and an increase from 598,929 in the previous month.

Alaska production has declined every year since 2002, U.S. Energy Department figures show, as falling output from existing wells hasn’t been matched by new additions. The bulk of the state’s oil is produced in the Prudhoe Bay area.


A lot of lead items in today's and recent Drumbeats have dealt with the way journalists confuse rather than illuminate issues.

One particular one that to my knowledge has not been discussed here is the frequent claim that poor people in some places live on the equivalent of a dollar or two dollars (US) a day.

Now this is obviously impossible, in any informed sense of what two dollars US will buy , here or almost anywhere else.

I daresay I am about as knowledgeable as anybody when it comes to purchasing food in small quantities, on a tight budget, and also quite well connected with a number of local markets that will sell to us at wholesale cost for old times sake.I bought a fifty pound bag of premium yellow Spanish onions for fifteen bucks, sale tax included, just yesterday.This quality onion sells for anywhere from 79 cents on special sale to well over a dollar at local supermarkets.I get locally produced stuff even cheaper-fifty pounds of nice potatoes right off the truck coming in from the field for eight bucks this year

I know all about beans and potatoes;when we get tired of them, we switch to potatoes and beans, and we grow some of both for our own use.It is patently impossible for most people to buy enough food under ordinary circumstances for a two dollars a day to survive,excepting possibly a starvation diet of nothing but rice or something of that nature.

And of course even if that were possible,nothing would leave be left out of the two bucks for shelter , fuel, and clothing.

Obviously most of the people in such places aren't starving in the short term.

Of course the explanation, which is never mentioned, is that these people live and work in a simplified economy wherein they do most things for themselves, from building their own dwellings to baking their own bread, and mostly barter for the few other such material goods as they possess,and for services.A shoemaker who has the few tools needed to make sandals from old tires may trade sandals for food from a farmer.

I am not belittling the sufferings and hard lives of such people.

I am interested in what others here may think would be a fair and impartial methodology ,if one exists, to compare the life of say for instance a typical Bangladeshi farmer to a severely impoverished, but not actually homeless, resident of a prosperous country such as the US.

Obviously neither is likely to starve except in the case of unusually bad luck- such as a cutoff of charity in this country, or a drought in Bangladesh.

If the American can survive on four dollars a day for food-which is doable-then the Bangladeshi would have to be credited with four dollars a day income, regardless of how he obtains his food, as I see it.

If the absolute cheapest campground/ flophouse/illegal rooming house/ decrepit camper without electricity or water on a farmers land in backwoods Mississippi is worth sixty dollars a month in labor exchanged for a place to lie down out of the rain-which I suspect it is- then the Bangladeshi farmer should likewise be credited two dollars a day because he has a shelter of some sort too.

How can someone realistically compare my living standard-little money but lots of free time, living in a resort area on a beautiful farm that could with a little reorganization do fine as a bed and breakfast with the living standard of somebody in NYC making a hundred grand but living in a small apartment without even a balcony or a parking spot?

My analysis of the 11/30/11 WSJ front page story about the US becoming a net fuel exporter:


Well if people like you stopped telling the truth drawn from your considerable experience and foresight then by default the standard of energy journalism would look to improve!

One point to consider - fewer calories are needed in a tropical climate. And many Bangli Deshis are physically smaller than average Americans. Fewer calories required, means less rice required - and money for a little variety to balance the diet.


$1 is tough, $2 is not that difficult in a village, city might be difficult. A kilo of rice costs half a dollar here, which can feed a family of four for one-two days. Add half a dollar a day for fuel(price of a liter of subsidized kerosene). The other dollar goes as rent for communal shared living space.
Of course I am assuming a lot of other things here like water and presence of a community to provide support.

Of course the explanation, which is never mentioned, is that these people live and work in a simplified economy wherein they do most things for themselves, from building their own dwellings to baking their own bread, and mostly barter for the few other such material goods as they possess,and for services.

It's not mentioned because that's not the explanation. A lot of them live in major metropolises, buy their food at a store, and pay cash for goods and services they consume.

The difference is the cost of living is cheaper. Anyone who has visited a developing country has experienced this. You can buy just about anything (except imported luxury goods) for a fraction of what it would cost here.

The difference is the cost of living is cheaper. Anyone who has visited a developing country has experienced this.

That is not true at least for India. Every time I visit India I am shocked by how expensive everything is (except labor). Space/land is super expensive, hotel rooms are expensive, fuel is expensive, food in free markets (non-subsidized) is cheaper than US but more expensive in relative terms, restaurant meals in decent restaurants are expensive, electricity is more expensive (& unreliable), internet is cheaper but a lot slower and unreliable, cell phone service is cheaper but you have to buy the cell phone at full price, electronics is expensive, equivalent cars are expensive, watching movies in modern multiplexes costs almost the same as US, etc etc.

It is cheaper to buy a shirt and a pair of shoes in the US (if you shop carefully) than it is in India (even locally made). When we have visitors from India, they are shocked by how cheap everything is in the US. They go crazy shopping and are only limited by how much they can carry in their suitcases.

On the other hand, labor in India is very cheap. In any Indian city you can hire a "servant" to do you chores for $1 a day. Even middle class Indians have "servants" who cook their meals, do their laundry and dishes, iron their clothes, clean their home, baby sit their kids, walk their kids to school, etc.

I've never been to India, but I would guess that anyone living on a dollar a day isn't eating in nice restaurants or staying in hotels.

The low cost of labor is really the key. That's a major expense for many goods. And also why so many US jobs go overseas.

I would guess that anyone living on a dollar a day isn't eating in nice restaurants or staying in hotels.

Yes. But I wouldn't say the cost of living in India is low. I would say a majority (80%) of Indians can live on very little money because they consume so little. I think this applies to all developing countries. Many poor urban Indians steal electricity and water (illegal connections) and are illegal squatters on government land. Their food and kerosene is obtained from heavily subsidized government ration shops. When they become sick they go to free government hospitals where conditions are appalling. Their kids go to free government schools which are mostly horrible. If you live like that you can live on $2/day.

Unfortunately, I see the US moving in that direction. I think in another 20 years the US is going to look like a less crowded and more affluent version of India.

Yes, consuming less is part of it. Just not owning a car greatly lowers your costs.

But OFM said he doesn't think $2 a day would buy enough food to live on. I think he's mistaken on this. $2 goes a lot further in many countries than it does here. Why? Subsidies, yes. And also because labor is cheaper, taxes are lower, and there are fewer regulations regarding quality, safety, environmental protection, etc.

Well, OFM is mistaken. 70%-80% of the population of India lives on $2 a day or less. Overall I think 50%-60% of the population of the world lives on $2/day or less.

Two dollars worth of subsidized food doesn't really cost two dollars.It costs two dollars plus however much the subsidy amounts to.Somebody is still paying for it.

This is a perfect example of my key point-that it is hard if not impossible to make sense of the numbers in such cases.

Now a better way to look at this might be to ask"How much food could you buy in a typical grocery store in eenie mi ne moe say Pakistan for instance if you converted two US dollars into local currency?"

But you still would get a highly distorted answer, unless you also asked "How many dollars can a typical Pakistani city dweller get in exchange for the money he can earn in one day in Pakistani currency?

I gust don't believe it is possible to make an intellectually enlightening and honest statement to the effect that somebody lives on the "equivalent"-WHATEVER "equivalent " is supposed to mean, in this context.

If a person has an illegal water and electricity tap, he is still consuming the value of however much water and electricity he is stealing, and thereby has that much higher an income.

as a matter of fact, in such a situation, the term "stolen" doesn't carry much if any moral stigma.I would not look down on a friend or family member doing that if i lived in such circumstances, but I would still get hot if my friend stole a loaf of bread from me or a local baker as hard up as my friend or myself.Survival is the name of the game, not passing judgement.

Two dollars to a typical American means a convenience store coffee or a cheap biscuit at a drive in window on the way to work.

You can't live on a cup of coffee or a biscuit , or both, for many days before you collapse .

I think the only honest and impartial way to get the real picture across would be to not even mention money as such, but to detail what this person owns, wears, lives in, eats, and does all day, and then point out briefly what he does not own or consume.

I live very well on a pittance; we are not by any means wealthy, not even "middle class" by a commonly accepted definition.

But I eat as well and live as comfortably , and in as nice an environment, as some people I know who earn six figures.

My whole point is that you simply can't accept such expressions as "two dollars a day" as anything other than uninformed and shipshod journalism, to put it in the kindest possible terms.

I think the key factor is not that the average Indian makes $3/day (as of this year), but that his income has tripled over the last 10 years. He used to make $1/day. From his perspective, he has 3 times as much money as he had a decade ago, and this makes a huge difference in his lifestyle.

Another factor is that India has not had a famine since independence. They may not have a lot of food, they may not have good food, but they have enough food to survive on, which historically was not always the case.

China currently has over three times the per-capita income of India (which was not always the case), but at the current rate India will catch up to where China is in 10 years. However, China is not exactly standing still, and will probably still be three times as affluent as India by then.

Somebody with more data than me can figure out how long it will take these countries to catch up with the US at their current relative growth rates. The US per-capita income has been shrinking lately.

However the food index for instance on cereals has increased to 250% of it's original.


At some point rising energy costs, food costs, water costs are going to start to erode the gains made in their average incomes, I don't think for instance that the average Indian is even 2x better off than 10 years ago based off increasing costs.

What is going to happen when energy, water or food problems catch up to the burgeoning Indian population? At this point the idea of catching up to the U.S. is a pipedream, even if the U.S. takes a massive tumble it still has significantly more resources and energy per capita and that is ignoring the institutions and capital already laid down. At some point the limits to growth will really start to bite Chindia, hard.

Everyone here familiar with the phrase plate of shrimp?

'Two dollars a day' came up today while talking with my wife and here it is again in all boldness 'two dollars a day'. Anyhow the upshot of our conversation about two dollars a day was that it is a code meaning it is time to start ripping off the peasants. Here is Vandana Shiva who I think explains what I mean better than I ever could.

This is a perfect example of my key point-that it is hard if not impossible to make sense of the numbers in such cases.

Well, yes. I got the impression that you didn't understand this, though. One dollar in the U.S. does not necessarily buy the same amount as one dollar elsewhere. The "one dollar a day" comparisons are usually meant to point up how very poor some people are (and often to get you to contribute to a cause helping said people). They don't mean that you should be able to do the same in the U.S.

Now a better way to look at this might be to ask "How much food could you buy in a typical grocery store in eenie mi ne moe say Pakistan for instance if you converted two US dollars into local currency?"

There is a measure that does this. It's called PPP: purchasing power parity.

My whole point is that you simply can't accept such expressions as "two dollars a day" as anything other than uninformed and shipshod journalism, to put it in the kindest possible terms.

I think everyone knows that. Both the writers and readers understand that $2 in Manila isn't the same as $2 in Manhattan. It's not really uninformed and slipshod, it's just rhetoric - phrasing meant to drive home a point or persuade you.

I think the better reference for the US is South America. In 20 years we will look like Brazil complete with cops killing street kids.

Unusual Drought Triggers Alarm Across Balkans

The waters of the mighty Danube are so low that dozens of cargo ships are stuck, stranded in ghostly fog or wedged into sand banks on what is normally one of eastern Europe's busiest transport routes.

Power supplies are running low in Serbia, drinking water shortages have hit Bosnia, and crop production is in jeopardy in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. The Czech Republic is at its driest since records began in 1775.

If there is no rain in the next couple of days, hydroelectric plants will be shut down, said Bosnian Serb Energy Minister Zeljko Kovacevic.

also Drought Warning Issued As Crisis to Last For More than Year, Say Experts

THE driest 12 months on record has left Britain facing a drought we may not recover from until 2013, a report warns today.

Here's how the TP Party in my neighborhood will respond to such 'sob stories' ... gak!~


Ok, Brave Smile! I found a big air leak around the chimney up in the attic last night.. time to do something real!

Others equally stupid would argue that droughts have existed before and therefor it could all be natural. Gotta keep burnin' them coals...

Paris Plans to almost Double Subways

I missed this when it came out in May.

In 2010, France announced a goal of 1,500 km of new trams by 2020 at a cost of 22 billion euros. Later, they announced that 1,000 km will be finished or under construction by 2013. I checked and every French town of 110,000 & larger will get at least one new tram line.

I could not follow every town in detail, so I chose Mulhouse pop. 110,900 to watch closely. First tram opened in 2006, three plus a "tram-train" (tram on train tracks at certain hours) today and expanding. The blue on the linked map are extensions that will open in 2012. And they get a TGV line in 2013.


Paris suburbs have 4 open tram lines (3 being extended) and 4 more under construction and more planned. Several subway lines are being extended by 1 to 3 stations deeper into the suburbs. But not quite enough.

Le Grand Paris Express has a major subway loop around Paris, from suburb to suburb. And a secondary subway loop added on, like an "8" using smaller cars. Plus Line 14 (#13 and 14 were the only all new lines since WW II) is extended to bisect the major loop. The #14 extension is designed to take some of the load off #13, with 610,000 passengers/weekday. Plus some other lines. Cost 20.5 billion euros (down from 22.7 billion). Separately, upgrades to the existing system over the next 15 years should cost 12 billion euros.

All told, about 200 km of new subways, added to the existing 214 km (soon 221 km). Mostly finished by 2025. Eight TBMs (tunnel boring machines) will be needed.

There was a dispute between the national government, that wanted fewer stations and faster speeds, and the regional governments that wanted more stations with slower speeds. A compromise developed.


22 + 20.5 billion euros is not a small investment - but it helps prepare France for a post-Peak Oil world. 2020 & 2025 are uncomfortably far in the future, but better a half, or 3/4th finished system than none when the crisis becomes acute.


Oh, and Paris has a very aggressive program to improve bicycling as well :-)

Can Americans work with the Speed, Efficiency and Determination of French Bureaucrats ?

Best Hopes that We can,


Nah, who needs subways when there are SUV's. Better spend a billion searching for the next tar sand deposit. That'll save the day. Subways are for rich greenies anyway.

How a $600 Million Search for Arctic Oil Came Up Dry


A short parable on the 'monkey-trap' of restricted information. Worth a read

Daniel Ellsberg on the Limits of Knowledge

... it will have become very hard for you to learn from anybody who doesn't have these [security] clearances. Because you'll be thinking as you listen to them: 'What would this man be telling me if he knew what I know?

"You will deal with a person who doesn't have those clearances only from the point of view of what you want him to believe and what impression you want him to go away with, since you'll have to lie carefully to him about what you know. In effect, you will have to manipulate him. You'll give up trying to assess what he has to say. The danger is, you'll become something like a moron. You'll become incapable of learning from most people in the world, no matter how much experience they may have in their particular areas that may be much greater than yours."

Re. Why Energy Journalism is so Bad.

"Welcome to my hell" indeed.

Another Case Study - from today's Marketwatch:

Shale gas gives rise to era of energy independence

After all, shale is an abundant source of natural gas and it’s one that’s expected to last long term. Stir in its low price and relatively low emissions with calls to reduce the nation’s dependence on pricey foreign oil and the energy market’s got plenty of reasons to like natural gas.

Dear Myra, (from your English teacher)

I just wanted to compliment you dear on your poignant use of the English language in your most recent publication: "Era of Energy Independence".

The title uses vivid imagery to foreshadow the notion of a rising tide of energy abundance and unending independence from that nasty foreign oil. Well done dear.

Also in the body of the article you employ powerful adjectives like "shale is an abundant source of natural gas" to convey with alliterative attribution the underlying understanding that we are free at last, free at last, from the chains of those silly thermodynamic rules. Well done in that department as well darling dear.

It's so important, so important, to exude confidence.
On thing for sure dear is you do do the deed in this following passage:

One thing’s for sure: analysts don’t see an end to the supply glut and they’re not forecasting any sustained spikes in natural gas prices, at least not any time soon.

Nicely played dear.

Most poetically yours,
Shirley Sure Simpleton, your English teacher

Stepback, you really should email her with that response - made my day ;)


Sadly, I've run into scientifically illiterate literature types and that's the way they think.
The power of "the word" will change the world.

Getting into that post-peak spirit ...

Guns are a big seller on Black Friday

Deputy Assistant FBI Director Jerry Pender said the checks, required by federal law, surged to 129,166 during the day, far surpassing the previous high of 97,848 on Black Friday of 2008.

... last Friday's number appeared to defy complete explanation. "It's really pretty amazing"

Hey, even the ammo manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon.

I just read World War Z last month. Then I heard that JMS (writer behind most of Babylon 5) is doing the screenplay for the movie version. Now Zombiemax ammo.

I'm still chuckling.

eh, that still isn't the zombie kill of the week. :P

Environmental Gap Widens in Phoenix

It’s not only economic inequality that’s increased in the city of Phoenix, Arizona. In the last 40 years, environmental inequality has increased, too.

The availability of foliage and vegetation — and the cooling effects they provide — now tracks with income. In 1970, there was no relationship.

In central Arizona, vegetation isn’t simply a pretty natural adornment. According to Jenerette and Martin, the shade under a tree can be 40 degrees cooler than a patch of bare soil. A large body of research links increased urban temperatures to health risks, exacerbated pollution and violence.

Changes from 1970 to 2000 in the amount of correlation between income and local vegetation. Image: Jenerette et al/Ecological Applications

Very Civilized Hoax by GreenPeace on Big Oil



China Central Bank Says Property Prices About to Reach a ‘Turning Point’

China’s property prices are about to reach a “turning point”, with developers facing tighter liquidity, the central bank said, citing a research report by its statistics department.

Some of the commercial-bank representatives at the Nov. 24 meeting said lenders and property developers could cope with a 20 percent to 30 percent decline in home prices, according to the statement.

“The bigger concern that banks and companies have is whether a 20 percent fall in home prices might induce panic selling, and whether relevant departments will be able to take effective measures to control any chain reactions,” according to the central bank’s statement.

related China's Ordos Property Bust Offers Warning Sign

Everything that goes up must come down. Nothing lasts forever.

First China property. Next European welfare state. Next American military complex. Next oil production. Next fossil fuel production. Next human population. You can count on it.

Why modern people think anything can go up forever is simply beyond me. It's like a collective insanity, a cultural meme that refuses to die.

Minister: China wants to invest in US roads, rails

BEIJING (AP) — China wants to convert some of its mountain of U.S. government debt into investment in renovating American roads and subways, the commerce minister said Friday.

Speaking to a business group, Chen Deming said China wants closer cooperation with the United States in infrastructure, clean energy and technology.

Chen said he was amazed at the high quality of American subways and other infrastructure when he visited 20 years ago but many roads, railways and ports today need renovation.

"China is willing to turn some of our holdings of your debt into investment in the United States, hoping to create jobs for the United States," he said.

Another way to look at this - China needs more employed U.S. consumers to buy more Chinese 'stuff' to keep Chinese factory workers busy and not rioting.

Saw that. First thought was of those CE's in state highway depts who thought they were immune to outsourcing....

Edit And I imagine the next ripe plum will be in healthcare. If that fruit doesn't rot on the tree, so to speak.

The next round of cuts to Medicare and Medicaid will kill rural hospitals if implemented as planned, hitting them proportionally much harder than metro or urban hospitals. It is projected that urban centers can absorb the cuts through price shifting and such. Rural hospitals won't be able to do this. Locally, our nearest hospital is really concerned, for they have been operating in the red awhile. Not that they aren't a tight ship, it's just that few folks have jobs, and rarest are jobs with health insurance. They can't turn people away, so the majority of the care is charity. I truly admire the compassion that thus far has been shown, but the government cuts coming will be gruesome.

This will free us up to spend more of our own money on the MIC and propping up the failing financial industry. /sarc

China is exposed right now to that debt melting away from inflation-and it is melting fast.They can't just dump more than a tiny fraction of it at a time it, as that would render the remainder worthless due to the price of it collapsing.

So they are converting it as fast as they can to hard assets such as oil, scrap metal,metal ores and farmlands, wherever and as often as they can.

I personally am following the same strategy to the very modest extent that I am able.An energy intensive product such as fertilizer is easily stored on a farm and keeps just fine.

If I don't use it myself, I am simply "long" on fertilizer.It is unlikely imo that I will have any trouble finding a cash buyer at a decent paper profit-whether I earn a true profit will depend on what I spend the cash on.If I can spend it on something I want that has risen only slowly in price, I could make out very well indeed, as I expect fertilizer prices to rise fifty to a hundred percent within in five to ten years.If fertilizer doubles and diesel triples, I will lose badly if I must spend it on diesel.

But in any sort of reasonably safe paper investment, such as loaning it(all money deposited in a bank is in essence loaned to the bank) to a bank, I can't expect to earn as much as I will lose to inflation-again, this is my opinion, not an established fact.

For what is is worth, I do hold on to some cash which is available instantly for emergencies or if I run up on a hot investment that I can handle without going into debt.It is quite common for somebody who follows my strategy to be offered a perfectly good pickup triuck or tractor or other piece of machinery at a bargain price by someone in a big hurry to raise some money.If you already have such an item, you can sell the extra one easily enough at a good profit.

When our money falls by half or more in value, which is likely to happen imo within the foreseeable future, the value of all that Chinese held paper will decline in proportion.

But subway tickets and road tolls will go up along with inflation, and Chinese owners of a company with facilities located on American soil with American employees will have better access to American markets later on when the political pendulum swings back to protectionism -which it will, eventually, and probably sooner than most of us would ever guess.

The Chinese have long memories, and a long history, and many scholars.

Unless we deliberately and literally default in so many words thereby risking god only knows what consequences, they know we are going to have to gradually inflate our debts away.

Unfortunately, we don't have much collective memory or intelligence.

Some of my semi feral chickens apparently have better memories and more brains, in terms of recognizing safe behaviors, than our collective society.

Why Russia is backing Syria

Russia isn't just protecting its business interests – it fears Syrian civil war could have knock-on effects in Dagestan and beyond

Russian middle eastern experts compare Syria to Russia's own province of Dagestan in the North Caucasus. Unlike its neighbouring Chechnya, Dagestan is patchwork of competing tribes, religions, ethnicities and loyalties, more than 150 of them. If a breakaway Muslim insurgency took hold there, Dagestan would explode like a grenade, sending hot shards of metal and people across southern Russia

The Shell Game with our financial resources continues... valiant efforts made, but likely in vain.

Conservatives craft bill to prevent IMF bailout of crumbling eurozone

Republicans on both sides of the Capitol complain that the Obama administration has refused to share details of what Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is discussing with European leaders amid reports the IMF could intervene.

“We need some transparency about what’s really going on,” said McMorris Rodgers. “It’s hard to get information. We’re talking about U.S. taxpayer dollars being involved in the European bailout. The administration needs to be honest with the Congress.

and another one...
Lawmakers subpoena Jon Corzine to testify about MF Global collapse

Pull plug on electric vehicle subsidies

Been driving the Volt for a year now - 135 MPG...can the Cruze beat this? Reading the actual HTSA reports, found out that after a crash, I would have to sit in the car for three weeks before it catches fire. OK: I think would not do so.
When I started to read the above article, I got some early clues and then I scrolled down to the end:
"Mike Kelly, a Republican, represents the Third District of Pennsylvania in the U.S. Congress. He is also a former car dealer."

"Government-imposed green energy mandates and subsidies represent a fundamental departure from the way our economy has functioned since the industrial revolution."

Oh yeah? Really wanna open the can?

Time to pull the plug on Mike Kelly's subsidies..

New bamboo charcoal tech to jumpstart African bioenergy sector, slow deforestation and climate change

It takes seven to ten tons of raw wood to produce one ton of wood charcoal, making wood fuel collection an important driver of deforestation on a continent of nearly one billion people who have few alternative fuel sources.

Bamboo, the perfect biomass grass, grows naturally across Africa and presents a viable, cleaner and sustainable alternative to wood fuel," said Dr. J. Coosje Hoogendoorn, Director General of INBAR at a side event at UNFCCC COP17 in Durban today. "Without such an alternative, wood charcoal will remain the primary household energy source for decades to come—with disastrous consequences

Born-again Wood-head Bobs to Surface on Congress Floor (12/2/2011)

Yah all see this here [Peak Oil] graph where US production peaks at 1973? We can turn this graph upside down if only we get them darn Guberment regulators out of the way and unleash American can-do ingenuity

Granted this is not exactly what he said.
And granted the image link is not to a Peak Oil graph.
The actual speech and images are not yet available. (It just happened about an hour ago)

But as the non-existing-Deity is my witness, I just saw a young US Congresman (Georgia R Rep Rob Wodall) pull out a Peak Oil production graph on the floor of the US House of Representatives and start spouting his theory that US Peak Oil happened only because US Federal regulators have gotten in the way of your hard-working average Georgians and these durn Federal Bureaucrats have blocked the tapping into our unlimited and God-given American energy resources.


I guess we're losing the war against Peak Oil disinformation. Big time.

Sad, but most of the general public believes just what that congressman said.
Someday, when the drilling starts up again, they will see that the new wells cannot keep up with the old ones. Eventually, the landscape may consist of oil wells every 10 feet apart. Federal regulators have caused a lot of problems, but they did not cause peak oil. Sometimes people just refuse to believe the truth.

Cool et al – One more time: for 36 years I’ve drilled wells primarily in Texas, La. and the fed waters in the GOM. Not once have I ever been unable to drill any well I wanted du to regulations. As far as I can remember I don’t recall anyone I know having that problem. Granted, other geologists may have run into that problem especially out west. So how representative is my background? The majority of oil/NG that has been produced over the last 40 years has been in my arena. I’ll let others judge the significance of my experiences.

Cool: “Someday, when the drilling starts up again…” Am I misreading you or are you not aware we have more rigs drilling in the US today than we’ve had at anytime during the last 25 years? In some cases more than twice as many as during some years. A far as wells being drilled every 10’ that will never happen. There are exceptions but once a field has been developed and produced for some time it’s very rare for additional wells to be drilled. As far as the current hot fractured shale plays: horizontal drilling has actually decreased the number of surface location and thus increased well spacing.

You’re correct: the regulators didn’t create PO. Mother Earth did. And she and I have been on intimate terms for over 40 years. And I know she doesn’t give a cr*p how it effects mankind. LOL. We’re just one more species passing though her world. No better or worse then the dodo.

Rock - Everyone knows that you and every other American oil company are collectively sitting on about 1,000 billion barrels of light sweet crude which you're keeping off the market because you're all colluding on keeping it off the market until such time as prices are north of $150 barrel because you're greedy SOB's. You're keeping all the abiotic oil to yourselves and denying its existence in order to fuel your future profits. Everyone knows that the real oil is hidden under the shale plays and floats upwards and recharges the shale oil. You and all your oil buddies are just tapping into the shale and you're just waiting until the oil price goes up even further before you drill into the real source of the oil.

/conspiracy theory. LOL!

Anyway what are the chances that there is another Ghawar oil field out there somewhere? There are a lot of places which haven't really been explored.

S - "...you're greedy SOB's..." On that count, guilty as charged, your honor. The rest...no comment (gotta keep those conspiricy theories alive, ya know).

.....Not once have I ever been unable to drill any well I wanted du to regulations. As far as I can remember I don’t recall anyone I know having that problem. Granted, other geologists may have run into that problem especially out west.....

Other geologists do indeed run into that problem. In Alaska it is a given that nearly ANY new energy development will be challenged in the regulatory process, and later, in court. Since one knows that it will happen, one just factors it into ones plans. Shell can tell you more than you ever want to know about this issue.

....There are exceptions but once a field has been developed and produced for some time it’s very rare for additional wells to be drilled....

Yes indeed, there are "exceptions". Prudhoe Bay is still the biggest conventional oil field ever discovered in North America (that includes Texas and Canada). Prudhoe was originally estimated to have about 9.7 billion barrels recoverable. More than 30 years since the start of production, about 12 billion has been produced from Prudhoe, and there is by most estimates about a billion barrels remaining that will be produced. Much of the increase is due to infill drilling, mosty with coil tubing.

The upper 3/4 of the main reservoir at Prudhoe is highly porous and permiable fluvial sands and conglomerates. Early on, these were produced by conventional vertical and slant wells. The lower 1/4 of the reservoir is more highly variable and complex delta and delta front sands. This is where most of the remaining oil is. The nature of this lower portion of the reservoir is such that it requires closely spaced wells to drain it. The field operator (BP) drills about 30-50 wells a year. A new sidetrack is drilled, comes on line, produces full time for a few years, then cycles for a few more years, then gets abandoned and the well is sidetracked again. It is not uncommon for a Prudhoe well to be sidetracked 3 or 4 times.

Almost all of these are coil sidetracks of existing wells, re-using the surface casing. There are also a very few new grassroots wells drilled each year. Prudhoe Bay has been leading the world in improving coil tubing drilling technology. Nearly all new wells at Prudhoe are side tracks of existing wells, and are drilled from existing gravel pads. Therefore the visible surface "footprint" at Prudhoe hasn't changed much in many years, even though there are now more than 2000 distinct penetrations in the subsurface.

geo - I should have been more clear: I don't count restricting areas from drilling, like the offshore east coast. That's a policiy issue in my view...not a reg problem. If they openned up that area for leasing the current regs wouldn't stop drilling out there.

They DID open up the Chukchi and Beaufort for leasing.......yet Shell still hasn't been able to drill. The regs themselves don't prohibit drilling....but various groups exploiting legal loopholes in those regs, and challenging decisions of the regulators in court do indeed stop drilling.

I think that what the Congressman is trying to say is ROCKMAN is a slacker.

target - In one sense he would be correct. Me and my fellow slackers have failed our owner...to a degree. I'm giving back about $40 million of budget because we couldn't find enough conventional prospects to drill. Would be nice if we could blame the regulators but my owner didn't become a $billionaire swallowing anyone's BS.

I think that what the Congressman is trying to say is ROCKMAN is a slacker.

Federal regulators have caused a lot of problems, but they did not cause peak oil. Sometimes people just refuse to believe the truth.

If your worldview is "all federal regulations are problems" and you run into a problem the answer is "Federal regulations caused this".

Federal regulators have caused a lot of problems

Woodall's energy independence speech of 2011-12-02 is not yet up on YouTube
However, here is an older speech (May 2011) of similar tenor

Woodall speaks well. I noticed that his education starting at Marist School. When I was a HS student in Atlanta, Marist was a male only semi-military school, with students required to wear uniforms. I didn't know that they were a Catholic school as well. Woodall attended after the military program was terminated in '77...

E. Swanson

Marist (been there,done that) was a boys only Catholic/Air Force JROTC academy prior to 1977 (non-boarding), and the education was remarkably balanced and focused. Most of our professors were Priests and retired Air Force officers, their standards were high and they didn't accept mediocre performance from their students. Despite the Catholic/military nature of the school, it was never indoctrinational (many of my friends there were Protestants and Jews). Then again, I was never invited up to the rectumry. I left there far more prepared than my public school friends, who I found it tough to relate to at times. I guess that's why they call them prep schools. Many of the alum thought the change to non-military/coed was a mistake, likely an economic decision rather than ideological.

The only thing worse than a neocon is a well educated neocon.

Substitute the words 'Average American Driver' for 'older Floridian' in this article and it will give you a glimpse of what could happen post-peak ...

Study shows many older Floridians have no backup plan after hanging up their keys

Florida is home to one of the highest percentages of residents ages 65 and older in the United States, but very few of them have thought ahead to a time when they will no longer be able to drive a vehicle safely or considered how they will get around without a car, according to a new survey developed by Florida State University and the Florida Department of Transportation.

In fact, 13 percent of survey respondents indicated they would not stop driving at all, with 3 percent expressing the opinion that they would die before they would stop driving.

Reality check: some of the laundry list set out in that article may indeed be of some very limited help - though some items are not about backup plans, but about postponing the day the car keys are hung up. But then again, by the time people actually hang up the keys, or at best shortly afterwards, they're also very often in no physical condition to cope with all the walking, waiting around in the heat or cold for vehicles that are late or don't show up, etc. needed to use a regular transit system - and certainly not a system like the NYC or DC subway with all those strenuous stairways and famously broken escalators and elevators. Indeed, just a walk down the block may leave them, to use a word I heard in England that fits perfectly, knackered. And even if they can still walk down the block for a few more months, in much of the country, though not Florida, they will be severely enjoined by their doctors against venturing outside on foot for a third of the year lest they slip and fall on ice. And in Florida, they may instead be enjoined from venturing forth into the furnace-heat and stifling humidity for a third of the year.

So basically it's door-to-door dial-a-ride if that's available, and if the ride that had to be reserved ridiculously far in advance is actually still of any use when the scheduled time at long last arrives. Or, as very often happens, cadging rides from friends or relatives. Or the occasional costly ride in a regular taxi. Or moving to a "retirement community" where meals are served on-site and there is no almost no need to venture outdoors.

Since modern medicine is enabling huge numbers of exceedingly frail people to survive far longer than ever before, it doesn't seem likely that anything that could be called a widely applicable "solution" can or will be found. Indeed, the problem can only become steadily and ever worse.

I gave a talk to a group of seniors at my church (among whom I am one) from a traffic engineering perspective regarding older adults driving. I talked about how the need for illumination at night doubles with every 19 years of age and how traffic engineers were trying to increase the size of letters on signs to help older drivers with poor visibility. I then talked about my own very positive experience riding the public bus system to work.

The blow-back really surprised me. I'm the pastor's husband, so I can get away with a lot, but I obviously hit a sore spot. Every senior adult there planned to keep on driving, even though one of our elderly members had recently been in a serious accident that was related to her age and lack of vision/reaction time.

I reminded them that some of their own grandmothers never bothered to learn to drive, and that we can make decisions to move to walkable communities with good transit service available. I also mentioned that our church had a van that could pick them up and take them home after any church event. None of that made any difference. They all wanted to drive.

None of this is going to end well....


Welcome to OCT. We are all together trying our best to give you what you want in transportation here in our town. This is a description of our system and ways you can benefit from it

What it is- OCT is a cooppertative transportation system that is intended to allow you to go where you want to, when you want to, how you want to, and at minimum cost and maximum convenience.

This is the way it works. With your sign-up and payment of an initial fee (or payment in kind with for example, a car, or other vehicle), you get a cell phone that connects you to a central computer along with a printed list of rules and services. To start up, you must give that computer some basic information- your home location, where you usually travel, how often, what preferences you have, such as driving yourself, being driven, traveling alone or willing to ride with others and lots of other info allowing the computer to make smart decisions when you call for service. But don’t sweat too much about these initial instructions, you can change any instructions or decisions anytime you want. If for example, you want to go into town right now, and drive alone, just tell the computer when you call for a car, and you will get the service you wish.

The charge will depend on what you ask for, when, and whether you have given previous notice. For example, if you have already scheduled a morning trip to town the night before, and if you have specified that you are not in a rush and will be willing to ride with others, and be driven, and be dropped off with no vehicle waiting, you will be charged a minimum amount. If on the other hand, you suddenly on impulse decide that you want a limosene, right now, to be delivered to your door, to be driven by you, and you want to keep it to yourself all day, then of course, you will be charged a much higher fee.

You can choose any vehicle you want for your own particular need at the time. If for example, you want to haul some trash from your place to the dump, you may want to schedule a delivery of an old, fully depreciated pickup truck, already so beat up that any damage you might cause to it would be relatively inconsequential, thus assuring yourself a minimum cost for your trash haul. And you can leave this truck at your house, at the dump or anywhere else just by using your phone to so inform the computer. We take care of picking it up, but of course, you will be charged an amount proportional to the effort involved.

You may choose to drive or be driven. Our drivers are carefully selected to be skilled, politic, and completely sane. That is why you will notice that most of them are grandmothers. They have already seen most of the things that happen to people in their lives, and are used to handling them efficiently. You will also notice that choosing to be driven, rather than driving yourself, is often less costly. This is because our smart computer is constantly summing the costs of everything, and it has found that when you choose to be driven, costs tend to be less, since for example, you will often also choose to release the vehicle and driver after arriving at your destination, rather than keeping it there. Thus the vehicle and driver can do something useful elsewhere while you are going about your business.

Just like you, our computer uses common sense and experience to judge costs, so that the choices it makes to satisfy your needs are often exactly what you yourself would choose, given the same information. The computer knows a lot! It knows the town calendar, it knows when important events happen that lots of people will go to, and it distributes cars appropriately, and so on. And it learns from experience, so that it gets more and more adept at allocating resources. And it learns from you! Don’t hesitate to tell it what went wrong, or better yet, what went right.

So we urge you to use our system freely as you would wish, and find out how it works for you. And remember, by joining us, you become an owner and a voting member. You can attend the monthly management sessions, bring up any problem you see, and suggest improvements. In this way, we are all contributors toward the goal of making our transport club the best it can be!

And do not forget, we are constantly working on improvements- to our range of services, our fleet of vehicles, our computer and communication systems- everything. Be with us, we promise you that you will find it far less expensive, and far more convenient and safe, than owning your own car. A private car is a thing that costs a lot of your effort to get and keep up, that takes up space, does nothing at all most of the time, but keeps draining your pocket ALL of the time. In our transport club, you pay only for what you get, and you can if you want, not ask for much, and pay very little.

How do I join? Simple, visit our office, call or email us, fill in the forms, pay your fee, and you are in.

What if I wreck the car? Insurance is part of the club service. You choose your insurance just as you do with a private car, and you pay less than with a private insurance company.

Can I bring others with me who are not part of the club? Sure, but you pay what the computer says is the additional real cost, which may be a lot depending on circumstances, such as heavy demand at the time..

Can I use your service if I am not a member? Yes, but you pay a higher fee and have a lower priority that members- you may have to wait a lot longer.
How many people can you serve at once? We have big vehicles for big parties, or if you need them, several big vehicles at once.

How can I be sure I am not being cheated? You get a monthly bill, with full printout of all services and charges. If you wish, you can challenge this bill; be sure to have substantive proof of your claims.

What about complaints? Bring them to the monthly meeting, and let us hear them. We are eager to find and correct any faults. Above all, we, like you, want our service to be convenient, fast, comfortable, safe, and cheap.

How far can I go in one of the club vehicles? As far as you can drive. Just remember your fee is proportional to your use.

Will you pick up my groceries for me? Yes, and we will ask you to pay the fee, which again may be much or little depending on circumstances. If for example, a lot of you have things to pick up at the same place, and they are waiting in a box at the curb, then the fee per person may be quite small. If you want us to go a long distance for one little item, on the spur of the moment, and deliver it right now, it might cost you a lot more than you might normally expect.

How about my grandchildren going to an after school function? Same thing. We will transport them, and we will charge what it costs. We also can provide any information you want on their arrival, departure, position in journey and whatever else may be worrying you.

It's called a retirement home.

Yes, age catches up to even rugged American individualist boomers.

Fair crack of the whip! There are quite a few other options available, between driving everywhere, and going ga-ga in the retirement home. Especially for us boomers who demand quite a lot from life (and have mostly got away with it).

We chose a retirement bolt-hole that ticked all those boxes: good warm climate, flat ground, progressive local government, and most importantly, all the facilities required (from medical centres to libraries, shopping centres, post offices, banks, and lots of restaurants) are all within a 15 minute safe stroll. And there is a good bus system and a new light-rail service as well. No need for a car at all.

"Give me wheels or give me death!" seems a little extreme, even for American boomers.

In fact, 13 percent of survey respondents indicated they would not stop driving at all, with 3 percent expressing the opinion that they would die before they would stop driving.

LOL! From my experience of driving in Florida some folks have died and yet still refuse to stop driving!

Coal exports to Asia.

I think this is a bad sign on several levels. It says that coal exporting countries prefer the money to helping restrict global emissions. It may even undercut the exporter's domestic manufacturing such as the steel industry by sending emissions offshore. On the other hand Asia's need for such a dirty source of energy suggests the Asian economic miracle is fragile. At some point the cost of imported coal must outweigh the advantages of cheap labour and lack of pollution controls.

In Australia's case coal exports to Asia undermine the credibility of the proposed carbon tax at home. Australia's domestic CO2 is under 600 megatonnes annually (for 22m people) but CO2 from exported coal is over 700 Mt. Now the US is increasing coal exports yet both the US and Australia talk big about reducing emissions. If they capped coal exports China and India might find it hard to get enough coal yet this seems certain anyway within a decade or two. Coal exports are an early sign something is wrong.

Consumers Energy's statement on decision not to build coal-fired plant

Big news from Michigan's Consumers Energy cancelling their proposed new coal plant in Bay City, MI


Nice, so what do they plan to use to produce the required energy?

Another concise display of the "Act of God" approach to planning for future electric production capacity.

More Michigan coal plant shut downs. http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2011/12/consumers_...

Plans are to use energy efficiency, natural gas and wind power to meet future needs.

Cracks are appearing in the opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline to take oil sands production to China, now that the Keystone XL Pipeline to take it the US Gulf Coast has been delayed.

Gitxsan First Nation takes ownership stake in Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline project

Enbridge Inc.’s $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline project, hammered by criticism from aboriginal and environmental groups this week, got a major backer Friday when the Gitxsan First Nation announced it is taking an ownership stake in the project.

The Gitxsan First Nation, one of B.C.’s best-known aboriginal communities due to its role in a landmark land rights court ruling, said it expects to generate at least $7 million in net profits from the joint agreement.

“Over time we have established a relationship of trust with Enbridge, we have examined and assessed this project, and we believe it can be built and operated safely,” said Hereditary Chief Elmer Derrick in a news release was released “on behalf of the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs.”

Given the amount of money the oil sands represent to the Canadian economy and the number of interested parties with a stake in it, one would think it would come as no surprise to the opposing groups how much pressure is going to build up on the other side of the debate and how badly they are going to be treated. It probably will come as a surprise to them, however.

I'm watching this with considerable interest as someone with a lot of inside information.

Well, when the Chief is named "Derrick", of course he would agree to an oil development!

The one thing I don;t understand with the Northern Gateway pipeline, is why they don't take it to Prince Rupert instead?

It would only be about 70km longer than the Kitimat line, and along a corridor that already has road, rail and powerlines, there is already a major port there, and tankers don;t have to go up the 100km channel to Kitimat.

Surely there would be far less chance of a shipping incident just going to P. Rupert.

Can't figure it either Paul.

It seems the 2 best routes, eastern Canada or Prince Rupert, are off the table. It's as if they deliberately are picking fights keeping the 2 worst routes front and center.

From the Enbridge web site Project Info / FAQs

Did you consider running the pipeline to Prince Rupert where a major port already exists?

We considered Prince Rupert and Kitimat as possible locations. We carried out a feasibility study that took into account a number of considerations. The study found that the routes to Prince Rupert were too steep to safely run the pipeline, and that Kitimat was the best and safest option available.

That seems like a bit of a soft answer from Enbridge. if you can get power lines, road and rail to PR I'm sure you can get an oil pipeline too.

Obviously it is more expensive or they wouldn't be going for Kitimat instead, but it does seem that you give up some measure of sea safety in doing so.

If Enbridge were offered PR or not at all, I expect they would find a way to make it work - I'm sure they have solved tougher problems than that.

Korea embraces renewable energy:


re: Anthracite shortage as fuel goes overseas

As someone whose house is sitting on what I am told is the largest anthracite deposit west of Pennsylvania, I just want people to know: My mineral rights are for sale. Make me an offer. I can always build a new house in some less fossil-fuel rich area.

Just kidding. I don't own the mineral rights under this house, the government does. However, there is an awful lot of heavy machinery rumbling around in the mountains south of here, and I believe high coal demand is the reason.

Didn't see this posted:

California electric vehicle maker Aptera closes doors

Paul Wilbur, president and CEO of electric vehicle manufacturer Aptera just announced the company is closing today.... Aptera hoped to make a three-wheeled electric car in the $30,000 range but has been unable to find private investors to match a conditional Energy Department loan committment of $150 million.


Good - it was a really dumb design. Fragile, made of expensive materials and having no cargo capacity it was intended for a wealthy drivers in a world with perfectly paved roads. Just the thing for buzzing to your high tech job in, say Silicon Valley. We're a debtor nation that cannot afford to maintain its infrastructure even though we sacrifice all we can to the almighty automobile.

it was intended for a wealthy drivers

Well, at $30,000 per vehicle I think that's stretching it a bit, although clearly a family would need another vehicle for transporting cargo, unless it rented one.


From the photos it does look fragile, although I can't say for sure having not driven one. Certainly, if these were to have a meaningful presence on American roads, small vehicles would have to be the vast majority of cars, otherwise the Aptera would be a death trap.

We're a debtor nation that cannot afford to maintain its infrastructure even though we sacrifice all we can to the almighty automobile.

I agree public transport is vastly superior and individual auto use is a luxury to be avoided if possible, but the fact of the matter is tens of millions of people live in areas served by the automobile.

The wheels and suspension wouldn't last long on Pennsylvania roads, that's for sure. It'd end up a cute little wheel-less egg rolling down the road. As for price, well they never really got into production, so who's to say what they would have cost for real.

I'll miss it. I thought they looked really cool. And small size and aerodynamics means great energy efficiency. But the real problem is mixing such "rightsized" minivehicles with the biger vehicles. The later are a deathtrap if hit by an SUV. A real issue for the future is how to winddown the vehicular arms race "the only way to prtect me and mine, is to have a bigger heavier car than the other guy", and get to where such solutions are thinkable for all but the most foolhardy.

"looking cool" is definitely in the eyes of the beholder...

But more importantly is would you buy one, or let your wife do battle on the freeways with it?

By the way, this "car" is actually classed as a motorcycle, which presumably means you need to wear helmets when driving it!

From the specs on the wiki page, this thing was projected to have a range of all of 100 miles per charge. Given that it costs the same as a Leaf, goes no further, carries less people, looks flimsy and is NOT backed by a major car maker, why would many people buy it?

This looks like a classic (Californian) case of trying to incorporate every possible green idea into a project, thus making it very expensive and unlikely to be replicated - which is exactly what has happened.

It will make a good museum piece/collectors car, and that's about it - it will barely amount to even a footnote in automotive history.

The manufacturer also had plans for a plug-in hybrid. From Wikipedia:

An early Aptera 2h design used a "small, water-cooled EFI Gasoline engine with closed loop oxygen feedback and catalytic converter," coupled with a 12 kW generator/starter. With a tank capacity of "up to five gallons," the Aptera 2h would have a claimed range of 600 to 700 mi (970 to 1,130 km), compared to the 120 miles (190 km) range of the Aptera 2e. The 2h will be a series hybrid: the engine would not be connected to the drivetrain, instead being used to recharge the batteries.

As with any plug-in hybrid, fuel economy of the Aptera 2h depends on trip length and battery charge. For trips of less than about 50 miles (80 km) after a full charge the engine may not turn on at all, resulting in approximately the same energy consumption as the pure electric model: 96 watt-hours/mi. If on the other hand the car was never plugged in, the Aptera 2h would get 130 miles per US gallon (1.8 l/100 km). Aptera Motors quotes 300 miles per US gallon (0.8 l/100 km), which applies to a 120-mile (190 km) trip after a full charge. They justify this by stating that 99% of Americans drive less than 120 miles (190 km) daily.


A 12kW generator is actually oversized for this car.

At 96Wh/mile, and 60 mph, the car is using 6kW on average - their generator is 2x the size it needs to be!
You could use a well set up Honda engine/generator for this, or, for ultimate fuel economy, this very efficient (but heavier) Yanmar unit;


A bit undersized at 4.5kw, but at 0.34 gal/hr, it would mean the equivalent of about 130mpg.

Not sure whether the "closed loop oxygen feedback and catalytic converter" means it has an O2 sensor and CC like any other car, or if they invented some needlessly complex system to do the same thing.

In any case, they had an efficient concept car, but not a car that was ever going to be a commercial success.

If I had to drive a three wheeler, I'd want something with some character, like the (new) Morgan Three Wheeler;


The presumed aerodynamic shape of the Aptera was also based on fifty year old thinking about how to reduce aero drag. People who know what they are doing could now design a simple box shaped vehicle, not much different than a typical minivan, with a Cd only a bit higher than the Aptera. In fact, a Cd of 0.15 for an operating vehicle complete with cooling air, etc., should be easy to achieve without any curved surfaces.

Well, if it was truly that simple, then why aren;t the carmakers doing so?

It is interesting to compare the Apter to the X-prize winning Edison, which was designed by the retired chief aerodynamicist for Northrop Grumman;

I would say there is quite a similarity there. No matter what your Cd is, the other factor in the equation of total drag is frontal area, and they have both taken the approach of a narrow cabin, with the wheels out wide for stability and crash protection.

The design notes for the Edison also talked about having the rear of the vehicle narrowing into a fan/tail for lowest drag. Aptera's is horizontal, Edison chose vertical (a better choice, IMO).

The Prius cuts off the back ( a Kamm back) for a modest drag penalty, but keeps it much more car like.

If the boxy approach could work, then the minivan and PU designers ought to be getting onto that fast!
Not saying your boxy version can;t be done, but I would like to see it done

Why do people always seem to leave out the rest of the drag equation?

The equation is attributed to Lord Rayleigh, who originally used L2 in place of A (with L being some linear dimension). But see Section 7 of Book 2 of Newton's Principia Mathematica; in particular Proposition 37. The force on a moving object due to a fluid is:

FD = 1/2pv^2CDA


FD is the force of drag, which is by definition the force component in the direction of the flow velocity,[1]
ρ is the mass density of the fluid, [2]
v is the velocity of the object relative to the fluid,
A is the reference area, and
CD is the drag coefficient — a dimensionless constant related to the object's geometry and taking into account both skin friction and form drag.


The reason for the shape is so that they can have a small area with a low drag co-efficient. Both area and co-efficient are equally important and yet people only focus on the co-efficient.

Well said!

No matter how aerodynamic, the frontal area of a minivan is almost double that of a compact car.

That is the main reason why Aptera and Edison ended up with the shapes they did, though they were certainly not the first.

From Edison's website is this car that attempted the world land speed record back in the 1928.

The very low frontal area is readily apparent.

There are not many ideas in autos that are new, but there a many good ones that have gathered dust for a long time...

I wonder how it would have handled in snow. Then again, it's always summer in much of California so maybe they never considered it...

With a set of good winter tyres it should not be too bad. The tyres would need to be fairly thin, to keep the contact area small and the contact pressure higher - lots of contact area/low pressure works against you in the snow - as many dually PU drivers learn!

It's hard to see what will happen to the energy markets if we have another harsh winter when heating demand goes up. Right now, coal is the most plentiful fuel and it accounts for at least 40% of all energy consumption. Coal is also plentiful in the U.S. and we have heard experts say that we are the Saudi Arabia of coal supplies. The Economist reported that the cost of coal has gone from about $110/ton to $170/ton in just one year.

But, as plentiful as coal is, the demand has skyrocketed due to expanding economies of China and India, both countries which are burning more each year. They are also polluting the atmosphere at an accelerated pace.

In a related article The Economist reported that even with record heat, droughts and fires in Australia 80% of their economy is dependent on coal exports. So, as an extreme example we can see where we are headed in America. Burn and sell more lung-choking coal, suffer more debilitating respiratory effects and keep increasing the bottom line profits.

On this site, there is a story about exporting more domestically-produced oil because we are pumping it out and producing it faster than refineries which are operating at maximum capacity can keep up with. Rather than conserve it and save oil for hard times, quick profits soon trump foresight.

But, we are not talking about conservation and environmental concerns anymore since the current politics in America have pretty much put a gag on climate change research (especially the causes), or global warming due to increased burning of fossil fuels which create more sulfur dioxide and CO2. Also, the faster thaw of tundra in the northern latitudes from Canada to Russia is causing the release of more methane, an even greater contributor to the greenhouse warming effect than fossil fuels.

Other variables: poorer consumers are buying smaller, more fuel-efficient cars and all electric vehicles, though not significant numbers, have contributed to lower gasoline prices at the pump. Consumers (again, poorer ones, or should I say less affluent) are driving less. According to the Dept. of Transportation Americans drove 3 million less miles last year. There were no statistics for the increasing numbers of drivers in China as a result of a rising middle class there.

Apparently, the expected dividends from ending the Iraq War have not translated into greater oil supplies to America. One reason given is that the infrastructure in Iraq remains so degraded that it will take billions of dollars and foreign investments before Iraq can return to prosperity. Nor has the calmed Libyan insurrection brought about an increase in supply. To be honest though, the oil market manipulators speciously used the mostly NATO-Libya operation to sell the fraud that oil supplies worldwide were being disrupted when if fact Libya provided only 2% of the market, mostly to Europe.

Ironically, the fewer miles people drive and the sales of more fuel efficient ICEs have resulted in less federal revenue from the 18.4-cent gasoline tax.

But, no matter. We will still hear the howlings and jeremiads, "Drill here, drill now!" and soon the calls for fracking the Grand Canyon. It's amazing how dependent we have become on (excuse the pun) well-oiled propaganda to perpetuate the military industrial complex. Just think, on the trading floors of Wall Street and 8 billion/day traded shares, profits and losses can occur in a nanosecond click of a mouse. Isn't that what it's all about?

Interesting. I do think the volatility in the markets is a signal of serious problems.

2012 will be a critical year, but I suspect can kicking will go on until somewhere close to 2020, at which point the genuine collapse of America, and with it the current world order, commences in earnest.

America is sort of like an incredibly wealthy person with dementia. Great house, lots of money and power, interesting and full life in years past, but basically losing it a little bit more day by day and not really able to do much about it.

Just got on the wait list for a Rossi eCat. For only $5500 I will be warm all winter long with 10KW of continuous heat for only $2 worth of fuel.

Fear not, I am not obliged to buy when my turn comes up.

Maybe I will buy four, one for the house heat, two to run two cars and one for electric. ;)

Did they get your charge card number?

Buy five. One to open, to test the self-destruct!

Notwithstanding this article above - U.S. energy independence draws near - which assumes that Canada will solve the US oil production shortfall, Canada continues to distance itself from the US on energy policy. Americans should not automatically assume that Canadian oil will go to the US.

Canada won’t be ‘captive supplier’ of U.S. energy, PM says

Canada will not become a “captive supplier” to U.S. energy needs, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday in advance of talks at the White House next week on deeper economic integration.

Mr. Harper affirmed the importance of Canada’s economic bond with its neighbour but also sent a tough signal about diversifying energy markets in advance of Wednesday’s long-awaited border security meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Mr. Harper has urged Mr. Obama to support the new oil pipeline from western Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“I’m disappointed with the politics down there. I think the project will eventually go ahead, but in the meantime we will ensure that we have the ability to sell our energy products around the world,” Mr. Harper said Friday.

I thought we had some posts a few days ago that said NAFTA you hafta???

NAFTA is irrelevant. A lot of people think it makes a difference to oil allocation, but it doesn't. The Chinese own a lot of the oil and they can send it where they want to.

Oil Patch (and other)Engineers ...

Dmitry Orlov suggests we be prepared to be mobile during the transition. The following post from Mish seems to apply - for engineers.

Mish says he can't verify its accuracy, but that it does "ring true."

Do any of you agree ??

Bobo’s Travels - Plenty of Job Offers for Skilled Engineers IF You Can be Like Bobo

"My Florida nuclear power plant work ended sooner than promised, so I networked my contacts and in 6 working days landed 2 solid offers. Yep, it's moving time again.

I'm flying to Vancouver CA to work for 3 weeks, then ...

Let's see, that makes 4 states, 3 companies, 2 countries, and 5 different job-sites for me in the past 11 months. Pack-and-move and pack-and-move and pack-and-move. My world is spinning faster and faster and I can barely hold on anymore. I've rented my house, sold all my furniture, dumped my camping gear, and given away my t-shirts, and now I live out of cardboard boxes.

Anything I buy is too much trouble to drag around. I have simplified so much that all I own anymore is a cell phone, a laptop, and an email address. Travel light, move fast, and stay alive. There's no middle ground anymore..."

aardy - True in the oil patch but more for the younger hands starting out. First 10 - 15 years you might get bounced a half dozen times. With experience you can get more stable...if times are good. If we're in a slump experience might not help much. When we slumped some years ago this then 54 yo worked on a piece of cr*p drillship off the coast of a very nasty African country. Worked 16 hours a day at a minimum of 28 days straight. My choice of course...the money was right. I bought my current home from a retired Halliburton hand who just spent $40,000 to remodel and then H. made him an offer he couldn't refuse...and he was off to Africa. But eventually enough of us get too old/broken down/rich it won't matter. One of the rarest commodities in the oil patch is a middle aged hand.

Thanks for the feedback Rock. I figured there might be more truth to it than not - especially during "slumps" in the economy or particular industry. I recall a lot of fallout for optical engineers after the 2000 bust, when companies like Global Crossing suddenly cratered (some ended up at the Salvation Army for short-term relief).

(edit - changed "their" to "there" so as not to upset the anal retentives on board ;)

I am not an engineer, but in general I agree.

You only want to be tied down if you have a winning hand in all aspects. If not, probably best to be mobile so you can rapidly get to other opportunities before others do.

That's my plan. Peak oil or no peak oil, the world of "a lifetime at IBM" (or any other company, or even government agency) is likely over.

Thanks Oilman and Leanan. My oldest and a couple of his friends graduate HS this year and have considered engineering fields.

I tell them "jack be nimble, jack be quick..." I wish I could give them advice more concrete than that, but hey, this is the world we live in ;)

Re: Chevy Volt misses 2011 sales goal, up top:


Elsewhere, one can only hope:


Mine has been dead a long time now and I don't miss it.

Orlov's advice to the Occupy Movement - Occupy the Million Dollar View

...And then it hit me: it just so happens that the 1% own, roughly speaking, 99% of the really desirable beachfront properties, while the 99% have to make do with the 1% or so of the coastline that is reserved for public use. The 1%ers really like that “million-dollar view,” and the seaside mansion is one of their ultimate status symbols...

... Any vessel can anchor within a few meters of the 1%ers property, entirely spoiling their precious view, but if the boat is manned and is legal, then there is not a thing that they can do about it.

On a calm evening, you can sail up, anchor, raft up, put up a big screen to use as a sail, and project a movie onto it. Eat the Rich, anyone? Then film their reaction, and project that next.

Good advice.

Remember the Fuss Ted Kennedy made about a few windmills way out in water, but "in his view".

Alas, that idea is more of an "art piece" than mass replicable and part time participation event.

The OWSers could have 1/2 day or go for a day participants. Want to 'pitch your tent' - just bring your camping gear. For a $5 tarp and $40 sleepign bag - there ya go.

Floating a boat would be expensive.

Remember folks - A boat is a hole in the water you pour money into.

Re: The Energy Audit: A Sacred Cow of Energy Management

One of the biggest frustrations in this line of work is that you can't control the human element, and it seems no matter how hard you try someone, somehow, will find a way to sabotage your best efforts, be it intentional or not.

First the good news... we used Lithonia's 26-watt OWL LED exterior wall packs to replace 100-watt metal halide units at one of our retrofit sites (120-watts with ballast); a near 80 per cent reduction in this portion of their load and their performance is far better than I would have expected given the installation height and separation. This is a really solid, well-built and attractive fixture priced at under $200.00.

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/LithoniaOWLWallPac...

See also: http://www.lithonia.com/commercial/OLW.html

Now the bad... earlier this evening I walked around the parameter of this same building which is completely vacant and will be until Monday morning and every single light in the place was left burning. Needless to say, rather discouraging given the large amount of electricity that is being needless wasted, and it clearly sends the wrong message to the tax paying public, especially at a time of rising energy costs and government restraint.

[Picture withheld to protect the guilty.]

What is it with these people? Do they not think? Do they not care? Are they unhappy with their employer and this is their way of striking back? Is it so terribly hard to flick off a switch when you walk out the door?

[No] Cheers,

That's terrible. I guess when you're spending someones money and it isn't your own you have a tendency to get complacent. Since it doesn't affect them personally why would they care? However I'm sure if they knew that cost cutting or job losses were on the table they'd have switched the lights off.

I confess this really burns my butt. The original lighting was metal halide and, being generous, it's possible that these fixtures were left on 24/7 due to their slow warm-up (typically, metal halides take five to ten minutes to reach full brightness). However, the new system is instant-on and so there's no need to continue this practice. I sent a note off to my client expressing my disappointment and we'll see if that changes anything.


But if those lights are on 24/7 (and were operated that way before the retrofit), the savings from the retrofit are that much greater. Its still a (very visible) waste, but at least the magnitude of it is lowered.
My pet peeve are the photoswitches for outdoor lighting. They seem to be set with the attitude, that if its dark enough to be able to notice whether the light is on, it should be on. So a half hour after sunrise, or when a cloud passes overhgead, those suckers are on, even though the artificial light doesn't come close to matching the existing ambient light.

Granted, there's some consolation in this (we cut their lighting load by more than half), but it still irritates me given the needless expense and with two-thirds of our electricity being coal-fired.

Most photo-eye controls have a three to five minute delay so that passing clouds don't energize the circuit but age, dirt accumulation and bird droppings can affect their sensitivity. We generally use astronomical timers with internal battery backup to control these loads and leave the photo-eye in place if present. That way, they should never come on before dusk and the timer gives us the option to turn the lights off before dawn where possible.